Friday, September 27, 2013

We Love Visitors!!

In the past four weeks we have welcomed six visitors! The first group was my sister, her husband and their two sons. It was my brother-in-law's birthday so we celebrated in style.

It was fun to be with them and Kathryn enjoyed spending time with her cousins.
Then this past week some good friends from home came to visit! We also loved spending a little time with them and showing them around the mission.
We are grateful to all of you for taking the time to drop by! We hope you had a good time with us!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Our Mission Tour!

Each year we are privileged to travel the mission with a church authority. This year, we were so blessed to have Elder Lester Johnson and his wife Debra with us for four days of training. Elder Johnson is from Colonia Juarez, Mexico and served as president of the Veracruz, Mexico Mission. He is currently an Area Authority in Mexico.

We began the tour by picking them up at the airport late Tuesday night. On Wednesday we met with all our missionaries in Guadalajara. When we finished the training we jumped in the car and drove to Colima where Elder Johnson did training for the local priesthood leaders. The next morning we met with our missionaries from the Colima, Guzman and Manzanillo zones. When that training finished, we returned to Guadalajara and Elder Johnson did training for the local priesthood leaders here. The next morning we drove to Tepic, where we spent the day with our missionaries from Tepic, Santiago and Puerto Vallarta. That evening Elder Johnson once again conducted training with the local leaders there. The following morning we returned to Guadalajara where we met with our mission council for training before taking the Johnsons to the airport.

So it was a crazy week, but we loved every minute of it and were so glad to have the Johnsons with us. Not only did we all learn a lot of ways to improve missionary work, but I also learned the best way to ripen a papaya! (Thank you Sister Johnson for that tip!)

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Elder Johnson from our training.

"Love is the motivation behind all that God does. Love is what he expects of us."

"If I truly love myself and care about my salvation, I will do all that I can to love and serve others."

"If we truly love our investigators like we say we do, we will do everything possible to make sure they receive the five lessons after baptism."

"Don't go to the bishop and tell him there is a problem. Go to him with a solution."

"Every night we should be planning better than the night before."

"If we don't leave a branch or ward stronger than we found it, we have failed."

"In planning we should always seek the will of the Lord since He knows our investigators much better than we do."

"The real reason missionaries don't take the time to plan effectively is because they don't have sufficient love for their investigators."

"We don't want 'super missionaries'--the ones who do it all themselves. We want missionaries who teach the members how to do it."

"We need to always be diligent in our work and each day we should ask, 'What more do I need to do?' 'What more do I need to change?'"

"I want to be very clear that Satan has no interest in your happiness, or your success. He only cares that you fail. That is his only desire for you."

"When you really desire to accomplish something, you will find a way to do it"
Along with that quote was a story of how he woke up sick one morning and decided he felt too ill to go to work. But later in the day his friend called and invited  him to go play basketball and he went

"Querer es poder!" 

And a few pictures . . .  the first three are from the three different conferences. We sure appreciate Physical Facilities for all their work in setting everything up!

 Elder and Sister Johnson greeting all the missionaries

And lending a little help with a tie. :-)

Y ésta foto es por la mamá del Elder Z!!

Friday, September 20, 2013

And . . . the winners are . . .

Each zone conference we have a test over selected chapters of Preach My Gospel and a scripture chase with the scriptures used in the lessons. This is to encourage the missionaries to study the material and know it better.

The scores for both the test and the scripture chase are tallied and the totals for each missionary is combined with his or her companion. We are so proud of all the missionaries who study and prepare for the test, but want to specifically acknowledge those who won in their zone, or excelled.

The top companionship for each of the zones is:
Elder Payne and Elder Ramirez, Elder Ramirez (a different one) and Elder Zamarripa (tie)
Elder Valdez and Elder Solomon
Elder Marroquin and Elder Monzón
Elder Snyder and Elder Casas
Elder Klingler and Elder Miranda
Elder Howarth and Elder Umaña, Elder De La Mora and Elder Western (tie)
Elder Brighton and Elder Palacios
Elder Krambule and Elder Perez
Elder Sosa and Elder Fortney

Congratulations to Elder Turley who had 100% on the exam!
Also to Elder Turley, Elder Howarth, Elder Calixto and Elder Lines for having the top scores in the mission on the test.

And congratulations to Elder Valdez and Elder Klingler for being the top scripture chasers in the mission.

Now we are looking forward to our next round!!

Start studying Elders and Sisters--the next scripture chase will be from the complete lesson #1! And the test will be questions from lesson 3 and Chapter 6.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Last Day of Zone Conferences!

After three weeks of conferences we were finally done!! Here are some pictures from our last conference. I am sorry for those I missed, but everyone should be in the group picture at least.

For this lunch the zone leaders ordered pizza. I think everyone enjoyed it.

We weren't the only ones enjoying the pizza. These red fire ants came running quickly when they discovered an empty pizza box sitting on the floor. Luckily I think (hope) the missionaries were able to get rid of them all.

The entire zone

That night was also stake conference so we stayed for that. While President Wagner attended the priesthood session we hung out in the air conditioned cultural hall where Kathryn entertained all the little kids who were hanging out there with us.
The meetings the following day were such a treat.  We were greeted at the door by the sister missionaries. Inside the elders and sisters were greeting and manning a booth where they distributed literature to investigators.

 There are 28 missionaries in this stake and they all participated in the closing song. I wish I could have taken a picture of it! Following a closing hymn by the congregation, the pianist began playing "We'll Bring the World His Truth" After the introduction the missionaries all began walking into the chapel. They walked down both aisles singing the song. They then lined up across the front of the room while continuing to sing and ended all together there in front. It was so beautiful, and very emotional. I started crying the second I saw them all come into the room. What a wondrous sight!!

It was such a great day, that we didn't even mind the crazy drive home in the pouring rain and fog! :-)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Parent Notice

To any parents who may read this and are concerned about the tropical storm that hit the mission . . . everyone is fine. We did have some flooding in a couple of the coastal areas, but the missionaries are all safe and well.

Zone Conferences Week Three!!

It takes us three weeks to hold all of our zone conferences with three conferences a week--so a total of nine conferences. Here are pictures from our last week of conference.

First some pictures from language study time!

And lunch. Thank you Sister Ortiz for the wonderful food!! It was delicious! It was "Carne en su jugo" which is a traditional dish from the Mexican state of Jalisco.

 I love how they keep their ties clean.:-)

 And for dessert we brought coconut, banana tres leches cake. It was our daughter Kathryn's birthday that day so she chose the dessert to celebrate.:-)

And as in all the conferences we sang to those who celebrated their birthdays in that quarter. Here is the group from this zone.
And the zone itself. I took the picture this time.

 Day 2-- Companionship Study Practice

 And a birthday boy! The day of the conference was his birthday--so here he is with his cupcake to celebrate.

 The entire zone
 And some bonus pictures--The sisters getting their mail.
Which Stripling Warrior are you?
 All loaded with pamphlets, videos and ready to go!!
I have run out of time so will publish our last zone later today!