Thursday, August 3, 2017
After spending a week in Utah, Parker was able to finally return to his home in Danville. He was excited to be back in his own home, in his own room, and especially excited to see his dogs!
Again, Parker reported about his mission--truly one of the best Sacrament Meetings ever. A young lady who was called to the Massachusetts Boston Mission spoke about her desire to serve a mission and how she came to understand why she should serve, then a family presented a musical number that should have been recorded--it was amazing! The two sons sang--one had just returned four days earlier from his mission to Guatemala, the other was still in high school. Then the 14-year-old played the cello and the mother accompanied them all on the piano. Not one of them used any music! It was absolutely heavenly! Then Parker spoke and was able to have more time this meeting to really talk about the importance of having the gospel to bring peace and happiness to one's life! It was an amazing talk--one that touched so many people's hearts and souls!
At 5:00 p.m., a wonderful welcome home party was held at the Wilde home. So many family and friends were in attendance.
Grandpa and Grandma Copeland were able to meet a young lady, Maddie Auman, who had just recently returned from serving an 18-month Mormon mission in Russia and was able to give them much advice and knowledge about serving in Russia. She was a real joy to talk to! The day was truly a success and was a day of happiness for all!
As Parker has looked back, he has stated as so many before him have stated, "Those were the best two years of my life!" He is now on to new challenges and adventures. In August, he will starting college at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. Best wishes, Parker! You have served so well and can be so proud of all your hard work! We love you dearly!
Upon returning from a Mormon mission, a missionary gives a report in Sacrament Meeting usually on the Sunday after his/her return. Parker's grandfather Wilde invited him to give a homecoming address in Utah since he wouldn't be giving his address in his home ward in Danville until the next week. Parker gave such a beautiful testimony of the gospel and related three special experiences he had on his mission that showed the hand of the Lord in those people's lives. He, also, related how his mission helped him understand the gospel even more and increase his love for the Savior.
So many wonderful friends came to support Parker at his Salt Lake Homecoming. These are family friends, the Castles, who also lived in Shanghai when the Wildes lived there.
This family came quite a distance to be in attendance. Their son, Elder Sandberg, was Parker's last companion in the mission at Wilkes-Barre. They got along so well, and Parker was thrilled to see them there.
Another family friend, Suzanne Calton, who lived by the Wildes in Shanghai.
These three little girls in the dark pink are the adopted children whose mother is shown above with the Wildes. The other two little girls were friends of this family.
Parker and Ryan Andrus, who was not only Parker's trainer when he first went out on his mission, but they also served as Assistants to the President together. They were best buddies then and will probably be forever!
Parker was really touched at how many former missionaries from the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission were in attendance.
After the Sacrament Meeting, we all went back to Parker's cousin's home where his family was having a farewell party for him prior to his leaving on his mission to Ecuador this week.
After the farewell party was over and the guests had gone, we had a little Copeland family gathering. Both of our missionaries spoke--Elder Copeland . . .
and the former Elder Wilde.
Grandparents Copeland with all of the Copeland grandchildren, minus one missionary grandson who is currently serving in Scotland/Ireland. In September, Grandpa and Grandma Copeland will leave for 23 months to serve as Area Auditors for the Mormon Church in Eastern Europe, headquarters in Moscow, Russia.
All of the Copeland siblings and parents.
The entire Copeland family--minus our missionary.
This was such a wonderful time for Parker to see so many people that he hadn't been able to see for the two years he was gone. He definitely felt welcomed home from the many shown in the pictures above and many more who were in attendance.
After serving faithfully for two years on his Mormon Mission to Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Elder Wilde was now on his way home. So many family members and friends patiently waited at the Salt Lake Airport for his arrival.
There was lots of excitement while we all were waiting, but, also, some tears from those who were thinking about seeing our missionary after two years!
As we were all waiting, who should come down the escalator, but Elder Wilde's Uncle Kevin who had been on a business trip! We all cheered and had fun with the fact that he had a big welcome, too!
Mother gets the first hug!
Then younger brothers Preston and Tyson.
Finally, older brother Bracken. With both brothers' missions overlapping, they hadn't seen each other for 3 1/2 years!
Elder Wilde and his cousin, Connor, who returned from his mission a year ago have always been just like brothers, so they were excited to see each other, too!
Elder Wilde and his cousin, Kade Copeland, were so happy to see each other and to spend a few days together before Elder Copeland will be leaving for his two-year Mormon Mission to Ecuador Quito North Mission.
Elder Wilde with his cousin, Taylor, who, served his mission in the exact same mission--Pennsylvania Philadelphia--but he was Spanish speaking. They know many of the same people in the area.
In addition to family members, one of the missionaries who, also, served in the same mission with Elder Wilde was there--Devin Winstanley. They were both so happy to see each other again.
Greetings for Grandpa Copeland . . .
Grandma Copeland . . .
and Grandma and Grandpa Wilde.
Uncle Kevin and Aunt Angie and Family
Uncle Kyle and Aunt Kim and Family
Aunt Amy and Family
Grandparents Copeland with family friend, Sandy, who has watched Elder Wilde grow up!
The favorite family eating place has been Chuck-a-rama for years--so naturally, that's where we all went.
There is something for everyone there, since it's a buffet--even for little guys like Copeland!
After being released as a missionary in the afternoon (which was extremely difficult for Elder Wilde to do--he loved being a missionary sooo much!), it was time to shop for clothes for the now Parker Wilde, College Student. Even after such an emotional, long day for Parker, he wanted to do one more thing before ending the day--go to Top Golf! A large group of us went and had such a great time together!
Even after not touching a golf club for two years, Parker still had great form and played very well!
It is so wonderful to have Parker home! We are
all so proud of all he did on his mission! He definitely served the Lord with
all his heart and has certainly "Returned with Honor!"