Sunday, July 26, 2015


     One of our senior elders suggested a subject for me to write about today, and I think it is a good one so thanks, Elder S.
     Last week I wrote about district leaders and how important they are, but there is another important missionary calling, which is training.  Every transfer when we receive brand new missionaries from the MTC each one is assigned a trainer.  The new missionaries are always nervous about who their trainer will be, and also in our mission about whether he or she will be Latin or from North America because of the language.  With a Latin companion a North American will be uncomfortable at first but will be proficient in Spanish much faster. We assign the companions pretty early in the day of training so that they can start to get comfortable with the companion who will probably be one of the most if not the most influential of their mission.
     Each new missionary and trainer receives a book called the First Twelve Weeks.  They will have an extra hour of study each day to use this book as a training aid.  Often the trainers are also nervous because they realize the responsibility of helping a new missionary get used to actually being in the field, speaking the language, and finding and teaching. Every missionary remembers their companions, but they especially remember their trainers.  A trainer definitely influences the entire mission of his or her trainee so President Warne very carefully considers which missionaries should train, based on obedience, desire for hard work, and of course, the influence of the Spirit.
     Sometimes missionaries show a remarkable talent for training new missionaries, and they often have the chance to train more than once.  We have no control over the number and gender of missionaries who come, so sometimes we have more possible trainers than we have new missionaries.
     Along with helping their trainee learn Spanish, and study The First Twelve Weeks, the trainer must also help them learn their area, including where to shop for food, where the members and investigators are, and the location of the Internet cafe and their apartment.  Many apartments have a huge map of their area or town marked with these important places.  Also the trainers teach the news about how our mission works--every mission is run a little bit differently so it is a chance to get everyone on the same page, if you don't mind the metaphor.
     We are very grateful to receive new missionaries every six weeks and we are also very grateful to our amazing trainers who take on this calling to serve in addition to their regular missionary labors.

I know this doesn´t show missionaries, but we enjoyed a beautiful
sunrise on our way to Hospital for branch conference.
One of our recent groups of trainers and news as we sometimes
call them.  You can identify the assistants in the second row
by their matching ties.
Another group of trainers and news.  The groups have been pretty
small lately, but in August we are thrilled to get 23 new

Tuesday we enjoyed our meeting with the coordinadoras or
sister training leaders.  They are a wonderful group of
hardworking and talented missionaries.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

district meeting

            This week I’m going to describe a district meeting.  If you served a mission you know all you need to know.  As I think back to when my sons served, I knew hardly anything about missionary activities, so I hope this will be interesting to at least some of you.
            Each mission is divided into zones, districts and then companionships.  Usually a district is composed of three or four companionships with an elder called to be the district leader.  He is responsible for keeping track of the statistics for his district, such as lessons taught or baptismal dates.  He also teaches a class to his district three times per month.  In addition, he helps with questions or other issues, does baptismal interviews and reports to the zone leaders.
            The zones meet once a week under the direction of the zone leaders (ours is on Wednesday).  One Wednesday per month the zone leaders present the information they received in the mission leadership council.  The other weeks, the zone meets together for song, prayer, a spiritual thought and announcements, and then separate into districts.  The district leader teaches a lesson, hopefully following the spirit about the needs in his district.  After the lesson, the missionaries practice teaching each other the concept of the lesson or the district leaders may assign another topic for practice time.  In our mission we also have one half hour at the end for English practice so that Latin missionaries who do not have North American companions can receive help.

            The district leader is the second level of leadership in missionary life with the first being a senior companion.  Most often zone leaders are called from among the district leaders; although many missionaries serve honorably having never been called as a zone or district leader.  We tell our missionaries, maybe more often than they’d like to hear it, that their mission is preparing them for life.  Serving as a district leader can be an invaluable calling to prepare them to serve in whatever organization they are needed after they return home.

Sorry this is blurry, but I wanted to show you the zone leaders
starting the zone meeting

Typical announcements for zone meeting
These two did a great presentation for the English practice

Buin zone

Sunday, July 12, 2015

MIssionary miracles

            Last Sunday (Fast Sunday) the saints in Chile were asked to fast for rain.  The country is in a serious drought, having received only 2% of the annual rainfall.  We have been blessed this week with a lot of rainfall, for which we are all grateful, even though it can make for tough conditions for the missionaries.  I know we have received a miracle.
            As President Warne says, missionaries pray for miracles every day and receive them.  Today I would like to share with you a few of the miracles we have received and heard about during our time here in Chile. 
            One of our senior couples was in a car accident on a recent Sunday morning; not serious and not their fault, but the car would not start.  However, late the night before they had purchased jumper cables even though none of the mission cars have needed them since we’ve been here.
            A sister was notified that her beloved grandfather had passed away.  She decided the best way to honor and remember him would be to work really hard that day.  She felt the Spirit´s comforting presence all day as they contacted and they found two amazing new investigators.
            Missionaries have told us about many positive changes in their families, where parents or family members long resistant to the gospel have been baptized or have started attending again and become active.
            There are many stories about people who have been discouraged and prayed for help and that day our missionaries have knocked on their door.
            We constantly see missionaries growing and changing in their ability to preach the gospel, feel the Spirit and learn to be leaders in companionships, branch assignments and mission callings.

            As part of our faith we believe in miracles of all kinds.  I am so grateful that my testimony has been strengthened as I hear about and see miracles along with these wonderful young people with whom we have been entrusted.  When they return home you will see the miracle of their growth into mature, confident young people with the ability to begin the rest of their lives strong in the gospel and able to persevere in the face of any challenge.
You can see what I'm talking about, right?

Our favorite thing is to be with our missionaries.

This is what it looked like as we left the church today.

I wanted a picture of these four after Sunday School today.
We enjoy attending a branch each Sunday.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Futbol in Chile

            First of all this week, I would like to thank you for reading this blog and also, thanks to those who sent messages through their missionaries.  I really appreciate your kind words.
            Second, my topic this week is a little outside the norm, but it has definitely affected all the missionaries and their schedule.  I am referring to the Copa America soccer (futbol) tournament which has been going on here in Chile for the last three weeks.  Two of the preliminary games were played at the Rancagua stadium.  City workers spent months sprucing up the city in anticipation of the visitors for the games.  We are really hoping they will keep up their efforts.
            The tournament has affected our schedule and thus, all the missionaries, because we asked that they stay in their houses during each game.  Chileans take their soccer very seriously and the excitement and tension has grown with each game until last night when they won over Argentina.  We were concerned about missionary safety since alcohol and sports seem to go together no matter in what country the games occur.  Also, people who might otherwise be interested in talking to the missionaries are not interested in hearing our message during a game.
             We hope the hours they have spent in their houses have been at least somewhat productive.  We ask that they do a deep cleaning.  Another time they went out early and worked  and then used the time to do their studies.  
            Of course, we are very interested in keeping our missionaries safe.  Recently, we received direction from the area presidency about changes they would like to see in the sister’s houses.  During the next three weeks we plan to inspect these houses or apartments and decide if they should change houses or whether we can add safety features that will make them as secure as possible.
            If you have questions or concerns please do not hesitate to call or email President Warne—he will be happy to discuss them with you.  See you next week.
Rancagua even changed their bus stops!

Two games were held here in Rancagua stadium

Can't resist adding this picture of our new trainers
a wonderful group!

Going home group from last Monday--
we sure will miss them.