We got to talk to Hank today...it was so great! He sounds real good. We put him on speaker, and we all talked to him for several minutes, and then one at a time, someone took the phone out of the room and went and talked. I'm glad he got to talk to each of his siblings. And from the length of it...he got some good conversation time in with each of them. Then John talked to him for awhile, and then me...and then before we knew it, it was time for him to go. I don't think he wanted to hang up...but we had to let him go. We put him on speaker one more time, everyone said their goodbyes, we had a good family moment, said goodbye all together..and he was gone. Ok, so I shed a tear or two. (But not until after we hung up). I have no idea what he said to each of his siblings, but I know Hank enjoyed the connection to his family, and I know each of the kids enjoyed their individual time with him. He is still struggling with homesickness...more than I realized. But he says he's just dealing with it, and it's getting better with time. Being in an apartment of four has really helped him, he said. He said he feels lucky, in that out of his entire mission, there are only two areas where there are four in an apartment, all the other areas (60 total) are two in an apartment.
Transfers are this week, but he found out he's staying in West Monroe again, but getting a new companion. He's sad to see his companion, Elder B, go...but knows it's part of the mission. Elder B has been great for Hank, and has really helped him adjust to the first few months on his mission. He knows how to work, and knows how and have fun and laugh. And I think he knows how to work AND have fun at the same time. (Elder Belden enjoys being a stand-up comedian back at home. You can get a glimpse of him here on youtube). His new companion served the first part of his mission in Brazil, but due to some health problems, had to come back to the states, and is finishing his mission in Hank's mission. We'll hear from Hank next week, after transfers, so we'll know more about his companion then.
The other two missionaries he rooms with, Elder H and Elder B are also making some changes. Elder B is going to Monroe, and Elder H is staying. Change is good, though, and this will be the first big change for Hank since he got to Mississippi/Louisiana.
After we hung up with Hank, I went in to hang up the extension in our room, and the line was still open. I could hear a woman with a strong southern accent talking to Hank and the other Elders...she was joking around, laughing...and I could hear Hank and others laughing. I thought "Ok,...he's just fine. He's with wonderful people." I called Hank's name...just couldn't resist. But they couldn't hear me, so I went ahead and hung up. After a minute, I picked up the phone, and the line was dead. I'm such a mom.
Anyhow...Hank learned yesterday that on Holiday calls home, they can now use Skype, which is an internet video phone call. But because they found out just the day before, they didn't know anyone who had Skype set up, so it didn't happen. I'd heard rumors all week that some mission presidents were allowing it, but hadn't hear anyhing from Hank, so decided not to get my hopes up. But if they can find someone who has Skype setup...he can use it on the Mother's Day call. He's pretty excited about it...and so are we!