But, our dreams began to come true. First one strong family came, then another. . . . There finally came a time that my callings were needed for other people who had joined us. So today, Elder Dixon was released as Second Counselor. We will still be working with the Branch until we are thrown out or complete our mission. It was bitter/sweet. We love President Tedjamulia and Brother Nogueira. We will miss the close association, but we are certain that the Branch is ready for this member of the Branch to take over. Elder Dixon indicated that when he began in his calling there were about 50 people who attended church each week. Today, we counted about 85 (and some of the faithful members were not there).
It was a little hard to look forward a few months and see that the release would be as missionaries and not in callings. Several people thought Elder Dixon's release meant that we were leaving. No, they are stuck with us for 7 more months. I really love these people. They have taught me so much.
I was thinking today about a sweet friend I had many years ago who worked hard to teach me to give hugs. My children have laughed over the years at my hugs (or lack thereof). Now, I find myself hugging almost every Sister I meet. Sometimes, there is even a hug for a departing Elder. This Branch is full of wonderful, kind people.
I love the young missionaries who are serving in the Branch. It has been awesome to have some sisters. They are both here in unusual ways, one a temporary mission to her home ward and the other a "loaned" missionary from Temple Square, yet, they have been amazing.
After the crazy week two weeks ago, Elder Dixon and I decided to take a little time for getting to know Stone Mountain. We wanted to see the plantation that they have there, and stumbled across their Pumpkin Festival. Here are a few of the pictures.
This is the main house. There was also a Doctor's house, the overseer's house, the office, the school, and slave quarters. It was fun to see.
This is a magnolia seed. The seed pods are about the size of my fist. The tree from which they came was huge.
I had a moment of sadness as I saw this garden of Dahlias. Mom, yours were prettier!
We were also able to attend the celebration for Richard's second year of the gift of life. He had cancer and was able to beat it after a stem-cell transplant. It was wonderful to be there with so many friends celebrating this journey and success.