Monday, November 16, 2015


This will be the final post on this blog.
It will cover the last few weeks of our mission.
It truly has been a joyful experience and we have loved it.
But we are more than ready to be reunited with our family and friends back home.


The day we picked Seth and Kim up at the airport for their visit here was our zone's conference here in the MBM.
Our last one.
We had to attend.
Seth and Kim's flight was arriving near 5 pm so it all worked out.
It was uplifting and inspiring as always.
It seems we have been away most of the time our new mission president, President Miller, and his wife (and Bella!) have been here.  It was a joy to "see them in action" here at this conference.
The Packards did such an outstanding job here that it was hard to imagine anyone else taking over.  But although different in style, just as our apostles differ in their style and approach, the authority, the testimony, the leadership and most of all the love is all still here and present and very strong.
We rejoice that the MBM is still in good hands.

Technology is our friend.  Sister Miller couldn't attend due to a responsibility at Bella's school so she gave her message via the computer. She is a wonderful speaker and teacher.  She love to 'liken the scriptures' and is very talented in doing so. I always learn something form her.

Elder Dr. Dale enjoying a light moment with his nurse, the amazing Sister Denney, and two of our darling sisters.

The Infamous Zone Lunches
Infamous because they are so good and there is so much food.

We belong to a very talented stake.
Every message and every musical number was outstanding and inspiring.
The visiting Area Seventy,elder Paul Sinclair, was particularly engaging and lively and  personable.
A great meeting.

Are hours after stake conference, our annual Temple Devotional was held.
This one was a extra special because the presidency is changing at the first of November.
Both the old and the new presidencies and their wives bore testimonies
and profoundly moving music was shared. 
It was a very sweet meeting. 
We indeed rejoice in our association with souls such as these.


What incredible people we've worked along side within these walls!
There are angels among us and we have walked and talked with them.
The temple missionaries, our fellow shift workers, the presidency, the patrons, have all inspired us to be better and try harder and to count our blessings.  There are so many who sacrifice so much and don't even count it as a sacrifice. We love them, each and every one.
We of course, didn't take photos but we had a farewell dinner after our shift with the Dahles, the Lambs, and the Kennedys.  
They give us so many reasons to rejoice.

Our Zone Halloween Lunch.

Heard of Pinterest Fails?
Here is kind of one...look more like walruses than vampires!

Sister Walsh made the Jackolantern-faced Veggie Tray and the barfing jack dip.

As for my contributions- why reinvent the wheel. 
It was a hit last year so we repeated it this year.
Chili  with mini hot dog mummies.

Ok. This really was a Pinterest fail.
The teeth would not stay within the donut hole and messed up the eyes and the donut.

this is how they were supposed to look.

WE got the sweet "thank you" song from the zone for our lunch.

We had time for just a few games...
Mummy Wrap - always a favorite!

Team One 
Before and After

Team Two 
Before and After

 Team Three 
Before and After

Picking up marshmallows with plastic fangs in your mouth and dropping them onto another plate .
Another classic!

"Hanging with these Homies" has been one of the highlights of our mission.
Seriously, we have absolutely loved and treasured our time spent in their midst.
They never cease to amaze us with their maturity, consecration, obedience, leadership skills,  their happiness and foremost the strength of their testimonies and the depth of their love for their Lord and God. 
We go our way rejoicing that they will be dear to us through eternity.
We will miss their bright and shining lights.


The weather has been gorgeous and we are still trying to cram as much autumn and New England as we can into our last little time left here.
Marblehead is only about 1/2 hour away and we've driven through the outskirts but have never given it the time it's deserved.  It is one of those "most beautiful and most historic" villages one "must see" so we saw it!
And loved it!


That is a word I could never even pronounce but soon as we came to New England I realized I simply must learn it since I would be called upon to use it at least once a week, if not every day!

Loved the Golden Fish above the doorways!

And love the pumpkins on top of the doorways!

 Boston Ivy!

This one is for you, Seth!
(these were his favorite when he visited)

The firehouses in New England are all adorable!

We ate lunch at The Barnacle.
Dale and the Seafood Platter and I had Fish and Chips.
Just loved this old menu board for waaaay back!

Our view during lunch.

We walked and explored all over.  
Found this gothic and halloween-y looking place near a park.

Can you believe the luck of finding this classic old fisherman rowing out to his boat?
LOVE IT! lucky to capture 2 birds in flight! 

 Very unique lighthouse, I must say!

Please note all the buoys.  In the summertime every one of those buoys has a boat attached to it!
This is a very busy harbor in the summer. 

We lingered until the sunset.  Hated saying goodbye on our last visit to a charming New England town.
But... we rejoice in the beautiful day we spent here and all we saw and loved.

The following photos were taken at the transfer meeting. 
Transfer meeting is where all the missionaries who have just arrived in the mission meet their new companions, and where all the missionaries going home bear their testimonies. 
It is always a spiritual highlight to attend. 
Avalon, as each of the departing sister missionaries bore their witness and told their storied of how much they had grown and changed, I thought of you and how I can't wait to see and hear you when you return form your mission in less than a year. 
And Kobe, you will be one of these young men in a couple years.
I can picture you as a happy and successful missionary. 
WE hugged and said goodbye to so many but these are a few of the ones we thought to take a picture with.  Adore them all. Looking forward to seeing them at our Mission Reunions and hearing all about the fantastic things they have done with  their lives!

Sister Holt

Sister Frei

 These two crack me up.  They remind me of my daughters who make faces on purpose so if you look bad in a photo you can then say- I planned it that way!

Sister Francis

We rejoice in the light these beautiful, outstanding young women have brought into our lives.

This was our last time in the Boston Temple so we had to bid it farewell too.

A mission tradition here is that all the departing missionaries attend an afternoon session together and then go to the mission home afterwards for a special dinner.
We have always served the missionaries before but now it was our turn to be the departing ones.
Without sharing too much, I had a special and sacred experience there confirming to my soul that my sacrifice was acceptable to the Lord and He was pleased with my mission.
There is hardly a better feeling in this world.
I know to many it seems our mission has just been all travel and fun and games, especially on my part.  I have felt twinges of guilt over this several times during our mission and each and every time the Lord sends me an overwhelming feeling of peace and His love and acceptance.
I deeply rejoice in this. 

After the temple , we all went to the mission home and were treated royally, complete with a red carpet welcome and a delicious roast beef dinner.  Photos were taken but I haven't been able to obtain them as yet. I will add them later.

This truly is a week of goodbyes and very fond farewells.

On Friday morning we visited the two sisters we were assigned to visit in our ward and who we have grown to love and care about very deeply, Sonila Duni  and Loretta Jarak.
Both are enduring rather severe life challenges right now and both are wonderful examples of looking at the positive and realizing not much good comes from complaining and being miserable. We have learned much from them. 
One of the highlights of our mission was doing the research for Loretta's mother and father and then ding their temple work for them. On this day we placed their work- completed name slips in a little sliver wrapped box and tied it with a white ribbon.  We presented it to her saying it was the best gift we could give her.  She was beside herself with joy and said over and over how this was the best gift she could ever have, a true treasure and how very happy it made her to be able to give that gift to her parents.  Two of our most satisfying mission moments occurred in the temple. Taking Dulsya through was the other.
We  rejoice in the blessings the temple. 

( I didn't get a photo with them but I did take this of their apartment as we were driving away.)

And just how much are we going to miss these dear folk- our 'comrades at arms'?
We love them!
After our visits with them, we headed to the Walsh's apartment where they had invited us for a homemade lunch.  She wowed us with chicken enchiladas,( we have been craving good mexican food the whole time here), rice, jello salad, chips and dip, and a  very yummy coconut cake.  It was so nice just to sit with them and chat.  They have made their little apartment "in the hood" into a warm and inviting home.  They use it as a place for gathering and comfort and learning. For the missionaries, for their Portuguese group, and for investigators, neighbors and friends.  They are originally from Virginia and they knowhow to offer the warmest of Southern Hospitality.
They are such devoted and caring and hard working missionaries. 
We constantly learn from their example. 
It was very hard to leave them and say our final goodbyes.
We rejoice in these strong friendships we have made here. 

And yet more goodbyes.
The Dahles, our next door neighbors and temple missionaries, are released the same day as we are.
The Kennedys raved about this place in Ipswich and said we just had to go so we made a date and came here after their shift on Saturday for one last "clam fix".
They have been great neighbors to put up with us!
They also are good, solid as a rock people who work hard and sacrifice much for the Lord and anyone who needs them.
We rejoice that we know them and have their example to live by.

I"ve never been a huge Calm chowder fan but I certainly wasn't going to live in New England for 18 months and not try out as many places as I could searching for THE BEST.
I have grown to be quite fond of it.

With time running out, we needed to make sure we got to some of the places that we couldn't leave without visiting. 
The Longfellow Park church building was one of those places. 
It was my stake center as a teen and I have several memories here.
As I have mentioned before, Elder L. Tom Perry was my Stake President here.
Elder Boyd K. Packer was the Mission President.
At the time, the mission home was right next door to the meetinghouse.
(see the house on the right)

The meeting house was burned in 2008 and it has changed in many ways but there were also many familiar memories for me there.

This is an unusual feature to this building.
It is 2 stories and you can view the cultural hall from above through these arched windows.
I remember going to a Gold and Green Ball here.

It is right across the street from this home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, which was also George Washington's headquarters from 1775-1776.

It is in the Cambridge/Harvard area and parking is tight.  We had to park a bit of a ways away but the walk past stately old homes was delightful.

I couldn't believe roses were still in bloom! 

It's so close to Halloween I had to throw this one in for good measure- looks a little haunted.

And more goodbyes.
And another photo of a house instead of the people
So Sad.
I just got to excited seeing them that I forgot all about taking pictures. 

This cute and happy house its the home of Ruth and Pete Engel.
There is an adjoining complete apartment for Ruth's mother.
Ruth was one of my very best friends in high school and lived across the street from me when we first moved to Franklin. I have a poor memory but I do have many happy and vivid memories at her house and with her great mother. 
I was so happy to get to see her again. She looks great and is going strong - physically and mentally.  She said her secret is good genes. 
We were in HGTV heaven in their home... they remodeled it again and again to accommodate  different needs, knocked down walls, added windows- you name it.  They have made it into the warmest, coziest, very New England looking home.  They are on several acres with woods and a pond complete with a beaver !  ( so jealous!)  They had a warm glowing fire, a wonderfully scented candle, and shrimp cocktails and apple cider waiting for us.
We sat by the fire and chatted for a time and then they treated us to dinner in a very nice Italian restaurant.  

These are fine people. 
Always serving others and thinking of others first.
I rejoice that I had this remarkable opportunity to spend time with them once more.


I had big plans for the last entry of our mission blog. 
I had ideas for photos of the little things I would miss.
Lots of fun videos. 
I wanted to say something memorable, inspiring , grateful.
But the past few weeks have been a blur and Dale is unplugging this computer in a few minutes to pack it. I have felt rushed and pressed for time and tired. The words aren't coming.
So instead I would like to quote the words to a hymn-
"Go Forth in Faith":

Go forth in faith to tell the world of Jesus Christ the Lord.Bear witness He is God's own Son;
Proclaim HIs wondrous word.
Go forth with hope and courage strong to spread the word abroad
that people of all nations are children of our God.

 We have a testimony of this. We have lived among, worshipped beside, His children
 from Africa, Cape Verde, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, to name a few. We have served with missionaries from all over the world. We love them all. 

Go forth to tell the world the joy of families-
That we may be with those we love thru all eternity.

As mentioned  , helping Loretta and Dulsya receive  the blessings of the temple and helping them to be with their families forever was an unsurpassed blessing.

Go forth to serve and do your best with no thought of reward;
Then you shall know the boundless joy of serving Christ, the Lord.

Go Forth with power to tell the world the gospel is restored,
That all may gain eternal life thru Jesus Christ, The Lord.
Go forth to preach His glorious truths 
of peace, of joy, and love,
That all who heed His holy word may praise the Lord above.

Although ours was not a proselyting mission, we did have several opportunities to share His word.
We testify Jesus Christ is the Lord.
That the same church  He established when He lived on the earth has been restored.
We testify of His love, the peace only He can bring, and of His power and the power of His word.

Go forth to serve and do your best with no thought of reward;
Then you shall know the boundless joy of serving Christ, the Lord.

We have felt this boundless joy spoken of here.
It is one of the things that keep you going on a mission.
That help you endure being so far away form your family and loved ones.
Our mission has been a great blessing to us.

We go our way rejoicing and aim to continue to serve the Lord everyday for the rest of our lives. 

I have taken pictures from my desk window daily for the past few weeks.
From the photos below you can see the changes.

"All the leaves are brown 
and the skies grey."

Perfect time to leave...when autumn's beauty has faded and winter is ready to set in.

California here we come!

Dale and Nancy's mission adventure has been most excellent!

Farewell to this blog.
It's been fun.
I thank you for reading it.

1 comment:

  1. I am finally catching up on your blog after falling off the face of the earth with morning sickness or 24/7 sickness. I don't have time to read more than one post tonight but I will over the next few days :)

    Reading this post brought me close to tears thinking of all the wonderful experiences you and Dad have had and that it is coming to an end. As much as I have missed you over the past 18 months, I feel sad in a way that I won't be hearing more about your mission...but I guess I can be comforted in the fact that I can hear more stories IN PERSON! Yay!! I am so proud of you two and I am so happy you have rejoiced throughout your mission and worked so hard and had so much fun. You have touched more lives than you know and have blessed the lives of all your family members.

    We love you and can't wait to see you in 2 weeks!!