Over the past week we have had 24 missionaries depart, including Sister Leavitt and Sister Cahoon to Argentina, and Sister Jeng and Sister Jung back to temple square. We are so sad to see our missionaries leave us but we know that all of them have been called to serve for a specific place and a specific time as directed by the Lord, so we must say good-bye.
The day before the missionaries leave there is a lot to do. They all meet individually with the mission president for an exit interview. This is a time for the missionary to feel the great satisfaction and accomplishment of serving a full time mission and to receive personal advice for the upcoming adjustment back into the real world. We also have a nice dinner and testimony meeting so they can be together one last time and hear each other’s testimonies.
Some of the things said by some of the missionaries were:
Elder Bernards -“We’ve taught the gospel for two years, now we go to live the gospel for the rest of our lives.”
Sister Christoffersen -“We now go into the real fight! It’s just the beginning.”
Elder Holmstead -“Friends have fallen away after their mission. We must be committed to keep living the gospel and never forget the gospel. Don’t let it fade.”
Elder Eberle -“God’s love is personal. He knows us personally. He loves us personally.”
Elder Chambers -“The atonement is a true power. The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion and keeps our testimonies strong when faced with doubt, persecution, etc. We need to stay strong and never fall away. I testify with all my being that I am here to stay. I will not leave. This gem will not be thrown away. I give my solemn oath that I will live the gospel for the rest of my life.”
Elder Young -“My die has been cast, my covenants have been made, I am His. Now it’s just up to me to keep them.”
Elder Monson -“The why leads to conversion. Conversion leads to healing. The atonement gives us wings. The mission has been a mountain, but with it the opportunity to climb. I’m grateful for my mission because now I’m who my mama wants me to be. That means everything to me. Love the transformation. My mission has been about love and forgiveness.”
Elder Smith -“It’s not where you serve but how you serve. God lives. I know Him through prayer. I give my humble witness of His love. I feel so much gratitude for what He has done. His plan is perfect for each one of us. Accept His plan for you. Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of God. I know he saw what he said he saw. I have tasted of the fruit and I know it’s true. My mission has saved my life because it has changed my life. Christ came as a babe and became the rock of Israel, the redeemer of the world. He has made up for my mistakes, and my lost ground.
Elder Jensen -“As you go home you will have many distractions. You have to set your schedule, make yourself fulfill your goals, don’t be distracted. I was in so much pain when I left the mission and I wanted my homecoming to be special and through prayer I was able to meet my family pain free at the airport.”
All of the missionaries expressed so much love and gratitude for Christ and their missions. It was a wonderful testimony meeting and we wish all of our departing missionaries many blessings in their lives to come. Thank you for your service to the Lord and to the people in the Washington Spokane Mission!
RETURNING WITH HONOR
Elder Matthew Kennedy Arave
Elder John Spencer Bernards
Elder Caleb Michael Brown
Elder Andrew Brent Chambers
Elder Matthew Joseph Crovetti
Elder Ryan Jon Duvall
Elder Jason William Eberle
Elder James Michael Holloway
Elder Peder Randy Holmstead
Elder Jared Daniel Jensen
Elder Bradley Keith Jergensen
Elder Preston Edward Judd
Elder Pablo Alejandro N. Lonngi
Elder Joshua Ted Monsen
Elder Todd David Neeley
Elder Kyle Ryan Smith
Elder Kenneth Robert Young
Sister Lauren Rose Christoffersen
Sister Analynn Hilton