Monday, June 30, 2014

MP Seminar - It's Great to be a Missionary!

There is nothing like General Conference! The Prophet spoke to us in our seminar as well as other leaders. Imagine our delight when over the course of 5 days we heard from each of them. Not only that, they stayed and mingled with all of us.  We were able to talk to many of the leaders.  We saw Elder William Walker and his wife.  We caught up with our friend Gregg Dunn. We learned much but felt even more. It was an experience of a lifetime that neither of us will forget. 
On the final evening, we were invited to dine with different apostles. We were assigned to be with Elder Anderson. As nice as that was, we were anxious to leave because just yards away in a parking lot across the street, were 4 of our little grands waiting to bid us farewell. We even had a surprise visit from President Gordon and Sister Pat Brown, former president of the Chicago mission. We will miss our loved ones but know they will be watched over and have a work to do in the Philippines.

We definitely packed heavy but it must serve us until our shipment arrives in late July.  We flew into the Tokyo airport.  We were able to talk with President and Sister Ostler who will be serving in the Manila Mission.  We met the Ostler's as they were in the Naperville 3rd Ward when we arrived in Illinois so many years ago. 
We made it!  To prove it we are all riding on the bus from the airport.  We are weary yet happy campers.  
We met the Philippines Area Presidency and their wives across the street from the beautiful Manila Temple.  President Brent Nielsen will be moving to Utah next month but is was nice meeting them.  Our batch consists of eight new Mission President's and wives.  
New 2014 Batch of Mission President's & Wives:
Front Row:  President & Sister Ian Ardern, President & Sister Brent Nielsen, President & Sister Larry Eckohawk
2nd Row Left:  Pres. Dennis & Sheralyn Dahle-Olangapo, Pres. Efren & Marissa Lamoglia-Davao, Pres. Terry & Judy McCurdy-Cebu, Pres. Bart & Renee Mangum-San Pablo
3rd Row Left:  Caleb, Pres. Creg & Saundra Ostler-Manila, Pres. Kim & Jennifer Bertin-Quezon City North, Pres. Scott & Sandy Clark-Angeles, Pres. Wayne & Tracy Maurer-Tacloban
Tonight we are back in our lovely home at Las Hacienda Luisita, Tarlac City, Philippines after our first full day as Mission President and wife.  Our street is named Cadena DeAmor Street in the San Miguel Barangay. We live in a beautiful home and work with great missionaries. The learning curve is REALLY steep! Missions are not small or simple operations. Hour by hour we deal with difficult and diverse situations. Yet we also get much joy and satisfaction in seeing our young missionaries serve, succeed and grow. We are just at the beginning and the pace of life is already mind numbing. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Class of 2014

There are 130 mission presidents and wives attending the 2014 seminar.

99 were called from the US
31 were called from 19 other countries. 

Of the 99 from the US:
47 were called from Utah. 
16 from California
11 from Idaho
6 from Arizona
3 from Washington
2 from Colorado 
2 from Pennsylvania
1 was called from each of the Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas and Virginia.

Where they will serve:
39 were called to serve in the US
91 were called to serve outside the US
2 will serve in newly created realigned missions: Côte d'Ivoire Abidijan West and Republic of Congo Brazzaville. 

The youngest mission president is 37 years old. 
The oldest is 71. 
Their average age is 57.
The median age is 57. 

The mission presidents and their wives have a combined total of 637 children. 
4.9 is the average number of children.
34 Mission Presidents are are taking a total of 80 children.

Monday, June 23, 2014

It's Wonderful to Be on a Mission.

Here are some thoughts about the first two days at the MTC.

We arrived about noon on Saturday and have been treated with great respect and kindness since.  We are assigned housing on the MTC campus in building M2.   Accommodations are very nice; a nice Courtyard with great spiritual atmosphere.  Our meals are what I call "elegant cafeteria" style.  We eat very well.  They graciously plan meal times to be long enough to meet and greet many other attendees and Church officers. Rice and beans are served at every meal.

Sunday started with Sacrament Meeting.  President Monson spoke to us and most of the apostles attended.  The Seminar officially opened Sunday afternoon and we heard from several apostles and other General Authorities of the Missionary Dept. The training is superb.   Elder Nelson announced some significant changes in missionary work to put in effect immediately.  These will be published to the general Church soon.  Here we are lunching with John and Susie Boswell from Bentonville, Arkansas.

The entire Seminar is incredibly well planned and carried out: always some one to help and answer questions, meticulous attention to detail, beautiful setting and spirit.  This is a great way to launch a three year mission to minister to missionaries and bring souls unto Christ.

We were told by President Monson that we were selected to serve from among the most faithful of the Church.   Elder Anderson said that every mission president and wife wonders : "What am I doing here?"  We are constantly reminded that humility and faith are a big part of being successful on our mission.   We feel we have ample reasons to have both.

Its wonderful to be on a mission.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Today we are missionaries!

We were set apart this morning under the direction of Dallin H. Oaks. He and Elder Lynn Robbins invited us, and a few family members to his office for these ordinances. They gave us great counsel and promised blessings to help us fulfill our mission assignments.

On the strength and hope of these ordinances, we report to the Mission Training Center tomorrow. We look forward to 4 days of inspired training from our church leaders.