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.
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.