Twice a year we do a mission wide temple trip. In the valley, we attend the Mesa Temple where we have over 110 missionaries. We break this large group into two groups. The first group went in the morning. Then we met with ALL Valley missionaries at a large church facility near the Mesa Temple and had lunch. The missionaries really enjoy these gatherings to see each other and catch up with missionaries they have not seen in a while. Bro. and Sis. Dale put on a great lunch of ham, potatoes, veges, rolls, salad and pies. We are so grateful for their talent and desire to feed this large group. Then President and Sis. Robinson went up to the mountains the next day where we were able to attend the Snowflake Temple with the missionaries who serve in the mountains. The temple was technically closed on this Thursday afternoon but accommodated our missionary group setting up a few extra chairs so we could all fit. This allowed all of us to be together in one session instead of splitting up. We have about 55 missionaries in the mountains. The Snowflake temple is quite a bit smaller than the Mesa Temple. We were so grateful for the temple presidency making this all possible. The missionaries were well fed by the Snowflake RS presidency that day as well. We are treated like royalty among the members out here. So many, many members willing to serve our missionaries and be of help. These temple sessions with the missionaries are something we all look forward to. Such a great way to start the Christmas season and the blessings we have because of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The Arizona Scottsdale Mission has been greatly blessed in the month of November to receive two senior missionary couples. Elder and Sis. Wainwright from Darlington, ID arrived Nov. 11, 2017. The Gemars who are from Ogden, UT, arrived in the mission field Nov. 13, 2017. Both these couples will serve as MLS missionaries in different wards. We are so excited to have them and get to know them better. We have already put them to put work! Besides helping in the wards they serve in, they have helped us out with transportation on transfer day. We love them and feel so grateful the Lord sent them to our mission!!
I’m sorry I overlooked one of our finest missionaries, Elder Johnson, who went home Oct. 28 after completing a valiant two year mission here in the AZ Scottsdale Mission. He was a great example of selfless service both to the investigators he taught and also to his fellow missionaries. We will miss him but know that there are great things ahead of him.
We had quite the stellar month in October for baptisms. We had 72 baptisms! Three children in one family got sick the Saturday night before their confirmations on Sunday and were not able to be confirmed. As far as statistics go, you count the ones who have been baptized and confirmed in that month so officially we had 69 baptisms. But the mission was really on fire! We celebrated at zone conferences with cake and ice cream. And we talked about the people behind these numbers and how precious they are to the Lord. We have a baptismal slide show at each zone conference highlighting those who have entered into the waters of baptism and letting each missionary see not only those who they baptized but other investigators they had been working with, and then got transferred, but who now are getting baptized. It is always a wonderful and emotional part of zone conference for the missionaries. This time, Sis. Robinson attached slides with all 69 names of the people who were baptized and confirmed at the end of the slide show to remind us that our work is about saving souls not about numbers or goals.
We received 14 new missionaries from the Provo MTC on Monday, Oct. 30. The weather was about as perfect as it gets here in Scottsdale. A light breeze but only about 80 degrees. We had lunch on the back patio of the Mission Home and then went next door to the Mountain Shadows building for orientation and new missionary training meetings. Love all 14 of these eager and faith filled young missionaries!
By late afternoon, the missionaries were ready to see who their new companion/trainer would be. All but one was able to meet their new companion. Elder Barlow met his new companion, Elder England the next up in the mountains. They are all off to a great start.
After the companionshipss are assigned we have meal with everyone. Sis. Dale cooked spaghetti for us tonight and Bro. Dale gave everyone a ‘bib’ to wear to keep their new missionary clothes clean, haha. Then all went out with their new companions and proselyted for the rest of the evening. It was a good day.
We had another great month of zone conferences with all the missionaries in the mission. See if you can find your missionary in the pictures. At zone conference we introduced another resource to our online proselyting efforts – Facebook, and Messenger. We have already been using our tablet devices utilizing the ability to show videos such as mormon messages and the mormon belief videos in lessons and in contacting. We now have expanded in being able to message investigators, teach lessons over skype or through video messaging, posting uplifting and inspiring messages on Facebook, creating invites to baptisms and posting on Facebook, and other missionary purpose driven ideas online. The missionaries will use their existing facebook accounts or if they do not currently have a facebook account they will create one. They will put a current picture of themselves as a missionary on their profile signifying to all that they are serving as a full time missionary. We have invited the missionaries to update their facebook page to reflect their missionary intent to invite all to come unto Christ and to go online with the soul purpose of moving the work of the Lord forward. They will continue to email family and friends on p-day. Please help the missionaries to be focused on their missionary purpose as they use these online tools by not tagging them in pictures and striking up conversations with them online. The missionaries are encouraged to become facebook friends with their investigators and recent converts. In order to help them remain focused on the work, they may ‘unfollow’ many family and friends to avoid having their news feed cluttered with pictures and posts from back home. Its an exciting time to be a missionary in the AZ Scottsdale Mission.
Transfers are always a bittersweet time for us. Always fun and exciting to welcome new missionaries into the field. But the next day we say good-bye to those missionaries who have completed their missionary service. We grow attached to these young elders and sisters. But life must go on and at some point they must return back home to their families and continue on in going about doing good. For this time, we said good-bye to 8 wonderful Elders who have served the Lord with dedication and devotion to His gospel. Fine young men. We will miss seeing them and interacting with them.