3 years ago, our brother-in-law Fred Ashby was called to be the mission president in Montevideo, Uruguay. He is married to Tom's sister, Julie, and they have eight children. After they received their call, but before Fred and Julie reported to the MTC, their fifth child Ben received his mission call. Ironically, but inspired, Ben was called to the same exact mission. So his dad was his mission president. I remember when Ben opened his call, I happened to be in Utah with some of Tom's sisters for a girls trip. Ben was going to BYU so he met us in SLC and opened his call at the old food court at Crossroads Mall.
Right after the exciting news of Ben serving in the same mission with his parents, guess who comes walking through the mall? Elder Thomas S. Monson. He just happened to be coming through and so we got to visit with him and take a few pictures. What a great experience that was. Well, Ben just got home from his mission today. Fred and Julie still have about 18 months left, so we did our best to welcome this orphaned elder.
Anyone who can make it, goes to the airport with yellow balloons and signs. Later that night we hold a well done dinner in honor of the missionary. Ben is the 12th grandchild to return from a mission. I love the great examples these cousins have been to my children.
Isaac didn't really remember Ben, but he felt the excitement in the air.
Ben was a good sport to put up with all the hoopla. He probably had had enough with all the family tradition after this "cheetah tunnel."
This is Purple man. For the past 10+ years, this ugly figurine has mysteriously appeared all over the world. He gets secretly smuggled into unsuspecting missionary or honeymooners' suitcases. He has even made surprise appearances on wedding cakes, the Amazon river in South America, and Mt.View State Basketball champion pictures. He is a family joke that has stayed very much alive. Now it is Ben's responsibility to send purple man on his next big adventure. He's probably headed on another mission to NYC with Mikey Tingey.
Well Done and Welcome Home Ben!