Friday, September 6, 2013

Farewell Festivities - with International Flare

This month we bid farewell to three fabulous missionaries:
                Sister Morotti from Italy, Elder Wery from Belgium and Elder Salanoa from Samoa.

(L to R)  Elder Eyring, Sister Morotti, Elder Salanoa, Sister Eyring, President Cooke, Elder Wery,
 Carolyn, Heather and Elizabeth Cooke

Because our mission has another exceptional Sister from Italy (who happens to be an excellent cook), we celebrated the conclusion of these three international missionaries' sojourns in Washington DC with a traditional Italian dinner - orchestrated by Sister Sottili (left) and assisted by Sisters Smith and Mendenhall (below).

Sister Morotti approves!

Sister Morotti
Elder Wery

Sister Sottili serving Elder Salanoa 

 (From the President at the top of the table clockwise:)  Sister and Elder Eyring, Sister Morotti
Sister Mendenhall, Sister Sottili, Elder Salanoa (already ready for seconds), Elder Wery and Sister Smith

(From bottom left clockwise:)  Our daughters Carolyn and Elizabeth,
Assistants Fisher, Branning, Miyasaki and Jelitto, and our son Joe

Part of the farewell tradition in this mission is to personalize a page for the President's family's scrapbook and to mark your favorite missionary scripture in the Cookes' designated standard works.

There's nothing like the spirit at a testimony meeting for valiant departing missionaries.

"God Be With You 'Til We Meet Again"

Presentation of the President's famous coins 

The next morning's trip to the departing gates of Reagan International Airport

 Sister Morotti and Elder Wery headed off for New York together where they would part ways for Italy and Belgium respectively.

When we reached Elder Salanoa's gate, he told the President he wanted to offer a traditional Samoan greeting as his final parting expression.  Then, without further to-do, he broke into a full-on "Haka."

You wonder how your mission can ever be the same when characters like these leave...
... and you realize that it never will be.

Thank heavens there's a new batch of fascinating missionaries on the way about every six weeks!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, your last statement made me tear up. So lovely. I just love this blog. -Gillian Greding (Elder Greding's mom)