“New Mission Opens; Anniversary Celebrated,” Ensign, June 2006, 74
Created from missions in Mexico City, the new Mexico Cuernavaca Mission opens in July. The mission boundary begins just below the heart of Mexico City and stretches west to the Pacific Ocean, taking in 350 miles (560 km) of coastline. Encompassing the states of Morelos and Guerrero and cities such as Acapulco, Ixtapa, and Iguala, it is larger geographically than any of the four missions from which it was created and reflects the growing missionary activity in a metropolitan area served by nearly 800 missionaries.
Though there will be no increase in the number of missionaries serving in the region when the mission opens, the creation of the mission by realigning the four Mexico City missions will allow for better administration of Church affairs in one of the largest cities in the world—home to more than 18 million residents.
Called to serve as the first president of the mission is Wayne Leroy Gardner, along with his wife Teresa. Though he previously served as president of the Chile Santiago East Mission from 2000 to 2002, he says opening a mission will be challenging. But he is excited to serve again.
The addition of the Cuernavaca mission also comes at a special time for members in Mexico, as they recently celebrated the 125th anniversary of the dedication of the country for missionary work. On April 6, 1881, Elder Moses Thatcher (1842–1909) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles knelt in prayer upon the face of Mount Popocatépetl—a nearly 18,000-foot active volcano—to dedicate the land for the preaching of the gospel.
Retracing those steps in two different hikes, about 300 missionaries and more than 200 members commemorated Elder Thatcher’s dedication with a plaque placed on Popocatépetl’s mountainside.