Today we welcomed 26 new missionaries! The Yakima Air Terminal has never seen such a fine group of young men and women all at the same time walking through their doors. It was breath-taking, especially for President Lewis and me. We were so excited to put names and faces (from small photos) with warm living missionaries! It was thrilling. If I weren’t so happy, I’d cry. I keep thinking that in a very short time, these missionaries will be my nearest and dearest friends–friends for life. Some of them will probably come to my funeral! We love them so much–it’s an immediate overwhelming love that is as wonderful as the love we feel for our own children. Thank you, parents, for sending them to us here in Yakima. We love you too. Here is our whole group. There were 4 who flew in later this afternoon–two from the Mexico MTC and 2 who missed this morning’s connection by 2 minutes. (They had gone to make their last phone calls home.) Collecting luggage: Everything is shiny and new–new luggage, new shoes, new suits and ties and dresses! Heading to the vans and cars and trailers in beautiful 82 degree weather with blue skies.Meeting the Assistants, Elders Smith & Archibald: Arriving at the Mission Home, about 10 minutes across town from the airport:The “Silver Stallion” truck and the mission trailer arriving at the Mission Home:Unloading in the garage. Carry-on bags came in, the rest stayed in the trailers until tomorrow:Lunch was ready and waiting–pulled pork sandwiches, fresh corn on the cob, chips, local watermelon, nectarines, apples and pears and lemonade. Ladies always go first!After lunch we took pictures of everyone– an individual shot to use on our transfer boards and a picture of each Elder and Sister with President Lewis and me to email to their families this evening, showing they arrived safe and sound. I’ll post the individual shots on FB so you can see each other. Here’s what they look like. Gold back grounds for Spanish speakers, blue for English. And then there’s Spanish-speaking Elder Smith, fearless leader, who was a little confused!
Here is dear Sister Call with orientation packets:Filling out some questionnaires and writing a quick note home to parents:Then the orientation meetings began. Do they look sleepy? Most didn’t get more than an hour or two of sleep last night!Meet our office couples–Elder Thompson, and Elder & Sister Call, who came to explain things about the cars, the reports and mail, ordering supplies, housing and landlords, finances and more.Then the fun began. To keep everyone awake and happy, missionaries serving locally came to the mission home and everyone went out on “splits.” That means they each went with a companion to proselyte or teach or find. So fun. And scary when it’s your first time! These missionaries quickly became good friends and went out for the next 1.5 hours to get a taste of real missionary work. When everyone returned, with stories to tell, we all met in a big circle and shared experiences. So fun. What amazing missionaries have come our way!Then we had a little time to relax before dinner. Dinner was served at 6:00 after our 4 last missionaries arrived from the airport–Elders Taele and Woodard and Sisters Clark and Hansen.
As we were eating, our last 4 missionaries arrived. Elder and Sister Call picked them up from the airport. Hermana Hansen and Clark flew in from the Mexico MTC and Elder Taela and Woodard came from Provo. This evening while President Lewis finished interviewing every one, we gathered together and I introduced ourselves to the group, told them a bit about who we are and what we did before we came here, then the Assistants introduced each other. Then we talked about the geography of the mission and what each area is like. Tomorrow they will be going to one of those areas.
When the interviews were finished, we had a testimony meeting, where each had a few minutes to share their feelings about why he or she came. Each bore sweet and strong testimonies about Jesus Christ and His work, and how our lives have changed to bring us all together in this place at this time. Get ready for miracles to happen in this area. How can they not, with the goodness that has just come to us?
By 10:30 everyone was pretty much asleep. 22 of us here in the Mission Home. Six went to the neighbor’s home–Pres. Smart and his wife kindly shared some beds so we’d all fit. It’s been a fabulous day. I wish you all could be here in this place right now! I hope you enjoy the photos and can see the joy and love in each face. Thanks to everyone who is helping make this the best mission ever!
A complete pile of all the photos taken will be posted on Facebook. Go to Photos, then Albums, then New Missionaries — 8 Sept 2015