Jordan got me thinking with his ten-year post and I thought I’d throw a little something out along those lines.
Because we have a younger brother who is just starting out his mission to West Virginia, my thoughts focus mostly on my mission when looking back ten years. Ten years ago, in January 1997, I was entering the last six months of my mission to East Germany. I was serving in Schwerin, as shown in this picture, which was actually taken more than ten years ago in November 1996. I am on the far right. The other missionaries in the picture are Elder Taylor on the far left and Elder Haeberle, standing between me and the two ward members at the bus stop. The members pictured are the Branch President of the Schwerin branch at the time and his wife.
The time I spent in Schwerin was among the most rewarding of my entire mission. I grew to love the town, the ward members, and the people with whom we were sharing the Gospel. It was also among the hardest times I’ve spent anywhere in my life.
This picture is closer to exactly ten years ago and I believe was taken in January 1997. I am in the backseat with a good friend we had met during our missionary work who had taken the discussions but had not decided to be baptized and who was attending the Spanish class that I taught there in Schwerin. Another student of that Spanish class is driving and my companion, Elder Bills, is in the passenger seat.
In the ten years that have transpired between January 1997 and January 2007, I have married, finished my studies, started a family (three children), and worked in my chosen profession for two and a half years. It has been a whirlwind — and for me, God has indeed been in the Whirlwind, at least when looking back on the shape of the past. Of course, we have also been privileged to feel the Lord is even more in the still small voice that has accompanied us on the journey. It is amazing to look back over the many ways in which the Lord has blessed and guided our lives this last decade. We hope and pray for similar guidance in the coming decade, not only for us and our children, but for all the members of our extended families.