Sushi Elders

Missionaries who served in Japan almost always develop a taste for sushi.  And, some Missionaries who DIDN’T serve in Japan also develop a taste for sushi – but because it is expensive, rarely get a chance to indulge.

That’s where Mission Presidents who love missionaries who love sushi comes in:  Subsidy.  They pony up $5 each and President gets the rest – including the lunch special and lots and lots of sushi!

And so it was recently that this intrepid group of Spanish Elders who love sushi joined for P-Day lunch at our favorite restaurant – Sekai Sushi.

Sekai Sushi Mesa 10.2014

L to R, Elders Soto and Peters; Second row, President Sweeney, Elders Aiono, Swanson, Haney, Pilkington, Sorensen and Call

The food was quickly prepared, the sushi was outstanding and in 30 minutes or so the entire meal was consumed by these hungry Elders.  It gives the Spanish speaking Elders a very nice break from tacos, enchiladas, rice and beans etc.

But I noted they DID use a LOT of wasabi!

Missionary Wisdom – Elder Peters

elder-peters“I’m tired all the time but to be totally honest I have never ever in my whole life had more fun and felt more alive and loved being around people that I cant understand. all I want to do is tell everyone I love them and want to do everything in my power to help them because I find so much happiness in serving people and showing someone who is having a bad day that someone out there in this world loves them and cares for them and wants them to be happy!! this gospel is starting to bless my life in ways I could never have imagined and I am so so happy its crazy because I’m super poor and I never sleep but yet I wouldn’t give this up for anything in this whole world!!!”

Departures September/October 2014

Departures are such bittersweet times! We have grown to love these missionaries and yet we know they must leave us and embark upon their greater Missions in life. In September and October 2014 we bid farewell to a total of 29 missionaries – 2 of whom (Elders Gillming and Carmon) went on to their permanent mission assignments in Brazil and 1 (Sister Heuea) back to Temple Square to complete her mission there. Included among these missionaries were many who had served as Sister Training Leaders, Zone Leaders and District Leaders.  Sister Rudy opened Ft. Apache to Sisters work, an amazing step for that Branch.  All contributed of their energies and talents to grow the Kingdom!  Their departure necessarily will require growth in their remaining missionary companions to step up to those roles.

And, the remaining missionaries WILL step up and grow! That is how the Lord does it. President Hinckley some years ago, when commenting on giving converts “a responsibility” quipped “just think of the chance the Lord took when He called you!” And so it is the order of things. In this dispensation, the rising generation WILL be more faithful than their parents….

We love and miss you, dear Elders and Sisters!

KNNB Radio Show – Ft. Apache

Going through Whiteriver AZ on a Sunday afternoon and tune to 88.1 on the FM dial and you may be surprised to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ being preached as a companionship of any 2 of the 8 missionaries will be on the air answering questions. Pictured above are Elders Clark and Harber on a past radio program. They look quite natural, don’t they?

This tradition has been going on for some months – just last week two Sisters – Sister Lopez and Sister Zavala – were the hosts to the 30 minute call in program. Here is what Sister Zavala said of their experience last week:

“So my week this week was amazing! We went on the radio to preach the gospel! We taught the 10 commandments. So there is 8 missionaries in this reservation in a small branch. And every Sunday the Elders would take turns and go. I wanted to go but my companion didn’t so 2 weeks ago transfers happened and a new sister came in and she agreed to go with me! So we went on Sunday and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life! It was amazing to teach on the radio. We only had 30 mins and thought we weren’t going to have enough time but totally could have used more time haha. It was so wonderful!”

Little by little, our missionaries ARE fulfilling Elder Bednar’s prophetic invitation: “As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I invoke this blessing upon you: that you may come to understand more fully the spiritual significance and blessing of living in the dispensation of the fulness of times, that you may have eyes to see clearly both the possibilities and the pitfalls of the remarkable technologies that are available to us today, that you may increase in your capacity to use these inspired tools appropriately, and that you may receive inspiration and guidance about the role you should play in helping to sweep the earth as with a flood of truth and righteousness.” (To Sweep the Earth as With a Flood, Aug. 19 BYU Education Week Devotional)

Missionary Wisdom – From the Luna NM Sisters!

Luna Sisters 11.1.2014

Sister Christensen, Sister Doolhoff and Sister Harrast

On Saturday our plans didn’t feel right. we felt like we needed to see Sister Hulsey, no idea why, she is completely active. We wrote her down, but didn’t end up seeing her that day.

So on Sunday (the next day) we needed lunch, and we don’t travel home to eat it because it’s too far. We usually ask a member in the ward to feed us. Sister Christensen asked Sister Hulsey to feed, while we were sitting in relief society. Church ends, and we start the drive to their hunting lodge where she says her daughter in law is feeding hunters. My first thought was “well this will be awkward eating lunch with a bunch of hunters!” but also an opportunity to TTI. So we get to the lodge and Brother Hulsey comes out and says his sister in law isn’t there and to go somewhere else for food. So we start to drive away and Sister Hulsey is driving up so we roll down the window and she tells us to go back and that there is definitely food for us to have. So we awkwardly drive back to the lodge and go inside and wait for supper to be served.

Meanwhile, we socialize with the hunters. Two of them are from Alma, Michigan, a city 14 miles from where I am from! They happen to have graduated from the same university my dad is an accountant for. So we make connections. One of them is from Fort Lauderdale, FL, so I talk to him about the temple open house there. He says his friend is Mormon and helping out with the open house etc. We talk to them about the church and finish our lunch. Before we leave, to say thank you, we sang them a hymn. This is what we do with pretty much everyone, soften hearts by music. And it works, this story is evidence of it. We sing our song to one of the hunters, the others had gone outside. We offer him a Book of Mormon, he says no. Then we leave, and as we leave the hunters tell us bye and to come back sometime. They said they could hear our song from outside and they loved the hymn.

5 minutes after we drive away, we realize we forgot out phone. Time to go back, and it was a good thing too because we needed to invite the others to have a Book of Mormon too. We come back and invite them all to take a Book of Mormon, they all say no. but they say jokingly to “come by tomorrow and sing for us again.” We leave, again.

5 hours later we’re at President Hamblin’s in Eagar for dinner. We sit in the car making phone calls beforehand etc. and we see we have a message from Sister Hulsey. She says the hunters have been talking about us NON-STOP in the lodge! They have been asking question after question about our beliefs, what we do as missionaries, where the funding comes from, what we have to do to become one, and everything. They want us to come back and talked to them and sing for them on Tuesday! YES! So my testimony has grown of music, and of eating lunch with hunters 🙂 What a tender mercy from the Lord. We screamed in the car when we got that surprise message from Sister HUlsey. We knew why we thought of her a few days earlier. This was supposed to happen and we are softening those hunters hearts one song and invite at a time! It was a golden opportunity and we’re so grateful. Who ever is praying for us in the zone, thank you for helping us to contact them!

(Written by Sister Harrast, and co-starring Sisters Doolhoff and Christensen)

Mission Tour – Elder and Sister Lawrence

Elder and Sister Lawrence

On November 10 – 12, Sister Sweeney and I joined Sister Laurel Lawrence and her husband, Elder Larry R. Lawrence of the Second Quorum of the Seventy on a Mission Tour. A Mission Tour is an annual event where a General Authority of the Church (typically a Seventy) visits the mission to meet with the Elders and Sisters, review mission performance and (if possible) lift mission performance.

Last year we felt incredibly blessed to have Elder Teh visit our mission. This year we feel equally blessed.

Sister Lawrence started the two-stop mission tour (one meeting was held for the 4 Mountain Zones, one meeting for the 7 Valley Zones) with a dose of doctrine. She taught for 2 hours on the House of Israel, explaining how this doctrine applied to the missionaries and to those they would find. In a demonstration to illustrate how Ephraim and Manasseh, the sons of Joseph, were leading the latter-day gathering of Israel, the missionaries stood when Sister Lawrence called the name of their tribe as declared in their patriarchal blessing. Most were from Ephraim, 10% or so from Manasseh and one or two from other tribes (those Elders and Sisters of Polynesian or Latin American ancestry).

With great skill, Sister Lawrence painted a picture of the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage as the modern-day equivalent of the Abrahamic Covenant – the way to return to live with God and have a God-like life. Over and over she stressed the importance of living true to their pre-mortal covenants to be faithful and (for the Elders) fulfill their pre-mortal promise to gather the House of Israel; to be covenant keepers.

Elder Lawrence joined Sister Lawrence by working with the Mission Leadership Council (on Monday, Nov. 10) to raise the bar and define what being an “exactly obedient” missionary meant. The missionaries agreed it meant getting up/out/in on time, listening to music that was clearly at or above the standards in the Missionary Handbook (and for clarity, defining it as Mormon Tabernacle Choir music of hymns or out of the Children’s Songbook), and using time wisely. In the Mission Tour Mountain and Valley meetings that followed, those commitments were accepted by all 206 missionaries.

It was a glorious time of refreshing and re-dedication to living up to our privileges.

Coincident or not, this week, the mission also had a baptism of a family of 8 in one of the Mountain Zones! Sisters Hogenson, Lords and Krutsch being the missionaries that are serving in the Clay Springs Ward of the Show Low Stake.

Here are multi-zone pictures for your enjoyment!

Mission Tour Valley Zones

Mission Tour Valley Zones

Mission Tour Mountain Zones

Mission Tour Mountain Zones