Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Welcome to Guadalajara!

We welcomed 7 new missionaries this past Monday. We were so happy to have them arrive, but sad that we are missing 10 others who didn't get their visas. It seems that God is sending more missionaries out, but Satan is trying to close the doors. So we are praying the doors will be opened again and our missionaries can arrive on time.

But . . . here are the Wonderful Seven who joined our ranks this week, standing in front of our "Tree of Life".

They first come to our house where President Wagner interviews them and I feed them breakfast. When they come from the MTC (CCM) in Mexico City, they usually have to get up around 3 in the morning so when they arrive they are both tired and hungry. (But mostly tired.)

While one is in the interview, the others get to relax in the living room.

Following breakfast we go to the office for training. The trainers arrived at the same time and everyone looks around to try and guess who might be their companion.

After President Wagner trains the trainers and the assistants and I train the new missionaries, we meet together for the companionship assignment. This is alway my favorite part. Not only do they get to meet their companion, but they also find out where they will be working.

 All the new missionaries line up on one side of the room . . .

 And their trainers line up on the other.

Then President Wagner reads off the names of the companionships. 

Who meet in the middle with a hug. 

Followed by some "getting to know you" time.  This missionary on the left below has only been in the country six months but this is his second time to train. Add that to his own training and he will have at least nine months straight studying the 12 week training program. 

Then it is pictures, bank cards and pizza time . . . 

 Wait!! Who is that sneaking into the pizza? :-) Actually that is our beloved Elder Call who doubles as a pizza delivery man.

We then load them all up into taxis and send them to the bus station. That always makes me a little nervous because I know that all of them will spend a good part of the next two weeks missing their homes and families and yearning for better living conditions. We will be doing zone conferences in two weeks though, so we will be able to check on them then.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

La Despedida!! So Happy For Them, So Sad For Us

We had yet another farewell dinner tonight. They seem to come more and more quickly.
And they are always sad. 
Although we are excited for them and what lies ahead of them, it is sad for us to say goodbye, not knowing when we will see them again.
This was a small group as three of their members returned home a couple weeks ago so they could start school on time. 

Here they are (above) with the assistants and our senior couple Elder and Sister Call,  singing the mission hymn. We were so glad the Calls could join us for the testimony meeting this time. We love having them here and so do all the missionaries!

Those receiving their final mission transfers are:
Elder Eduardo Magaña---Tlaxcala, México
Elder Edgar Torres--Ecatepec de Morelos, Estado de México
Elder Allan Lopez--Estado de México
Elder Hector Madera--Tijuana, México
Elder Jorge Esquivel--Rio Bravo, México

We wish you all the very best!

Saturday, January 26, 2013


My husband and I feel so blessed to work in an area where many people vacation!
We love every area of the mission, but have to say Vallarta is one of my most favorite places on earth.
It is just beautiful here and at this time of year, the weather is even wonderful. 

This round of interviews concluded here. And of course we had a wonderful time meeting with the missionaries in the area.

Here is one of the districts we met with.
 They were having district class earlier, so I snapped a picture of their studies.

Two more . . .

 And part of another district. Love to see happy faces.

These two are fairly new in the mission. I always like to post their pictures so their parents can see they are alive and smiling. Or at least sort of smiling.:-)

 Another great group.
 The elder in the middle was helping the missionary on the left with his area book. Elder C on the right wanted to be part of the picture as well. Of course he would never really be yelling at one of the missionaries.:-)
 The rest of the zone . .

And an interesting story. See that box? Well, Elder S, below, was traveling to Guadalajara on the bus and fell asleep. He awoke just in time to get off the bus at his stop, but in his rush, forgot his backpack with his scriptures and his PMG manual,--- which was covered in a hand carved leather case.
The bus continued on to Leon, Mexico where the bus driver, after letting everyone off the bus, noticed the backpack. Upon checking it, he saw that it belonged to someone in our church and so he called the mission president in Leon. He called President Wagner, who verified we had a missionary by that name, and the backpack was mailed back to our mission.
It is truly a miracle that Elder S was reunited with all of his belongings.
And it was very nice of both the bus driver and the mission president in Leon to take the time to track Elder S down and return everything. 

Next Up:  Tomorrow is our farewell dinner and Monday our welcome breakfast and training. Unfortunately only 7 of the 17 missionaries we were expecting will be arriving on time due to visa issues. Hopefully the others will come soon.

And now there are four!!

Our youngest (19 years old) just received her mission call to Comayagüela, Honduras!!
So with my husband and me here in Mexico, our daughter Kathryn serving in Guatemala, and Michelle in Honduras, we will have four of us serving missions in Book of Mormon Lands at the same time! 

In our "Guess where she is going" game, my father was the only one to guess the mission correctly. And coincidentally he served as president of the Central American Mission, which included Honduras. There was only one branch in the Tegucigalpa area at the time and during his tenure, he split the branch and the new one was named Comayagüela. I think it is pretty cool that the first branch in Comayagüela was organized by Michelle's grandfather. 

We are so excited for Michelle and wish her the very best!  

Friday, January 25, 2013

And the trip goes on . . .

We finished interviews! It was nine very long (but enjoyable) days spread out over three weeks. Here are some pictures from our second to the last zone . . . Santiago.

We are so blessed to be working in such a beautiful country. The drive to Santiago passes by several volcanoes like this one just outside of Tepic. . .

And beautiful rolling hills. Each season provides us with a different view. Now the fields are covered with sugar cane. 
 A close up view--but taken out the window of the car while speeding by.
 We are also treated to some interesting people.
We had a good time visiting the missionaries in Santiago. We actually had to visit a branch in the area last Sunday so met with four of them then.  There is a lot of experience in this district--and one who just arrived. We are so lucky to have them all!
 I had to take a picture of this young man as well. He is a recent convert and wearing a badge that says, "Future Missionary". It was funto see that!
On Wednesday Morning we visited with the rest of the zone. We first met with these elders in one of the small towns they are working in. The four of them are so awesome and doing a great job.

Our next stop was the church building in Santiago. Here we met up with the rest of the missionaries in the zone. Once again we enjoyed our visit with them, although several had bad coughs and one had laryngitis (not a good thing for a missionary!) so I felt really bad for them. Still, they all had positive attitudes and are working hard.

The zone leaders . . . 

 The elder on the left is 18 and training the elder on the right--who is a few years older.
I think what they enjoy the most about our visits is we bring the mail--and in this case, also a few packages. 
 So glad to get my new shoes!!
 The elder on the left was in his interview when the other pictures were taken so I don't have one with his companion (as he left on a division with another elder) so here are a couple other missionaries filling in.:-) Love elder support!!
That is it for Santiago! Tomorrow--Vallarta!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tepic, Nayarit (I love saying those words together!)

Today we journeyed to Tepic (pronounced tay-PEEK) in the state of Nayarit (pronounced nie (like eye)-ya-REET. )
The mission includes three states--Jalisco, Nayarit and Colima. Nayarit is one hour earlier than the rest of the mission, so that is nice when we travel there, and not so nice when we return home. 

But we had a nice day visiting the missionaries. 
We arrived early to attend their district classes. Here President Wagner is participating in one of the practices. 

Afterward I met with each district while President Wagner conducted interviews. 
And of course I took pictures. 

 Now this elder has a companion he can really look up to!
 Better yet, how about two missionaries to lend support!
 The missing elder in this foursome was in with President Wagner
so I had the two of them pose for a picture when he came out. 
 One of these missionaries just arrived and another is going home on Monday.
It is amazing how quickly changes come and how sad it always is to say goodbye to another group. 
 Love seeing them smile!!
Unfortunately I missed getting a picture of the zone leaders but I will get them at zone leader council in a couple weeks and add their picture here. 
Sorry about that!