I have been noticing that my blog still says that my missionary son will return in 2 weeks. Well, he did return! May 28th at about 10 p.m., about two minutes before we came into the airport, even though none of the airport screens said his flight was in yet. We were walking down the hallway to head down to the waiting area when we heard a huge cheer!! I raced over to the overlook and sure enough, they were there! I missed the grand entrance. I tried hard not to cry that we had missed it, which worked okay, because HE WAS HOME!! I was so happy to see him. And just so happy for what he had accomplished as a missionary of the Lord Jesus Christ.
A few of the differences and things we learned about him (I'm sure I can't even remember all of them now):
He talks with his mouth more closed, and faster. I think this is from speaking Portuguese.
His suits were worn out. Except for this new skinny European suit (pictured).
He looks at us more directly when we talk to him.
He walks BESIDE us instead of several paces AHEAD of us!
He talks to many more people, and is not afraid to talk to people.
His prayers are more sincere and specific.
When we read with our younger sons from Preach My Gospel on Sunday nights, he LOVES to participate!
We learned that he was a super obedient missionary. We were discussing our younger son 'running the mile' one day and Caleb said, "Oh yeah, I ran a mile a couple weeks ago." They had just finished leading a discussion and were not going to make it home in time for curfew. They considered calling in to let them know, but instead, just decided to run to make it in time. In their suits and dress shoes! Also, one companion at the end of his mission called him the Energizer Bunny, because he kept going and going and going. Oh, how it did my mother's heart good to hear how hard he worked.
And the stories that he told over the next few weeks!! Hearing him express his testimony and talk about his mission was absolutely divine for me. He bore fervent testimony about his mission and the gospel as he reported emotionally to the high council and stake presidency, as he spoke in our home ward, and at least two other times in other wards. Even in July, that testimony was still emotional and fervent when my dad asked him to report on his mission to my family, most of whom were not able to attend his homecoming talk.
It is amazing what the Lord did for my son, and for others through my son, in just a short two years. It was oh, so hard to send him and have him gone, but oh, how grateful I am that he did and for the growth he experienced.
Caleb is now attending BYU and doing so well. He works driving a delivery truck for food services 7-11, has class 1-4, marching band 4-6 some nights, and plays with the marching band for 6-8 hours before, during, and after BYU football games on weekends. He is doing well, and doesn't usually feel stressed. Before his mission, a sealer in the temple told him, "You take care of the Lord's work, and he'll take care of yours." Caleb is now engaged to marry his sweet friend from before his mission, Miranda, in the Bountiful LDS Temple on December 30th. They are so happy, and so excited, and I know they will continue to serve the Lord together as they raise a righteous family.