We were happy to have our family gather at our home in person or by phone/Skype to share in this awesome moment with us. I surprised myself by getting a little teary at several unexpected times throughout the day our letter came. Guess I'd better get that over now!
A lovely collage of "the opening" by Thea
Joining in via five cell phones spread out in front of us and were Jen, Andrew and family in Oregon, Jared, Jeff and Holly. Deb and children watched on Skype in California. The rest of the family, including Thea and Larry McKinney and Calvin and Ashley Skinner were packed into our living room:
Cassidy and Carter
Thea and Larry
Calvin and Ashley, who are house-sitting while we're away
Liz and Rog
Claire and Sienna
Taylor, Rog and Grant, looking at maps of New Brunswick, NJ
We set up a display of some special missionary keepsakes that we received from each of the returned full-time missionaries in our family. We wanted the children to see how proud we are of our missionaries and for them to see items from their own parent and grandparent (Roger served in Argentina and Deanne served for 5 years as a Stake Missionary in Maryland) and their great grandmother (Maurine Dixon). We are especially pleased with the notebooks full of letters the missionaries sent home. Things have changed a lot since then and today missionaries typically email their families. Families will miss the beautiful foreign stamps we received.
Missionary tags in Italian and Spanish
Our living room, set up for opening the call
All the missionary displays
L to R: Maurine (Rog's mother, Guam), Roger (Argentina), Eric (Italy)...
...Jennifer (Dominican Republic), Jeff (Chile), Daniel (Fresno, California Spanish-speaking) and Deanne (Stake Missionary in Maryland for 5 years).