Friday, March 13, 2009

March Cambios . . .

Every six weeks is cambio week and they seem to come every three or four days now. New missionaries arrived on Tuesday and our older missionaries leave on Thursday. It is a hectic and crazy week filled with lots of work and tears. We love the new ones that come and we love the older ones that are leaving. It is really both a joyful and difficult time.
Above are the 9 new missionaries that arrived this cambio. Seated with us is Hna Bustos from Bolivia. In back from left to right: Elders Vergara and Shallenberger our AP´s, Elder Olsen from Logan, UT, Elder Gomez from Honduras, Elder Diaz from Chile, Elder Castaneda from El Salvador, Elder Gimenez from Argentina, Elder Malca from Peru, Elder Service from Salt Lake City, UT, Elder Araneda from Chile and Hna and Elder Allen, our senior couple. These new missionaries are all very humble and excited to serve. We are grateful to have them in this wonderful mission.Above are the 13 missionaries that completed their service and are returning home. Seated on the couch with us is Hna Begay from Arizona and Elder Vergara one of our AP´s. The others, from left to right are: Elder Shallenberger (AP), Elder Rubio from Chile, Elder Centeno (seated) from Peru, Elder Quezada from Chile, Elder Mamani from Peru, Elder Inga and Elder Fuentes from Argentina, Elder Alarcon from Chile, Elder Burnett and Elder Dunn from Salt Lake City, UT, Elder Lopez (seated) and Elder Aracena from Chile, and Elder Carlson from California. Among this group are some of our best missionaries, including 7 Zone Leaders. We will miss them all, but are grateful that there are others in the mission ready to step into their shoes.
I suppose you can´t blame them for being a little silly after two years in the mission field and knowing that they are headed home after such a long and faithful service. We will truly miss them and the spirit they brought to our mission. Can anyone look at these faces and not recognize that they are some of the best missionaries anywhere?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Visit to Castro in Chiloé . . .

Susie and the view of Castro, Chiloé Los palafitos - homes built on stilts out over the water
Susie and I at the palfitos San Francisco Church on the main plaza
This past weekend Susie and I traveled to Castro on the island of Chiloé. Castro is the capital of the island and is home two great branches, Juan Soler and Gamboa. We also have branches in Ancud and Quellón. We haven´t been to Quellón yet, but will hopefully get there soon.

Castro is a beautiful town on the water and life here is centered around the fish industry, especially salmon. The branches have great members and exceptional leadership. We had visited here before in November for a District Conference, but this was our chance to get to know the members in the two branches.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Trip to Santiago . . .

The Santiago Temple
This past weekend, all the Chilean Mission Presidents were brought into Santiago for a one day training seminar. I flew in Friday evening so that I could go through the temple. Several of our missionaries from Santiago that had already finished their missions surprised me by showing up for the temple session. It was such a wonderful surprise. Being with them in the Celestial Room is something I will never forget. After the session we took some pictures and set in the garden area to visit and get caught up to date. I can´t tell you how much we love these missionaries. I also got to meet the group of Santiago MTC missionaries that will be coming to our mission next week. They all seem great and we are excited to get them here.

Elder Salvatierra, Hna Iribarra, Hna Retamal, Hna Garate (Conce Mission) , and Elder Riviera (Elder Serradell is taking the picture)

Elder Rivera, Elder Salvatierra, Hna Retamal, Hna Iribarra, Elder Torres, & Elder Serradell