Monday, Nov. 9, the Arizona Scottsdale Mission welcomed 13 brand new missionaries to the mission! Due to an afternoon arrival in Phoenix from Salt Lake City – and the closure of the Mesa Temple Visitors Center for remodeling – the arriving Elders and Sisters came straight to the Mission Office for lunch (Pizza, finger vegetables and buffalo wings) followed by orientation.
By 4:30 pm they were on their way to various spots around Scottsdale and Phoenix for a day-1 contacting experience. Accompanied by seasoned missionaries, the arriving Elders mostly ended up in parks that dot the area – contacting those out for the evening – while the arriving Sisters ended up in downtown Scottsdale where the winter visitor season means lots of people from all of the country. All had success in “opening their mouths” as the Lord directs.
By 6:30 pm the group was back for Cafe Rio dinner – served outside in the large dining area on the patio.
We closed the day with some spiritual discussions about who opens the hearts of the people (the Lord), what types of events cause people to be open (significant life events like births, deaths, marriages and divorces, illnesses, accidents, etc), and our responsibility to talk to people everywhere we go to find those that are prepared.
Tuesday morning, the arriving Sisters joined Pres. Sweeney for 10-minute trainer type exercises and some jogging in the parking lot of the chapel right next to the mission home. Despite the chilly temperatures – we got plenty of great exercise. The Elders played basketball in the gym at the chapel next door. Everyone then joined together for breakfast at the mission home – provided by Elder and Sister Jex – one of our great senior missionary couples!
The workday began with driver’s written exams followed by some time learning what their focus is during the first 90 days and the roles of trainers and trainees. By 11:00 am, they were ready to be paired for their first assignments.
At 1:00 pm the entire group of transferring missionaries gathered for the Transfer Meeting where the arriving missionaries were introduced and Pres. and Sister Sweeney gave instruction to them on answering member and investigator concerns about the same sex marriage changes that were announced the previous Friday. Together, the entire group viewed and discussed Elder Christofferson’s video on this topic.
President Sweeney reminded the Elders and Sisters that the topic of same sex attraction (SSA) was one that deserved to be approached from a standpoint of love, respect and compassion. He taught them that viewed from only the lens of mortality, the doctrine of the Lord’s church regarding no cohabitation and marriage of SSA couples appeared unfair. But, that viewed with a longer lens that encompassed the pre-mortal life where we saw our Heavenly Father with a Heavenly Mother by his side – and knew that this was the divine plan – and the post mortal life where NO mortal afflictions and conditions will exist – the solemnizing of relationships on earth that would not be honored in heaven was in no way a kindness or consideration that could or should be extended.
Following Transfer Meeting, the arriving Elders and Sisters took and passed their driving tests and packed up for the various parts of the mission. About 1/2 of the arrivals ended up in the Mountains where some (to their surprise) needed to make a stop at the local thrift store to purchase warmer clothes for the winter ahead.
This is a very strong arriving group! Both Elders and Sisters have been well prepared. They are already a strength to the mission!