Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Zone Conference #2 "What is My Purpose As a Missionary?" Spiritual Food and Physical Food

We really enjoy Zone Conferences. Every six weeks we are able to join together and work on what the Lord wants us to learn, practice, and prepare to better serve Him. We are always fed spiritually as well as physically. We like to take pictures of the physical food so that we can share with you how well we are taken care of. We almost forgot to post these pictures, but this food was so good, we just had to share.

These pictures are of our Zone Conference during the week of the 18th of September...the Chilean celebration week. For our appetizer, we had 2 ginormous empanadas filled with meat and olives and onions and other yummy vegetables and a huge roll. Then the main course was roast beef, potato salad, and the typical onion and tomato chilean salad. Dessert was a favorite Chilean dessert...mote con huesillo which is a peach that has been soaked and boiled and boiled with a grain of some sort. It was delicious.

Landon, our son, was skeptical when he saw it because he thought it looked exactly like a monkey brain. He was really excited to taste it because he likes to be able to say that he has experienced the Chilean culture in every way possible. He liked it and ate the whole thing...except for the pit of course.

Please don't worry about your sons and daughters. They eat every day at the home of a member in their ward. The members love to feed the Missionaries. Sometimes, we are told that they even fight over who gets to feed them. The members love these Missionaries so much. They love to have them in their homes to feel their love for the Savior. We are so very grateful for good, faithful members who honor their covenants and are willing to give all they have to help build up the Kingdom of God on the earth.

"El milagro de la cosecha" The Beginning

Friday September 18 was a wonderful day. In Chile, it is the National Holiday, so the entire week is filled with celebrations of the country. School is closed, and many businesses are also closed. Santiago has a huge military parade and many activities with horses and incredible costumes and dancing and unbelievable food. It was a nice week for us with our son, Landon because he got to attend everything we did with us…including Zone Conference and the Mission Activity. It is always so much fun to have him with us. He has such a good attitude about all of it…hours of Spanish Gospel learning with parents may not be most teens’ idea of fun. He never complains. He reminds me of our son Logan when he was on his mission. We never once heard a complaint out of him. We are so thankful for our kids. They never complain that we are not there for them like we used to be.

We had Zone Conference on Wednesday, which was great! Then we had a Mission activity Friday night, and it was a wonderful time for all of us. The Mission really needed a “pick-me-up” and so we had the activity to motivate and inspire everyone. In order to get into the activity, everyone was asked to bring their Area Books (These are books each companionship keeps to keep track of everyone they are finding and teaching and to help them communicate to the Ward and Stake Leaders what they are working on and how they can best work together.) in perfect condition as their ticket to get into the activity. (We had a room where they could go and fix their books if they had not yet perfected their books…with all the supplies they needed to do that…repentance is a wonderful principle!!!)

We all entered the Chapel, and yes we had Christmas Music playing on the piano. Sister Griffith was playing and some sisters sang Christmas Carols. The Elders and Sisters were puzzled. Why Christmas music in September? President Laycock and I stood at the pulpit reverently and smiled as everyone entered. Everyone was excited, but they were very reverent. We could feel the electricity of the Holy Spirit in the air, and we could feel the Lord’s approval as we looked into the sweet faces of our Missionaries. They work so hard, and they are learning so much.

"El milagro de la cosecha" The Activity

We began by expressing our gratitude to everyone for all they are doing to be obedient and to accomplish the Lord’s work. Then President Laycock explained that, “one of the most important things we do as Missionaries is to plan, “so tonight,” he said, we are planning a miracle. This miracle is not going to simply happen. Instead, we 150 of God’s children (under God’s direction and with His power) will help to create this miracle.”

He explained that the Laycock family loves to plan something special for Christmas every year. “As it is my right to do,” he explained, “I have seen the vision of what this Mission can do. Our gift for the Savior this year, will be to create a Christmas miracle, and we will call it The Miracle of the Cosecha.”

"El milagro de la cosecha" The Vision

We gave everyone a beautiful hand out (thanks to Sister Kimber) of the way we will accomplish our Christmas Miracle. The hand out has the wise men and shepherds looking toward the star with words on it that tell us what we will do and how we will do it.

Then President Laycock explained the vision of The miracle of the cosecha.

Here is a very brief summary of the Lord’s plan for His garden here in the Chile Santiago East Mission:

C osechar (Harvest…we will baptize 1 person per missionary per month.)

O rar (Pray…we will pray with everyone we possibly can so they feel the spirit.)

S aludar (Greet…we will greet everyone we meet with happiness and love.)

E ensenar (Teach… we will teach with boldness, and clarity, in members’ homes.)

C ontinuar (Continue…we will go one more door.)

H ermanar (Fellowship…we will fellowship/friendship all we meet. “Permanaced”)

A mar (Love…we will love our Heavenly Father, our Savior, everyone we meet.)

President Laycock committed every Missionary to be willing to help with this Miracle. They were happy and excited to help! We are very excited! It is really remarkable how the Lord guides this work and brings to pass exactly what He wants to have happen. If we are just willing to act upon the promptings of the Holy Ghost, even when the promptings seem unusual or strange, soon it is revealed to us exactly why He wanted the work done in His way. We are so blessed to be a part of this great work!

"El milagro de la cosecha" The Handout

"El milagro de la cosecha" The Power Point Presentation

Next, we watched a

power point presentation

that the Assistants to the President

had prepared.

It was fantastic.

They taught us fun things

and also serious cultural things

about Chile.

It ended with

President Holland’s

Apostolic blessing to the

Chilean People.

President Holland spoke of the miracles that will happen in Chile.

"El milagro de la cosecha" The Food



ate empanadas...

...and drank

Grape Fanta

(a mission favorite)

as we watched

a movie called,


President Laycock

was very quick to explain that

the only time our Missionaries

are allowed to watch a movie

is when the Mission President

is with them.

After the movie, we talked some more about miracles and our purpose and who we represent as Missionaries.We had a wonderful time together. Please continue to pray for us to accomplish the Lord's "Milagro de la cosecha."

"What is My Purpose As a Missionary?" Zone Conference September 9 and September 16 2009

"Santiago Sunsets"

Each Santiago sun that "sets"

always leaves us on our knees asking:

"Heavenly Father, did I do all I could do today to follow my Savior?"

The Santiago East Mission Sun Will Soon "Set" on Six Weeks of Studying:

"What is My Purpose as a Missionary."

During this six-week change, which ends all too quickly on October 5th, we are all studying Chapter 1 of Preach My Gospel: “What is My Purpose as a Missionary?” We are reminded that as Missionaries, our purpose is to: “invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.”

We know that the people around us are searching for purpose in life. They love their families, and they need the peace that comes from knowing they are children of God and members of his eternal family. They want to feel secure in a world of changing values, but they are

“kept from the truth because they know not where to find it.”

(D&C 123:12)

We know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ as restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith will bless families, meet spiritual needs, and help our brothers and sisters here in Chile to fulfill their deepest desires. We are authorized representatives of Jesus Christ, and we can teach people with power and authority that:

“redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah,"

"no one can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy,

and grace of the Holy Messiah”

(2 Nephi 2:6,8).

As our understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ grows, our desire to share the gospel increases.

We feel, as Lehi did, the

great…importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth”

(2 Nephi 2:8).

We are called to represent Jesus Christ in helping people become clean from their sins.

We do this by inviting them to come unto Jesus Christ and become converted to His restored gospel. To come to the Savior they must have faith in Him unto repentance. This means that they will be willing to make necessary changes to bring their life into agreement with His teachings.

We are truly witnessing the miracles of the atonement as we find, teach, and baptize. People transform as they accept the Gospel and use the atonement. They become better and stronger as they repent and fix what is wrong in their lives. They become humble and teachable. They become more like our Savior. They love more. They appreciate life and family more. They accomplish more. They give up harmful habits. They exhibit more courage...the list of positive affects of the atonement goes on forever.

We love this work! We want to shout Christ's message with all of our strength. The gospel is true!

We know this is the Savior’s work. We are thankful to be able to labor with Him in His Chile Santiago East “Garden.”

When the sun sets upon the Mission of each Missionary in the Chile Santiago East Mission, we pray that there will be no regrets. With all our hearts, we pray that each of our missionaries will know that they have done all that they could do to follow our Savior.

Missionaries are "Setting" Standards of Excellence

We have seen such tremendous growth in our Missionaries. Every time we meet with them, they have grown to be more courageous and more committed. Every time we hear them speak and testify, they have increased their ability to teach and to express themselves. And we can’t help but notice that every time we converse with them, their Spanish has improved in miraculous ways.

They are coming to understand the overwhelming power they possess

as representatives of Jesus Christ.

They are learning that they were valiant in the pre-mortal existence, and that because of their valiance there, our Father in Heaven knew He could trust them with great responsibility here. They are understanding that their Father in Heaven has given them remarkable talents and blessings that allow them to share the Gospel with others. They are learning that they possess the undeniable power to create miracles, and they are coming to believe that

with God NOTHING is impossible.

Zone Conferences Always "Set" our Sights on Christ

We held Zone Conference with the North Zones on Wednesday September 9, 2009.

We held Zone Conference with the South Zones on Wednesday September 16, 2009.

We discussed the urgency of the “Vision to Baptize.” We discussed that we are here to rescue our Brothers and Sisters, and we made commitments to always go one more door, even when we are exhausted, even if we are discouraged, and most especially when we feel gratitude to our Heavenly Father for allowing us to serve Him.

“Permanaced” is "Setting" a Wonderful Pattern for Us To Strengthen Our Brothers and Sisters

We have been working on an initiative that has been given to all of Chile by our Area Presidency. It is called “Permanaced.” It is a cry for all inactive members to return to full fellowship in the Church. We need them, and they need the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As Missionaries, we work each week to visit the home of 10 inactive members. Then we work to invite them to come back to church and to Christ. We are working so hard to teach them that our Heavenly Father loves them and that He wants them to be close to Him again. We are trying to teach them that what gets in the way of them being able to be close to their Father in Heaven is sin, and that sin can be overcome through faith unto repentance. The Atonement is our loving Father’s answer to sin. He knew we would all sin, and for that reason, we would all need a Savior.

Our Savior stands ready and willing

to accept our honest efforts to repent and become better and stronger.

I am so grateful for the atonement in our lives.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

"Each Day in the Mission Field Brings Growth to our Missionaries"

Where else on earth, can you find young men voluntarily working together for two years, sharing the Gospel and improving themselves and their world?

The Mission Field
is an amazing and wonderful place.

Elder Wyatt and Elder Laney are two of our loving Missionaries. They are becoming stronger and stronger every day. All of our Missionaries are gaining strength and courage and knowledge and commitment with each passing day.

Missionary Work is Miraculous!

Each day in the Mission Field is filled with hard work and sacrifice!

Our Missionaries are finding and teaching and baptizing with incredible strength. They walk and walk and walk...and walk until their shoes wear right out!

We took this picture of one of the Elder's shoes at Zone Conference last week. He said he was embarrassed of his shoes. We said...

These are shoes to be proud of!

Can we put them on the Mission Blog?"

He reluctantly agreed to let us show you all how hard our Missionaries are working.
These shoes are size 13! Don't worry! We will find some replacements.

Yes, their shoes may wear out, but their hearts only become stronger and more loving with every missionary step they take. As Missionaries in the Santiago East Mission, we are learning to "go one more door." The Lord is teaching all of us the value of using every single minute of His time. We are committed to make sure that we do not waste His precious time.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"The Long and the Short of Missionary Work"

Elder Evans and Elder Castaneda
This companionship makes everyone smile.

But don't worry,
even when they dress the same, we are still able to tell them apart.

New Missionary Training Friday August 28, 2009..."Saving Souls is Urgent Work!"

On Friday, August 28 2009 our New Missionary Training was a great experience for all of us. We learned about all of the important aspects of the Mission. The Assistents to the President taught us that our need to Find, Teach, and Baptize is absolutely urgent!

We had a wonderful morning of training, and then we ate lunch together. The lunch was delicious: roast cooked to perfection in a big pot, mashed potatoes, corn, and a fruit dessert. It was so nice to see these new Missionaries so excited about the work. They shared many miracles that they had already seen in the four days they have been here. We are representatives of Jesus Christ. We are Missionaries. We are grateful for our opportunity to serve together here in Chile.

As Missionaries, we are literally in the business of saving people. President Laycock taught us that saving people spiritually is even more important than saving people physically. He told us that he used to be a life guard during high school. When someone was in trouble and was drowning, often that person would fight the very person who was trying to save him. Did President Laycock ever simply say, "Well, it doesn't look like this one wants to be saved, so I'll just swim away and let someone else try to save him." No...he fought to near-exhaustion and never gave up until the drowning person was safely out of danger. Then President Laycock taught: It is the same with someone who is "drowning" spiritually. We must never say or think: 'Hmm, this one doesn't seem to want to be saved. Someone else will have to try to rescue him.'

This work of saving souls is URGENT!

We cannot give up until we have done all we can possibly do
to rescue everyone we meet."

"Nuevitos Arrive Tuesday August 25, 2009"

On our way from the airport to the Mission Home with the newly arriving Missionaries, we stopped to visit Temple Square. These new Missionaries were tired from their long journey, but the excitement in their eyes and the smiles on their faces were perfect. We know that their service here will be a precious gift of love to all they meet.

Bright and early on the brisk morning of August 25th, 2009 we greeted this shining group of new Missionaries. Their enthusiasm was absolutely fabulous! They shared stories with us about their contacts on the plane, and they asked many questions as we drove to the Temple and then on to the Mission Home for a little breakfast and a short orientation. Once the orientation was finished, their new companions were waiting for them on the back patio. We introduced them in a sweet sort of ceremony, and then President Laycock taught all of us the parable of the Geese. We took pictures of them, and by noon of their first day in the Mission, they were on the streets of Santiago ready to find, teach, and baptize. They all had lunch that first day in a member's home. We can hardly wait to see the miracles these Elders and Sisters will help help bring to pass in the Chile Santiago East Mission.

Monday, September 7, 2009

"Good-bye Tears"

The Chile Santiago East Mission has been richly blessed
by these faithful Missionaries!
On Tuesday morning, August 25th at 3:30 AM, we left the Mission office to deliver the Latin part of the second group of Missionaries to leave since we have been here to the airport for their journey home. The early morning air was cold. Dense fog completely blinded us, but as He always does, the Lord miraculously guided us safely through the dangerous fog. We cried as we said good-bye to these beautiful Missionaries, not because we are sad for them, but because we will miss their influence so deeply.
We will love them forever!

"More Good bye Tears"

On Monday evening, August 24, we said goodbye to the North American part of our second group of Missionaries to leave since we have been here. We have become so attached to these Missionaries that it hurts to let them go. They took one last look at the mountains of Chile as they entered the airport to begin their journey home. They were at once nervous and excited for the life that is waiting for them at home. We love them all! We will miss them! Their legacy will live on, and Santiago will remember them and thank them forever.

"Tears of Happiness"

Cerro San Cristobal
is a huge hill that provides a thrilling view of our entire Mission. Visiting the Hill with Missionaries who have faithfully completed their Mission is a special treat. We look over the entire city and ponder the incredible lessons we have learned. We thank our Heavenly Father and our Savior for their infinite love and for their continuous presence in our lives. One last look at the Chile Santiago East Mission brings tears of happiness to all of our eyes as we begin to turn the last page in the story of our Mission.

"Tears of Joy"

A Missionary's placa (namecard)
is a sacred possession. Our sweet Missionaries who were enjoying their last visit to the Mission Home quietly hung their name tags in the blossoming tree just outside the Mission Home. It touched our hearts to watch them as they smiled and took pictures. They were solemn, yet full of hope for bright futures filled with many years of living the Gospel and leading friends and families to the truth. Many of these young people are returning home as the only member of the Church in their family. Their strength and conviction is astounding! We will remember these Elders and Sisters as the musical missionaries. They sing so beautifully. As we drove in the cars to deliver them to the last few places they would visit in the mission, they often spontaneously broke into song. They could harmonize so perfectly, and their voices blended so well. To us, they sounded like a choir of heavenly Angels. Tears of joy filled our eyes as our hearts overflowed with love for them. We are grateful to them for their examples of courage and commitment.

"Tears of Gratitude"

A Faithful Missionary who has honorably fulfilled his or her calling
is one of the most beautiful sights in the whole world. These are the faithful Missionaries who completed their Missions on August 24th and 25th. It is difficult for us to let them go. They are strong and wise and well equipped to confront all of life's challenges with diligence, patience, intelligence, and love. But their Mission shoes are impossible to fill. We will always love these beautiful Elders and Sisters. They hold a special place in our hearts. What an honor to have served with each of them. On Friday, we attended the Temple with them. As we sat in the Celestial room and watched them, we were overwhelmed with their goodness. They looked so happy and so clean and so pure. We pray that they can always stay as clean and pure and happy as they were on that special Friday in the Santiago Temple. We had our last lunch at the Mission home on Monday. They shared mission memories, and we laughed and cried together. Then from there we went to the Mission office for the last time, picked up their luggage and headed to the airport with the North American Elders and Sisters. The Latin Elders and Sisters stayed one more night and then we took them to the airport Tuesday morning...very early! We all shed many tears of gratitude as we spent this last day together and bid them all a fond farewell.

"Cleanliness is Next to Godliness"

We thoroughly enjoy visiting our Missionaries in their "homes."
Once again, we are conducting pension (apartment) inspections. It is sooo nice to find our Missionaries wanting to keep their "homes" in good shape. When their "homes" are in order, they are always happier and more productive. We learn so much about them and about the work as we visit with them and pray with them and encourage them to live up to their full potential. They are the best Missionaries in the world. We love them all!