Saturday, December 19, 2015

Safe Grad Night all over again

December 19, 2015
About 25 months ago we were in an interview with President Henry B. Eyring.  He shared something with us that continues to replay itself in our minds.  He said: “Brother Stutznegger, your entire life Heavenly Father knew that on this very afternoon, I would be calling you to be a mission president.  He has given you all your experiences so you would be ready.”

How many safe grad nights, YSA, Scouts, and Young Women activities have we worked on or organized?  The count is high – but I think it prepared us.

On Monday we had our mission Christmas party.  We arrived at 9 AM to be ready for the 11 AM beginning.  First it was a devotional, then a talent show, followed by a meal and competitions, and ending with a choice between a movie or playing sports/games.  During the movie time, we had endless hot dogs and nachos.  The competitions were arm wrestling, hula hoop, stick pull, and limbo.  Prizes went to the winners.  We sent missionaries off to their homes about 5 PM.  We literally ran a safe grad night, along with food and prizes, for 170 dear missionaries.  The only difference was there were only two adults.

As we willed our bodies to make it through, Keith and I would give each other looks – the looks that say a lot – looks that are clearly understood after 44 years of marriage.  Some looks were that of excitement – it was working.  Some looks were those of slight disappointment – it didn’t go quite as well as we had hoped.  We shared little verbal exchange except for the necessities – we were always on the move.  As we drove home that night, we once again reflected on President Eyring’s words.  How true they were!

Added note:  We are getting a senior couple, The Nebekers, the end of January!  Next year there will be four adults running the Christmas party.  As I thought about that on Monday night, my heart leaped for joy!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Our Christmas challenge!

December 8, 2015

A new area – which will double the geographic size of our mission – and no new missionaries - this sounds like a challenge!

As of January 4th, we add the stake of Ixtapaluca to our mission.  This was cleared by the First Presidency two weeks ago.  This is how it came down:
Cuernavaca mission has 10 stakes and 140+ missionaries
Chalco mission has 6 stakes and 150+ missionaries
Mexico City South mission has 6 stakes and 170+ missionaries
Our mission, Mexico City Southeast, has 6 stakes and 160+ missionaries

All four missions share one common boundary with one of the other three missions.  Chalco, Mexico City South, and our mission are geographically smaller than the current Cuernavaca mission which reaches all the way to Acapulco.    It seemed only fair to share the load.

Cuernavaca mission is giving 3 stakes (zones) to the Chalco mission.  Chalco mission will then give one zone each to the South, and to the Southeast mission.  We all end up with 7 stakes (zones). 

What does this mean for us?  Our new stake, Ixtapaluca, currently has 40 missionaries serving within its boundaries.  The stake has 8 wards.  We have decided to start with 32 missionaries serving in the area, which means that we have to close 16 apartments in our current mission to fill Ixtapaluca.  Let’s see, 32 beds, 16 refrigerators, 48 tables, 32 chairs, etc. etc. etc….Sounds like we need to have a good old fashioned garage sale!  Anyone have a truck they would like to loan us?

It is hard to explain how excited our missionaries are.  Everyone wants to go there.  There is one big plus also – Ixtapaluca has safe areas for our Sister missionaries.  They are an hour further away, but they have “expanded their horizons!”  We are about to “white wash” a stake! (White wash means put in new missionaries that have not yet made relationships with the members.  It is always a little tricky and a little more work.)

So while our missionaries are asking Santa to put them into the new area, “Santa” is shaking his head hoping we can pull off this Christmas miracle by January 4th!