I mentioned in another post that this month marks my 10 year anniversary of returning home from my mission. And that I had come across a few small photo albums with pictures from that period of my life. Since I obviously wasn’t blogging back then (in fact, back in the dark days of the early aughts, I barely even emailed), I thought it would be fun to share a few pictures and memories from each area in which I served as a missionary. Of course, I’m totally limited as to what photos I have on hand, so it won’t be all encompassing.(Yes, you can breathe a sigh of relief. 🙂 ) Mostly, just some of these photos are awesome and I want to share them.
When I first got to Montana straight from the Missionary Training Center, I was terrified that I’d have to go knock on doors the first day. Instead, I got to make an 8-hour road trip (yay!) to a tiny little town in Western Montana, just south of Missoula. (I made Mikey drive through it a few years back on our way up to Whitefish.)
We lived in the Corvallis Mobile Village, and I loved it! We got to know all of our neighbors. Here is a family that I really loved. I wish I could remember all of their names. I know the mom is Leah, and I think the daughter is Ashley and the son is Corey? Maybe?
(Just as a side note: be prepared for lots of jumpers. It was what all the sister missionaries wore back then. They were just so versatile! You could wear a variety of shirts under them and you could even wear sweaters over them.)
The daughter had another friend in the trailer park and they would always come over to visit us. One time, they brought some cookies they had made. Sister Bernhoft (Kimmie) and I bit into them and it was all we could do not to immediately spit it back out. “How much salt did you put in this?” I’m pretty sure they said something like, “1/4 cup.” At least, it tasted like that.
Here’s another family that I loved.
You’ll notice I’m wearing the same fashionable jumper and shirt. That’s because these pictures were taken on my last day in Corvallis, where, in between lots of crying, I made good-bye visits.
Another family I became really close to is the Fosters. They lived in a house that they built, and they had all sorts of Western paraphernalia. Sister Bernhoft and I wanted to take some photos at their house for the Christmas letter we were sending to friends and family back home. Here are some of my favorite photos from our little photo shoot.
For my 22nd birthday, the Fosters and another family threw me a surprise party. The best thing about serving a mission is getting to know and love so many people that you would otherwise never come into contact with.
The second best thing is learning about a different culture. I’ll confess that when I first got my mission call to Montana (missionaries don’t select where they serve, but are assigned by leaders in the Church), I was disappointed. I had always wanted to live in Europe and I had friends going to Belgium and Italy and Austria, along with other friends going to South America and Africa. And I wasn’t even changing time zones. But I was only disappointed for a few minutes because as I thought about it, it x`just felt right to me. I had always loved Montana, and it was on a visit there the year before that I felt strongly impressed that I should serve a mission. I guess the Lord knows what He’s doing. Even if it would have been awesome to live in another country for 18 months. But then, I wouldn’t have seen stuff like this:
And I wouldn’t have fallen in love with the American West, which ultimately led to majoring in American studies. Although I have some issues with American studies in general, I had some awesome experiences through it (i.e. studying abroad in Austria, going to Purdue and making some best friends for life… and I guess that’s probably it.)
Here’s a classic missionary picture.
I’m on a bike! We got bikes at the end of October, and neither Kimmie nor I had ridden a bike very much, so we used to get up extra early to ride our bikes around the trailer court so we could practice before going on the road.
So there’s a little glimpse at life in Corvallis. It just barely touches the surface of all the wonderful people and memories.