I always thought when you serve a mission for the Lord will protect you from harm or accident and that time spent on the mission would be pleasant and free from trials. I learned that that is not so. Perhaps I learned that trials still come but the ability to bear them is greatly increased. Many of the missionaries had great physical and emotional trials while here at Heber Valley Camp.
One of these very special Elders was Elder Monty Hadley. He and his wife were at the camp last year also. While he was there he had developed a cancer, a sarcoma that was in his buttocks area. He had to have surgery during his time at camp, but as soon as he was able, they were right back at camp fulfilling their duties on public safety. One would never know anything was wrong. He always had a smile and a handshake, never a complaint. They were named the team leaders for Safety for the 2013 season.
They came back to camp this year with great optimism. This was going to be the very best year! He started the season with his usual smile, handshake, and friendship to all. He did sit on his special pillow, but life was good. He brought sunshine and love wherever he was.
But, alas, his trial was not over. The cancer returned. This time it had started to spread. His goal was to finish his mission with his sweetheart. Two weeks before camp would end, he had to leave the mountain for good. They had to load up the trailer and pull it down to their home in Taylor, Utah.
I kept getting a prompting, "gather all the missionaries along the road by the welcome center and wave goodbye to this wonderful missionary." But I kept putting it aside--too much trouble, it would never work, etc. But the prompting kept coming. Do I do it? Naw! But at the potluck on Sunday it just kept coming back. I asked a couple sisters as I was standing at the potluck what they thought of the idea. They loved it. OK, lets make this work. Permission was granted by Elder Nielson, and the word was spread. Sister Robbins said she would be the signal caller. The signal was "Come,Come Ye Saints". She would give us as much warning as possible, and at the signal all the missionaries would come to the welcome center and line the roadway.
Monday morning came. The whole camp was ready and waiting for the call. It came! From every direction missionaries stopped their tasks, jumped on their ATV's and headed for the welcome center. The safety team parked everyone, and the gathering took place. A group had painted a large banner that stretched across the road that said, "We love you Elder and Sister Hadley". Sister Boyse passed out the words to "Happy Trails to You" (he was a cowboy). Sister Balls helped us practice it, and we were ready.
Soon the truck pulling their RV rounded the corner and pulled between the lines of missionaries. Tears were flowing as we sang, cheered, waved, and shook hands with these wonderful missionaries who had given so much. Prayers were in our hearts. They pulled down the mountain, tears in their eyes.
On October 9th, Elder Hadley passed away, one day before the official end of the mission. He had served to the end. His funeral was held, October 14th. I went to the funeral. At least 1/2 of the people there were Heber Valley Camp missionaries, people he had showed so much love to. He was one of the Lord's great men here on this earth, and he is now one of the great men up there in heaven.
At the funeral it was mentioned that the morning he left camp he would never forget all the missionaries lining the road waving and saying goodbye. That brought tears to my eyes, and a silent thank you to Heavenly Father for giving me those promptings and the courage to act on them.