Thursday, March 25, 2010

March Cambios (3) . . .

Our group from the U.S. arrived on Wednesday evening which presented us with some wonderful challenges. We were in the middle of our interviews and dinner with those missionaries finishing the mission when we left for the airport to pick up the new ones. We weren´t able to conduct interviews with them, but we spoke for awhile and then left them to the training given by our assistants and office staff. We felt bad shorting them on this, but felt a greater need to be with those who had completed their service and were heading home.

Seated above in the first row l-r are: Elder Bigelow our assistant, Hna Bleuler from Raleigh, North Carolina, Elder Opazo our other assistant. Second row l-r are: Elder Cross from Allen, Texas, Elder Hamblin from Orem, Utah, Elder Dean from Highland, Utah, Elder Richan from St. George, Utah, and Elder Williams from Charlotte, North Carolina. Third row l-r are: Elder Hafen from Idaho Falls, Idaho, Elder Blotter from Batavia, Illinois, Elder Fabrizio from Bountiful, Utah, Elder Hezeltine from Murray, Utah, Elder Turner from Cary, North Carolina, Elder Davis from Soda Springs, Idaho and Elder Grover from Kennewick, Washington.

As always, with new missionaries arriving we have to say goodbye to those that have finished their service. And as with other cambios, we are losing some of the finest missionaries anywhere. Included in this group are a former assistant, 5 zone leaders, one of our senior couples, the Westovers and 3 of the most wonderful and faithful sister missionaries in the church. Seated with Susie and I from l-r are: Hermana Rivas from El Salvador, Hermana Valdez from Panama and Hermana Harper from Blackfoot, Idaho. Standing from l-r: Elder Bigelow one of our assistants, Elder Rosas from Argentina, Elder Meneses from Chile, Elder Villanueva from Peru, Elder Dudley from Idaho, Elder Matorell from Alaska, Elder Correa from Chile, Elder Castro from Bolivia, Hermana and Elder Westover from Idaho and Elder Opazo our other assistant. Saying that we will miss these missionaries just does not adequately refect what we feel in our hearts. We love them so much and will miss them greatly.

March Cambios (2) . . .

Cambios were a little more complicated this week. All 18 missionaries were scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, but those traveling from the U.S. were not able to get out until the following day, so only the 5 latinos from the Santiago MTC made it here on Tuesday. Pictured standing l-r are: Elder Faúndez from Chile, Elder Silva from Chile, Elder Retamal from Chile, Elder Bravo from Chile and Elder Cardona from Colombia. Elder Retamal is the younger brother of Hermana Retamal who served in our mission and returned home last year. She was an incredible missionary and we can already tell her brother will be just as strong. Sitting on our left is Elder Bigelow our assistant and on our right is Elder Opazo, our other assistant.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Visit to the Quellón Branch . . .

Above are members of the Quellón Branch with Elder Ashton from SLC, Utah and Elder Hogan from Mansfield, TX.

Above is a view of the beautiful fishing village of Quellón. They say it rains on the island of Chiloé 13 months out of the year, so we were very fortunate to have such beautiful weather.

Just south of Quellón the Pan-American Highway ends. Above is the monument marking this spot. The Pan-American Highway runs from Alaska to Quellón, Chile.

Overlooking the port of Quellón in the evening with a view of the Andes and several volcanoes across the Gulf of Corcovado.

Last month, Susie and I were finally able to visit the Quellón branch which is located on the far southern tip of the island of Chiloé. This was the last of all the branches in the mission districts that we had not visited, so we´ve been anxious to get there. (There are still some branches belonging to stakes that we have not visited, and we hope to get to them as well.) It was a wonderful trip. The weather was beautiful and the members are just terrific. We love visiting with these small, isolated branches. The faith of the members is so strong.

March Cambios (1) . . .

Seated l-r above are: Elder Bigelow, one of our assistants, Elder Torres from Santiago, Chile and Elder Opazo, our other assistant.

We received another missionary this week that began in another mission but will finish in our mission. He is Elder Torres and will be with us for almost his entire two year period. We are confident he will be an excellent missionary and we are excited to have him serve with us.
Next week we have another large group of 18 more missionaries arriving. 13 of them will be North American and 5 will be Latinos. We will have 170 missionaries after this cambio, the largest number to date, and we will be opening 4 additional sectors.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mission Tour with Elder and Sister Zeballos . . .

Above are missionaries currently serving in the Villarrica, Los Lagos, Valdivia and Calle Calle Zones.

Above are missionaries currently serving in the La Union, Osorno and Rahue Zones, including our two senior couples the Hamiltons and Westovers.

Above are those missionaries currently serving in the Puerto Varas, Puerto Montt and Chiloé Zones.

Above are those missionaries currently serving in the Coyhaique Zone.

Above are those missionaries currently serving in the Punta Arenas Zone. The Zeballos left the following morning on Friday while Susie and I stayed behind to interview the missionaries. Our plan was to leave Saturday morning, but the earthquake near Concepción changed those plans. We were not able to get back to Osorno until the following Tuesday.

At least once a year, a member of the Area Presidency visits our mission. Last year we had Elder and Sister Corbridge and this year it was Elder and Sister Zeballos. Elder Zeballos is a member of the First Quorum of Seventy and 2nd Counselor in the Area Presidency. We love our Area Presidency and are grateful for their guidance and counsel. It is a special blessing for our missionaries to get to hear from them as they direct each of our zone conferences. We took advantage of this trip to take pictures of each zone with the Zeballos.

One last item: in February, the Area Presidency held a one day training meeting for all Stake and District Presidents and Mission Presidents in Santiago. It was a great opportunity to be together with these great leaders. Below is a copy of the group photo. Those seated in front include members of the Area Presidency and Area Seventy.