Sunday, May 20, 2012

Comings and Goings...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012, 5 a.m., London Temple Visitors' Centre

This week was transfer week in the England London South Mission.  Thirty-three missionaries left the mission to return home.  Monday they all went sight-seeing in London. Tuesday, they were all in the temple for their last session in the London Temple before heading home.  Wednesday, I was awakened at 5 a.m. to the sound of a bus engine outside our flat.  Elders and sisters were packing their luggage on the bus to be taken to Gatwick Airport to fly home.  Some parents had already arrived to pick up their missionary sons or daughters.  It was fun to see them greet each other and walk arm in arm around the temple grounds.  Others from the British Isles or Europe will be heading home today on trains or busses.

Elder Carpenter & Elder Olsen
One of our departing elders might be of interest to all U. of U. basketball fans.  Elder Olsen from North Carolina just finished his mission and will be heading back to the U. of U.  He is a great young man who completed his mission working in the mission office.  He finished his freshman year at the U. before coming to London and word is that he is the person they are counting on to turn their basketball program around in the next few years.  He is a great example and is very happy he decided to serve a mission.

In the afternoon on Wednesday, after the departing missionaries left, 26 new missionaries arrived. Most came on a bus from the Preston, England MTC where they had just completed three weeks of training.  The only ones in this mission not trained in Preston are those who learn English as a second language, or those who receive special training to serve at the Visitors’ Centre.  Even Sister Maughan, our missionary from Gloucester, England (which is in our temple district), was sent to the Provo MTC for Visitor Centre training before coming here in March.  Sister Cardona, our newest VC missionary from Lille, France, also in our temple district, was trained in the Provo MTC as well.

With a mixture of anticipation, anxiety, curiosity and excitement, new missionaries
and their first companions are introduced to each other for the first time.

Our mission president, President Shamo, and his counselors interview each of the new missionaries before assigning them to their new companions and areas of labor.  They meet in the Visitors’ Centre, where they also have an orientation and meet their new companions for the first time.  It is an exciting time for them, and it’s been fun for us to witness the enthusiasm they have as they begin their service.

Dramatic changes caused by the new arrivals of course affect the entire mission.  In order to provide 33 trainers for the new missionaries (we used to call them senior companions to train new junior companions), many additional transfers have to be made among the other companionships in the mission.   And this has affected our Visitors’ Centre sisters as well. We had to say good-bye to two of our wonderful missionaries who have been with us since we arrived. Sister Corbett and Sister Burrows were both transferred out as proselyting trainers - and we received Sister Cardona from France. In two weeks, we are scheduled to receive a new missionary from Portugal, Sister Rodriguez. We will then be prepared to give tours in English, Spanish (Sister Cabrera), French (Sister Cardona), Portuguese (Sister Rodriguez), and German (yours truly).  

New companionships preparing to leave for their areas of service.

In a previous blog, we mentioned that the 160 missionaries in this mission come from 45 different countries.  It really is an international mission.  But then London is also a very cosmopolitan international city.   
We never know who we will meet at the Visitors’ Centre.  A few weeks ago the missionaries brought in a family of four from Nepal to be taught by our sisters at a Monday night activity.  Their children bore testimony to them about their feelings for the gospel.  The family is coming again this week, and they have a baptismal date set for next week.

Between training sessions on Wednesday, Pat had an interesting conversation with a new companionship serving in Crawley -- Elders Oscarson and Jones.  Elder Jones is from Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, where he said his small Mormon community is dominated by Romneys and Joneses. He said he had been thinking Pat looked like a Romney, but hadn’t said anything until she started asking him about life in Chihuahua.  They quickly connected, and Pat was able to learn more about Colonia Dublan, the town where her grandfather, Douglas Romney, was born.

Then Elder Oscarson surprised us by saying his brother in Monroe had been reading our blog.  He had been surfing the web and found our blog about the mission where his brother serves.  Amazing!  We didn’t know that anyone other than family and a few friends were reading our blog.  So, just for the record, Elder Oscarson’s brother, if you’d like to see a picture of your brother and his new companion, Elder Jones, here it is:

Elder Jones and Elder Oscarson

Some have left, some have just arrived. Some have finished their missions successfully and are heading home. Others have no idea what to expect during the coming two years. All of them are dedicated young men and young women, hoping to have an influence for good in the world.                       ~Don~

1 comment:

  1. I read your blog all the time and i love it we miss you both so much but know you are in the right place at the right time love Suzanne Campbell