Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Alex's farewell - Part 2

Sunday was a big day! The first thing on the agenda was to pick Ben up from the airport. Alex looked sharp in his new gray suit and his tie that Marie gave him. He got a lot of compliments on how nice he looked and how well it all went together. Alex was not given a topic to speak on other than what he did to prepare for his mission. Sometimes that can be more difficult than had they given him a topic. They told him he was to speak for 15 mins. Alex prepared his talk with 6 bullet points. I believe it was his Bishop in Utah or it was some other leader that had encouraged him to try and speak without having a talk all written out. I was impressed that that's what he did. Alex ended up having 30 mins. instead of 15 and I was a little concerned if his 6 bullet points could stretch out that long. He did a great job!Carston Kooyman also spoke on Sunday. This was special for Alex because he loves their family and was excited to hear he would be speaking with him. Carston spoke on his mission and experiences he had that helped shape his testimony and who he is today. It was a great talk! If Alex got anything out of his talk I hope it was to keep his missionary journals. He will treasure those down the road just as Carston treasures his.

Kira arranged Alex's favorite hymn "If You Could Hie to Kolob," and performed it on oboe with Marie Riches accompanying her on piano. It was so beautiful!! So many people came up to me after and even the following week commenting on how much they loved it. This was a surprise for Alex. We were all quite emotional after listening to her play. I miss hearing her play on a regular basis.

Alex did an amazing job on his talk. He quoted Elder Ronald A. Rasband from a talk he gave this past conference on missionary work, "At this time in your life, a mission call from the Lord, my young friends, is the most important work that you can do. Prepare now, live righteously, learn from your family and Church leaders, and come join with us in building the kingdom of God on earth - accept your divine appointment in "so great a cause." 

He was quite emotional about his testimony, the opportunity to serve & his family. He shared with all of us his journey that has got him to this point. He talked about how it was really his senior year in high-school when he made a big shift in really preparing to serve a mission. He must have mentioned "how blessed" he has been ten times throughout his talk - maybe even more. He feels very blessed to have grown up in the ward he did and he thanked all of his amazing teachers he had growing up. He thanked the members of the ward for being the examples they were to him. He talked about learning not only from his teachers and the ward members but from his church leaders as well.

Alex referred to 3 scriptures during his talk. When he was speaking about living righteously and preparing for this stage of his life he read 1 Nephi 2:9. When he shared with us his testimony and how he gained his testimony he read D&C 89:11. He ended his talk & testimony by sharing D&C 15: 6.

Next to his testimony, excitement to serve and hearing how blessed he truly feels to have the life he has had the best part for me was the beautiful tribute he paid to his siblings. It was very apparent how much he loves each one of them and the impact they have had in his life. He even referred to his sisters as "beautiful daughters of God."I didn't really get to see everyone who was there but one surprise was to his elementary school teacher he had for 4th & 5th grade - Ms. Karen Bosco. It was so wonderful of her to be there to show her love & support. She came up to me afterward and said "No one told me I should bring Kleenex." She had never been to a missionary farewell before.

Alex & Ms. Bosco

That night we had an open house for Alex. It was so much fun to have people over. Kids were playing ping pong & blowing darts, adults were visiting, and there was a lot of yummy food to snack on. It was fun to see some of Alex's friends. Some of the ones who came he has known since elementary school. We had a great time visiting and are so grateful for wonderful family & wonderful friends who are always here to support our family.

We took too many pictures to post but here is a sampling of our day:

Nate, Alex, Evan & Brendan

Just a few of the people who came to hear Alex speak.

Kira & Mandy - Mandy is like another daughter to us :)

Evan with his "Future Missionary" tag.

Mark, Frank, Alex, Bree, Brittany, Christina

Thomas, Afton & Vicky

Elle, Olivia, Hannah, Alex & Abbie

Alex, Brandon, Ben & Trevor playing video games after everyone had left.

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