We opened 12 new areas with this arrival of missionaries, secured, set up and furnished 12 new missionary apartments. And now that they are all out working in their areas with their amazing new trainers . . . we are especially grateful for all the behind the scenes work that makes this missionary program function as well as it does.
We did have one little glitch in the plan - when two of our arrivals from the CCM in Guatamala were refused entrance into Honduras due to a visa problem. It turns out the CCM didn't send them with the correct papers, and the airline failed to check their documents before letting them on the plane. So much to our disappointment and frustration . . . after a very lengthy wait . . . these tired Elders were reboarded on the airline (at the airlines expense) and returned to the CCM in Guatamala. ¡Qué triste!
But they are now here 2 days later . . . well fed and rested and just now arriving in their new areas with their new companions and trainers. Whew!!
Just a little note about our missionaries . . .
We have missionaries from 12 different countries, 33 sister missionaries, 118 Elders - mostly from ages 18-25 years of age. About 40% of our missionaries are from North America, the remaining 60% are from Latin America. Several of our North American missionaries speak Spanish already as a secondary language.
Yes, they are an amazing bunch!
Enjoy this fun video our office staff created from their arrival and orientation.
Thought you might be interested in what the last week has looked like . . .
As an office staff . . .
We had meeting after meeting to make sure preparations to greet all the newly arriving missionaries were in place along with how we were going to feed and sleep overnight 35 new missionaries in preparation for our transfer meeting where they would meet their new companions and head off to their areas.
(Update - Transfer meetings were discontinued at the suggestion of our Area Presidency in Oct 2014, so now all incoming missionaries meet their trainers right away, receive training and an interview with President Klein, and in the afternoon are on the way to their areas with their trainers. A much better way of doing things . . . )
We also had a day full of orientation to accomplish - where we educate all new missionaries about immigration and visa issues, how the finances work and a little guidance on missionary budgeting, health and safety education.
And finally training on the first 12 weeks with their trainers. It's a lot to take in for a new missionary who has just arrived in a foreign country and for the non native Spanish speakers - only understanding about 25% of what we're talking about. We teach in English and in Spanish so as not to lose them along the way - this is IMPORTANT stuff :)
Tuesday morning the missionaries from the CCM in Guatemala arrived.
Our Sister Training Leaders were on hand to greet all the arriving sisters as well!
Already sharing the mission vision - before even leaving the airport!
(I was really not sure all those bags were going to fit in there!)
Tuesday midmorning - everyone was ready for a breakfast of baleadas, a traditional Honduras food - orientation and an opportunity to go teach in the areas around the chapel.
We took a lunchtime break and had a meal prepared by one of the members here locally - of salsa chicken, cheesy vegetables and rice pilaf. Then it was out on the streets to contact and share testimonies of the gospel! Meanwhile President Klein was completing his
Wednesday morning - missionaries began arriving from all over the mission for a transfer meeting for all those receiving a new area assignment, or if they would be training one of our newly arrived missionaries. You can tell they were all pretty excited to see one another and meet all the new arrivals.
Transfer meeting was followed by a training session for all the trainers (truly the most important leadership role in the mission!) and their new companions . . . the new missionaries!
We had the mom of one of our returning home missionaries join us for the week.
**I was so proud to see the Elders helping the sisters with their luggage!
And then they were off . . .
Off to begin an 18-24 month experience that would change their life forever more, bless the lives of their families, their families to come . . . it's amazing to think of the great blessings that will come into their lives, the lessons they will teach, the people they will touch . . . the influence they will have as they invite and help others to come unto Christ.
It's amazing the experience they will gain in the next 18-24 months . . . as they learn to sacrifice their own time and talents in the service of our Heavenly Father.
Our Asistentes really took them under their wing and made them feel welcome!
Here is also a first glimpse of our new Asistente . . . Elder J. He was called to serve as one of our previous Asistentes returned to the mission field to . . .
“Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.”
for his last change before returning to his home in Mexico next transfer in 6 weeks. He is one of our best of the best . . . what a great example. We expect great things from his zone during this last transfer period :D
And the next day . . .
We had one more staff meeting . . .
To thank all our office elders and assistants who worked tirelessly and on little sleep to get everything prepared so the days would run smoothly . . . everyone would be fed, everyone would have a place to sleep and a furnished apartment.
(I made a deal with them and the President . . . if they could keep us on schedule for initial interviews with 35 new missionaries . . . we could have banana splits for an office treat to celebrate . . . and they managed to pull it off :)
And . . .
Happy Birthday - to Elder G!
Whew . . . and so it continues . . .