Thursday, January 29, 2009

January Cambios . . .

Another six week cycle has started with cambios. We received 9 new missionaries this week, 4 from Honduras, 2 from Utah, 1 from Panama and 1 Sister from El Salvador. The 8 Elders arrived on Tuesday from Santiago, but Hermana Guevara arrived on Wednesday evening. She did her MTC in Guatemala rather than Santiago. They are a great group of missionaries and we are excited for their growth and progress in the mission.

In the picture, the new missionaries are standing in the back from L-R, Elders Vargas, Poujol, Rivas, Moncada, Castillo, Aitken, Montoya and States. Next to Susie is Elder Ruesta one of our AP´s who left this week to return home to Peru. The other missionary to her right is Elder Vergara the other AP. On my left is Elder Shallenberger, our new AP, who will be taking Elder Ruesta´s place.

As I said, Hermana Guevara arrived Wednesday evening and Susie and I picked her up at the Osorno Airport while the departing missionaries were getting ready for our dinner. She is an excellent young woman of great faith and enthusiasm. We are so grateful to have her in the mission.

Unfortunately, we lost 14 missionaries this cambio. And the worst part is they are all exceptional missionaries. Included in the group are 2 former AP´s, 2 former Branch Presidents, 7 former ZL´s and 10 former District Leaders and 2 sisters that are nothing short of perfect. They have all had an important impact in the mission and in my life personally. We love all the missionaries and each cambio becomes more difficult. I suppose this was difficult because Elder Wanner and Elder Ruesta were the Assistants when we got here and helped so much to guide us in those early days. We will miss them all.

In the picture they are, from l-r Elders Vergara (current AP), Wanner (former AP), Galati, Briggs, Ruesta (former AP), Shipley, Port, Guzman, Zamorano, Salvatierra, and Elder Allen of our Senior Couple. Seated from l-r are Elders Serradell, Rivera, Torres, Susie, Hermana Retamal and Hermana Iribarra, me, Hermana Allen of our Senior Couple and Elder Shallenberger the new AP. The returning missionaries are from Chile (7) US (5) Peru (1) and Bolivia (1).

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lago Ranco . . .

This Sunday, Susie and I visited the Lago Ranco Branch in the La Union District. Lago Ranco is a small town of around 12,000 people in the area. We have a small branch where about 25 members attend regularly. One of our missionaries is the branch president and we made a change there today because of transfers happening this coming week. After meetings we drove up the mountain above the town to take pictures of the town and the lake. It is a beautiful place and the members are just wonderful. We can´t wait to go back, but truthfully we feel that way about all the branches.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Christmas with Katie & Carly . . .

December was a fun and busy month for us in the mission. Darin, Mike, Katie and Carly were able to come down to Chile and spend the month with us. We had a wonderful time and they brought so much life to the Mission Home. Mike served his mission in Argentina so he was excited to be in South America and he enjoyed going out with the missionaries a couple of times. Katie fell in love with so many missionaries and warmed up to each of them immediately. She was so funny in the mission office looking at the mission board pictures saying: "That one´s my favorite. No that one´s my favorite." She never could make up her mind as she loved them all so much. It was clear that the missionaries loved them as well. Carly was a trooper and we loved meeting her for the first time.

We were grateful to have them here and were able to take a few days to show them the wonderful beauty of Southern Chile. We miss them now that they are gone, (I especially miss Darin´s homemade bread) but there is a lingering light in the mission home that reminds us they were here.

First Weekend in Chile at the District Conference in Castro, ChiloƩ

Visiting the Saltos de Petrohue below the Osorno Volcano

The rapids below the Saltos de Petrohue

Swimming at the Termas de Puyehue at Aguas Calientes

Ocean overlook on ChiloƩ before our visit to see the Penguins

Member children at District Conference in La Union with Katie and Carly

Resting while Susie and Darin shop in Puerto Varas

Saturday, January 3, 2009

December Cambios

We had eight new missionaries arrive in the mission last month. They include (front row l-r) Hna Demers from New Hampshire, Hna Moemai from Utah, Hna McClellan from California, Hna Porter from Arizona and Hna Wade from Arizona; (back row l-r) Elder Aguilera from Honduras, Elder Uceda from Florida and Elder Cuesta from Ecuador. My two assistants, Elder Vergara and Elder Ruesta are next to Susie.

This looks to be a wonderful group of missionaries and we are excited to have them. We were able to open one new sector for Hermanas with this new group.

As always, some of our missionaries completed their service and returned home in December. Pictured below (back row l-r) Elder Matos, Elder Ortoguerin and Elder Gonzalez from Peru, and Elder Munns from Utah. Seated (l-r) are Hna Diaz from Panama, Hna Halling from Virginia and Hna Bond from Oregon. I can't tell you what an excellent group of missionaries this is and it was so hard to say good-bye to them. As we serve longer and get to knows these missionaries better, it is becoming harder and harder to see them leave. We love them so much. The saving trade off are the new ones that arrive to take their place in the mission.