Aug. 17th 2009 and “The Whitney’s” are on the way to Peru! That is Elder and Hermana Whitney are on the way to Peru.
We have just spent a phenomenal week in the Missionary Training Center in Provo Utah where we have been briefed on our assignment, instructed on the use of the Preach My Gospel manual, and we even managed a few (6) hours of Spanish language study. We were kept busy every minute, or so it seemed. With 2200 missionaries on campus and a constant turn over of 500 missionaries leaving each week it becomes very clear that time is of the essence and it is a serious place.
We were part of a group of 16 mission couples plus 4 senior single sisters all of which were the nicest, dedicated, wonderful people that you could every meet. After only a few hours we were like, well, brothers and sisters. Kindred spirits if you will. Our individual assignments varied, about half were assigned to Church Education Services (CES), a few were mission office, genealogy/records preservation, two were Perpetual Education Fund and the rest were proselytizing. We met a couple from the group before ours that were going to a small appliance repair mission at on of the church historical sites, for real! We spanned the globe; USA, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Italy, Germany, Mongolia, Japan, and the Philippines.
I would like to make a comment about each person that we got to know but as people they don’t know will read it I will only make a general statement the does justice to all. I have never been with a group of people that were more selfless and committed, genuinely concerned and interested in every ones success. Without guile or ego best describes them.
Many of you will understand when I say that we had many experiences that were singular and more than coincidence. One that I would choose to make particular mention of is in regards to a humble servant of the Lord that means the world to us by the name of Neal Beecher. 35 years ago Brother Beecher was our home teacher. He made us (Debbie and I) his labor of love and loved us back to church. He was transferred away from Calgary shortly after we returned to the fold and had no idea what impact he had had on our lives and how many lives that his service has impacted. He does now as we had a joyous reunion with both he and his wife as they continue to serve the Lord at the MTC, still impacting thousands of lives for good.
One humorous but true story; we repacked all of our belongings on Sunday and weighed our suit cases, try as we may we could not get everything we needed and intended to take with us under the 50 lb per bag limit. The penalty for the first pound over is $150. We made what we believed to be the correct adjustments then went to bed. You know how things go, you find the dirty clothes bag, toiletries, ect that can’t weigh that much so you stuff them in, well guess what, they do make a difference. When I weighed the bags this morning three were overweight and on was right on. With a prayer on our lips we determined that all we could do was all we could do and got on the bus for the airport.
At check in our bags weighed 49, 49, 49, and 50, the one that was right on was still right on, you figure it out.
Dylan, Elsie, and Konner came to the airport to see us off and brought a critical plug adaptor for our converter. It was a beautiful sight for us and even though it brought tears they were tears of joy.
Next stop Lima Peru.