Sunday, November 29, 2015

Time to be grateful

Along with all of you during the Thanksgiving week, I have been counting my blessings.  Wow, I have a lot of them!  However, I would like to focus on one of the big ones.  It is hard to believe we just had our third Thanksgiving here in Chile.  As the other years, we had Thanksgiving dinner with the other senior couples.  It was delicious and a real privilege to spend time with our hard-working senior missionaries.  They labor every day to serve the missionaries in temporal ways so the missionaries can serve more effectively, safely, healthfully and hopefully with cleaner houses!

            When we arrived in Chile, seven couples were serving.  We appreciated that fact but did not realize how rare it was.  Our numbers have gradually reduced until now we have three couples and one will not be replaced so we will leave only two to the new president and wife.  That number is still a tremendous benefit since many missions have none.
            Another part of this grand blessing is the friendships we have formed with these couples.  As we all work together (and separately) we learn to rely on each other and the Lord. The experiences we share cannot be easily explained or replaced in any other situation.  We are also united in our admiration and love for the young missionaries.  While we understand that they are young and not perfect (obviously a trait we all share), to see their dedication, testimony and growth during their time here changes and strengthens us.
            Every full time missionary has made the decision to sacrifice time, family and other pursuits to serve the Lord.  I am not trying to minimize or criticize anyone since we are all engaged in the process of living worthily in order to return to our heavenly home, but I am trying to express gratitude for this opportunity and to urge each person who reads this blog to think about serving when the time is right or to encourage and support someone else who is ready.  Thanks for your support of us and our missionaries.

Yes, it is consejo time again.  The missionaries had to hold on
to the tablecloths to keep them from blowing away.
This group moved their table to the shade.  It is definitely summer time.

Lovely coordinadoras

Since it was the day after Thanksgiving we had turkey dinner
without quite as many side dishes.

After our dinner with a great view of Rancagua in the background

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Beginning again

            I’m not sure if anyone is reading this since I did not post for two weeks.  For those of you who have checked back, sorry about that.  I did not have missionary activities to write about since we were in Utah.  However, President’s surgery went very well, he is almost entirely recovered and we returned home on Thursday.
            We were very grateful to be able to see our family and they surprised us with a delicious Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday of the weekend we were all together.  It was very hard to leave them again even though we really missed our missionaries and constantly worried about their welfare.
            We arrived back in Chile on Thursday and were able to attend a meeting Friday morning with Elder Quentin L. Cook, Elder Ulises Soares, Elder Walter Gonzalez and their wives.  The mission presidents from Santiago, ViƱa del Mar and us attended in person while the other presidents and wives from the area attended by videoconference.  We were encouraged to teach the missionaries to continue to work in the three areas of the work of salvation, and also to encourage them to set an example for the youth in the units where they are serving.  The youth have so many temptations and opportunities to stray and we need to help them remain strong and hopefully serve missions in their turn.
            It is a privilege for us to serve in Chile with missionaries who have chosen to serve the Lord while putting aside their worldly concerns.  We try to send them home ready to serve while they return to school or work and start families.  Thank you to you families who have raised them to be worthy to serve and support them while they are here.

            While we were home we hosted an open house for all of our returned missionaries.  We knew that only those in the local area would be able to attend but we were thrilled to see and visit with those who came.  They are doing good things and setting examples in their post mission lives—fulfilling one of our most important purposes, which is to keep them in the fold forever.  It is good to be back—see you next week.

brand new companions

the favorite part of the meeting--finding companions

all the trainers

all the new missionaries

zone training

one more--new companions

Sunday, November 1, 2015

"la semana loca"

            The week before transfers is always a bit crazy and this was no different.  Our name for it with the office elders is “la semana loca” which means crazy week.  The term also includes Monday and Tuesday of this week because of the final dinner with those going home, the new ones who arrive on Tuesday, plus the transfers for the regular missionaries.
            Just to sum up the week:  the temple trip on Tuesday was amazing as always plus we had the privilege of a short meeting after the session with the temple president and his wife.  Consejo on Thursday is always a great chance to interact with and teach the mission leaders so they can, in turn, teach and train the elders and sisters in their charge.  The training meeting on Friday for new missionaries is great for us and them since we retell them everything we said when they came—hopefully this time they recognize the importance of what we are teaching—and they get to reconnect with friends from the MTC.
            Today we were in Santa Cruz for district conference.  The missionaries from the zone sang as the choir.  Last night and today they sang and did a wonderful job.  Tomorrow President will do final interviews; we’ll have the final dinner and testimony meeting for ten missionaries and then on Tuesday we receive eight new elders and sisters.
            I’ve included all these details because I wanted to share with you the activities of la semana loca and because of the unusual event happening this week.  President Warne needs to have surgery—not serious—so after we send the new missionaries off with their trainers we are leaving for Utah.  After the operation and a hopefully short recovery, we will return to Rancagua.

            In our absence, a temporary president and wife will take our place.  We have tried to take care of as many things as possible, but please be assured that your missionary will be in good care during our absence.  Even though we haven’t even left yet, we are anxious to return to our mission and our missionaries.  Thanks for your support.
These sisters are enjoying me prepare the snack for self sufficiency
training.  What a great looking group!

How many elders does it take to put up a pergola?  Answer:
obviously, seven!

I introduced  this sister to a new toy--an apple parer.
She loved it and was a great help at the same time