Saturday, August 22, 2009

"Elder and Sister Bushman...Our Heroes"

"San Jose de Maipo"

Sunday August 16, we left the busy city of Santiago where we spend most of our time. It was quite a change to be outside of the heavy traffic and big buildings and honking horns. We attended meetings in one of the two small branches for which we have stewardship. It is in San Jose de Maipo.

It took about 2 hours to drive to this sweet little branch up in the Andes Mountains. The road to the top is narrow and winding, but the scenery is spectacular…tiny, humble homes dot the countryside, and the foliage is emerald green, creating a stark contrasts against the backdrop of gray and white mountain mist. The rain and snow were falling lightly, as we drove further into the mountains. The sky was soft, snowy and cold.

Once we arrived in the little mountain village, the spirit was warm and inviting. The little ward house is a home that the Church owns and uses for a chapel and is quietly nestled on the main street of the village. It is built of red brick and sits amidst giant, tall trees and overgrown shrubbery. Though old, it is invitingly charming. We entered the front doors and were greeted by a sweet little Chilean man who faithfully comes every Sunday to sweep and clear the walks. He is not a member. For years he has wanted to join the church but is unable to be baptized because he has never been able to get a divorce from his first wife. He has been with his second wife for years and together they have a darling family. They are very active in the church, but they cannot legally get a divorce; therefore, they cannot be baptized. We are told that it is very expensive and extremely time-consuming to get a divorce in Chile, and unfortunately, we are not allowed to help with the legal aspect of anything here.

Water was dripping through the ceiling into buckets that sat, seemingly unnoticed by the members, in the chapel during the meetings, and the large space heaters were operating at full strength to offer some heat to the small room. The curtains were falling off the windows, and the kitchen ceiling was falling down. We have much work to do on this little building, but it has the potential to be a lovely chapel. We really feel very at home here. It reminds me of a little chapel I used to visit with my Mom’s Mom in Joseph, Utah…except that this one is even smaller.

A horse was tied to the fence outside, and the people were very humble and so sweet to us. They welcomed us with hugs and kisses. Our son, Landon got to bless the Sacrament in Spanish, and the people loved that he did that. Then the Missionaries, Elder Bullough and Elder Daw and Elder and Sister Bushman (a practically perfect Senior Couple) apologized that they only had 6 of their 17 investigators there! They explained that when it snows like this, people are unable to get through the deep mud to make it to church. We feel so grateful to all of them for all of their work. We were so very happy when Elder Bullough played the hymns on a small electric piano. These Missionaries are absolutely full of talents and abilities that constantly bless the lives of the Chilean people. President Laycock spoke about the power of prayer and how important it is in our lives.

Afterwards, we visited the “home” where the Missionaries live. This little home needs so much work to fix it up, but not one of the Missionaries complained even once. They just smiled and smiled and reported that they are just fine. We can’t begin to express our feelings of gratitude and love for these wonderful Missionaries. Sister Bushman has been baking lemon cookies in a very small, very old oven so that they can deliver them with love to members and non-members and invite them to come to Church and/or be baptized.

We really need a baptismal font in this little branch. We have already presented our plans to the Area Authority. As we sat in that small chapel, we could see in our mind’s eye a real chapel here, filled with happy Primary children and Young Men and Young Women and families of all ages and kinds. We know this area will be blessed to grow and develop into a strong Ward. We will continue to do our best to help them. Pray for the people to continue to grow and to be blessed with the physical and spiritual needs that will allow them to grow into and achieve what the Lord has in mind for them to become.

"Ideas for Christmas"

President Laycock enjoyed shining Missionaries' shoes this week
while Sister Laycock inspected pensiones.
Some Missionaries hesitated
when President Laycock asked them to remove their shoes so he could polish them.
We soon discovered why.

Apparently, these Sisters and many Elders in the Chile Santiago East Mission
have worked so hard and walked so many miles in search of new investigators that
they have worn out all of their socks.
Moms, if you would like a suggestion for a Christmas gift for your Missionary,
he or she can probably use some good wool stockings!
Just a thought.

After many pension inspections,
we prayerfully decided to take three hours of precious Missionary time this week to
clean and scrub and shine our "homes."

We reminded every Missionary that their pensiones are their homes and that a home is a sacred and holy place...a refuge and a protection from the world. We suggested that their homes should be a place where they can feel the Spirit as they study and plan and ponder and pray. We promised them that the Lord will bless them with more success as they diligently tend to the stewardship of their homes. In accordance with the Mission Manual, they will have a weekly cleaning guide hanging on the inside of their front door. They will straighten their homes daily, and they will follow the cleaning guide on preparation day.

We reminded them that the Spirit of God does not dwell in unclean places, and that they are to keep their "homes" clean at all times. After this special cleaning time, some Missionaries actually asked for more time on Monday...preparation finish cleaning.
These are wonderful Missionaries. They are obedient and diligent.
We love our Missionaries.

"Con Amor...obramos en el jardin de Dios."

This past week, we delivered "placas" to every Bishop in our Mission.
Our family and a group of Young Women from Springville, Utah hand made each placa.
Our Mission includes ten Stakes and two branches, so we have many good Bishops.
We took pictures of the Bishops as they received their placa.
These are just a few of the many pictures.

The placas say,
"Con amor...obramos en el jardin de Dios."
(With love...we work together in the garden of God.)

We reminded each Bishop that we (Missionaries) are here
to labor in the Lord's garden by serving them.
We love every Bishop and his counselors and family.

What a privilege it is to labor with our Savior and His Bishops!
They are good men who live the Gospel and work so hard to do all the Lord asks of them.
We want to serve them with all our heart.

"Finding Joy in the Journey"

The Temple is the ultimate source of joy for all members of the Church!
Hermanas Griffiths, Hodgekin, and Whetton are excellent missionaries. We are standing in the Mission Office where they often come to enter referrals they receive from conducting tours of Temple Square. These good sisters have developed a tour of Temple Square and the surrounding facilities. We accompanied them on this tour last night. It was beautiful and inspiring. The Temple is near the heart of the City of Santiago, but once inside the gates of Temple Square, the hustle and bustle of the City is hushed, and the softness of the Spirit envelops the visitors. Last night, a gentle breeze swayed through the palm trees, as these Sisters taught the eternal truths of the Gospel while standing in the light of the Temple. Even some children who were there visiting with their families stopped to watch the Sisters in awe. They felt the Spirit, and they were taught.

We are so thankful to have a Temple in our Mission.

Yesterday, President Laycock and I had the privilege of attending the Temple with 10 Missionaries who are completing their Mission on Monday. As we prayed and pondered in the celestial room, our hearts were full of love and appreciation for the sacrifices these Missionaries have made to serve the Lord. They were all so clean and pure, dressed in the white robes of the Temple. We pray for them to continue to be the fine people that they have become.

Even eating on the run brings joy when we are serving the Lord!
Every Thursday, we conduct interviews and trainings. We just eat on the run.
Last Thursday, we had pizza at the side of a busy street
as we ran from one set of interviews and teaching sessions to the next. matter how busy we become,
we are always able to enjoy every minute of this urgent work,
because we know the Lord wants us to be always...
finding joy in the journey!

The Lord's work brings true joy!
The tallest and the shortest Missionaries in our Mission are companions.
Elder Castaneda is the shortest, and Elder Evans is the tallest.
We know the Lord has a sense of humor, because he put these two Elders together!
They have become a powerful companionship,
and they bring smiles to the faces of all they meet!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Temple

This is a beautiful group of youth from our Mission who recently attended a ward baptism for the dead day at the Santiago Temple. Our son, Landon is on your right. For Landon, this was a special experience, since it was the first time he had done it in Spanish. We love the Temple. We have been able to attend a few times, and it is beautiful and peaceful. What a blessing! Look at all these future Missionaries! Aren't they beautiful?

"My New Treasured Possession"

We are happy to report that every Missionary in the Mission will soon have a personal heater. We love our heaters. I take mine with me to interviews and other activities where I need to stay warm and toasty.

Some of our Missionaries asked me to let them take this picture of me with my heater because they think it is becoming an added appendage to me. I am thankful for it. I am also thankful that the weather has been a bit warmer recently.

Sometimes when we look at the Elders after we check over their Journals, and Agendas, and Area Books, they are actually rosy cheeked and sweating. I hope it's my heater and not their nerves that cause them the added warmth.

We love these Missionaries. They are faithful and diligent. We never hear them complain. They continue to press forward with faith whether it is cold or not, and they are fine examples of goodness and charity because they choose to serve the Lord every single day. We are blessed to have such faithful followers of Christ in our Mission.

"On the Run"

A popular food and gas chain here in Santiago is "On the Run."

It has become the theme for our Mission because we feel such an urgency to share the Gospel with everyone we meet and everyone we see.

President Laycock has challenged all of us to greet and smile at everyone with whom we come in contact.

"Part of the Army of Helaman"

Families Can be Together Forever...Through Heavenly Father's Plan

This beautiful family was baptized last Sunday! We feel the Lord's hand in all we do. Our Missionaries are working so hard to find, teach, baptize, and hold on to all of our Heavenly Father's children. What a blessing it is for us to be a part of this great work. As you can see, we are enjoying beautiful weather, and the sun is shining upon us. The Lord is blessing his Missionaries abundantly.