Monday, February 15, 2016

First New Missionaries of 2016

January 19 the first group of new missionaries for 2016 arrived.

Sisters Bedingfield, Rodriguez and Banks

Elders Gallagher and Braunstadter

New missionaries always mark their home on either the 
United States or the world maps.
Sister Banks, Elder Gallagher, and Elder Braunstader. 

Missionaries from many places!

The new elders and sisters had been up since 2:00 a.m.!  They
were still smiling though.   We had a quick lunch before 
training began. 

Getting acquainted.  

Dueling cameras.  Everyone in the mission has a camera.  We
often find ourselves taking pictures of someone who is taking
pictures of us! 

It was a small group that gathered for the companion assignment
and testimony meeting.



Senior missionaries keeping us anchored on the back row!
Elder and Sister Just in front, Elder Hall,
Sister and Elder Puskas. 

Just before the meeting began... Pres. Mullen, Elder Mock,
and Elder Westenskow.  

New Companions

Sister Banks (R) from Texas and her companion, Sister Lineback

Sister Bedingfield (R) from Utah and her companion, Sister Cozzens

Elder Braunstadter (R) from Nevada and his companion, 
Elder Murphy

Elder Gallagher (L) from Mississippi and his companion, Elder Beck

Sister Rodriguez (R) from Texas and her companion, Sister Blanchard.

Welcome to the California Riverside Mission!

One and Done, But Not Exactly

This transfer only one missionary went home.  
Elder Greenberg came to Riverside with sister missionaries.
At the end of eighteen months they went home.  Elder Greenberg
completed his service on February 8th.  We wanted him to have
the same experienceas everyone else who goes home, sharing
memories with fellowmissionaries and celebrating together, so
we invited him to invite other missionaries to come to the
outgoing dinner with him.  When Elder Greenberg arrived at the
mission home at 4:00 was pretty quiet, but as the specially
invited guests began to arrive at 4:30 lots of energy came with them.

The energy of the arrival carried into dinner where elders filled
the dining room.  (Side note:  the mission home had had to be 
repiped. An hour before this photo was taken all the dining room 
furniture was pushed to one side and Bro. Johnson was painting
the walls and ceiling so the furniture could be put back in place!)

Elder and Sister Puskas will be leaving the mission in March
before the next transfer.  The also came  for dinner and to
 share their out-going testimonies.  This photo is just 
before the meeting began.    

All the elders who came were invited to share brief testimonies.

Senior missionaries love to come to these meeting.  The Spirit
is always keenly felt, and it is wonderful to feel the strength of 
those who share their testimonies.  Sister Pendleton, one of the
mission nurses, and Sister and Elder Hall are shown here.  

After the meeting.  

Elder Greenburg checks out a photo on his camera.  

Tuesday morning Elder Greenburg in his "group going home" photo.

We wish him every success as he returns to his family.  


Friday, February 5, 2016

A Busy Missionary Leadership Committee

January was a busy month for the Missionary Leadership Council.  
They met January 7 to set goals andprepare for Elder Hamula's
visit.They met January 12 with Elder Hamula to review the
principles taught in the mission conference. They met once more on
January 28 to prepare for February Zone Development meetings.
These Elders and Sisters carry a lot of responsibility.  They training
in meetings and on exchanges.  They make many calls
and care for the needs of their zone members.  
They love and support their fellow missionaries and set  a great
example of doing the Lord's work here in the mission.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Mission Conference with Elder James J Hamula

January began with a memorable visit from Elder James J. Hamula and Sister Joyce Hamula.
Half the mission gathered on Friday, January 8th to hear his instruction.  
The other half of the mission met on Monday, January 11th.


Elder Hamula taught that we must have laser like focus on the 
purpose of our missionary service.  He reminded us that 
at the end of this life all will be brought back to stand before our 
Father in Heaven.  There will be no question about who will 
come.  We will all be there. The question will be who will be able 
to stay in His presence.  God loves his children.  
He wants all of them to stay.  To do this each must repent and be 
baptized.  Our responsibility is to take that message to all,
to help them understand that the way is provided through
the atonement and that the power to perform valid ordinances
is again on the earth.  

Between morning and afternoon meetings each day, stake Relief Societies provided lunch.
It's quite a feat to feed half the mission at a time!  We really appreciated the
service of the brothers and sisters who helped to prepare and serve the meals.

On Monday evening, at Elder Hamula's request, the full time senior missionaries
gathered at the mission home for dinner and Family Home Evening. 

The conference concluded on Tuesday with Elder Hamula instructing
the Mission Leadership Council.  The elders and sisters reviewed
the teachings from the conference that had had the greatest
impact on them.  Elder Hamula gave further teaching, 
highlighting what he had learned during the conference. 
It was a remarkable few days.  Many missionaries have 
spoken about what they learned.  We are grateful to 
Elder and Sister Hamula for their visit.   

Home to Begin the New Year

This post should have been made before the last one.  
They both should have been made a month ago!
Lateness doesn't mean less love though, and we sent
off our December outgoing missionaries with
full hearts and wishes for a wonderful beginning in 2016.  

Gathering before dinner to share stories and mark 
President Mullen's scriptures.  

Sister Carlson and Sister Horne

Elder Thompson, looking every bit the returning missionary!

Part of the Mullen's family visited during Christmas. 
In order to give Sister Mullen time to be with them,
we went to The Old Spaghetti Factory 
instead of having dinner at the mission home.  

Elder Reyes and Elder Thomson

Sisters Carlson and Horne

Elder Gillette

Elder Wesche  and Elder Pawlecki

Assistants:  Elders Dyer and Westenskow
President Mullen

We filled a pretty long table.

Arriving back at the mission home for testimony meeting.

Elder Pawlecki with Elder and Sister Just

Ready for testimony meeting.  
Elder and Sister Reed (back row left) 
went home January 1.

After testimony meeting.  Time for dessert. 

Visiting one last time with President Mullen. 

Ready to head for home.  

Hamming it up for the camera!