Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Farewell Song . .

Other than missing a note near the end of the chorus:-) I think they sound great! And it is such a sad song. It isn't found in the English hymnbook so I can't give you a translation for it but it talks about the time to leave has come and we will all meet back together in the future. 

Welcome, Welcome!

A few hours after the departing group leaves, the new ones come in. The ones coming from the MTC in Mexico arrive fairly early and the ones arriving from the US arrive fairly late. President takes the departing missionaries to the airport around 4:30 in the morning, and then waits for the new ones. I don't go with him. I would like to but that is pretty early and someone has to cook breakfast for all the arriving missionaries. So I stay home to do that. They are usually at our house around 9:30 at which time we feed them and then begin training. Late at night President heads back to the airport to get the new ones from the US. Since this last time there were only two and putting together something to eat for only two is easy, I went with him. The time before, however, we had around 10 come in so I stayed to get their meal ready. They get to our house around ten at night.

And I am so sorry that I totally forgot to take pictures of our two new American missionaries, but I will do it in the next couple weeks when I see them at zone conferences and post it then.

However, I do have some pictures of the morning group! They came from three countries--Mexico, Peru and the Dominican Republic. We are so glad to have them all here!
 Everyone with their trainers! They are all off to a great start!

And a few extras. . . Plucking the fruit from the tree of life!

 Waiting for interviews  . . . Most missionaries get up around 2:30 in the morning for their flight here (some never go to sleep!) so by the time they arrive they are pretty tired. If we don't keep them busy they quickly fall asleep. This new one was super tired. It took a little shaking to get him to wake up.
 But that is another reasons why we teach the song "Head, Shoulder, Knees and Toes". Not only are they learning body parts in English (a little motivation to get them started on their English language study) but it also wakes them up! Thank you Elder Hatfield for leading the song!
 Meanwhile, out in the hall . . . Normally we arrive earlier and I get several pictures of missionaries coming in to pick up their new companions, but his time, due to unusual circumstances we were later. There were a few still waiting though! So glad to get a picture of these wonderful elders!
 And we just can't say enough about our senior office couple!! What would we do without them? It is such a blessing to have them here serving with us! Thank you! Thank you! For all you do!

Monday, April 28, 2014


Last night we bid farewell to yet another group. We love all the missionaries but this one was especially hard to say goodbye to because we met five of them in the MTC when we were there. They arrived in Mexico five days before we did and have so have been with us nearly our entire time here. It just didn't seem right that they were leaving us, but like all the others before them, they did.:-)

Elder Harrison Reid--Scottsdale, AZ
Elder Victor De La Mora--Metepec, Mexico
Elder Benjamin Jarvis--Cedar City, UT
Elder Camron Rogers--Santaquin, UT
Elder Brenton Webb--Lehi, UT
Elder Paden Faucett--Payson, UT
Hermana Ana Luna--Quéretero, Mexico

And a couple other pictures . . . 

The sign of a hard working elder. :-)
 This was cute. A family gave this elder socks as a gift with their names embroidered on them.
 Mostly matching socks--at least in style.
 Best friends for sure, although we had to spend most of the mission keeping them apart. Separate they were great, together, they were just a little crazy.
 Another sign of a hardworking missionary. Most shoes do not make it through the entire mission.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The End of Interviews!! 12 zones, 10 days over 3 weeks. We are now done!

Here are pictures from our last two days of interviews.
 Please notice the sign, Mom.

 Sometimes I forget who I have already taken pictures of and get them again . . .

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Interviews . . . Two More Days!

So yes, I have gotten behind, but it is because we are traveling. So here are two days worth of pictures. Enjoy!

 I asked them health questions and they had to write the answers on their whiteboards. I have just found that when I ask a question in a group setting, one person will answer and no one else listens, so this is the way I made sure everyone knew the answer.:-) The most fun part is when they practiced writing me a text message describing their illness. Some of the missionaries were pretty creative!

 We also practiced making telephone calls and leaving giving me the information I need about their condition, beginning with their names. Everyone has been a good sport and we have had fun with it. Pretty snazzy phones too don't you think? :-)
 We are still working on healthy food choices. The Peñafiel didn't get my healthy food choice award, but good try, Elder!
 And yes, we have a missionary with a cast. And the little yellow packets? It is popcorn. We are focusing on Hope this month as our attribute of Christ and so I have given each companionship a packet of pop corn with a note saying that hope is the belief that the fiery trials of today will help us grow into someone better--just like heat added to the corn helps it grow into something better. (I knew I wanted to give them popcorn, so I had to figure out a way to make it relate to the attribute.:-)

 When we arrived, there were no sisters in this zone. It is one of the most difficult zones to work in--as in hottest and poorest. But now we have six sisters and they are all awesome! Tough women, that is for sure!

Two more days!

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Parental Post--Mail and Packages

Dear Parents,

I truly do not wish to offend, but I do wish to educate. With the increase of missionaries in the mission and in particular the arrival of American sisters, I have been inundated with questions from parents regarding mail and packages. So rather than address each situation individually, I will address it publicly here and then post it in the parent information for later reference.

First, please understand that although President Wagner and I wish to help you and answer your questions, we are also extremely busy. The mission is like a large corporation that constantly requires a great deal of work. Rare are the days we take a p-day, and constant are the ones that bring emergencies. Nearly every day requires 16 hours of work plus we are on constant call at all hours for health and other missionary emergencies.

Having a daughter ourselves on a mission we understand your desire to send mail and packages. But please understand that we do not handle the mail. That is handled by a very capable and experienced office staff consisting of two elders and a senior couple.

The packet your missionary received has the addresses for packages. The packages sent to the office usually need someone there to sign for them. The office closes at 2 so the missionaries can go to work, so if a package comes after that time no one will be there. We cannot change this since it is much more important for the missionary to be out sharing the gospel than it is for him to be sitting in the office.  Usually, however, they contact the office and set another time to deliver. In most cases this is not a problem.

If the package is sent to the post office box, it will be picked up according to the availability of the office staff. Once again they are very much over worked and do the best they can. If paper work needs to be filled out, they will do it. But once again, at their convenience.

Once a package is in the office it will remain there until either President Wagner and I deliver it or until mission council when the zone leaders come into Guadalajara for training. Usually mail will be delivered twice a month, but sometimes it is only once. We are also sorry about this, but once again we cannot change it. There is not any other safe method to deliver the mail other than personal delivery.

Also please remember that not all packages arrive safely. We have heard from several parents that packages have been sent that have not arrived at the office or post office box. We are sorry about this, but we cannot do anything about it. There is no way for us to track down a package through the Mexican mail system, nor if there were, would the secretaries have time to do it. Luckily, this is the exception. Nearly all packages are delivered. Sometimes it takes a couple weeks and sometimes it takes a couple months, however.

We do understand how important it is for you to send the package and for your missionary to receive it, but for the office staff this is not, nor can it be a top priority. Truly we are all doing the best we can under the circumstances. And many times the circumstances are just out of our control.

Thank you for your patience and understanding,
Hermana Wagner

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Follow Up Training In Guadalajara

Each change at about the four or five week mark we have follow up training for the new missionaries and their companions. The purpose of this training is to make sure the trainers are doing what they are supposed to be doing and to re-train the new missionaries on some of the most important items since most pretty much sleep through the original training--due to getting up very early in the morning to fly here.

Due to lengthy travel time, those missionaries stationed in Vallarta do not come into this meeting, but we go to them. They will receive their training this coming week.

In these pictures they are all working on planning.

 Later the assistants led them in a game of asking for references. After asking a question they then selected a ball from the bag. If they got a yes, they could return to their seats, if they got a no they had to keep playing. The first team to have everyone in their seats won.

 Poor Sister M was the last one on her team to get a yes, and it took MANY questions to get it.
 Finally!! And just in time to beat out the other team!
 Next another game was played. This one was a competition to see who knew the questions on a reference card the best. And the winner?! None other than Elder B. Good job!
We had a great time and look forward to meeting with the other new missionaries next week in Vallarta!