Sunday, July 27, 2014

Called to serve

     When President Warne and I were called on a mission, I felt myself to be unprepared.  We had always planned to serve, but at some undefined future date, so when I realized we would be spending three years in Chile, I was somewhat overwhelmed.
     However, it has been a faith building testimony to me since we arrived of the number of ways I had been prepared to serve; about most of which I had no idea.  For example, the calling I held for a couple of years before our mission was Relief Society pianist.  I enjoyed doing it, but did not realize that through learning to accompany a group, learning the hymns, and to follow a chorister would allow me to play often here for Sacrament meetings, mission meetings and even accompany missionaries.  Also, I served several times in Relief Society with responsibilities for the night meetings and many meals for big groups.  Now, here in Rancagua, that experience has been a real blessing since we serve meals to lots of missionaries.  In a different kind of preparation, I have read the Book of Mormon many times, which was a real blessing as I read it in Spanish and could recognize the words of familiar scriptures.  Even being a mother has helped me to love and sometimes admonish our missionaries, and also to love and admire them for the wonderful young people they are.
     Now I would like to close with a challenge.  There never will be a perfect time to leave familiar and comfortable lives to serve a mission.  However, as with every other time we are challenged by a calling or other opportunity to serve, you will be blessed with far more than you give.  Is it time for any of you to think about answering the call to serve a mission?  If now is not the right time, many other opportunities for missionary service may be found in your daily activities.  As I have realized, I know you will also recognize the many ways in which you have been prepared.
A wonderful trip to the temple with sisters going home in August.

an example of the practices I blogged about last week

Sunday, July 20, 2014

It takes practice to be a missionary

          The life of a missionary is often one of change, due to transfers, different companions, new investigators and so on.  However, one constant should be practices.  As with any skill, learning to be a successful missionary requires practice.  In our mission we try hard to have practice time at every meeting, including practice between companions, during weekly district meetings and zone conferences, and even during the monthly mission leadership council.
          You might be thinking that with so many practice opportunities, the missionaries would get tired of applying this principle; and they might sometimes.  Nevertheless, a successful practice may be measured by the inspired questions used, and whether or not the Spirit is felt during practice time.  For example, Friday we held additional training for missionaries who have arrived during the last two transfers and their trainers.  It was a big group, with 80 missionaries.  We split up into smaller groups and each companionship taught one of four principles.  As I listened to my group, the experience was a miracle to me as it is each time, because as I play the role of an investigator listening to the truths of the restored Gospel, I feel the Spirit testifying to me and I am ready to get baptized all over again.  I also feel the sincerity of these amazing missionaries and their love for the Savior.
          Hopefully, as our missionaries practice teaching different concepts, when they have an appointment with an investigator, inactive member, or recent convert, they will be confident and able to rely on the Spirit to teach with love and perceptiveness. Also hopefully, they will learn the value of practicing and choose to use it throughout their life.   Thanks for reading.
braving the cold at training for new missionaries

how many sisters can fit on one couch?

missionaries love getting together

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Traveling the mission

     Sometimes, I feel that our life as mission president and wife is somewhat nomadic. This past week we held a zone conference in Buin on Tuesday, and on Thursday drove to Santa Cruz for another.  That evening we drove to Talca, stayed the night and did a morning and an afternoon conference.
      Yesterday, Saturday, we went to the temple square in Santiago to pick up a missionary returning to the mission field after recuperating from some health challenges.  It was a first for us to be in the family pictures with the missionary.  I admire her for having the dedication and desire to return after several months at home.  Later in the afternoon we drove to Curico for a baptism.
     Every week we put around 600-700 miles on the car which is one of the reasons I have taken up crocheting again.  It helps pass the time and makes me feel I am at least somewhat productive.  The furthest point away from the mission home is Constitucion, a town on the coast.  Pichilemu, our other coastal town is about three hours.  As you know, Chile is a very long, narrow country and we have a relatively small part of it, but the towns and cities are widely separated.  We say that our mission is mostly "campo" or countryside which means beautiful scenery.  Even last night as drove home and watched the full moon rising through the clouds and peeking through now and again, we felt grateful for this part of the Lord's vineyard and the opportunity to serve here.
     Since this is a mission blog, I can't close without mentioning the heart of our mission: the missionaries.  We love meeting with them always, but zone conferences provide great opportunities to teach them, have conversations during the break and during lunch, feel their love for the Savior and their desire to work hard and do their best under, often, difficult circumstances.  It is wonderful also to see them grow and develop in the language, ability to get along with companions, and their testimonies.  The missionaries say I have grown also, so see, missions are good for everyone!
zone conference in Santa Cruz

 lunch after zone conference in Buin

Both Rancagua zones at the mission home

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A missionary experience

        Sometimes it is difficult to write a blog because I feel I send my message out into the ether without knowing what or if any effect is felt or understanding reached.  So if you are reading this, thank you, and I hope you enjoy it.
        This week we were invited by two of our sister missionaries to teach a lesson with them.  I always appreciate that missionaries give us a little background of the family we are going to visit and also mention some of their challenges.  In this family the wife is inactive, and the husband is investigating.  She would really like him to join the church, but he has studied many religions and doesn’t feel ready to commit to ours.
        The sisters taught a great lesson about families and challenged them to read more in the Book of Mormon.  He still has a lot of questions, but hopefully, he can read and listen to the Spirit to show him the truth.  After a week in which we had several special transfers due to missionaries with problems, this experience was a great reminder of why we are here: to invite people to come to Christ and help them feel the same happiness we have knowing He is our Savior.

        After the lesson, we offered the sisters a ride back to their apartment, but they said, “No, we still have 15 minutes before we have to be in and we want to use the time for contacting.”  Now that is the true spirit of missionary work!  They will be blessed for being diligent as will we all if we follow their example.  Let’s go out and do it!
Slightly blurry, but still, happy missionaries!

Hard-working and happy sisters

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Let's feed the missionaries

Sorry about the late post--technical difficulties
     Today I am going to change gears a little and talk about an aspect of mission life that also applies to almost every church gathering--food.  Missionaries are always interested in food no matter where in the world they are serving.  In our mission we feed them more often than in other missions because of our geography.  When a meeting is scheduled, they often have to get up early and miss breakfast in order to catch the bus and be on time.  Also whenever we have zone conferences, lunch and a snack are included.

     It is challenging to find menus that are nutritious, appetizing, easy to transport and serve, and finally, not too expensive.  I mention easy to transport because when we have zone conferences we take all the food with us and the senior couples set it up and serve while we are in the meeting.  Church kitchens here are very different; they usually have little counter space, no refrigerator, and must be cleaned before we use them.  The sister who does all the cooking prefers to have meetings and meals here at the mission home because it is obviously so much easier.  She and I plan menus together, based on the upcoming schedule.  I really appreciate the fact that she is very willing to try new recipes, even when we will be serving a lot of missionaries.

     We always have fajitas for the final dinner, and the next day, hamburgers for the new missionaries and their trainers.  For the mission leadership we have had lasagna, chicken pot pie, chicken enchiladas, among others.  For zone conferences we grilled chicken at Christmas time and then did a chile/taco salad for the next round. When we have interviews we hand out a homemade cookie.  No matter what is served the missionaries are grateful and always happy to go back for seconds.  I have been grateful for the experiences I had in cooking for large groups at home and our worker here has years of experience in working out correct quantities.

     Thanks for reading and hey, if you know any missionaries, take them some cookies, ok?  They will really appreciate them.

zone conference

coordinadora meeting