Sunday, February 19, 2012
Ode to Grandpa, the Missionary
Two weeks ago I wrote about missionary work and mentioned my own 2 year mission to Portugal. As I was thinking about what to write tonight, my thoughts turned to my maternal grandfather Robert Emerson Gibson. He too served a mission in Portugal. In fact, 23 years ago this day he left his kids and grandkids and went with my grandma there. His dedication has been a good example to me and all of his grandkids. Here is his journal entry (thankfully, he wrote practically every day) on February 19, 1989. Alternatively you can read it here or here.
Got up and went to Church at Chandler 7th Ward. A real nice homecoming! It was like a real farewell. We saw so many old friends there. I wished I had never gone. We left reluctant after Sacrament Meeting. Then a little later to Pioneer Park for lunch with the family. They were all there. Melvin sent his apologies that he couldn’t come because Marilyn has pneumonia. She’s had it for some time now, and that’s a concern!
The food was great, the company was great, and we had a joyous time (even on Sunday!). Then we all had our family picture taken. Dale Welker did it. That was a real max effort. We stood by the steps of the temple. It was like herding sheep alone, without a sheepdog, but we got it done!
Then a little family time at Mom’s, and on to the setting apart at the Chandler Stake Center. President Kempton was at his best! He had Mary Ellen speak, Kay and Mike pray, and he set us both apart.
Mary Ellen’s talk was extemporaneous, of course. I was so proud of her, and it took so much for her to do it. She bore a sweet testimony and told of her love for us. Frank and Bev and Kay and Joy were all there. It was a love feast. The entire day was a love feast! It was worth a thousand lifetimes of trial and endeavor to enjoy that one sweet day. I know a little better the joys of heaven—the joy of the Saints that has been spoken of by the prophets. It seemed that every shining, bright, smiling face was writing itself forever in my heart. I don’t need to take pictures to Portugal. I just need those treasured faces in my memory. I love every single one. I pray four times daily for every single one. I pray that there might be no empty chairs in time nor in eternity. No empty chairs. If faith and prayers and any example I might set, together with faith and works and best effort on the part of all my descendants and their spouses count for anything, I pray that this prayer might be answered.
After the royal send-off, Marian and I, alone and together, pointed our faces to Salt Lake City. We stopped at Mom’s, emptied garbage, vacuumed the floor, tidied up and locked up. Drove as far as Flagstaff. It snowed some on us—real cold. We stayed the night at the Pony Soldier Motel. We’re on our way to Portugal!!!!