Sister Missionaries Visit Cibecue

Sisters in Cibecue

Sister Ruggles, Sister Fall and Sister Tenney

“Well biggest miracle I need to tell you is that my companion and I started a revolution haha kinda! So this has kinda been my goal my whole mission to get to Cibecue. But a transfer ago, the Cibecue elders told us that the Young women’s program has boomed and there are a lot of young women & you know elders….they don’t know what to do. So We took that as our shot to get in haha 😀 so finally yesterday, we had the opportunity to go to Cibecue & it was such a success! 🙂 Our YW Pres took us and it is about 45 minutes away from us. we met up with the elders over there at their church & their chapel is tiny tiny, literally one room, it’s so cute haha 😀 and they gave us girls numbers & their addresses and we went at it.

Thank goodness our YW Pres knew where she was going and we got to contact 5 girls and they are so excited! There was one girl, her name is Faith, she is 17 who actually texted us and told us to meet her at the church, because she didn’t want to miss us before we left. And then there was another 16 year old girl, Brandy, who she really wants to go on a mission, she even had her young women torch necklace on when we came & it just brought me so much joy to see the excitement of these young women and although they aren’t in the most ideal situation, they are standing Strong to their faith. So we are going to try to keep contact with them & hopefully get out there every other week. But it definitely felt like an honor to be able to meet these sisters, they all had such a special spirit about them and it just goes to show how much stronger the youth need to be these days and how the Lord truly prepared them till this time to be the choice generation 🙂 So yeah, cool revolution of the mission haha! First Sister Missionaries in Cibecue, the elders
warned us that they probably have no idea what sister missionaries are…so we made it a point to tell them we are the lady versions of the elders hahah :D”

Missionary Stories

DSC_1002 S Zabariza

Sister Zabariza


Last sunday, I was asked to be one of the speakers. I know I didn’t have a perfect grammar but I was so surprised when I saw that majority of the members were crying. They told me how great my talk was. I then realized that it wasn’t me, it’s the spirit. I’ve never been so confident like that since I’ve been here. But, with the help of the Spirit and the preparation of the listeners, the message was carried into their hearts. The Spirit is the teacher. He’s the testator. And I know that no matter how inadequate I feel I am, as long as I have the Spirit, I can do all things.   (Sister Zabariza)

DSC_0968 S Fukushima best

Sister Fukushima



Last Wednesday, we delivered cookies out to White Mountain Lakes.  We visited one less active, we figured out that they weren’t home, so we were about to leave.

Then a strong impression came to us that we should wait.

We were already in the car, it was in the middle of the day, and we had more deliveries to make.  But we waited, and here he came back home in a minute.  So we handed him the plate of cookies, he told us that his wife would be home next week, and they will invite us for dinner.  That was just a great miracle. We looked at each other, and said Yeah!!! Yeah!!!
That was pretty much the only thing we could say. It was just super surprising.

And a couple days after that, this man called us and told us that there is one friend of his who wants to know more of the gospel.  We were like, what?  We screamed in the car after hanging up the phone. It seriously was a miracle.  We were supposed to “soften” this mans heart (that’s what our bishop told us) and he, he is bringing his friend into the gospel.  How could that happen!?!?!?

I know when there is some power beyond mine own.  We are starting to teach him this week.

I’m seeing so many miracles and how much cookies can open up people’s hearts (and even doors).  I can tell that this week is going to be great, even better!!!  (Sister Fukushima)


Last night, we had our first lesson with this “cookie miracle referral” man.
He is 25 (if my memory is right) and has a two year old daughter, and is a single father.
We taught him the restoration, and he told us that learning more is what he wants.
We were prompted by the spirit, and invited him to be baptized.
And he said yes!!!!! He said that he will try his best!!!!!!!!
He is on date for March 19th, and we are so excited about it. This was the first time for me to receive a referral, teach the first lesson, and invite someone to be baptized.  But it was amazing. The spirit was strong, and I was so happy about everything that happened.

The Lord does prepare people and I know that to be true!!!!
I can’t wait to see more miracles this week!!!

福島姉妹より (Sister Fukushima)

Elder A.  Johnson


Okay, Justin K. is awesome. Justin is married to a woman that is an active member of the church (named Shannon) and for the last FOREVER, missionaries have been teaching him. He has received all of the missionary lessons and has been coming to church every week with his wife for the past FOREVER but in the last month or so, Justin has really begun to get serious about joining the church. Justin is ready to be baptized and constantly says, “I know that I’m ready to be baptized but I’m not READY yet.” and so as I’ve developed a relationship with him and we’ve become friends and have built trust, I have realized that I may as well just consistently invite him to be baptized. Last Thursday, we had dinner with Shannon and Justin and while we were at their house I was like, “Justin, you’re ready to be baptized, this is just ridiculous. You’re just denying yourself blessings every day that you wait. Will you prepare yourself to be baptized on Feb 27th?” and he was like, “No, Elder!” and that was that.

Well, on Saturday night, my companion and I were doing some planning and we felt prompted to just text Justin and invite him again to be baptized and that went something like this, “Hey Justin, hope you’re doing well. We know that you already declined the invitation to be baptized next Saturday but we were just doing some planning and we really felt prompted that we should text you to tell you that we feel that you would be prepared to be baptized on Feb. 27th and we figured that it couldn’t hurt to ask. Will you be baptized next Saturday, Feb. 27th?” and what happened next BLEW my mind. The next morning, we got a text from Justin saying, “Okay. I’m ready.” and when we saw him at church, we ironed out the details of his baptism and he told me, “Hey, thank you for constantly inviting me to be baptized and for loving me and my family enough to be bold with me.” He and I talked a little bit about how he felt so grateful that Elder Garvey had prepared him so well to be baptized. To me, this is a testimony of two things. One, if you love someone, you will be bold with them. Two, always follow promptings from the Spirit, even when they seem redundant or silly.  (Elder A. Johnson)

A Consecrated Missionary

[Shared with permission; name withheld)

“This month has been so rough for me personally. No matter how hard I want to be focused, my mind goes to my family. My dad left his job a year ago. He tried to find another job but he didn’t have any luck. It’s hard to find a job especially when someone’s 40ish and older. And so, last January, my mom decided to work in a foreign country. Her job is to take care of a child. It was hard, she said. But she decided to be there for us.  This worries me all the time.

I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to be comforted and to feel peace, so I decided to kneel down in prayer. I’m certain that it was one of the most fervent and sincere prayers that I ever said.

I found peace when I read the scriptures the next morning; D&C 118:3

“Let the residue continue to preach from that hour, and if they will do this in all lowliness of heart, in meekness and humility, and long-suffering, I, the Lord, give unto them a promise that I will provide for their families; and an effectual door shall be opened for them, from henceforth.”

During the recent Zone Conference that we had, we were asked for the things that we want to sacrifice. Here are the things that I wrote:

-Sacrifice all doubts, concerns, fears and half-heartedness, and

-use my time wisely: DO NOT PROCRASTINATE!

Thank you for your inspired selections of the topics for the conference. Since then, I realized I needed to trust the Lord more especially when He promised that He will take care of the families of those who serve Him. Everything won’t be easy. But I know, as I consecrate my all to the Lord, he will do the same. I will leave everything behind to better fulfill my responsibility as a missionary.”

2016 Missionary Musical Fireside – Seek This Jesus

Last Sunday, Feb. 21 the Arizona Scottsdale Mission joined with the Mesa Maricopa and Mesa Maricopa North Stakes to present our mission’s annual musical fireside. The theme of the evening was Seek This Jesus – which is an excerpt from Ether 12:41 “And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written.” This event was first held last year in the Scottsdale North Stake and features the best missionary talent combined with the best talent from the sponsoring stakes and nearby churches of other denominations. This year the program had choirs from 2 other churches, the Living Spirit Gospel Choir and the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Mesa.

Under the direction of Lori Woods and Dottie Layton, excellent musicians and choir directors from the 2 stakes, the combined member-missionary choir performed 2 spectacular numbers, This is the Christ (to open the performance) and I Believe in Christ (to close the performance). From all accounts the 80 singers became a physical and spiritual power that spiritually lifted the entire 800 persons who gathered to view the performance.

Under the direction of Elder Morgan, and the supervising and arranging of Elder Johnson, the missionaries also performed several other numbers. Elder Sands and Elder Thompson performed a stunning version on organ and piano of For the Beauty of the Earth. Elder Johnson joined with 3 others to form a string quartet and played A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief with just the right amount of tenderness and strength. The Missionary Choir performed Beautiful Savior with Elder Sands on the piano and Elder Kirk Taylor – one of our Service Missionaries on the organ (He also runs his own music school here in the valley). They were perfectly led by Elder Morgan and sounded angelic. A smaller subset of the choir then performed a perfect (I keep using that term!) and demanding rendition of Savior, Redeemer of My Soul – with Elder Johnson backing the group (literally) on violin.

Here is just one of the reactions from those who attended:  “Another highlight of the week was the Musical Fireside this past Sunday! It was wonderful! We came with a less active and she burst into tears when the Spanish Choir sang “Nearer My God to Thee”.  She is from Texas and Hispanic and she was raised speaking Spanish, but is also completely fluent in English. Her family has been through a lot in the past year with the sudden passing of her little brother. This event led to her inactivity in the church, but she has recently been taking great strides to come back. She came to church and the fireside yesterday. We are so proud of her and all of her progress and can already see how much happier she is.”

I thought we could never equal last year’s performance – but I was wrong. This year’s performance combined members and missionaries working together for His glory – it was by all measures – a resounding success in inviting all to “seek this Jesus.”

Mission Valentine’s Day – 2016

Leave it to these Elders and Sisters to surprise Sister Sweeney at last night’s musical fireside rehearsal with chocolate covered strawberries, flowers and balloons – her favorites!  Thank you parents for raising these thoughtful young men and women!

Valentines Day 2016

L to R, Elders Meza, Damiani, Hepworth, Schaat, Grimes, and Kaufusi and Sisters Pazmino and Medrano



Departures 2.1.2016

Group Best Crop

L to R: Pres and Sis. Sweeney, Elders Hinds, Bouck, Mayberry, Greenhalgh, Martinez, Thomas, Hunt, Kennedy, Damoth, Bennett and Pischke

It’s been many months since we had only Elders departing the mission – but it happened again with the February 2016 departing group. All 11 gathered at the Mission Home last Sunday for their farewell dinner and a testimony meeting. It’s still winter here in Arizona – and there was a definite chill in the air Sunday evening – but perfect weather for Cafe Rio tortilla soup – which the Elders enjoyed buffet style – finished off with a hot oven-baked cookie with a scoop of ice cream.

This group is simply outstanding! All of them have contributed their heart, might, mind and strength to the work of the Lord. Many of them have been close enough to the Mission Office that Pres. Sweeney has played basketball with them on P-Days – and that’s always a highlight – but because they are so trusted, most of the group has spent time in the White Mountains some 3+ hours from the Mission Office.

The departure testimony meeting concluded the evening and each of them was able to express the ways they’ve grown (and they are all young men of valor) during their missionary service. It was an emotional group that night.

We wish them God’s richest blessings on their continuing journey in mortality!

Arizona Scottsdale Mission – 2.1.2016 Arrivals!

The Arizona Scottsdale Mission welcomed 5 arriving missionaries on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016! After an early start (something like 4:30 am) to the day at the MTC, the Elder and Sisters arrived safely in Phoenix around 1:00 pm where they were met by Pres. and Sister Sweeney and the Assistants – Elder Strike and Elder Hepworth.

One missionary, Elder Leituala from Samoa, was scheduled to arrive with this group, but he injured himself in the MTC and after some surgery, will be arriving on March 1.  One missionary, Elder Ebisch from Germany, was originally scheduled to arrive in September 2015, but visa delays took an additional 90 days and he arrived 1.22.2016 and his picture is shown with this group.  We’re very blessed to have Sister Manarangi from Tonga with us as well!

This group has so many talents!

The arriving Sisters and Elder first toured the recently refurbished Mesa Temple Visitor’s Center to learn what things were available there to help them in their teaching duties.  We focused on “Beginning with the End in Mind” – a gospel principle Elder Nelson teaches often in the MTC.  It is seeing your investigators early and often – in temple white, not just baptismal white.  These Elder and Sisters are ready to go there!

After some brief orientation the Elders and Sisters went off to various spots in Scottsdale to contact “real” people.  They had a great experience and arrived back for dinner and a discussion of what they had learned in their first contacting experiences.  ALL of them performed well.  ALL of them learned new things from their efforts.  In many parts of the mission, missionary companionships will get 100+ first time contacts in a week.  This first adventure prepares the new missionaries to open their mouths and work for the promised blessings (see D&C 33: 8-10).

Tuesday  – all rested – the arriving Elder and Sisters joined some of the more experienced missionaries nearby for 15 minutes of 10 minute trainer and 20 minutes of early morning basketball at the chapel right next to the mission home.    We don’t keep score, but if we did, the team of Sisters Gulley, Paul, Elder Stone and Pres. Sweeney would have cleaned up!  By 11:15 a.m. and after driver testing and companion assignments had been made, it was lunch time!  Driving tests and getting final supplies followed, but by 6:00 pm, every new missionary was on their way to their new area.

We say it time and again:  these are very special young missionaries and we love them already!