Friday, June 30, 2017

2017 Seminar for Mission Presidents: Provo Missionary Training Center (MTC)

2017 Seminar for Mission Presidents

The famous world missionary map: pointing to our mission
Since Saturday, June 24, 2017 at 2:35 p.m., we have been at the 2017 Seminar for New Mission Presidents. We said good bye to Christiaan, Emiline, and William, which was very difficult. After huge hugs and kisses and tears, Emiline said, “You know, I’ll be 11 when you arrive home.” We hope to see her often during the next three years.

Darrel, Joanne, and Anna Rose: The Drop Off at the MTC
Anna Rose drove us to Provo and dropped us off at the Provo Missionary Training Center (MTC). People swarmed the car, took our luggage, tagged it, and then hauled it away for safe keeping while we checked in. One of the helpers there took our picture. We shed a few more tears as we said good bye to Anna Rose. We love her and thank her for her generous support these last few weeks. We could not have done it without her and her sweet family.
The Worth of Souls.....
The moment we walked into the MTC was magic. Everyone knew our names. We received our name tags and then headed to check in, which was simple and easy. We then boarded a bus for the hotel. Our rooms were not ready so we boarded the shuttle and headed back to the MTC. Then the incredibleness began!

Elder and Sister Cook, Elder and Sister Hallstrom, and President and Sister Hammon
What a marvelous four days. From inspiring talks and conversations with the Twelve Apostles to lunch, dinner, and breakfast with them and other General Authorities to meeting with the sole missionary still at the MTC heading to our mission to a missionary fireside with Elder Bednar to a tour of the new buildings at the MTC to meeting many of our new missionary president colleagues to studying and pondering the numerous teachings we received—all of it and much, much more have inspired us and taught us what we are about.
The Seminar Room 
A few of the topics of the sessions included:

The Brethren....

A Vision of the Work
The Faith to Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts
One Together in the Work
Preparing to Teach
Interacting to Edify
The Divine Companionship
Treasure up the Words of Life
The Power of the Book of Mormon
Balancing Family and Missionaries
Teaching Missionaries the Power of the Word
The Power of His Word Which is in Us
Mission Leadership
Caring for Your Missionaries
A Christ-Center Mission Culture
Personal Priorities and Holy Purposes

Elder Bednar. Photo from:
One of the phrase that Elder Bednar used to introduce President Eyring was this: “Isn’t it important that the Lord trusts us to do this hard thing.” We know Heavenly Father trusts us to do His work in California with all of His/our missionaries.

The Seminar was phenomenal! We enjoyed it thoroughly. After we arrived home last night from our final meal and testimony meeting with Elder Ballard, Joanne and I just sat here, quiet, trying to absorb everything that has gone on this week. One thing we do know is this: We love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and we love our missionaries even though we do not know them—yet.

We know that we “can do….we must do it.”

Stay tuned. More to come!

P.S. For more information about the Seminar for Mission Presidents, click on

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Setting Apart

June 20, 2017 

Today was one of those special days that literally comes once in a lifetime. Joanne and I were set apart today in Elder Dale G. Renlund’s office. We picked up Anna Rose from her work and then traveled to Elder Renlund’s Office. We were greeted at the elevator by his administrative assistant Becki who took us to his office. 

Elder J. Devn Cornish was there in the outer office, and Becki ushered us in and told us where to sit. We had a great catch-up conversation with Elder Cornish about his family when Elder Renlund came in. He greeted us warmly and then asked, “How did you receive your call?” We told him the process. 

Back row: Elder Cornish and Elder Renlund. Front row: Anna Rose, Darrel, and Joanne

Then, he said, “Let me tell you from my perspective because I was there.” He then proceeded to tell us that the Twelve met in the upper room of the SLC Temple and discussed the names of men whose names had been forwarded to serve as mission presidents. He said it was a unanimous vote, and then the names were presented to the First Presidency. He bore his testimony that we had been called of God. Joanne and I listened with tears in our eyes. 

After explaining how the setting apart would go, Elder Renlund set me apart as Mission President, and Elder Cornish set apart Joanne as a full-time missionary and companion to me. Elder Cornish was one of the Caribbean Area Presidents when we served in the Caribbean Area Welfare Office.

What an incredible experience to be in the presence of an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ in this dispensation, one we shall never forget!