Sunday, February 28, 2016

Elder Bednar's visit to South America

            This week I’m going to write about Elder and Sister Bednar’s visit to our area, South America South.  They arrived last Friday, February 19.  That night the mission presidents and wives and stake presidents and wives from Santiago and us were invited to a light dinner and meeting.  I really appreciate the fact that they were willing to meet that night since I know how exhausted I am after traveling from the U.S.  Afterward, we had the privilege of shaking hands and were amazed that Elder Bednar remembered the circumstances of our mission call and that he had set apart President Warne.
            During this week, the Bednars traveled between Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, held at least one meeting per day and inspired thousands with their counsels and teaching.  I mean that literally, because thanks to technology, 60,000 youth were together on Tuesday night.  Wednesday morning all the missionaries in the area met in various stake and district centers for a training session and 90,000 young adults met on Wednesday night.  Thursday’s meeting was for bishoprics, branch presidencies and stake presidencies.
            Saturday morning the 27th, we participated in and enjoyed a three hour broadcast with the mission presidents and wives from our area as well as the area seventies and some of their wives.  It was incredible for us to realize we were sitting in our dining room at the mission home while we could watch Elder Bednar and Elder Gonzalez the area president in Uruguay as they were directing the meeting, as well as hear input from everyone else.
            We feel very inspired by what we learned and we are anxious to share both the information and the challenges with the missionaries.  For example, he taught that we need to act and not be objects to be acted upon.  One way that works is that investigators must search for themselves, with the assistance of the missionaries and through the Holy Ghost to gain a testimony.
            We hope that as we teach and implement what we learned this week from Elder and Sister Bednar we can become more effective missionaries and further the Lord’s work here in Chile.

The first picture is of our setup to watch the broadcast with Elder Bednar, four more from interviews this week, and a fond good-bye to this wonderful couple.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Two new senior couples

            We have had the happy privilege each of the last two Saturdays’ of driving to the airport to pick up a new couple coming to serve in our mission.  One of the couples is going to work in the office on finances and many of the other issues that keep the mission running.  Sister C_____ of the second couple will serve as the nurse and her husband will assist her, help with the English program and do many other tasks that help the missionaries.  They will also go out and teach with the missionaries, feed them lunch, love them and support them in their missionary life.
            It is wonderful when we see them come out the door from customs.  We know they are exhausted from the long flight, but they are smiling and ready for their new adventure in a foreign country far from home.  At least in distance, that is.  We are all grateful for the technology that allows us to stay in close communication with our families.  Both weeks we returned to the mission home and ate lunch with the other couples.  None of the four speak Spanish really, but they have chosen to accept the call to serve here in Chile.  I admire and appreciate them so much!
            The missionaries also appreciate and love the senior couples.  They know these couples work hard to support them so they can fulfill their calling of preaching the gospel to the people of Chile.  The senior couples are also a great example of strong marriages from whom the young missionaries learn that it is possible for a couple to stay together, stay strong in the gospel and eventually serve a mission.  They are a great example for their own families, especially grandchildren as they, too, get ready to serve missions.

            I can’t say enough about the impact these couples have both here and at home, but I can express my gratitude and say Welcome to Chile!!

Here are pictures of the new couples and from various interviews.  Don´t we have great missionaries?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Las casas de los misioneros

            This week I would like to talk about the interviews we are doing right now.  I heard about another mission where they interviewed all the missionaries in their houses so we decided to try it.  It has been an interesting (and still going on) process.
            We have about 90 companionships but some houses or apartments have four elders or sisters so we have around 78 houses.  I say houses but it is a combination of houses, duplexes and apartments.  It is turning out to be a challenge to find each house and keep to the schedule—one day we drove around for 1 ½ hours before giving up--but we are really enjoying seeing the missionaries in their home environment.
            Part of our responsibility as mission president and wife is to make sure the houses are in good repair and that they are kept clean.  Fortunately we have a couple who work tirelessly in that capacity, but we wanted to see for ourselves and although we have visited many places, there are still many we haven’t yet seen.  We expect that when we come they will have made the effort to make sure their place is clean; that has happened for the most part.  If it isn’t we help them realize they need to make changes:)  Also if they need things fixed or replaced I make a list to pass on to the couple over that.
            The best part of doing interviews this way is the one on one or small group time I can have with the missionaries while they are waiting to talk with President.  I have enjoyed visiting with them about their families, what they like about Chile, what they would like to do after the mission and other similar topics.  If they are Latin missionaries, then I challenge them to speak with me in English and I find out what or how they are studying to learn.  They often speak better than they give themselves credit for.  They ask me how my Spanish is and I tell them they have to evaluate it.

            We have been to Buin, Curic√≥, Santa Cruz, Licanten, Pichilemu and Rancagua, to name a few towns and next week we will go to Talca and Constituci√≥n. By then we will have done all but a few of the sectors and hopefully we can finish up in the last week of February.   Interviews are always enjoyable yet challenging; this time even more so, but I’m really glad we decided the chance to see every missionary in their home environment.  

Monday, February 8, 2016

Buenos Aires Weekend

We traveled to Buenos Aires on Friday for our last mission president seminar.  It has definitely been bittersweet because it was so great to see the friends we have made during our time as mission president, yet sad because we aren't sure when we will see many of them again.

We stayed at the Sheraton in the center of Buenos Aires.  We had a great view of the city, clock tower and River Plata from our room.  We always enjoy the time we have to visit and share experiences with the other presidents and wives and eat delicious food.  We only had time for one short walk but it was nice to see a tiny part of the city.

The training is always inspiring and this time was the same.  We always take home lots of great information to share with the missionaries which we hope will help all of us to do a better job of being missionaries.  We want to do better at finding and teaching.  Also we want to follow focus on the directive we received from the worldwide training broadcast of January 20: teach repentance and baptize converts.  We know we will be blessed as we listen to the council we receive, teach and train our missionaries and work really hard.

Also this week we did interviews in two more zones, enjoyed lunch with a returned missionary and her mother, went to district meeting and generally kept busy!  Thanks for reading.

A picture from last week's mission leadership meeting
Zone leaders waiting to start the meeting
We all came out at the same time and we can't believe it is
that three years is almost over.