Wednesday, June 30, 2010

In our Zone Conferences this month, we have been focusing on the importance of the Book of Mormon in missionary work and in our individual lives.

We are taught in "Preach My Gospel" that "The Book of Mormon, combined with the Spirit, is your most powerful resource in conversion." We are therefore challenging our missionaries to be more skilled at teaching and testifying with this marvelous book of sacred scripture.

To this end, we have also challenged all of our missionaries to read the Book of Mormon together as a mission with the goal of finishing the book by August 25th. All have accepted the challenge with enthusiasm and the reading is underway. In August, each missionary will also write his/her testimony of the Book Mormon and these will be collected into a mission notebook to share with all the missionaries. Even our former missionaries that have already completed their service have been invited to participate.

We want to extend this invitation to those that follow the blog, both family members and friends. Please join us in reading the Book of Mormon and looking for ways to more effectively apply its power and teachings in our lives.

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, and we testify of its truthfulness, that "a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book." The book testifies and teaches of Christ in such a clear and powerful way. The blessing of having this sacred companion to the Bible is wonderful. We are excited for all of our mission to experience this great blessing. We hope you will too.

Monday, June 28, 2010

June Cambios (2) . . .

We received an extra sister this week which was a wonderful surprise. Hna Byam is from Alberta, Canada and was originally called to serve in Argentina. While waiting for her visa she has been serving in Independence, MO. Fortunately for us, her assignment was changed and we received notice last week that she was on her way. Susie and I were in Coyhaique when she arrived yesterday, so our senior couple, the Hamiltons, and our assistants picked her up and gave her some training and orientation. We were able to have her over to the mission home today to meet her and have lunch. She is a wonderful young lady and will be a great missionary. We are very happy for this extra gift for the mission.

Seated above l-r are: Hna Earl from Mt Pleasant, Utah who will be Hna Byam´s trainer, Hna Byam and Hna Contreras from Santiago, Chile who will also be her companion. Hna Contreras has been out for only one cambio and unfortunately, Hna Earl finishes her mission in July. This trio of Hermanas will be powerful.

One of our typical photos of the new missionaries is with their companions showing where they will be serving in the mission. These three sisters are assigned to the Ovejería Ward in the Osorno Stake.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

June Cambios . . .

Our new missionaries arrived this week. It was a small cambio for June, only 7 missionaries leaving and 3 missionaries arriving. Fortunately, the rain stopped long enough for them to enjoy some pleasant weather on their first day in the mission.
After interviews and a nice lunch, they were prepared to meet their trainers and start to work. Pictured above are the new missionaries. Seated with Susie from l-r are: Hna Tauteoli from SLC, Utah and Hna Baum from Heber, AZ. Standing l-r are: Elder Opazo one of our assistants, Elder Seager the other assistant and Elder Barbosa from Columbia. Hna Tauteoli is of Tongan descent and it will be so nice to have another Polynesian in the mission since Hna Moemai left. Hna Baum is from the same ward in Arizona as Hna Porter who recently finished the mission. And Elder Barbosa is from the same ward as Elder Trejos who finished the mission last year. They will all be excellent missionaries and we are excited to have them as part of the mission family.

The group leaving this cambio is special for many reasons. The North American missionaries were in the MTC in Provo when Susie and I began our mission and we were able to meet with them before we left for Chile. Having witnessed their progress from the MTC to the end of their mission has been a great blessing. Seated with us is Elder Haun from Payson, Utah. Elder Seager and Elder Opazo, our two assistants are seated on the arms of the couch. Standing l-r are the following: Elder Cook from Colorado, Elder Davis from Utah, Elder Noble from Arizona, Elder Sonntag from Utah, Elder Darrington from Nevada and Elder Vilasau from Santiago, Chile. Elder Vilasau finished his mission here with us having started in Colombia. Most missionaries gain weight in the mission, but Elder Haun and Elder Darrington lost a lot of weight here, with Elder Darrington losing over 100 pounds.

Perhaps this picture is more representative of the fun and loving nature of this great group of missionaries. We love them very much.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Miscellaneous May 2010 . . .

Three cambios before a missionary finishes his mission, he receives what is called his "Moroni Letter." The letter requests updated information from home so that his travel plans can be made and the necessary letters prepared for his release. Above is a photo of three Elders finishing together in September with a Moroni Letter: l-r: Elder Seager (Nevada, now Utah), Elder Nash (Utah) and Elder Opazo (Chile). Elder Seager and Elder Opazo are my two assistants. Elder Nash is a zone leader in Chiloé.

Quite often we invite the missionaries to teach their investigators at the mission home so that we can participate. The family above is a wonderful family from the Rahue Bajo Ward. The mother is an inactive returned missionary and her daughter Karen was baptized last year. The missionaries are working hard to activate the family and hopefully baptize the twins and Walter. We love this family and have been working with them since Karen was taking the discussions.

Above are Elder Darrington (Nevada) and Elder Poujol (Honduras), the zone leaders in Punta Arenas at a baptism in the Patagonia Ward. Susie and I attended their ward last month and they have some wonderful investigators. Unfortunately, Elder Darrington finishes his mission this month. He holds the record for weight loss in the mission, having lost almost 100 pounds over the course of his two years in Chile.

I have no idea what the Sisters intended with this picture, but they are both wonderful anyway. Pictured l-r are Hna Neubert (North Carolina) and Hna Gonzalez (Argentina). Hna Neubert is an incredibly strong young missionary. She was stricken with Bells Palsy in the MTC so that one half of her face is affected. Rather than delay her mission, she showed up suffering from the setback but continues to work with such strength and faith. The condition appears to be improving, but I just can´t get over the miracle of her faith and courage. I just can´t get over it.

Another baptism photo with the zone leaders in the Puerto Varas zone, Elder Aspitia (Argentina) and Elder Riches (Utah). Elder Riches mother is from Barcelona, Spain, so he also speaks with the Spanish theta, as I do. He takes a fair amount of ribbing from the other missionaries for speaking like I do, but he´s got more of a right to do it than me. He´s half Spanish.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

May 2010 Zone Conferences . . .

This past month was a special Zone Conference in the mission. We were joined in our travels by Elder and Hna Limburg who are serving as the Area Medical Director in Santiago. Their home is in Fillmore, Utah and Elder Limburg is a retired physician and Hna Limburg is a nurse. They will serve for 18 months in Chile and are in charge of all the medical needs of the missionaries in the 9 Chilean missions. They are an incredible resource and help for us. They came to our mission in May to help vaccinate our 168 missionaries against the flu and made a presentation on health to all our missionaries. It was great fun being with them and we are so grateful for their help.
Above are a few of the Elders attending the Valdivia Zone Conference. They are from l-r: Elder Welling (Oregon), Elder Fuentes (Chile), Elder Amezcua (Minnesota) and Elder Rodriguez (Uruguay).

Above are members of the Coyhaique Zone who braved their flu shots. From l-r are: Elder Vidal (Chile), Elder Silva (Honduras), Elder Adlard (Missouri), Elder Bravo (Chile), Elder Castillo (Honduras), Elder Patton (Idaho), Elder Miner (Utah), Elder Benitez (Uruguay), Elder Lund (Utah), Elder Seabrands (Utah) and Elder Evans (Utah). Elder Silva is the bravest of the lot as he allowed me to give him his shot.

Abover are a few of the many attending the Osorno Zone Conference. The are from l-r: Elder Lebaron (Arizona), Elder Robinson (Arizona), Elder Larsen (Utah), Elder Osborn (Colorado), Elder Zhunio (Ecuador), Elder Pierson (Utah) and Elder Bevan (Wyoming).

Susie walked the walk too in Punta Arenas and we both allowed Elder Coles (Utah) to give us our shots. He wants to study medicine after the mission.