Saturday, February 18, 2012

Introducing the Visitors' Center Missionaries

We definitely have some of the finest sister missionaries in the world - and they come from all over the globe.  These young women are Sister Solorzano from Nicaragua (left), and Sister Tejada from New Jersey.
 Sister Shurtz (on the left) is from Clearfield, Utah.  She is training Sister Crawford who just arrived in January but alas, won't be with us after this transfer because her call is not to the Visitors' Center.

This cheery pair keep everyone upbeat.  Sister McKee (left) was raised in Hawaii but will be returning to her family in Duchesne, Utah when she is released in May.  She has recently been called as a Trainer in our VC.  She is learning the ropes from Sister McKenna who will be released in March.  Sister Beu will also be leaving us in March.  Her home is in Rapid City, South Dakota.  She has been a great help as my Administrative Assistant (read computer guru). 

We love these delightful sisters - they are a dynamic duo!  Sister Parker (left) comes from Thornton, Colorado and Sister Anderson from FILLMORE, UTAH!!!  We could hardly believe our good fortune in having a sister from our home town - or at least where we went to Junior High and High School.  Our home towns are Kanosh and Meadow - just a hop, skip, and a jump down the road from Fillmore.

Sister Holladay and Sister Falcon work extremely hard at the center.  Sister Holladay calls Lindon, Utah home, and Sister Falcon hails from Mexico City, Mexico.  She is also one of our very capable Trainers.  We currently have seven companionships who are Spanish-speaking, and six companionships who are assigned English.  These sisters are Spanish-speakers.
Sister Vause (left) is on her last transfer.  On March 6th she will be released to return to her home in Pleasant View, Utah.  We'll miss her!  Sister Fors comes to the Mesa Visitors' Center from La Canada, California.  (Another Spanish-speaking companionship.)

These young missionaries blend totally different cultures as they serve together.  Sister Burton is from Henrico, Virginia, and Sister Dashjav is from Mongolia.  Her English language skills are amazing!

Sisters Carlson and Javed are also from different countries and cultures.  Sister Carlson calls Aurora, Colorado home, and Sister Javed is from Pakistan.  She is also doing very well with English.

These sisters are called to be Spanish-speaking missionaries, but Sister Sordes (right) comes from France and speaks French, Spanish, and English.  She's fluent in all three languages.  Sister Hartvigsen is from Kaysville, Utah  (you know she's a quality missionary if she's from Davis Country!)

Our darling African sister is Sister Catherine Koki MacKenzie who comes from Kenya.  She is partnered with Sister Hansen from Murray, Utah.  Sister Hansen is my other very capable Administrative Assistant, and is a huge help to me at the VC.

There will be a big hole in our hearts and at our center when Sister McKenna (right) is released on March 6th.  She has been an outstanding trainer - both of the other sister missionaries and for the Beckstrands, the most 'clueless' of anyone at the center.  Her capable companion is Sister Lamb from Panama, who broke her arm in a bicycle accident just after we arrived.  These are also Spanish-speaking sisters.

These Spanish-speaking sisters are extremely adept since they've spoken it since their cradles.  Sister Arias' native country is El Salvador, and Sister Avila (right) comes from Houston, Texas.  She is also fluent in French and, of course, English.

We have just one companionship that hails from the same city.  Sister Kranendonk (left) and Sister Lewis both call Salt Lake City, Utah, home.  However, Sister Kranendonk gets extra points for having Dutch ancestry!  She has been a very capable trainer for Sister Lewis who just arrived in January.

Our Center is also very lucky to have five senior couples (at least until after Easter Pageant.)  The Romrells come from St. Anthony, Idaho and are serving their seventh mission.  Amazing!  The scheduling of shifts at the center has gotten much easier since Elder Romrell took over the job.  It is usually the Directors' wife's responsibility to handle that chore.  I wish he could stay forever, but we'll be losing them in April.

The Livingstons come to Mesa from Ogden, Utah.  They served a previous mission in the office here in the Arizona, Mesa Mission and they enjoyed it so much that they decided to come back - this time to the Visitors' Center.  They'll be with us 18 months.  We're so grateful to have them.

We also have two additional couples, the Pecks and Jenkins, who I introduced on my previous blog.  They serve capably and well.  Our biggest challenge with the Jenkins is keeping them busy enough!  They continually tell us they'd rather be working than sitting around their apartment.  After Easter Pageant they might regret those words!

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Day in the Life of a VC Missionary

On a typical day we go out the back gate of our house and walk along this lovely flower garden that lines the sidewalk.  There are all varieties of beautiful spring flowers.

We never get tired of admiring the stately Mesa Temple on our right.

On our right, directly in front of the temple, is a beautiful reflecting pool which is also lined with gorgeous spring flowers.

We approach the Visitors' Center from the North which also has its own reflecting pool.

Glorious palm trees add another element of beauty to our route.

Inside the Visitors' Center we're met by our "Trainers", who are like Assistants to the President in the regular mission field.  These young sisters are invaluable to us!  They know everything there is to know about operation of this Visitors' Center.  Sister McKenna (right) is from Boise, Idaho, and Sister Falcon is from Mexico City, Mexico. 

At the Back Greet (the entrance closest to the temple) the Pecks are on duty.  They are a service couple who live in the Mesa area.  The amazing thing is that Sister Peck is 85 and Brother Peck is 87!  They put in 5 shifts a week for at least 3 hours - usually more!  No rocking chairs for this youthful couple.  
What an example of devoted service they are to everyone at the center. 

At the Front Greet (the side closest to Main Street) are Sister Livingston and Sister McKenna.  They keep track of all visitors who enter through the front doors.  The Christus statue is the first thing guests see when they come in this entrance.

A new senior couple arrived at our Visitors' Center on January 27th.  They are the Jenkins from Vernal, Utah.  They'll be serving at our center for 18 months.

Another missionary who arrived in January is Sister Lewis from Salt Lake City.  She will also be with us 18 months.

Outside the front entrance of the Visitors' Center the workmen are already putting up equipment for the Easter Pageant which begins on March 27th.  It seems a little early - but what do I know?

The large stanchions will hold the spot lights for the performances.  We're really looking forward to it - everyone tells us it is an amazing production.

Looking up at the temple on the southeast corner we discovered a surprising thing - there are Dutch people in wooden shoes who are 'symbolically' walking to Zion from their native country.  There are two windmills in the background.  When I was in Holland I always said it was a good day when I saw a windmill.  Now that I'm here I see two every day!  That means every day is a doubly good day!

We certainly feel blessed to be living and working on sacred temple grounds.  There is such a peaceful, special feeling here that it truly lifts our spirits.