Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mike's Farewell - written by Mike's sister, Laura

Elder Mike Bates
Scotland/Ireland Mission
June 2014-June 2016
My handsome younger brother Mike left on his mission! Before he left, we had a great farewell party for him.  It was an Open House the night before his farewell talk in church the next morning, June 15th.

Lots of friends and members of his ward came to wish him good luck!
We had a yummy brownie bar for everyone to try a bunch of different brownies. It makes me drool right now just thinking of it. Brownies are Mike's favorite treat! I was happy to help eat the leftovers. We also had lots of fun Irish decorations around.  It's fun that he gets to go to such an easy decor country! :)

Then Sunday morning Mike gave a wonderful talk in church.  He talked about "Exact Obedience" and it was entertaining in true Mike-fashion.  He was confident and articulate and even acted out a bible story from the pulpit. He had everyone's attention and shared great doctrine.  I don't know how his homecoming talk could be any better in 2 years.  

We took a picture of all of us siblings and Dad in our missionary badges. Mike got his at the MTC.  So many proud missionaries in this family!
That night we played games and celebrated Father's Day.  But we also enjoyed some rousing renditions of hymns around the piano.  A fun tradition. I wish Mike would have taken that hat on his mission. :)
Mike started to gather all the things he needed to pack for 2 years. Which includes all of these white shirts:

The next day it was time to say goodbye.  Oh, how much these girls will change in 2 years! Brielle still talks about him and he's almost been gone a month.  She loves her Uncle Mike.

He got set apart as a missionary on Tuesday night and got a few hours of sleep before he had to head to the airport.  I met up with him and my Mom, Dad & Claire at the airport check in at 4am.  Whew! We were groggy but excited for him...and so sad to say goodbye for 2 years. He was calm and collected, focused and ready. He was already in missionary-mode. The lady at the check-in desk was quite rude as she was checking him in and getting his stuff printed for an overseas flight.  I was remarking later about how rude she was and he just said something like, "she just needs some help. Maybe she's having a hard day." He already had such love for people and was so kind!

We were lucky enough to go all the way through to the gate with him like the olden days. We got to use buddy passes and go through security like we were flying. We went to the gate, and had some nice goodbyes with him....and then he was off!

Oh, we are so excited for him and the adventures he will have and the spiritual experiences he will enjoy.  But I felt such sadness saying goodbye to him and actually seeing him walk off and board the plane.  I've never had to do that for a sibling and it was excruciating. Two years is a long time with no contact. When I was Mike's age, it was such an adventure. But now being the one left behind, it is hard!
And just like that he was gone! Flying across the world to go spread the Good News. He's going to do so great at it.  

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