Sunday, April 24, 2016

Missionaries going home

             Last week, we had transfers or as we call them, cambios.  Transfers happen every six weeks and it is a time of change and sometimes even upheaval since missionaries go home, companionships change and missionaries must move to new apartments or houses.  Transfers are another way a missionary must adapt along with a new language and the mission culture among others.
            Today I’m going to focus on missionaries who are finishing their mission.  If asked how much time they have left, they make a face because they don’t like to think about it.  In the beginning, eighteen months or two years seemed like forever, but the time passes so rapidly that it doesn’t seem long before they receive what we call “trunky papers”.  The information from these papers tells the missionaries what they need to know before leaving the mission and also ask what airport is best.  We encourage them to work hard and stay focused until the very last day, but it can be hard to do.
            I have mentioned before that missionaries leaving have a workshop on self sufficiency, go with us to the temple and have an afternoon to buy mementos.   They also bear their testimony for the “last” time many times, say goodbye in their current ward or branch, write notes to be given to their converts or former companions and wonder how they will fit everything into their suitcases.
            For the most part they are nervous, because mission life is well-regulated and now they face major decisions about school, work, and getting married.  It is like leaving a shelter and going back out into the storm.  They have not focused on their family during their mission but now the time is very short until they will see them again, also an adjustment. 
            For our part, we are sad because we have enjoyed getting to know them and serving together.  We know it is time and are grateful for the growth we see in them during their mission.  We always tell them, please stay in touch and let us know how things are going, which many do.  It is our great privilege to have these amazing young people, watch them serve the Lord as full-time missionaries then send them home to do great things.

Pictures this week are from saying good-bye to missionaries, greeting new ones and the first training.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

One week at a time

     Last week I posted about the training we do for the missionaries which I hope you enjoyed but it seemed dry.  This week I would like to share our schedule for last week which was a little crazy, but you can judge.
     Monday morning we had our regular office meeting which includes the finance and history couple, the couple in charge of apartments, the assistants, secretaries and us.  Its purpose is to coordinate and discuss the temporal side of running the mission.  Before that meeting we always meet with the mission nurse, to go over our concerns about various missionaries. Monday night we hosted self sufficiency training for the missionaries who leave this week, and six sisters stayed for the night.
      On Tuesday morning we left at 7 a.m. for the temple.  After the session and lunch we ran a few errands before returning home.  President is using any available time to work on transfers. Wednesday was district meeting: we are trying, between the assistants and us, to meet with every district to make sure the training we did last week for the leaders is being passed on; so we drove to Talca for those two zones.  We also took the nurse and her husband in order to finish giving the flu vaccinations.  Thursday we attended the district meetings in Curico and then took the current assistants and the assistant who is leaving, to lunch.  Assistants usually go back into the field for their last transfer, but this is a small way to show appreciation for their hard work before they go home so we meet them and go out.
      Friday we held the five week training at our house for the missionaries who came in March and their trainers.  Since the housekeeper is out sick, a senior couple and some of the sister missionaries really saved me by helping cook, serve and clean up the lunch.  Saturday we went to the grocery store in preparation for next week's meals (transfers), packed and headed to Santa Cruz for the district conference and a baptism.  We went by Chepica on the way to deliver plastic bins since it has been raining hard; their roof has a serious leak and it is a complicated repair.
       And that was our week--this week will be busy also, but that is why we are here and we are so grateful for the opportunity to serve and be with the missionaries.

        This week's pictures include photos from the new missionary training on Friday and of course the one from the temple.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Time to train again

            Every third month our focus is on specialized training.  This means that President decides in what area the missionaries need to improve.  The training format can be also be done however he feels is best.  We have tried a variety of methods; two times we held workshops, which the missionaries enjoyed, although teaching one class 35 times can be a little monotonous.  Other times we have had zone conference type meetings.  This month, because of the transfer date right in the middle, which makes it difficult to get to each zone, we came up with a new plan:

            Last week we held three meetings which included the zone leaders, district leaders and coordinadoras.  President and the assistants each presented a concept, then everyone practiced.  The idea is that the leaders will return to the weekly district meetings each Wednesday in April to teach and practice these concepts, which includes learning to improve teaching methods by presenting concepts more simply and in shorter lessons.  Investigators do not need an hourlong lesson each time nor do they need a complex and hard to understand lesson.  Investigators need to understand the reasons why the lessons are important, and why commitment to change is crucial.  They need to have spiritual experiences and be able to understand when they are feeling the influence of the spirit.

            Now for the rest of the month we and the assistants will split up to attend all the district meetings to observe how the teaching is going and help with the practices.  Hopefully by relying on the leaders to train the missionaries, everyone will be able to learn and improve. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Pictures from zone conference and consejo

            We have just now finished watching conference and Elder Holland’s wonderful final message.  It would be impossible to add to the amazing spirit and talks of this week end so I am just going to let you enjoy the pictures.  We finished up the last two zone conferences for Buin and Santa Cruz so some of the pictures are from those; the senior sisters were very willing to mend clothing at each of the seven conferences, and we received our flu vaccine so each missionary has the opportunity to be vaccinated (we strongly encourage it).  We also held mission leadership conference on Thursday.  Have a great week.