Sunday, May 25, 2014

Baptisms and the future

Last night we attended a baptism.  I know that isn’t a surprise since I have mentioned it before as something we do every Saturday night.  However, this one is worth talking about for several reasons.  First, a young priesthood holder was baptizing his friend.  Baptisms are never routine events but this one was special because a friend was bringing his friend into the fold of Christ.  Second, the dad of the young man being baptized is a less active member and his mom has not joined.  This is the focus of the work of Salvation—to find less active and nonmembers and unite families in the gospel.  President Warne talked to the father, who is interested in coming back to church and in helping his wife learn about the commitments her son has just made.
Third, the branch president was late, so his young counselor conducted the meeting.  He also gave a great talk, without prior notice, about staying active in the church and being as diligent about learning the doctrines and commandments after baptism as before entering the waters.  Fourth, I was impressed by the missionaries who taught the young man, and planned and carried out the baptism, including a special musical number and refreshments.  Also another young man served as the pianist for the meeting, complete with prelude and accompanying the songs.

These young men and women are the future of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Saints.  They are strong, prepared, and spiritual representatives of the Savior.  We are blessed to be able to associate with them and help support them as they labor in the vineyard.  They are an example to me every day as I admire their fortitude, caring and attitude.  Just to sum up with another example, we were giving two sisters a ride to their appointment.  It was raining hard and we had to let them out on the street corner because the little lane was too small for our car.  We apologized for not taking them right to the house but one said, “We are missionaries!  This is what we do.”  And they happily ran off  in the rain to teach their lesson.  Experiences like these strengthen my testimony and my desire to do my best to serve here in Chile.  Hopefully, you have been touched also--thanks for reading.
Just a few of those great missionaries during interviews.
Keeping each other company during interviews

Sunday, May 18, 2014

It's interview time again

            Yes, it is interview time again.  Between the six-week transfer cycle and the three month training cycle we are always counting down to one event or another.  During the January interviews, I sat with the missionaries who were waiting while President interviewed.  I will admit it was hard because my Spanish was not very good, also sometimes I was trying to entertain 10 or more missionaries at a time.  
            This time we decided to change around a little, and it is working out very well.  I meet with each Latin missionary about their progress in learning English.  I have been pleasantly surprised at how well the missionaries are doing with this challenge.  Preach My Gospel contains a challenge for Latin missionaries to learn English and we feel it will help them through the rest of their lives.  Plus, they learn empathy with the English speakers who are also trying to learn a new language.  It is a great opportunity for everyone to cooperate.  This time around, I can understand so much better what they are saying.  In addition, the assistants meet with each companionship to learn about their investigators and to do a teaching practice.  It is a great opportunity for them to get acquainted with each missionary and help them learn to teach better.  We have enjoyed spending more time with the assistants—what great young men they are.

We love our wonderful coordinadoras.
            We are taking three weeks to do interviews in contrast to our usual hectic schedule of trying to finish before transfers.  A typical day includes picking up the assistants at their apartment at 8:00 a.m., driving to the chapel to start by 9.  We take a break for lunch, start again and usually get home around 7 or 7:30.  We are all exhausted by the end of the day, but we drop off the assistants at the office so they can keep working.  We did two days the week before last, six days last week and have four days this week.  After we finish, we will definitely be ready for a P-day!
This going home group includes two assistants, three zone leaders and a comisario.
We have really missed them; they were all great missionaries.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Weekly Letters to the President

     In addition to writing emails to family and friends each week, the missionaries also write a short letter to President Warne during their internet time.  These letters include a report of the work in their sector, investigators progress, challenges they are facing and a general report on how they are doing.  The letters are wonderful and inspiring.  Since nearly 250 arrive each week it obviously takes President time to read through them all.  But he reads every letter every week no matter how busy things are.  We thought it might be inspiring to share some of the things missionaries have said in their letters lately. 

"I love my Heavenly Father so much!  I am so grateful for the time I have to serve in the Chile Rancagua Mission.  I feel full of light and want others to feel this way too."  

"What is the greatest thing I have learned on my mission?  I have come to know the Savior."

"I have never been this happy in all my life.  I am not saying that there aren´t challenges in my life right now but I am learning, growing and I am seeing so many miracles."

"What have I learned on my mission?  I have learned that I can do hard things and when I get home after my mission and find myself going through hard times I will only have to think of my mission and I will know that I can get through anything."

"At any rate I am so happy.  The mission isn´t something you can explain to someone who has never lived it.  I have never worked so hard in all my life.  I have never loved people so much...  I have never been this close to God in all my life.  I have never changed so much inside than while I have served here.  I am not the same person that I was and I will never be that person again."

"I do not know how to put it into words.  I work hard.  I love what I am doing.  Before I only could think of going home and resting for two years after my mission but now I cannot even imagine that.  I want to serve the Lord from this day forward and forever."

Aren't they great?  It is our privilege to serve with these amazing young people and watch them grow as they serve the Lord here in Chile.
Sisters who are training new missionaries

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A trip to Santiago

We had a wonderful experience on Tuesday of last week that I'd like to share with you.  Missionaries who are going home may attend the temple one time during their last transfer.  We don't have a temple in our mission boundaries but we are blessed to have the Santiago temple close enough for this to happen.  The missionaries eagerly look forward to the opportunity, especially since many of them live many hours from the temple closest to their home.
     We were invited by an elder to go with them (14 this time!) which we were very happy to do.  Then President Warne was notified of a new opportunity for mission presidents to help the missionaries during the session as a temple worker.  We were so glad we were already planning to go.  Now it will be a privilege and a tradition every six weeks as missionaries are getting ready to return home to attend the temple with them.
      Everything worked out wonderfully.  The session was full of our missionaries and also missionaries from the Santiago West mission.  The Santiago temple is beautiful inside and out and the weather was warm and sunny.  As we were taking pictures after, outside the MTC, we met some of the missionaries who will be arriving on Tuesday, definitely a bonus.
      One elder knew of a Brazilian style restaurant so several of us went there for lunch.  It was a Chilean style Brazilian restaurant which was interesting but the food was good and the company excellent.  I don't think the restaurant made a profit on those elders.  They sure can eat!
      Any time we can spend with then missionaries is time well spent.  We are confident we are sending home young men and women who are strong in the gospel and ready to help wherever they are assigned in their home units.  It is a privilege for us to know them and serve with them here in Chile.  Thanks for reading.
These missionaries are going home.

These sisters will join us on Tuesday, plus 15 more.