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!