Sunday, August 3, 2008

Finally... a reunion?

From Elder Brandon W. Savage:

I don't know about the rest of you, but I always wondered why we hadn't had a mission reunion... After I returned home in February of 1998, I went back to school at BYU. I got married in '99, and we ended up sticking around in Utah after we both graduated from college. For the last 10 years, around general conference time (April & October), I would always look in the Deseret News in the Mission Reunion section and see if we were going to have a reunion. Every year... nothing.

After a few years...I started seeing reunions for Pres. Robinson, and even attended one and saw a few familiar faces, but I never saw one with the name "Hamilton", and I started to wonder why.

I'll be honest, I have done a terrible job of keeping in touch with people from my mission. That includes converts, companions, etc. Living in Utah, I would occasionally bump into some APMers here and there, and the conversation would always steer to "When are we going to have a reunion?" Nobody seemed to know.

In early 07, we moved from Provo to Northern California for a job opportunity. Flash forward to Monday, October 1st, 2007... I received an email from Sis. Hamilton (as many of you might have). It basically said, "We're coming this weekend, let's have a reunion! It'll be this Sunday!" My first thought was... "It figures, I finally move away from Utah, and *now* they have a reunion!!" My second thought was, "I *really* want to be there."

I talked to my wife, and I bought some last-minute tickets and flew in to Salt Lake City Sunday morning. As I walked to the Conference Center to attend the afternoon session, I heard somebody shout out, "Elder Savage!" I turned to look and saw Pres. and Sis. Hamilton. We hugged and talked briefly. It was so great to see them! We parted ways, until later that evening, when I arrived at Elder Parker's parents house for the reunion.

I don't remember everything that happened that night, but it was one of the stronger spiritual experiences I had had in the last few years. There were 25-35 people there (including spouses), most who had lived locally and had heard about the reunion at the last minute. Some were calling former companions from the reunion encouraging them to come. A few, like myself and Elder Crotts, had traveled from a bit farther away.

After mingling for a while, Pres. Hamilton had us all sit down in one room and basically told us the following:

He had just spent the previous night at his first missionary reunion (after 25 years, I believe?). Like many things, Pres. Hamilton had modeled himself after Pres. Opie. Pres. Opie had felt that missionary reunions were entirely up to the missionaries to organize and he didn't see a lot of value in them... until the previous night. Pres. Hamilton had followed that example, and that was one of the reasons we hadn't had a reunion. He then tearfully explained to us that he had been wrong to do so... he realized from some personal experiences the previous night that we have an obligation to reach out to our brothers and sisters from the APM. He said that we would have another reunion whenever and wherever we wanted, and we should do whatever was necessary to get everyone there we possibly could. He shared the story of an APMer (that most of us know) who has strayed from the strait and narrow. He knew that we needed to reach out to our fellow missionaries *and* the converts we met and taught.



Anyways, I wanted to try to explain why we haven't had a reunion before, and hopefully help each of you stir a desire to attend the reunion this year. I hope this blog can become a place where we can come together and help identify and locate all of the missing missionaries from the APM (see right sidebar). In addition, we can hopefully share stories, pictures, thoughts, memories, from our missions in anticipation of this October. I would like to keep track of who is still "missing" and who is planning on attending.

My first challenge to each of you who read this: Take a second, and write down a list of all the companions you served with. Now, go to http://www.mission.net/australia/perth/ and create an account if you haven't already. List all of your companions. Enter your contact information. This will be the best place to maintain your info for the benefit of others. (Especially since Nathan McDonald and I won't have to track it... :) )

We'll see you in October!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Who is the APMer (that most of us know) who has strayed from the strait and narrow?

Brandon said...

Hmmm... I'm not sure if it would be appropriate to post that here in such a public setting. Maybe it was even inappropriate for me to mention it in the blog. If you are concerned, Anonymous, feel free to email me and I can share specific details.

I'm sure if we were to contact all of our companions, we would find at least one who is struggling in one way or another, and could use a hand of friendship. Please take the time to reach out to others in preparation for this reunion.

-B

Keri and Corey said...

Brandon Thank you 4 your efforts in maintaing this blog. I am super excited to be able to attend the reunioun this year. Last year I got word of the gathering but my wife and I had just had our third child and he had just gotten out of the NICU two days prior. What part of Nor Cal are you from. My family moved out to the sacramento area a few years ago? Corey Dalebout

Biff said...

Corey,

I'm originally from So Cal (Thousand Oaks). After college at BYU we stuck around Provo, and then moved to Concord in March 2007. We moved back to Provo in April 2008 after another job change. We loved everything about No Cal except the high cost of living!

We missed you last year, but understand that family definitely comes first. I hope everything turned out okay after the NICU visit!

We'll see you in October!