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Monday, July 23, 2012

ESPN Top 3

Another ridiculous week has come and gone here in the mission field. We have a highlight reel ready, so here we go!

1) Grizzled Vets Head Home. Some of the most well known missionaries threw in the towel this past week, completing two years of selfless service and leaving behind their legacy. Justin Benson, a former mission secretary and faithful companion of Elder Rory Jones, arrived home and reunited with his family just this past Wednesday.

“I honestly couldn´t believe my eyes,” said Benson, now living back home on American soil for the first time in two years. “Man, it´s just great to be home.”

Alongside of Benson landed Travis Buhl, a previous Assistant to the President, accompanied by David Larson, Jorge Vera, and a few others. Though a small group, they sure packed a punch and racked up some solid service over their last 24 months.

Travis Buhl, known for his pervasive enthusiasm and constant drive, finally reached home after almost 24 hours of straight travel.

“I thought the journey would never end,” he said on Sunday in part of his homecoming talk. “We rode in two different buses, had three separate flights, two long layovers, and a two hour drive home from the airport!”

Every six weeks new missionaries come into the field and the old ones retire, just like Buhl and Benson, among others.

“Though an expected and well planned event, we always have surprises,” said Presidente Giuliani. “Travis Buhl about rocketed through the ceiling with excitement.”

And it´s all true. Overall, the week played out successfully, and we will have to see how the new missionaries manage with their new responsibilities.

Best Preparation Day Ever. This past Monday, Elder Rory Jones enjoyed the most thrilling—and possibly the best—pday yet with many of the old office missionaries.

“Hanging out with all the good old guys couldn´t have been better,” said Jones. “It felt as if the old office group were back in action.”

A lasting memory for everyone, this pday included many exhilarating activities: a three mile run, a soccer juggling showdown, a trip to downtown, a buffet lunch, a bowling match, a soccer game, a pizza dinner with members, and even a couple hours of simply reminiscing about the mission.

“Running down the roads early in the morning with Elder Benson brought back memories,” said Jones, “If only we could have played some tennis too!”

With the old crew together again, the fun never stopped!

“We had almost every minute planned for the entire day,” said Buhl, completley whipped and exhausted after a long day on his feet. “I´m not gonna lie; we just dominated!” he said later while laughing hard like usual.

Who could ask for more? With one free day a week to relax, these missionaries planned well, took advantage of the opportunity, and made it a great one.

“I couldn´t have asked for a better last day on the mission, “ said David Larson, a previous Historian who trained Jones and served in the offices for about 7 months. “It was GRREEATT!”

And there you have it. This special day packed with fun left many missionaries exhilarated and ready to continue with the week, whether it was as a missionary back out preaching the gospel or as an RM heading home to his family. All in all, the impact was positive.

"We all felt renewed energy, and the mission is slowly changing like always," said Jones later that day. "The new office crew is fun and coming along well."

Baptism Scheduled for August 4, 2012. Carlos Morin, a humble argentine dweller living in Rosario, Argentina, has his baptismal date scheduled for the month of August.

“After three months of steady listening and learning, I feel ready,” he said to a member who asked him this past week. “It has really been a blessing to hear about this restored and unique message.”

The missionaries found him standing outside his house last April, pondering and tired after a long day of work. After the initial contact and a few minutes of small talk, Elder Jones and Elder Benson ended up chatting with him for about 20 minutes, discussing the basic details and blessing of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Intrigued, Morin later accepted the invitation and received the 4 doctrinal lessons taught by missionaries.

“At first I was just a little interested and curious,” Morin said at the church soccer activity this past week. “With time, however, I realized that the message has a lasting impact that always leaves me feeling comforted.”

For these past three months, the missionaries went by his house two or three times a week to share a quick message. Little by little, lesson by lesson, Carlos began to recognize the truth.

“It was a process,” said Elder Brenton Hull, a missionary currently teaching Morin alongside Jones. “Just like with everyone, it takes a little time, and the decision is always theirs.”

Many members have already planned the baptismal service. Many friends of Morin have already planned to attend that day. Many missionaries have already planned lessons to help prepare Morin for the big day. Simply put, many people are receiving the blessings of this restored gospel.

The bishop couldn´t have put it better when he said the following this past Sunday: “We know the gospel influences and blesses the lives of each and every one of us.”

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