She left right before I got married, which was a bummer, but we even moved my bachelorette party back a few weeks because I wanted Jess to attend. I was sad to not have her as a bridesmaid, but so proud of her for going on a mission! She surprised us all (well, maybe just me, idk) by declaring that her mission call was coming ("WHAT?! YOU PUT IN YOUR PAPERS?!!!!!" *head explodes* - me) in a week or so.
It was amazing to be there when she opened her call, sort of expecting South America, where her little brother Justin (my sister Brooke's age) was serving in Bolivia, instead seeing the Ukraine
"Russia!" - one of her relatives boldly declared. No. Almost. Close. Used to be. But no. Speaking Russian? Yes.
She put her life on hold to serve in some freezing cold country, learning a crazy freaking language, and became an amazing example to our whole family in the process.
And she's back! This was my first missionary welcoming party ever (Justin's is in 2 weeks!) and it was such a positive experience for me. We patiently (not) waited holding signs and balloons and for some inexplicable reason I started just bawling the moment I saw her on the escalator. It was really her!
Lisa, her mom, naturally got the first hug.
Then the family, including her 15 year old brother Josh who has grown approximately 10 feet since she left.
Then me! I think I broke one of her ribs.
She seemed shell-shocked, exhausted (27 hours of flights and layovers can do that to you) and overwhelmed. There were a lot of hugs to go around. I'm sure she was relieved when we all finally left her well enough alone.
But man there is just nothing like a fresh missionary. I'm so glad she is home and I'm excited for Justin to get home too! The holidays will be so fun this year with everyone reunited. Also I'm calling that she will be engaged within the year and we won't be the only marrieds on this side of the fam. Calling it.
However. Not so excited about the way this whole event reminded me that little Mitch will be putting in his papers in a month or two. But the sooner he goes, the sooner he comes back. Right?