Transfer weeks (which translate into Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday) are full to the brim with ATM activity. We get in brand new missionaries from the MTC, we assign new trainers, we transfer some missionaries and have the departing missionaries leave for home. It is a thorough “mixing” of the mission every 6 weeks.
Here are some photos of our transfer week for August 2017, starting on August 21 (the day of the eclipse mind you) and going through August 23 when the departing missionaries boarded planes and flew home.
First off, the group of 19 missionaries fresh from the MTC came off the plane all smiles and excited to finally be in their mission!
Next we took photos with each of our new missionaries by Tuscon’s amazing Saguaro cactus. This was also the same time as the eclipse and it was a bit hazy and cooler. What a memory for these amazing missionaries!
Here is a group photo minus one Elder that had not yet arrived from the Mexico MTC.
We had them grab their luggage (their life for the next 18-24 months) head for the van and trailer to load up and head to Tucson. Our wonderful AP’s also helped the large group. (They are the ones without suit coats.)
In keeping with the ATM tradition, we drove our new missionaries to the center of Tucson and President Browning lead them up the street to the Mormon Battalion Monument. (We also ran up the street as an ATM tradition of hastening the work in our mission but we didn’t get those pictures…we were running along with them!) Aren’t they a sharp and unique looking group of young adults!!
The rest of the afternoon was spent being trained and interviewed by President Browning, Sister Browning and Sister Pershing (the mission nurse). It was a lot of information to take in, and they were extremely tired from being up since 3:00 am. We fed them at the mission home for dinner and had a special testimony meeting right after. We are so excited to have them all here!!
Next day, they all had more training (yippee!) and they met their most important companion, their TRAINERS!
(Sorry, by the time the camera came out, some of them had already left so we didn’t get all the new companionships.)
Now to our wonderful, seasoned and experienced missionaries. How we love them and hate to see them go!
They spent the first of the day in the Tucson temple, the very first group of ATM departing missionaries to attend the newly opened temple on their last day of their mission. (Before the Tucson temple opened, the missionaries had to drive two and a half hours one way to the Gilbert temple. Not any more!!) Look at that gorgeous blue dome!!
After the temple and exit interviews with President Browning, we had a dinner at the mission home, testimonies (my favorite thing in the world) and our sweet final embraces that were filled with tears.
Thank you parents for raising such beautiful and righteous children. Thank you for lending them to the Lord and the ATM mission for these past 18-24 months. They have BECOME such powerful and refined missionaries and amazing master teachers. How the Savior loves them! In our eyes, they are just about perfect.
And now, early on departure day, we head to the airport with missionaries, bags, memories, and stronger testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We hate to see them go because WE have grown so attached to them and love them so dearly. But they must “depart”, go home to their patiently waiting families, and start the rest of their lives. May they always be faithful and diligent in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We know they will do GREAT things!
God be with you, ATM missionaries, until we meet again!