Sunday, April 30, 2017

One Long Day

Our last day (or really two) of our mission started out very well.  Elder Phelps and I were able to have breakfast with Daniel Oluka.  He is one that we taught back in November and is an amazing person.  Just after he was baptized and just before Christmas he left to spend time back in his village.  He did not ever return back to Mbale because of a job he got close to Kampala.  We had been able to stay in touch with him and really wanted to see him before we left.  We had a wonderful visit with this young man.  I love the spirit that is in him.  He is so good!

Daniel has not been able to attend church because he is working a ways out of the city but he reads the Book of Mormon faithfully.  When Elder Phelps asked if he had kept up on his reading he simply laughed and said, "Of course!" like "how could I not be?"  He is finishing up his contract work in May and is going back to Mbale to finish his school in engineering.  He has a lot of friends in the gospel and they will be a great strength to him.  He would love to serve a mission and Elder Phelps encouraged him to plan and prepare:)  He would make a great missionary!

We had a nice visit with President and Sister Collings that morning.  We talked of how things are in Rwanda (where they spent their weekend) and talked about how much we loved serving in Mbale!  We then spent the day running errands (exchanging money, returning the truck, saying goodbye to the office staff etc.....) and then met back at The lawns with President and Sister Collings and the Wittwers for a farewell dinner.  We so enjoyed our last evening with our wonderful friends.   President Collings was hoping to have a small testimony meeting before we left but we ran out of time:(   We said our quick goodbyes at the mission home and loaded our bags into the van for John to transport us to the airport.

We took the red eye, nine hour flight to Amsterdam.  We. Slept . The . Whole. Time.  As we were descending the flight attendant said, "You two are the best kind of customers!  You don't eat or drink just sleep!"  I thought that was cute!  Yup, we were very easy customers!

We arrived in Amsterdam at 7:30.  We had a ten hour layover which gave us some time to see the sights of the city.  I really have wanted to see the Tulip Fields for many years so April is the perfect time for that.  We boarded a bus right there at the airport and within a half an hour we were driving past beautiful fields full of tulips.  Just gorgeous!  We arrived at Keukenhoff Gardens and enjoyed seeing all of the beautiful flowers on display.  There were LOTS of people milling about enjoying the gardens.

After the gardens we went back to the airport to catch the train to downtown.  I had to stop at one of the stores to buy a scarf and a beanie because Amsterdam weather is NOT like Uganda weather.

It was just a short twenty minute train ride.  We took a boat ride on the canals to see the city from the water.  I've decided that it is better to see the city by driving the streets but still it was a beautiful tour.

Lots and lots of bikes everywhere!!  I love how the Europeans ride bikes....and park them.  When seeing one of the bike parks one thinks, "How in the world do you remember where YOUR OWN bike is parked?"   After our boat tour we stopped and had a quick lunch at a crowded cafe and then caught the train back to the airport.

We had a nice flight home from Amsterdam.  I played bejeweled, watched a documentary and of course, slept some more.  My plan was to freshen up after getting out of immigration but lo and behold just after getting my passport checked I walked through the door to find....OUR FAMILY!!  (Man, I wish I could have at least combed my hair and brushed my teeth but.....)

What a wonderful sight to behold!  Our littles ran right up to us for hugs and proudly displaying their handmade signs for grandma and grandpa!  Oh, what joy!  Even little Charlie let me hold him without crying!  After greeting our children....Skylar and Sarah, Kendra and Brach, and Gary....I looked around and saw...OUR WHOLE STREET!  Kathy, (Trent was out of town) Brad and Ruth, DeeAnn and Darrell and Russ and Ren.  Also, Dalton, Kallie, ALL of the Harrington kids.  What a wonderful welcome home group!

Just after arriving to our home we had to leave for the church for our release.  We had a nice visit with President Killian reporting our wonderful mission and some of the experiences that we gained while serving.  Now we are wondering.....what's next??

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