Monday, September 15, 2014

Mission Calls

We have been planning on serving a mission together since before we were married, we just had to wait until Ken retired.  Ken planned to retire in June 2014 after ten years working for Union Bank and 31 years working for Bechtel/Fremont.  We knew that it would be difficult to receive visas as missionaries assigned to Brazil, so we wanted to start early.  The church allows senior couples to submit their missionary application nine months before their availability date.  We wanted a few months after Ken retired to prepare for the mission, so we planned to turn in our application in January 2014 with October 1 as our availability date.

We had visited southern Brazil in April 2013 and saw the place where we wanted to serve our mission, in Gramado, Brazil, which is part of the Porto Alegre North Mission.  We spoke with President and Sister Wright, the mission president and his wife, and told them we would like to serve in Gramado sometime in 2014.  They were excited to have us come to their mission and said that when we submitted our application to let them know and they would flag our papers so we would be called to their mission.  Two days before we were to have our final interview with our Stake President we had a Stake Conference where the visiting authority was Elder Martino.  In speaking with him and telling him of our plans, he informed us that all senior couple mission applications go across his desk and he would make sure we were called to the Porto Alegre North Mission. 

We received our mission call letters on February 21, 2014, and phoned all our kids to share with them the information as we opened our letters.  Here are copies of the letters.

The call letters state that our primary assignment would be to labor as office specialists.  We later received a Missionary Change Form that stated our primary assignment would be Member and Leader Support (See Below).

We began working on our Brazilian visa applications as soon as we received our call, realizing what a long process it would be.  We had to get many documents, like our birth certificates, marriage certificate, seminary and institute transcripts, BYU transcripts, priesthood ordination certificates, etc.  Many of the documents had to be notarized, and then taken to the California Secretary of State's office to have the notary authenticated.  We had to be fingerprinted and then have the FBI do a background check to see if we had a criminal record.  We sent all the papers to Church Travel and they then had to send them a few at a time to the Brazilian Consulate in San Francisco to be "legalized", after which they were returned to Church Travel.  All of this took many months, and after a few complications we were able to take them into the Brazilian Consulate.  After paying our visa application fee, they told us that we could pick up our visas on August 19. We were so thrilled when we went in August 19th and the visas were ready we went out and celebrated.

We will enter the Mission Training Center (MTC) on October 6th and will spend five days in training using Preach My Gospel.  We will then fly out of Salt Lake City for Brazil on Monday October 13 at 2:05 p.m. arriving in Porto Alegre on Tuesday October 14 at 2:25 p.m.