We loved them instantly. I cannot explain it, but we just fell in love with every single one of them!
There was only one American sister, sister Anderson. They have some from the MTC in Mexico, where they were in different districts, sister Anderson being there the longest. They are sharp, prepared, eager, and ready to go. We are thrilled they arrived safe and sound.
We brought them home to the mission home and had a light breakfast, while we got to know them a bit. President interviewed them each,we have 12 of them a quick English language evaluation. I talked to them, briefly about their apartments,and some health guidelines.
We went to the church, by the Temple, the Union Stake Center and spent the day training. When we walked into the cultural hall, (this is my favorite part), there, waiting, with the room completely set up and ready, were their 13 trainers. Sitting, anxiously waiting and smiling. I loved it. I love them so much. President and I shook each of their hands and looked deeply into each of their eyes. As we told them later that morning, they carry a huge trust.. to train and guide one of their peers in such a huge life changing task. This work is a labor of love and of learning to lose oneself in the service of God. These trainers, in our hearts and minds, must be in the best spiritual shape of their lives... (more about that later)
I simply cannot write how glorious that day was. I wish I could, but there is just. so. much. The assistants began.. we sang and prayed, we stood to recite our missionary purpose, (which, they all had already memorized), and Doctrine and Covenants 4.
The assistants taught, President counseled, I said a thing or two:) Elder Kingford talked about their finances, and how that all worked. We talked about their health, and stamina, their study schedule, their confidence and trust in their trainers. We had snacks :)
Then we divided up and President and I took the trainers into another room, while the assistants continued with the new missionaries.
I wish I could convey how President Clayton and I feel about training a new missionary. The father and mother in us comes out, and honestly my heart just spills over with love for these new, new missionaries in a different place, sometimes a new country, learning a new language, and learning the gospel well enough to teach it by heart. A new apartment, most likely with bugs living there also :/
a new grueling schedule, a new climate, a new companion you must stay with all day every day.
New food, Sunday clothes, and undoubtedly new Sunday shoes to be worn from sun up to sundown. Bottled water, eating meals with new and sometimes unfamiliar traditions and with different families in different homes. Studying the things of God, like you´ve never studied before, denying yourself things you are accustomed to to relax and for down time. Memorizing and learning the things of the spirit, well enough that you can teach them from your heart and believe them with all your heart and soul, because the spirit of the Lord has witnessed to you that they are true.
I could go on and on (as you well know) :) but I´ll stop.
We talked to the trainers from our hearts and asked them to be the kind of trainers they wished they had had. If they had had a fabulous trainer, to build on that and be kinder and gentler and patient and loving. President told them that he had prayed long and hard about who should be trusted to be trainers for these particular new missionaries and he explained that each of their names had come to him from heaven. He told them that he made the decisions of companionships and trainers before he had met the new missionaries, and earlier that morning, after he had interviewed them, he felt that not one change needed to be made.
We were quiet for a few moments to let all we had said sink in, and we could tell the spirit confirmed to them that their calls had come from the Lord and that he would bless their efforts.
We had a small break while slices and slices of pizza disappeared, juice and trail mix that those wonderful office elders delivered.
The assistants lined up the trainers on one side of the cultural hall and the new missionaries on the other side, and President called the new missionary`s name, and then his or her trainers name, and as they walked to each other to embrace, the trainer called out what area they would be serving in,,,
Manzanillo! Colima ! Tepic! Guzman! Vallarta! Union! It was thrilling to watch.
It`s time to find out who the companionships are.... who is with who???
Sitting for a few minutes with their new trainers
getting to know each other
I love this picture so much!
Sister Turitich and Sister Ortega - Sayula - Guzman
Elder Contreras and Elder Gamez - Estadios-Tepic
Elder Gaona and Elder Palilla - Tabachines - Colima
Elder Rodriguez and Elder Todd - Ameca - Union
Elder Mejia and Elder Sherwood - de Diciembre Vallarta
Elder Montan and Elder Barfuss - Villa de Alvarez - Colima
Sister Anderson and Sister Ibanez - Las Brisas - Manzanillo
Sister Flores and Sister Espinosa - Magisterial - Colima
Sister Ruiz and Sister Garcia - Centenario - Colima -
Sister Marciano and Sister Newbold - Fresnos .Tepic
Sister Gomez and Sister Hernandez - Coapinole - Vallarta
Sister Muro and Sister Reyes - de Diciembre - Vallarta
Sister Hernandez and Sister Huamani - Residencial - Lomas
(Sister Hernandez came the next day and we did her
training at the mission home with just her and her companion
-trainer-so these pictures were taken day one and day two)
Once again the assistants orchrestrated the details for getting these missionaries to where they needed to be to take a taxi to catch a bus and head out to their various areas. Only the Vallarta ones stayed overnight and began their journey to Vallarta early the next morning. Here they all are catching their taxi`s... it will make every mother cringe... but President and I blew kisses and kisses and waved and waved until we couldn´t see them any more...
President watching his missionaries heading out...
What a fabulous day!