Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Process of Saying Goodbye, and Closing a Chapter of Our Lives

We said goodbye to our Gringos the week we were leaving the mission, so they could go home the same week as us. Our last testimony meeting and dinner with a group of missionaries. The latinos will have their farewell dinner with the new President Avila in the week to come.
(left) Elders Petersen, Barrus, President, Orduña, Miller.
There was a special good bye dinner put on by the Rastelli's. President's counselors were there and the local Stake Presidents. We will miss their association and their valiant testimonies. They are what keep the Mendoza area moving forward in the church.
(left) Rastelli's, Pedot's(Godoy Cruz), Cabral's (Church Facilities), Chauque's (Guaymallen),
Acosta's, Sister Tidei (Maipu), Ojeda's (Mendoza), Ontiveros' (new Mendoza Pres.)
Our farewell lunch at the office with the office Elders (and a few oldies). Sister Packer made the delicious meal and the Elders of course ate every bit. The menu was sweet pork tacos. Thanks Sister Packer.
Saying goodbye to Carolina at the "libreria" were I buy the office supplies. She has become a good friend through the years, and we both laugh as I struggle to explain what I need, not knowing all the spanish words. We even got good at hand language (a family to sign language).
President's beloved bonsai was given to Laura Mallea our housekeeper. She knows how much joy it brought President each morning to water "Maria" and talk to her. Sister Mallea will take good care of her.
Had to take a picture of the guy at the Shell Station who pumped our diesel fuel every week. These people become our close friends as we visit with them weekly.
Our Assistants when we left were Elder Harvey and Elder Leal. They tried so hard to make our exit on the mission smooth and trouble free (if only!), at least they tried. The last week was a great trial of problems after problems. We tried to leave the mission in the best shape we could, and thus we were dead tired when the last day arrived.
Saying goodbye to Nestor Cabral, the man in charge of all the physical facilities in the Mendoza area. He is in charge of over a hundred church buildings, an almost impossible task for a man with a crew of three or four men. Nestor has become a dear friend and has always been there for President as they both worked through the problems of the mission.
The photo may be blurry but this moment will always be imbedded in our minds as we watched the Avila family get off the airplane and begin their adventure in Mendoza.
President Lindahl giving President Avila a big "abrazo."
The Avila Family from Buenos Aires, called to serve a mission in the Argentina Mendoza Mission. President Avila is only 47 years old and so will have the vitality and energy to get out and train our missionaries. He has served as an Area Seventy in Buenos Aires and so he knows the program, the pit falls, and what needs to be accomplished to grow the Mendoza Area.
Our last hug with Sister Laura Mallea our housekeeper. She has served us well, and has kept our confidences. She promises to never tell our secrets if we don't tell hers. A great arrangement. We will miss her shining face and beautiful smile. Thank you Laura for everything. We love you!
Showing the Avila's the 6th floor condo they will now call home. With bringing children on the mission, I am sure they will need to make some changes, but we hope that they are happy.
Saying goodbye to our dear friends Mauricio and Fabian Larrubia (and mom) at our fruit and vegetable stand. They have been helping us weekly for 3 years. It is hard to say goodbye to people who are so a part of your life. Though not members of our church, we can always hope that their hearts will soften and they will remember the times we shared our souls with them.
Good bye to our office Elder Hoggard (Historian), who has helped us put old videos back together, gather all the pictures of our missionaries, and print off our old Aguas de Cuyo newsletters through out the last 3 years. Thank you for your love and service.
(Elder Hoggard that is the cleanest I have seen your office in months. I hear children singing [mission office joke] ).
Antonio Lusvardi the man who made every repair in the mission office, chapels, mission home. He is a man who can fix or build anything. Again, not a member of the church, but possibly the most dependable human being alive. We had an on going joke with him when he would come to our mission home and fix something, we would offer him our "mormon wine" which of course was our famous grape juice grown and made locally in Mendoza. He thought the joke was funny and even found us another supplier of grape juice in town and brought us new bottles to try.
On the left is Elder Durran. He was a missionary who was called to serve in Venezuela but who couldn't do the walking because of a knee injury. He came and served with us for two months while they were evaluating his knee to see when he could return to the mission field. He was affectionately called my "esclavo" (my slave). He was so capable and intelligent he could do anything. Lucky mission president that gets him!
On the right is Elder Ivie the mission secretary. Most of Elder Ivie's time now is spent in trying to keep the missionaries in the field, since Argentina now only allows our missionaries a one year visa. Just another of the trials we experience here in this country.
Elder Packer from Layton, Utah who serves as our Postmaster and keeps the missionaries in supplies (books, pamphlets, garments, etc.). He also has set up an emergency program for the mission. He, Elder Boisados and I traveled the mission inspecting the pensiones and putting up the smoke alarms. The mission apartments are now in good shape, as we prepare the mission for a new President.
Elder Boisados the "pensionista" who is in charge of all the apartments and contracts. He was learning English words as we traveled the mission, while I was learning the Spanish equivalent. Thanks for handling such big problems Elder Boisados. We have changed every apartment (65) since we have been in the mission, trying to bring the conditions and surroundings of the apartments up to a higher level. Number one for safety, and number two, so the missionaries could concentrate on their work and not always be spending time trying to boil water to take a bath.
Sister Packer, my dear friend and confident. She is the mission nurse and I felt good that I was leaving our missionaries in her competent hands. Our plans are to meet up after they finish their mission (7 more months) and sculpt together.
Brother Moto, a man who works with Nestor and helps fix the chapels. He is the uncle of one of our favorite missionaries Elder Wajchman, who served as an Assistant.
The day President has been waiting for for months. The shifting of the mantel. I had to document the moment as President Lindahl passed the phone over to President Avila. In that split second, President Lindahl was released from his three year mission to the Argentina Mendoza Mission.
Just to make getting out of the country difficult, we ended up spending three hours at the airport paying visa fines and being interogated by the customs people. After a "gift" of 600 pesos they finally let us get on the airplane. As the airport official slide the 600 pesos in his pocket, it was great closure for three years of trying to not to be thrown in jail.
And so President James B. Lindahl and Sister Colette A. Lindahl say farewell to our dear, sweet, capable, spiritual giants- our missionaries. We will love you forever as our sons and daughters.
Thank you to all the parents out there who have raised up these fine young people to serve with us in Argentina. They are the Lord's army in these latter-days.


Walt and Eileen said...

We don't think any other chapter in your lives will be quite the adventure every day.
You have kept such a complete, spiritual record of every aspect of this precious time.
Mostly, you have been superior examples of a Mission President and His Wife.
Thanks for our memories with you.
Love, Los Petersen - Walt & Eileen - San Salvador for our new
3-year adventure here at the temple.

Dennis Gibson said...

Thanks for being great examples to me as I followed your mission in your blogs as well as a very special week I spent with you in Mendoza.

Your friend and brother,
Dennis Gibson

Anna Lisa said...

Thank you, Pres. and Sis. Lindahl, for being such great examples and loving my son, Elder Fowler, along with all the other elders and hermanas that served in the Argentina Mendoza mission!
Anna Lisa Fowler

Lindsay said...

It must be really hard to leave all this behind. Experiences like this are usually once in a lifetime. The good thing is that you came really close to the members of the project and now your have a special bond hard to break. When I travelled to Argentina on my mission I built up really strong relationships. I shared an apartment in buenos aires with another mission guy from England and we learnt so much in those few months. It is good to be able to help people, and I´m sure the Avila´s won´t regret the moving.

Karen said...

Likewise, as the parent of one of your sister missionaries, thank you for your service and your kind care of our daughter. It's been easier having her so far away knowing she had people like you to watch over her and help her with her struggles and rejoice in her success. I'm so glad you wrote this conclusion and I hope your re-entry has been as sweet as you deserve. Thanks again.