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


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 MisiĆ³n 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.