I know I just barely posted a few days ago, but so much is happening so quickly that I want to record as much as I can. And all your comments last time were so kind that it made me want to invite you to "go the distance" with us as we finish up our last few weeks.
We are so grateful to you our blog readers. You have been like a "third companion" to us on this mission. We never would have dreamed that anyone, not even our family, would have wanted to read our posts. But your presence and love and encouragement have meant more to us than you can know. And if you are willing to stay with us, we will continue to post a few more times until we get home.
We had our last night at the Center. After the Institute we were lured into another room to distract us. When we returned we saw a sight that we will never ever forget. It took our breath away. The lights were all off except for on the stage and all the YSA (about 40 of them) were on the stage holding a huge sign with balloons and singing "God Be With You Till We Meet Again." (In Italian of course.) It felt like the scene in "The Other Side Of Heaven." How can we ever leave these people? I take comfort in the blogger named "Zyzmog" who said on our blog last time that thank goodness Italian friendships last forever.
After the song they immersed us in hugs (very passionate hand-shakes from the guys for me and the girls for David) and they brought out a table of food with treats and gifts they had prepared and we had a great festa. We didn't get home until after midnight.
We spoke in Church on Sunday and everyone was so kind and gracious. And last night the Stake President asked me to join David in the Stake Council Meeting and they were all so kind in thanking us for our mission and the work at the Center. Lots of two cheek kisses. These people will forever be a part of us.
This weekend we will go to visit my family in Florence and Rome. I think I am as nervous about this than I have been about anything. They have known we were in Italy on a mission for our Church but they have not known too much about what that means. They are such precious people who I love so much.
There are so many individual people here in the Church that I wish I could tell you about. They all have a story of their own. Let me just say that the miracle of the Restoration of the Gospel is manifest in the individual lives of faithful members all over the world. Each one of them is a testimony of the hand of the Lord in the lives of those who love and seek Him.
"God be with you till we meet again, Keep love's banner floating o'er you...till we meet at Jesus' feet. God be with you till we meet again."
"Fino al giorno in cui ci rivedrem, resti puro il tuo cuore, sempre aperto all'amore, fino al giorno in cui ci rivedrem. "
Keep love's banner floating o'er you. Sempre.