Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Church is true!

            Today we attended the Tupahue stake conference here in Rancagua.  As always it is a testimony to me of the inspired organization of the Church; the stake presidency was changed by following the usual process.  As the new presidency was sustained I felt the Spirit confirm that these men were called by inspiration.  It is comforting to realize that we don’t have to worry about what will happen when leaders change.  We are trying to teach the missionaries this principle through their callings and releases to be district and zone leaders and coordinadoras.
            Unexpectedly, President and I were asked to bear our testimonies.  Usually, I would need at least a week to prepare and even long, if ever, to not be nervous standing in front of that many people, especially speaking in Spanish.  Even after 16 months I am still not used to sitting on the stand.  However, I did bear a short testimony and definitely felt the Spirit helping me.  President Warne, on the other hand, spoke for 15 minutes and did a great job, talking about missionary work, of course.  I can only stand in awe of his ability to do that.
            We have 38 missionaries in this stake and most of them sang in the choir.  As I watched them sing earnestly and well, I was filled with admiration and love for them.  Our missionaries, and all the others serving worldwide are the future of the Church.  I feel strongly that as they serve they are learning and gathering the necessary strength to carry themselves, their families and the Church through these increasingly troubled times.  It is our privilege to serve with them and help them succeed in inviting the people of Christ to come unto Christ and also in forming life-long patterns of faithfulness.
            If you are reading this post as a missionary parent, I would like to thank you for sending your son or daughter to u s.  Thank you for preparing and equipping them for the mission field.  It is one of the most important things you will do for them.  Please know they are serving as our Savior wants them to do, and thank you for your prayers in our behalf.  Please have a wonderful week!

I went out with these sisters on Thursday, crossing this field twice.
Our hard-working assistants, (taking a selfie)
We said good-bye to this amazing missionary.  We will miss her.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Blessings of having senior missionaries

We currently have five wonderful senior couples serving here in our mission.  One couple lives in Buin where they work very hard helping members and nonmembers with family history which has been a wonderful proselyting tool.  They also teach with the missionaries, feed and transport them, or help in any way they are needed.

Another couple help with missionary living conditions.  They find new apartments, help make repairs where needed, deliver all sorts of things from mattresses to ironing boards, and have implemented standards and practices for cleaner apartments.  We have found that missionaries with clean apartments feel better, work harder and feel the Spirit more abundantly.

Our nurse does a wonderful job of training missionaries to be healthier, avoid stress and also with a wide variety of illnesses and injuries.  Her husband helps her, administers the English program for latin missionaries and looks for service opportunities.  We admire our finance elder, who keeps track of the missionaries' funds and other mission expenses-down to the fund to repair bicycles.  His wife keeps the history of the mission, handles baptismal registrations and many other administrative tasks.  The fifth couple is very involved in helping in the branch where they attend.  He serves in the branch presidency, and they often accompany missionaries to teaching appointments.  All the couples help with zone conference meals or other assignments for which we may need them.

Each couple's contribution in our mission and all missions everywhere is invaluable.  Yet when President Warne calls to see about replacing them, the answer is always--"no more available".  The blessings of serving a senior mission cannot be counted, but I would like to list a few:  together time to grow closer as a couple, the knowledge of helping to advance our Savior's kingdom, the example which is set for the family at home, the joy of serving and knowing the young missionaries; I could go on and on.

If you are in the right time of your life to serve or you know someone in that situation, I urge you to consider taking up the challenge to serve a mission or help someone else decide to go. Talk to any returned senior couple so they can personally describe their marvelous experience.  Also, if any of you are ready to help us out in Chile, we have a place for you!  Just let us know and we can coordinate through the missionary department.  Here’s hoping…!
Just a selection of great couples and former assts.

He's a great cook whenever we need him.

Totally unrelated, but so cute I couldn't resist

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Serving with joy

Sometimes it is amazing to think about how fast the weeks go by here.  Last week was especially busy because we had three zone conferences and another day of training for the new missionaries who arrived here five weeks ago.  It is amazing to see how much they have changed since their arrival.  Most have learned some Spanish and others are already speaking fluently.  They have learned a great deal about being a missionary and about both the trials and the joys of serving in the field.
The sister I would like to write about today is an experienced missionary; she goes home in one more week.  She has been an amazing influence for good here in Chile and although I don’t know the number of her baptisms or other facts, I know her and love her for her strong testimony, sweet spirit and willingness to work hard for the last 18 months.
For example, during her zone conference this week, she bore her testimony as one of the missionaries going home at the end of this transfer.  Later in the program, as a sister training leader, she gave a presentation about the gift of listening to investigators as they are being taught.  That night we attended a baptismal service in her town.  There are six missionaries in this small pueblo and they keep busy.  She gave a talk about baptism, and also led the music. 
President Warne has assigned her to challenging companions because he knew she would be able to help train them and improve their missionary experience.  As with many others of our returned missionaries, I’m sure she will be called to a leadership position and will continue to be a source of strength in her home ward or wherever she goes.  Yes, missionary work can be difficult but as our missionaries arrive, change, learn, and grow, then leave to strengthen the church wherever they are, I am so grateful to be here and have the chance to know them, love them and hopefully, help them as they serve.  Thanks for reading.
Observing practices during zone conference training
This is two zones.  The sister I talked about is on the front row.
Activity during lunch

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Conference, missionaries and testimonies

            Naturally this blog is about general conference.  As always, it was amazing.  I felt inspired and challenged by all of the talks.  I definitely have my work cut out for me.
            Each week I write a message to the missionaries for our mission web page.  As with this blog, I hope that I’m able to touch or inspire at least some of them.  It is certainly not required reading!  This week I challenged them to choose a topic from the conference talks that could help them improve some aspect of their lives, as I am also planning to do.  It is wonderful that the talks are available immediately to review and study.
            The missionaries really look forward to conference.  They hope to bring investigators or inactive members with them but the two days also serve as a renewal of their purpose in being here and a way to fill the fountain, so to speak.  I know they look forward to having the talks to aid in their personal and companion study time.
            President and I also use the time as a sort of break.  It is very peaceful to watch the sessions here without the usual challenges of driving to one or more far away branches, to attend, do interviews with missionaries or for temple recommends.    It is a little hard to get used to the sessions at 1 p.m., 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. for the priesthood session.  Last night President went to the Priesthood session broadcast at the stake building and the missionaries were happy to see him.  He said it was interesting to sing the rest hymn in Spanish when the words on the screen were in English, and the sound was English also.

            I would like to end by adding my testimony to those of the brethren, if that is not too presumptuous.  I am so grateful to have the guidance and testimonies of those men who lead the church.  I am grateful for their hard work and many years of service and sacrifice.  I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that he is the head of the church.  I want to live my life in accordance with his commandments, and return with my family to live in His presence.  I am eternally grateful for this opportunity to serve a mission with my eternal companion here in Chile.  Hopefully, I can make a difference in the lives of the missionaries we serve with as they invite the people of Chile to come to Christ and know the joy that we feel as members of the true church.  I testify of the truth of the gospel in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Some of our great missionaries!

President Warne's pic of the Santiago temple