To the Friends and Family of President and Sister Russell

To the Friends and Family of President and Sister Russell

Sunday, September 13, 2015

I want to apologize for taking so long to get this blog out, we didn't have pictures of three of the new missionaries with their companions and I wanted the get all of them together before I published it. 

We brought the missionaries to the mission home and fed them lunch. One of the three flights had been delayed and by the time they ate lunch it was after 2:00p. After we feed them the president talks to them briefly and then he interviews each one. While he is doing that the Assistants talk to them and I tell them a little about president Russell and myself. They watch a video and I take them separately to check parent's phone numbers, etc. We always eat dinner at 5:00p because we have the entire day and evening planned. So, some were probably still kind of full when it was dinner time, but they all managed to eat again. After dinner we take the missionaries to the Church and there they meet some of the missionaries serving in the area. They each take one of the new missionaries out with them to their appointments or tracting. It helps them jump in with both feet. When they return they are so tired! Most of them have been up since 3:00 or 4:00a., so we have explain the sleeping arrangements. We can sleep 12 at the mission home, so we took 12 of the Elders and the rest went with the APs (Assistants to the president) or the zone leaders. The Sisters went with the STLs (Sister Training Leaders).

We all met back at the mission home at 7:00a.

 We fed them a continental breakfast. Because they did not all come at once they are seated at various tables around the house and the patio. These Elders are in the kitchen.

 Elder Palomeque is coming down the hall to the kitchen.

Those that have finished go into the living room and study and read. (We take the living room furniture out to fit enough chairs for the missionaries. One of the sofas is up in the dining area and the other is out on the front porch!)

 The weather is beautiful so some of them eat outside on the patio.

 Some times we have deer come through the back yard, but not today.
After breakfast we go to the Church. We have a wonderful program in the chapel. We have about 40 missionaries sing an absolutely beautiful song and then missionaries recite D&C:4, Our Purpose, and the First Vision. Then one Sister and one Elder bear their testimonies. President Russell shows a video and we go into the cultural hall.

 The office sets up each Elder and Sister's luggage (bikes for the Elders), any packages from home, and all they will need to take with them, i.e. sheets, blanket, pillow, mattress pad, etc. They are in alphabetical order with their name above each one.

 With 28 missionaries it pretty much takes up the entire perimeter of the gym.

 Everything has to be very organized.

The office and some of the missionaries have to start on this pretty early in the morning. 

 The office couples each take turns explaining their responsibilities to the missionaries. This is Sister Phipps, she is the nurse.
 Elder Christensen (left) is over finance, he issues the support cards and talks about using their money wisely. His wife, Sister Christensen is the president's secretary and explains several things including how to fill out the baptism information after the ordinance has been done. Down the line is Elder Dixon, he is the vehicle coordinator, and the Sutterfields next to him will be taking over for he and Sister Dixon when they leave in few weeks, we will miss them SO much!!
 After Sister Phipps finishes, Elder Phipps (behind her) talks about apartments; keeping them clean, secure, and not locking themselves out. His has a huge job as well because he is responsible for every apartment in the mission.
 President Russell walks away as Sister Christensen talks with Elder Workman, Elder Nash is getting the iPads ready to distribute. President Lowary, president Russell's first counselor (far right) helps to organize all this as well.
 More last minute instructions.

Then, the president calls out a new missionary's name and announces who their trainer is. Neither the missionary or the trainer know who they will be with up to this point. They get a little excited and hug when they meet.

Sister Connelly is thrilled to be training Sister Figueroa!

After they have all had a chance to hug, we take a picture of them together.

Our new missionaries with their trainers!

Elder Dopp with Elder Arias
Elder Whyte with Elder Opper

Elder Thompson with Elder Wardle

Elder Moser with Elder Hill

Elder Bowers with Elder Tonini

Elder Lewis with Elder Huntsman

Sister Hernaez with Sister Shirley

Elder Webb with Elder Eldredge

Sister Persson with Sister Rasmussen

Elder Parker with Elder Swiderski

Elder Fleming with Elder Scott

Elder Fowers with Elder Gallagher

Elder Adams with Elder Schick

Elder Carter with Elder Jensen

Elder Kroll with Elder Tree

Elder Martin with Elder Zilles

Elder Johnson with Elder Davis

Elder Watson with Elder Thurgood

Elder Deppe with Elder Poston

Elder Christensen with Elder Kimber

Sister Campbell with Sister Geisler

Elder Hatfield with Elder Wright

Elder Luke with Elder Child

Elder Cook with Elder Kelsey

Elder Adams with Elder Palomeque

Elder Wright and Elder Cluff

Sister Figueroa and Sister Connelly

Elder Hicks and Elder Peterson. So, apparently our photographer missed these two Elders, and I called them and asked if they would send me a picture of them both.They were a little more creative!

President and Sister Russell with our new 

The newest missionaries in the greatest mission ever, the OEM!
Our new missionaries with their trainers! The Sutterfields on the left front are also new in the office.

Before they can leave for their areas we issue their iPads. Elder Nash and Elder Workman (the Assistants) are assisting them in setting it all up. (I tried to walk around, unnoticed) and get pics of them working, but some gave me big smiles.

They "love" the OEM!

Can't get enough of the smiles!

It takes a while to set them all up because the WiFi slows down with that many using it.

They are all so awesome!!!

They listen intently.

Sorry about the blurry picture, I will never win 'photographer of the year'.

Elders Webb and Eldridge decided to sit at the table behind the chairs.

This took about 45 minutes to set up.

But they are all patient.

Even a few laughs

I am trying to get a picture of everyone

There is a screen in front so everyone can see what to do.

Trainers are a huge help. We have been an iPad mission for 2 years now. We were one of the 'test missions' when they first came out.

President Russell oversees everything,

They are on their way! Cars and trailers are loaded up.

It takes a while, but it all happens smoothly.

And we will be seeing them all within the next two weeks as we start zone conferences on Monday!

We cannot express our gratitude enough for the opportunity we have to serve these outstanding missionaries! 
We love them!!!!