We are very fortunate to participate in the Christmas Lights Event located on the Mesa Temple property. Members of the church start in September organizing, assembling and executing the massive undertaking of putting up several million lights, nativity scenes, nativity sets from all around the world, and more. The event is open and free to the public every year starting the day after Thanksgiving. Most people in the valley here have heard of or have attended the Christmas lights at the Mesa Temple. Our sister missionaries have the opportunity to serve as hostess at various locations around the visitors center each night from Thanksgiving through Dec. 31. Four companionships are assigned each night. Its a wonderful opportunity to meet many people from different backgrounds and different faiths and share in our witness of the birth of Jesus Christ, His life and ministry and His atonement and resurrection. Following are several pictures of our sister missionaries participating as hostess at the Christmas lights. Not all sisters had pictures or the pictures were too dark to include. Sorry. All of our missionaries in the valley utilized this wonderful event to bring investigators to. We are very thankful and fortunate to have this wonderful gift as another way to share the message that Jesus Christ was born, lived, died and was resurrected making it possible for all of us to have eternal life!!
We had fun getting together with the senior missionary couples who serve in our mission. Also, Pres & Sis. Platt and Pres. & Sis. Azua, counselors in the mission presidency were able to join us. We had a wonderful time playing a game on ‘how you met your spouse’ and reviewing the past and future goals of the mission. We are very fortunate to have these ‘seniors’ here in the AZ Scottsdale mission. They provide a great service to the wards they serve in and also keep our mission office, cars, bikes, and housing in good working order.
Recently, about 20 of our missionaries helped the United Way which sponsors a day for free services to those in the Phoenix area. Employment services, medical care, affordable rental services, clothing, personal care items, spiritual support, family and legal services, behavioral health, substance abuse services, shelter providers, haircuts, food, showers, bicycle repair, and more are offered. Our missionaries spent 8 hours doing what they do best – helping to serve God’s children. They cut hair, served food, offered spiritual support, and looked for ways to uplift those they came into contact with. Our missionaries love to serve!!
Even though we have done this several times now, it continues to be so hard to say goodbye to our missionaries who have completed their service. From left to right, E. Cedeno, E. Taylor, E. Bott, E. Robinson, S. Smith, S. Garrity. We have taken great joy in their successes and mourned with them over those who they taught and who did not accept our wonderful message that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is on the earth today! These 6 are some pretty great and wonderful missionaries. We will miss them but we know that the Lord has great plans for each of them. Farewell our warrior missionaries.
2 Weeks ago we received 11 new missionaries. 10 came from the Provo MTC and one came from the Mexico MTC. Of those 11, four are visa waiters – missionaries originally called to the Philippines but will spend a certain amount of time here in the Scottsdale Mission. If you scroll over their individual pictures with Pres. & Sis. Robinson, you will see which ones are the visa waiters. We love them all and are excited to get to know each of them. I’m sure it will be hard down the road when we have to say goodbye to the four visa waiters. This was also our first time having new missionaries come in later in the day. The missionary department is now sending our missionaries much later in the day arriving in Phoenix Airport around 5pm. This group arrived around 5:45pm. After getting off the plane, getting the luggage and transporting to the mission home/office it was close to 7pm. So the first evening, Pres. & Sis. Robinson fed them dinner and later introduced the mission and their family through a power point presentation. Then it was off to bed. The next morning, bright and early, the missionaries dressed and met Pres. & Sis. Robinson for breakfast, orientation, interviews with President Robinson, training, driver and bike safety class, and then finally meeting their new companion/trainer. We then had lunch and then they all did their driving tests. By afternoon they were off with their new companion to their area they will be serving in.
Elder Bednar made an unexpected visit to the Show Low area. He and Elder Cornish of the Seventy, came to talk with the saints in the mountains. And of course, he wanted to spend time with the missionaries. We were able to have all of our missionaries serving in the mountains meet with Elder Bednar for two hours. Elder Bednar had stipulated that he did not want missionaries traveling more than two hours to get to this meeting. So, unfortunately, the missionaries in the valley were not able to attend. We met at the Show Low Stake Center on a Saturday morning at 10am. President and Sis. Robinson greeted Elder Bednar and Elder Cornish along with the Show Low Stake president. Elder Bednar met with President and Sis. Robinson privately before the meeting started to ask what we thought the missionaries needed to hear. After that, we went into the chapel where all the missionaries were assembled. It was powerful as they all stood and sang How Firm a Foundation. For the next two hours E. Bednar took questions from the missionaries and had wonderful conversations with them. The missionaries had been given four talks as pre-reads and they were spiritually ready to learn from E. Bednar. We wish all the missionaries could have been there so we will follow up in upcoming zone conferences with some of the thoughts E. Bednar had for the missionaries. The four talks that were the pre-read were: Always Retain a Remission of Your Sins, Seek Learning by Faith, Ask in Faith, and Converted unto the Lord. We highly recommend that any who are reading this blog to read these talks. Very powerful concepts are taught about conversion and faith unto conversion. Elder Bednar had lunch with Pres. and Sis. Robinson and then had a priesthood leadership meeting inviting leaders from the 7 stakes in the mountains. Later he had a meeting with all the sister leaders in YW, Primary and RS. Then had a meeting with the young adults. The next morning, E Bednar had an 8am mtg with the missionaries and investigators and recent converts. Then he had stake conf in the Show Low stake, and then a youth meeting in the afternoon. The Lord truly strengthens these men as they go about the Lord’s work. Its hard to keep up with these apostles!!
Twice a year we do a mission wide temple trip. In the valley, we attend the Mesa Temple where we have over 110 missionaries. We break this large group into two groups. The first group went in the morning. Then we met with ALL Valley missionaries at a large church facility near the Mesa Temple and had lunch. The missionaries really enjoy these gatherings to see each other and catch up with missionaries they have not seen in a while. Bro. and Sis. Dale put on a great lunch of ham, potatoes, veges, rolls, salad and pies. We are so grateful for their talent and desire to feed this large group. Then President and Sis. Robinson went up to the mountains the next day where we were able to attend the Snowflake Temple with the missionaries who serve in the mountains. The temple was technically closed on this Thursday afternoon but accommodated our missionary group setting up a few extra chairs so we could all fit. This allowed all of us to be together in one session instead of splitting up. We have about 55 missionaries in the mountains. The Snowflake temple is quite a bit smaller than the Mesa Temple. We were so grateful for the temple presidency making this all possible. The missionaries were well fed by the Snowflake RS presidency that day as well. We are treated like royalty among the members out here. So many, many members willing to serve our missionaries and be of help. These temple sessions with the missionaries are something we all look forward to. Such a great way to start the Christmas season and the blessings we have because of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.