Sunday, October 7, 2012

Catching Up

President Nelson told us when we arrived that this was like "being dropped on to the top of speeding bullet train." He wasn't kidding! What an amazing ride it is!

Now that I've sort of caught my balance, I'm going to give you a short summary of what has happened since President Calderwood and I arrived.

Four weeks in, we had our first transfer. We were so excited to welcome the 10 missionaries we were blessed to meet in the MTC plus four English-speaking elders and one Mandarin-speaking elder who weren't at the MTC while we were there. We are so happy to have these wonderful, obedient and hard-working missionaries. They are precious to us!
Back row: Elder Greenwood, Elder Ozuna Castillo, Elder Liston, Elder Sefcik, Elder Snyder, Elder Broadbent,
Elder Law, Elder Peacock, Elder Brown, Elder Kitchen and Elder McDonald
Seated: Sister Bradfield, Sister Reid, Sister Calderwood, President Calderwood, Sister Nichols and Sister Ellsworth
Such joy!! It was such a great experience to meet them at the airport and then have them in the mission home for their first night in the mission. It is a great opportunity to get to know them.

And then the next day, our missionaries that were returning home came in. After just four weeks we truly love these young men and women. We had a blast that evening and it was just beautiful to hear their testimonies and share the bittersweet emotion as they approached the next phase of their lives. 

Back row: Elder Ng, Elder Hsu, Elder Roberts, Elder Hall, Elder Udall, Elder Clement, Elder Jacobs, Elder Lewis, Elder Finlinson, Elder Jones, Elder Scott, and Elder Sterling
Seated: Elder Nackos, Sister Harry, Sister Calderwood, President Calderwood, Sister Nay and Elder Mun
That night I turned to President Calderwood and said, "So I signed up to get my heart broken every six weeks?" That is truly how it feels. This work makes the bonds really, really strong. I miss these missionaries still!

A couple of weeks later we got a GREAT surprise. Four missionaries called to the Bulgaria mission to serve in Turkey and speak, er, Turkish (of course) had completed their work in the MTC but were still awaiting their visas. The missionary department asked if we could use them and we said, "Yes!"
Elder Ankney, Elder Bennion, Sister Calderwood, President Calderwood, Elder Foechterle, Elder Wahlquist
Wonderful opportunities have already presented themselves to our Turkish elders and we are so blessed to have them here. It will be difficult to let them go when that time comes!

September 10 brought our second group of missionaries from the MTC! We feel so blessed that the Lord is sending us such amazing young men and women to serve here in NYNY South. This is a really strong group of missionaries and we love them already!
Back Row: Elder Peck, Elder Peterson, Elder Loftis, Elder Hardisty, Elder Ruesch, Elder Padilla Ortiz
 Middle Row: Elder Briles, Elder Wilkinson, Elder Jensen, Elder Izatt, Elder Wriston,  Elder Nisguritzer,  Elder Carlson
Seated: Sister Chipman, Sister Mortensen, Sister Calderwood, President Calderwood, Sister Lee, Sister Sanchez

Sure enough! Transfers mean heartbreak for us. Even though we only sent home a few this time, it wasn't any easier! We know that Heavenly Father will continue to bless these faithful and wonderful missionaries.
Sister Dumas, Elder Patchett, Elder  Wilson, Elder Lee and Sister Hughes
So, if you are following the math, you will notice that the mission is growing. We are up to 200 missionaries from 182 with no signs of a slow down. It's an exciting time to be serving here. Stay tuned for more news and more pictures!