This past Thursday I received an unusual call from Salt Lake City. Our Missionary Department contact, Bro. DeLaMare, indicated that the missionary department was sending 3 missionaries on Friday to our mission. The Ukraine Donetsk Mission was closing due to the ongoing conflict in the region and we were on the receiving end of 2 Sisters and 1 Elder who were being transferred to the Arizona Scottsdale Mission. We hastily devised a plan to put these missionaries infield with a companion through transfers and picked them up on Friday evening – the end of a 22 hour day for them. Elder Bumgarten, Sister Schrecengost and Sister Hopkin (all from the USA) arrived safe and sound and ready for a good night’s rest after a snack of roast beef sandwiches prepared philly style. Between that and the breakfast of Swedish pancakes the next morning, there missionaries were basking in the return to American cooking from their typical meals of borscht (root vegetable and cabbage soup).
Arriving Monday, May 12th from the MTCs in Mexico City and Provo were 5 Sister missionaries: Sister Havea (from Tonga), Sister MacKillop and Sister Knouse (Spanish speaking), Sister Taylor and Sister Hess. The Mission is now about 40% Sisters and we’re loving their “touch” throughout the mission! After a tour of the Mesa Temple Visitors Center where we also did the individual and group pictures, they headed back to the mission office for lunch, orientation and a nap (it’s 2:30 in the morning when the Mexico City MTC awakens the departing missionaries for their trip to Arizona). They each had a great first contacting session where several referrals and Books of Mormon were placed followed by dinner and an early bed time.
Tuesday was the mission-wide transfer meeting where Sister Sweeney and President Sweeney shared thoughts on Faith, followed by the showing of the Church’s recent videos on Mothers and Easter. Soon enough, each new missionary was paired up with their new companions and were off to their new assignments. We love these newly arrived missionaries already!