Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Chilean wedding

It is hard to believe I have been back in Chile for over a week, although we certainly had enough activities to fill the week.  We held the final dinner and testimony meeting on Monday for 14 missionaries going home, welcomed 7 more on Tuesday, attended a district meeting on Wednesday, met with 42 missionaries for mission leadership council on Thursday and started interviews for February by interviewing the missionaries of a Rancagua zone.  I’ll share more on that subject next week, but today I would like to talk about the experience we had Friday night.
Chimbarongo is a small town about one hour and 10 minutes south of Rancagua.  Even though about 800 members live there, branch attendance each Sunday is usually between 35-40 people.  We have two sets of missionaries who work hard to reactivate inactive members and find new investigators, but they also are a wonderful support for the branch.  Just outside of town on either side of the highway is a row of shops selling all kinds of wicker from baskets to lawn furniture.
That information is all background to let you know that Chimbarongo is a great place.  Friday night we attended a wedding there, our first since we have been here in Chile.  When we arrived we saw that chairs had been set up in front of the church with many of the branch members seated, along with family members.  The civil official was also ready and waiting.  Shortly after, the bride arrived in a beautiful dress and the ceremony began.  It was a gorgeous summer night with just a little breeze and a perfect temperature.  The ceremony was nice and after finishing, the official asked for testimonials from the audience; a few people expressed appreciation for the couple and the event.
After pictures we all went into the church where they had set up the food tables and after a short welcome by a friend we all enjoyed little sandwiches, assorted tarts and cakes, a pudding topped with fruit, crackers and soda.  I really enjoyed visiting with the two elders and two sisters and we were glad we had gone.  I know they are looking forward to the time they can be sealed in the temple, but are happy they have taken the first step.

 Lots of pictures this week, from the wedding, from new missionaries coming and from mission leadership training:

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Weddings and transfers

            Hello, I’m back in Chile and back to writing this blog post.  I really appreciate President helping by posting on the Sunday I was sick and again last Sunday while I was home in Utah for our daughter’s wedding.
            The wedding and reception went beautifully for which I’m very grateful.  Thanks to technology President was able to talk with many who came to the reception.  I told the missionaries that I would like each of them to have a similar wonderful experience when they marry but also that they definitely should not be thinking about that right now!
            President and I are happy to be reunited.  After 2 ½ years of constantly working together it was really hard to spend time apart.  As I’ve said before, and as President often tells the missionaries, definitely one of the blessings of serving a mission is the chance to work closely together as a couple.  Our 39th anniversary is coming up and we are very grateful for our marriage and the uncountable blessings we have received because of it.

            This is transfer week in the mission and all the missionaries found out last night whether they will be going or staying and whether they will have a new companion or stay with the current one.  Many are happy, many are nervous and a few are disappointed with the announcement.  However, it is up to them how this new transfer will go.  We encourage them to work hard and ensure success with whatever companion and in whatever sector they may find themselves.  It is one of the many and varied benefits of serving a mission: to learn to adapt to new places and people and be able to get along.  It is a challenge to have to deal with an unhappy or lazy companion, but the Lord is ready to help and inspire in every situation.  It is a great opportunity to prepare for some of the challenges of marriage--we want each of our missionaries to have the same blessings that we do and look forward to hearing about their eternal companions!

Pictures from the news training last week.  Enjoy!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Mastering Preach My Gospel

During our specialized training for this quarter we took time after lunch for a game which focused on the missionary´s knowledge of Preach My Gospel or Predicad Mi Evangelio as it is called in Spanish.  The missionaries were divided into their districts of six to eight missionaries and the assistants asked questions regarding specific lessons, commitments, principles and questions that come right out of Preach My Gospel.  The missionary who knew the answer had to run and touch a hymnbook held by one of the assistants and then recite it correctly.  It wasa lot of fun and amazingly competative.  We gave out Super 8 candy bars to the winning district each day.  We like using the Super 8 candy bar since there are 8 fundamentals to missionary work.  It would not have so great if there had been 9 fundamentals. 
The winning district from the Rancagua zones.
One of the great teams in Santa Cruz.
Some questions required remembering long lists of principles and commitments.
Of course no competition in the mission field can start till lunch is served!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Workshop weeks

           The task for last week and this week in the mission are the workshops  we decided to have for this month’s format of specialized training.  We used this format once before and the missionaries seemed to enjoy it and benefit from it, so we are going again.
            As usual we have divided the mission into seven groups.  It is easier (for us) when we combine the Rancagua, Tupahue, Curico and Talca zones.  We have five different sessions which means small groups of missionaries in each class.  Hopefully that leads to more attention paid to each person and a better opportunity to learn.  President Warne is teaching about how to help investigators progress to baptism.  One assistant is teaching the missionaries to do a better job of using their agendas, a crucial part of missionary life.  The other is training them to improve their area books which are a record of investigators visited along with addresses, etc.  The couple over the apartments is teaching a class about cleaning which is a constant challenge.  Some missionaries just don’t like to clean!  The nurse and her husband are covering how to use basic medicines such as Tylenol and ibuprofen, antidiarrheal and  antivomiting.  They are also sharing some basic breathing relaxation techniques which could help relieve stress; always a positive thing.
            After the sessions we are serving a simple lunch of turkey/ham wraps, chips, watermelon and chocolate chip cookies.  Then everyone divides into their districts and the assistants supervise a short competition about knowledge of Preach My Gospel which all enjoy.  President provides “Superochos” as a prize for the winning district, which is a popular candy bar here in Chile.  You could ask your missionary if he or she likes them. 

            It is a good chance for us to see the missionaries, interact with them and hopefully the training will improve both their level of missionary work and their outlook on missionary life.  

Temple trip
great group, right?
Lunch after the workshops
The sisters enjoyed helping to serve
Getting ready for the game
Getting ready to answer

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Happy New Year from Rancagua!

We want to wish all of you a Happy New Year.  We are grateful for the blessings of 2015 and look forward to a wonderful 2016.

Here are are a few pictures that show some of our activities this past week.  Enjoy!

New Years Eve lunch under the grape vines at the Viu Monent vineyard. 
After leadership council we had a wonderful salad bar outdoors.
Our new zone leaders and sister training leaders.
As always, the missionaries demonstrate that they can eat a lot of food!
We are blessed to have the senior missionaries serving in the mission with their spouses.