We received our mission call on December 26, 2009. Here's how it happened. I (Michele) was on my way to the play, A Christmas Carol, in Portland. On the way I passed our mail-carrier. I called Steven to tell him if the mission call came to call me. I went to Alisha's first and while I was there Steven called. He said one word, “Bingo!” I said, “I'll be right home.” So as quick as I could return home we opened our call. We were delighted to discover we were called to serve in the New York, Rochester Mission with a special assignment to labor in the historic sites in Palmyra and the surrounding area. We will rotate between the Hill Cumorah Visitors Center, the Smith Farm, including the log home, the frame home and the Sacred Grove, the E.B. Grandin print shop where the first 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon were printed, and the David Whitmer home, 27 miles out of Palmyra, where the Church was organized.
In the winter, when things are slower, we will also proselyte. On our preparation days in the winter we hope we can work in the Palmyra Temple as ordinance workers. We worked hard to learn how to administer the temple ordinances and we don't want to forget them. We will also have a calling in our ward or branch.
One thing we have learned since we have been at the Mission Training Center is that there are not coincidences. God's hand is in this work and our callings to serve. We truly believe that. While Elder Watts was serving as Stake President he met all of the Oregon Portland Mission Presidents. However, we both grew to know and love President and Sister Weston while they served here. We kept in touch with them each Christmas. Then, in September, Paul and Nancy Hansen and three of their daughters took a trip back east and during that trip they went to Palmyra. They ran into the Westons, who were serving as the Directors of the Hill Cumorah Visitors Center. The Westons asked about us and, finding we were soon planning to leave on our mission, gave the Hansens a business card and told them to tell us to call them, they would love to have us serve our mission there. Well, we thought that sounded fun, but we set the card aside and didn't call because we planned to write on our papers that we would serve where ever we were needed.
Two weeks later we were in the Salt Lake City Airport after having attended October Conference. We ran into Elder Gary Stewart, who had been an Area Authority Seventy when Steven was Stake President. We began talking with him about our mission and the conversation the Hansen's had with the Westons. We told him we didn't call the Westons and he strongly urged us to call them and to request Palmyra when we submitted our papers. He said the Brethren like the senior missionaries to request where they want to go. That way they will be excited about their missions and perhaps encourage other seniors to serve. After that conversation we called President Weston. We were so happy to renew our acquaintance again with him and his wife. We expressed a desire to serve at Hill Cumorah and he said he would call Mission Headquarters and have them flag our application. And the rest is history. We feel so blessed to be able to serve a mission and are looking forward to many wonderful experiences.