Friday, November 28, 2008

Six-Week Life Cycle . . .

Prior to the mission, it seemed my life was built around weekly and monthly planning. In the mission field, everything revolves around a cycle of six weeks. It begins with the arrival of new missionaries, the departure of missionaries completing their mission, the zone conferences, then interviews and finally preparation for the arrival of the next group of missionaries. Days and weeks fly by and zone conferences and interviews seem to follow each other so closely. Sometimes it is all a blur, but we are enjoying the ride and the opportunity to be of service.

We have now been through 4 different "cambios" or transfer cycles. I thought you would like to see the group photos of the new missionaries as they arrived. The first one was covered in an earlier post and included only Hermana Aguilar from El Salvador. Here are the groups that followed:

This group of 9 arrived on August 12th and included 6 from North America (the six we met while in the Provo MTC - Elders Haun, Noble, Davis, Cook, Sonntag and Darrington) and 3 (seated - Elders Zhunio, Castelo and Campozano) from Ecuador. Susie and I are also in the picture with our two assistants, Elder Ruesta and Elder Wanner.

This group of 10 arrived on September 23 and include only two from the United States (Elders Shumway and Haderlie) and 3 from Chile (Elders Aracena, Opazo and Bourboze) , 2 from El Salvador (Elder Montano and Sister Rivas) and 1 each from Argentina (Elder Aspitia), Panama (Sister Valdez) and Nicaragua (Elder Salguera).

This large group of 15, all from the U.S. arrived on November 4th and includes: Elders Adlard, Batemen, Cottle, DeGroot, Hogan, Larsen, Morey, Moser, Nash, Robinson, Seager, Simons and Sturm; and Sisters Biggs and Harper. The picture also includes Elder Ruesta and our new assistant, Elder Vergara.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Some of the sites in Southern Chile . . .

In our travels throughout the mission, we have seen some beautiful sights. Southern Chile is truly an incredible part of the world. Below are a couple of pictures we've taken:

The town of Villarrica and the Villarrica Volcano
The view of the Villarrica Volcano from Pucon
The mountains near Coyhaique.

The Osorno Volcano looking out over Lake Llanquihue.
From the plane flying to Coyhaique.
The Pacific Ocean from Niebla.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Mission begins . . .

Three days after our arrival on June 28th, we received our first new missionary, Hna Aguilar from El Salvador. She went through training and then was assigned her first companion, Hna Tropple. The will serve in the Rio Bueno sector of the La Union Zone. We will always treasure Hna Aguilar as "la primera".

Transfers start for real in August when we send 10 missionaries home and get 9 new ones. Every six weeks there will be transfers. In between we hold zone conferences, training and interviews with each missionary. With a mission 1,400 miles long, this means a lot of travel and many nights in hotels. Below are some pictures from a few our first round of zone conferences.

The Osorno ZoneThe Punta Arenas Zone
The La Union Zone

The Rahue ZoneThe Coyhaique Zone
The Puerto Montt Zone

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Arrival in Osorno, Chile

Sorry it has taken so long to post anything to this blog, but we've been so busy. We've been here a month and barely had time to catch our breath. We've now completed our first round of interviews and zone conferences and we love the mission and our missionaries. I'll try and post additional information once we get our feet on the ground.
View of Osorno from the plane as we are landing at the airport. It is a wonderfully small airport, but is closed for renovations until November. So for now, all flights go in and out of Puerto Montt which is an hour south of Osorno.
Frome left to right: Elder and Sister Allen, our senior couple from California (they are wonderful and so much help), Elder Bustamante, from Chile-the mission historian; Elder Shallenberger from Utah-the mission secretary; Elder Cabezas from Argentina-the mission commisary and computer whiz; Elder Wanner from Utah one of the Assistants to the President; Elder Ruesta from Peru the other Assistant; Elder Wohlfart from Germany-the mission financial secretary; and Susie and I. We felt so welcome, it was really like coming home.
First night at the mission home leaving to go proselyting with the two Assistants. These guys are so great and have been such a help to me.
First night in the mission home and Susie leaving to go proselyting with Hermana Davey from Washington and Hermana Ruiz from Panama.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

We've been busy this past week getting ready for our mission departure. We were blessed to have family here for the weekend and enjoyed it very much. On Friday, we were set apart as missionaries by Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was assisted by Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge a member of the First Quorum of Seventy and a new member of the Chile Area Presidency. We were so grateful that our children and grandchildren were able to be there with us.

After the setting apart we enjoyed strolling through temple square and the beautiful weather. (Its snowing in Heber as I write this). What a great way to spend the day with family.

On Saturday morning we met with a photographer to get one last picture of the family as it is today. Obviously, this photo will be out of date soon with two new granchildren due in July to Darin and November to Karen. When we get back, we'll need to take a new one.
That evening our wonderful neighbors surprised us with a farewell neighborhood barbecue. It was so nice of them and we truly enjoyed the evening. My Dad was also able to come up from St. George to spend the weekend with us.

Susie and I spoke in church on Sunday and we were so grateful that many friends and family made the effort to be there. It was great to see everyone. We will truly miss you all.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

MTC Friends . . .

Susie and I have been attending classes at the Provo MTC (Mission Training Center) for several months now. Susie is doing great on her Spanish. We have been so grateful for the help we receive from our teachers and other MTC volunteers that we had a group up for dinner last night. Though most of them are from Mexico, Peru was also represented. We prepared a "mexican dinner" and were given passing grades from all. It was a wonderful evening. I can't tell you enough how impressed we are with the professionalism and skill of these MTC workers. They're the best!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Chaiten Volcano . . .

I'm sure many of you have been reading about the recent volcano eruption in southern Chile. This volcano is located within the boundaries of the Chile Osorno Mission and is near the small town of Chaiten. There is a small independent branch of the church in Chaiten with two missionaries. I believe the missionaries have been evacuated along with all of the town inhabitants. This is area of Chile is sparsely populated and the Chaiten Branch covers a very large area.

Interestingly, Chile contains a large number of volcanoes but they are not as active as the volcanoes in the western Pacific. This has something to do with the more shallow subduction of the tectonic plates which can cut off magma movement towards the surface. Chile contains 36 active volcanos, (I guess that's 37, now) including the world's highest active volcanoes. The 3,950' Chaiten volcano has been erupting now for 5 days after having been dormant for over 9,000 years. And while there is lava within the volcano crater, it has not yet spilled over the sides.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Reporting to the Mission Training Center

In preparation for our mission, Susie and I attend classes at the Mission Training Center (MTC) twice a week on Monday and Friday. Susie has an additional spanish language class by telephone on Wednesday. We have lots of homework and assignments to complete each week and it has been a wonderful experience. Our tutors are so helpful and effective.

We report to the MTC on June 21st for the Mission President's Seminar which lasts through June 26th.

The largest MTC is located in Provo, Utah and it is where most LDS missionaries go for training before reporting to their missions. There are additional MTC's in several foreign countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, England, Ghana, Guatemala, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa and Spain.

Some interesting information on the Provo MTC from a recent church magazine article:

1,700 - 2,700 - Range in number of Missionaries in the Provo MTC at any given time
4,300—The most missionaries the Provo MTC has had at one time
3, 8, or 12—Weeks a missionary will spend in the MTC, depending on the language he or she is learning
200 - 500 - Range of number of New missionaries who report to the MTC on any given Wednesday
50—Languages taught at the Provo MTC, including Icelandic and Malagasy
26—Languages MTC meetings are translated into for missionaries learning English as a second language
2,700—Service people, including employees, service missionaries, and volunteers, who keep the MTC running

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Called to Serve . . .

As many of you know, Susie and I have been called to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We have been called to preside over the Chile Osorno Mission beginning July 1, 2008. We will serve for three years.

Susie is busy studying Spanish and is making great progress. We have classes twice a week at the MTC in Provo, UT and Susie has an additional Spanish class on the phone each week. We enter the MTC for the Mission Presidents Seminar on June 21 and expect to leave for Chile on June 28th.

The Osorno Mission covers the bottom third of Chile and is approximately 1,200 miles long and 40-75 miles wide. They currently have 161 missionaries serving in the mission. We are excited for this opportunity and look forward to meeting the people and missionaries of our mission. We will desperately miss our family, but are grateful for the opportunity to serve. We know that the Lord will bless our family as we serve faithfully.

More details to follow.