Anyone who has served a mission knows that one of the blessings is the associations you have with the people that you work with. When we arrived in South Africa fourteen months ago, the couple that picked us up at the airport was Elder & Sister Cloward. Since that day, we have spend many hours together. Both of us couples are CES missionaries (Church Education System) working with the seminary and institute for the youth so we've gone to many of the same meetings and been involved in the same work. We also worked at the temple on the same days so we've shared rides there and always had a nice lunch together somewhere afterwards. In addition to all of those connections, just by chance we ended up living across the street from each other so there have been a lot of dinners together and sometimes played games in the evenings. And we've walked together almost every morning so there are few days that have gone by without seeing them.
Even though we worked in different stakes, there would not have been two CES missionary couples in Johannesburg except for the fact that the Clowards were sent out of Botswana with a lot of other missionaries when their temporary visas expired. (Botswana is still being very restrictive about who they allow in because we were supposed to switch with the Clowards but the missionary department gave up on the idea.) Having two couples here presented some challenges for the CES department but it has been a blessing for us as we got to know this special couple, Elder & Sister Cloward!
They were scheduled to go home a little before us, but this past little while, a medical situation became evident that required them to go home early. So goodbye Clowards! We miss you already and will be praying that all works out well at home so you can resume your life plans that you were always so busy thinking about :) Thanks for all of the walks and talks; the meals shared, ESPECIALLY those you created; the laughs and adventures; the crazy Garmin experiences; the Scripture Mastery, Boggle, and Mexican train games; the projects and work we accomplished together; and especially your friendship!