Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Making Memories with The Pena's.

While we were in North Carolina last week we were so fortunate to have been able to have visited James Pena who served as an LDS missionary here in Jersey nearly seven years ago! He has since married, and has a beautiful family! After two years of being Facebook friends with his wife Rose, we became good friends, (see, social media has its perks of positivity in developing friendships), and the fact that I was finally going to meet her and her daughter in person, along with seeing Elder Pena (James, can't help but to still think of him as an elder) was so exciting! 

And we are so glad we did!

After sending them a message to let them know that we'd be in North Carolina while Lexie was on a pioneer trek, they offered us a place to stay in their home. I took them up on their offer, and throughout those days, and nights of staying with them we were able to get reacquainted, and reminisce with James about his mission here in Jersey. We also had late night adult conversations, and that was such a treat especially when you're surrounded with kids all day long! I love this family so much, and am so pleased to see James so happy with this family. They truly are a rock in the eyes of their child who has special needs, and Rose rocks when it comes to mothering their little girl. Really impressed with how this beautiful young couple live their life, and how real it is. It's amazing to see how well we live our life in spite of the daily mundane, and the Pena's are indeed a family who strive in making all their days fun and beautiful with their sweet daughter. 

It was also pretty cool knowing that they currently attend our old church congregation, and how nice it was to have seen so many familiar faces when we went with them. Fayetteville is a military town, and I knew that there would be some families who have relocated since we moved, but the ones that retired there were a sight for sore eyes to see. Since it was vacation time for some, I only got to see a few sisters, but oh how nice it was to feel the warmth of the members in the south, and to have received lots, and lots of hugs, and to hear Rose, Rose, Rose, so nice to see you again!! 
These sisters I will never forget. I was one of their visiting teachers, and for them to remember me after only being in their ward for one year was very humbling. Friendships mean a lot to me, and to know that after being gone for nine years that these lovely ladies treasured mine warms my heart. It was so nice to have gone back to familiar territory, and to see one of my many old chapels. What a blessing it is to know that no matter where you go to visit that there is an LDS chapel nearby, but to attend one where you are familiar with the people is a huge bonus! 
// I think I captured this moment perfectly! // 

We will forever be grateful to the Pena's for their hospitality, and for their example in service, and love that they always seem to render to others. Friends like that are hard to come by, and we will never forget them.
And Lexie will indeed miss their little girl. She loves children, and even told me that i needed to have another baby. I was like, "umm, that time has passed my dear. You gotta wait until you become an auntie, or have one of your own!" 
So grateful for Rose, and to have gotten to know her better not only as James wife, but as my newest, and dearest friend! She's a couple of years older than Sierra, so she could totally be my kid! She's so lovely, and fun to be with. I swear these young girls, including my own daughterss keep me young at heart! 
So pleased to see how beautiful James life is with his family. He was an excellent missionary who wanted nothing, but to share the work of the Lord without being noticed. He was noticed as an awesome missionary by being himself, and by expressing his genuine love for the gospel, and putting people first who wanted to hear His message. He truly has been blessed with the life that he lives, and we are so proud of him. 

There are so many missionaries out there today who are serving the way James did, and so many waiting to hear that special message. If you are interested to know more just click on this link! 

It'll totally bring you happiness just as it does to my family's life, as well as James & Rose's life! 

Have a beautiful day folks! 

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