Sunday, November 20, 2016

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas

We've had a very warm fall.  The first part of this past week was
in the 90's!  So it was nice to think about Christmas as we 
prepared for the beginning of the new Christmas initiative.

We held three meetings in different parts of the mission.  On 
Wednesday half the mission was together at the Grand building
where the mission office is located. 

It is seldom that we have so many missionaries together at one time. 

 Since we're not sure what we can and can't say about 
this initiative just yet, may we invite all of you to 
visit on November 25 and then join
your missionary in participating in the activities 
outlined there. 

As part of the World Wide Day of Service, all the missionaries
will be participating in two hours of service.  

If you've seen the video on the service day at, you know 
that this year's initiative theme is Light the World.  Our wonderful 
elders and sisters do that every day all year round.  
Just look at their faces!  

Not So New as They Used to Be

About three weeks after a new group of missionaries arrives
they get together for Trainer/Trainee meeting.  It's a 
time to work with both new missionaries and their companions to
see that all is going well.  But before the meeting 
starts, there's an opportunity for the  missionaries who
 arrived together but have now been all over the mission
to compare notes and catch up.  Time for fruit and juice, yogurt
and the favorite, Sister Schubert's rolls with butter and honey.  

Even after only three weeks it's amazing how much has happened
and how much these new missionaries and new trainers have learned.  

President Mullen greets Elder Willis with an abrazo.

After visiting, everyone comes together to study their
scriptures for a bit, a chance to get centered and 
draw upon the Spirit before the meeting starts.  

Once the meeting started we didn't take pictures, but we thought
the families of the new missionaries might like to see them
in their new element.  

October MLC

Here are the mission leaders for the October/November transfer.  

For the record.  

For the moms.  
 (These were taken at the end of a very long day of meetings.)

Now Arriving in Riverside!

A tender mercy of mission life:  the same plane that takes missionaries
from the mission to their homes also drops off a new group of missionaries.  
The outgoing and the new missionaries literally cross paths in the airport.  
Here are the new elders and sisters!

After getting everything back to the mission office 
and a first meeting with President Mullen, 
it's time for lunch and getting acquainted.
Sisters first.  

Elders ready to enjoy lunch.

After lunch, it's time for orientation.  With only a very few
hours of sleep the night before, it's hard to stay awake!

Sister Pendleton and Sister Crippen, mission nurses,
help missionaries learn about how health care will be handled.

After another three and a half hours of orientation and 
interviews, guess what?  It's time to eat again.  

Elders huddle up while they're waiting for their turn.

Following dinner, the trainers and new missionaries gather
for a final meeting.  New companionships are announced at this
time, and new missionaries share their first testimonies in
the mission field.  It is a privilege to hear these 
testimonies.  This is indeed a remarkable generation, prepared 
to service at this time in the world's history.  

Sister Jensen plays the prelude.  We're always grateful for
the willingness of the gifted musicians in the mission.  

Here are the new companionships.  

Elder Shurtleff (L) from Washington
with his companion, Elder Zeng. 

Sister Brererton (R) from
and her companion, Sister Willis. 

Elder Briggs (L) from Idaho
with his companion, Elder Jewkes.

Elder Call (L) from Utah
with his companion, Elder Medearis.
Elder Call is waiting for his visa to India.  

Sister Coffeen (L) from California
with her companion, Sister Burris. 

Sister Garcia (R) from Texas
with her companion, Sister Madrid.  

Elder Guymon (R) from Utah
with his companion, Elder Porter.

Sister Harris from Idaho
with her companion, Sister Keith. 

Sister Mackley (R) from Utah
with her companion, Sister Rodriguez.

Sister Reagan (R) from Colorado
with her companion, Sister Lineback.

Elder Gregory (R) from Utah
with his companion, Elder Carrillo. 

Elder Frazier (L) from Utah
with his companion, Elder Mercado.

Elder Rivas (R) from Mexico
with his companion, Elder Sy.

Sister Shreeve (L) from Arizona
with her companion, Sister Ford. 
Sister Shreeve is waiting for her visa to Mongolia.

Sister Schooff (R) from Nebraska
with her companion, Sister Jensen.

Monday, November 7, 2016

I'm Glad They Called Me on a Mission

Six missionaries left the mission at the end of October. 
It doesn't matter if there are twenty-five or six leaving; 
it's never easy to see them go.


 Though we fit at one table (with a small table added
on the end) it took several pictures to get everyones' faces.
Elder Manson and Elder Biegel next to 
Preisdent Crippen.   

As the only sister returning home, Sister Fabian 
brought color to the white-shirt-world of elders. 
Elder Warren is on her left and Elder Knight on her right.  

Elder Gibson visits with the Assistants to the President, 
Elder Jones and Elder Young.

Left to right:  President and Sister Grant
and Sister and President Crippen.

 Pork tenderloin, potatoes and gravy, homemade hot rolls, dressing, 
green beans with bacon and pecans, green salad with pumpkin vinaigrette...
and a surprise dessert:  
homemade pumpkin pie by Elder Knight!
He brought two pies he had managed 
to make himself in addition to packing up for home.  Wow!

Ready for testimony meeting.  

 This was Elder Jones first testimony meeting for outgoing
missionaries since he was called as an assistant.  

No one is ever very hungry for breakfast 
on the morning of departure.  
There was plenty of French toast left over.

Sharing stories.

The bags are loaded, last prayer together offered.
Time for one last photo in front of the mission home.

We seldom get to see the reunion of missionary and mom, 
but Elder Manson's mom came to pick him up.   

There was a whole red and black theme going on, 
(Elder Manson's favorite colors)
including a red a black gift bag with a scrapbook of his mission.

Everyone was loaded in the cars.  One last glimpse of 
the assistants on their way to drive to the airport.  

Inside the mission home, everything was silent.  
 Already the departing elders and sister seemed like a dream.

No evidence in this room; beds had been made
(even though they would be stripped for washing --
it's the thought that counts.)

 A couple of slept in beds in another -- maybe they
really had been here.  

A set of shoelaces left over when the other pair was 
put into polished shoes so the wearer would look 
his best on arrival.  

Of course, what remains are the memories and the converts 
forever changed by the message of those who were called to serve.