I can't believe MTC has come and gone already! Where does the time go? We have had some very remarkable experiences as a family and much healing has occurred over the past few months. I am so thankful for the blessings we are already seeing from BriAnna's desire to serve. The conversion process is already happening right here in our own home.
So this week has been crazy. Monday was "dump everything in the family room and let's see what we have forgotten" day. Oh what an adventure. It was a little dicey to see if we could make it all fit into 2 large suitcases and a small carry on but we did it and had about 30 pounds to spare! Taking an 18 month supply of EVERYTHING is insanity but I think we did it!
With the help of travel space-bags, it fit and even came in under weight!
Tuesday morning, our last day here, we got up and went to the temple together. Before we left I was privileged to hear her play sweet hymns one more time.
She is truly a gifted musician and plays the piano from her heart. Her music will truly bless the lives of the Chinese people.
Flat BriAnna...maybe a little oddly distorted but she will have to do. I could either go with a shorter 5 foot version or a gigantic 6 foot version. We opted to go a little smaller but she is oddly not proportionate.
This is what our family will look like for the next 18 months.
BriAnna and her sweet BFF Emilee who will be joining her in the MTC in 2 weeks. Emilee will be serving in Vancouver, WA in an ASL mission. I am so proud of all these beautiful young women and their examples.
Of all the most tearful goodbyes, this one was the hardest to watch. Poor girl is going to miss her puppy.
Then to Provo for a little pre-MTC breakfast at IHOP as a fam. We are so thankful that Jaiden has been in a place with his treatment that he has been able to be such a big part of this process. Tender tender mercies.
Then to the temple grounds for some family photos. It was SO cold outside! Our little winter visit in June caught us all a bit off guard this week. I am going to miss seeing these 4 all together even though they don't always get along.
Seriously freezing to death!
Dad is so so so proud of his oldest daughter.
Watching a relationship start over from scratch is the most priceless gift I have ever been given as a mom. I am so thankful for this time these two have had together to reconnect and heal together. I'm going to miss having them together.
Everyone was fine until THIS happened. The minute she hugged her brother the dam broke and the tears didn't stop. Such a sweet thing to witness.
A little teary with Makynlee still.
As annoying and pesky as the two younger ones can be, she can't doubt she will miss them. Those are REAL tears! Who'd have thought? I am betting Makynlee will be close to BriAnna's same height in 18 months.
Then there is little Miss Trouble. All she really cares about is that BriAnna is missing her 9th birthday on Friday (and 10th but we won't remind her yet).
Full of smiles and excitement for this new adventure. I am so happy to say that these are truly genuine smiles for the first time in many years. Priceless. Without the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His healing powers, this would never have happened. How truly thankful and blessed I feel.
Will she miss her or won't she?
I love and am so proud of this girl. She is the greatest example to me and has a testimony that will amaze everyone she comes in contact with. I could not be more proud of anyone right now.
And then to the CURB-
Oh what a crazy adventure. I have now done this 3 times in the past 3 years with my brother and the son of my dear friend. It never ceases to amaze me at how fast and methodical it is. BriAnna was a sobbing bundle of nervous energy. She wasn't really scared just super excited and it resulted in a big wet mess. We unloaded those suitcases, snapped a few photos and then she was OFF.
This last good bye with Jaiden was when I was no longer able to contain my tears. To see this relationship in it's early repairing stages was so priceless and the photo says it all. Love and admiration for each other. She knows how hard he has had to work to be where he is at and he knows how hard she has had to work to be at this point too. So amazing.
And off she goes...
As we loaded back up into the car we Jaiden was acting odd. I asked him what was going on and what he thought. His comment was that the whole experience was "trippy." I can agree 100%. That's a pretty good definition of it. He has a new determination to keep working hard through treatment so that he will be able to manage his health and serve a mission of his own in 2 years. I pray we can keep that momentum. He is becoming the most amazing scriptorian and has learned how to find answers to his very personal questions. I believe his sister's service will be the most beneficial to him.
As a mother this week has been one of those BIG TIME pay offs we hope we will get someday. I am so proud of my daughter and her desire to serve the people of China. She already has a great love for them as she has studied their culture. I know she will find great success in Hong Kong because she has the testimony to share and the people are so so so ready for the message of a Savior.
Here's to the next 18 months! We can't wait for her first email!