This blog is kept and updated by the parents of Elder Gardner to share his mission experiences as he teaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Spanish to the people in South Carolina. The blog covers the period of time before Elder Gardner's mission as he prepares to serve and follows him throughout his mission until his return home to Arizona.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Departure

Sam left on his mission the morning of August 19, 2015 with much anticipation and excitement.  You envision this moment most of your life and when it is finally here, it seems unreal.  Up to this point in Sam's life, he had never flown on a plane, so that added to the excitement.  As parents, we were concerned that the shock of leaving home and his family would be a lot to accept and take in, so we were hoping that there would at least one other missionary that may be on the same flight.  We were shocked when we got to the airport that we saw a few missionaries at first followed by more and more and more.  There must have been near 30 missionaries leaving for  Salt Lake City on that very flight.  That made us all feel much better.

One last Happy photo
Goodbyes are always soooo painful.  I don't know if you forget just how painful it is, but with Sam's older brother Beau, it was hard but didn't seem quite as tough.  Although after thinking it through, it certainly was just as difficult, just hard to remember.  The goodbyes started days before his flight with many goodbyes at home and in Mesa.  These were tough for Sam and so many of his friends.  At the airport with Sam that morning were his parents, brother Beau and grandma Dede.  His flight left at 7:30 so we were there by 6:00.
Ben - How sad is that?
Grandma Dede
Dad - Believe me, Sam was crying MUCH harder on the other side!!! 
Mom - Heart wrenching!
Once the tearful goodbyes were shared, Sam walked through the security checkpoint and was no longer seen by us "outsiders".  Throughout that day we would think to text him or give him a quick call but we quickly realized we couldn't which added to the sadness and frustration of him leaving.
One last glimpse of Elder Geezy before he 
passes through security.
Once Sam landed in SLC, he was picked by his cousin Gia.  We are grateful for her being there for Sam.  I'm sure it comforted him quite a bit as well.  Gia took him for his "last supper" at In-N-Out.  They were joined by Sam's aunt and uncle Jared and Stephanie and their two boys.  Following the lunch, Gia took him to the MTC for the QUICK drop off at the curb, and then he was off.

Thank you Gia for taking Sam to the MTC!
There he goes!
No turning back now...

1 comment:

  1. He is going to do amazing things in South Carolina and the people will be blessed to have him serve there. Proud to be his cousin. Love that kid!