Sunday, May 12, 2013

Big Changes in the Mission

Early Monday morning, April 22nd, a crew came into the Visitors' Center and took away all of the theater chairs in both Theater 2 and Theater 3.

Tuesday morning a truck arrived with brand new replacements!  It was fun to watch the process unfold.

We had arranged for Elders to help unload the truck, but it was late so they did service around the temple grounds instead.  About 11:30 am the truck finally arrived and luckily they had all of the equipment necessary to unload and transport the freight to the Visitors' Center by just one man.

Here they are, outside the back doors of the VC.  Now we can begin!

The installers first bolted the legs to the floor.  The metal supports looked like soldiers all in a row.

Next they attached the backs to the metal legs.  I love the new fabric.  It looks so fresh and clean.

The final step was to attach the seats.  Now we're back in business!  The process was completed by Wednesday afternoon.  Thank goodness we were able to have our theaters back in use for the YM/YW groups that always come on Wednesday night.  We look pretty snazzy!  Right?

We had four new missionaries arrive that same week.  This is Sister Garcia from Mexico City.  She wasn't able to get her visa as soon as she needed it, so she served in Mexico for 5 months before coming here.  Welcome to Mesa, Sister Garcia!

Sister Garcia's trainer will be Sister DeMille from Cedar City, Utah.  Sister Garcia can help Sister DeMille with her Spanish and Sister DeMille can help Sister Garcia learn English.  A win-win combination.

This new sister comes to us from The Philipines.  Sister Ibuyan lived with her grandmother because her mother is currently living in The Netherlands.  We were amazed to learn that we had met her mother in Dordrecht while we were serving our first mission in that part of Holland.  Small world....

Sister Ibuyan's trainer is Sister Miller, one of our Oregon sisters.  They'll be perfect together.

This adorable new sister is Sister Finau, who is Tongan but actually came to Mesa from Bountiful, Utah - our home town.  Sister Finau is so bubbly and outgoing she will be a natural in the VC.

Sister Weedman has been given the assignment to train Sister Finau.  We were all surprised at the President's decision because Sister Weedman has only been here 6 weeks!  Wow!  You can tell she's a really capable young sister to be training so quickly.

Sister Younce hails from the Raleigh, North Carolina area.  She first made the decision to go on a mission while waiting in the Mesa Visitors' Center for a friend who was getting his endowments prior to his mission.  We were thrilled when she was called to return here to serve in our Visitors' Center!

Sister Younce's trainer, Sister Brown, is also very new - having arrived on March 12th.  The President really trusts these capable young sisters to have them training so quickly.  Have I  mentioned that the sisters assigned to our Visitors' Center are the Best?
We were delighted to see these new residents of the temple grounds take a swim in the reflecting pool just outside the VC doors.  The mother duck hatched her eggs under a bush on the grounds and brought them to the pool for a short dip.  These eight little baby ducks became instant hits with the sisters and our Visitors' Center guests.

Moving into the month of May, our monthly ZLC (Zone Leader Council) took an historic new turn on May 3rd.  For the first time EVER, there are Sister Trainer Leaders in all the missions around the world.  These new sister trainers will go on exchanges with the other sisters and help them become more effective missionaries.  Four companionships were called to this new position and three of them were VC companionships.  Did I mention we have the most capable, most obedient, most experienced sisters in the mission???  In the meeting President Ellsworth gave a training on using members more effectively, then he asked the missionaries to practice inviting them on teaching appointments.   Sisters Gordon and Lewis, and Sisters Cottrell and Valladares are two of the new trainer companionships.  (Middle row)

The other VC companionship who will be serving as Sister Trainer Leaders are Sisters Noble and Aquino.  They are shown by the door with their make-shift 'phones' up to their ears, calling the members.  Sisters Avila and Schwartz, (left) who attend this meeting each month, round out the four companionships that are VC sisters.  It's so fun to see all the new changes that are taking place almost daily in our mission.  (And it's only the beginning.)

Because of the huge number of new sisters in the mission, Sister Ellsworth and I did a specialized training for just the Sister Missionaries on May 7th.   When my husband and I arrived in the mission last January (2012) there were around 36- 38 sister missionaries.

 Today at our specialized training there were 65 sisters in attendance!  The number of sisters has almost doubled!  By next transfer, when we get 18 more sisters, we will be a force to be reckoned with!  Aren't they BEAUTIFUL??  The training included dress and grooming, getting along with companions, companionship inventory, safety, and other topics of particular importance to sisters.
Following the training we provided a nice array of snacks for the sisters to enjoy as they visited with each other and got better acquainted.  Thank goodness I had Sister Andrus and Sister Jenkins, our senior VC sisters, to help with the food.  They are so willing to help whenever I need them.

The young women enjoyed some healthy treats and some not-so-healthy treats.  It's all good....
Since full field sisters and VC sisters don't always get to see each other on a regular basis, it was nice for them to have a chance to mingle and enjoy one another.  There have been so many new arrivals that there are many new faces I'm still trying to put names to.

 President Ellsworth took one final picture of all the sisters in attendance.  It was a lovely morning and the spirit was so strong among these awesome young missionaries.  The Lord loves them and so do I!