SO, HERE IS A QUICK SUMMARY OF THE LAST 3 1/2 MONTHS:
October 21st, 2013: We found out Randon was coming home for knee problems.
October 24th, 2013: Picked Randon up from the airport.
October 25th, 2013: Randon had an MRI to find out what was wrong with his knee.
October 28th, 2013: Dr. appt. with Dr. Higgenbotham, found out that Randon needed surgery to remove a "plica band from his knee".
October 30th, 2013: Surgery date. Removed plica band and checked ALL ligaments and joints to make sure everything else was ok. It was. Estimated recovery 4-6 weeks. Best case scenario. YAY!
November 1st, 2013: Started physical therapy, continued every week 3 times a week, for the next several weeks.
We thought he'd be gone around Thanksgiving, but not meant to be, knee still healing. So, he was home for his birthday on the 26th, and Thanksgiving on the 28th. There was still a lot of pain and swelling starting into December and no one knew quite why. He just couldn't get over the hump. The physical therapist was stumped. They tried many things, stem, rest, ice, rest, anti-inflammatory meds etc. Dr. Higgenbotham put him on mobic once a day for inflammation and we just kept waiting.....and waiting..... learning valuable lessons as we waited.....even though we felt frustration and questioned many things.....we finally realized WE WERE NOT IN CHARGE! Neither was the physical therapist or the doctor. Heavenly Father was in charge and we had to surrender our will to His. It was Christmas time and things were still slow. Dr. Higgenbotham finally determined it to be irritation of the patellar tendon, so he gave him some anti-inflammatory patches to put right on that tendon and.....it helped. The pain and swelling went away. He also met a good friend about the end of December that I believed helped him to heal as well. He would be up and active and it would swell, but the swelling would go down on its own. Yay, progress. So throughout January this process continued. FINALLY in the middle of January the physical therapist AND the Dr. cleared him to go back on his mission! We thought we had made it. President Ferry, our Stake President got the Dr.'s report and called Salt Lake. But then came another hurdle. The mission dept. in Salt Lake said that Randon had to walk 5 miles a day for 4 consecutive days in order to be cleared to go back out. We found this out on Thurs. January 16th, 2014. We thought he could walk the 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, and be cleared on Monday the 20th. He had been mostly working on keeping swelling down and strength training so he was not in the best of shape, but was determined to get those 4 days done immediately. He jumped on the treadmill as I was leaving to run some errands. I got a call from him after he had done 2 1/2 miles and he was in tears. He said, "it's not ready, it hurts." I came home and we talked and decided he should work up to the 5 miles and not take the chance of hurting anything. So, on Sat. January 25th he had completed his 4 consecutive days of walking 5 miles! He told the Stk. Pres. on Sunday the 26th. He called Salt Lake on Monday the 27th. On Tues. the 28th we found out he was going back to his same mission and then we were just waiting for travel plans. On Wed. the 29th, we found out he would be leaving at 7:17 am on Friday January 31st to go back to Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies! Hallelujah!!!!! We were so excited and so extremely grateful!!!!!!! What an amazing journey full of so many blessings, hard times, blessings, hard times, and blessings!
He's going back!
We all got up at 3:30 a.m. to take him to the airport. We all said our goodbyes and cried....AGAIN! I felt like it was worse than the first time we had to say goodbye. I felt a weird feeling inside, couldn't quite explain it. That night we received a call from Trinidad and we were so excited that they let him call to tell us he made it safely.
He was there but...
We put the phone on speaker and this is what we heard, "Mom, this is Randon, I am here in the airport in Trinidad, but they won't let me in the country, so they are sending me back home." We all thought he was joking. A senior missionary got on the phone and explained that immigration wouldn't let him in because he didn't have a missionary permit, which the church gets for them. The church thought he could get in on a 40 day tourist visa while they were getting his permit. Not so, the police even interrogated him. The senior missionary said they had to put him on the next flight out and asked us to pick him up the next day at the Salt Lake airport at 4:00 p.m. He said it should be a quick turn around as soon as they could talk to immigration, but it was Friday and that couldn't happen until Monday. His MTC comp. was the one that was there in Trinidad to pick him up and as Randon was walking away to fly back home he turned to Elder Beck and said, "I'll tell you who wins the superbowl!" :) He's such a goof! So in 36 hours, he flew from Salt Lake to Houston, to Trinidad, then back to New Jersey, Chicago, and Salt Lake. He was literally flying or in airports for over 36 hours.
So, we dropped him off, as a family, Friday morning the 31st and then Will and I picked him up Saturday afternoon Feb. 1st. CRAZY! As Will and I were standing there waiting to greet him at the airport we couldn't stop laughing (we'd done our share of crying before this trust me) but we had to do something this time as he walked out of the terminal. So when we saw him we acted like he was coming home after 2 years. We hugged him and told him how great he looked and said things like, "It's been so long since we saw you." etc. We had quite an audience and we were all laughing so hard! Randon thought we were crazy! He didn't want to go back home and go through the goodbye thing and put people through that again, especially because it was only supposed to be a couple of days. My oldest sister's son is leaving on his mission in a couple of weeks, so we took him to her house in Layton to stay, and Justin could be his comp. He stayed there Sunday (the superbowl) and that was difficult! :) Then Monday I went down and we went on a long walk to keep his knee in shape. As we started our walk the feeling was a little "down". I had called Trinidad on my way down to see Randon and they really didn't have any new news, so we were a little discouraged. We walked for about an hour and then my phone rang. :) It was someone from the missionary dept. in Salt Lake and he said, "I understand you have a missionary you can't seem to get rid of." We laughed and I said, "we are really trying!" He said that he had received a call from Pres. Mehr (Randon's mission pres.) and he wanted Randon to fly into an island called St. Lucia. It is easier to get into that island than Trinidad I guess. He said, "how soon can he travel?" I said, we are only 20 minutes from the airport!:) And he called about 30 minutes later with Randon's travel plans!
He's going back.....AGAIN!!!!
This all happened Monday, Feb. 3rd and we found out he was to fly out the next day, Tues. Feb. 4th at 3:55 p.m. So Will and I took him to the airport and said our 3rd goodbye. This one was different, I felt a great sense of peace and Will cried more than he ever had!:) We watched him as far as we could see him and then we left the airport and came home. He had a long flight going from Salt Lake to Denver where he had a 4 hour layover, then Denver to Miami where he had a 5 hour layover, then Miami to St. Lucia. So I had to wait 24 hours to find out if he would actually make into the country this time. At approx. 2:00 p.m. on Wed. Feb 5th I got a call from the same Senior missionary and I was honestly scared to answer the phone! :) He said Elder Smith was in St. Lucia and was with 2 other elders until transfers, which would be Tues. Feb. 11th. I think I finally breathed for the first time in a long time! At first, when he was going through his knee surgery process with the ups and downs, I said I wouldn't breathe until he was actually on the plane going back. HA! But that didn't even work, :) so then I said that i would breathe when he was actually in the country! :) So, check out the next post because it is his first letter from the West Indies after being gone for 3 1/2 months! What an adventure! We owe such thanks to the local missionaries for taking him on splits so much and keeping him involved in missionary work and taking him to work out with them to get his knee in shape, for the seminary teachers who invited him to come and sit in on their classes several times a week and even to teach a full lesson one of the days! And for the many prayers that were offered in Randon's behalf! We had some amazing experiences while he was home and I truly am grateful for EVERY ONE, good and bad! We have an amazing Heavenly Father who knows us, and loves us. He knows what we need and where we need to be, and what we need to learn! I need to thank all of Randon's great friends too for their continued support of him! You helped him in so many ways!!! We love you and consider you part of our family!
So, now.....the West Indies mission experiences continue! I will post his letters each week, as well as pics! THE CHURCH IS TRUE!!!! LUVS TO ALL OF YOU!--Shanna (Randon's mom) :)
Here is his new address:
Elder Randon Smith
Castries, Saint Lucia