Unexpectedly this will be our final blog from the mission field. Since we last posted a blog circumstances have moved quickly and we had to bring forward our finish date by seven weeks. Lesley’s father is seriously unwell and requires urgent major surgery. All going well there will be a difficult recovery period so we felt that it was best to go home to offer what support we can to him and the family. Craig will continue his normal duties calling missionaries each day, emailing mission presidents, etc until his replacement arrives in six weeks time. To the missionaries it makes no difference if the call comes from Lima Perú or Adealide Australia.
Not unexpectedly this has led to a very busy last two weeks. Lesley had to train her replacement in ten days, whereas she was planning to take at least four weeks. Craig had a lot of calls, including a number of new ones to deal with before leaving. We spent time with farewells to many of the good friends we have been blessed with during our missionary service, some near, some far who have preceded us going home. Lesley had her final choir performance with the missionaries in the Missionary Training Centre and they rose to the occasion, what they might have lacked in pitch the more than matched in enthusiasm.
We boarded the plane on Friday morning and headed to Los Angeles and then to Melbourne, with a slight diversion to Sydney due to thunderstorms in Melbourne on Sunday morning. We missed our flight in Melbourne, but Qantas staff were at their usual best and had us on the next flight to Adelaide. We write this whilst sitting on the plane. When we step off in Adelaide an important couple of years of our life will draw to an end and we will step back into a life full of enjoying our children and grandchildren, spending time with family and friends, different church callings, and back into the workforce in some manner although that it still to be sorted out.
One thing is sure, we will not be lost for things to do. Indeed the challenge will be the same as it always is, to balance the various time demands and enjoy the journey. We look forward to finding some time in the next few days and weeks to reflect together on the things we have learned from the many wonderful experiences we have been part of. To live, to learn, to love, and to leave a legacy is true not just of time away serving a mission, but of life in general.
We do not intend to post any more blogs as the aim was only for the duration of our mission. We thank you all for sharing the journey with us in some way or another. Your prayers, kind thoughts, and just being a part of our lives has been a source of strength for us.