Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Phone calls and photographs

Traditionally missionaries are allowed to call home to chat with their families from the airport as they leave the MTC and fly to their mission destination. Rebekah informed us of the day and the time frame in which she would be calling home, and we sent her a "burner" phone that she could use to call us and then throw away, rather than have her buy a calling card and then fight for time at one of the very few pay phones still installed at the airport. Interestingly enough, the five other members of Rebekah's family would be in four different places when she called. Julianne and I would be in New York City that day, Bryan would be already at work getting ready to teach an early class, Lilian would be at her grandparents house, leaving Brandon as the only one here at home. So in the package with the phone was information as to where each member of the family would be and what phone numbers she could use to contact each of us if she had the time.

Rebekah called Bryan first and was only able to chat for a few minutes seeing as he was already teaching. But to hear each other's voices and say a quick hello and I love you was I'm sure, certainly worth it. The phone call to Lilian was brief as well, but Lilian was delighted that Rebekah would call specifically to talk to her. Brandon excitedly texted me with the news that he had also received a phone call from his sister. Julianne and I were in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty when Rebekah's call came through. And because we were out on an island it was at times hard to hear and the call dropped a few times. But we were both able to spend some time talking with Rebekah. She said she was extremely excited to go to London. She told me more about her Visitor Center training at the MTC and the time she spent at Temple Square. She said that she had been made that travel leader...but considering it was only her and Sister Griffeth, it wasn't that great of an honor, really. :) I told her how much I loved her, how excited I was for her new adventure in London and how proud I was of her. We eventually hung up and I found myself thankful for my sunglasses so I could shed a few private tears as we walked with our group back to the ferry boat. 

A few hours later my phone rang again. This time while I was at my hotel. Rebekah had made it to her layover in Detroit and was letting me know that so far her travel had gone well. It was nice to talk to her a second time because this time the connection was better. I was really glad we had sent her that burner phone so she had the opportunity to call again easily. She didn't have much time...her layover was brief and they were getting ready to board, but considering the next time I will hear her voice is at Christmas, I was happy to take any few minutes I could get.

The next day this picture showed up on Sister Jordan's (Rebekah's mission president's wife) Instagram page and was sent to me by a friend. (It also showed up on a Ireland and UK Missionary Momma's Facebook page that I follow.) It said, "New missionaries and their trainers today! We know they are going to be great missionaries!" It was the first time I had seen a picture of Rebekah since she left 3 weeks earlier so I was so thankful for a social media savvy Mission President's wife! Plus, it was confirmation that Rebekah had indeed made it to London and was where she was supposed to be.
(Rebekah is 2nd from the left on the 2nd row.)

Then on Thursday (still in NYC) I got a text from a Jennie, a neighbor from home who was in London with her daughter Morgan. They had stopped at the Hyde Park Chapel Visitors Center and looked for Rebekah. They asked a senior missionary couple if they new her. (Keep in mind Rebekah had just arrived in London the day before.) They said they did know her and that though she wasn't there right then, she was due back in a few hours for a song practice. Apparently Elder Holland was coming that weekend to speak to all the missionaries in both London missions and Rebekah was part of the musical number. Jennie and Morgan told this couple that Rebekah was a beautiful singer and they responded that they already knew. :) Jennie felt bad that she hadn't been able to give Rebekah a hug from me and send a picture. I was just happy for the update! How kind of Jennie and Morgan to even stop by and ask. It meant a lot to me.

(And how interesting to hear that Rebekah was going to hear from and sing for Elder Holland for the second time in a month! Remember, he came to the MTC her first week there and she sang with the MTC choir for the musical number in that fireside as well.)

So I wasn't too surprised when this picture showed up on that same Facebook page later.
(Rebekah is on the front row to the left of center wearing a red jacket.)

But what did surprise me was when I was standing in line for a smoothie at a little cafe in Brooklyn on Saturday morning, scrolling through my Facebook feed...and randomly came across this picture on the Hyde Park Chapel Visitor's Center page.
In this close-up picture I'm sure you can see her sweet face singing at the fireside for Elder Holland. What a treat!

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