This was probably the most physically exhausting week of our mission so far. We had just wrapped up our visit to the ABC islands last Sunday and were headed back to Trinidad first thing Monday. When we arrived at the airport in Aruba, we were informed that our flight from Curacao (the hub of the ABC islands) to Trinidad had been cancelled! We were already pushing it to beat our 17 incoming missions into town and now we would not be arriving at all.
We still flew to Curacao in hopes that there may be another way home but that was not to be. After arriving 2 hours late into Curacao, we had dinner at Wendy's, and then the airlines put us up at a hotel for the night, promising us that we would be on the first flight out the next morning at 7am. We woke up at 4 am to be at the airport by 5 and checked in. We were in the Curacao airport for 13 hours before the flight took off and got us back to Trinidad.
Needless to say, our missionaries beat us by a long way and the assistants had to handle the first orientation. I say first because we had 3 of them!!! Since we had missionaries arriving from the Provo and the Dominican Republic MTC's, they came in on different days due to airline pilot strikes. So, the second orientation was done the next day with us and 5 more missionaries....interspersed with breakfast, lunch and dinner and then they headed out to their assignments the next morning. Then two more sisters that had been serving in the states waiting for their missionary permits flew in to begin the transfer after serving for 12 weeks in the Ogden and Fort Collins missions. So..... we had their orientation and then scooted them out the door just before our 9 oops.... now 6 (since 3 were stuck in the Curacao airport) outgoing missionaries arrived. We enjoyed lunch, interviews, dinner, fireside and testimony meeting and then tearfully sent them to their mothers the next morning. Then the other 3 arrived about noon and we did the same thing again for them. What usually takes 3 days took 6 and it was very apparent in our reflections in the mirror. When Saturday morning finally came, we had all missionaries in and out and accounted for. Actually, I lied.... we pick up one more sister tonight at 11 pm. then we will be accounted for.
On Friday night we snuck in a little wedding for some of our investigators who needed to get married before they could be baptized. I helped the sisters by making some desserts for a refreshment table and put together a bouquet and boutonniere for the bride and groom. The bride had been an orphan her whole life. When she met Trevon he saw her goodness immediately, and asked his mother if they could help her get on her feet since she had just turned 18 and had to leave the orphanage. Since then, they had fallen in love and found the church together. Her dream wedding was to wear a pretty dress and eat tuna sandwiches and cake with frosting. So, the menu headlined tuna sandwiches and cake with frosting along with poppy seed bundt cake, chocolate chip cookies and brownies.
The sister missionaries found a missionary suit/shirt and tie for Trevon and some dress shoes. When he put them on he said, I never thought I would wear something like this. You could not wipe the grin off his face as he saw his bride to be after the sister missionaries performed a complete make-over with beautiful hair, make up and a borrowed white satin dress. That's why the wedding started an hour late!
Their happiness was indescribable. Dad was asked when we arrived, to speak at the wedding and I led the music. For their honeymoon they celebrated by being baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday. Actually, now that I think about it, it was a pretty much a perfect week. But I know it will feel good to be home for two days before we hop on a plane Wednesday for our zone conference loop of the mission beginning in Guyana.
We were so happy that you all got to be together when Marielle and Conner were in town and appreciate you taking time for some great memories! Hope you enjoy the pictures from our week. It's been raining cats and dogs and flat tires!