Week 79: Quiet Homecoming

Dear family and friends,
Transfer calls have come and I’m pleased to announce that I’m not affected with the transfer, that is, I’m staying here in the area for 6 months by April and I’m still staying with my companion. I’m affected however because basically most of missionaries whom I’ve met since the beginning of my mission have gone home by now. That’s like really sad because I’ve known them throughout my mission and made close friendships with them. That also means I’m old in the mission now, and will soon be departing in 4 months starting March.
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Last night we were at SM to help departing missionaries with their luggage and getting them to apartments where they would sleepover to get early to the mission home the next morning. It was great to see Sister Emery (Florida) again. The last time I met here was at MLC early February and thought I’d never see her again. We basically talked for like an hour outside and it was so much fun catching up with her and just reminiscing how great our missions have been since we first arrived in the mission together 18 months ago. I’ll miss her and think of her often.
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It was a teary farewell with Sister Walters (New Zealand) and Elder Sardido (Valenzuela) right after special stake conference ended on Sunday. I’ve been in the same zones with Sister Walters for like half of her mission so we were really really close especially in Santa Cruz where we had Elder Sardido as our zone leader. I also got to share a tearful hug with the AP Elder Tumanguil (Tuguegarao), though I hate crying in front of many people. But in the mission it’s not uncommon to see elders tearfully hugging each other goodbyes because the Spirit could get really strong. These remarkable missionaries have helped me shape my life for the better through their influence and examples. I’ll miss them more than words can express.
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It always catches me off guard how fast time flies. You look back and you’re amazed how far you’ve walked and you realized it’s too late to give up now. You look back and you recognize how the hand of the Lord has carried you through all the trials and tribulations you encounter in the missionary life. And then you can say with confidence that the Lord loves you enough to refine you into a better you.
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I love you all. I can’t wait to see you soon….

Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission
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