Monday, 24 October 2016

Sunday, August 11. 2016.   When we arrived at church a couple of the young women came up to us and put Tongan Leis on our necks.  Elder and Sister Mickelsen are finishing their mission on Tuesday and were speaking in Sacrament meeting.  Brother Tauiliili, the first counselor, came and asked us to sit on the stand also and share our testimonies.  They are not sure we will have another Sacrament meeting to speak in.  So Reed and I had about 7 minutes each to speak.  It was great.

Elder and Sister Mickelsen and Reed and I have served in the Auckland YSA 1st Ward since it was created the first week of May 2015.  What a wonderful experience that has been for us.  After all our meetings at 5:30 p.m. we headed to a different ward building a few blocks away for a farewell dinner. 

Some of our YSA sitting around waiting for the party to get started.

L'Rey, Kaisha and Jessica, three of the YSA we have become very close to.

Kavenga and Kolini Tauiliili getting the food organized.

Reed and L'Rey Renata.  L'Rey has some health challenges and Reed really took a special interest in L'Rey and got some medical questions answered for her.  We met with her parents as well.

Brother Tauiliili cut out our name and had the YSA sign it for us.  This was a wonderful gift and surprise.

We had a wonderful dinner.  They really made it special.  The food was delicious and there was plenty.  There were a couple of YSA kids that sang some songs for us and then we tried to get all those in attendance together for a picture.  It was quite a feat.  Some really wanted to be in it and others didn't.  Trying to get them all looking the same direction and not making funny signs was a lot of work.

Then all the girls wanted a picture with just them in it.

Of course, then some of the boys wanted a picture with just the boys and the Mickelsen's and Spencers.  What special memories.

Brother and Sister Tauiliili, Nada and Reed.  Brother Tauiliili is the first counselor in the bishopric.  These two are so good with the YSA.  They have them over to their home for FHE and to feed them all the time.  We will really miss them.  She is the one who organized the food and tried to make our farewell special.  She did a great job.
This was a very special evening  We will really miss these wonderful people we have served with and got to know so well.  It is hard to begin saying our good-byes a whole month before we are finished with our mission but we understand that it is easier to do it for both couples at the same time.

On Tuesday, September 13, 2016, we worked hard all day but had a wonderful farewell lunch with the Area Presidency.  The Area Presidency has a farewell, thank you lunch with the couples that work in the Area Office.  Ours is a little early because all of the Area Presidency leave the last week of September to go to Salt Lake City for meetings during General Conference.  This day worked for the three of us couples all leaving before they get back.

They hold the luncheon in the conference room on the third floor.  We had some delicious soup, salad and cheesecake for dessert.  Sister Seamons (standing) did most of the food.  Her husband is the executive secretary to the Area Presidency and she does a lot of the catering and helping with missionary applications and other such duties.

Sister and Elder Cardon (they just arrived in July and he is the second counselor in the Area Presidency).  Sister and Elder Olsen (he is the Area Medical Doctor), Sister and Elder Bennett (they are the Area Family History Specialists) Nada and Reed (Area Education Specialists) Sister Haleck (President Haleck is the new Area President but had to make an emergency trip to Samoa), Sister and Elder Nielsen he is the 1st counselor in the Area Presidency and as of May he has been our direct supervisor over Self-Reliance and Education.  He is so personable and enjoyable to work with.

We enjoyed visiting with the presidency and their wives.  They are all great people.  It was nice to be told thank you for your service and share something we felt we had accomplished.  We have been blessed with so many wonderful opportunities by serving in the Area Office.

It is hard to not get a little trunky with all these farewells happening and still a month before we leave.  We are trying hard to stay focused and finish up strong.  We have loved this mission and will miss these wonderful people so much, but it is time to reconnect with our grandchildren.  They are all growing so fast.

Until next time, Love Elder and Sister Spencer, (aka Reed and Nada)


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