After a really great dinner with the Dunaways, we went back to our sad hotel room. Marieta was already stressed out, and then my heart went into A-Fib for the first time in months. We froze for most of the night. We hadn’t heard that we had to request the heat be turned on if we wanted heat.
I slept for about four hours and awoke about 4:30 a.m. to Marieta’s crying. She had been awake the entire time thinking she needed to get dressed and go directly home. I told her missions are like this. I remember my first few weeks in Uruguay when I was 19. I had nothing to go home to, but I wanted to go home. My suitcase at first went to Madagascar instead of Montevideo (the truth). I could hardly speak the language and everything about the foreign country was foreign to me. I couldn’t even find the apartment where I lived, because every building had the same grey stucco. But by the time I finished my mission, I would miss Uruguay much more than I had ever missed home. I explained that feeling miserable at first was normal.
That didn’t help at all. She told me she wanted to go home. Her anxiety and homesickness were too much for her. Just moments into the overture, Marieta, the leading lady of our production, developed a horrible case of stage fright.
Just after she told me we were leaving, she was able to sleep. Of course, I was wide awake. Would she change her mind in the morning? What would the Lord think about us backing out? What would everyone else think? I lay awake trying to figure things out. A mission is hard, but President Dunaway was really trying to make things as comfortable for us as possible.
I would have stayed, of course, if Marieta would stay. I was prepared to be miserable. I don’t go to church because I love it, I go because I should. I go because at the end of the day, I feel better doing what I think I should be doing. If I didn’t know the Lord heard and answered prayers, I would be watching football for sure.
I also thought about how much I love and admire my wife and want her to be happy. She is a good woman and has been a good wife to me. She gave me six really wonderful children and cared for them well. She has stayed strong when I was weak. She is careful not to give offense. She loves her children and grandchildren completely and continues to serve them, to pray for them, and to do her best for them. Surely the Lord loves her.
At 6:30 I couldn’t lay in bed any longer. I took a shower and put on my same clothes from the two days before. By now Marieta was awake and she was absolutely sure she wanted to go home.
At 8:00 a.m. she called President Dunaway to tell him she couldn’t stay. He came to our hotel on his way to church and was very kind. He hoped Marieta would at least stay until she could get a little more sleep. You could tell we weren’t his first missionaries who wanted to go home early.
After he left Marieta was still determined to go home. I called Air France and asked that our lost luggage be rerouted to our home. They had found one bag, but the other’s location was unknown. I called Delta and arranged for flights. During the taxi ride to the airport, I used the Internet on my phone to arrange for a hotel near the airport for our layover in Paris. Because we had paid for 8 nights in advance, the hotel manager in Opera gave us a credit balance for whenever we wanted to return to his hotel (not likely). When we knew President Dunaway was out of church, we called from the airport to apologize. When we were on the plane, Marieta started to feel better. As long as she doesn’t try to talk herself into staying, she is fine.
After everything that went wrong on the trip, it was only appropriate that it would be snowing at the Paris airport. We were held at the gate for four hours before we could leave. We happened to be returning with the same crew that brought us to Paris on Friday. We were easily recognizable since we were wearing the same clothes. They were happy to see Marieta not crying anymore. It was also appropriate that it would be snowing in Utah when we landed. It was a 3 hour drive home.
We talked with our Stake President, and he was also very kind. We will still get our call in the mail tomorrow, but by then he will have asked for a medical release for us. We will just have to figure out another way to serve.