Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Another Historic Day in the AZ Mesa Mission

Our sisters know how to make every moment of their day an event!  Sisters Weedman and Brownell are a great example of that truth.  They can turn a simple thing like dinner at the VC into a party.
Sisters Valladares, Avanesjan, and Weber demonstrate during prep. meeting how we should work with guests in the Visitors' Center to obtain referrals.  We will be more effective when we:  (1) use short, powerful statements, (2) show love, and (3) be bold in asking for names of people who might be open to receive our message.

Every prep. meeting ends with food.  Sister Ballard insisted on treating the girls to a delicious variety of donuts to celebrate her birthday.  I didn't hear any objections from the sisters.
Sister Younce isn't sure she can eat all of these by herself.  It's worth a try, right?

 With the birthday girl in the center (holding her birthday sign) we all posed for a group picture of the missionaries in the Visitors' Center.  Don't we make a handsome group?  Very photogenic!

I love the bonding that occurs among our Spanish sisters.  Sister Mayorca (Columbia), Sisters Weber and Aquino (Mexico) Sister Castillo (California) Sister Hourrutiner (Venezuela then Florida), Sister Luna (Peru), and Sister Leon (Utah) all contribute so much to the Spanish members and investigators in our mission.
Arriving October 17th for a short vacation, we were delighted to welcome our oldest daughter, Cherie, and her family.  We thoroughly enjoyed showing them the VC and other points of interest near Mesa.
Our travels took us to Tortilla Flat where we had lunch in this unique restaurant.  The walls were lined with one dollar bills.  Reportedly, there are 100,000 of them! 

Most of the bills have additional bills beneath.  People signed their names on the bills and then tacked them to the walls.  Too bad - the writing on them probably makes them unspendable, even if we could get them off the walls.

 Back at the Visitors' Center there was a lot of activity in the bowl on Monday, October 21st.  The gardeners shaved the new lawn almost down to the dirt to prepare it to receive the winter rye seed.
Spreading the seed evenly is important to achieve a uniform color.  When this step is done the area is generously watered until the seeds sprout and send up bright new blades of emerald-colored grass.  Next month we'll be enjoying the results of this yearly process.
Everyone's heard the phrase:  "Great minds think alike".  That's apparently true in fashion as well.   Sister Hamstead, Sister Orr, and I all chose the same top so we decided we should document our superior taste by taking this photo together.

 We recently received a visit from the activity-day girls in the Harris Park Ward.  They brought sacks of treats for all of the sisters serving at the Visitors' Center.  Isn't that the sweetest thing?

If you noticed the title of this post, you've probably been wondering what it meant.  Well.......we've arrived at the point where I'll explain.  Today, October 29, 2014 the Arizona Mesa Mission became the 7th mission in the church to receive I-pads for all of its missionaries.  Brother Watson from the Missionary Department has returned to Mesa (he came in June to train the VC sisters) and explained to the Zone Leaders and the Sister Trainer Leaders how this fabulous new proselyting tool works.
Brother Frank Ditmar, who has been our 'go-to' guy for the past 4 months in dealing with I-pad issues was personally on hand to answer questions and give suggestions.
Even our VC sisters received new I-pads today because these new pads are equipped with IOS 7, the latest operating system available.

President and Sister Jenkins were also working to understand the capabilities of this new technology in missionary work.  There may be a larger learning curve for the older generation, but we have all the young elders and sisters to help us.  Thank goodness!

The Assistants to the President, Elder Rountree and Elder Armstrong are wearing HUGE grins upon receiving their I-pads.  They couldn't be more excited to start this new adventure.

It's a privilege to have these hard-working men from the missionary department come from Salt Lake to help our elders and sisters understand this new technology.  Preparing the I-pads with missionary tools, especially their local area books, requires specific commands (and some patience) in order to get it all working properly.  D & C 88:73 is being fulfilled in this mission today - "Behold, I will hasten my work in its time".  What a blessing it is to be part of the fulfillment of this promise.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Getting Ready for an Arizona 'Spring'

It sounds crazy, but the gardeners planted the spring flowers on October 7th.  Everything is in readiness for the more moderate temperatures that have dropped into the 80's.  We're loving it!

The new flowers have also been planted around the reflecting pool outside the Visitors' Center.  I really appreciate how hard the gardeners work to keep the temple grounds beautiful year-round.

 New trees were planted to the east of the reflecting pool.  The trees in the planter boxes are awaiting their new home in the soil next to the walkways.  I love the variety of trees they have here.

We were sad to say goodbye to Sister Ibuyan who returned to the Phillipines on October 2nd.  Her companion, Sister Beaudette, gives her a hug.  We will miss Sister Ibuyan and her happy smile.

Our trainers do an outstanding job training the VC sisters to work with investigators who come into the center.  Elder Beckstrand takes the part of an investigator who is being led toward the path of conversion through using the 8 fundamentals in Preach My Gospel.

Each Preparation Meeting the sisters practice the skills that are demonstrated by the trainers.

Sisters Younce and Rios explain about the church to their new 'investigator'.

Sister Gordon and Hamstead also test their teaching skills on these young VC guests.  We have so many opportunities to use our missionary training every day.  It is such a blessing to work in a place where investigators come to us, rather than us trying to find them.
Between Visitors' Center shifts I have been working on a memory quilt which has all of the names of the missionaries who have served here at the Mesa Temple Visitors' Center.  This will be a treasure when our service here is finished.

Almost every night, and especially on Saturdays there are many volunteers who come to hang the lights for the Christmas Lights display.  It would be interesting to know just how many people contribute to this huge undertaking.

 October 8th we were thrilled with the arrival of 35 new missionaries from the MTC.  These enthusiastic young greenies bring such a wave of excitement to our mission.  It was especially nice to have so many sisters join our mission.

 When we first arrived in 2012 there were around 40 sister missionaries.  That number has doubled in the past few months, and that's just for the Mesa Mission.  If we added the additional sisters serving in Scottsdale, which used to be part of our mission, that number would be even higher!  Welcome to Mesa, you beautiful sister missionaries.  You will bless our mission so much!

We were fortunate to have a new sister assigned to the Visitors' Center.  Sister Taumarawa is from Kiribati in the Christmas Islands.  She has been assigned as an English-speaking sister while here in Mesa.

Sister Taumarawa will be trained by Sister Hamstead who has many months of experience in the mission.  They are already on their way to becoming a dynamic duo.
This past week the VC has hosted each of the zones in our mission to a two hour online proselyting training.  Sister Brownell and Longshore, our VC trainers, have conducted the training in all of the sessions, and have done an outstanding job.  All of the missionaries in the Arizona Mesa Mission are now 'good to go ' with online proselyting.  Yeah for this new blessing in missionary work!
Just as an item which may be of interest to former missionaries:
The zones in the mission have all been renamed.  The nine zones in the mission beginning with the October 9th transfer are:  Heritage, Sonora, Saquaro, Camelback, El Dorado, YSA, Toro, Superstition, and Sol Canyon.   Meanwhile, the work goes forward!  The Church is TRUE here in Mesa!  What a privilege it is to be part of this important work.