At noon on September 28, the Arizona Scottsdale Mission welcomed 14 arriving missionaries! President and Sister Sweeney along with Sister Baham and 3 Assistants greeted the missionaries as they arrived at Sky Harbor Airport to temperatures around 95 degrees – seasonal for this time of year. The arriving group included missionaries from across the US and 1 from Peru – who will join the Spanish speakers in the mission.
The first stop was to Pioneer Park – across the street from the Mesa Temple – where the missionaries had sub sandwiches and salads – along with some energetic pigeons to contend with. The covered pavilions made it a pleasant place to get acquainted with the Assistants and Sister Bass, the office secretary. The Mesa Temple was the next stop where pictures were taken in the shade of some trees that surround the temple. It’s a great time for missionaries to be taught the meaning of Pres. Russell M. Nelson’s words “begin with the end in mind” – meaning the temple.
Next stop was the Mission Office and chapel where the missionaries cooled off as they were oriented by Elder Dale (housing), Elder Morgan (finance), Sister Bass (office secretary), Elder Kunzler (housing inspections), Elder Allen (vehicles) and Sister Allen (referrals) while President Sweeney conducted get acquainted interviews. At 4:30 the newly arrived missionaries were greeted by 5 companionships of seasoned missionaries who would be their temporary companions for first time contacting. After some practice, they headed to various places in Scottsdale and Phoenix – like downtown Old Scottsdale, parks and a neighborhood where Spanish-speakers live where they met and talked with those who were in the area, seeking to get a teaching appointment or the placement of a Book of Mormon.
Dinner was next featuring Cafe Rio style food – pork, chicken and all the trimmings for salads or burritos with ice cream and Texas sheet cake for dessert. This provided an excellent time for the new and experienced missionaries to mingle and talk about the things they learned. The day ended with a brief testimony meeting at the chapel. The arriving Sisters went to an apartment near the Mission Home where one of their new trainers met them and got them settled for the night. The Elder stayed at the Mission Home with President and Sister Sweeney and by 10:30 it was lights out.
Tuesday morning started at 6:00 am with basketball at the adjacent chapel – the Assistants joined President Sweeney and the entire group played round robin games of 5 on 5 – no keeping score and no full court basketball – but everyone got some exercise and had a great time. The Sisters joined for breakfast at 7:00 am – eggs, bacon, pancakes, milk, and juice were all snapped up and by 7:45 am they were assembled at the chapel for driving safety exams (everyone passed). At 9:45 the new missionaries joined their new trainers where they received instruction on what the first 12 weeks would be like – and their expectations from the trainers and well as the trainers expectations of them. Finally, at 11:00 am, the trainers and trainees were announced and they were ready to have lunch with their new companions.
Lunch was hamburgers and hot dogs courtesy of Elder and Sister Dale – who cater most of our large mission meals. The transfer meeting – which features instruction by Pres. and Sister Sweeney and lots of missionary talent for the music – started at 1:00 pm – and ended at 2:15 – followed by drivers tests and the loading of the cars for their first fields of labor.
This is another great group of missionaries! We need them to grow fast to replace the “wave” of missionaries who are departing just now in large numbers. They’re going to fill those shoes – and enlarge them!