October 4, 2020
General Conference weekend
Such a profound privilege to get on a Facebook call at 12:00 pm between Sunday conference session with all the available SAJm 2014-2017 missionaries.
This is the first of many times we wish to do this in the future. It was so engaging and inspiring to see those we love so much and hear how they are doing.
Here are the missionaries we "saw and heard" from today- We commit to planning "quarterly connections" and will reach out and identify organizers in Africa, Europe, the Pacific and the States. Let us know if you would be willing to be an organizer for the next gathering.
(please correct any mistakes in my quick updates- I just want to try to capture a bit of what I heard.
We had 29 missionaries on the call, but many had to leave before we ended. It was a 1 hour and 45 minute reunion. Sorry to those that were on, but that we did not hear from.
We will do better next time on making sure we get even more interaction and time to acknowledge everyone on the call. We also hope to get more missionaries to join next time.
The plan next time is to identify 1-2 planners for regional calls. We will do an African focused call, a Pacific area call, a European call and a US call. Everyone is welcome on all the calls, but we will focus on missionaries from that area to get updates from. We will get it organized in the first part of 2021. Let us know of you would be interested in helping to organize from your area.
Sean Pickup began our meeting and helped organize the link and the format. Sean and Rachel just had their second little girl. Sean is starting a new business and is also in a bishopric. Sean asked all the missionaries to give a brief update and then tell something they are still doing from mission habits and something they wish they were still doing.
Elder Ndwandwe began and shared how much he is studying. He still has a very youthful look and was such a great person to begin. He is journaling and wishes he could study as much.
Nathan Quigley shared info about his job and how hard he is working. Nathan has stuck with his good habit of mission planning, but wish he could get to bed earlier and get up earlier like on a mission.
Aaron Leman has a 7 month old son, born on March 5th. This is the same day as President Dunn's birthday. Working and parenting has Aaron and his beautiful wife , but wished he could get to bed earlier and get up earlier like on a mission.
Karim Rizk was our only Austrian missionary and he is doing great. He is studying so hard and working on an engineering degree. He is looking forward ot dating more seriously in the future when he gets through this busy period with his studies!
Michele Di Ruscio our Italian RM is studying so hard for an aerospace degree. Michele is serving as 2nd counselor in a YSA bishopric and still has the habit of writing in his journal and getting enough sleep. Mission gave him great habits. He wants to work on his hairstyle and dating!
Thomas Reynolds living still in the UK and is also in a bishopric. He has grown out his hair and has a beard thinking that it might cause him to be released. Thomas is married and working towards a degree in political science. His hair and breard also makes him look older than his mission picture...by a lot!!:)
Daniel Henderson introduced us all to his fiancee, Annie. He met her in a YSA ward when he moved for a new job. Daniel is getting married on the 15th of December. He is an accountant and even though it is stressful work, he is glad to have employment and much to look forward to. He is still working out on a regular basis since mission and age is allowing him to grow a decent hairline! :)
Janson Worton Showed us his baby boy, Maxwell. Born in March and a darling kiddo. He and his wife Tina live in Holladay. He is in the Elder's Quorum Presidency. He is finishing his degree in construction mgt. and has had an internship and worked on the temple.
Janson is still keeping up the habit of reading scriptures daily.
Thomas Graham (Aubrey)introduced us to 2 month old Grayson. Serving in the stake YM Presidency and still drinking rooibos tea . He is reminded to keep a daily planner because he is not still doing that like on a mission.
Nick Menendez living in Arizona with wife Lindsay. He is working in marketing and Lindsay is a marriage and family therapist. They like Arizona, but find it pretty hot in the summer. Wish he was journaling more, but stiull gets up early to work out.
Stanley T. Carter sent in his comments because he is sick with COVID., We all send our prayers for a full recovery. He moved back to the UK and dating and doing well. Studying health psychology. Wishes he kept up on his journal lik eon mission, but still working out.
Jordan Nelson is engaged to get married to Emily Atkins on 30 December. He is working and serving in the Australian army. He is the first Counselor and the YSA rep for missionary work.
Khanyisani Zitumane got married on the same day that Lutho Masoka got married. He is in law school and has a baby boy on the way. Great updates.
Sladen Ott was on the call, but had to get off before we got to hear from him.
John Duncan and JoEllen Pratt Duncan this great senior couple shared updates. They have been serving in China after the SAJM. They learned to love butternut squash in SA and love to keep sharing the gospel.
Christian Thompson So fun to see Christian and his beautiful bride by his side. They have been married almost a year and live in Orem. He might grow out his hair if it will keep him from serving in a bishopric:) They are both working and going to school. Christian is not writing in his journal as much as he did in the SAJM- but is sharing the gospel as they can.
Paito Martinho Really wonderful to hear form Paito, he is doing well and shared his happy voice and optimistic spirit with us all. He is doing great and asking for any dating referrals!
Lutho Masoka- married and working for a pharmacy company. Lutho is still organizing his time from his mission and writing in his journal. He shared some xhosa with all of us and we all wanted more!
Dane Cowan and his beautiful wife joined us. Dane has grown a beard and has longer hair. He has a new 14' boat, but is working ion it to make it work. He said the mission helped him have a happy optimistic attitude. I think he came with that!
Zach Anderson was the oldest missionary on the call. he and his wife have now been married over a year. They just bought a new house and Zach has started a new career in finance. Their baby keeps them on a schedule, which is good and reminds Zach of the mission.
Gustavo Lima De Sousa-living in from Brazil, but currently living in Belgium. He remembers reading the 100 day challenge on his mission and is still doing it today. He is happy (as always) and so great to see him.
Natwijuka Gorden-living in South Africa, but visits Uganda when he can. Was planning to get married in May, but then COVID hit and they had to postpone the wedding. He hopes they might be able to get married in the next 2 weeks in the Joburg temple. He works in transportation, like an Uber driver.
Wilford Akwasi Asare Adjei hBeen home 3 years and is now a stock broker. He is serving in his ward and has a woman he wants to marry, but she is going on a mission first. So great to see Wilford.
Elder and Sister Allred They are doing well and living in Utah. Sister Allred shared how special all the relationships are to her and how blessed they feel to have served in the SAJM with all of us. So great to see her and so blessed to have them serve with us from 2014-2016.
President and Sister Dunn We are doing well and so reflective and sentimental about seeing so many missionaries from all over the world. What a highlight day for us. We share all our love and testimony of the gospel. We are staying active and engaged in everything life has to offer. Hoping to stay connected with all of you. President Dunn shared an inspirational message with everyone at the end.
Thanks again to everyone on the call. It truly was a highlight for us. We are grateful for this technology and plan to keep this up. Love to all- President and Sister Dunn