Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easter Pageant 2013

On Monday, March 18th, the sisters serving in the Visitors' Center enthusiastically accepted the invitation to participate in a service project to clean the walls (and other surfaces) of the VC in preparation for the Easter Pageant.
Sisters Cottrell and Avila are using the chemical solution provided by our custodian to remove the grimey fingerprint line that has appeared along the walls.

Sisters Gordon and Valladares were assigned window duty.  They attack their task with cheerful smiles and lots of elbow grease.

We used awesome teamwork in making the task proceed as quickly as possible.  Sisters Schwartz, Shurtz, DeMille, and Slater work together well.

Sister West and Sister Hartley, two of our new full-field trainees.

Sisters Aquino and Smith smile as they clean the glass around the diorama of the city of Jerusalem.  I think that is Sister Homer with her back to the camera??  Hard to be sure....

Sister Javed pushes the vacuum while Sister Weber scrubs walls.  Sister Weber can't hold back a grimace at the dirt that keeps appearing on her rag.  These walls were disgusting!

Sister Larson and Sister Weber do fantastic work.
Sisters Longshore and Weedman were assigned the windows at the back of the VC.  They aren't shy about making the most of this photo opportunity.
  Following the completion of the project we took a moment to gather for a final picture.  Everybody tried to look tired, but mostly they had a lot of fun and were pleased to have the Visitors' Center looking it's best for the huge crowds that will be arriving during the next two weeks.

Fast forwarding to Saturday, the 23rd, we had the sisters come to the Easter Pageant stage for our annual Easter pictures.  Sisters Noble, Aquino, Arevalo, Weber, and Valladares are looking especially beautiful this morning.

These young ladies are in high spirits!  Front left are Sisters Longshore, Schwartz, and Smith.  On the second row are Sisters Weedman, Lewis, Dashjav, Brown, and Brownell.

I asked the sisters of South American descent to pose with these baskets of flowers.  Aren't they gorgeous?  (Sisters Aquino, Weber, and Avila have Mexican ancestry.  Sister Valladares is from Honduras and Sister Arevalo from El Salvadore.)

Okay, your guess is as good as mine.  Are these the 10 Virgins holding up their lamps?  If so, they seem to be minus two of the number required in the story.

Sisters Gordon and Miller.

The full-field sisters thought they could hide on the sidelines.  No such luck.  We are enjoying having Sisters Knight, West, Hartley, Homer, and Hubmann in our VC this transfer.

These lovely ladies complement the rocky setting on the north side of the stage.  This is the area that is used for the scenes of the Savior teaching the people of Palestine.

Sisters Smith and DeMille, dancers in their former life, enjoy reinacting the beauty of the dance done by the 10 Virgins in the pageant.

Sisters Dashjav, Brownell, Javed, Weedman, and Shurtz.

Sisters Gordon and Avila try to look ferocious but I can't imagine they'd fool anyone.
The girls relax in the shade while our photographer sets up a group photo.  It is a beautiful, sunny morning and we're so grateful to be here at the Mesa Temple Visitors' Center during pageant week.  The opportunity to teach and testify of the Savior and His resurrection is a wonderful blessing.

Elder Beckstrand and I feel especially privileged to serve with these amazing young sister missionaries. 

Sisters Brown and Weedman are here for their first pageant, having just arrived last week.  They have had to learn quickly in order to be ready for our pageant guests.

On March 25th we were delighted to welcome Sister Vargas-Barrick to Mesa and the Visitors' Center.  Sister Vargas is a Spanish-speaking sister who has lived in many places (California and Mexico to name a couple) whose mother now resides in St. George, Utah.  She was recently a student at Utah State University.  Go, Aggies!

Sister Vargas's trainer and companion is Sister Noble, also an Aggie.  They should do very well together.

Our other new sister is Sister Castillo from Santa Ana, California.  She is also a Spanish-speaking sister, for which we're grateful.  This transfer we've had only 5 Spanish companionships and 10 English companionships.  These new sisters will help even out the imbalance.

Sister Castillo is lucky to have Sister Valladares for her trainer and companion.  What a great duo they'll be!  Sister Valladares is such a positive, cheerful missionary.

One of the side-benefits of pageant week is the arrival of personnel from the Missionary Department in Salt Lake City.  The managing director of the missionary department is Brother Steve Allen (on the right).  He was here on Wednesday with Brother Jason Mitchell to observe the pageant and provide training for our Visitors' Center sisters.  It was an inspiring meeting.  Thank you, thank you.
Brother Allen confided that even the First Presidency didn't forsee the huge flood of new missionaries that the lowering of the age requirement has generated.  The missionary department is overwhelmed but grateful for the response from young men and especially young women who have accepted the opportunity to serve.  We have wonderful youth in the church who are valiant and ready to serve.  SEND THEM TO MESA!!

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