Kalani gave my brother the nick name Jonji…and Matt had to add the prefix. Here he is 2 years ago in Utah with my parents.
Getting ready to go the Missionary Training Center
And now he has return from serving a mission in the Denver Colorado North Mission. He was there for 24 months and had nearly 20 different companions. We visited him just a couple of months back and saw how much he has grown and changed. Meeting strangers, teaching them about Jesus Christ, learning to live with a companion, etc. makes one grow up in ways only achieved by serving a mission. Now he is home and leaving for school in Hawaii.
Tia and I wanted to do something fun and spontaneous on Memorial Day weekend, so at the last minute we decided to hop on a plane to surprise our brother Jon, serving an LDS Mission in Denver, Colorado.
Tia and I both served missions about ten years ago (El Salvador and France) so we know what it’s like to be so far from family and friends for an extended period of time. Contact from family is usually restricted to letters and two phone calls a year (Mother’s Day and Christmas).
We arrived on Friday morning and spent the day at the 80 acre, world famous, Denver Zoo. The exhibits did not disappoint, and my personal favorite was obviously the reptile collection (they even had some large Komodo Dragons).
Friday night we drove to Jon’s address and surprised him by knocking on his window at 9:30pm (the missionaries live in the basement of a host family’s house). He was definitely shocked (and happy) to see us show up out of the blue and we made plans for Saturday night dinner.
Saturday we spent a good six hours at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Here we watched two iMAX productions: Hubble and Arabia. It was my first time in an iMAX theater and both shows were well worth it. The rest of the time was spent at the many exhibits. Kalani’s favorite was Gems & Minerals. Like his dad, Mason really seemed to enjoy the Wildlife Exhibits. There’s a video below of him walking around chanting crazy Polynesian war cry.
That night we picked up Jon and his missionary companion and took them to Olive Garden for a relaxing dinner. It was really fun to catch up and hear more about his mission (he doesn’t offer much detail in his emails). He’s definitely matured a lot and looks great.
At the airport waiting for the car rental shuttle
Jon's first time meeting his nephew Mason
Moments before the surprise knock on the basement window
A herpetologist in the making
Below we see Mason’s Hawaiian side make an appearance as he bellows his ancient Polynesian war cry.
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