This post is going to be a longer one (sorry!) with lots of pictures of Christina's journey to day #1 of her mission.
Christina, opps I mean, Hermana Cole, has always wanted to go on a mission. She has hated having to wait until she turns 21 to go. So when the First Presidency lowered the age for sister missionaries to 19, she was estatic. She, along with so many other 19 year old girls, quickly submitted her mission paperwork and waited for her call. When her call finally came, her friends and family gathered at the Cole house to watch her open it. I think we can all agree Puerto Rico is the perfect mission for Christina. She knows a good amount of Spanish and loves the latin culture, now with a little island flair.
It was special to have the family at her endowment. My mom, grandma, Lauren, and I were able to be with her the whole time.
The last couple of weeks, my family has been cramming in lots of classic Cole Family activities; dinner, skiing, dollar theater, cleaning the house, shopping, fro yo, pizza party, Hang Time tumbling gym, Chuck A Rama, Camp Cole sleepovers, Dairy Keen, drill performances, temple trips, poster making, and of course last minute packing for Christina. We have been so blessed to have such a close family that enjoys spending every second together ;)
On Sunday, Hermana Cole gave an amazing farewell talk in our home ward. She was given the topic of the Pearl of Great Price. She based her talk off of Moses 1:39, which is the grand and glorious mission of our Father in Heaven and His Son; "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." She spoke about the importance of the threefold mission of the church in order to achieve this mission; to proclaim the gospel, perfect the Saints by preparing to receive the ordinances, and redeeming the dead. She tied it all together wonderfully to the importance of serving a mission herself and how excited she is to bring the gospel to those in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Following her talk, we had a brunch at our house. Thanks to everyone who contributed and came to the brunch, we truly appreciate your help and support.
Following the brunch, my immediate family went on to assign each person a character from The Office. Some personalities fit better than others...
Mike=David Wallace, Shelley=Michael Scott, Michelle=Angela, Lauren=Andy, Christina=Jim, Allison=Stanley, Alyssa Jo=Kelly, Chito=Darryl, Spencer=Dwight
On Monday, Hermana Cole moved out and cleaned her apartment at BYU (let's hope the mission helps reduce her procrastination with some things..) That night we went with our family, including aunts, uncles, and cousins, to Hang Time. We had a fun time jumping on the tramps there, and Christina had another chance to show off her tumbling skills. We then had the classic Cole Family dinner at Chuck A Rama.
Tuesday was full of last minute errands and dinner. Christina became an official missionary at 7:20 that evening. There were many family members present to share the special moment with her. Zack and Christina had their official handshake. We then all pitched in and helped her finish packing. We successfully managed to leave 4 lbs to spare in each suitcase! We had a little family pow wow and gave Christina a journal we had all written in, as well as puzzle piece necklaces with a family photo on it that Lauren had Spencer's mom make.
Let me be honest, today has been a LONG day. We went to bed around 12:30 and woke up at 3:30 (I'm sure Christina got even less sleep than that). Because Christina is going to the Dominican Republic MTC, we were able to take her to the airport instead of dropping her off at the Provo MTC. After checking her in, we took lots of pictures and said our goodbyes. It was hard. Fortunately, there were a bazillion other missionaries in the airport at the time. Most came from the MTC shuttles, but there were a few being dropped off by his or her family. Christina was lucky to have previously met a girl going to her same mission and they found each other in the security line at the airport. It's comforting to know she has been traveling with her all day and not alone.
Hopefully the first day is the hardest to be apart, because it has been pretty emotional for my family. We are so excited for her though and know she will be an amazing missionary. It will be such a wonderful experience for her and I know she will bless many people because of her choice to serve the Lord.
Check back here for updates from Hermana Cole. We are anxiously waiting her first email. If you would like to write to Hermana Cole, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org