Saying goodbye to Elder Wheeler, was the hardest goodbye I've ever had to say, but knowing he is now a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, serving the Lord and doing what he has always wanted to do is so comforting! When he received his call to serve (September 8th 2013) to the Japan Fukuoka Mission, Reporting to the Provo Missionary Training Center Tuesday December 10th 2013. A wave of sadness and excitement and happiness all at once crashed over me. That was 3 months ago, those 3 months have flown by so quickly! As each day passed, it got closer to him leaving, every day it became a little more real than the last, in the last week it seemed almost impossible to wrap my brain around while helping him pack and saying goodbye to all of his friends.
But the day came, the day he would be set apart as a missionary (08/12/13) of the Lord and also his 19th birthday (how cool is that?! to be set apart on your birthday?!). He gave his farewell talk in his ward, which was absolutely amazing and completely him, he even gave his testimony in Japanese! He has been preparing so much. We took photos with friends, went to the second ward, headed home and prepared for the family birthday/being set apart dinner.
I didn't want to leave his side the whole time, knowing it would be two years until I could hold his hand, have his arm around me, kiss him or hug him. I wanted to make the most of the time I had with him. After dinner we went for a walk with Jackson (one of his best friends) and when we got back home we had time to say our private goodbyes with hugs and kisses, talking and comforting each other and making promises about writing and sending letters while on our missions. It came to 8:25 I had been crying a little so I went to go fix myself up while he went and got changed into his suit. Afterwards we comforted each other again and Stake President was here to give him his interview and setting apart, We had our last long hug and kiss. I went and talked to his Mum (Lisa), we basically in a nut shell talked about how amazing he is and how much of an amazing missionary he will be and what a blessing he is to all our lives. Next thing we know, it's time for Jayme to be set apart, we have our last hug and kiss and then we all sit down and it happens, he is being set apart. I shed a few tears and felt the spirit so strongly, He was now Elder Wheeler, after that, we all stood up and he gave all his family (and Jackson) a hug, (me being the only person he couldn't hug because I wasn't family or male friend) after everyone was done, I shook hands with him and gave him the biggest smile, I gave a hug to Emily (his sister) and Lisa, and it was time for me to go, I gathered all my things (to stay at the Honey's the night) shook hands with Elder Wheeler a few more times, he said "I love you" as I was leaving and those 3 words meant so much to me!
Lisa picked me up at around 7:30 am and we headed out to the airport, when I got into the car, Lisa cave me the heads up that he was wearing one of the ties (it has "i love you" stitched into the back of it) I got him as part of his Christmas, Birthday, Farewell presents, I was so happy and it meant so much to me. We got there and walk in and I see him, I shook his hand and said hi, we then hung around with friends and family, and took photos while waiting for his flight. We all got heaps of group photos and said our last goodbyes, people started heading off and the next thing we know its 8:50 and time for Elder Wheeler to go through security, we got permission to go down to the boarding gate with him, where everyone had their last hugs and in my case hand shake with him and said our last goodbyes. There were a lot of tears from everyone and he headed towards the boarding gate, we were all saying "Sayonara!" and different things, and then he went through, waved at us all and said "Sayonara" and continued to walk to his plane. We all gave each other hugs to comfort one another, Elder Wheeler was now gone, this was the last time we would all see him for 2 years. But how wonderful it is to know in those 2 years he will be serving the Lord and teaching/serving Heavenly Father's children in Japan.
We then watched him get on the plane and all waved to him as he waved back and then he was on the plane, we watched the plane take off and he was really gone.
Launceston - Sydney - Los Angeles - Salt Lake City - Provo Missionary Training Center - Fukuoka, Japan
Ahead of him now are the two best and hardest years of his life and to call him Elder Wheeler is such a privilege, to know that someone I love is a representative of the Lord is so comforting! He is now safely in Salt Lake City and at the Missionary Training Center. I know as he serves the Lord with all his heart might mind and strength he will see miracles and receive blessings beyond his comprehension. As we both put our trust in the Lord, we will pull through this no matter how hard times might seem, Heavenly Father is always there for us, he hears and answers our prayers, he wants to bless, help and support us. I know it is through my faith in him, I received the comfort and strength I needed at this time.
Japan will be so lucky to have Elder Wheeler when he gets there in February, and I'm so excited to hear his testimony grow with him and to hear all his experiences as he serves the Lord.
"And it came to pass when they had arrived in the borders of the land of the Lamanites (the Launceston Airport) that they separated themselves and departed one from another, trusting in the Lord that they should meet again at the close of their harvest (at the close of Elder Wheelers Mission); for they supposed that great was the work which they had undertaken"
- Alma 17:13 (Thankyou for this Lisa!)
Fukuoka, Japan Mission
2013 - 2015
Sincerely Jennadene Ryan