|Finding Elder Dodge at Manchester airport|
|Meeting Quin for the first time|
He flew in late at night, but his flight arrived earlier than we did, so it took us a few minutes to find him (he was sitting on a bench outside thinking we would drive up to the curb). Jessica, Quin and my mom arrived earlier that day to be here for his homecoming. After a few hugs and photos we left for the church so he could meet with the Stake President and get released. President Holland had some great words of counsel for us and Jason about keeping the spirit with us and supporting each other during his transition. His former bishop also wrote him some excellent counsel (should be an ensign article).
The next day Jason slept until noon. He had a cold and hadn't slept much the previous 48 hours. The first order of business was to get his license renewed at the DMV. He wasn't able to renew his license remotely, so he wasn't able to drive the last 5 months of this mission. Then we went to Burlington Coat Factory and he got some new clothes. He was following me around the store and I realized he that was because he had been trained to stay by his companion. That night we went out to eat with the whole family to Buffalo Wild Wings (Jason's request). Curtis wanted to try the spiciest sauce and it made him sick, poor guy.
Jason jumped right in to the young single adult ward the following evening by driving down to the institute class and game night (his first solo outing since his return). He made some new friends right away and started dating a friendly young woman the following week. On Sunday he spoke it our ward. It was mother's day and the bishop asked him to speak about mothers and missionaries. He did a great job by tying in how important the mother's role is in the plan of salvation. He also said the convert he was most proud of was himself because he really learned to depend on the Savior developed his own testimony. In losing his life (in service) he really gain it and learned who he really is. After our ward, he went to the YSA ward and was called to be ward mission leader. He loves it because he still gets to do missionary work a few hours a week, but can still listen to his music, wear what he wants, and date!
The first few days Jason was home he was on the couch because we hadn't cleared a space for him. We spent several hours clearing out a section of the basement for him and put some mattress on top of pallets. On his mission he got used to having his stuff organized and put away, so he was really happy to get his own space. He also bought us some cleaning supplies and a bug sapper. Now when he gets annoyed at our mess or his stuff gets moved, he says with a smile, "Just one more incentive to move out." He doesn't have definite plans for the future. Right now he's working for a temp agency doing different jobs. The hours are long and the pay isn't great, but it's a great starting place for now.
My mom stayed until Monday because she wanted to hear Jason speak. We went the Kid's Cove playground, hiked along the river, and went out for ice cream. We visited the Audubon Center and played board games at home. We had an impromptu talent show for Grandma--Curtis rapped, Jason sang/played a song he wrote about repentance, Trevor played us his song he wrote about biking. A highlight for me was that Jason wanted to go to the temple right away, so Saturday AM Grandma stayed home with Quin, Curtis and Trevor so Jessica, Jason, Jonathan and I could do a temple session together.
It's so great to have Jason home. He is a good example for the whole family. He adds his testimony to family scripture study/gospel discussions, he cheerfully serves (even catching/medicating chickens and installing bees), he gives advice to his brothers, he even gave me a hug and priesthood blessing when I was really upset. I'm so proud of him.