Sunday 7-8pm: We received the following email from both Hannah and John's mission presidents:
March 22, 2020
In accordance with the latest announcements issued by the First Presidency with temporary adjustments made to missionary work and in response to the rapid increase of travel advisories and restrictions emerging around the world, the following steps are being taken in regards to foreign missionaries serving in Brazil:
- All missionaries returning to the United States and Canada who have more than 180 days left to complete their mission will be temporarily reassigned after their arrival. Missionaries who have less than 180 days left on their mission will be released.
- All sister missionaries returning to the United States and Canada who have less than 90 days left to complete their mission should be released. Sister missionaries who have more than 90 days left on their mission will be temporarily reassigned after their arrival.
- All missionaries who return to the United States and Canada must be quarantined for 14 days upon their arrival.
We will immediately communicate the flight itinerary to each missionary's stake president as soon as flights are confirmed.
We extend our gratitude, love and earnest pleading that the Holy Ghost may comfort us all at this time.
Sincerely,Monday 1:30pm: We received Hannah's flight itinerary. She would leave Brazil that evening and arrive home the next morning at 11am. Our efforts to prepare space for her and John here at home suddenly jumped in priority. The bunk bed that had been taken down when the carpets were replaced was re-erected in the boys room, to provide space for the three boys to once again share a room. Hannah's room was returned to a state where she could return to it. We decided to quarantine the entire family for the next 14 days. Before entering into that quarantine, I made a trip to the grocery store in an attempt to make sure we would have enough food for two additional people to last the next two weeks.
President Acosta/ Horsely
Monday 7:30pm: We received a confusing call from John's mission president... we figured out later that John was also supposed to leave that evening, but because his itinerary hadn't been sent to him (or us) he had missed the flight. He would spend that night at the mission office.
Tuesday 6:30pm: Hannah was officially released by our stake president via video conference. It was a bittersweet experience for her because her mission was cut short at the beginning of what had promised to be a productive time - in a new area with a new companion, with a baptism already scheduled and more that would be coming soon, and she wasn't mentally prepared for this change to happen so soon.
Tuesday 2pm: We received John's flight itinerary. He would leave Brazil that evening and arrive home around noon the following day.
Wednesday noon: We picked up John from the airport, carefully keeping at least six feet away from everyone, which wasn't much of a problem because once again the airport was almost empty. We brought him home and began our official quarantine.
Thursday to present: All six of us are here at home. For some reason it feels a little more crowded than it did when the six of us were all home before the kids started leaving the nest. Of course, the kids were smaller then. Peter is now officially the tallest kid in the family, having passed Hannah some time in the last 18 months. (Steven is still the tallest in the family while I am now the shortest.)
John was not released as a missionary so we are attempting to help him abide by mission rules during this quarantine period. Like many around the world right now, we struggle to keep ourselves occupied while quarantined. Steven continues to work from home, so he is kept occupied for much of the day. I helped sew masks as part of a RS service project this week. Hannah and John have enjoyed communicating in Portuguese with each other and comparing their experiences in Brazil. The younger boys have spent a lot of time playing games on the computer. (This past week has been their spring break. Remote learning will begin in a few days.) Peter and John have played a lot of non-computer games. Hannah has spent much time using technology to connect with friends from her mission and before. One highlight of the last few days was yesterday afternoon when the entire family went to a nearby park for a game of volleyball. It was a relief to be out of the house, in the open. Of course we kept our distance from the few other people who were also enjoying some fresh air in the park.
So here we are, awaiting another week or so of quarantine. We fast today for relief from this virus that has swept the world. We look forward to the day when we all can resume our lives, when John can return to active duty in the mission field. Josh and Peter recently got parts in school plays, and our hope that somehow they will be able to actually participate in the productions. But whether that happens or not, we will continue on, trusting in God.