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. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Training and Interviews

Hello for my second week of writing this blog.  Last week was easier than I expected so I am doing it again.  Thank you to those who follow the blog.  We are grateful for your interest in the Chile Rancagua Mission.

One thing we have observed in Chile is that there are a lot of dogs.  They sleep almost everywhere.  We saw this one on a car after a meeting in Buin last week.  

This week we continued our series of training and interviews.  I would like to explain a bit about how a mission is organized.  President Warne is the top guy, with two counselors who are called locally to help out with our three districts.  We have two assistants who work very hard in many different assignments.  They know the missionaries, and help train the zone leaders who will in turn train the missionaries assigned to them.  They collect and assess data each week about how the work is going.  They also help President with any other duties as assigned.  Each mission is divided into zones; we have 12, with two zone leaders for each.  Each zone is divided into districts with one or two district leaders.  The missionaries are assigned two by two to sectors (a geographic area), which is where they work day by day. 

One thing President Warne gets to do is set apart and release missionaries in the three districts that he is responsible for.  Last week we met this missionary and his family at the Santiago Airport to release him from his mission in Concepcion Chile.  He was a great missionary and his family was so proud and happy to have him home.  Many had t-shirts like the father on the right.  Note that signs and t-shirts are just as common in Chile as they are at the Salt Lake City airport!

Each third month, President Warne interviews each missionary individually.  With 256 missionaries, that is a big undertaking!  We generally do one zone each day.  While he is interviewing, the assistants and I—mostly the assistants--do training.  This time my presentation has been about keeping their apartments clean.  We decided to do a video of the President cleaning a toilet here at the mission house.  We have generally good reviews of our first starring role!  The assistants are training on our new plan of baptizing, reactivating, and retaining.  We say new, but I found a talk by Elder Mark E. Petersen from 1961 preaching exactly the same principles.  We have many members in Chile and throughout the world who need a reminder of how they felt when they were baptized and an invitation to return to us.

We are on a three month cycle: interviews with training, zone conferences (training), and special training.  I am sure you can see a trend—missionaries need lots of training!  It also gives us a chance to have personal contact with our great missionaries.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Senior Couples and Pichilemu

Hola from Chile!  This week marks a new innovation in our blog because I, Hermana Warne, am taking over writing the blog for President Warne.  With his many duties, writing this blog is one way I can help.  Unfortunately, it won't be as profound as when he did it and it will be shorter.

This week was a busy one as usual, with the President interviewing each missionary, usually one zone per day.  The assistants and I, mostly the assistants, use the time to train the missionaries.  For my first time training in Spanish, I am doing a lesson about keeping apartments clean.  We filmed a video about the President cleaning a toilet, (under my direction) as an example that if he can do it in a white shirt and tie, they can also keep their bathrooms clean.  Hopefully, at least some of them listened!  President Warne is really enjoying getting the know the missionaries individually through these interviews.  After my lecture, I enjoy sitting with the missionary waiting for his/her interview and getting to know them better.  We have such great missionaries!  Of course as we know here in Rancagua, this is the best mission in all the world.

Friday afternoon we had a luncheon with all the senior couples in our mission, except for one.  Right now we have seven couples, but three go home at the end of August and one more in December.  We will certainly miss them and the hard work they are doing.  During the lunch the two couples leaving bore their testimony and said how much they had learned during their mission and how much they love the people here in Chile.  Also, both said that they are going home to visit family for a little while and then go back out to serve again.  Another couple is serving their third mission, while others are on their second time out.  As President says,  they are volunteering for hard work and sacrifice without thought of reward or recognition.  They are invaluable to our missionary effort.
Two of our valuable senior couples.

On Saturday we traveled with the assistants, secretaries, and two senior couples to a beautiful little town on the coast, called Pichilemu.  It is about 2 1/2 hours from Rancagua but it is a beautiful drive, partly through a forested area and then through the rolling hills near the ocean.  The views were gorgeous, the air clear, crisp, and the sky a bright blue.  The ocean looked amazing and a few surfers were braving the waves with pretty good results.  Near the beach was a beautiful park, very well maintained.  Since this is still winter, everywhere was empty of people, but the others said that in the summer every spot is filled with people enjoying themselves.

We stopped at the chapel which is set on the hill where the missionaries were conducting a mini Missionary Training Center (MTC) for the youth so Presi-
dent could say a few words and then went for lunch to a little place that served delicious empanadas.  We had a long drive back but it was worth the trip to see the ocean, the town and the beautiful scenery.

If you didn't recognize my plea for senior couples, I am going to repeat it here.  We need more couples to help with the work!  Every mission in the world could use the help and wisdom of couples with the vision of helping with the Lord's hastening of the work.  Thank you all and have a great week.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Our Purpose-Bring People Unto Christ

Another busy week in the Misión Chile Rancagua has come and almost gone.  We say almost because you never you really know what will happen until it is truly the end of the day on Sunday and then sometimes you realize your day didn´t end even then.  The work progresses on two fronts.  First, we are doing traditional missionary work by seeking out people who want to hear the gospel, teaching them and then baptizing them and having them receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  However, the missionary purpose as found in Preach My Gospel (or for those that are following us in Spanish--Predicad Mi Evangelio) goes one step further and says that we should help these converts persevere to the end.  The second part of our work has to do with this principle of assisting members persevere to the end.  It means we are spending much time working with recent converts and those who need a little extra help to either stay strong or get stronger through further teaching and fellowshiping by the missionaries.  We recently had a family of 14 come to church in a small branch with three of them already active participants, four of them being non-members and the rest being less active in the church.  This is their picture above.  They are now all attending church and three of the four non-members are receiving the lessons.  This missionary work we are doing is uniting families, strengthening those who need it, baptizing those you aren´t yet familiar with the church and helping everyone progress to the point that they can return to our Heavenly Father.  Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the 12 said that our purpose is to open the doors of the Celestial Kingdom to God´s children.  (PME, pg. 9)  We are trying to do just that.

About two weeks ago President Warne went out to work with the Elders while Sister Warne went with the Sisters in a town called Machalí.  President Warne had the opportunity to teach an older gentleman with the Elders the final lesson prior to his baptism.  A few days later the Elders asked him who he wanted to baptize him.  After thinking for a minute he said, "What about that "caballero" who was here the other night?  He probably has lots of experience--more than you younger Elders."  So, President Warne performed his first baptism a few days later in Machalí.  Little did he know but President Warne hadn´t baptized anyone in 14 years...since Christopher was eight.  Our Elders have a lot more experience than does President Warne.  The baptism went well and President Warne was honored to perform this beautiful saving ordinance for such a fine man.

Today has been busy with church in a small branch named Peralillo.  Peralillo is about an hour and a half southwest of Rancagua.  It is a beautiful drive and there isn´t much traffic on Sunday
morning.  The chapel is just across from probably the most beautiful town square we have seen since arriving.  In the Spring we will include a picture when everything is in bloom.  The 15 saints in Peralillo are strong and the Spirit powerful.  We had a wonderful experience and feel blessed to be among such faithful saints.  President Warne is in charge of almost 20 branches of the church here--many of which are just like Peralillo so every Sunday we are attending one of them.  It is always a highlight of our week.  Have a wonderful week.  Chau from Rancagua.