Saturday, December 14, 2013

December Departing Missionaries

Another week of transfers was upon us and we began by meeting with our departing batch of missionaries. We originally had 4 missionaries scheduled to depart on December 4th. Since we had just received 17 reassigned missionaries from the Tacloban Mission, the Missionary Department made the request of the Philippines missions who received the Tacloban missionaries to have our January 2014 departing missionaries leave during the December transfers. This news came as a surprise to the January departing missionaries and their families.  As these missionaries were told the news about their early departure dates, there were many tears. However....every cloud has a silver lining.  These missionaries were now able to return to their families in time for Christmas.
Front row:  Sister Walker, Sister Palmer, and Sister Stapp with Sister Monahan and President Monahan
Back row:  Elder Schultz, Elder Castillo, Elder Frischknecht, Elder Saquital, Elder Elix, Elder Ereno, Elder Pappas, Elder Carr and Elder Bird
We love these valiant missionaries!  We will miss them. 

We enjoyed visiting and reminiscing about mission experiences while each departing missionary had their turn to interview with President Monahan. After interviews were completed, luggage was weighed, and pictures were taken, we gathered at the mission home for a spiritual testimony meeting and home-cooked lunch. Then it was time to load the vehicles and head to the bus station in Dagupan. 
                                                   Elder Elix with his mother and sister

The next morning, when it was time for them to go to the airport for their flights home, we were told that 5 of the elders were not allowed to leave. There was a problem obtaining their exit clearances. They were told they had to wait about 10 days. Because of this delay, these 5 elders were reassigned to missions in the Manila area while awaiting notice of their departures. More lessons in patience. The silver lining here?  Well, these elders were the only foreign missionaries in this batch who had time to visit the Manila Temple and later that day--the Mall of Asia. None of the other departing missionaries had the experience of doing missionary work in the missions in and around Manila. They will have a few extra stories to tell their friends and family.  :)

Pictures with each of our departing missionaries.....
                                                                    Elder Carr                                            Elder Schultz

                                                      Elder Frischknecht                                      Sister Stapp

                                                                   Sister Palmer                                          Elder Bird

                                                                   Sister Walker                                        Elder Pappas

                                                                  Elder Saquital                                          Elder Ereno

                                                                     Elder Elix                                            Elder Castillo

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