Sunday, November 30, 2014

Report: interviews, temple trip and training

I would like to apologize for not posting last week.  I kept waiting for pictures to add to the post and did not find any, and then it was too late.  Now I have pictures and I will try to be more organized in the future.
We have 245 missionaries in 12 zones; November is an interview month.  Since the transfer date for this cycle is December first, tomorrow, and we only interviewed two of the zones before our family week with our daughter and granddaughter, we had ten zones worth of missionaries to interview before the first.
            Maybe I am making it seem a simple math equation but of course the process is much more personalized.  During each interview President Warne tries to answer questions, challenge each missionary to improve based on their individual needs, and leave each one with a positive reminder of our love for them and also the love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ has for them.
            Each missionary, by choosing to serve a mission has left behind family, school, friends and other interests and concerns.  They are dedicating their lives to finding people with whom they can share the truths of the gospel.  They must learn to coexist in harmony 24/7 with someone not of their choosing.  Although each of them writes a letter to President each week and may call at any time, this personal interview every three months is anticipated and cherished. (They also look forward to getting the homemade cookie that A____ makes.)
            We interviewed in the Rancagua and Tupahue zones Tuesday and Wednesday, went to San Fernando on Thursday, Curicó on Friday morning, then Talca Friday afternoon and all day Saturday.  This week we went to Santa Cruz on Wednesday and finished with the other Curicó zone on Thursday.  Just to round out the week we attended the temple on Tuesday with the 29 missionaries who go home tomorrow and the next day and on Friday brought the missionaries and their trainers who are finishing their first transfer to the mission home for additional instructions.  The work goes on in Chile; please enjoy your week as well!
Lunch in the cultural hall after the temple

We happened to see several missionaries who will arrive on Tuesday.

Yes, 29 missionaries are going home tomorrow and the next day.
We will miss all of them!


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mission conferences and family visits

            This past week we were so happy to have our oldest daughter and granddaughter visit us.
            However, on Monday the day before they arrived, we had an all mission conference with Elder and Sister Christensen from the Seventy.  It was a unique experience because we did not expect to be able to meet together as a mission, partly because of the expense and partly because the logistics are daunting.
            We rented five buses in order to transport missionaries from each of our major towns: Talca, Curicó, San Fernando, Santa Cruz, and Buin.  Many missionaries, coming from the little towns outside these areas spent Sunday night in various missionary apartments in those towns.  Hermana A_____ had prepared banana muffins and we served fruit, juice and the muffins for the missionary breakfast.  Some of them got up at 4:30 to arrive at the church by 8.
            President Warne and I drove to Santiago early Monday morning to pick up Elder and Sister Christensen from their hotel and bring them back to Rancagua.  It was a great opportunity to visit with them during that time.  Before we began, we stood in front of the pulpit and shook hands with all 247 missionaries!  It was amazing to do that and then to see them sitting together as a congregation.  During the conference, the Christensen's gave wonderful, instructive talks and advice to the missionaries and to us.
            After the conference, we drove Christensen's back to Santiago for their next appointment.  Meanwhile the missionaries picked up a bag containing their lunch of a ham and cheese sandwich, chips, soda and brownie: some got to eat on the bus, and those living in Rancagua at their apartment.  Everything went smoothly thanks to the hard work of the senior missionary couples and the assistants.
            We had thought this would be a one-time experience, but President Warne received an e-mail notifying us that we will have another conference this Friday.  Our visitors will be Elder Evans of the Missionary Department and his wife, Elder Gonzalez, the area president and his counselor Elder Zeballos.  It will be another memorable event and we had the first time to practice!
            Our family came on Tuesday and we have loved having them here and showing them around our part of Chile, plus Santiago and Viña del Mar.  They even met a few missionaries.   We are always grateful for visitors—both church leaders and family--thanks for reading.
Christensens, mission presidency counselors, Warnes

Mother, daughter, typical view of beautiful Chile

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Elder Nelson and Elder Christensen visit our mission

Greetings to you as you read this week’s blog.  I am very excited to describe the events of this weekend since they are unforgettable for us and a great blessing for all us in our mission, Chile Rancagua.
Yesterday, we went to Santiago to a luncheon with Elder Russell M. Nelson and his wife and also Elder Christensen of the Seventy and his wife.  Elder Viñas and his wife of the South America South area presidency were accompanying them.  After lunch, the women traveled by minibus to another building for a meeting with Relief Society, Primary and Young Women presidents.  I bore my testimony right after the opening prayer, and was very nervous, but after that I could enjoy the rest of the meeting.  After me, Sister Cook from the Santiago South mission, Sister Alder whose husband is president of the Santiago temple and Sister Viñas bore their testimonies.  Sister Christensen gave an amazing talk about removing stains or being more righteous, and then Sister Nelson spoke for over an hour about becoming a holy woman.  I was taking notes as fast as I could!  President Warne told me after that Elder Nelson and Christensen first shook hands with the 500 missionaries at the morning conference and then again with all of the priesthood leaders, about 250, at the afternoon meeting, very impressive and amazing, given Elder Nelson’s age. 
This morning we were able to attend stake conference for the Rancagua stake with Elder Nelson and his wife and Elder Chappe, also a Seventy.  I bore my testimony along with a very short message after the stake president.  President Warne did an amazing job with his talk.  After his wife spoke, Elder Nelson gave his talk in Spanish!  It was very inspiring to be near them and feel their spirit of love and discipleship. 
Tomorrow we have an all mission conference with Elder Christensen and his wife.  It is the first time we have gathered all the missionaries at one time and the logistics have been formidable.  Our sister who works here at the mission home made 250 brownies and 500 muffins this week.  We have 4 huge boxes of bread sitting on our dining room table right now, because tomorrow she and the senior couples will be making sandwiches for the missionaries to take with them as they travel back to their areas.  Everyone is looking forward to the opportunity to attend and learn from the Christensens.  President and I will be giving talks again also, and I’m hoping they go well.  I know President Warne will do a  great job as he always does.
The events of the weekend have been a real boost to my testimony as we have seen and heard a prophet of the Lord and those with him teach and bear witness of the gospel and the things we need to improve.  As I said in the beginning, we will remember this weekend as one of the highlights of our missionary service.

We will always treasure this photo

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Mission President Seminar in Argentina

            Last week, President Warne and I flew to Iguazú Falls in Argentina to attend the semiannual seminar for mission presidents.  Both the setting and the seminar were wonderful.  The Sudamerica Sur area includes 28 missions in four countries: Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay.  The purpose of the meeting is to train us and also is a chance to associate with the other presidents and wives with whom we have a lot in common but only briefly see every six months.  We learned a great deal which we are eager to share with our missionaries, both from the teaching by the area presidency and from comparing notes with the other attendees.  It is also a good opportunity to evaluate our progress and that of our mission when compared to the standards and challenges given out by Elder Gonzalez, Elder Zeballos and Elder Viñas and their wives.  We have gotten to know some amazing people who also serve as mission presidents and wives, and feel blessed to be part of that group.
            It was also an amazing opportunity to see one of the wonders of the world.  I had heard of Iguazú Falls but even the pictures can’t really do justice to the spectacle.  One day we walked two of the paths close to the falls and took a boat ride that took us even closer—yes, we were soaking wet after.  If you ever have a chance to visit, go for it.  We were able to stay an extra day after the seminar and visited an amethyst mine, with an extensive gift shop of course, and a place with a Jesuit ruin—the Jesuits worked with the native Guaraní in that area for over 100 years.
            Even though we came home exhausted and had to leave on Saturday for a stake conference in Curicó, it was a memorable experience which will help us do a better job as mission president and wife and help our missionaries be better at finding people to invite people to come to Christ and change lives.  Enjoy the pictures!

Jesuit ruins in Argentina
President and I at the falls

Amethysts come from bubbles in the rock
Can you imagine the sound of roaring water and the feel of the spray?