Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Missionaries, August 2012

No matter how many times we get new missionaries, we are always amazed at the quality and goodness we see in each new group.  This group was not just "no exception;" this group seemed exceptional!  Here they come now:
President Baird with Elder Ellsworth, AP,
Elder Ito, AP, and Elder Koesashi, Commissarian
All waiting patiently.

Elder Berrett is
our Recorder and is usually very busy at the
airport as our videographer.

Our first great missionary, Elder Hilton

Tired and happy to be here.
Elders Hilton, Ahuna, Gillespie, Doll,
and Sister Thayne

That special moment--Elder Gillespie
meeting President Baird.

Elder Gish, getting his first of many hugs.

Elder Perkins, excited to get started.

The first "teaching."
Elder Gish, Hilton, Doll, Ahuna, and Sister Thayne

The famous picture at the Dragon.
From left, Elders Hilton, Doll, Gillespie,
Sisters Thayne and Baird, President Baird,
Elders Gish, Ahuna, Macdonald, and Perkins

We are hungry.  We are tired.  But we are smiling.

Of course, we ate.  This is Sister Baird's famous Lasagna.  See her recipe in this blog.

First train trip in Japan.

We proselyted.  We can do this!
Our three missionaries are Elders  Koesashi,
Macdonald, and Doll.

You never know--this guy may get baptized.
        And after a good night's sleep and several hours of training, we met our new companions:
(All new missionaries are on the left.)
Sister Thayne with Sister Yamada
Sister Anna Mari Thayne calls two places home:  Naha, Okinawa, Japan and St. George, Utah.  She has one brother who was also a missionary in Japan.  She got her associate degree from Dixie College just before coming on her mission.  She enjoys baking, hiking and running, among other things.  She is outgoing and friendly.  She has come to realize that no matter what she does in life, nothing can help people more than the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that is why she decided to serve a mission.

Sister Yamada's goal is to have a happy family. She enjoys talking with people
and is cheerful.  She works very hard and doesn’t give up until    
she finishes her task.  She also enjoys baking and is very active.  She 
has a strong testimony of prayer and loves the scriptures.

Elder Ahuna  with Elder Matson
Elder James Ahuna is the youngest of six children.  All of his siblings 
have served missions and been married in the temple.  His family has traveled 
and performed around the world, doing missionary work by sharing their talents in 
Hawaiian song and dance.  Elder Ahuna would like to get a degree in finance and 
become a financial planner in Hawaii, which is where he is from.  
He also wants to continue using his talents to share the gospel.  He plays piano 
and ukelele, does the Samoan fireknife dance and Navajo Indian 22-hoop dance, 
sings and plays drums.  He is friendly and outgoing and is good at saving money. 

One missionary who Elder Matson trained said that Elder Matson is the most obedient 
missionary that he knows.  He reviews the rules and focuses on being 
completely obedient.  He cares what he does, plans well,  is very dedicated, 
and prays like a champion.  This missionary said he really admires Elder Matson.

Elder Doll with Elder Sarager
Elder Brian Doll hails to us from McLean, Virginia.  He has one younger sister.  Elder Doll loves bowling and has bowled in a league since he was 11.  He also likes basketball, and loves to learn new things.  He is well-balanced and enjoys being a leader.  He was shocked when he got his call to serve in Japan because it had never crossed his mind, but he wants to share the joy he has received from the Gospel, and to be an example to his family.

Elder Sarager likes to plan and be prepared for things.  He doesn't like
 "winging it."  He is also a curious person and likes to know the "why" of things.

Elder Gish (left) with his trainer, Elder Gauthier

West Jordan, Utah is home to Elder Braydon Gish.  He is the middle child of five, 
and his sister is serving in Russia.  Elder Gish's biggest goal is to please his Savior 
and make it back to live with Him.  He wants not only to be a good missionary 
while on this mission, but for the rest of his life. He enjoys basketball, football and tennis, 
and just talking with friends and their families.  He appreciates the good friends 
he chose to have and has talked with them a lot about scriptures 
and understanding the Gospel.  

Elder Gauthier feels that if a missionary works hard and obeys with exactness, 
he can't fail in anything he does.  He is friendly and enthusiastic.
Elder Gillespie with Elder Sanderson
Elder Mark Gillespie calls Colorado Springs, Colorado home.  But his father is
a Colonel in the Air Force, so he has lived in other places.  Elder Gillespie wants
to help people as part of his career.  Since he enjoys science, he wants to become
a surgeon.  He also wants to become a better pianist, read all the great books,
and perhaps write music.  His first hobby, though, is reading.  He says he is a confident,
outgoing person and has known the Gospel is true for as long as he can remember. 

Elder Sanderson enjoys playing a military simulation sport called airsoft.  
He likes it because it involves many scenarios and requires cooperation with 
teammates.  In fact, he plans to own his own military simulation store and 
arena after he graduates from college.  

Elder Hilton with Elder Heo
Elder Charles Hilton is from Glenview, Illinois.  He has two older brothers
who are great examples to him.  He would love to get into BYU's
animation program after his mission and eventually work for Pixar.  He loves to draw.
He has done it all his life and it has become his greatest talent.  

Elder Heo wants to major in hotel management at BYU Hawaii 
and then become an executive for a cruise ship company.  He is looking forward 
to having his family join the church and hopes that will happen soon.

Elder Macdonald with Elder Takabori
Gilbert, Arizona is home for Elder Kyle Macdonald.  He comes from a close family who enjoys being together.  He is the middle of five chidlren.  His dad taught him to love all sports, including basketball, baseball, scuba diving, sailing, and snow skiing.  He also plays the piano.  Elder Macdonald is on a full ride scholarship at Arizona State University with plans to go to medical school.  He is fascinated with neurology.  He is ambitious and hard working, learns quickly and loves all types of foods.  He especially enjoys learning about the Savior.

Elder Takabori is competitive and likes a challenge.  His favorite game is chess.  
He wants to improve himself mentally, physically, spiritually and socially. 

Elder Perkins with Elder Ludlow

Elder Perkins is from Mesa, Arizona.  He has three sisters and one brother.
He enjoys writing short stories. He says that writing is fun for him because
it is pure creation.  He says his only weakness is to bullets.  And he has a strong
testimony of both the Bible and the Book of Mormon.  Before he left on his mission,
 he shared the gospel with a close friend and she was baptized.

Elder Ludlow likes interacting with other people, taking charge of a situation,
and solving problems.  And when he is not busy doing those things, he can
also enjoy snowboarding, wakeboarding, packpacking, hiking, fishing, 
hunting and the beach.
Is there any better sight than a group of great missionaries?

And off they go to their first assignment!

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