Sunday, August 9, 2015

Happy Homecoming for Elder Richardson

First Mom and Steven hug in two years!
The highlight of our week (lives) was getting Steven back from the Chile Santiago North Mission and enjoying his humor and fun personality again.  What has been most delightful is recognizing the strength of his inner core and learning of his diligence and obedience as a missionary.  He was not much of a writer so we guessed for two years how he was doing, but hearing his stories has confirmed in our minds that he gave it his all and learned much, especially about humility.  That is never a fun topic, but he tells us that he had a non-stop course in humility for the entire two years.  We are grateful that he returned whole and happy. 
First family pic after two years - in the Quito Airport
His arrival was Stevenesque.  We checked the flight times before leaving for the airport, but due to a road being closed, had to cross the city in traffic, and then apparently, the plane was early and empty, which meant no lines through customs.  Thus to make a long story short, we arrived with banner, balloons and excitement and stood waiting for him to come out of the terminal, after he had already come out.  He watched us as we hurried in to set up and then snuck up behind our banner and stood smiling at us until we registered that it was him.  I literally screamed, thus informing the entire airport that Steven was home.  So true to Steven form, we didn’t surprise him; he surprised us! 

We returned him home to his bedroom which we hoped helped him feel welcomed and cherished!

Steven's door gives him a big welcome
Andrea cuts out letters of Congratulation.
The three of us write what we missed and love about Steven
Steven's bulletin board await him with love and welcome notes from family and friends
Steven's notebook of letters to and from him during his two years in Childe Santiago Norte
The following day, we took a couple days off with Steven to get reacquainted and went to a few of our favorite spots.  We laughed more in those days than we’ve laughed in two years.  Steven’s humor had only gotten better and his stories had us entertained.  We were thinking that he should go into some form of Stand-up Comedian work.  While with him, we went to our favorite fishing spot, a great jungle resort, and then to the Butterfly farm, zip lining, and to the chocolate factory where we ended our adventure with the most decadent chocolate brownie that exists in the world…I’m convinced!
Elders Herrerra and Kerby with Pres, Hermana and Steven Richardson
We watch chocolate made from the cacao plant and meet a recently returned missionary, "Elder Montana" from Guayaquil.
We get ready to do the zip line across the cloud forest in Mindo
We decide to smile like Steven!!
We take a pic near our miniature golfing
He and Andrea returned to SLC on August 1st, gave his homecoming talk on August 9th in the Alta View Ward, and was able to meet several families of our missionaries who came to hear both him and Andrea speak.
Saying "Goodbye" to Steven and Andrea in the Quito Airport
I received a note at 3:59 a.m., her time, asking me to read her talk.  It seems that they were writing their talks all night, so hopefully, they didn’t fall asleep mid-sentence!  We received some positive feedback from families of our missionaries who attended, which was nice since I was sitting by the phone waiting for news.  That really was a hard event to miss!  The good news is that Andrea recorded both talks so we will be able to hear them.  Without having been there, we assume that Steven was funny, true to form, but we're sure he was able to bear a strong testimony as well.

After Steven and Andrea both speak in the Alta View Ward
The Keyes, Call, and Colfacks come to the Homecoming
The Lunts and Sattrees also show support

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