We left for Utah a few days before Alex was to report to the MTC (Missionary Training Center). This allowed us time to finish up a few things we needed to do for him and also allowed us to visit with our kids who are up there. I know Alex enjoyed those couple of days.
On Sunday we went to church with Alycia & Trevor and Alex & Sarah went to Marie's Stake Conference. They both commented on what a wonderful meeting it was. After church we headed back to the Sanchez home where Brandon, Serene and the girls are staying while he has his internship in Salt Lake City. We had some of our family for dinner - Fred's brother Greg, his wife Gaylia, their son Damon, Robert, Byron and his wife Shelly and their new baby Allan. It was great to see them. Marie was able to be there with us also :)
Tuesday we headed into Salt Lake. We went to the University first where Alex talked with an advisor about registering for classes before he gets home from his mission. From there we picked up Marie and we all headed to the Church Office building that Brandon works in. We ate lunch in the cafeteria. It was great! We had hoped to have a tour of where he works but we were to pressed for time. We were meeting Alex's friend Harrison Hinz at the Temple. Marie was a sweetheart and hung with Sarah while we were at the Temple. Sarah had a blast and they bought matching sunglasses :)
Monday we headed to Provo and finished up some of what we needed to do for Alex. We of course stopped and ate at the creamery and got our chocolate milk :) While we were there we were able to see two former missionaries that we were particularly close to while they served here. They married after their mission and just had a sweet baby boy. I also ran into one of the girls from my trek family :) That night we had an FHE (family home evening) barbeque. We invited family & friends. Some of the friends we invited used to live in Rosemary & area when we were there. We were happy that Marie was able to spend FHE with us. Fred picked up Aunt Nola and it is always wonderful to see her. Luetta (Baxter), her husband Doug and their girls came. It was so fun to have them there. Sadly none of our other Rosemary friends were able to make it. The Gallup's who live in the Sanchez's ward came over. Dan is from Cardston and Fred went to school with his sister. He is also related to Aunt Nola so that was fun for her to go over genealogy. They showed us their "Canada" basement. It was pretty neat. (They are also related to the Gallup's from Rosemary)
Alex & Harrison
Alex & Brandon
After the Temple we quickly, and I mean quickly, went and saw an amazing model of the Salt Lake Temple that is in the South Visitor's center. You can see all the rooms inside etc. It was pretty amazing! I wish we had had more time but we had to go and pick up Marie & Sarah from the mall so that we could get to Alex's setting apart. We picked the girls up, drove Marie home, talked with her parents for a few minutes and said our good-bye's.
We then headed to the Stake President's home. We knew we were in the right area but couldn't find the final street to turn onto. Alex's Bishop lived on the main street and he had pointed it out to us. He told us to turn around and he would see if the gate to the Bishop's cul de sac was open. His plan was to go ask them how to get to the Stake President's home. Alex had just got to the gate when a car pulled up and guess who it was? It was his Bishop!! What are the odds?! He gave Alex a great big hug and then had us follow him over. He was not able to stay and gave his apologies. It was wonderful how throughout our day these people that Alex knew so well this school year kept showing up where we were to give him hugs and show their love & support.
We were able to visit with the Stake President for about 10 mins. while we waited for Alycia & Trevor to arrive. We found out that he was a former mission president. He gave Alex some counsel & advice that only someone who has been a mission president could do. What a blessing! It was also a blessing to have some of our children there to support Alex. Sarah, Brandon, Aylcia & Trevor were able to be there with us. The setting apart was amazing and the spirit was so strong. When it was over I had a wave of emotion sweep over me as the realization hit "He's now a missionary." I looked at him and you could see the change and the mantle that had been placed upon him. We are so proud of him and know that he will be an amazing missionary.
There weren't hundreds of people around with a lot of crying, laughing and talking. It was just us. Our own little family having our own special private goodbye. I really did love it and prefer it over all the other experiences I've had. It was amazing and a little surreal. It's hard to believe he's gone. We are now anxiously awaiting that first letter.