It's been a long day for our new missionaries. Up super early this morning (or late last night) airplanes, pizza and sunny California. We've sent them off to bed early tonight and hopefully tomorrow they will be a little less sleep deprived and a little less overwhelmed.
There is an approximation of today here http://kenanddi.blogspot.com/2013/05/incomings.html that can give you a feel of what it is like for your missionary on day one. The only real difference is the flights now arrive in the morning instead of at noon.
We are so excited to serve with your missionary. Arrival day always is a bit nerve wracking for both missionary and parent. But we have great confidence that you parent will survive and adjust quickly. We know your missionaries will.
Some things to know:
Missionaries are amazing. They do hard things all day long with a smile and determination. It is truly miraculous to behold.
Missions are hard. Good hard, but hard. It takes about six weeks to adjust to a new area/surroundings and co-incidentally that is the length of a transfer cycle. Most missionaries will be with their first companion (trainer) for the first 12 weeks. The trainers have been called by revelation and tonight President Hall will seek out the Lord's guidance in assigning which new missionary to which trainer. (Just a head's up, we don't use the term Greenie--President Eyring personally asked us not to, so we don't.)
Missionaries love receiving emails and letters. Letters sent snail-mail are especially prized because printing out email is not always possible and so can't be re-read. When you write, please share your love of the gospel. What missionaries want most is to know that their families think that what they are doing is important and valuable. You can keep them up on family news, but try and focus on how God is working in your life. This will also help them tell you about their miracles.
Missionaries may have struggles with companions. Living 24/7 with someone who is never out of sight or hearing (except the bathroom) is stressful under the best of circumstances. One of the best life skills a missionary can learn is how to be a companion. We ask parents to help by working on their companionships. You have 18-24 months to improve the relationships you have with spouse, children, parents, co-workers. Share what you are learning with your missionary. You'll have a greater influence is you show instead of just tell.
Missionaries are not on Facebook or other forms of online proselyting--yet. We are still waiting for news of when The Great California San Fernando Mission goes digital. We'll keep you posted. However, you have no such restrictions so we invite you to follow Elder Bednar's counsel and #sharegoodness (https://www.lds.org/prophets-and-apostles/unto-all-the-world/to-sweep-the-earth-as-with-a-flood?lang=eng) Let your friends and family know that you have a missionary and it's awesome! There is a mission facebook group for returned missionaries and current parents. https://www.facebook.com/groups/413926391976459/ We post Zone Conference pictures and things like that.
We do have four missionaries with us temporarily while they wait for visas to Argentina. We LOVE visa-waiters. They are such a blessing to the work and we claim them forever!
We love your missionaries--thank you for sending them.
Sister Dianna Hall