Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Day in Chile


We've had another week of lots of activities in the Chile, Rancagua Mission so here is your report:  what we did on Christmas Day.
We wanted to contact as many missionaries as possible and also deliver a treat, if possible.  Since our new ovens were not delivered until Christmas Eve morning, we were not able to start baking until that night.  Of course I had to do some last minute shopping first!
We made several different kinds of cookies, although unfortunately some of them did not work out.   Apparently it is more humid in Chile than I thought (meringues were soggy) and also Chilean brown sugar does not make crumb toppings hold together (oatmeal carmelitas crumbled), just in case you ever do any baking in Chile.  We got up early Christmas morning, finished cooking and assembled the trays.
Since Wednesday is the normal day for district meeting, it worked out great for us to visit the missionaries during that time.  We were able to cover a lot more territory than trying to meet them individually.  We started 45 minutes north of Rancagua in Buin and greeted the two zones there.  45 minutes back and went to all four zones in Rancagua, which involved driving to three different buildings.
Next we drove 45 minutes south to San Fernando and ended up in San Vicente for the last group.  They waited at the church for us for about half an hour which was very kind. 
In total we were able to shake hands with or hug 180 of our 270 missionaries, or 8 out of 13 zones.  We would have loved to see everyone but the distances made it impossible.  We hope that we made a small difference in their day by greeting them.
  Of course we always love to see our missionaries so it worked out great for us.

We thank you for reading the blog and hope you enjoy this entry.  Please have a wonderful and safe New Year celebration. 

 I have also included a picture of the beautiful countryside we are driving through.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas devotionals



Christmas week is here!  As if you needed a reminder!  We are ready to breathe a sigh of relief that we survived December with all its activities and enjoy the day at least.  We are planning to spend the day seeing as many missionaries as possible, so you’ll see a report about that next week.
This week I wanted to tell you about the devotionals we have attended.  In our mission we have three districts and four stakes and each had a Christmas program.  We managed to go to seven of the eight; but the eighth overlapped so it was impossible.
Each one was very different of course but also very good.  Our missionaries were in charge of the one last night in Talca and they did a great job.  We have so many talented young people, of course including a certain famous one.  They all did very well and we also enjoyed hearing the choirs from the various wards and branches.
The songs were a combination of American carols with Spanish lyrics and a few traditional Spanish carols.  We especially enjoyed one called Los Pastores de Belén.  If you would like to hear it you can look it up on the internet, because it was performed in Santiago two weekends ago.
We would like to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas.  Thanks for reading our blog and caring about us.  We bear testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ, that he was born in Bethlehem, and that he lives today.  This is our purpose for being in Chile far from our family: to bring people to Christ so they may share in the joy that we feel and in the eternal promises to which we look forward.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas concerts

Last week in the Chile Rancagua mission we had three Christmas zone conferences and four concerts in Santiago, so I hope we can be forgiven for this late post.  Christmas time is always busy ; we have discovered it is no different in the mission field.
The church has a Christmas concert on the Temple Square in Santiago each year.  This year they decided to have three nights instead of one plus an additional performance with an evangelical choir on the plaza in front of the presidential palace.
Those who performed included a youth choir, a small orchestra, dancers and soloists.  What a great missionary opportunity for the church.  The seats were filled to capacity and people were standing each of the three nights.
We were fortunate to be able to attend all three performances and thoroughly enjoyed each one.  We are including the link in case you would like to check it out.  Also we enjoyed looking at the nativity display some of which were very unusual although of course all were beautiful.
It was a great chance to be behind the scenes a little bit and meet some of the performers.  One of the soloists actually lives in Provo and came down to sing.  Another is only thirteen but gave a wonderfully polished performance.
On Tuesday we have one last zone conference so we will make that the subject of the post next Sunday. Stay tuned!  

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Decorating for Christmas

                We are deep into the Christmas season here in Chile as all of you reading this blog are also wherever you are.  However, it is different from the norm for us in every way except the most important one.
                The day after Thanksgiving four of the office elders came over and put the tree together and then decorated it.  They loved doing it and we were glad for the help.  It is patriotic for both the colors of Chile and the United State—how fortunate.  The ornaments are very different because they are only the unbreakable sort and the elders had to tie strings on each ornament so we could hang them.
                The local shopping complex has a huge lit tree outside but none of the houses are decorated outside.  I see people buying Christmas decorations at the store; in fact they are mostly gone even though they only appeared about three weeks ago.  Fortunately I have found decorations here in the mission home, thus augmenting the few we brought with us.  The stores are playing American Christmas music but it was still a little strange to hear Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer in the local version of Home Depot.  I planted petunias in theporch pots on the same day I decorated the fireplace mantel. 
                The weather has been gorgeous here and we send sympathy to those who have been enduring the intense cold.  Next week it is supposed to reach into the nineties!  It does not rain in the summer here which is an interesting fact because of all the great produce here in Chile most of which is imported to the US.

                This week will be busy holding Christmas zone conferences for the missionaries and attending devotionals so hopefully you will look forward to that report next week.  Thanks for reading—Presidente and Hermana Warne

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

What a great week to be serving in the Chile Rancagua Mission.  We are grateful for the Gospel, our missionaries, the work of Salvation, the beautiful late spring weather, and again, our missionaries.  They work hard, get along with their companions for the most part, love to serve and do the Lord’s work.
This week we held consejo or the monthly leadership training meeting.  With the new coordinadoras and office elders, we served lunch to 64 people.  The sister who cooks for the mission did a great job with lasagna, salad, bread and marshmallow brownies.  As usual, there were very few leftovers.  Those missionaries sure can eat!
Also this week President and I went to Santiago for a dinner with senior missionaries serving there.  It was wonderful to have a chance to get acquainted with them since we have so much in common.  The dinner was held in a great old house which was purchased by the church in 1961.  It served for many years as a mission home, but currently is used as a satellite MTC (mission training center) for housing missionaries and other meetings.  The food was also delicious, since we didn’t think we would be able to have typical Thanksgiving food here in Chile but we had turkey, ham and all the sides.
On Thursday we had another dinner with all the senior couples in our mission.  Again, the food was delicious, grilled beef and chicken with salads and desserts.  After dinner we each took turns verbalizing what we were grateful for including our spouse and in Chile.  It was a special, spiritual experience and definitely proved we are in the best mission in all the world.  If you had been able to hear these missionaries list the blessings of serving missions, you would all be getting ready to put in your papers!

As I review this post I see I mentioned food in almost every paragraph.  But when people share food and the gospel, good things happen.  Thank you for reading and see you next week.  This photo was taken from the roof of the building where we had dinner.  Wonderful views of the city!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Coordinadoras and change

Are you ready for the latest report for the Chile Rancagua Mission?  Here we go:

        This was a busy week here as it always is when missionaries are going and coming.  This week, eleven left and seven came which is a real switch from our recent schedule.  It was also the week for transfers, which obviously affects many of our missionaries.  It affected us more previously as we, well, mostly President Warne and the assistants, plan out who will move where.
            On Friday we held a sister leader training meeting.  I have a hard time saying that since we call them coordinadoras.  This meeting is always wonderful.  This time several of the sisters had been assigned topics to present as training.  We have several new coordinadoras but it is amazing to see the experienced sisters share their knowledge and insights.  How did missions get along without these missionaries?  They understand the challenges that sister missionaries face, but they also are very good at teaching others how to be good missionaries and also representatives of Jesus Christ in behavior, dress, and spirituality.  They all agreed that as they teach and serve with the sisters in their sectors they receive more in return.  They also learn to love them.
            Our picture this week shows a companionship and the friendship and love that grows between the sisters as they serve each other, the people in Chile and the Savior.  Even though it is hard work to train a new missionary, the trainer is always remembered, often as an example.  In this picture, the Latin sister (in the red) trained the American one.  The other two sisters were companions with the American.  The two on either side of the American sister both went home last week and they are both incredible missionaries.  Each told us that they will continue to be an influence for good in their family and community.  We hear the same from others returning home and we believe it.  We don’t like to see them go but that is how mission life works—constant change. 

            We’d like to wish everyone reading this post a Happy Thanksgiving no matter where you live.  We are grateful for our many blessings, especially for the chance to serve here in Chile.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Primary program in Viluco

                               Here is the chapel in Viluco


                When the blog post is late, it makes for a short week.  Fortunately our days here in Chile are action-packed so we never have trouble coming up with a subject.  As the Latin missionaries would say to that: jejeje.  It means hahaha, naturally.
                Anyway, I would like to tell of an experience we had today.  As we have mentioned before we go to a different branch meeting each Sunday.  As soon as we visit all 20 branches, we will start over.  It takes longer than just going straight through 20 weeks due to stake, general and district conferences.
                Today we went to the Viluco branch.  The building is a house in a neighborhood so we wouldn't have found it without the missionaries to guide us.  There is a church sign outside, but you have to be right in front of the house to see it.  The inside is a typical branch setup with a main room with folding chairs and a small stand and podium.
                Since today is election day in Chile, only sacrament meeting was held.  It was the primary program which is the first we have seen here.  There were eight to ten kids depending on which ones ran back to their moms, but they did such a good job!  Each child had a talk to give; only one lost his nerve.  As usual, they sang between each talk.  The accompaniment was recorded but the children did a great job of singing all the verses each time and the last duet was especially well done: boys on one verse and girls on the other. 

                Only the primary president sat with them, but they were mostly reverent and gave their talks without assistance.  It was a moving experience to feel that this is our real purpose in Chile:  to make sure these children have a strong church in which to grow up and to eventually be leaders.  Real growth means keeping families like these in the Church and adding others as the missionaries are led to them by the Spirit.  Thanks for sharing our mission with us and have a great week.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Entrevistas

It is spring in Chile!

      Hello to all those who follow our blog.  You may know that we have had a few challenges over the last few weeks so thanks for sticking with us and sorry this post is a few days late.  
      We are glad to be back in Chile although it was very hard to leave the family a second time.  We missed the missionaries so much while we were gone that it is like saying hello to family as we see each one again.
      Thanks to our absence, President Warne has had to adjust the monthly schedule, resulting in some very long days for he and the assistants.  The assistants are training and facilitating while President interviews every missionary in our mission in about one week.  With around 280 missionaries, it is no wonder he is tired at night!
      Interviews or entrevistas as we say in Espanol are held every third month.  The missionaries really look forward to this one on one time with the president.  He also enjoys the opportunity to meet individually instead of the usual group which is at least zone size—20 to 40.  The usual interview is 15 minutes but the timing is flexible in case someone needs a little extra care or counsel.
      President wanted to finish all the interviews before transfers next week which explains the abbreviated schedule.  I am continually reminded that everything in the mission world is constantly changing, so along with transfers we have those going home on Monday and new arrivals on Tuesday.  One of the assistants goes out to train before he goes home and so we have a new assistant in this week to learn the ropes. 

      We very much appreciate your prayers and concern in our behalf.  We feel blessed to be able to serve in the Chile Rancagua mission and hope to have no more interruptions!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Mission Office Elders

The Misión Chile Rancagua is organized such that the missionaries can focus their maximum efforts on spreading the gospel to the wonderful Chilean people.  In previous blogs we have written about the Zone Leaders, District Leaders and Sister Coordinators who have been assigned leadership responsibilities in the mission to help guide the overall work of the other Elders and Sisters. They each have their own proselyting areas in addition to these other duties.

In addition to the day to day missionary work there is a substantial amount of administrative work to be done in the mission.  It is comprised of finances, historical/records, medical, and English language training and safety which are largely done by senior missionaries who are serving as couples here in Rancagua.   In addition, we have senior missionary couples who serve in different communities who provide support and training to the local members and leaders.  We will write about both of these groups later.

Additional administrative and leadership support for the mission is provided by these six Elders in this photo.  Note the same colored ties they wore for this picture as a measure of their unity which we spoke of in a previous blog! 

Two of them serve as Secretaries in the mission.  They work on visas, the permanent ID cards that we all must have that are called carnets, handle all correspondence with Salt Lake and in South America, doctor appointments, all arrangements for arriving and departing missionaries, and many other duties.  Two others are called Commissaries.  They handle all the management of all of the apartments that we have (which now total almost 90) including finding, renting, dealing with landlords, repairs, remodeling (in Chile when you rent an apartment or house it is usually in an "as-is" condition meaning any repairs like putting in hot water fall to the renter), distribution of printed materials, management of our storeroom of supplies and other duties.  Listing the duties of the Secretaries and the Commissaries doesn´t seem to do justice to all that they do to support the mission because they do so much.  The Secretaries can be either Latin or American but the Commissaries are always Latin due to the need for native speaking skills to deal with the rental contracts which are, of course, all in Spanish.  In many missions there is only one Secretary and one Commissary and they are companions.  However, due to the recent growth in the number of missionaries we found that often the Secretary would have to go to Santiago to deal with a visa problem and the Commissary had to go to Talca to deal with a property problem and it just didn´t work having them as companions.  Thus, in order to keep the rule of always having a companion for each missionary wherever they go we added one more Secretary and one more Commissary to meet that need.

In addition, the two missionaries in the center of the picture are the Assistants to the President or more commonly referred to as the Assistants.  They are two senior missionaries who are close to the end of their mission who provide invaluable support to the whole mission.  They do training, work with the six week transfers, work with individual missionaries and with the zone leaders and district leaders, manage the performance indicators for the mission, work with local church leaders, solve problems, and do hundreds of other things in support of us.  They can be either Latin or American and we typically have one of each. 

In addition to their administrative duties each companionship has a sector or area where they do normal proselyting in the evenings and on the weekends.  They all serve from four to six months in these positions and then leave to return and do normal missionary work.  Typically we overlap their terms of service so that someone is always being trained by the more experienced of the two. 

We could not lead this mission nor could the other 272 missionaries do their work without these six fine missionaries.  They are wonderful young men with responsibilities that far exceed what you would expect of a 20 year old and yet they fill these duties with great maturity, reliability and faithfulness.  We are grateful for their worthy service and all that they do.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Weekly Missionary Letters to President Warne

Every week each missionary writes a letter to President Warne to report on the work in their sector, how their investigators are progressing, how things are going in their area of responsibility if they are a district leader, zone leader or a sister coordinator, how they are doing with their companion and anything else they want to share.  The lettes vary in length from a short paragraph to about a page.  It is sent in via the Internet using a system designed specifically for this purpose which is called IMOS. Monday is preparation day and is when the missionaries go to the local Internet cafe and send in their letters.  President Warne reads every letter  and gives a personal response to about a third each week.  His responses usually contain words of encouragement, answers to questions or clarifications about how to go about the missionary work.

The letters are full of faith, inspiration and testimony.  Our missionaries love the Savior and this love comes through in how hard they work, the feelings that they express and their obedience.  We thought it might be interesting to share some of the stories of faith from a few of these letters this week.  We have removed any reference that might violate privacy standards for those involved but they are copied and pasted here just as they were written to President Warne with only those changes.

#1-The other day, I prayed that we could find a family. But not just any family, one that we could baptize and that could be members all their lives and send kids on a mission and everything. Then I asked God if He could show me the family in a dream so I would recognize them when I saw them. That very night I had a dream and saw the family. Their faces weren´t too clear but other features like their hair were, and they had a stroller. I´ve never had a dream like that before. That very day, we found them. We were actually trying to visit someone else but they weren´t there, then we visited the backup plan even though we only had 5 minutes before our next appointment. I wrote the address down wrong and we contacted the neighbor, but it was totally inspired by God. Right then, they arrived home from work. It was a Dad and his little son. He looked kind of like the man in my dream but I wasn´t sure. We taught him the first lesson and it went so well!!! Then his wife called him in the middle and I saw her picture on his phone. She is totally the woman in my dream!!!!!! 
#2-We had a really great experience this week. We were trying to get to lunch, without realizing that there are two poblaciones (neighborhoods) called El Manzano. We went to the wrong one. However, at the first house we asked for directions, lived a less active member and her family who aren´t baptized. Her father recently passed away and she has had a hard time getting over his loss. We have a meeting with them this next week. Honestly, there is no way we would have found them were we not utterly lost. God works in mysterious ways, and truly leads us to the people who need our message!
#3-Well i do have a really cool story about this week that i want to share with you.  We had a lesson with a part member family, the two teenage daughters are less active members and the mom is not a member, and well we were talking about the power of the Holy Ghost and how to recognize it and I bore testimony of it and the mom started to cry and she told me that she has had numerous missionaries over and she has listened to countless lessons but when I testified of the Holy Ghost it was the first time shes ever felt it and she thanked us and said now she knows and understands what everyone was talking about. It was such a cool moment for me
#4-Well, yesterday while we were walking, little things would happen where my companion and I could see the hand of God directing our path. Here is one of the experiences we had. We were contacting in a neighborhood but no one was home. We had done everything to try and find new investigators. We had contacted the references we had received, looked up where the inactive members lived, etc. Nada. Then I remembered an inactive member who we had met 2 months earlier at her daughters house. She had told us we could visit her and that she lived in the neighborhood where we were at. The only problem was, her address was in my other planner at the house. 

Well as I was looking at my planner trying to figure out what to do, I looked up and who did I see walking a few yards in front of us? The inactive member and her boyfriend. We walked up to them and they were so happy to see us! Filomena invited us over and we taught her, her boyfriend Hugo and her daughter. Her son is also a member and was visiting for the weekend. Hugo said he wants to read The Book of Mormon. It was a wonderful tender mercy from our Heavenly Father. 
This is just a sampling of what the missionaries are experiencing each week.  They are wonderful examples of what representatives of Jesus Christ should be.  We have included a couple of pictures of missionaries but they are not directly related to the stories here.
Have a great week.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hermana Coordinadoras

Another amazing week in the Misión Chile Rancagua.  We are so grateful to be serving here with so many amazing missionaries and working with the wonderful Chilean people.  Every day we count it a blessing and privilege to be here and serve the Lord.  The work is progressing and we are seeing many baptisms and many who were not active in the church returning in large numbers having been invited to do so by the missionaries.  Many of these returning members have felt the Spirit in their lives and the invitation to return from the missionaries comes at precisely the right moment for them.

We now have 104 Sister missionaries in our mission.  A year ago there were only 24 so we are very blessed to have so many of these delightful young women to assist in the work.  We find that some people are more inclined to work well with the Elders and others with the Sisters.  They are full of energy and the Spirit and they touch many lives each week. 

In the mission organization we have District Leaders and Zone Leaders who help manage the work and who do training for the Elders.  Unfortunately, for years we have not had a means to train the Sisters in the same way since the Elders cannot go and train the Sisters one on one.  Earlier this year the leaders of the church established a role that we call Hermana Coorinadora which is a position that is assigned to our experienced Sister missionaries and they handle the training of the other Sisters.  The goal is to have two per zone but we are not quite there yet given the relative newness of our Sister missionaries.  These Coordinadoras meet with the Zone Leaders in our Mission Leadership Council but we also have regular meetings with them by themselves to talk about issues that are specific to the Sisters.  We cannot say enough about how wonderful they are.  These Coordinadoras are an inspired addition to the missionary process and we do not know what we would do without them.  They are mature and so inspired in how they help the other Sisters.  They are such a blessing to us.  This picture is of our Coordinadoras at our recent meeting.  Did we say they are amazing?  In addition to this responsibility many also serve by assignment as counselors in the Primary, Relief Society and Young Womens organization as needed in their respective branches.  They are certainly being prepared for future service in the church. 

This last picture is of one of the Coordinadoras that is going home this week.  She has been a wonderful and faithful missionary.  When we send a missionary home it is like sending a son or daughter away.  The love we have for them is incredible. 

Have a wonderful week.


 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Zone Conferences and Companionship Unity

Another wonderful week in the Misión Chile Rancagua.  Every week is full of activity. We are often gone by 8 AM and return late in the day and have the goal to retire by 11.  Normally the calls end by 11 which is when the missionaries are supposed to be in bed. Today included a final interview of a young man in Peralillo who is preparing to go on a mission and attendance at the branch in Peumo.  The countryside is magnificent and there is an abundance of agricultural activity everywhere. 

We did training for our new missionaries this week and also started our zone conferences.  Each conference includes two to three zones so there are from 30-52 missionaries at each one. We go over training topics to help the missionaries improve their techniques and their knowledge of the gospel.  In many of our meetings we have the missionaries do practical exercises to apply the things that they learn.  This round of conferences included topics on the Book of Mormon, how to teach repentance, dress standards for the summer (yes it is starting to be summer here!!!!), health, language study, working with less active members and other current topics.

After the zone conference we always have a lunch since most are too far from their areas to go back and eat.  This time we had a game after lunch where they were challenged to show their knowledge of Preach My Gospel (our manual for how to do missionary work), the Missionary Handbook (the standards for missionaries and other important topics) and the scriptures. This picture above show the game in progress.

The Elders and Sisters always  go two by two and we emphasize the need for unity in the companionships.  Often the Elders will wear the same color tie to the meetings as a show of unity and sometimes the Sisters wear something the same as well.  Here is a picture of two of the companionships of our wonderful Sisters wearing matching clothing at one of our meetings this week.

We sent four missionaries home this week and had 28 more arrive so we continue to grow.  That puts us at 290 right now but it ends with this transfer as the goal is to get us down to 250 missionaries (which is the ideal maximum size for a mission) by sometime next year so our numbers will slowly decline.

We are focused on three groups of people in our missionary work-those who want to know about the church, those who recently joined and those who aren't currently active.  We are seeing wonderful blessings with increasing numbers in each group every week.  This is bringing strength to the branches and wards and more are receiving the blessings of the temple. More on these three groups later.

Have a wonderful week.  Thanks for your love and prayers.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Mission Life



                As we reviewed our week trying to decide what to write about this week, we realized that every meeting we had has already been covered by previous blogs.  I guess that means everyone reading this post knows everything we do, right?  Maybe not quite, but I will just list the meetings so you get an idea of how the week went:  Monday was our usual office meeting.  After that we took our assistants to lunch and then took one to the airport.  He was one of the ones who greeted us when we got here and helped us survive the first few weeks.  I am not exaggerating when I say we probably wouldn’t have survived without him and the other assistant.  I am not allowed to list their names but they are written in heaven, I am sure.  Anyway it was very sad for us to say good-bye to such an excellent young man but I guess they all have to go home eventually and get on with the rest of their lives.  Elder (or former elder, I guess) if you are reading this, please accept our public thanks for a job very well done.
                Tuesday was our mission leadership council which went well because of course our zone leaders and sister training leaders are the best anywhere.  Wednesday we went to a district meeting which means doing the training on Tuesday and then going Wednesday to see how well it is implemented.  Thursday night President Warne went to do divisions and was very impressed at how well the elders did about talking to everyone.  They even set a date to teach someone they met in the street—very inspiring.  We teach the missionaries that they should ensure that every contact feels the Spirit even if they do not immediately accept the opportunity to hear more about the gospel.  This being the case then when that person encounters the missionaries later in their lives they will feel the same Spirit, recognize how good it felt and want to know more.  During the division a young lady that President Warne and the missionaries talked to on the street asked if she could have a copy of the Book of Mormon.  Of course they had one to give her.  She had a previous encounter with the missionaries and recognized the Spirit that night and that is what prompted her to want to know more.  With this in mind we emphasize that all contacts, done with the Spirit, are good contacts.

                Friday we trained the new missionaries who are just finishing their first six weeks in the mission—always a good experience to see how they have grown –and learned to speak Spanish during that time.  Tuesday we have 28 more coming in so we will start the process once again.

             You have probably come to realize how much we love our missionaries.  Here is Sister Warne and one of our sister missionaries that she did divisions with awhile back.  They are unforgettable.  We are grateful for the sacrifices that they have made to be here on their mission in Chile.  Some of their background stories are incredible and very humbling.  This sister is actually a software security engineer in her country but decided to serve the Lord and is doing a marvelous job.  We know the Lord will bless her upon her return home. 

                We spent Saturday and Sunday listening to conference, of course.  We are very grateful for the technology which allowed us to listen to it live here in the mission home.   I am not sure how conference can get better every time.  The messages were amazing and seemed very direct.  We were thrilled to hear the call for members to assist missionaries in the work.  Many members here in Chile are very willing to go out with the missionaries which is a priceless resource in teaching lessons to investigators.  Also the choirs were great.  There is something about hearing the choir sing live that really adds to the spirit of the conference.

 

Monday, September 30, 2013

MIssionary Health


               This has been an interesting week in the Misión Chile Rancagua.  Of course they all are but I am about to explain why I said it this time.  We just feel like we have new adventures every week so until we start repeating we will keep reporting.
                I would like to explain the missionary health system since that is what we dealt with this week.  We realized a sister missionary needed to return home to her town in Argentina a few months early due to some health issues.  We also decided she shouldn’t go home alone in case she needed help during the trip so I volunteered to accompany her.  Sending someone home requires President Warne getting approval from the doctor who is assigned to supervise health care in the ten missions here in Chile.  Also, permission for me to accompany her required approval from a General Authority of the church in the Missionary Department in Salt Lake City.  Everybody is very supportive of our mission needs.  We left on Wednesday morning, reached her home in the afternoon without mishap and I returned late on Thursday tired but glad everything went fairly well. 
Here on the ground, so to speak, we have a nurse assigned specifically to our mission.  She does a wonderful job of taking calls from sick missionaries, accompanying others to doctor appointments, and helping missionaries realize maybe they can go out and work even if they have a headache or a cold.  We have a weekly coordinating meeting so that we can keep track of the various ailments reported each week.  A computer log is also used to keep detailed records of each call.  Our rule is that if a missionary needs to stay in from work he must get approval from the mission nurse or me.
Two types of health care are available here:  one is free or low cost, at a government hospital.  The other type is private, more expensive, and better quality, called clinica plus the company’s name.  We also have pharmacies which require prescriptions so that part of the system is familiar to us from the United States.  Another sister has been diagnosed with a serious illness and it was amazing to see how fast the decisions have been made for the best way to help her.  If outside consultation is necessary there is an excellent network of doctors that the church uses in Salt Lake City who can read lab reports and review everything going on here electronically. 
Missionaries receive health care for issues ranging from ingrown toenails to much more serious health problems but we are confident that with the mission nurse, the doctor in Santiago and the resources here and in the United States we can keep 279 missionaries healthy, happy and working every day.  While there always is something going on with this many missionaries we are grateful for the good health that they enjoy and see the Lord`s hand in protecting them every day.
Two other events this week are worth noting.  First, it was Sister Warne´s birthday and the missionaries sang and gave her cards.  We also had a breakfast where we celebrated her birthday and also recognized that one assistant is going home and one of the office secretaries is going back out into the field.  One picture is of some of the cards (many were handmade), the second is of the breakfast and the other is of us and the assistant who is going home at the Santiago Temple on Saturday.
Have a wonderful week.

               

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Independence Day

            As usual, our week here in the Chile Rancagua Mission was very interesting and busy.  Also as usual, we did things we haven`t yet had the opportunity to do before.  Since this is a blog post, I´m about to share those things with you.
            On Monday we had our last day with our visitors from Salt Lake City.  We enjoyed their company for the weekend and yet were also glad we were able to get them to the airport in time for their flight.  We do this every time: get lost on the way home from the Santiago airport.  This time was especially bad since we found ourselves in downtown Santiago during rush hour and it took us over two hours to get home. 
            Since this month in the cycle is for special training we decided to train zone leaders and district leaders in some of the issues they face in leading their fellow missionaries.  Tuesday was the first of three sessions in various parts of the mission.  We practiced one of the questions in the baptismal interview which is an important step in the process of bringing potential members into the waters of baptism.  President Warne and the assistants did a great job as usual in giving spiritually based motivational presentations.  We also had time for a question and answer session.  We sent them on their way to their lunch appointments but did hand out a snack which consisted of a juice box and a homemade cookie. 
            Wednesday was September 18 or just dieciocho as they say here in Chile.  It is Independence Day and a really big deal: everything was closed for at least two days.  Each ward or branch had an activity sometime during the week.  The missionaries were assigned to support their activity since little successful work can be done when everyone is partying.  We went with another senior couple to their ward activity and heard about many others.  The activity was planned from 12:00 to 8:00 but we were there from 1:30 to 4:00.  We ate a delicious lunch and had a chance to visit with the missionaries assigned to that ward.  The traditional dance of Chile is the cueca, and while young missionaries are not allowed to dance, it is fun to watch the ward members.  Some of our missionaries in other units even dressed in the traditional costumes.

           The rest of the week we spent touring the mission for various purposes.  These included interviews with missionaries, checking out buildings and other little towns and of course, getting lost.  Oh, wait, that isn’t supposed to be a purpose but it sure does happen often.  Maybe by the time we leave we will know our way around.  See you next week.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Leadership Council and Spring

This week we held our monthly Leadership Council meeting on Tuesday.  The Leadership Council is comprised of all the Zone Leaders (26) and the Sister Coordinators (12), ourselves and the two assistants.  President Warne and the Assistants do the training and lead the discussion.  It is also a time when each of the Zones give an accounting of their work activity for the last month and where President Warne also gives a report for the mission as a whole.  We hold the meeting in the dining room of the mission home by taking out the table and setting up chairs.  We are able to get all 40+ of us in the room and it is a great venue for this council meeting.  This picture shows the room and President Warne doing the training.  One of the marvelous things about missionary work is that the day to day management of the work comes from these Zone Leaders, the District Leaders under them and the Sister Coordinators.  The average age of this group is less than 21 years old.  It is a testament to the truthfulness of this work and the inspired direction we are getting from our prophet, Thomas S. Monson and the other leaders of the church. These are wonderful missionaries and they are serving very faithfully.  The leadership skills they are exhibiting and learning are amazing.

At this meeting one of the things that we focused on was D&C 121:34-35 and about what it means to be called and how we can be chosen.  It is true that many are called but few are chosen.  We focused on those things of the world that were keeping us from being totally consecrated to the Lord and this work.  Also on ways that we might have our hearts set upon the "honors of men."  It was a very powerful discussion and helped us focus on how we might be chosen instead of just called.  We also covered other subjects such as how to conduct effective divisions (one on one training) with less experienced missionaries and how we might focus better on the different parts of our work.

After the meeting we always feed the council lunch (almuerzo) which they love.  The weather has gotten warmer so we decided to eat out side.  This picture shows the layout.  There is great camaraderie among the missionaries and they love being together. 

It is Spring here in Rancagua.  The fruit trees are in bloom and it is spectacular. We are grateful for the warmer weather and the opportunity to see the rebirth of this beautiful land and all that it symbolizes. 

Have a wonderful week.  Thanks for your love, support and prayers.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Mission Tour and Pelequén

Hello from Chile—if you are reading this you are back for another dose of the Warne`s mission.  This week was one we have been waiting for and planning for since we got here.  Every mission has a mission tour once a year where a general authority of the church comes to visit and hold zone conferences.  Our general authority this year was Elder Viñas of the Seventy and his wife.

            They arrived on Tuesday afternoon, to stay with us for two nights.  We immediately went into a meeting with the assistants, Elder Viñas and his wife and President and myself.  President and the assistants were extremely well prepared with a booklet outlining the schedule, mission stats and also a power point presentation.

            That night we had a devotional in Rancagua which was very well attended, considering it was a school night and didn’t begin until 8:00 p.m.  Wednesday and Thursday we held conferences, dividing the mission in half, which meant around 150 each day.  It was a challenge to feed lunch to that many missionaries efficiently.  The senior couples did a great job down in Curicò and again in Rancagua. This is the picture of half of the mission that met in Curicó.  We are seated right in the middle.  

            Elder Viñas did a wonderful job of speaking to the missionaries, in the devotionals and in giving President counsel about the state of the mission.  He spoke about having quality baptisms, being obedient and real growth.  We didn’t really understand the concept of real growth until we came here but it is a major and worthy goal for us to try and achieve.   I’m amazed at the hard work required of general authorities in so many ways—after our tour, two long days, he went straight to a stake reorganization in the north of Chile.

            On a lighter note, for our P-day on Saturday, we went with three other senior couples to a feria or swap meet in a town called Pelequén which is about 40 minutes south of Rancagua.  We saw some very interesting things for sale, curtains for example and a toilet! along with the usual toys from China and jewelry or t-shirts. 


            On our way home we went to a restaurant for lunch to celebrate Sister B’s birthday.  Some had been there before which was good, because they knew to order food for four and then we had enough for 12.  When the missionaries go there, of course leftovers are not an issue.

The last picture is of a group of our missionaries after the District Conference in Buin today.  A district conference is like a stake conference.  President Warne spoke three times. Sister Warne supported him from behind! The building was overflowing which is a wonderful problem that needs to be fixed before the next conference.  Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

First Earthquake and More New Missionaries

This has been another interesting week in the Chile Rancagua Mission.  On Monday we sent home 11 missionaries and three senior couples.  We had an amazing testimony meeting prior to taking them to the airport.  It was sad to see them go even though we have only known them a short time.   Our hope is that they will have great success for whatever plans they have following their mission.
 

On Tuesday we greeted 32 new missionaries and also welcomed back 1 returning elder who had gone home to recover from surgery.  Since this is already our second cambio (change) we felt much more comfortable (mostly), than the first time.  We had a little hiccup because there was a bad accident on the road between Rancagua and Santiago so the timing was off for transporting them here but we managed.  The time restriction is that the missionaries going south have to be to the bus station by around 4 p.m.  It is a great feeling to watch the announcement of a trainer and a new missionary.  We first introduce the trainer and where they are from and then the new missionary and where they are from and show their area on a big map we have projected on a screen.  It is lively and exciting as they jump up and hug their new companion for the first time.

Also this week we (or President) felt our first earthquake.  I know I would have felt it if I had been awake.  The epicenter was about 25 miles south of Rancagua.  It was ranked 5.3 on the Richter scale.  The sister who works here at the mission home was unimpressed by that number.  She says that Chileans don’t start paying attention until around 7.0 or higher.  An 8.8 earthquake occurred in 2010 which caused a tidal wave.  Many of the towns in the south of our mission were damaged to some extent in 2010.  Earthquake “season” is from November to February according to the locals.  We never thought of earthquakes having a season but apparently the frequency goes up at that time.

For this reason each missionary has an emergency mochila or backpack in their house.  It contains emergency food, light and other supplies.  Our main hope is that we never need to use them.  Creating 33 mochilas for new missionaries is a big undertaking!  We really appreciate the senior missionaries who perform that task for each cambio.

On Wednesday we visited the town furthest from the mission home which is Constitucion, situated on the coast about 4 ½ hours from Rancagua.  We first drove to Talca for a district meeting and then took the four sisters and two elders who live in “Conti” back with us since President Warne had an interview there.  Normally they ride the bus two hours each way.  It was delightful to visit with the sisters on the way who were in the middle seat of our car while the Elders meditated in the very back seat.  Have as wonderful week.
 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Driving and Uniting Families in Christ



Here we go again—another week in Chile.  If all the weeks fly by as fast as this one did, our mission will be over soon!  You know what they say—a busy bee is a happy bee.
            Since President Warne used to be a civil engineer working in the transportation industry we have done an informal study of the roads here in Chile.  Actually we do that wherever we go.  Anyway, the roads here are in generally great shape.  The main road we use is a toll road called Route 5.  We use it all the time. One fellow told the joke that the Spaniards came and conquered Chile all those years ago and now that they have built the toll roads and charge Chileans to drive on them so they have conquered the country again.  We have put about 5,000 miles on the car in the last two months so we speak from experience.  One unwritten rule here is that if you put on your permiso lights (emergency flashers) you can park anywhere, even in the middle of a busy road.  President has parked on the sidewalk, on the basketball court at the chapels and a couple of other unorthodox places.  This picture is of President´s parking job on the sidewalk in front of the chapel in Curicó.  Sidewalks are becoming his favorite parking spot.  For those that know President Warne you are probably surprised by his flexibility in driving habits.  He will definitely have to relearn some things, but for now he is enjoying it.
            Last night we went to the baptism of a man who has been an investigator for nine years.  It shows that the Lord never gives up on us.  His wife has been patiently waiting for him to gain a testimony and now they can be united in serving the Lord and in having a forever family.  There was also a man baptized last night in Guadalupe who has now joined the rest of his family as a member of the church.  One of the great impacts we are able to have is uniting families in Christ.  The joy and happiness that comes to those who do so is indescribable. 
            We also attended a devotional in another town.  It was amazing and gratifying to see the chapel filled on a Saturday night for this meeting.  President did a great job of speaking about the Book of Mormon.  As I looked from the stand at the missionaries attending—about 25 or so, my heart was filled with love for them and all the others in our mission; for the hard work they do and the sacrifices they make to serve the Lord by coming to Chile and teaching people about Jesus Christ.