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Gilbert is known for its high LDS population. In all of Arizona (as of October 2010), the Church reported 381,235 members in 794 congregations, with 4 missions and 3 temples. Gilbert used to be grouped with the Tempe Mission, and all members went to the Mesa temple (sharing it with the entire Phoenix area). Now with the change in mission age, Gilbert has become its own mission, and another mission in Scottsdale has been created. The Mesa temple was built in 1927, and it wasn’t until 2002 that Arizona got a second temple in Snowflake, up north. Now a third temple has been dedicated in Thatcher, Arizona, and two more temples are under construction–one in Gilbert, and another in Phoenix. Another temple has been announced in Tucson. The temple constructions are a testament to the rapid growth of faithful LDS members in all of Arizona.
Members LOVE to feed the missionaries in Gilbert, often signing up for mealtimes a month in advance. However, since this is a newly-formed mission, details of member meals will be added in a year or so.
Depending on your area, you may be provided a car, or you will use bicycles to get from place to place. Sisters are generally provided cars but bring a few bike worthy skirts just in case!
When you arrive at the mission home, part of your orientation will include a class with a local bike specialist on maintenance and safety. He will help you adjust your bike to fit you. Pretty cool!
Gilbert is rated among the top 20 safest towns to live in. According to FBI records, Gilbert was the largest city in the United States with zero murders in 2005. Possibly the most serious safety concern is dehydration and heat stroke. Be sure to drink lots of water and keep cool in the summer months.
Also, if you are driving and a dust storm or monsoon rolls in, pull over and wait until it passes. The storms cause low visibility, and accidents are frequent.
Camelbaks (small backpacks that hold water) are helpful if you will be biking during the hot summer months however a member in the area cautions that mission standards for appearances have recently changed and you may or may not be allowed to use a camel pack. If you are interesting in taking a camel pack, please contact your mission President to see what the current guidelines suggest.
Handkerchiefs are also useful, as are cotton-blend garments (they dry easier). You will mostly wear short-sleeved shirts, but bring a jacket for the winter months.
Gilbert has made a rapid transformation from an agriculture-based community to an economically diverse suburban center located in the southeast valley of the Phoenix metropolitan area. Many of the neighborhoods are “cookie-cutter” communities with beautiful stucco homes that have pools in the backyards. In the last two decades, Gilbert has grown at an extremely high rate, increasing in population from 5,717 in 1980 to over 200,000 as of 2010. This can be attributed to the Baby Boomers heading south for retirement, but the Church was a large draw, as well. Stakes grew and split into two stakes almost overnight. The Church is very prevalent and is making great progress. It’s a great time to be a missionary.
Located in south-central Arizona, Gilbert is a desert location, with mild winters and extremely hot summers. November through February are the coldest months. The summer months of June through September have a dry heat ranging from 90 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. There is an annual average rainfall of 12.7 inches, which comes during two rainy seasons–a cold front in the winter, and a monsoon season towards the end of summer. During monsoon season, it can be very humid, and lightning, thunder, wind, dust storms, and torrential rain are common. These storms provide greenery in the desert and create beautiful sunsets.
1001 N Burk St
Gilbert AZ 85234
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