Sunday, December 5, 2010

Zone Leader Council . . .

At the first of each month we bring in our zone leaders for training and planning. It is such a great day to be with these strong missionaries. Above (l-r) Elder Christensen from Arizona, Elder Coles from Utah, Elder Walker from Idaho, Elder Cortez from Nicaragua, Elder Pereira from Chile, Elder Evans from Utah, Elder Castillo from Honduras, Elder Andia from Argentina, Elder Malca from Peru, Elder Rivas from Panama, Elder Gimenez from Argentina, Elder Retamal from Chile, Elder LeBaron from Arizona, Elder Jefferson from Utah, Elder Navarro from Peru, Elder Diaz from Chile, Elder Hansen from Connecticut, Elder Moncada from Honduras, Elder Vargas from Honduras, Elder Riches from Utah, Elder Razon from Chile and Elder Barra from Chile. Elder Hunsaker from Wyoming and Elder Muñoz from Chile that are serving in Coyhaique and Elder Araneda from Chile and Elder Welling from Oregon that are serving in Punta Arenas were not in attendance.

There is a great love among these missionaries and it doesn´t take much to bring out the craziness in them.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

December Crazy Cambios . . .

December was supposed to be a fairly simple cambio. We had five missionaries leaving and five new missionaries arriving. Then the five new missionaries became 4 when a sister was delayed until December 21. On Monday the 4 became 3 when an Elder in Provo was delayed until December 14. So we were very surprised when the plane arrived and only 1 Elder stepped off the plane. Above is Elder Johnston from St George, Utah. He arrived by himself and we are grateful to have him.

The other two missionaries did their mission training at the Guatemala MTC and they missed their connecting flight to Osorno in Santiago. Fortunately, they arrived later that day and we were grateful to welcome them to the greatest mission in the world. Above is Hna Turcios from Honduras and Elder Camarena from Panama. They were exhausted from their trip, but they both have a great attitude.

With this cambio we released Elder Poujol as one of our assistants so that he could finish the mission working in a sector that needed some special help. Unfortunately, he completes his mission in January and we will miss him. Above are pictured with him the other assistants (l-r) Elder Coles from Salt Lake City, Utah, Elder Poujol from Honduras and Elder Riches from Grantsville, Utah.

As always, new missionaries mean we are losing older missionaries and this is a small but powerful group. All five have been wonderful missionaries and they will be greatly missed by Susie and I, as well as the other missionaries and members. Seated (l-r) are Elder Coles our assistant, Elder Aguilera from Honduras and Elder Riches the other assistant. Standing (l-r) are: Elder Uceda from Tampa Bay, Florida, Elder States from Salt Lake City, Utah, Elder Cuesta from Ecuador and Elder Aitken from Brigham City, Utah.

We just love these young missionaries. You cannot imagine the impact they have had on our lives.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Mission President´s Seminar 2010 . . .

Once each year, the mission presidents in Chile meet with the Area Presidency for training. This year the meeting was held in Pucón which is at the north end of our mission. It is a beautiful location on the edge of Villarrica Lake and at the foot of the Villarrica Volcano. Pictured above are members of the Area Presidency and their wives, as well as the Presidents and wives of the nine Chilean missions and the Santiago Mission Training Center.

When Susie and I arrived in Chile in June 2008, we arrived with two other couples who also began their mission service. We have loved and admired these two couples since we met them in the Provo MTC and it has been a privilege to serve with them. Pictured above (l-r) are: President and Sister May of the Santiago North Mission and President and Sister Swenson of the Concepción South Mission. It is hard to believe this was our third and final seminar. I still feel like the new kid on the block.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Zone Conference Ugly Tie Contest . . .

As part of this last cambio´s zone conference, we had an ugly tie contest. In Punta Arenas, the winner was Elder McGowan from Clinton, MS. Pictured (l-r) are: Elder Figgins, Elder McCormick, Elder Elmer, Elder Richardson, Elder Hansen, Elder Quispe, Elder McGowan, Elder Lux, Elder Araneda, Elder Olmedo, Hna Aponte, Elder Hezeltine, Hna Bertagnole, Elder Gomez, Hna Campos, Elder Schubert, Hna Baum and Elder Barbosa.

Not to be excluded, the sisters participated in the ugly "bufanda" (kneck scarf) contest. Susie was in the running at every zone, but at Valdivia it was a tie between Hna Smith and Hna Tauteoli. Above (l-r): Hna Smith, Hna Tauteoli, Hna Thompson and Hna Nakayama.

At the Coyhaique Zone Conference, Elder Martinez was the winner. Above (l-r): Elder Ashby, Elder Amezcua, Elder Grover, Elder Martinez, Elder Rodriguez, Elder Frost, Elder Hunsaker, Elder Ramirez, Elder Nickel, Elder Gonzalez, Elder Jefferson and Elder Muñoz.

It was a close race in Valdivia with the Elders and eventually it was called a three-way tie. Pictured above with Susie (l-r) are: Elder Gimenez, Elder Razon and Elder Pierson.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mid-Cambio Cambio . . .

We received a call a couple of weeks ago asking if we would be willing to accept the transfer of a sister missionary from another mission. The correct answer to that question is always "of course". Hna Fuentealba transferred from the Santiago West Mission and arrived last week. She is from Chillán, Chile and will be a wonderful addition to our mission.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

October Cambios . . .

We received 16 new missionaries this week. 11 Elders and 5 Sisters. All from the US except for one from South Africa. First row (l-r) are: Hna Nakayama from Kaunakakai, HI, Hna Gebara from Irvine, CA, Hna Moss from Woodland, WA, Hna Skinner from Lindon, UT, and Hna Grimes from Modesto, CA. Second row (l-r) are: Elder Mason from Huntington Beach, CA, Elder Pugh from Mapleton, UT, Elder Crane from Logan, UT, Elder Reeder from North Logan UT, Elder Himes from Brigham City, UT, and Elder Williamson from Roodepoort, South Africa. Third row (l-r) are: Elder Poujol and Elder Riches our two assistants, Elder Purser from Tuscaloosa, AL, Elder Fonda from South Jordan, UT, Elder Turner from Oakwood, GA, Elder Nelson from Lindon, UT and Elder Mangelson from Dublin, OH.

We will only lose six missionaries, so the addition of 10 missionaries to our total number will allow us to open 5 additional sectors. They will be: Volcán II, Panguipulli II, Purranque II, Frutillar II and Porvenir. We are excited to have this new group and they appear to be an exceptional group of missionaries. We are confident they will make a powerful contribution to the work in our mission.

This was a very unusual cambio in that all of the missionaries leaving are sister missionaries. Seated (l-r) are: Hna McMaster from West Valley City, UT, Hna Burningham from Centerville, UT, Hna Perez from Panama City, Panama, Hna Gonzalez from Bariloche, Argentina, Hna Whisenhunt from Las Vegas, NV and Hna Stout from Plainfield, Indiana. It would not be enough to say that this is an exceptional group of talented sister missionaries. In truth, they define in many ways what a faithful sister missionary should be. They worked hard, they were obedient and they touched so many lives. It has been such a blessing to serve with them and see their incredible growth and progress. We will miss them very much. We already do.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sadie Beth Gardner Sydenham . . .

Susie´s Mother, Sadie Beth Gardner Sydenham passed away yesterday, October 18, 2010. She had unfortunately been very ill for some time and Susie had the opportunity to visit with her by phone recently and sing songs and express love and appreciation to her. We are sorry to not be able to be with the family in these moments, but our love and prayers are with them and they support our efforts in serving the mission. Above is a picture of Susie´s parents with our family in the weeks prior to our leaving for Chile.

Sadie Beth is survived by her husband, Cameron Sydenham and her children pictured above: kneeling l-r: Alisa Sydenham and Connie Holman; standing l-r: Janean Peterson, Curt Sydenham, Karen Leatham, Steve Sydenham, Susie Lovell, their spouses and lots of wonderful grandchildren.
Sadie Beth was the most wonderful wife, mother, grandmother and mother-in-law. She had the most playful personality and radiated love and kindness to all. She will be greatly missed and we give thanks for the knowledge we have of the Lord´s plan for our salvation and the great and marvelous blessings of the temple. We know where Sadie is and we know where we all can be. Families really can be eternal!

Visit to Santiago . . .

We had a special training conference in Santiago this past Saturday with all the Stake, District and Mission Presidents in Chile. I took Susie with me and while I was in the meeting she was able to attend the temple and visit with some of our former missionaries in the area. After the meeting we were all able to get together and enjoy a wonderful visit. Some of the missionaries brought their girlfriends and wives. The group included Hna Butler and Hna Bond from the U.S. that were here visiting members. And our dear friend Camilla who is in law school in Santiago also came over. We love these young men and women so much and it was great to be with them. These are unforgettable moments.

And it doesn´t take much to get them in a playful mood.

Above is Elder, now Rodolfo, Vergara with Susie in the MTC in Santiago. Elder Vergara and Elder Rivera both teach in the MTC and are a great influence for those latin missionaries coming to our mission.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Baptism of Vanessa Gallardo . . .

In April 2010, three young girls came to the Mission Home to interview Susie in English as part of a school assignment. Two of the girls, Vanessa and Camila fell in love with Susie right off the bat and continued to come by to visit, sew and cook. They began to attend church with us and soon started taking the discussions from the missionaries. When they graduated from high school, both left home to study with full ride scholarships at their respective universities. Camila is studying law at the University of Chile in Santiago. Vanessa is studying Special Education at the Catholic University in Temuco. Camila was baptized several months ago and last night Vanessa was baptized and confirmed. We have been so grateful for the opportunity to know these two young ladies and to witness their marvelous conversion.

We were especially happy that Vanessa´s parents and brother came to the baptism. They are a wonderful family and we obviously hope they will follow in thier daughter´s footsteps.

A playful picture of Susie with Vanessa and Camila on one of their visits before leaving for college. In many ways, they´ve become like daughters to us and we are grateful for their continued visits when they have a break from their studies.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

September Cambios (Part C)

We got a surprise call last week that a new sister would be arriving in a few days outside of the normal cambio cycle. This happens occassionally and we are always happy to welcome new missionaries. In this case, Hna Donoso from Santiago, Chile arrived today to serve in our mission. We´ve enjoyed meeting her and are excited to have her in the mission. We have six sisters scheduled to leave in a couple of weeks and had only five scheduled to replace them, so this sister is an answer to our prayers. The next cambio will be 5 Sisters and 11 Elders.

Hna Donoso will be assigned to serve in a trio for only a couple of weeks. Above she is pictured with her new companions: Hna Stout from Plainfield, Indiana who finishes her mission in a couple of weeks and Hna Byam from Lethbridge, Canada. They will serve in the Ovejeria Ward in the Osorno Stake.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

New Grandbaby and Zone Leader Council . . .

His name is William Kenneth Brooks. He was born Thursday, September 9th in Tulsa, Oklahoma to Darin (our daughter) and Mike Brooks. He weighed in at 8 lbs, 8 oz. When we left on our mission we had 3 grandchildren. When we return next year, they will be 7 (6 beautiful granddaughters and now a handsome grandson). Darin, Will and the family are doing great and should be home today. Needless to say, we feel very, very blessed. Does it get any better than this!

On Friday, we had Zone Leaders Council here at the mission home. This meeting is held every month and give us an opportunity to meet with these great young missionaries for training and reporting. Pictured l-r are: Elder Poujol from Honduras and Elder Riches from Grantsville, Utah who are our two assistants; Elder Rivas from Panama, Elder Evans from Layton, Utah, Elder Malca from Peru, Elder Coles from SLC, Utah, Elder Pereira from Chile, Elder Christensen from Thatcher, Arizona, Elder Navarro from Peru, Elder Welling from Beaverton, Washington, Elder Uceda from Tampa, Florida, Elder States from Midvale, Utah, Elder Aguilera from Honduras, Elder Diaz from Chile, Elder Cuesta from Ecuador, Elder Moncada from Honduras, Elder Vargas from Honduras, Elder Gimenez from Argentina, Elder Castillo from Honduras, Elder Service from SLC, Utah, Elder Barra from Chile and Elder Silva from Honduras. It is such a great opportunity to serve with such fine missionaries.

After more than 33 years of marriage, Susie is still light as a feather.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

September Cambios (Part B) . . .

We received our new group of missionaries on Tuesday, which happened to be my birthday. We couldn´t ask for a better birthday gift than 19 enthusiastic young missionaries. First row (l-r) Elder Garlaza and Elder Coria from Argentina, Elder Beletanga from Ecuador and Elder Key from Burleson, Texas. Second row (l-r) Elder Poujol from Honduras, one of our assistants, Elder Vilorio and Elder Martinez from Honduras, Elder Gomez from Argentina, Elder Broadhead from Burley, Idaho, Elder Barben from Junction, Utah, Elder McCormick from Fredonia, Arizona. Third row (l-r) Elder Seager from Utah our outgoing assistant, Elder Rainey from Avondale, Arizona, Elder Tyus from Arvada, Colorado, Elder Frost from Orem, Utah, Elder Bastian from El Dorado Hills, California, Susie, Elder Thorup from Cottonwood Heights, Utah, and Elder Oakden from Logan, Utah. Top row (l-r) Elder Ruz from Shedden, Canada, Elder Riches from Grantsville, Utah our incoming new assistant, Elder Seegrist from South Jordan, Utah and Elder Aston from Orem, Utah.

Here is the classic formal picture of the new missionaries in the mission home. It is an exhausting day for those coming from the United States. They arrive in Osorno after about 24 hours of travel and then we put them through training and interviews before feeding them and sending them off to work.

The second group of those leaving this cambio also left the mission yesterday. In total, 20 missionaries completed their service, with 11 leaving 2 weeks ago and the remaining 9 leaving yesterday. I can´t say enough about the influence that this group has had over the past two years in the mission. They were an exceptional group of missionaries and Susie and I love them all very much. We are grateful for their faithful service and will miss them. Among them were two former assistants, Elder Seager and Elder Opazo and Hna Bustos from Bolivia. She is quite simply one of the most faithful and diligent sister missionaries we have ever seen.

With the departure of Elder Opazo and Elder Seager, we have a new assistant to serve with Elder Poujol. That will be Elder Riches from Grantsville, Utah. We are grateful to associate with such great young missionaries. Pictured above from l-r are: Elder Seager, Elder Poujol, Elder Riches and Elder Opazo.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

September Cambios (Part A) . . .

We have 20 great missionaries scheduled to leave on our September 8th cambio. Because several of them begin classes next week in school, we will be sending them home in two groups. Eleven left last night and are on their way home now. Seated above (l-r) are: Elder Seager one of our assistants who will be leaving in two weeks, Elder Moser from Missouri and Elder Poujol our other assistant. Standing (l-r) are: Elder Larsen from Utah, Elder Robinson from Arizona, Elder Salguera from Nicaragua, Elder Simons from Utah, Elder Bateman from Oregon, Elder Nash from Utah, Elder Hogan from Texas, now Georgia, Elder Fuentes from Chile, Elder Haderlie from Utah and Elder Montano from El Salvador.

This group of twenty has had a powerful influence on the mission since they arrived and it is hard to see them start to leave. Among this group of 11 are six that have served as zone leaders and 3 that served as district leaders. They are truly a remarkable group of young men. We already miss them.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Visit of Elder Scott and Elder Corbridge . . .

We are blessed to have Elder Scott from the Quorum of the Twelve in Chile this week. He came to visit our mission yesterday and was accompanied by Elder Corbridge of the First Quorum of Seventy and a counselor in our Area Presidency, and his wife. We had a 4-hour mission conference yesterday them and it was truly remarkable. What a blessing to have these brethren visit our mission. Today they are in Punta Arenas where they will meet with our missionaries there and later have a conference with the members. There are firesides also planned in Valdivia, Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt this week as well as training this Saturday and conferences on Sunday in Osorno and Puerto Montt. It will be a wonderful week.

Yesterday we had Elder Scott and the Corbridges in the Mission Home for dinner and truly enjoyed the opportunity to be with them. I am amazed at Elder Scott´s energy and stamina. He is constantly on the go and so anxious to be with the members and missionaries.
Above is a picture of the Punta Arenas Zone with Elder Scott, Elder and Sister Corbridge and President Acevedo, the stake president. What a wonderful experience for such a small group of missionaries to get to spend more than 4 hours in training with Elder Scott and Elder Corbridge. As I´ve spoken with them, it is clear that it was an unforgettable experience.

The four sisters above (l-r) Hna McMasters (Utah), Hna Thompson (Virginia), Hna Smith (California) and Hna Aponte (Argentina) especially enjoyed the conference. The apostolic blessing pronounced upon them will be something I am sure they will share with their family.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Zone Leader´s Council

This past Friday was zone leaders council in the Mission Home. This is always a great event and being with these wonderful missionaries is the highlight of our month. They bring such great enthusiasm and love to the work. We are truly blessed with great leaders and when some complete their missions, there are always other missionaries ready to step up and do their part.

First Row (l-r) Elder Castillo-Honduras, Elder Hogan-Texas, Elder Silva-Panama, Elder Moser-Missouri, Elder Aspitia-Argentina, Elder Malca-Peru, Elder Navarro-Peru, Elder Uceda-Florida, Elder Barra-Chile, Elder Silva-Honduras
Second Row (l-r) Elder Bateman-Oregon, Elder Araneda-Chile, Elder Nash-Utah, Elder Coles-Utah, Elder Walker-Idaho, Elder Riches-Utah, Elder Cuesta-Ecuador, Elder Moncada-Honduras, Elder Service-Utah, Elder Gimenez-Argentina, Elder Diaz-Chile, Elder Vargas-Honduras, Elder States-Utah, Elder Welling-Washington, Elder Poujol-Honduras (AP) and Elder Seager-Utah (AP).

Zone Leaders Council


Thursday, July 29, 2010

July Cambios . . .

We had two groups of missionaries arrive this past week. The group of latin missionaries arrived on Tuesday, as planned, but the missionaries from the United States were delayed until Wednesday.

In the first group are Hna Nava from Mexcio (seated on the couch). Standing (l-r) are: Elder Romero from Ecuador, Elder Seager one of our assistants from Santaquin, UT, Elder Poujol our new assistant from Honduras, Elder Opazo from Chile who is leaving as our assistant and Elder Gomez from Columbia. Hna Nava is an incredible young sister with a great story. She is actually 37 years old and is one of 7 sisters ranging in ages from 39-22 that are serving from her family. All seven submitted their applications together and their calls arrived on the same day. One is serving in Guatemala, and another is serving in Honduras. Two of the sisters came to Chile, including our sister. The other sister is serving in the Chile Rancagua Mission. Two other sisters report to the MTC in September and will both be serving in Argentina. The youngest of the sisters reports to the MTC in October and will be serving in Costa Rica. Their story is so great and I hope to get it to the Church News for consideration. It is so inspiring.

In the second group that arrived on Wednesday is Hna Herbert from Boise, Idaho (seated on couch). The others are (l-r) Elder Jones from Cooperas Cove, TX, Elder Seager and Elder Poujol our assistants and Elder Epperson from Arlington, VA. They were exhausted when they got here having been delayed in Dallas for a day and getting into Santiago at 2:00 am and then getting into Osorno at 1:30 pm. They were delayed at almost every turn. The important thing is that they arrived and are out in their sectors working.

As always, we have to say goodbye to some excellent missionaries, and this cambio was no exception. Seated with us from l-r are Hna Earl from Mount Pleasant, UT and Hna Guevara from El Salvador. Standing l-r are: Elder Seager our assistant, Elder Shumway from Mesa, AZ, Elder Riquez from Santiago, Chile, Elder Campozano, Elder Zhunio and Elder Castelo all from Ecuador, and Elder Poujol the other assistant. We love these missionaries so much and will miss their powerful influence in our mission. Hna Earl comes from a great missionary family. She has a sister serving in Guatemala, a brother in the Philipines and her parents are serving in Lima, Peru. Thankfully, she has a grandfather and friends to welcome her at the airport when she returns home.

Elder Opazo has served as an assistant for six months and only has one more cambio left in the mission, so he left this week to finish his mission as a district leader in Purranque. He has been such a wonderful leader in the mission since he first got here and I will miss him very much. He will be a future leader for the church in Chile. Elder Poujol from Honduras was called to take his place and will serve with Elder Seager as the new assistant. Besides being a great missionary, Elder Poujol speaks great English and plays the piano incredibly well. Elder Seager goes home next cambio, so this will be his last cambio as an assistant.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Record snow in Coyhaique . . .

A couple of weeks ago they had record snow in Coyhaique. Apparently, it was the strongest storm in over 30 years. It was obviously a great adventure for the all the missionaries, but especially for those from Honduras, Peru and Uruguay, who had never seen snow. In spite of the snows, which came on Friday and Saturday, many of the members showed up for church meetings. It is great to see their faithfulness. The following week, the missionaries had lots of service opportunities clearing the roofs of members and investigators. To add to the adventure, the water pipes froze and they went without running water for several days.