Missionaries DO get some time to enjoy the local culture and attractions on Preparation Day. Here in AZ, that means everything from hiking Camelback Mountain (about 1300 feet up from the valley floor) to – the Zoo. The North Scottsdale Pinnacle Zone Elders and Sisters descended on the Phoenix Zoo recently (actually, it was October) – and here’s proof that it’s not ALL work! Elder and Sister Holmes, our marvelous senior missionary couple serving in Cave Creek, coordinated the trip.
The life of a Mission President is precarious! After Sister Sweeney, the most important duties are the Elders and Sisters – and Couples who serve. Farther down the list is checking to see if what you thought you posted to the blog got posted. While reviewing the blog yesterday, I discovered a post I thought had gone out 2 months ago was still in “draft” mode. So, with a well-deserved “mea culpa”, here is the long-delayed post from October 2013, the 3-day mission tour by Elder Michael Teh of the Seventy (Oct 21-23).
Elder Teh is a remarkable man. He comes from the Philippines where he served as an Area President and Temple Recorder. His family converted to the Church while he was young. His Mother did laundry for hire. On several occasions the missionaries dropped in to invite them to listen, but she politely declined. However, one day a new set of missionaries asked her if they helped her with her laundry, could they take the time saved to teach her family. That was the perfect invitation! She accepted and the entire family joined. Most of the family has now emigrated to the United States, where Elder Teh moved last summer to assume his new duties in the Seventy.
Elder Teh taught the missionaries doctrine. He illustrated with a King Size candy bar how Satan tempts us to cross into his territory, and how the Lord will bless us if we stay on “the Lord’s side of the line”. He taught how missionaries shouldn’t strive to be “just diligent enough to avoid the mission president’s radar” – such missionaries are just like Nemo in the Disney movie Finding Nemo where they ride the current rather than reach for the stars. He taught us by what he did (teach and interview missionaries, visit the sick, teach a missionary discussion, and visit a former Philippine missionary and her family (at 11 pm at night!)) and did not do (take time for himself). It was a magnificent experience! May God bless Elder and Sister Teh!
The Payson, Show Low and Snowflake Zones gathered in the Snowflake Temple in the afternoon of December 11th for a special session temple trip. President and Sister Baldwin greeted the 70 Elders, Sisters and Couples serving as missionaries in the 7 White Mountain stakes of Zion as they entered the beautiful temple. The chapel gathering was breathtaking as the missionaries gathered to feel the Spirit. Missionaries filled every seat in the session – with folding chairs added to each row. President Baldwin said that so powerful was the Spirit that accompanied the session that the temple workers were moved to tears as they worked behind the scenes to attend to the company. It was the largest gathering of missionaries in the Snowflake Temple ever and we are supplying this photo to the temple for its archives.
The Mission scheduled our quarterly temple trip and Christmas dinner for all 10 zones over 3 days. Here are the missionaries working in the Phoenix and south Scottsdale areas outside the Mesa Temple. All of the missionaries enjoyed the strength from gathering to the temple – and seeing that “they were still [their] brethren [and sisters] in the Lord”. We started with a temple chapel session where President and Sister Sweeney spoke, followed by an endowment session (and one of the Elders did the work for his grandfather that day). A delicious meal and Christmas music followed at a nearby stake center. It was a day never to be forgotten.
Elder Molinaro, one of our visa waiter missionaries headed to Brazil some time before the millenium, shared this bit of missionary wisdom about inviting:
“There seems to be a law irrevocably declared in the mission that whenever you open your mouth, you find more people to teach.” Which they have done to the tune of 19 lessons this past week!