Tuesday, July 23, 2013

And the Work Moves On

Well - It's been a while since my last post, but I've figured out a way to circumvent the glitch that sometimes happens in the retrieval of photos, so perhaps that won't happen in the future. 
The past two weeks were very busy preparing for transfers - my LEAST favorite time (I'll explain that later).  Sisters Miller and Valladares are shown here working on the program for our Farewell Breakfast set for July 11th.

Bright and early on the afore-mentioned day we congregated at 7:00 am for breakfast.  Yes, that's Sister Noble with the huge smile.

It's always fun to have the sisters in our home for breakfast and our Prep. Meeting. 

They are sooooo lovely, inside and out.

Sister Schwartz has been a wonderful missionary.  She will be returning to Atlanta, Georgia next week.  We'll miss her as a VC trainer and a totally dedicated missionary.

Sister Noble has supplied comic relief when appropriate, but she has a solid testimony and she showed us her spiritual strength as she shared her feelings about her mission.  She will be returning to Indiana briefly before heading to Logan, Utah ( Aggie land!) for school. 

Beautiful Sister Slater has such a  tender spirit.  She has shown old-fashioned Southern warmth and love to everyone who has come into the Visitors' Center.  Her gift of music has also blessed our mission.  She will be returning to Oklahoma after leaving Mesa.

I couldn't resist one final example of the fun personality Sister Noble has added
to our sometimes too serious sisterhood.  (No need to point out which one I'm referring to, right?)

 And here's the crew!  What a beautiful sight!  We're totally amazed at the caliber of young women we have the privilege of working with every day of the year.  And our senior couples are stellar!

Elder and Sister Jenkins (center) have served their 18 months and will be leaving for Vernal, Utah later today.  They've served so faithfully - we're grateful to have shared this experience with them.  Elder and Sister Andrus (right) are from Provo, Utah and are fairly recent arrivals at the VC.  They stand head and shoulders above the rest of us (in every way).

There will be a HUGE hole in the hearts of all of us when we lose these 5 missionaries in just a matter of days.  Why do they have to go???

I got a last hug from Sister Schwartz.  I wonder if she looks that happy because she knows I won't be able to work her so hard after she leaves here.  She has been a wonderful trainer.

Okay, this is probably going too far, but I HATE to let these sisters leave us.  (That's the reason I hate transfers so much.  There always seems to be too many goodbyes.)

But thank goodness we have wonderful hellos as well.  Tuesday morning, July 16th, these lovely young women arrived from the MTC to begin their service here at the Visitors' Center.

 There was quite an impressive number of new missionaries who accompanied them.  In fact, President Jenkins said it was the best looking group of missionaries he'd ever welcomed into the Arizona Mesa Mission!  lol

Sister Rios is the second sister from Peru that we will have serving in the VC.  She comes from Lima, and was a translator in an Embassy before her mission.  Her gift for languages (English, Spanish, French, and Italian) will really bless our center.
Her trainer is Sister Younce.  Even though Sister Rios' native tongue is Spanish, she has been assigned to speak English as her mission language.  (She'll use her Spanish a LOT, however.)

We were also blessed with the arrival of another South American sister - Sister Mayorca - who comes to us from Bogota, Colombia.  She is quickly becoming acquainted with the bright Arizona sunshine in mid-July.
Sister Mayorca has been lucky to be assigned Sister DeMille for her trainer.  They'll be an awesome duo.
This young lady comes to us from Oklahoma, and recently experienced first hand the deadly tornado which swept through Moore.  Sister Orr didn't let that deter her from moving forward with her mission plans, however.  Welcome to Arizona!  We don't have tornados here, only monsoon rains and dust storms - you've come just in time to enjoy them!

Sister Orr was assigned Spanish-speaking, and was given Sister Castillo as her trainer. 

Sister Duffin may only be pint-sized, but already we're learning she is a GIANT-sized ball of energy and enthusiasm.  She has a smile that is bigger than the state of Utah, where she was raised. 

I can't imagine a better companion for Sister Duffin than our equally enthusiastic and high-energy Sister Longshore!  Wow!  They'll be unstoppable!

With the new transfer comes new assignments for Sister Trainer Leaders, and you guessed it - all of the mission's Sister Trainer Leaders are sisters from the VC.  What have I consistently pointed out??? OUR SISTERS ARE THE BEST!!   The sisters serving in this capacity were invited to a training meeting with President and Sister Jenkins, the Assistants, and the Beckstrands on Friday, July19th.  After the training they patiently allowed me to get this timely photo of them while they were all together.   Front row:  Sister Smith, Sister Gordon, Sister Brownell, and Sister Weedman.  Back row:  SisterValladares, Sister Miller, Sister Avanesjan, and Sister Finau.  I'm so proud of these capable, dedicated young women.  They'll be a real blessing to the sisters in our mission.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Welcome, President and Sister Jenkins

 We assembled bright and early Monday morning, July 1st, for a weeding service project on the temple grounds.   We were asked to work in the area between the Visitors' Center and the temple.

Pam, the temple gardener in the brown shirt, showed the girls what she wanted them to do.  In some cases she had to show them which plants were flowers and which were weeds!  (Important information to know!)

The sisters went right to work making the grounds look lovely. 
These sisters clean the weeds from around the plants by getting right down next to their work.

How come none of my children ever looked that happy when I asked them to weed around our home?

 Sister Noble gives Sister Castillo a big hug with Sister Valladares joining in.  These girls love each other like true sisters.

One of our new sisters, Sister Garcia.

 We enjoyed the hour we spent helping keep the temple grounds beautiful.  The young women have a big day in front of them, since it's their P-day.  Elder Beckstrand looks pretty relaxed though, doesn't he?  We've got a nine hour shift today - maybe he's just resting up so he'll be ready to work at the VC.

 Our new Mission President and his wife arrived in Mesa on June 27th.  Beginning Tuesday, July 2nd they held mission tours for each of the zones.  They were anxious to get to know the missionaries as quickly as possible. This picture shows missionaries from the newly created Alta Mesa Zone and the Superstition Zone. 

 Elder Beckstrand and I attended the final mission tour on Thursday, July 4th.  It was very inspirational and a great way to commemorate Independence Day.  Following the meeting the elders and sisters enjoyed pizza and a large variety of fruit provided by the office staff.
On Friday morning, July 5th, the first Mission Leaders' Council held under the direction of President Jenkins met in the Hermosa Vista Stake Center, across the parking lot from the new mission office.  The assistants, Elders Hyrkas and Finlayson, conducted the meeting.

The mission has eight zones counting the new Alta Mesa Zone.  The other seven zones include Citrus Heights, Liahona, Kimball, Pioneer, Mountain View, Superstition, and Lehi.  After the Zone Leaders gave their reports, President Jenkins gave the mission leaders a very helpful training on the purpose of councils and how they function in the church.  (FYI - all of the Sister Trainer Leaders except Sister Remington are Visitors' Center sisters.  Just sayin', we have great sisters who are leaders in the mission!)

As usual, we were spoiled with a lovely luncheon prepared (yet again) by the Mission Office staff.  The sandwiches and fruit were perfect for a hot July day.

Look at the big smiles on these sisters' faces.  They are thoroughly enjoying the food and each other.
President and Sister Jenkins got to the serving table just in time - it looks like the food is going quickly!

Sister Evans and Sister Waldron help Elder Evans scoop ice cream into cups for root beer floats.  What could taste better on a day that is 108 degrees outside?

President and Sister Jenkins are excited to be in Mesa working with the wonderful, dedicated missionaries here, and mentioned that they feel blessed to be a part of the missionary effort during this historic time in our church's history. 

                Well, here you have them - the mission leaders for the Arizona, Mesa Mission as of July 5th, 2013.  Not a bad looking group if you discount that strange looking couple on the front row next to President Jenkins.   We're ready and anxious to spread the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of this part of the Lord's vineyard.