Sunday, April 26, 2015

Returned missionaries

            We are always sad and happy when our missionaries go home.  We are happy when they have worked hard, served well and it is time for them to return home to their families, school, work and the important task of finding a wife or husband (or getting reacquainted with the one they left).  All those things are wonderful, but we are also sad because we love them and know we won’t see them again very soon.  In the case of Latin missionaries, we might never see them again.
            With that background, we were thrilled to drive to Santiago on Saturday and attend the sealing of the sister of one of our returned hermanas.  They are from Mendoza, Argentina, which is about 8 hours by bus from Santiago.  The couple married civilly on Thursday, and then came to Santiago on the bus.  It was different from other weddings we have attended because, including the sealer and the couple, there were only 12 people in the room.  But the joy we all felt at being part of this wonderful ceremony was very much the same.
            Of course, we were also elated to see our missionary again, even if only for a few minutes.  We have missed her and were glad to hear she has a job, a boyfriend and a calling, so she is doing great.  Before we came on our mission, we were advised to start a Facebook page in order to keep trace of our returned missionaries and it really has been an amazing tool.  President is able to have online conversations, and we can also keep up with them through their posts.

             I know we only have these young people for a relatively short time, but we never want to lose track of them even after their return home.  Thanks to technology we can stay connected and hopefully remain an influence for good in their lives.  We love our missionaries!

The happy family outside the temple
They had classes, lunch and an activity--they are happy!

Great to see our sister again.

The Santiago temple is very busy on Saturdays
I couldn't resist another picture of charades.  If you can tell what they are picturing
you are better than I am.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Workshops for April

            It is amazing to me how fast this month is passing by.  Yes, time always seems to go by rapidly, but now it is accelerating!  I’m not sure if it is because we are getting older, or because we seem to find more we need to do each week.
            But, enough philosophy, I want to describe our activities of last week.  On Tuesday we had the wonderful opportunity to pick up our new senior couple from the airport.  We are so grateful for their willingness to serve and to come here to Chile.  They have definitely hit the ground running since they have been working hard helping us with the zone conferences we did last week.
            In our three month cycle of interviews, zone conferences and specialized training, we are in the third phase.  For the first time we decided to have a day of workshop rotations in each zone.  President is teaching the missionaries how to improve in the area of inviting investigators to be baptized.  The assistants are teaching about better planning—very important subject in missionary life. 
Each area in the mission has an “area book” where missionaries record contacts and investigators with addresses, etc.  They are supposed to update it each night, but that doesn’t always happen so the zone leaders are teaching how to keep the book updated and useful.  I am teaching a short class on the basics of leading music, since missionaries are often asked to lead in various meetings, even if they know nothing of the subject.  Also a senior elder is teaching the concept of speaking better Spanish and/or English since each missionary should be learning one or the other.
Before lunch, our nurse is weighing everyone’s weight so we have a baseline in case of illness.  Our new senior couple, along with the other couples has the lunch all ready when we are done with classes, and we really appreciate this service.  This time we are serving ham and cheese sandwiches, chips, soda and a white brownie.  It is simple but they seem to be enjoying it.  After lunch, the assistants are supervising an activity: charades from the scriptures, with each zone divided into two groups.  We have been amazed and entertained by their creativity using only missionaries and zero props.

So that was our week.  We did three conferences last week, we have three this week and two the following one.  By that time I will have taught my class 33 times—sure hope I have it down by the end.  See you next week.
Always a great day when a new senior couple arrives

charades from the scriptures--can you guess?

another charade--they had a great time

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Transfers and baptisms

            We had a couple of interesting experiences last week here in Chile that I would like to share with you.  It was an interesting transfer on Tuesday because we only received one missionary.  He got a lot of personal attention in his orientation!  Also, as President Warne said, it was no surprise who was his trainer.  Meanwhile, eleven elders finished their mission, (no sisters) so we had to close four elder areas.  It is very difficult for President to decide which ones to close, because we don’t want to lose momentum anywhere.  I keep wondering, if, when we arrive at the level of 200 missionaries it will feel like a vacation!  I’m pretty sure that won’t happen, but we will definitely notice the difference during interview months and also when we are making zone conference meals.

            The other activity I’d like to include is the very special baptism we attended Saturday night in Buin.  The sister who was baptized is between 102 and 113 years old.  No one is sure because she received her Chilean identity card or carnet when she was around 7-9 years and it has been 102 years since then.  She has been a lifelong member of the Catholic church, but many of her family are members, and after listening to many different sets of missionaries, decided it was time to be baptized.  Her grandson baptized her, and today, her great grandson, who is also the branch president did the confirmation blessing. After the blessing, she told President, "God bless you"--very sweet.  The sister who gave the opening prayer last night told me she felt inspired to ask for a blessing on this new member that she can endure to the end, so although obviously no one knows how much longer she will live, it is never too late to accept Christ and become a member of His church.
I hope you don't mind these pictures because I
just love these missionaries.  These are the new
missionaries at the mission home for additional

The hermana from the baptism last night

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter, conference, consejo

            Our activities yesterday began early and ended late including wonderful visits with our children and grandchildren on FaceTime.  For this reason, I ask forgiveness for posting on Monday instead of Sunday.  I started writing yesterday and so I’m going to post it as is and thank you for understanding.   
Today I would like to take the opportunity of having conference and Easter Sunday on the same day and share my testimony.  I am so grateful to be a member of the Church of Latter-day Saints.  I don’t want to be a latter-day sinner, and I’m also grateful for repentance and all the parts of the plan of salvation.

            I am grateful for the chance to serve a mission here in Chile with President Warne and 220 young missionaries.  My testimony has been strengthened by their example, diligence and obedience in answering the Lord´s call to serve.  I have a testimony of missionary work, that we have an important work to do here in Chile as do all missionaries wherever they are serving.  I testify that the Book of Mormon is true, that we have a living prophet, President Monson, leading our church through inspiration from Jesus Christ.  I testify that He lives, that through His atonement, our repentance and His grace, we can return to live with our Heavenly Father.  I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Our hardworking secretary who goes back in the field this
transfer, enjoying carrot cake at consejo.

Missionaries are always happy for lunch!
The hermanas always go first

You may think I have posted this picture before but while the setting is the same,
 the faces are different:)