Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fresia Branch Conference . . .

Sister Lovell with Hna Allen and Hna Westover
Some of the members from the Fresia Branch

Elder Hernandez from Santiago, Chile who is serving as the Branch President and his companion, Elder Bateman from Salem, OR

Fresia Branch Chapel

Susie and I visited the Fresia Branch today for their annual Branch Conference. Elder and Sister Allen were there (they finish their service next week) as well as Elder and Sister Westover who are the new missionary couple that recently arrived.

Fresia is a wonderful branch that struggles in a small and isolated area of the mission. The branch does not belong to a stake or district, and is therefore an independent branch belonging to the mission. The branch president is a missionary, currently Elder Hernandez from Santiago, Chile. His only counselor is his companion, Elder Batemen from Salem, OR.

We had excellent turnout today with over 45 in attendance and it was wonderful to be able to see them again and speak to them. We originally attended Fresia on our second Sunday in the mission, so we were anxious to get back to them. I love the Spirit in these small branches and am inspired by the faithfulness of these members.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

April/May Zone Conference . . .

This past zone conference was especially nice because we were joined by two senior couples from Santiago that are serving as the Area medical and pyschological support for the missionaries. In the picture above with Susie and I are Elder and Sister Davis and Elder and Sister Dixon. Sister Davis, a psycholgist, provides counseling support for missionaries in all of Chile, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. (Now that´s a tough mission) Elder Dixon is a medical doctor providing medical support for the nine missions located in Chile. This is his 4th mission, having served first as a proselyting missionary 60 years ago to Japanese speaking people in Hawaii. He and his wife have also served medical missions for the church in California, Spain and now Chile. They are such a wonderful resource and help to us in the mission. It was nice to have them accompany us on the conference tour to provide additional training and instruction to our missionaries.

Above you see members of the Coyhaique zone modeling the new rain gear we will be using in the mission. We are hopeful this will keep them drier as the winter rain season arrives. They are actually trying to imitate a "Charile´s Angel" type pose that the Sister have done. From l-r are Elders Rivas (Panama), Hogan (Texas), Nash (Utah), Ribera (Bolivia), Saade (Argentina), Aspitia (Argentina), Wohlfart (Germany) and Opazo (Chile).

Here is Susie at the mission home with several of our sisters after the conference in Osorno. From top to bottom are Hermanas Biggs (Oregon), Guevara (El Salvador), Bustos (Bolivia), Aguilar (El Salvador), Koontz (California) and Crook (Utah).

At the Osorno Zone conference, Sister Davis leads the missionaries in a stress relieving "hand dance". At least the missionaries can do this dance. It was a lot of fun.

At some time during our zone conference in Valdivia, an Elder took this picture. I can´t even think of an adequate caption for this photo, so I´ll leave it to your imagination. Pictured with Susie from l-r are Hermanas Moemai (Utah), Torrico (Bolivia), Perez (Panama), McClellan (California), Butler (Utah) and that is Hermana Wood from Utah in front. She is actually a very accomplished Ballet dancer, so I can only guess that is where this got started.
In the spirit of equal opportunity, we have some of the Elders from the Coyhaique Zone with their own interpretation of the sister´s dance pose. Here are Elders Aspitia, Wohlfart, Ribera, Saade, DeGroot and Nash. Fortunately, I was in interviews at the time and was unavailable.

May cambio . . .

We had an unexpected transfer this past week when we were informed of a missionary from Santiago, Chile that would be sent to our mission. Elder Vilasau has actually served some 10 months in another mission before being reassigned to serve in Chile Osorno. He seems like a great young man and will be an excellent addition to our mission. He will be serving in a trio in Llanquihue with Elders Lopez and Adlard.