In July last year I was able to attend a Reunion for the Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Mission in Utah. It has been 25 years since I served the Lord.
I expected to only spend an hour at the reunion as it's been a while. I could hardly remember names of more than a couple missionaries. My spanish was sketchy and I wasn't in a very social mood.
At the check in was several people, I assumed were missionaries from the DR. As one of them grabbed my hand and said, Hermana Wiltbank, all of sudden I knew who he was. Elder Belnap. Bel nap...such wonderful memories came flooding back into my mind. All of sudden, names I couldn't remember seconds before were there. Places and Spanish. My mind was opened. I wanted to cry from happiness. (I never understood that saying before.)
Then she got to meet the elder that baptized her Mom. And of course, Elder Budenbender photobombing us in the back. He was there when we taught Soraya.
And Boone... sigh
What a great friend and missionary. We arrived in the mission field together and served in our second areas for a long time together in San Pedro, becoming life long friends.
He surprised me also by saying he wouldn't be there so I wasn't looking for him. All of sudden I hear as I am being picked up and swung around, "Wiltbank!". Sheer joy is the only word to describe how I felt that night. I can only imagine how much sweeter and joyful it will be when we arrive home after our journey here on earth to see those we love.
I do not doubt that these people will be there for me as well. A mission binds you for the eternities.
I wish this picture were better, but this is President Sorenson and his wife Elaine. He changed my life. I can never repay him for putting my life on a better track and teaching me so much that has followed me until today.
What a great time with friends. Sadly I will miss the next one February 2017 in the DR that will celebrate Presidents 70th Birthday. Good people.