Back in 1981, I attended a homecoming. This homecoming was the first one that I remember. I was 9 years old. The homecoming wasn't just any old homecoming, it wasn't in my ward and it wasn't a 21 year old young man returning from serving the Lord for two years. This returned missionary was my aunt. Aunt Lydia served a mission after her husband passed away. It wasn't common for seniors to serve a proselyting mission. But, that is exactly what my aunt did. She was companions with young sisters and she went door to door while teaching the gospel in Wisconsin. On that Sunday, I knew that I needed to serve a mission. My decision to serve came from listening to the words that my aunt spoke. She shared her experiences and her testimony and if no one else in the room was touched, at least a 9 year old was.
Later, in 1993, I had my farewell. Aunt Lydia came. She hugged me and said I would be a wonderful missionary. Then, in 1994, she came to my homecoming. We visited and hugged again.
Aunt Lydia has now begun her final mission. She has returned to her husband and most of her family. In all of the years that I knew her, her love for the gospel will be what I remember. That is the impression that she left with me.
Here are some images that I would like to leave with you. There are pictures of her sister, Aunt Alice. There are some of her nephews and nieces. My sweet dad offered the dedication and said a very tender prayer. Her nephews shared stories and laughed about old times.
But in the end, all that was left, was the gentleman from the mortuary. He watched over the grave site and kept the spirit of the sweet afternoon sacred.
Til we meet again...