Monday, April 27, 2015

To Mexico City and Back . . . and a few other things

This past week we attended the semi-annual mission presidents' seminar with the Area Presidency in Mexico City.
Our Area Presidency
Elder Paul Pieper 1st counselor
Elder Benjamin De Hoyos, president
Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela, 2nd counselor

The majority of the training we received focused on the area plan.
The Area Plan is:
1. Fast with faith, pay a generous fast offering and a full tithe
2. Everyday help someone to receive the teachings and ordinances of the gospel that will help them return to our Heavenly Father
3. Find names of your own ancestors and provide the ordinances for them in the temple.

  A few years ago, missionaries would have only been responsible for #2, but nowadays missionaries are expected to help in all aspects of the work of salvation, so they are to participate in all three through helping and teaching active, less active and new members.

I love the seminars! They provide a much needed energy boost, give us great ideas and we get to visit with the other mission presidents. Here are a few pictures from our time together:

Our generation! This is the group that will be going home this summer. We have loved serving together these past three years and will very much miss the friendships we have developed. (Notice the one mission president on the phone. The work is never done:-)

This was fun! The Sandbergs are serving as secretaries in the area office. They also served in the temple in Guatemala with my parents many years ago. It was fun to meet up with them in Mexico City.

Cutest couple award goes to . . .Pachuca! 
I love their matching outfits (and not just because purple is my favorite color) They looked super cute the day before as well in yellow and gray matching clothes. 
I thought they looked all ready for a wedding!
Here is a picture of most of the presidents and their wives waiting for the session to begin. There are 34 missions in Mexico so there were 68 of us there, plus the Area Office people and translators. 
I was leading the music so was sitting in a great place to sneak a picture.:-)
We met in the chapel by the temple which was really nice. 
 The view outside my hotel room.
 We were totally spoiled with the food. This is a picture from last year (which is why President Reeves is in it) but it gives you an idea of the wonderful food we ate. Not all of the seminars feed us this well. The son of the man in charge of the food for the church is one of our wonderful missionaries! President Mendoza does an awesome job!
We also got to visit with this couple--parents of another one of our great missionaries!

It all passed much too quickly. Before we knew it we were back in Guadalajara and back to work. We are also super sad we will miss the seminar next year!

In other pictures . . . Here are a few pictures I have taken over the past few weeks that I haven't yet posted. There is no theme to them, just random events!

First--family visitors! My youngest sister, her husband and three of her children came to visit. Their visit was mostly humanitarian as they brought clothes for our missionaries in need as well as some of the future missionaries in the districts. We appreciated them coming to visit us and had a good time with them while they were here.
 Our daughter Kathryn and her "friend" (who is still just a "friend")
But while they were here they were able to attend a small branch with us (notice them in the very back). It was a lot of fun to have them and great to have people to add to our numbers that day.
I just thought these pictures were funny. Here is President Wagner and the assistants taking pictures at our house of the last group to go home  . . . 
 And here is the last group posing for their pictures. I don't know how missionaries who are leaving us can look so happy. We certainly weren't feeling the same way!
And lastly  . . . just a random picture at the temple of some of the newest missionaries and their companions waiting to get a taxi to the bus station.
And that is it for today! 

Monday, April 20, 2015

New Missionary! Our First Brazilian!

Last week we welcomed a new missionary to the mission! He came off schedule--meaning that he arrived at a time other than during our regular changes--from the MTC in Argentina. And he is from BRAZIL!! Hope he and his companion are finding a good way to communicate.:-)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Interviews Week Two

We took a break from interviews last week while we held mission council, welcomed a new missionary and hosted visitors, but this past week we were back at it and traveling!! Here are some pictures from our fun times with the missionaries on the south side of the mission.

 I bet you can't tell who the companions are.:-)
 All but one had a red tie . . . so he borrowed one.:-)
 Just a little hanging out during a back up.
 And then we decided to practice singing and leading music. We were pretty sure the Tabernacle Choir never sounded better. :-)

And we always like zone leaders with enthusiasm!
Next week we have training meetings--as in we are being trained, and then we will be back on the road again.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

First Week of our Last Round!

This past week has been so wonderful and yet so sad for us. We started our last round of interviews. It was wonderful meeting with all the missionaries here in Guadalajara and being able to spend time with each of them, but also super sad knowing this is our last time to hold interviews before we leave in July.

This round I am doing some follow up training on our zone conference in how to teach the commandments in relation to our baptismal covenant. The zone leaders are doing follow up training on using your ward lists, following up on references, contacting all recent converts and being sure they have received the five lessons again and help them prepare and take a name to the temple, and working with less active members, recent converts and investigators to help find new people to teach.

And President Wagner meets with each for their personal interview.

I really like the system we have now. It has taken us a while to work it out but we have learned that follow up is absolutely necessary to help the missionaries actually put into practice all the things they have been taught.

Here are some pictures from this first week:

 I guess these two wanted to have their picture on the blog twice.:-)

We are now ready for week two!