Sunday, February 22, 2015

Weekly summary

     Every week I try to think of a subject for this blog that will be about something interesting in the mission, yet also uplifting.  Hopefully, I achieve that goal more often than not.  Unfortunately, by this time I have covered many of the activities we have so it is getting harder.
     As we have just finished interviews, I finally remembered to take a few pictures.  The elder on the right told me his mom would be very happy to see his picture and I'm happy to include it.  Overall, I was very happy with the progress of the missionaries who are learning English.  Many of them are working hard toward their goal of speaking fluently by the end of their mission.  We also hope that the  English speaking missionaries will keep working on learning Spanish throughout their mission.  I have realized that I will need to keep studying as long as I am in Chile and even after.
     On Friday of last week, we held what we call "news training". Basically we bring all the new missionaries and their trainers back for another meeting after five weeks and tell them again many of the same things we told them the first day, since we figure they were too excited or too tired to take it all in.  It is also a good experience for us to see how they have grown in confidence as missionaries and with the language.  They have a chance to reconnect with friends from the MTC, ask questions during a session with us away from their trainers and do a practice that shows us their progress in Spanish and in teaching.  President always tells them they are almost done being the newest missionaries since the new ones come this Tuesday.
     What I have come to realize and the new missionaries begin to see is that the time of a mission passes very rapidly.  Each transfer period seems to pass by ever faster and I realize I must work harder to learn to be more effective and more worthy of the Savior's blessings.  In the beginning of a mission, the time seems to stretch out, but that feeling doesn't last long.
     Tonight we are giving talks at the Santiago MTC, which we do every three months.  We like seeing the missionaries who will be coming to us on Tuesday.  When I stand at the pulpit and look down into the faces of these amazing young people, I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve.  They are truly representatives of Jesus Christ and I look up to them, try to help them as they serve, and learn from them.  

     If this post seems a little disjointed, sorry about that, but hope you enjoyed it anyway.  Until next week...

The assistants always teach a class during interviews
I included this photo because this is such a common sight in our mission.

Hi, Mom!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Missionary work in Machalí

            Last week it was time to renew our focus on missionary work after our daughter left so we did interviews in San Fernando on Thursday, then on Friday night we went out with the sister missionaries.  We had a lesson with an investigator and her husband, and then the next lesson fell through so we went to visit an inactive family.  We had a very pleasant visit with the couple; they have four children and we enjoyed meeting the children and visiting.  Before we left we had a prayer and took a family picture.
            Today we spoke in the Machalí ward which happens to be the home ward of that family.  The sister missionaries and we were excited to see them come today.  President Warne had printed and framed the picture for them, and they were thrilled to receive it.  President reminded me that nothing happens by chance in the Lord’s work and this is a clear example.  The members of the ward were very friendly with them and we hope that they will continue to come back to full activity. 
           To us this is missionary work as it should be—missionaries working hard to find, teach and baptize, but also retain new converts and help inactives to remember the joy they felt when they were baptized and to find their way back.  We have many challenges here in Chile, and in our short three years here we will not see the end of the work that needs to be done.  But we can find joy in the progress we are making and pray for the Lord’s help to do better.  To those of you who are parents of missionaries serving here in Rancagua, thank you for sending your son or daughter to serve.  I would like to challenge everyone who reads this post to do something this week to advance the missionary effort where you are.  Blessings will come to you and you will bless the lives of those you help.
Great family from Machalí

Sorry for only two pictures today.  I promise to do better next week. 
Couple on the far right came back to visit so
all the couples came for dinner-great fun!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Missionaries are the best

            We’ve had a great week with our daughter visiting.  We continued with mission responsibilities, and also did a little touring.  Her visit seems to have gone at light speed, but it has been wonderful.
            Monday night all the missionaries who are leaving in February and April (we don’t have a transfer in March), came to the mission home for a class about self-sufficiency.  The church is working hard to help missionaries adjust to their post-mission lives and developed this training to help them make good decisions about school, jobs and life in general.  Hopefully their time as a full-time missionary has prepared them to stay faithful and active in the church, and this training, although brief, will also help keep them on the right track.
            On Tuesday we went to the temple with those leaving in February.  As always it was an amazing experience to be in the temple with our missionaries; an unexpected blessing of being on a mission.  As I told the missionaries this week in my message on our web page, whenever someone asks me what surprised me about serving a mission or what is my favorite part of being here, my heartfelt response is about how much I love the missionaries.  As I watch their examples of hard work, spiritual growth, and I’m able to be with them, my testimony is strengthened and I am changed for the better. 
            Saturday we went to a baptism which we always enjoy, even though it was very hot inside and out.  A returned sister missionary from here in Chile also attended since she had helped teach the new sister as an investigator.  We don’t often see our returned missionaries since they usually live far away, so it was great to visit with her and hear about her adjustment to regular life.  So far she is still keeping the missionary schedule!
 Each baptism we attend is a great reminder of why we are here and what our focus needs to be.  If you have the chance to help missionaries wherever you are, I hope you will take the opportunity to assist them, learn to know them a little better and increase your own testimony as well.

Pizza, watermelon and popsicles--great summer meal!
Dining alfresco at one of our favorite places
Yes, another group shot at the temple
A few of the wonderful missionaries I am talking about
at mission leadership council

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Youth at Casa Blanca

            It has been another great, although hot week here in Chile.  I know my memory is faulty but I do not remember this kind of heat last year.  When the sun is blazing still at 6:00 p.m. I feel for the missionaries and hope they are surviving.  Very few homes have cooling systems so inside and outside are pretty much the same temperature.
            We had a great experience last Tuesday when we went to the EFY for the youth in our mission.  It was held at a camp owned by the church called Casa Blanca located about halfway to Viña del Mar; about 300 attended, including the counselors.  We were in the first part of the camp but a brother told us there are eleven more sections—it is gigantic.  The youth slept in big tents, with two bathroom buildings.  Also there is a pavilion area for meeting together and another with tables for meal time.
            President had been asked to do a presentation on missionary work—of course—as part of a rotation including three stake presidents and the Santiago temple president, an amazing group.  I served as support—cheering silently from the side.  He did a great job of having some stand as investigators and offer questions that a missionary might be asked by an investigator. He also asked them questions to bring out information they need to know when they consider serving; for example, who decides where you will serve, who will clean and cook for you, etc.

            We were impressed by their answers and ability to find answers in the scriptures.  It is clear that these wonderful young people are the future of the church here in Chile and seeing them together learning and participating in gospel discussions was amazing.  We are grateful to see them and play a small role in helping them along their road to becoming leaders, teachers and great members of the Church wherever they are.
Meeting in the main pavilion

tents set up for sleeping

Dining pavilion