Sunday, January 30, 2011

February Focus: Preach My Gospel, Chapter 5

In the Chile, Santiago East Mission, during the month of February we decided to focus together on Chapter 5 of Preach My Gospel, "What is the Role of the Book of Mormon?" We invited family, friends, investigators and others to study along with us with the hope of finishing the entire Book of Mormon by Easter (April 24th). We began a study of the Book of Mormon where we each took a clean copy of the Book of Mormon and began marking it as we read, focusing one color on each reference to Jesus Christ (any of His names or pronouns referring to Him), one color on His words (spoken by Him or by prophets when they say, "thus saith the Lord") and one color on His attributes (PMG p. 114). It is interesting to note that Elder Holland told us that he and his missionary companion, Elder Cook, read and marked the Book of Mormon in this way while serving together as young missionaries in England. We were excited to begin this spiritual adventure together. We knew that focusing on the Book of Mormon would help us become better missionaries. Preach My Gospel says that "the Book of Mormon combined with the Spirit is our most powerful resource in conversion." (PMG p. 104).

Doctrine: WHY? The Book of Mormon contains the fulness of the Doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. "The Lord Himself has stated that the Book of Mormon contains the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ." (D&C 20:9). In the Book of Mormon, we find the fulness of the Doctrines required for salvation, taught plainly and simply so that even children can learn the ways of salvation and exaltation.

Principle: WHAT? The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our Religion. "Take away the Book of Mormon and the revelations, and where is our Religion? We have none." (History of the Church, 2:52). Joseph Smith called the Book of Mormon the "keystone of our Religion." He taught that the Book of Mormon holds our Religion together. President Ezra Taft Benson explained that the Book of Mormon is the keystone in three important ways: (1) witness of Jesus Christ; (2) fulness of doctrine; and (3) foundation of testimony. (PMG p. 104).

Application: HOW? The central purpose of the Book of Mormon is to convince all people that Jesus is the Christ (see title page of the Book of Mormon). It affirms the reality of His life, mission, and power. It teaches true doctrine concerning the Atonement. We used the Book of Mormon in every possible teaching opportunity to testify of the reality of Jesus Christ and the restoration of His true church. We did this by using the Book of Mormon to answer the great questions of the Soul. In the words of President Boyd K. Packer, "In a world ever more dangerous...the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ has the nourishing power to heal starving spirits of the world." (Ensign, November 2001, 64).

Love One Another

As missionaries approached the chapel for our January "revelatory experience," (change meeting) they all passed by this man sitting just outside of the gates of the church grounds. One companionship of missionaries stopped to share with him a small lesson and a church pamphlet. Most walked right by him without speaking to him.

During our "revelatory experience" this man entered the chapel. President Laycock invited him to come in and sit with us. Imagine the surprise of our missionaries when he quietly removed his blanket and wig, came to the microphone, and bore his testimony!

President and Sister Laycock and the Assistants had previously arranged for him to dress as "one of the least of these" and visit our meeting so that we could remind one another of the importance of loving and serving all of God's children without unfairly judging them.

We discussed the need for us as representatives of Christ to be His arms and to reach out to all of those in need of His restored gospel. It was a powerful lesson about love and charity, and we all committed to be better representatives of our Savior as we search for people to love and serve.

January Zone and District Classes

We enjoyed attending Zone and District Classes during January. Every Zone was exceptionally well prepared and growing and developing their individual teaching skills in remarkable ways. President and Sister Laycock provided a doctrinal message on the importance of unity: working with members, missionaries, and leaders, and doing the Lord's work in the Lord's way (D&C 38:27). We discussed the law of the harvest and what we need to do in order to become more effective missionaries. We also took time to discuss questions that missionaries had for President and Sister Laycock. President Laycock was then able to interview each missionary in these zones. Elder Wilkey and Elder Saenz (Assistants to the President) helped us all to practice our teaching skills. We all committed to progress to our own personal spiritual "proximo nivel" next level.

President Laycock, President Leiva, President Escobar, Cordillera YM

It is a privilege to serve with the young men and...the younger men in our Mission!
We love them!

Two Missionaries Returned Home during January

Sister Coley returned to her home in January.
She blessed our mission in many ways
with her happy smile and loving personality.

Elder Macias returned home during the month of January.
He served faithfully in many assignments during his mission service,
and he blessed our mission tremendously.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Two More Christmas 2010 Memories

From the first day we arrived in the mission, our missionaries have often heard us inviting them to practice daily journal writing. We have encouraged them to create good memories of their mission service, and then we have constantly reminded them that they should carefully preserve their happy memories by writing in their mission journals.

We hope 2010 was a lesson for them (as it was for us) to always listen carefully to the Holy Ghost, and we hope that because of our experience in the Santiago East Mission together, they will be even more inspired to set a pattern of daily journal writing in their lives.

We know that the Holy Ghost speaks to us as we take the time to be still and listen. Writing is one way that we can be still enough to listen to the still small voice as it speaks to us about how much our Heavenly Father loves us and what He wants for us. We know that as our missionaries take time to listen to the whisperings of the Holy Ghost and write them down, they will learn to recognize and respond to all that the Lord directs them to do. They will be able to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and they will be able to build the Kingdom of God in miraculous ways.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Beauty of Baptism

"Jesus answered, Verily, verily I say unto thee,
Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit,
he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
John 3:5

Area Training Friday Jan. 7 and Saturday Jan. 8

This picture is of five of the nine Mission Presidents serving in Chile right now. They are all very loving and good men. It is a privilege for us to know them and serve in Chile with them.

On Friday January 7 the Area Presidency provided training to all Mission Presidents serving in Chile and their wives and all Area Authorities serving in Chile and their wives. We attended the Temple together, and then met for a training in what the vision for Chile is for 2011. For us, it was a very spiritual experience. We felt such overwhelming gratitude for all that our leaders do to serve. On Saturday, the men met all day for additional training. Some of us wives were able to get together to share thoughts and ideas. It was helpful and inspiring.

President and Sister King from the West Mission

La Gran Cosecha Revelatory Experience: Monday January 10

Report From the Chile Santiago East Mission.

On January 10th 2011 we had the privilege of meeting with every missionary in our mission and enjoying a revelatory experience together. (Learning from Elder Bednar in the recent Leadership Training, we now think of all our gatherings as "revelatory experiences" not just meetings.) We discussed the doctrine of the "Law of the Harvest." We read scriptures and talked about what the Law of the Harvest means to each of us personally. Our missionaries are so smart. They know so much. They share their feelings with us when we are with them, and we truly do have "revelatory experiences" together. What a miracle! We love them all so dearly.

The following post is a document that we gave each missionary when we met with them on January 10th. The formatting of this document did not work well on the blog, but it gives you an idea of the Lord's vision for the Chile Santiago Mission during 2011. We will be working very hard to do all that the Lord wants us to do in 2011. The scriptures included in this post are some scriptures having to do with the Law of the Harvest, which is what we are hoping that each missionary in our mission will come to more fully understand and appreciate during 2011. "We reap what we sow." What a powerful principle!

2010 was a lesson for all of us in this mission to learn to be prepared both physically and spiritually and to learn how very important it is to live so that we can have the Holy Ghost with us always. Together, we learned powerful lessons through leaders, earthquakes, and love. We can hardly wait to see what the Lord will teach us in 2011.

President Laycock and I feel such urgency to do the Lord's work in the Lord's way. We pray always that we will live so that we will be able to have the accompaniment of the Holy Ghost to reveal to us what we should do (D&C 8:2-3). We also pray to have the strength and courage to immediately DO what the Holy Ghost reveals to us.

We have learned through our mission experience and the Lord's chosen leaders in Chile and throughout the world, that the Holy Ghost is the most precious gift we can have in this life. Eternal life is the greatest gift for the life after this, but the companionship of the Holy Ghost means everything in this life. Our Area Presidency teaches that everything good in this life depends on our getting and keeping the power of the Holy Ghost. We will continue to do our best to be worthy of the Holy Ghost's constant companionship as we serve in this part of the Lord's garden, and we pray for you to do the same.

It is a privilege for us to work with these fine missionaries, and we will be eternally grateful for this opportunity to serve. It has changed us in remarkable ways.

Galatians 6:2, 7-10

D&C 6:33

D&C 76:16-17

Job 4:8

Proverbs 22:8

2 Cor. 9:6-7

Alma 9:28

D&C 137:9

Matthew 13

Plan for Our Gran Coshech (Great Harvest)

“Con amor, obramos en el jardin de Dios”

---Presidente y Hermana Laycock, Mision Chile Santiago Este

(Conferencia especial de la mision Chile Santiago Este, Enero 2011)

Cosechar Con amor, COSECHAMOS todos los hijos de Dios

Vamos al próximo nivel, con urgencia

Lograremos un nuevo record en todos los indicadores claves antes de la Pascua (24 de abril)

Un bautismo por misionero por mes

Orar Con amor, ORAMOS con todos los hijos de Dios

Oramos con todas las personas y les enseñamos la manera de orar

Saludar Con amor, SALUDAMOS a todos los hijos de Dios

Saludamos a todos los miembros (especialmente los domingos)

Sonreímos y siempre estamos felices--Seamos animados y osados—“Sed de buen animo”

Ensenar Con amor, ENSENAMOS a todos los hijos de Dios

Enseñamos en las casas de los miembros--20 lecciones por semana

Conocer, entender, y memorizar los conceptos de las lecciones de PME

El Libro de Mormón combinado con el espíritu es la herramienta mas poderosa que tenemos

Escribamos en nuestros diarios para que podamos escuchar a los susurros del espíritu santo

Continuar Con amor, CONTINUAMOS buscando a todos los hijos de Dios

Vamos a una puerta mas, milagros de dos minutos, 3 veces a la capilla cada domingo

Hermanar Con amor, HERMANAMOS a todos los hijos de Dios

“Permaneced”--visitamos a los hogares de todos los menos activos, visitas del relámpago

Amar Con amor, AMAMOS a todos los hijos de Dios

No tenemos ningún temor—no aceptamos la respuesta, “No”

Compartimos nuestros talentos y todo lo que tenemos

Busquemos oportunidades de servir-- Escribimos cartas de gracias semanalmente

Las Condes Young Women's Camp

President and Sister Laycock had the privilege of attending Young Women's Camp on January 13 at the Casablanca Camp Ground. What a blessing for us to get to spend a few hours with these lovely Young Women and their faithful leaders. President Laycock spoke to them about how we can know without doubt that our Savior and our Heavenly Father live, even if we haven't seen them. We can know through our feelings, the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. We felt the strength and power of these young women. We also felt the Lord's love for them as we watched them learn more about the Gospel through Young Women's Camp. When we listened to them sing, it brought tears to our eyes. They sang in English and Spanish and they sounded to us like Angels:
"Heavenly Father, are you really there?
And do you hear and answer every child's prayer?
Some say that Heaven is far away,
but I feel it close around me as I pray..."
(Primary Children's Songbook)

New Missionaries "Finally" Arrived on January 12

This arrival of 7 new missionaries was different than any other we have had so far in our mission experience. A giant Atlanta ice storm made it impossible for the 6 missionaries coming from Utah to leave the Atlanta airport as scheduled. Their flight was cancelled!
We received notification from Salt Lake that the missionaries were offered a hotel for the night; however, they chose to stay in the airport...brave souls that they are.
Sister Romero came last week from Argentina, so she was not quite as tired as the others, but she got to experience most of her orientation in English, since she was the only Spanish speaker, with Elder Saenz translating for her...adapt, adjust, improvise, and overcome.

Their trainers waited patiently for them to arrive.

Instead of arriving on Tuesday morning as scheduled, they arrived on Wednesday morning. They were exhausted after very little sleep. We were so thankful when we saw that they were still smiling. They are remarkable young people, and we are so happy to add them to our mission.
We repeated one of our mission mottos over and over to them: When difficulties come, we adapt, adjust, improvise, and overcome. They certainly did that! They even said they taught a few people in the airport.

We can hardly wait to see what the Lord has planned
for these dear, faithful, young missionaries.
They have already proven that they can do hard things.
They will
be a great blessing to us.
We felt their strength as we spent the day orienting them.

President Laycock was able to interview each one.
They wrote letters to us and their families, we ate pizza,
and then we sent them off to their new sectors
with their fantastic companions.
We did instruct their companions
to get them to
bed earlier than usual
so they could be ready for the following day.

Happy New Year! "The Grand Cosecha (Harvest) 2011" (Chapter 10 Preach My Gospel)

2011 Chile Santiago East Mission Vision:
With the Lord's help and our combined faith in Jesus Christ, the year 2011 will be a time of bounteous harvest for us in the Chile Santiago East Mission.

We will labor with all our strength to: nourish by testifying, cultivate by loving and serving, and rescue by teaching (Permaneced and Chapter 3 of PMG).
The law of the harvest: We will reap what we sow!
(See Matthew 13 the parables of the sower, the wheat and the tares.)

6) But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly;
and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
7) Every man according as he purposeth in his heart,
so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity,
for God loveth a cheerful giver.

(2 Corinthians 9:6-7)

Those of you who regularly read this blog are invited to study the chapter in PMG that we are studying each month. We will let you know which chapter will be our focus, and then letters to missionaries could include your insights from and feelings about that chapter.

Monthly Focus: January
Chapter 10 Preach My Gospel "How Can I Improve My Teaching Skills?"
We want to have a bounteous harvest in 2011. For that reason, we know we must be excellent teachers. We have chosen to focus on Chapter 10 of Preach My Gospel during January so that we can become more powerful gospel teachers.

"The Grand Cosecha (Harvest) 2011"

On Wednesday, January 5 2011, we met with all of our Zone Leaders for our monthly Zone Leader Council. They were excited and looking forward to beginning a new year. They expressed their desires to do more and to work even harder. Some had been newly assigned to serve as Zone Leaders. Others were experienced Zone Leaders. Still others were almost ready to complete their mission service. But every single Elder was prepared to serve with all his heart, might, mind, and strength. We could see the sparkle of excitement in their eyes, and we could feel the power of strength in their actions and words.

"Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God,
see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength,
that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day."
D&C 4:2

We know that if we want to find, teach and baptize, we must be excellent teachers. Assistants to the President, Elder Macias and Elder Saenz brought return missionaries to our council, and the Zone Leaders practiced teaching them. Then the return missionaries offered written and verbal feedback on the experience. We focused on making our weaknesses become strengths, and we used Chapter 10 of PMG as our text.

Elder Maxfield provided a beautiful musical number which invited the spirit.

President Laycock shared feelings about the importance of being united and working together with other missionaries, stake and ward leaders, and members. He continued to emphasize the importance of greeting and talking to everyone we meet and ministering one by one. He showed us a video clip titled, "The Battle at Kruger." It is a remarkable rescue of a baby water buffalo held in the grips of a den of fierce lions and a deadly crocodile. When the water buffalo join forces to save the baby, they are victorious. We believe it is the same with missionary work. Alone, we will never be as effective as we will be if we work together with other missionaries, stake and ward leaders, and members.

"...I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine."
D&C 38:27

December 2010 Activities

During December, we had the opportunity and blessing to participate in many Ward and Stake Activities. We even got to teach early morning seminary in our son, Landon's class. The above picture was taken in the La Dehesa Ward Christmas Party. President Laycock was privileged to speak to the La Dehesa Ward during their Christmas Fiesta, where he taught about the Symbols of Christmas and how all things testify of Christ...even Christmas decorations.

We Loved Attending December Baptisms

"...and if it so be that ye believe in Christ, and are baptized,
first with water, then with fire and with the Holy Ghost,
following the example of our Savior,
according to that which he hath commanded us,
it shall be well with you in the day of judgment. Amen."
Mormon 7:10

Our Christmas Activity 2010

At the beginning of December, we gathered our missionaries together to uplift and inspire one another to be able to work even harder to reach our mission standards of excellence for December.

We enjoyed physical exercise in the form of Olympic games and activities. Then we traveled by bus to the chapel to change clothes, and share a special dinner. Next, we participated in a powerful fireside focused on the birth and life of our Savior. We concluded the day with an inspiring movie.

We learned and grew together and reminded ourselves of the joy that comes through devoted service to God. Every time we are with our missionaries, we feel the power of their sacred calling as representatives of Jesus Christ. We watch them carefully and are filled with gratitude for the opportunity that we have to be among them and to serve at their side. They are remarkable in every way. They are dedicated to the Lord. They are strong and brave and true. They are full of charity, and they have never ending energy.

President Laycock often reminds them that when difficulties arrive, they are to adapt, adjust, improvise, and overcome. He loves to recite to them: "Be not weary in well doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great" (D&C 64:33).