Monday, February 3, 2014

Farewell to the Beckstrands

On Friday, January 10th, President and Sister Jenkins invited all of the Visitors' Center missionaries to their home for a lovely farewell breakfast for the Beckstrands (us!).  It's hard to believe that two years have gone by so quickly.

President and Sister Jenkins have worked very hard to make this a lovely occasion.

These McMuffin sandwiches look really yummy.  There are also croissant sandwiches warming in the other oven.  Heaven!

WOW!  That's gorgeous.  The Andruses and Ballards prepared the gorgeous trays of fruit, and the Jenkins supplied the sandwiches and drinks.  What a feast!

Only the sisters who were very careful eaters were allowed to eat their food while sitting on the new couches. ( Everything is new in this lovely home since it has only been in use since July.)  Congratulations, sisters, for making the cut.

These sisters are sharing their breakfasts with the Hansens - our mission office couple who also handle the mission telephones, financial affairs, and I-pads.

These are the senior couples who serve at the Visitors' Center with us.  The Ballards are on the left and the Andruses on the right.  They are wonderful, one and all!  Thank you, thank you for your help, your support, and your timely input in regards to the efficient running of the center.

I made the mistake of handing my camera to Sister Orr.  BIG mistake!

Ain't they sweet?  Still in love after more than 50 years.

We feel privileged to have been able to serve with the Jenkins during the past 6 months.  They have truly been called of God to lead this mission at this time.  We are so grateful for their love and their continual support of the Visitors' Center.
Although it was a difficult task, we met with our trainers to plan a slightly different type of farewell for Januray 17th - the day before our departure.  We wanted this farewell to be a fun reminder of our experiences while serving here at the Visitors' Center.

Sister Longshore and Sister Finau, our current VC trainers, were willing to take on the assignment of organizing skits with the other sisters.  It is sometimes necessary to 'tell it like it is!"

 Meanwhile, back at our home there is a big empty.  We moved into a motel on Monday morning, and the temple crew had the house stripped by the end of the day.  It looks like someone came in and robbed the place!  I guess they weren't musical.....

 Oh, so this is where all of the furniture, dishes, and bedding ended up.  I guess we won't be able to park our cars in this garage like we planned.  It looks like a giant yard sale waiting to happen.

Friday morning, bright and early, we held our final Prep. Meeting.  Following the song, prayer, and recitations the fun began.  These sisters demonstrated how children were often caught trying to play in the neighborhood exhibit at the Visitors' Center.  They got a big kick out of showing Elder Beckstrand on his hands and knees up by the houses - no, no Elder Beckstrand!

Every VC missionary knew what it meant when Brother Teajan came to the Visitors' Center.  He always rode in his little cart and handed out granola bars (which he called candy bars) to all of the sisters on shift.
Is that you, Sister Leon?  You're a dead ringer for our candy man.
Another frequent visitor to the VC was Sister Zepeta, who was admirably played by Sister Andrus.  She never came without treats and snacks for the sisters to enjoy.  Sister Luna happily accepts her current offering.  (I especially enjoyed seeing Sister Andrus wearing white tennis shoes, which aren't visible in the photo, but were Sister Zepeta's trademark.)

 These sisters were making fun of Elder Beckstrand's obsession with keeping the pencils sharp.  It was a continual losing battle for him since there were so many of us using and abusing them.
Sister Longshore had the unenviable task of portraying me during my many shift assignment nightmares.  I swear, that's the only thing about serving at the Visitors' Center that I didn't enjoy. It was impossible to keep track of every sister during their shift assignments at the center, especially when the mission activities continually messed up my schedule.  Ugh!
Sister Longshore, (aka Sister Beckstrand) "Oh, you say you need a dress hemmed, a zipper replaced, and a blouse taken in?  No problem.  I can do that in a jiffy with one hand tied behind my back... "

Oh yes, making sure the sisters were groomed and dressed as missionaries should be was an ongoing challenge.  No Sister Tingey, pink tights will not work.  And by the way - that dress is too short!!! 

Sister Pickett did a brilliant job of narrating the skit: "The Case of the Missing Pencil Box".

Everyone was asked if they had seen (or moved) the missing box but no one would confess.

The sisters called everyone they could think of.  There was no sign of it anywhere.

 Not for a moment could I stop laughing!  It was hysterical to watch these sisters so ably reinact events here at the center during our not-so-illustrious career. 

Sister Brownell was a hoot as she portrayed Elder Beckstrand's frustration over the missing pencil box.  Finally, Sister Mayorca walked up to the podium, lifted the top box out of the box underneath, and went on her way.  NO WAY!  The missing box was there all the time!

But the act that really stole the show was Elder Beckstrand's chicken-cackling rendition of "In the Mood" in full farmyard regalia.  His number went viral on Facebook.  I couldn't resist posting the entire episode for everyone to enjoy.  What a riot!!!

No doubt about it - he really got 'In the Mood"!

I can't figure it out, but I love this crazy man like crazy!  He's sometimes stern, sometimes funny, and always a spiritual giant in my life and the lives of these sweet sister missionaries at the Mesa Temple Visitors' Center.

The sisters had several lovely gifts to give us after the skits and cackling were over.  Sister Orr presented Coach B with a football signed by all of the sisters.  I'm sure all of them will remember his football stories given as lessons for life.

There were three books with choice memories shared by all of the sisters for both Elder Beckstrand and myself.  What a sweet pleasure it was to read their thoughtful and very tender comments.

Sister Younce helped me tie on the pink sparkly apron the sisters signed in gratitude for all of the food that they enjoyed from my kitchen.  Bless their hearts!  That's just fun for me, not work.
Sister Brownell presented us with a framed photo of the Visitors' Center missionaries from Christmas Lights, with beautiful scenes of the Savior's life arranged around the outside edge.  A treasure!

Elder Beckstrand looked right at home with this football in his hands, (but he soon got rid of the bow.) 

 So this is the whole gang, and what a dear group of sisters and elders they have been to us.  We will miss each and everyone of them more than we can say.  I'm going to be sad to get along without my 20+ hugs each day.  These young women are sooooo loving.  They've been raised right by their parents at home.  Good luck to all of you.  Continue to work hard and devote all your energies to being the best missionaries you can be.  We love you! 

And so our time here ends and the Camerons begin their adventure at the Mesa Temple Visitors' Center.  We know they'll have a choice experience, just as we have had.  Thank you, thank you, sisters and elders, for everything.  It has been a never-to-be-equaled, magical two years.  We have loved every minute and feel so privileged to have been allowed to serve here with all of the wonderful missionaries past and present.  The Lord has blessed us far beyond what we deserve, and we'll be ever grateful.

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