Bittersweet Farewells

This first farewells came at the Conference Center last week as you know already. I’m grateful for the love and generosity that they have given to me.

My next farewell was on Sunday morning after Music and the Spoken Word. Many think that “God Be With You” is live as part of the broadcast when it’s really not. The only thing that is live after the last song is that brief organ interlude. After the broadcast engineers turn to the recording, the audience is then allowed to applaud. Then, Lloyd Newell (announcer for the broadcast) shares a few remarks. Finally the Choir sings “God Be With You” and the event is over.

Anyways during Lloyd’s remarks following the broadcast, he mentioned the stage crew and team of other staff that help to get the Choir ready to go and that one certain young man who has been serving in on the stage crew would be leaving. Can you guess who that young man was? I’ll give you a hint: me! He called me up and then told me and everybody else that if they’re ever back this way again to come see the broadcast again and until then, may God be with you. At that moment the Choir sang “God Be With You” and I was brought to tears at that special moment when the spirit was so very strong.

The spirit was again strong during sacrament meeting as we sang hymns about the restoration as the restoration of the priesthood took place May 15, 186 years ago. There were two musical numbers, one by the men of the ward choir with the young men of the ward and the other was a solo. The choir number was Doctrine & Covenants section 13 set to music.

“Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.”

The song was written by Sister Ballantyne (Brother Elliott’s wife). Sister Ballantyne conducts and Brother Elliott accompanies.  The other musical number I don’t remember as I was in the restroom (I couldn’t put off the natural man any longer).

Then it was time for the talks. We had a young speaker and Karl spoke as well. Both spoke about setting goals. Finally I spoke and shared how my experiences of setting and achieving goals. The spirit of the meeting was so strong. I was quite emotional for a good period of time.

I was quite surprised by the turn out of fellow service missionaries that came to hear me speak. I ended up making invitations to the sacrament meeting as I knew there were people who wanted to hear me speak and I couldn’t remember who so I just made bulk invitations and handed them out to a bunch of people. I know more people than I give myself credit for.

The turnout at the Elliott’s home for my open house was great as well. It was nice to see a lot of the people I have come to know one last time before I depart. The Elliott’s are some of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet. They are so caring and humble. I’m so blessed to have their examples in my life.

Yesterday was one last farewell at the GSC. I ate too much, oh well. I once again was blown away as I received more words of encouragement.

I am so blessed by the chance to serve as a service missionary. I’m grateful for the friendships that I have made. I feel as if I have dozens of new sets of grandparents who love and care for me.

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