I try to post photographs of our new missionaries each time they arrive. But recently I realized that maybe the pictures don't make sense and the blog readers might not understand what we do on a transfer day. So I've assembled some photos to document what goes on during a typical cambio. Now there really isn't a "typical" cambio because as much as we plan for a smooth day, there are always little things that occur that throw the schedule off. Nevertheless, we have some traditions that we like to share with our new missionaries so that their first day is memorable.
Usually the North American and Latin missionaries arrive on the same flight from Santiago. This is the best case scenario and it makes our day so easy. After greeting all the missionaries at the airport we drive them to our city's natural monument, La Portada, for a photo op. Each missionary has his picture taken with President and Hermana Bruce and we also take a group photo.
|First picture with Hermana and Presidente Bruce|
No matter the time of year, La Portada is windy. This can result in some interesting faces and photos. And sometimes we get crazy hair pictures too.
|Group photo at La Portada|
Depending on the number of missionaries that arrive and how tight our day is planned because of plane and bus schedules the missionaries are either taken to the mission office for breakfast or to the Institute. The first order of business is paperwork and a headshot. We want to learn more about our missionaries and need their family contact information so we have a short form for them to fill out. We also need to take a picture for their visa and for their name tag on the transfer board in the President's office.
|Filling out the information sheet|
|Headshot taken at the Institute|
After the administrative work is done the training meeting starts and the group begins with a song, "Called to Serve" and during the second verse our trainers come into the room enthusiastically singing too. These missionaries have been in another building receiving their instructions on being a trainer to a new missionary and are VERY excited to meet their nuevitos.
|New missionaries singing "Called to Serve"|
|Trainers joining in with the song|
When the singing is over we have introductions by everyone. We share our names, where we are from, and for the trainers, how long we have served in the mission.
How do the new missionaries find out who their first companion will be? We inherited this tradition when we arrived in the mission and all the missionaries love it. Presidente Bruce has an envelope for each new missionary with his/her companion and sector enclosed inside. The nuevito sits in a chair in the middle of the room and reads about his assignment. As soon as the trainer's name is announced he jumps with excitement and runs to greet his new companion. The trainer has a shoe shine brush in hand and poses as if he is shining the shoe of his nuevito while pictures are being taken. I think the new missionary is in shock a little with all the excitement and doesn't know what is going on but it is as exciting as Christmas morning for our trainers as they meet their new companions.
|Trainers are always excited to meet their nuevitos|
|Each missionary receives his/her assignment in a specially marked envelope|
|Presidente and Hermana Bruce greet the new missionary also|
|Presidente Bruce distributes the envelopes one by one to the nuevitos|
|The trainers shine the shoes of each new missionary|
|The trainer assignments are exciting for everyone|
|The first introduction to his trainer|
|A new companion with his trainer|
|A trainer with her nuevita|
After the introductions and assignments have been made we all have lunch together. Finally it is time for the missionaries to travel to their new areas. Some are assigned to Antofagasta with only a short taxi ride to the pension. But many are put on buses for a 5-12 hour trip to their sectors. But before they depart the missionaries have a final photo taken with Presidente and Hermana Bruce.
|A new hermana with her trainer|
|Trainer and nuevito|
|The first companionship is so important to the missionary|
The new missionaries receive a new pillow, an orientation binder and a bag with "important" stuff (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, shoe shiner and medications) to take to their sector. With all their luggage and these added items their arms are full and they are grateful for a new companion to help them travel.
|Our Assistants help so much during the cambios|
One final picture of the group so we can remember this important day to our missionaries.