Arizona Scottsdale Mission – Latest Arrivals 7.6.2015

On Monday, July 6th, the Arizona Scottsdale Mission welcomed 13 new missionaries from the Provo MTC. It’s summer in Phoenix and (no surprise) it was H-O-T! Not 115 degree hot, but a solid 109! We’ve delayed the arrival time for the missionaries to noon (it was previously 9 am) to allow them to get some sleep (some missionaries stayed awake all night when the MTC to airport departure time was 4 am) the night before they arrive – making for a much more alert arriving Elder and Sister.

Frankly, the rolled into the waiting area looking fabulous! All neatly dressed, eyes wide open and ready to go do MISSIONARY WORK! After having the Elders assist the Sisters with getting their bags (and we do teach the Elders to be courteous around Sisters) off the baggage claim belt and loaded on the waiting cargo trailer, the group headed for Mesa and lunch at a Subway sandwich shop. An hour later, we headed for the Mesa Temple and Visitor’s Center where we had the new missionaries get acquainted with Elder Russell M. Nelson’s admonition to “begin with the end in mind” and to picture their investigators NOT in baptismal white, but in temple white! They also got their pictures taken inside the center and were able to spend several minutes gazing at the nearby Mesa Temple through the large windows of the Visitors Center.

Back to the Mission Office for a brief orientation on housing, medical, driving privileges, mail, and finances – all by the Mission Office and Service Mission staff. Then, time for first time contacting! Each of the new missionaries was welcomed (some by the very same missionaries who would be their new companion’s the next day) by a companionship of experienced missionaries and taken to a park or tourist area in Scottsdale or Phoenix. The Sisters went to Old Town Scottsdale where they visited with tourists on summer vacation. The Elders went to various nearby parks – even one where they play frisbee golf to meet people! After an hour of contacting, they came away with courage that they can do this – and in many cases, referrals.

Dinner was Cafe Rio – followed by some training on driving safety and a rehearsal of the things learned during the day. Bed time was 9 pm – with a 6 am early wake up the next day.

Tuesday, the new Elders joined Pres. Sweeney for PE in the Mission Home back yard – then had breakfast prepared by Sister Sweeney and Elder and Sister Murri – an senior missionary couple doing activation work in St. Johns – and our trusted helpers at transfer time. It was delish, but no time to dawdle – by 8 am the new missionaries were on the way to a nearby chapel for a written drivers test while their future new companions were being trained on how to be a good trainer. Soon enough, the two groups joined together and the new companionships formed. By 3 pm, most had taken their driving test and were on the way to their first area. This group mostly ended up in the Mountains – a nice place to be during the summer!

This group impressed both Sister Sweeney and me by their dedication and great desires to serve! We love all of them!

How Was the Flight, Elder Sorensen?

If your Dad is a pilot – and if he flies for Delta – and if he knows his son is coming home on Delta from PHX to SLC, would you want to be the pilot of the plane flying him home?

That is the question Brother Sorensen – a Delta pilot – faced on July 6 as his son traveled home from his mission. And for Brother Sorensen, the answer was a resounding “Yes I will!” As these pictures attest, the SLC-bound Elders and Sisters were given the royal treatment as they met Brother Sorensen at the gate in Phoenix pre-flight and were chauffeured home. I bet they even got 2 sodas!

Departures 7.5.2015

July 2015 Departures

L to R, F to B: Elder and Sister Murri, Elder Rayas, Sisters Lee, Johnston, Lieberman, Lakin, Lopez and Baros. Back: Elders Burggraaf, Blake, Soto, Harris, Stott, Murray, Linn, Shirley, Simpson, States, Sorensen, Call, Riggs, Bumgarner , Myers, Socha, Terrazas, and Nevin.

For the first time on our mission, 100% of the missionaries in our first arriving group have now returned home.  The Sisters that arrived in July 2013 have been home for 6 months.  Now, so have the Elders.  Put another way, 100% of the missionaries now in the Arizona Scottsdale Mission have never known any other mission president and companion.

This next year, Sister Sweeney and I are determined to give all arriving Elders and Sisters a “year to remember” as we re-double our efforts to train and work with the newly arriving missionaries.

With great affection we bid farewell to the July 2015 departing Elders and Sisters – who have grown so wonderfully in their 18 mo/ 2 years of service!  These Elders and Sisters were part of the first wave of missionaries who responded to the Prophet’s call to serve when he lowered the age for missionary service. Because of the growing missionary complement size during the time they were first serving, they often trained a new missionary after their first 6 weeks!  They had to grow up fast – and they did!

It was seasonably warm for the departing Elders and Sisters – about 100 degrees when dinner started.  We delayed the group picture for about 90 minutes while the departing Mountain Elders and SIsters arrived – having been caught up in a 20 miles back up of traffic in Payson – due to people returning to the valley for the July 4th weekend.

The Murri’s and Sister Bass helped out with the Cafe Rio dinner and the fast-Sunday hungry Elders and SIsters made short work of the shredded pork and chicken!  We dearly love these special missionaries!