Monday, July 11, 2016

Love and Good-bye to 46 Missionaries

Change has always been a key part of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  In fact, it is in many ways the very heart of the gospel.  The idea that we can change and be forgiven of our transgressions is the “good news” of the gospel we teach each day.


A significant change came to our mission July 1, there was a change in the mission boundaries.  The Chambersburg and Lancaster Stakes/zones became part of the Maryland Baltimore Mission on that date. All missionaries currently serving in those zones are now part of that one.


Below are some questions that many will have, along with my answers. 


Why is this happening?

The church is a very dynamic organization. From the day it was restored April 6, 1830, change has been very much a way of life for members and the structure.  In an organization that is constantly growing, changes in structure are regularly needed. This mission has had the most stakes (nine) of any of the 24 missions in the North America Northeast Area. In addition, these two stakes are less than 90 minutes from Baltimore. Pittsburgh is 4.5 hours from Lancaster and 3.5 hours from Chambersburg


Who makes boundary change decisions?

Decisions like changing the boundaries of a mission are made by the General Authorities that run the Church and the Missionary Department. 


What will happen to the missionaries serving in those zones?

On July 1 they will become part of the Maryland Baltimore Mission.  They will serve the remainder of their time in that mission. 


How can they be transferred to a new mission when they were called to serve in the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission?

One of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles reviews and approves all transfers/assignment changes between missions for each of the missionaries involved.  Anytime a missionary, any place in the world, is transferred from one mission to another, it is approved by a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.   For example, when a Temple Square sister is assigned to another mission for three months that is always approved by an apostle. Likewise, an Apostle approved each of these changes.


Remember, each missionary call letter includes the sentence “Your assignment may be modified according to the needs of the mission president.”


Are they going to that mission because you (President Johnson) don't like them?

I love every missionary that serves here. This change is one of the hardest things that has happened in the last two years. Sister Johnson and I hate to say goodbye to any missionary. All will be missed. Our hearts are heavy as we contemplate this change. 


Who will be their Mission President?

President Randal Christiansen will be their new mission president. He and his wife are wonderful people.  They have served for one year so they will be in place for the balance of all affected missionaries missions.  Pres. Christiansen was an attorney before he was called to serve in Baltimore. Both have a wealth of church experience. 


President Christiansen was called of God.  He will be a great mission president and the missionaries that will serve in that mission will be blessed by his leadership.


When will this happen?

July 1, 2016


I am in the Chambersburg/Lancaster zone and don't want to go. Or, I'm not in Chambersburg/Lancaster, but want to be, so I can be in the Maryland Baltimore mission. 

Please ponder and pray about this change. I have every confidence you will find your own testimony that you are right where the Lord needs you. In time, the Lord’s hand in your life and in this change will become very evident. 


Each one of the Elders and Sisters who will be changing missions will be missed.  They go with our thanks for their service in this mission and our prayers that God will watch over them the balance of their mission.  We know that if they will work with their heart, might, mind and strength they will have a memorable, moving and marvelous experience there. We look forward to seeing each of them at a mission reunion in the coming years.


God bless,


President Johnson

Elders Gray, Ainsworth, Perry and Richards, Sisters Jensen and Evanson 

Sisters Noorlander, Forrest, Caldwell, Huffaker, Elders Rose, Woodbury, Hawley, Howard with Pres. and Sister Johnson 

Sisters Haarlan, Hamblin, Woolley and Johnson, Back:  Elders Iverson, Worsham, Lloyd, Woolley, Wadsworth and Pres. Johnson

Elders Elkins, Vu, Wood, Spencer (behind), Eubanks, Meija, Pres. Johnson, Sisters Sage and Welch

Elders Simmons, Pennington, Shephard, Pres. Johnson, Duffy, Gehrke and Davis
Sisters Hale and Hokafunu 

Sisters Sears, Smith, Collins and Hartman
Elders Posada, Tunquist, Pres. Johnson, Mink and Poulsen

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