This month has posed both seen and unforeseen farewells. They have proven sweet, hard, awakening experiences that grab at the heart. They have granted me the opportunity to bid a tender, lovely good-bye to wonderful people in my life, individuals who have impacted me forever.
|Courageous Sister Gong|
Sister Gong has demonstrated how you leave everything familiar and discover the courage from somewhere deep inside to power through one of life's most difficult experiences culturally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. She has returned home to Beijing, China. I will miss Sister Gong's courage.
|Sweet Sister Huang|
Sister Huang has shown me how to be a positive, upbeat, energetic missionary, ever excited to be part of this important work. We're always happy to see one another. She has returned home to Chicago, Illinois. I will miss Sister Huang's goodness.
|Awesome Sister Xia|
Awesome Sister Xia has taught me lessons in joy, diligence, and acceptance. She has been a fun friend and surrogate daughter who has helped save my sanity more than once. She has returned home to Chengdu, China, home of pandas. I will miss Sister Xia's friendship.
Talented Julie Cook, a very good friend of the Wallis family, and my cute little technology guru, returned Home suddenly. She died tragically in an automobile accident while on vacation with her family. She worked amazing magic, even as a high school amateur, in transferring all our home movies from videocassettes to DVD's. It was such a treasure, because during the process, Arlyn passed away. Those movies became even more precious. I'll never forget her tender, loving care to make them just right, so they could bring comfort to our shattered lives. I learned tenderness and tenacity from her.
Incredible Effy has been relocated to Ogden, Utah, where she will spread her wondrous talent and goodness among the people there. Even though we feel we need her here, obviously God has a good reason for her to be there. How she is missed as we bid her farewell from ERS, home to her for over 10 years, and LA, home to her for most of her life. I learned the power of testimony from her. I will miss everything about her.
Energetic Aunt Lera has gone Home, passing away from cancer just a few weeks ago. I always remember her being in a hurry, because she had so much to get done in so little time. What an amazing hard worker she was! She taught all 6 of her children an incredibly strong work ethic. She was fun, active, and a joy to be around. She is missed by all who knew her. I will miss her sparkle.
Beautiful, young, vibrant Rachael, my 21-year-old niece, has returned Home. She passed away suddenly in a tragic car accident. She was so loved by friends and family and her beauty, grace, and humor will be missed. I learned selflessness from Rachael through her willingness to loan me her bedroom while I stayed with their family. I admired her cute interactions with her siblings. I will miss an important member of our family.
My very dear friend, Tammy, has returned Home. She passed away last week after an incredible fight with cancer for 7 years. I learned so many lessons from Tammy I can't count them. I know I will miss everything about her. I have decades of memories that include her and her family. She is the kind of friend I wish everyone had the privilege of having. Among so much, I will miss her ability to see and serve, without ever thinking or asking because it came so naturally to her.
Thank you, beloved family and friends, for blessing my life. Farewell for now, but not forever.