Tuesday, October 30, 2012

They're Back!

Today was once again zone leader council. Since six members of the council are going home in a week, we also had their replacements in attendance for a total of 26 people. So this time we had to put up three tables for dinner.

It really was a sad day for me. While cooking breakfast for them all this morning I had to keep stopping myself from crying. We have only been here four months but already love the missionaries so much that it is painful to see them leave, even though we know it is time for them to move on to the next stage of their lives.  Here is a picture of the six going home. This weekend they will join with 11 others at our house for their farewell dinner and testimony meeting.

But as always, there departure provides opportunities for others. It won't be official until Sunday, (but none of the missionaries should be reading this blog anyway so they won't know:-) but here are the six new zone leaders. We are excited for their opportunities to grow and for our opportunity to work more closely with them. 

Here are some additional pictures from the day. Here are two kick'n back a bit after six hours of training. 

 LOVED this picture!! Elder K on the left was the trainer for the missionary on the right. Elder K arrived early and was sitting in the living room when the other missionaries entered. I loved seeing the look on his face when Elder J came in. He had such a big smile and then they gave each other a big hug. Elder J is one of our new zone leaders.
 Three of the four below are going home. So sad. At least we get to keep Elder S for a long time still.

 There is never any rest for the assistant. While everyone else was visiting, here he is working still.
 I think Elder P wanted to be in most of the pictures.:-) Here he is again (middle) You will also find him in the last picture as well.
Sorry about the lighting on this one. President Wagner had just asked the missionaries their opinion on an important issue and everyone was going over to give their opinion.

It was a good day. Later this week I will post picture from the north side of the mission. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

On the Road Again!

I am so sorry I have been behind in posting on this blog! 
We have been out of town for three straight weeks and finding time to write has been rather difficult. But I do have some great pictures to share that I will be posting over the next week or so.
Beginning with these . . .

We attended a stake conference and had such a great time. (I don't like to post locations usually for the safety of the missionaries). The stake president and his wife are awesome! Both served missions in Utah (different missions) and so both speak English well. 

Being able to spend time with the missionaries was such a treat. I missed the best picture though. There was a baptism after stake conference. I wish I had been able to take a picture of the sister being baptized and the missionaries who taught her but I had to be elsewhere when the pictures were being taken. 

But here are some photos of the missionaries waiting for the baptism to begin. 

The elders were also showing me their shoes. Pretty worn, I would say!
So I had to take a picture of the sister's shoes as well.
The contrast made me laugh. 
But truthfully, the sisters do not wear these shoes to work. They sure love to wear them to church and conferences though. 

And I loved these pictures.
It looks like the little girls were having chair races in the hall.

And my favorite picture of all!
Stake conference can be so exhausting!!

 And this is where we were last week!
In meetings!
We flew to Cancun for our Mission President's Seminar with the Area Presidency.
We had a wonderful time meeting all the other mission presidents and their wives.
And although the meetings were long, we learned a lot from them that will hopefully help the work here in Guadalajara.
Oh, and then there was the day at the ruins in Tulum!
I paid 50 pesos to hold this iguana so I could take a picture for my grandkids.
I can't say I was loving the experience though. 

This week we have visited all the missionaries who work in Tepic, Santiago Ixcuintla and Vallarta in their homes. 
Some mothers will be so proud and others . . . well. . . I will post the pictures in a few days. :-)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Why We Do Apartment Checks

This past month we have been checking the houses of the missionaries. We check for both cleanliness and safety, taking into account that most of our checks are done during the week and most of their cleaning is done on Monday. (So in other words, we don't get too upset if it is not perfect.)

Here are some pictures of our finds.

Industrious! In two of the apartments we found piles of material, which we learned the missionaries use to sew by hand scripture covers which they give as gifts to members. (They do this on p-day of course.)

Dangerous!! We also found this in one apartment. The elders didn't want to make the effort to have gas delivered to their house, so they were heating up their water with these electric coils. Notice the burned part? Yes--these are outlawed!!
 The typical Elder's fridge
(They have money for food, many just don't want to buy it.)
And no, an empty, dirty fridge does not pass inspection

The Sister's Fridge
(Not only is there food in it, but it is healthy!!)

I got such a kick out of this bed. Notice how the sheets are even folded down. Yeah, I am pretty sure he knew we were dropping by. :-) The rest of the apartment was great as well! Congratulations Manzanillo!
 These were fortunate missionaries!! This picture was taken from the front porch of their apartment. Notice the proximity to the church building. Thankfully no one has tried any creative/dangerous ways to travel between the two.
 Not part of the house checks, but something I saw during interviews. Next time around I am taking a needle and some thread!

We are only about a third of the way done with house checks, but so far this one wins for dirty!! The rest of the apartment was almost as bad. There was a big pile of garbage in the corner that they all claimed had been there before any of them had arrived (So lets get rid of it!) plus messes everywhere.
I told them their mothers would cry if they knew they were living like this. 
And any potential girlfriends would lose interest.
I am pretty sure four elders will be doing some intensive cleaning this coming Monday.
(They are supposed to send me the pictures)

I was so much happier with the next house we went to.
This was the kitchen. Spotless!!
And the bathrooms were just as clean.
All the clothes were hung up and the floors had been swept.
(And they didn't know we were coming!)

 Okay, so apparently we have elders who need an extra friend. :-)

And the missionaries who live here?
These two, who were headed out to work--right on time!
 And these two--one of which is training and therefore has an additional hour of study time.
 We were really proud of this house as well as the others who have also been clean and organized.
Oh, and to the mother of Elder H, (zone leader in Colima) He wants you to know that his side of the house was clean. The other two elders, however, have some work to do. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Mission Tour

We had our first mission tour last month with Elder De Hoyos of the First Quorum of Seventy and his wife. It was wonderful!! We had a great time traveling the mission and learning from them.
Elder De Hoyos was the first native Spanish speaker from Mexico to be called to the First Quorum of the Seventy. He currently serves in the area presidency in Mexico. He and his wife both have a great sense of humor, which we enjoyed, and Sister De Hoyos gave me some great counsel on cooking Mexican food as well as insights into the culture. My only complaint against her is she would encourage President Wagner to drive a bit on the crazy side. :-)

Over a four day period we held three conferences, with around 55 missionaries in each. President Wagner and I split the first hour of training, Sister De Hoyos took the second hour and Elder De Hoyos the third. I have pages and pages of notes from their training. What I really loved most about Elder De Hoyos is that he is a builder. He builds people, builds confidence and builds programs. 

Here are some pictures from the conferences. They are not in any particular order.
Waiting for the conference to begin. They were all good and were in their seats 15 minutes early. 
 Practice, Practice, Practice!

 Many of the zones rented buses and all came together. It was cheaper and it made sure everyone arrived on time. 

 Mas practicas!

 Elder Burr with his two "sons" (And Elder P, photo bombing the picture:-)
Nothing smells better than fresh tortillas!

 At least three of these elders are having a good time.:-)
 New phones!! Hooray!
 Now we just need to figure out how they work.:-)

 MTC companions, finally reunited after about seven months!
 Some of our awesome hermanas!

 Heading back to work

We sure loved our time with them. Good news is we will be back out for more training next month!