Wednesday, May 15, 2013

They really do come home!

Tuesday was the big day! We decorated the house and yard with yellow ribbons on any surface that we could tie a ribbon to!

This is Elder Simons coming down the escalator at the airport...

What a sweet, tender moment.

He met his nephew for the first time!

I loved seeing both of our boys walking side by side, catching up with each other as we walked through Temple Square after leaving the airport.

What a delight to watch Elder Simons as he interacted with the other missionaries on Temple Square. He was so confident and interested in meeting them and hearing their stories.

It was an amazing, tender, emotional, sweet, wonderful day. I will miss having a missionary out, and will miss the emails, but I can't express how grateful I am to have him home and to feel of his extraordinary spirit. He accomplished great things, but as our stake president so wisely said, "Likely the greatest conversion of the past two years happened within Wilson". We are so proud of all that he has done to faithfully serve the Lord to his very best. He is a great example for each one of us and we love him!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Last email from our missionary

And for the last email from Elder Simons on his mission...

Hey mom,

The time has come. Here on my mission I have learned so much. I don't even know what to say. I never thought I would be here emailing for my last time. My mission has been amazing! I thank you all who have supported me and have been there for me. I love you all. I'm thankful God has put me in the amazing California Roseville Mission under President Weston. I know being here was what God wanted and what God needed. I know that President Weston was called to bless the lives of the missionaries and especially me here in the mission. Ah I will miss my mission so much! I will reflect on it everyday of my life and will refer to it often. I'm grateful for the lessons I've learned and the friends I've made. I will see you tomorrow! I love you all!

Disciples Forever

When we were able to Skype with Wilson yesterday, I broached the subject of receiving no email last week, and he quickly checked and apparently on his end, it went out, and ended up floating in cyberspace somewhere. But, he re-sent it, and I'm so glad he did. Its a wonderful letter. Keep in mind it was written a week ago, on May 6th.

Hey mom, first of all I will most likely send a short email next week, because I will have some extra time at the mission office. And about Mothers Day...I don't know. I know you have church at 9 right? What will be the best time for you? I could probably do it at like 4 or 5 or at night. I'm going to call though. If that is okay?

But what a week, my emotions have been all over the place and I have no doubt they will be just the same this next week. I really don't want to go home. Everyone always says "your last week you will just go all trunky and want to be home". And as much as I love home and my family and everything that goes with coming back I don't know if I want to come home yet. I feel like my work isn't done. If I was able to extend I would do it in a heartbeat. I feel like I have been out for like 10 months. I wouldn't be surprised if someone said, "you still have over a year". I would be like "okay that makes sense". Because right now, going home in 8 days isn't right. I am going to miss all of these missionaries that I have come to love and grow under their influence. So many missionaries have made life changing differences in my life. I can't thank them enough and I don't how I would get started to even telling them how much they mean. Their love has helped me endure trials and everything else I have gone through. 

I have had the best companions anyone could ask for. I have taught the most wonderful people in the world. I have witnessed miracles that have confirmed my faith that our Savior lives and loves us with a  perfect love. I have learned how to love and show charity. In no way am I saying I am perfect at this... far from it. But I have grown since two years ago when I was just a punk kid who only cared about himself. My mission has changed my life. It has brought me to the depths of humility. I have cried for joy and I have cried because I have been in the depths of sorrow and sadness. But every experience I've been through has strengthened my faith that God lives and that we can do hard things and we can endure if we trust our Heavenly Father. I thank all of you that have ever prayed for me. EVER. Or the missionary force as a whole. We and especially myself have felt that influence. I love you all. I thank you for your support. 

My mission has taught me God needs us, His children, to be disciples forever. Not just missionaries for two years or stake presidents for 9 years or missionary presidents for 3 years or a nursery leader for a couple years but He needs us forever. To constantly striving to be better and doing the things God would do if He were there. I hope and pray we can all be worthy to be called Disciples of Christ until the very end. 

This week has been interesting. We met with a Seventh-Day Adventist. He was a great guy, with amazing faith but his views have been skewed by the wisdom of men. Which is sad. I'm just thankful we have modern revelation with modern prophets and apostles. What a blessing we have! Let us all take advantage of them and that revelation! 

But I have to go! I love you all!
Elder Simons

Friday, May 10, 2013

Email from an Auburn member

We still haven't received an email from Wilson this week, but received a text from a ward member as to what time we can expect his phone call on Mother's Day.

Thankfully, other people from his area drop me a line here and there. I received an email yesterday from the woman who owns the place that he's living in. Here are parts of the email... (makes me sad to know he's been a bit sick, but hopefully he's feeling better now!)

Hey Dayna,

Just a few more days and your wonderful missionary will be home.
I guess you will still get to talk to him on Sunday and then he will be home on Tuesday. I bet you are so excited.
I am going to be making some chicken broth for Elder Simons for lunch. Apparently he got some food poisoning Monday night and has been sick from it since then. Of course it has to happen while I am gone, but we will see if chicken broth will help. He says it has been pretty bad. 

Well, is there anything I can do for you or Wilson? I love that name. It fits him


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

No email this week

I know, I know... we're all waiting to hear from Elder Simons on this, his last week. But I haven't received an email from him this week. I don't know if that means that he had a packed-full Pday, or if he'll be emailing on another day this week, or just what. 

But, there are two things I do know: 1) he'll be calling this Sunday for Mother's Day; and, 2) we will be seeing him in person for the first time in two years in less than a week!

So, I can't be too broken up about not getting an email this week, though it would be very helpful to know when he is going to call so that we are actually home at that time!

Stay posted!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I know the message is true

Hey mom! Thanks for the email

So we went to the temple this week. I totally would have sent pictures but I forgot my camera. Maybe next week or in two weeks I'll just show you. It was an amazing experience. That is the fourth time I've gone with Bo and Sister Pratt on my mission. There has always been other people but they were always there. They both mean so much to me. Same with the temple. I feel I learn something new each time. Well obviously I do but it just is amazing to be in there and feel the influence of the Savior and Heavenly Father. I love the temple, I can't wait to go when I'm home. But I will go one more time as a missionary. I will be going with my departing group not this Friday but my last Friday. I can't wait to be there with all of my buddies. It will be a great end to an amazing two years. 

My mission has been unreal with how many miracles and spiritual experiences I have had. I couldn't have had those without coming out here to California. I'm going to miss my mission for the rest of my life and think about it everyday. It is really interesting because with the time left it is impossible for me to get any more baptisms. Because investigators have to come to church three times so it has been interesting turning my mindset to realizing that I still can do so much for the great people in California. I hope to find people that will be baptized in the coming weeks and give them everything I can so they can find the peace I have found. I love this work. I love bearing my testimony of the truth. That probably is one of my favorite things about my mission. That when I'm testifying I know the message is true. That is such a good feeling. 

My companion is doing well and is teaching me by example. He is great and we are having fun. I feel like I'm always laughing and having a good time. Our area is still pretty slow, but we picked up a new investigator last night, which was cool. This kid has gone through a lot of tough things in his life. It will be good for him to grab hold of the sure and firm Gospel. It will bless him in his life. I'm excited to teach him a couple more times, then hear from Elder Solomon what his progress is through letters and emails. 

Welp I better go, I love you all and I'm thankful for you! We will talk to you soon!
Elder Simons

Monday, April 29, 2013

15 days

Just saying....

15 days, but who's counting?