So, as we quickly (a bit frantic actually) got him ready to go again - we paused for 2 days to listen to Conference (April 2014). I am so glad we did - there were amazing talks THE WHOLE TIME…
Like this one from Elder Holland "The Cost and Blessings of Discipleship" (you can listen to it here https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/the-cost-and-blessings-of-discipleship?lang=eng).
Then there was this one from Elder Rasband "The Joyful Burden of Discipleship" (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/the-joyful-burden-of-discipleship?lang=eng).
Then this one from Elder Anderson "Spiritual Whirlwinds" (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/spiritual-whirlwinds?lang=eng)
That was just some from the first session!!
Saturday afternoon was just as amazing…"Let Your Faith Show" by Elder Nelson (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/let-your-faith-show?lang=eng)
Or "If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments" by Elder Hales (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/if-ye-love-me-keep-my-commandments?lang=eng)
Or how about "What Are You Thinking" by Elder Zwick (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/what-are-you-thinking?lang=eng)…
Ok, you get the point?!?! :)
It was amazing - and exactly what we needed to hear, as a family and individually. I firmly believe that this General Conference was 100% for our family - a gift directly from the Lord.
Monday proved to be quite the emotional day. As a family, we had some amazing moments, and that evening, Austin was again, set apart as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (by his Stake President/Grandpa Mark!) and I have to admit - the spirit that was in that room, was stronger than I have felt in a really long time. I knew this was right, as did every single person in that room, including Austin. Again, another tender mercy from our Father in Heaven (by the way - if you ever question - please know that He knows EXACTLY what He is doing)
Tuesday morning, April 8, 2014, at 8:30am was the time his flight was leaving for Seattle. I was anxious, as I know Elder Barney was as well. But, as we got ready, and headed to the airport, there was an excitement and a happiness that was literally tangible the entire morning. It made it very difficult to be sad when the spirit was so strong and full of joy.
I am thankful for tender mercies. I am thankful for this experience that has brought Elder Barney closer to the Savior, us closer together as a family, and our testimonies stronger. I love this gospel. I love that the Lord knows exactly what He is doing - and that He has a plan for each of us that is specific to each of our needs. It might not seem like a 'normal' or 'traditional' plan - or even the plan we had in mind, or expected, but it is EXACTLY what is meant to be, and for that - and all its unconventional ways - is beautiful. I will never regret or wish different for this experience - not for Austin, nor our family. We have grown in ways that would never have happened otherwise.
I know that the experiences Elder Barney will have in Seattle, and for the rest of his life, will be better because of this experience. I know that his mission experience - his entire mission experience - will be for his good, and for the good of others, as he will be able to help others in ways he wouldn't have before. This gospel is true. If it weren't, none of us would be doing what we are doing - because we love the Lord, and He loves us - perfectly.
Documented: April 8, 2014