On Sunday Joe gave his farewell talk at church. It was really incredible; he shared the top three reasons that he wants to serve a mission. His first was "I know the gospel is true." He talked about how he gained a testimony, and how that testimony has helped him through some difficult times the last two years. His second reason is the Atonement of the Savior. He said "I know there is no way to repay Him for that debt. But I do know that we can try, and we can do this by keeping the commandments and doing everything that we are asked. And if I am asked to give two years of my life doing service and the Lord's work, then that is absolutely nothing in comparison of the Atonement of Jesus Christ." The final reason he selected is - "I love this gospel." He said it makes him happy, and that it is exciting to know that he can be with our family forever. Hearing him discuss his reasons for serving reassured me that he is going to be just fine.
Joe had a great showing of support; I want to thank everyone who came to hear him speak. Mike, Kevin, Jana and Julie all came from Manson. Coby came over from Mukilteo. The Sorensens, Toolson grandparents, Bronte and Margot made a special trip to be at our ward, Becky is with us every Sunday, but we still appreciate her support!
In the evening we had an open house at the Hawkins. I am so grateful to Troy, Britt and girls for hosting - their back yard was perfect! We had an assortment of cupcakes made by Mom T, Celeste, Carrie, Jana and me. It was a great evening, and it seemed like the whole ward plus several friends from the community came out to wish Joe well.
It was another special day and more memories were made. I'm not sure when it will sink in that we are saying goodbye for two full years; maybe it is best that my mind and heart just can't wrap around that fact. Joe is such an amazing guy. He is going to be a great missionary. I am going to miss him very much.