Sunday, May 23, 2010

Farewell (as told by Lani)

We woke up Sunday morning with excitement for the big day. We were excited to hear mom and dad speak on their excitement to work with the Saints in Greece. Cousins were at hotels, Tiff and Char were at their houses, so it was the other 4 of us (Amy, me, Chuck, Mit), mom and dad, and Grandma and Grandpa.

I had just hopped out of the shower when Mitzi came up and said "mom and dad are on the phone- their call is getting changed". I tried to get dressed as quickly as humanly possible while trying to listen out my window to the new announcement. Then I heard it... the news... they were no longer headed to Greece but instead... to the Congo, Africa. I began shouting "I knew it! I knew it!" as I pulled on my pants and dashed down the stairs.

Mom and dad were still on the phone getting more information as the rest of us sat there hanging on every word while discussing amongst ourselves what this would me. I have to say how proud I was of my mom- a woman that 3 years ago I would guess had ZERO desire to go to Central Africa- suddenly was told she would be living there for 18 months and within seconds was on board and ready to answer the call. Dad was too but I think it took him a little longer- probably mostly because the poor guy has struggled through 2 languages in the last year preparing for this- and it was just switched on him AGAIN:) I must say his French sounds like it is coming along better than Spanish or Greek... this must be the real one!

Amy popped out her laptop and started researching the new mission (upper left). It was fun to have Grandpa Bodell there who could not wipe the grin off his face as he realized his daughter and son in law would be going to serve near his and grandma's mission in Liberia. Everyone kind of started to say, "yep, this one feels right!" After thinking maybe Nauvoo, South America, and Greece, I think everyone agreed that this is really where mom and dad need to be at this time. We could not have been more proud.
Once it settled in and we started to grasp this news, we realized Church was going to start in an hour or so and we had a lot of people to shower and a lot of food to prepare for the brunch not to mention talks about Greece that needed to be re-written. We decided to keep it a secret from the extended family and friends until church.

I was in the last car to leave with mom, Chuck and Houston. We walked in during the opening song, "I'll Go Where you Want me To Go"- a song that quickly took on an even deeper profound meaning in my heart as I realized for yet another time in my life what excellent examples I have been blessed with for parents. A few of us were crying but the second verse and a friend of mine's father leaned up to me and said, "we're just getting started" and chuckled. Minutes later he understood a bit more.

Mom and dad stood up in front of the congregation hand in hand to announce together that to all those who had asked to come and stay in their 3 bedroom apartment in Greece, they should still feel more than welcome to come visit them but they should realize it might be a different climate in the Congo. Laughter spread across the chapel- probably 1/2 of them realizing it was my dad so they weren't sure if they should believe it or not. But as they saw the sincerity in their eyes, the Spirit filled the chapel with an ethereal feel that remained for the rest of the day.

Mom and Dad gave beautiful talks and then the meeting ended with family and friends singing "God Be With You" and "Called to Serve"- a beautiful meeting.

Afterward we enjoyed a beautiful brunch at our house with many family and friends. We had planned the food with Greece in mind. But Charise was able to fix that in a jiffy with her collection of African Sarfari plastic animals. How great is she that she just has those kind of things on hand? So notice the snakes coming out of the Souvlaki and giraffes, lions, and elephants hovering around the strawberries and cinnamon rolls.
We enjoyed the afternoon of visiting. It was so fun to have so many Bodells there as well as Ken and Kathy and family there as we have not had good laughs and visits with all of them in a decade or so! Thank you to all who came to support and visit. We enjoyed it so much! It would not have been the same without all of you there!

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