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  • Writer's pictureSean Foley

Taking our Show on the Road

First a shout-out to last week's guest blogger! Brock did an amazing job capturing their time with us in both word and picture.

While Brock's family was in town we had asked that others cover for us if travel was required. Nothing arose during that time; however exactly one week after bidding them farewell we started another long-distance journey. As I write, we are in the midst of a ten day stretch of travel.

To begin with, we made our third trip back to the United States (via Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo). Once again we had the sacred experience of escorting a missionary home from a foreign teaching mission to a home-based service mission. We have written previously about the amazing development of Service Missions in the church. This latest experience reinforced that belief even stronger. As before, the mission leaders convened a council inviting the missionary, family, local leaders, and service mission leaders. The council recommended that given all circumstances such a transfer would be the best way for the missionary to complete a successful mission. They sent the recommendation to the missionary department because just as when a missionary is originally assigned to a mission by a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, all mission transfers have to be approved through their authority.

As approval was working through the process, Vivian and I started preparing. We had just a couple days notice and needed to make many adjustments, including rescheduling counseling sessions and making arrangements for my wonderful New Testament Institute class.

And then we were off to California! We returned the missionary home and were able to witness a beautiful reunion with the family and also with many members of the local Young Single Adult Branch. The service mission district leader and other service missionaries from the area were there as well. Afterwards the family graciously invited us to dinner and we had a chance to get to know them better. We then went to the hotel and got Vivian setup for two counseling sessions: Thursday night US Pacific time is Friday morning back in Southeast Asia. Then finally off to sleep on another of those 36-hour or so days.

As with our previous trips we were graciously given three nights to rest up for the return. We went to San Francisco, staying out by the airport to facilitate our Sunday night return flight. We slept, ate different places, talked to family (now conveniently just 1-3 time zones away), and watched the new Chosen episode. We were thrilled to spend a delightful few hours in the Oakland temple, participating in each of the ordinances there on behalf of family members. As with being separated from living family, not being able to regularly worship in the temple is one of the greatest challenges of our mission.

We left late on Sunday night, and seventeen hours later our nonstop flight arrived in Singapore Tuesday morning! We took the bus home, went for a swim to stay awake, and then were able to work through the day. We even spent a couple hours in the office for a couple counseling sessions.

The next day it was off to Kuching in East Malaysia. We had previously tried on two previous occasions to come, but they hadn't worked out. Now we are here and really enjoying the chance to see a different side of Malaysia and to meet with missionaries. We return to Singapore Saturday and are hoping to stay grounded awhile.

If you survived that long travelogue, let me just close with two observations and of course pictures.

Observations of the Week:

  1. Although people constantly strive to make things easier, we don't learn as much from ease as we do from difficulty. Instead of choosing something because it is the easier solution, it is more valuable to flip the question and challenge ourselves as to whether it is worth choosing the easier solution in a given situation.

  2. Waiting to be fully ready for something is much less valuable than exercising faith. For example, we never would have been fully 'ready' for our mission. But we took care of the basics and trusted that the Lord would open paths. And He has in many ways from our family to our house to our ability to learn new things.


1-2: From Oakland to Kuching (City of Cats)

3-5: Beautiful shots of Kuching

6: You know you're in a Muslim country when there's a prayer rug hanging in your hotel closet!

7: The latest incarnation of the mighty Singapore Zone

8: From the Small World file: While attending church in San Francisco, we visited with the senior missionary couple there. Turns out that their son is married to Jessica Ames, whom we have known with her family for more than twenty years.

9: Elder's Quorum Soccer activity. I resumed the role I had back home with my children's team of cheering from the sidelines and visiting before and after. The last thing I needed was broken glasses, torn ligaments, or even bruised pride.

10: We don't hang out in too many coffee shops, but found this a helpful guide to the mystery to the American ear that is Singlish.

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Jun 13

"We don't learn as much from ease as we do from difficulty". Agreed! Also interesting that there are prayer rugs in the hotel closets!


Jun 13

A great way to to make choices. Is it worth it or what will I learn or gain if I make this choice. Ya'll are such a great example. Love ya'll!💛

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