The June 4th transfer brought the largest number of missionaries to the Arizona Mesa Mission in its history. This is the beautiful sight that greeted us as these missionaries posed for a picture in front of the Visitors' Center.
Of the 33 missionaries who arrived this morning, 17 of them were sisters. Wow! They're going to be such an asset to the mission!
We were thrilled to receive 7 new sisters to the Visitors' Center - also a new record for the number to arrive in one transfer. We are delighted to welcome them to the BEST Visitors' Center in the world.
This is Sister (Hermana) Hourrutiner, who was born in Cuba, raised in Venezuela, and lastly living in Florida. Sister Hourrutiner is a convert of only 2 years! She will bring a unique perspective to her missionary work as she teaches new investigators, being so recently one herself.
Sister Avanesjan was born in Armenia and raised in Germany. After a couple of months serving in Germany while waiting for her visa, we're excited to have her join us here in Mesa.
This is Sister Luna, who is our new Hermana from Peru. She is making good progress in English, but wants to learn more so that she is comfortable conversing with people in the Visitors' Center.
Sister Beaudette is our new "English" sister from Massachusetts. She will find the hot summers here in Arizona a bit of a shock after living in a much cooler climate.
Sister Pickett, also assigned English-speaking, hails from Idaho and has a background much like Elder Beckstrand and I. Her family owns and operates a ranch which qualifies her for the title 'country' girl.
Sister Jeppson is a new Spanish-speaking sister from Utah who will definitely be a stand out in the Spanish-American community with her blond hair and fair complexion.
Sister Leon is also a Spanish sister who comes to Mesa from Springville, Utah. She has ties to the Spanish community through her parents, so she speaks Spanish like a native.
Part of the success of any new sister is the wise choice of a trainer. President Ellsworth puts much thought and prayer into making these decisions. He felt Sister Brownell would be just right for Sister Avanesjan.
The trainer for Sister Hourrutiner is Sister Longshore, who brightens all of our days with her big smile and cheerful attitude.
Lovely Sister Hamstead from Georgia is Sister Pickett's trainer. With seven new sisters this transfer, and two being trained from the previous transfer, all but one of our companionships are currently training. That's a first for us!
Working with Sister Jeppson is Sister Valladares from Honduras.
Sister Leon has been assigned to Sister Weber, from Mexico.
Sister Luna is lucky to have Sister Slater as her trainer. Sister Slater is on her very last transfer before returning home to Oklahoma in July.
Sister Beaudette has been assigned to Sister Smith, our 'dancing' sister from St. George, Utah. They will make a very effective companionship.
We arrived at Elder Beckstrand's office on Sunday, June 16th to find Sisters Pickett and Hamstead putting these cute Father's Day signs up for him. He definitely loves the position of standing in place of a father to all these delightful young women.
Elder Beckstrand enjoyed a great Father's Day with the warm wishes he received from his new 'daughters' (or I should probably say granddaughters.)
On Monday we enjoyed watching this intrepid young man take on the assignment to trim the palm trees on the temple grounds. He first climbed up the tree to the top of the ladder.....
Then he continued the climb by pushing shoes imbedded with long nails into the side of the tree. A chain saw dangled from his belt as he made the climb to the top.
Once in position he started cutting the old growth from the trees with the saw. You can see the falling branches off to the left of the tree trunk. It was a fascinating process to watch.
I will never tire of looking at the beautiful scenery on the temple grounds. The palm trees are breathtakingly beautiful with their flowering branches falling gracefully from the center of the foliage. I will miss these desert plants when we return to Utah.