So What's Next For Minnesota's Weatherman Mike Fairbourne?

WCCO TV's Mike Fairbourne retired in June after 33 years as a primetime weatherman. Now the Fairbournes look forward to a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They report to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala on December 11.

Mike and Peggy Fairbourne get almost giddy when they think about the next step in their lives. It is something they have planned to do since the earliest days of their marriage. They are going on a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Mike retired from WCCO in June of this year. Soon afterwards the Fairbournes submitted the required paperwork to go on a mission. It seemed like an endless wait until they received a letter in mid-October assigning them to the Guatemala Quetzaltenango Mission. Now there are endless things to do before November 28 when they need to be in Provo, Utah, for two weeks of intensive training before flying directly to Guatemala.

Quetzaltenango, locally known as Xela, is the second largest city in Guatemala. It is located in a mountain valley 7,655 feet above sea level which means the Fairbourne's first task will be acclimating to the high altitude. Then they are eager to learn Spanish so they can converse freely with the local people and 180 young Mormon missionaries from North and South America whom they will be supporting for the next two years.

The Fairbournes will be working under the direction of the mission president, Lewis Bautista, former owner of Eddington's Restaurants and resident of Orono, Minnesota. Most work will be assigned as-needed, but the Fairbournes already know they will be handling the distribution of furniture to the needy from a church warehouse and administering finances for the mission.

Mike observed, "This is a wonderful opportunity to put aside the cares of the world and serve the Lord full time." Peggy added, "We have been very blessed, and you can't have so much given to you without wanting to give back."

The couple realized this when they went on their first two-week medical mission with Operation Smile (now Children's Surgery International). Mike was a founding board member in the early 1990s. Peggy soon joined him in the work of putting together medical teams that would change the lives of children born with facial deformities in Haiti, Ghana, Venezuela, and Peru. They did this work for 16 years.

In our own community, Peggy helped Hmong and Karen (formerly Burmese) families by connecting the needs of these refugees with those wanting to give at Christmastime. Mike and Peggy personally delivered the donated gifts to homes of the refugees a few days before Christmas for more than ten years.

Some people never stop giving! Peggy is also a master gardener who has volunteered her time and effort in teaching gardening to Somalian, Latino, and African American children through Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners (IOCP).

As senior missionaries for the Church, the Fairbournes will represent only seven percent of more than 53,000 full-time Mormon missionaries worldwide. The majority are young men and women between the ages of 19 and 25 who are often seen peddling bicycles around town. Like these young missionaries, the Fairbournes will pay their own way while on the mission.

The family moved to Plymouth in 1977 where they raised their seven children. "The Fairbourne clan fiddled, dramatized, vocalized, paintballed neighbors' houses (being made to profusely apologize afterward) and shoveled snow while their dad forecast it from downtown."

Peggy says they know the angst of having a child in a dangerous zone. As the children grew up, two sons also served missions in South America-Chris went to Bogota, Columbia, and Steve went to Barranquilla, Columbia. Now the tables are turned so Mike and Peggy have made it easy for family and friends to follow them while in Guatemala by setting up a blog at which they plan to update regularly.

Mike and Peggy will leave Minnesota two weeks before the birth of their fourteenth grandchild.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has over 30,300 members in 80 congregations in Minnesota and over 14 million members worldwide. The Church currently operates over 350 missions in 162 nations with more than 53,000 full-time missionaries.

Categories: Religion

Tags: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter, Guatemala Quetzaltenango Mission, Mike Fairbourne, Mormon Mission, Peggy Fairbourne, WCCO weatherman

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Kathryn H. Woolley
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