Saturday, January 18, 2014

January 2014 -- Missouri Independence Mission

The Sister Missionaries at the Independence Visitor Center and Historic Liberty Jail come from a rich mix of ethnic backgrounds, including Asian, Polynesian, Latino, Indian, and Caucasian.  This photo of Sister Missionaries represents that mix!  It is so helpful to have so many different languages represented at the visitor centers, since we have people from throughout the world visiting the centers.  Many of our exhibits, media, and printed materials are also in various languages, which helps us better serve our international guests.  Left to right, Sisters Medel, Borges, Villanuava, Harding, Ita, Weng, Fa'anunu,and Singh.

One of the difficult things of our mission is saying good-bye to sister missionaries who we have come to love and appreciate.  These four missionaries, from left to right, Sister Lettig from Utah, Sister Altier from California, Sister Moon from Utah, and Sister Spivey from Georgia, are four of our favorite missionaries who returned home in December 2013.  They will be amazing church members, spouses, mothers, professionals, and members of their communities.  Their mission experience will help them excel in all these areas.

One of the highlights of our mission is being part of the friendshipping, teaching, and spiritual conversion process of many guests at the visitor centers and many recent converts in our congregation in Independence, MO.  Sister Lettig and Sister Heylen are two of the sister missionaries we have worked closely with, since they are assigned to the Independence 1st Ward where we attend church services, teach Sunday School and Priesthood classes, and help with those who are investigating The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Senior Couples and Sister Missionaries who serve in the Independence Visitor Center and Historic Liberty Jail.

Although we are into the new year, and Christmas 2013 is completed, here is another photo of Sister and Elder Pyne, in front of the Christmas tree on the lower level of the Independence Visitor Center.  This is the level where church history presentations are given.

The sister missionaries enacted the Nativity on Christmas morning!

Sister Pyne, Sister Altier, and Elder Pyne in the first room of "God's Plan for His Family" video presentation.

Sister Pyne, Sister Moon, and Elder Pyne in front of the Christus statue, where many of the most spiritual moments in the visitor center occur.

We are grateful for Sister Villanuava and Sister Borges, two of our spanish-speaking sister missionaries.  We have many spanish-speaking guests!

Valerie Pollard was baptized in January 2014.  I had the honor to confirm her a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Anna Bella, a recent convert, is standing to the right of Valerie.  Helping friendship and teach those who are investigating the Church is a major highlight of our mission.

Sister Heylen to the left and Sister Jorgensen to the right were the primary teachers for Valerie.

In the lower levels of the Independence Visitor Center and Historic Liberty Jail are Teaching Centers where the sister missionaries contact referrals from all over the world.  These referrals are primarily people who have accessed the websites of the Church and are seeking to learn more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  With approximately 300,000 new converts per year, Church membership now exceeds 15 million.  This photo is of a training session for sister missionaries while role playing how to more effectively teach the gospel by telephone.

Sister Godfrey and Elder Godfrey are returning on January 24th to their home in St. George, Utah after completing their 18-month mission as senior missionaries.  We have become close friends with the Godfrey's since we work closely with them in the visitor centers and they live right across the hall from our apartment!  January 17th marked the 13th month of our 18-month mission.  We are nearing the completion of our mission.  It has been a joy serving in Missouri, but it will also be a joy returning home to our family, church, and community in Georgia.  We return home in mid-June 2014!