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.