Mar 30, 2010

Going, Going, GONE!
Part II
This picture of Manny approaching three years old with his father on the farm is one of the family favorites.  There is such a happiness and security in his little face.  If you ask his Dad, he will tell you that even at that young age,  Manny had a great desire to do right.  He was a sweet natured little boy, a peacemaker among his brothers and sisters, and a "Straight Arrow" from the beginning.
       During the final days just before he was to leave, there were often quiet and reflective moments.  He did some of the things he has always loved to do... build and work.
This crossbow was one he constructed himself.  Supposedly designed for a short, powerful thrust, this particular weapon projected it's arrow upwards of 300 meters when he let it fly!
There had been a delay caused by the cold weather, so the project of cementing the floors in the tank room and the small animal barn was taking place weeks later than scheduled,  just before Manny was set to leave. He and Gustav were busily engaged in that work right up to the last couple of days.

Sunday, 21st March, 2010
District Conference-Umeå, Sweden

This was a day for great blessings and loving good-byes.
The Mission President for Sweden and his wife, President Larry and Sister Sally Anderson from the Mission Home in Stockholm (with Manny and Gustav above), came to Umeå - about 3 hours away from the farm - for our District Conference.  After the meetings President Anderson gave Manny a special blessing called a "Setting Apart" in which Manny was promised great gifts from Heavenly Father as he served as a missionary.  All of these gifts will come as Manny exercises his own faith and works hard.  They are also largely dependent upon his willingness to be obedient. Hans had been able to give him a wonderful father's blessing as well before he had to leave, so Manny was  spritually armed and ready!

Good-bye to Nainy.
Good-bye to Elder Harris and Elder Bracken, the two full-time missionaries serving in our area right now. (Elder Bracken, from Kaysville, Utah is fairly new - about four months in - and Elder Harris will be returning home to St. George, Utah,  after serving his two-year mission,  just a few days after Manny flies out). 
Good-bye to President Jan Ottosson (right) who has been Manny's Branch President and devoted leader for the last eight years and was released at this conference, and to his father President Åke Ottosson (left) who was just called as the new Branch President in our home branch of Örnsköldsvik.
Good-bye to President Håkan Stegeby, our District President for the Umeå District,  (standing in front of the "Choose The Right" sign in a Primary room - an appropriate description of them both), and good-bye to Elder Wondre, our Area Authority Seventy.
A lot of excellent Priesthood Leaders supporting him!

Umeå Airport
This was a poignant moment for all of us.  It was really happening.
The missionaries and the Ottosson family came to the airport with us to say their final good-byes.

Katti, the mom, and Smilla and Frida, the daughters, chatted it up while Jan looked over Manny's travel itinerary that Hans had put together for him.  (It was invaluable and had everything Manny needed  in the way of documents for his flights to go smoothly). 

It had been quite a full day already, and it wasn't surprising that Manny was yawning as he sat down for a minute.  There were so many feelings.
But finally...

(as young Viktor Ottosson looked on)
It was time to go.

These two brothers
 are two-thirds of what we always refer to as "The Three Musketeers".  Hans, Manny and Gustav,
 held the fort together at Eden 121 for years on their own.  They worked together, they played together, they gave their all for each other and to maintain the farm.  Each of them went above and beyond what could ever be expected over and over and over again.
When I came, that time came to an end. 
But the feelings that were forged and the bonds that were formed will hopefully never come to an end.

This picture is blurry.  I was crying when I took it, but not out of sadness, (except that we will miss him so much), but out of our tender feelings of joy, and confidence in this good young man.  We waved good-bye to him and sent him off,  just as he had done with his crossbow only a few short days ago.  But we have peace, born out of the  faith that he will always be our...

Straight Arrow!

1 comment:

Lauralee said...

Such an emotional day! Your chronicling brought back so many memories of days gone by. And what wonderful support Manny has had throughout his whole life.

Hit the target "Straight Arrow."