Elder Gardner

Elder Gardner will enter the MTC on Wednesday, June 23rd. We will keep this blog up-dated every week with his letters and pictures. If you would like to write to Elder Gardner, please click on the "write a letter" link on the right hand side for directions and his address. If you don't know much about Mormon Missions read the "about missions" page to learn more; it may help you understand some confusing terms in the letters.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Doug's final hours as Doug, by Becca

Just so you know.....I'm writing lots of details for Mom's sake :)

When I drove up to the airport Doug was sitting on is suitcase, waiting for me in the passenger pickup area. His plane was supposed to land at 9:59am. I got there at 10:10, thinking that was perfect timing because that'd give him time to walk off the plane out to passenger pickup. Turns out his plane landed at 9:30 so he'd been waiting for a long time. Oops. And he had no cell phone to call me and tell me to drive faster!

Doug told me that when he rode down the escalator at the airport, the first thing he saw was a big group of people holding a sign that said, "Welcome Home Elder Gardner!!!" He went up to them and told them that he was Elder Gardner but he was going INTO the MTC today. Funny coincidence. We were already away from the airport when he told me that so we couldn't run back inside to take a picture.....sorry mom :)

Our first stop was to the Schofields for a quick visit and to say goodbye. They were all outside working in the yard so we hung out on the trampoline for awhile. Shelly drew some pictures for Doug......which he left in my car and I may or may not mail them to him. I'm sure Shelly will draw and send him plenty more.

Doug had fun swinging Jason around in circles a few times. I laughed so hard when Doug put Jason down and he was stumbling all over the place. I wish I had video of that. But of course Jason wanted more.

After chatting for a bit, it was time for some final pictures and goodbyes. We had been telling Shelly that she wouldn't see Doug again until she was six to which she said, "I'll be six after I'm five and I will be five in December." Smart girl. When she was sitting in Doug's lap for this picture Doug told her that he'd see her in two years. Shelly said, "Two years is a long time, you know." Too true. We'll miss Doug!
I love this series of pictures of Doug and Jason. There was a normal, really cute one that started this series but for some reason it wouldn't upload off my camera. I showed Jason how cute he was and then he just wanted to take more pictures so he could see them. He puffed his cheeks out, then they made grumpy faces, then I got another cute smile out of him. In between each picture Jason would come look at the camera and then run back to Doug's lap.

For the picture with Emmy Sue, Rachel told Doug to hold her in a way that would hide her dirty shirt. I hope that Doug is more obedient in the MTC.

Of course we needed one with Mark and Rachel. And then Shelly wanted in on the photo too.

After leaving the Schofields, we stopped by the Provo House to grab Doug's HUGE suitcases. Doug got to say bye to Matt, Sabrina and Beth and snap a quick picture.

Then it was off to lunch at Cafe Rio. That is where Doug picked for his final meal. Which is funny because he told me he'd only been there one time and he didn't really like it. I asked why he picked to go there then and he said that he wanted to give it another shot because everyone is obsessed with it. He liked it better this time but didn't rave. There were at least 3 or 4 other future missionaries that also picked Cafe Rio for their last meal. We saw families dressed in normal clothes with a young man in a suit......definitely headed to the MTC after eating. It was pretty funny. Sorry mom, no pictures here. Bryan met up with us at Cafe Rio and Doug and Bryan chatted about the MTC and Doug asked a few questions. During lunch we asked Doug how he was feeling. He said he was excited and nervous but mostly excited. He said, "It's just the MTC. I'll be more nervous when I go to Argentina." Doug didn't finish his burrito which was a sign to me that he was nervous because that kid NEVER has a problem putting down lots of food. I asked him if that's what the unfinished burrito meant and he said kind of. He could have eaten it all but he would have been stuffed and he wanted to go into the MTC full but not stuffed. Cute kid.

When it was about 12:45, the boys made me hurry and take a final bite so we could head to the MTC. We got there just before 1:00.

Here are Doug and Bryan wheeling the big suitcases toward the MTC.
And now just Doug without Bryan in the background. Doug was turning around to figure out where Bryan had gone. As we walked towards the MTC a group of missionaries coming off of the field started cheering when they saw Doug. It was like he was a celebrity. They welcomed him and asked where he was going and then as we were walking across the street yelled, "Send your last text message!" Oh missionaries. That'll be Doug in a week or two. Bryan said those missionaries were just excited to have contact with people from 'the outside world'.
One of the MTC corners was really busy with people taking pictures so we hurried across to the other side and didn't have to wait too long. Here is Doug in his final minutes as Doug. I'm sure he'll be taking that same picture sometime in the next two months, but he'll be Elder Gardner then.
Bryan and I jumped in for a photo with Doug and Doug made Bryan stand on the other side all by himself. I cut myself out of the picture because I look hideous and refuse to post that picture on the internet, sorry.....so just imagine me standing by Doug and Bryan on the other side by himself. It was funny. Doug is a funny kid.
We walked Doug up as far as they would let us, which was by this cute man and his chair. The cute man told us to hug and then asked Doug a few questions. He asked, "Do you know where your immunization records are? Do you have a cell phone? Do you have your family's car keys?" Pretty funny questions. Doug answered correctly to all of them and so they let him in. First the man said to hug us again, then another Elder who was helped out grabbed the suitcase that Bryan had and walked away with Doug.
They kept getting farther and farther away. Kind of sad. And kind of happy. All at the same time.
I turned around and snapped this one as we were walking across the street. You can see Elder Gardner if you look close.

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