The Missouri Independence Mission is unique in many ways.
First, we claim to be the first mission established in this dispensation. In 1831 Joseph Smith sent missionaries here and they began to teach and establish what would later become known as "Zion" or the land of the future Zion, or the New Jerusalem.
Joseph Smith also taught that this was the location of the Garden of Eden, and the area known as Adam-ondi-ahman was the land that Adam and Eve were settled in after they were driven out of the Garden. Thus, this was really the location of the first mission, as Adam and Even began to teach their children the gospel.
It is believed that Christ will come here and hold a very important meeting at Adam-ondi-ahman prior to his Second Coming when he will rule and reign upon the earth for 1,000 years. This meeting will virtually end the missionary work, as the end of worldliness will usher in a period of peace and righteousness. Thus, we will be the last mission, as well.
The Missouri Independence Mission is also known as the Alpha and Omega Mission, the first and the last.
We have other ways that we are unique.
We are the only mission in the Church that supports two visitor centers. We have the Historic Liberty Jail and the Independence Visitor Center. These two centers are run by Senior Missionaries and Sister Missionaries.
We also have other things here that draw Senior Missionaries. We have a national archive that has seniors assigned to extract and copy genealogical records.
There are Senior Missionaries that preform physical facilities maintenance and repairs.
Of course, we have Senior Missionaries that are actual missionaries who have a MLS (Member/Leader/Support) assignments.
Then there are the office Senior Missionaries, which now includes us!
Thus, except for the Nauvoo Mission, and the Cove Fort Mission in the summer, we have more Senior Missionaries than any mission in the Church.
Every other month we join together with all of these Senior Missionaries and have a dinner/social/devotional at President Keyes' home. We did that last night. There were over 60 missionaries, plus the Mission Presidency. We enjoy these gatherings.
Like many other places, in nice homes, and especially in the winter, guests remove their shoes and coats and leave them at the door. This is just part of the stash. When it was time to go last night, Debi got a new coat. The one that was left for her was similar to hers, but a bit nicer. Perhaps we will find who took hers and make the exchange, or maybe she will just have a new coat. It really fits her well. We all went home with our own shoes, I think.
Included in this group is Elder Keith and Sister Maureen Flint from Hooper. Though they are not in the picture, we see them often, and last night Sister Flint brought one of her famous cakes, a banana cake with cream cheese frosting. It was good to see them, and even better to eat her cake!
Sister Flint and I grew up together in Hooper, and we have lived a little over half a mile away from them all our lives. For the first period, we were all in the same ward, but you know how that works out, right? They are serving as FM (Facilities Management) missionaries and live in a home outside Liberty, Missouri.
We are proud of the fact that everywhere we go we are also with people from Hooper.
We had a great reunion last week with two of our dear friends that we served with in Africa. Elder Mark and Sister Barbara Taylor (now of St. George) came into town for a conference. We were able to spend some time with them, catching up on Africa, and cementing our friendship. The Taylor's were among the first to greet and welcome us to Africa, and we so much appreciated what they did for us there.
|This was on the beach in Accra, Ghana on our first weekend there.|
We all decided that we needed to have a ceremonial feast as we had such a hard time finding meat that we could eat while in Africa. So we went to the famous Jack Stack's BBQ and oh, did we eat!
We have been told that our allotment of Senior Missionaries will be going down because all missions are needing Seniors, and the supply is limited. Each Senior Missionary has a different assignment and thus a different experience, but we all share the same love for the Lord and His children and we all want to do what we can to move this work along.
Included in this group are Senior Sisters that come on this mission alone. They also have different assignments. The sister on the right is Sister Jan Hipwell. She is in the office and has many responsibilities. She serves without a companion, but we see her everyday and enjoy working with her.
The sister in the red is Sister Elma Angel and her companion is holding a camera. She is Sister Suzanne Billman. Together they serve as WASS (Women/Auxiliary/Support/Sisters) in a branch in Albany, Missouri. They are missionaries. The Elder is Elder Atwood. He and his wife are MLS missionaries in the Riverview Ward, which is an inner-city Kansas City Ward.
The hymn, Ye Elders of Israel, has a line that says "The harvest is great, but the laborers are few". This is true and we need more Senior Missionaries, even here in the Alpha and Omega Mission where we have more than any other mission (except Nauvoo and Cove Fort).