Monday, April 27, 2015

Four Plus Three Equals Seven

New missionaries arriving on April 21, 2015.

Elder Zeng, Sister Fabian and Elder Anderson touch down in Riverside.

 Elder McConkie helps Sister Aston, Elder Kime and 
Sister Anderson retrieve their baggage.  

The new group includes:
  • Four sisters plus three elders
  • Four missionaries from Utah plus three from other parts of the world
  • Four Riverside missionaries plus three missionaries waiting for visas to Brazil
Anyway we add it up we feel fortunate to have seven wonderful new missionaries here in the 
California Riverside Mission!  Here are our new missionaries and the elders and sisters who will be training them.  

Sister Anderson (r) from Cedar City, Utah
and Sister Cozzens

Elder Anderson (r) from Lehi, Utah
and Elder Lavender

Sister Aston (c) from Bluffdale, Utah
and Sister Asiata and Sister Da Silva

Sister Emerson (r) from Logan, Utah
and Sister Glenn

Sister Fabian Espinoza (r) from Wilson, North Carolina
and Sister Bjork

Elder Kime (l) from Kennesaw, Georgia
and Elder Robbins

Elder Zeng (r) from Chengdu, Sichuan, China
and Elder Dyer

Welcome to the California Riverside Mission.  

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Turn, Turn, Turn

If you think that we just posted pictures of the outgoing and incoming missionaries you're right! While there will be more posts between this new set and the next set, the closeness of the last outgoing/incoming missionary pictures and these pictures reflects how it feels to us.  Didn't the last transfer happen just two weeks ago?  It surely hasn't been six weeks!  The days fly by.  A mission flies by.  No one can ever believe it is time to go home.  We feel like Jacob in the Book of Mormon:  ...our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream (Jacob 7:26).  Here is some of what happened on outgoing night.

Weigh in -- the bags not the missionaries!

Bags collected in the garage for weighing.  Some had to repack 
to stay under 50 pounds per bag.  

Lots of Elders in the house.

Jackets are hung on a rod in the laundry room during dinner. 

Dinner --

Missionaries can eat a LOT of hot rolls!

Testimony meeting.  

This picture was snapped just before testimony meeting.
Returning with honor, April 20, 2015
Elder Feist, Elder Franson, Elder Tchan, Elder Hughes, Elder Anderson
Sister Gates, Sister Staker, Sister Gatrell
Sister Greenwood, Sister Hansen, Sister Adame, Sister Matthews, Sister Dulong
(Elder Anderson slipped in at the piano but he doesn't go home yet!)

Tuesday morning bags are loaded in the truck for the trip to the airport.

Before heading home.  

With their arms around each other it was time for one last picture before heading to 
the airport.  It's hard to imagine all that has happened, the lives these elders and 
sisters have touched, the growth they've made themselves.  To everything there is a 
season and as these missionaries turn their faces toward their futures
we know they have been and will be blessed.   

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Chariots of Fire

Our missionaries drive thousands of miles every month as they go about doing the Lord's work.  In recent months they have, through careful planning and riding bikes some days, cut the number of miles they drive by about twenty percent.  That's a big accomplishment.  We're really proud of them!

Every zone conference the missionaries' cars are inspected.  The cars must be clean inside and out... some missionaries even clean their car's engine for inspection!  After inspections Elder Puskas, our vehicle coordinator, has snapped some pictures of the "chariots of fire" and their drivers.  We thought parents may like to see these photos as almost every missionary in the mission is pictured, even the bike riders.  (Click on the picture to see it enlarged.)

In celebration of Elder Puskas, our capable, hard working, always smiling vehicle coordinator.

Some wheels in our mission are elder or sister powered.  Here's to those who pedal to share the gospel, who help to assemble the bikes and who keep them in repair.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Newly Arrived Stripling Warriors

 On the same day in March that seventeen missionaries returned home, fifteen new missionaries arrived in our mission, six sisters and nine elders.  They have come with strong testimonies and bright smiles.   They have settled into their new assignments and are already serving well alongside their trainers. 
Sister Vorkink (r) from Kirksville, MO
& her companion, Sister Carlson

Sister Simpson (r) from Holbrook, AZ
& her companion, Sister Staker 

Sister Jordan (r) from Hurricane, Utah
& her companion, Sister Horne

Sister Engberson (l) from Curtis, NE
& her companion, Sister Spencer

Sister Da Silva (c) from Salt Lake City, Utah 
& her companions, Sister Horikami
& Sister Asiata

Sister Rasmussen (l) from Vernal, Utah 
& her companion, Sister Rutherford 

Elder Carillo (r) from Las Vegas, NV
& his companion, Elder Reber

Elder Madsen (l) from Layton, Utah
& his companion, Elder Thurman

Elder Larimer (l) from Lindale, GA
& his companion, Elder Gillette

Elder Mercado (r) from Sonora, Mexico
& his companion, Elder Bushman

Elder Cornea (l) from Randolph, Utah
& his companion, Elder Larsen

In addition to the missionaries called to serve in the California Riverside Mission we received four missionaries called to the Taiwan Taipei Mission.  They are serving with us while they wait for their visas to clear.  This doubled our compliment of Mandarin speaking missionaries!  We are delighted to have them with us even for a while.  

Elder Fleming (r) from Lehi, Utah
& his companion Elder Schoonmaker
(Elder Fleming has already gone to Taiwan.) 

Elder Dalmer (l) from Sherwood, OR
& his companion, Elder Dyer

Elder Carling (r) from Powell, TN
& his companion, Elder Murray

Elder Jones (c) from O'Fallon, IL
His companion is Elder Merriman
Not sure how we missed that shot, but we'll try to add it later.

One Last Time Together

On the night before they return home, missionaries gather at the mission home.  It is a time of greeting others who are leaving and of saying good-byes to those who drop them off.  As they arrive, elders and sisters weigh their luggage.  They mark their favorite verses in Pres. Mullen's scriptures and turn in their miracle stories. These stories are preserved in big black binders along with pictures and assignment histories for each missionary.  The elders and sisters enjoy looking back through these binders and seeing past companions and friends.

At 5:00 p.m. we sit down together for dinner.  It's a great time for sharing stories and memories and talking about future plans.  Just before six o'clock the senior missionaries, the mission nurses and others arrive.  With the help of many hands the dishes and tables are cleared and chairs set up for testimony meeting.

A sweet spirit enters the room as the meeting begins, and we sing and prayer together.  One by one the elders and sisters stand to share their last testimonies as missionaries in the field.  They share the knowledge that has settled deep in their hearts during their service.  They have come to trust and love their Father in Heaven.  They know he lives and has been and will be mindful of them.  They know that Jesus Christ is their Savior and the Redeemer of the world.   They have grown tremendously in their understanding of the doctrine of Christ.  They have seen first hand the effect of this doctrine in the lives of those they have baptized. They know it is the Lord's work in which they have been engaged.  They are firm in their commitment to live their lives and raise their families according to the principles they have taught and loved.  It is a powerful and sacred moment for each of us.

Time for dessert!  Then guests leave and only missionaries are in the mission home.  They and Pres. Mullen sit together to talk about the parable of the good Samaritan and what it teaches about the plan of salvation.

In the morning the outgoing missionaries gather from the apartments where they have "slept" overnight.  They eat breakfast or try to eat.  We have kneeling prayer in the living room and then we're off to the airport.  There they go....