Sunday, June 26, 2016

Time to say goodbye

            President Warne and I have been saying constantly that we can’t believe our mission is coming to an end.  We know the time is short and we have been having final meetings and saying good-bye for over a month.  But to think that we will actually be getting on the plane on Tuesday night after turning over the mission to the Harrises is still hard to comprehend.
            As this will be my final post, I would like to say how grateful I am to those of you who read the blog.  I am so grateful for the chance I have had to be a missionary along with your son or daughter.  Jesus Christ is at the head of our church and we feel His guidance in missionary work as the missionaries work hard to find, teach and baptize.
            It has been an amazing three years, filled with laughter, tears, frustration at times and much joy.  I have a strong testimony of the truth of the Gospel, that missionary work is crucial and that people everywhere are prepared by God to hear and accept the gospel.  I am grateful for the blessing I have had of learning a new language and living in a country as beautiful as Chile with wonderful, faithful saints.  It has also been a marvelous experience to serve a full time mission as a couple.  We have grown closer during our mission and look forward to the next one (after we reconnect with family, of course!).
            We turn the leadership of the mission over the Harrises with confidence and faith that they will make necessary changes, that they will love our missionaries and that the work of the Lord will continue here in the Chile Rancagua mission. 

Love to all and signing off,

Hermana Warne

Pictures this week include a zone of missionaries coming on the bus to zone conference, pictures from stake conference in Talca, President and current and former assistants and our visit with one of our returned missionaries with her beautiful baby

Sunday, June 19, 2016

It's picture time again!

We have been having a great time with zone conferences and trying to take lots of pictures, so I'm letting them speak for themselves.  A couple are also from today, our last Sunday visiting a branch.  Enjoy!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Faithful members

            Today we attended for the last time in a little branch in Peralillo.  There were four of us in Relief Society.  The branch president’s wife taught the lesson and also taught Gospel Doctrine.  The primary consisted of two grandchildren brought by one of the hermanas and then the teacher.  I’m listing all of these facts for two reasons:
            First is to say that even though we have spent the last three years in Chile serving and doing our best, much remains to be done.  I have joked with President that we have been like a finger in water.  Once it is pulled out, no effect is left.  However, the Lord has the long view and we labor in His vineyard under His direction.  The missionaries in Peralillo have a responsibility to support the branch as much as they do to find and teach investigators.
            The second reason is to show the faithfulness of these members.  It must be hard to come every Sunday and know there will be so few, but they do it.  The branch has activities and invites everyone.  We attended their Relief Society celebration at which there were more nonmembers than members.  We have a great admiration for these members and those in many other small units in our mission or anywhere.

            We will take home with us the memories of the wonderful people of Chile, the hard work they do and we pray that the Harris’ will make a lot more progress than we did.
             For pictures this week, I've included some from the zone conferences we had this week: a group picture, sisters who helped me in the kitchen, lunch of grilled chicken sandwiches, musical numbers, and also one of President with the office elders.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Missionaries beat the heat and brave the cold

            After a rainy and rather dreary week, today the sun is shining and everything looks fresh and clean.  One of the things we’ve had to get used to in Chile is that while the trees lose their leaves in the fall and the grapevines are bare, the hills are green and beautiful since it is the rainy season.  The dead corn has been plowed under and the farmers are preparing the fields for the next crop.
            We always worry about our missionaries when it is rainy and cold.  Did they remember to take their umbrellas?  Do they have rain boots and a warm coat?  Sometimes it is hard to be admitted to houses because people say, “Don’t you know it is raining?  You should go home.”  But they are valiant about continuing to work hard whether it is cold in the winter or hot in the summer.  The houses here, including the missionary apartments are neither heated nor cooled.  We provide a heated mattress pad and blankets for each bed and a small heater for each companionship.  In the summer, they have fans to provide some relief from the heat.  However, very few missionaries complain; instead they adjust and keep going.
            We admit to the missionaries that missionary life is hard, as they know for themselves.  But we also tell them about the rewards for serving a full-time mission, which include, among others, converting themselves and others, forming life-long friendships, building a foundation for faithful service in the church and confirming their discipleship of Jesus Christ.  When they can focus on these eternal blessings and their purpose to preach repentance and baptize converts, the temporary physical hardships become bearable and fade away.  We are eternally grateful for these young people who have changed our lives by their strength, example and testimony.

            This week’s pictures come from the final dinner for the go-homers, airport, new missionaries, trainers and leadership meeting.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Serving together, members and missionaries

Throughout our mission we have traveled every Sunday to attend church in one of the branches of our three districts, except for stake and general conference Sundays.  We have enjoyed a Primary program presented by the only 2 Primary age girls and the presidency.  We have visited on Fast Sundays where every person in attendance bears testimony every month.  We have listened to talks given by faithful members who have many different challenges and come from many backgrounds.
It has been a privilege to come to know these members and see their efforts to serve and obey and sustain the church in their home area.  Many branches do not have very many priesthood holders which brings additional challenges. Our missionaries often serve as branch clerks or counselors or with the young men and the sisters often help with primary or young women.
In most of the branches, the missionaries also teach Sunday School (Gospel Principles), often without prior notice.  They also often speak in Sacrament meeting.  Even though we have learned to know and love the members, as the missionaries serve and work in the branches and wards they form strong bonds with them.  The members return that love and serve as they give lunch to the missionaries, go out teaching with them, welcome their investigators and attend baptisms.  They are flexible about accepting missionary changes: saying a fond good-bye to those leaving and welcoming new arrivals.

None of us are perfect so occasionally problems arise, but overall members and missionaries work together to live the gospel and advance the work here in Chile and we are grateful to be part of it and also for the friends we have made among the members.
The pictures today include a couple from the self-sufficiency training, from our temple trip and from new missionary training.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Weekly Report

            This week we finished interviews for the last time, definitely a bittersweet experience.  Since President won’t be interviewing these missionaries when they go home we decided to increase the time a little in order to have a little more one on one time.  While they are waiting for their interviews I have tried to encourage all the Latin missionaries in their English studies and help them remember what a great opportunity they have to learn it on their mission. 
            Next week we will have our last cambio or transfer.  We have 23 going home and 18 coming this time and in July the difference is even bigger.  The new president and wife will have the opposite challenge as when we came.  They will adjust numbers and close sectors, while we struggled every time with finding housing and sectors for large groups. 
            It has strengthened my testimony to realize that the work goes on even as the workers and situations change.  We are grateful for the members here in Chile who help out by giving lunch to the missionaries, going out to teach lessons with them, giving them references and friendshipping investigators who come to church.  Each of us can help the work of salvation by doing those same things wherever we may be.   There are missionaries in almost every part of the world and we all have the same goal: to invite others to come to Christ and be baptized. 

            I invite you to do something this week to help the missionaries in your area.  They will appreciate it and you will be blessed for it.
             The pictures this week are from interviews in Curic√≥, outside the church in Nancagua and English class after the district meeting in Lautaro.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Where are they from?

            Over a year ago, I posted about the countries represented in our mission.  Today I did a recount because I thought it would be interesting to see how or if things have changed.  One big change is the numbers of missionaries we have.  In October, 2013 we had 290 missionaries, but since then we have gradually decreased in size until today where we have 191.  It seems like everything should be a lot easier with 100 fewer missionaries but we haven’t noticed a decrease in any of our activities.
            Here is the breakdown:  Argentina-14, Bolivia-3, Brazil-15, Canada-2, Chile-8, Colombia-7, Ecuador-10, Guatemala-2, Korea-1, Mexico-8, Nicaragua-1, Panama-1, Paraguay-1, Peru-16, United States-99, Uruguay-3.  Obviously, 15 different countries represent 15 different cultures and even changes in language usage.  Even within countries cultural differences exist.  I feel this is one of the many blessings of a mission; the missionaries can learn that we are all children of Heavenly Father, trying to live the gospel and invite the people in Chile to come to Christ.  I’ve included below the paragraph from the earlier post so you may compare if you like: (we still have eleven from Arizona:))
                         Right now we have 242 missionaries, or we will again after Tuesday when 27 arrive.  181 are elders and we have 62 sisters, which is way down from our peak when we had 104 sisters. Missionaries come from Argentina-8, Bolivia-1, Brazil-10, Chile-11, Colombia-7, Ecuador-4, El Salvador-1, Guatemala-3, Korea-1, Mexico-9, Nicaragua-1, Panama-2, Paraguay-2, Peru-30, Spain-3 and Uruguay-4.  Utah, of course is well represented as is Idaho.  We have 11 from Arizona-the same as from Chile plus three more who will arrive on Tuesday.

            As we look ahead to the missionaries coming in the next two transfers, the numbers of Latinos will increase because few Americans are coming.  The pendulum has moved back and forth several times during our mission but we gladly accept whoever comes because missionaries are called of God no matter what their country or language.  We are grateful for the chance we’ve had to learn about the people and cultures of other countries.
             The pictures this week are from interviews in San Fernando, Santa Cruz, Buin and a Tupahue zone at our house.  The other one is of the elders teaching English class at district meeting.