L to R, Elders Bowns, Thompson, Aiono, Brown, Walker, Bateman and Watts
It was an all-Elder departure on June 13 as the Arizona Scottsdale Mission said farewell to 7 outstanding missionaries! Sister Sweeney prepared a Cafe Rio feast for these Elders – chicken, pork and all of the trimmings. The evening was spent in great conversation as each of the Elders asked to come up with the kind of questions they just couldn’t ask with Sisters around (lest the Sisters know they were actually beginning to think about marriage!). It concluded with a testimony meeting where these young men – now really men – bore firm testimony of the things they had come to know. Powerful!
Expect great things from this group!
Sisters Sweeney, Mann, Allen, Valencia, Meyers, Mecham,, Reid and Chausow; Back row: Pres. Sweeney, Elders Agbuya, Johnson, Brown, Bockenstedt and Nicoll
On a rather warm evening in mid-June (not unexpected), the Arizona Scottsdale Mission welcomed it’s newest dozen missionaries to the field. Of the 12 who arrived, 4 are mini-missionaries who have volunteered to come to the mission to serve a 6 or 12 week mission – often in advance of a regular 18 month or 2 year call.
The arriving missionaries first took a tour of the Mesa Temple Visitors Center where they cooled off and visited the Christus display followed by other interactive displays where the purpose of families is depicted. The missionaries will bring their investigators and less active families here where the Spirit is very strong and often a spark can be kindled by the light of missionary testimonies.
After individual and group pictures under the densest shade we could find (see the pictures above) designed to shield everyone from the heat of the day, the group adjourned to a large conference room where they were taught by the Assistants on various fundamentals of missionary work including the Lord’s pledge to “open the hearts of the people…” (D&C 31:7) Each missionary also had a chance to bear a brief testimony and tell a fun fact about themselves.
With some doctrine taught, it was time to act in faith – so the group journeyed to the Mission Home where they were oriented by the mission staff and then given a brief bit of how-to training on first time contacting. Then each new missionary joined was matched into a companionship with an experienced missionary to guide them and off they went to downtown Scottsdale, parks, “little Mexico” and even a frisbee golf course to find those who are prepared. They had a BLAST!
After a Cafe Rio themed dinner, the new missionaries reviewed what happened during the contacting and shared their stories with each other. Then it was time to get them to bed (many had gotten up at 4:00 am).
Tuesday morning dawned a bit crisp so the group opted for some 6:00 am exercise on the football field at nearby Saguaro HS where they played ultimate frisbee! It was super fun – and except for one strained knee everyone was able to participate for the full 30 minutes.
Our next adventure was to get 30 YM and YW ready to get breakfast (crepes, bacon and eggs), set up the lunch tables and get showered all while being on time to the driver training certification at 8:00 am. And they did it! We then trained the trainers how to be good trainers – then the trainees how to be good companions. By 11:00 am the companionships were ready to be announced. A great summertime lunch of hamburgers and hot dogs closed the training and they were ready to head off to their new areas.
[Shared with permission]
We have also started working with Rhonda again. We found her about a month ago and taught her the first two lessons. She wanted to do some studying and thinking on her own. We respected that and dropped her. She really wanted to find out if this was the right path for her. She also had some concerns with what her family and friends would think of her if she joined the church.
We saw her maybe a week after that and talked to her for a little bit. She asked about scouts and the other programs that we have for her kids. We talked to her about it and she was very interested in getting her kids involved. Her son went to Scouts and her daughter went to Activity Days and they both loved it! Then we invited her kids to come to church and they both said yes! So they came to church yesterday and loved it! Rhonda then told us that she wanted to go to church next week. We asked if she wanted to meet with us again and she agreed! I know that working through the children really does work and it softens hearts!
[Shared with Permission]
And the biggest miracle this week!!! Prime-Time + Formers!
Rod was a former investigator. He used to go to church with his wife for 20 years! When they got divorced he stopped going. Sister Devlin contacted him on an exchange during Prime-time and he agreed to an appointment.
When we went by Saturday night he was waiting for us, we didn’t even knock. He let us and our member in and we started talking about his life and experience with the church. We asked if he had ever been invited to be baptized and he said “no”! Then he thought about it and said he had taken the lessons once or twice and probably told the missionaries no before.
Then, without invitation!, he said he’d like to take the lessons and become a member!!!! So we set a date and he put it on his calendar. He circled July 2nd and wrote “Baptized”! Our member was flabbergasted and asked us later what had happened. We also invited him to church and the next morning he was there 10 minutes early for the 9 o’clock ward.
[Shared with permission]
Yesterday a miracle happened! We were calling our potentials that didn’t have an address…well we had called this guy, Tom, two times already. The first time he said to call him back during the week and schedule an appointment, we did but he didn’t pick up. Then we tried again a couple of weeks later and he said he was going through some family issues and to call him back in a couple of weeks, we did, no answer….
Well his name has been popping in my head this past week so he was one of the first ones we called. He picked up this time and after identifying ourselves he said: “I’m so glad you called, my girlfriend and my mom are receiving the missionaries and they are getting baptized and I want that too. I have seen good changes in them and I know this is going to be so good. I’m so happy that you called me and please come over Friday at 11:00 a.m.! Thank you so much for calling!” After getting his info (and finding out he is not in our area 😭) I was astonished! Right decisions and the right time brought this miracle! I know God listens to our prayers and guides us through the HG:)
Sister Handa 😀
Dear Parents of missionaries in the Show Low Area (Show Low, Lakeside, Pinetop) – on Wednesday this week, a fire broke out on the White Mountain Apache reservation some 20 miles from Show Low. Due to unfavorable winds, the fire quickly grew from a few hundred acres to one that encompassed 8,000 acres today.
Although we have prepared the missionaries to be ready to travel to nearby towns should the evacuation order be given, it now looks like the fire breaks (built by professional fire fighters during the day today) are holding (this is as of Thursday night @ 10:00 pm).
All Arizona Scottsdale Mission missionaries are safe – and prepared to take further action as needed.
It’s been wonderful to see ALL of the missionaries during our recent temple trips – one session in the Snowflake Temple and 2 sessions in the Mesa Temple – were heaven on earth! And the Temple President and Matron – Pres. and Sister Hancock in Snowflake and Pres. and Sister Hatch in Mesa – both LOVE the spirit the missionaries bring to the temple! And they make these days special for all who attend.
We urged the missionaries to find their own names to bring to the temple and it appears they all did! Our missionaries are CONVERTED to the principle of redeeming their dead!
Now, have fund finding YOUR missionary!
(click “View Full Size” in the picture itself to get a picture that can be zoomed in)