Sunday, January 26, 2014

New Missionaries . . . Sort Of

We had two other missionaries come in this past change that I just barely was able to take pictures of. So here they are with their companions.

The new elder is on the right and arrived from Nicaragua. He had been serving there for six months before receiving his visa. We were so glad when it finally arrived as we are so glad to have him!

We were also so happy to get the new sister on the right in this picture as well. She came from the United States and also had a struggle getting her visa. We received notice she was coming, but then she didn't arrive. Then we were told she was coming a couple days later, but she didn't. This happened four times before she actually came. We were so happy when she finally got here, but no one was happier than her companion!

But we not only have new missionaries in our mission, the temple has three new American couples working there as well. So we invited them over for dinner after stake conference. We love them!! It was so much fun to get to know them better. We just wish we all had the same p-day so we could get together more often.

And speaking of new missionaries . . . last Monday many of the new ones came into town to get their visas. Since I was at the office, I quickly snapped a picture of a few of them in the van waiting to be transported downtown.
Now that I have finally posted all the pictures of the missionaries who arrived last transfer, I am now ready for next week when we get another new group!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Yes, it is that time again. Interviews!!

This month we jumped back into the swing of things with interviews. Each time we do interviews a little differently. This time, while President Wagner meets individually with each missionary, the zone leaders and I conduct specialized training for the companion along with four other missionaries in the cultural hall.

Our emphasis this month is Chapter 8--Using Time Wisely--with a specific focus on the area books and planning. The zone leaders are doing an awesome job of training!

Meanwhile, I meet with all those learning English to see how they were progressing in their language goals. However, in Guadalajara, one of the sister missionaries who was injured and couldn't work outside, is helping us inside while she is recuperating. We put her to work taking pictures, helping with English and handing out toys and blankets donated from our home stake for children here in Mexico.

And so I was able to dedicate all of my time to visiting with the missionaries about nutrition.

Because . . . .

This is what the missionaries always tell me they are eating for breakfast . . .
 But this is what many are really eating . . .
It is true. I see them walking down the street in the morning, coke in one hand, cookies in the other. And that is even after they promise me they will do better.

So it occurred to me that maybe they need a little more guidance. Maybe they don't really know what healthy food is. So that is what we have been working on.

Some get it . . .

Some don't . . .

But either way we love being with all of them!

 REPENTANCE  . . .:-)
We have also been asking the missionaries to record on paper a special experience they have had during the past year to put in our official mission history. It has been so wonderful to collect the stories and read them. I may share some of them on this blog, but without names.

Some missionaries needed a little privacy to write.:-)

Here are some more pictures from our time with the missionaries . . .

The elders above did an awesome job on their planning sheet. Good job!

And the elder in the middle was celebrating his birthday. No better way to celebrate than with an interview with the mission president, right? :-)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

New Missionary and Follow Up Training!

We received a new elder!! Finally!! He was supposed to arrive before Christmas, but due to visa delays, he came later. We were so glad to have him come. His companion was super happy to have him arrive as well!! Here is a picture of the two of them together. Notice they already are showing tie unity.:-)

We also had a new sister but I forgot to take her picture so I will get it sometime soon.

Also on Friday we had follow up training for the new missionaries in the area. There are additional new sisters in Puerto Vallarta but we did not have them come in for the training due to distance so we will train them and their companions in a couple weeks.

All new missionaries are to follow the 12 week training program. It is the responsibility of their companions to teach the program to them. Our follow up training is to make sure that is happening (unfortunately we have had trainers who have not lived up to the trust that was given them) as well as do some additional training. Now that the new missionaries have a few weeks in mission field the training makes more sense to them.

I only have a few pictures from the training meeting, but here they are. I am sorry I didn't get everyone. These pictures are all from practices. Apparently practices are a serious business (by the looks on their faces.:-)

 In this practice they were asking for references. It was a game really, and they only had so much time to ask each person. There was a competition between the new missionaries and their trainers. The new missionaries won by only 4 references!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

First Mission Leadership Council of the New Year

Today was our first mission leadership council of 2014. We had one new assistant this month, a couple new zone leaders and two new sister leader trainers, along with the regulars.

The focus of this training was Preach My Gospel, Chapter 8--using planning, the area book and companionship inventory to help us work better, and smarter, as well as united with our companion in the work. Fundamental Lesson #2,  The Role of the Holy Ghost in Conversion and Preach My Gospel Chapter 4, Recognizing the Spirit, and the purpose and unifying power of the atonement.

The zone leaders and sister leader trainers are expected to return to their zones and teach this same material to the members of their zone during their zone class and divisions.  The zone leaders will also be following up on Chapter 8 in specialized training during interviews beginning next week.

We have been blessed to have an abundance of good leaders in the mission and have complete confidence that this group will do a great job instructing the other missionaries.

Here are a few pictures from the day.

(Sometimes it is hard to hide your glow.:-)

Always love the matching ties!

And here are my two favorite companionship inventory pictures.

Meanwhile . . .upstairs on the couch. . . .
I felt so bad for this elder. He was up sick all night, spent the day on the couch and then traveled home. Sure hope he is feeling better now.
And a few group black and white because I was playing around with my camera before taking the pictures and forgot to change the settings. 

I am sorry I don't have any pictures of the assistants. They did an awesome job and certainly deserve to have their picture on this post. But I only took one picture of them, and well, lets just say that because I am their friend, I am not posting it.:-) (And hopefully one day when they go home and have a not so great picture of me, they won't post it on facebook and tag me in it.)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Christmas Activities Day 1

For our Christmas activities this year, we did a lot of the same things as last year, with just a few differences.

First off, the first two hours were spent in leadership training. Everyone attended this except for a few sisters I had help me with set up. Around 11:00 the training portion of the meeting ended and we then began the more festive part.

I did not want missionaries to waste time during the month preparing musical numbers and so when everyone arrived we divided them into 6 groups and gave each group 20 minutes to prepare their song. Everyone did a great job, had a good time and many were pretty humorous as well.

We also sang "The 12 Days of Christmas" with a mission twist. Each table was assigned a day and when we all sang the song together, each table had to stand and act something out for their day. (I am explaining this so you will understand the pictures.)

Our serious part of the day was next. We had four narrators read the Nativity while we all sang songs through out the program. This was very beautiful and I felt it brought a wonderful spirit into the room. We ended with a video of the baptisms during the year. Our theme was "White Christmas--Celebrating Covenants." We wanted to emphasize that truly the best way to celebrate the birth of the Savior, was by sharing the blessings of the gospel with others. And they have spent all year doing just that!!

The food was provided by local members.  Here in town Sister Hernandez, Sister Flores and Sister and Elder Kingsford did the work. We had wonderful food in all three cities. We are so grateful for the hard work and kind service offered by everyone.

We met with three zones each in three cities over three days. Here are pictures from our activities. Due to lack of time, I did not edit any of them, and if I missed your child, I am sorry about that. It gets pretty crazy at the activities and taking pictures is just one of many things we are trying to do all at the same time so I know there is a good chance many missionaries were missed. But there are a LOT of pictures, so grab a snack, get comfortable and enjoy!

There are three posts for the Christmas activities so be sure to go to "older posts" to see all of them.

All the sisters in these three zones!
I loved this rendition of Rudolph. It was awesome!

These elders were acting out "Para-si-tos!" during our 12 Days of Christmas Song. They really did a great job. It was hilariously funny!

Here they are acting out "Investigadores de Oro" or a "Golden Investigator" This one was pretty funny as well.

Here you can see the cute bags Sister Hernandez made to put the sisters' gifts in.