Sunday, May 10, 2009

Hermanas Juntas

Hermanas Juntas

Saturday, May 9, 2009 marked the date of our 2nd semi-annual Hermanas Juntas (that means Sisters Together). Our mission has only 11 full-time sister missionaries and they are all assigned, as companionships, to different zones in the mission. That means that they rarely have a chance to see each other, let alone be all together at one time. For this reason, Sr. Clark has decided that twice each year, she will host a day of activities for all the sisters in the mission home. This time, they started the day with a presentation about open houses that we are going to begin here in the mission. Then they all went together to see the Museo Arocena in the Centro, followed by an afternoon sharing recipes and techniques for cooking. An inspirational message was the last activity of the day. Sr. Becerra from the Alamos Ward, Gomez Palacio Stake, talked with the sisters about being righteous women. Sr. Becerra is the wife of one of the counselors to Pres. Clark in the mission. Sisters Pena and Marquez who will both be leaving the mission before the next Hermanas Juntas, bore their testimonies about the truthfulness of the gospel and about the blessing a mission has been in their lives. It was hard for everyone to say goodbye but finally the last group left after many hugs.

From top to bottom: Hermanas Morales, Hernandez, Gonzalez, Castillo, Romero, Cabrerra, Pena, Huerta (ex-missionary living near Torreon now), De La Cruz (ex-missionary who served in Mexico), Espinoza,Marquez, Lopez, Clark, and Salas
Our cool assistants who provided transportation... The casual, open-collared look is because for a week, all the missionaries have been asked to go without ties to help combat the spreading of influenza germs. The turned up collar look is to be cool for the photo! (Von Bracht, Lule, and Llano)

Hermanas Lopez, Pena, and Morales show us their new recipe for a sandwich snack! They call it Molope which is a combination of the first two letters of all of their names. What a team!

Hermanas Salas and Castillo demonstrate a delicious dessert using vanilla wafers or galletas maria as they called them. Yum!

Another dessert! Hermanas Marquez and Cabrera make cheese cake using marshmallows!

Our visitor, Judith De La Cruz, just returned from serving a mission at the visitor's center near the temple in Mexico City. She is organizing a series of open houses to promote the church here in the Torreon Mission so spent the day with us, first explaining the role of the sisters in the open houses and then putting together a wonderful dessert using gelatin and a blender.

Sr. Clark demonstrated a quick main course recipe that can be cooked in an oven or a microwave. It uses frozen flautas, canned enchilada sauce, cream of mushroom soup, and cheese. A real Mexican-American classic.

Hermanas Romero and Espinoza tell us the steps to making tacos al pasteur--a favorite of all.
The flour has settled and the happy cooks pose for a photo together with their aprons to remind them of the day.

Sr. Becerra on the left, gave an inspirational message to close the day. It was definately a day they will always remember. These young women are some of the brightest and best! We love them all.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A peculiar turn of events...

A Peculiar turn of events...
A recent email from our Area Presidency requested that missionaries serving in Mexico, discontinue the wearing of ties from Wednesday, May 6 until Monday, May 11. This comes after the Commissioner of Health in Mexico determined that ties may be harboring germs that could spread the influenza virus that has been a problem in Mexico. We called the Assistants, they called the Zone Leaders, and they called the missionaries. The most common reaction: "Are you joking?" Thursday morning we arrived at the Durango Del Valle Stake Center to find many missionaries feeling a bit undressed without their ties. Some covered up their necks when they saw us and felt embarrassed about their obvious tan lines above the collar area. It was so interesting and comical. I took a few photos to prove that this actually happened. We all felt a bit casual but enjoyed the day and received inspiration from the conference. Sr. Clark suggested they could use this as a missionary tool as they were going to have people notice and ask them about the change. They could share the message that we believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law. Maybe we'll get a few teaching opportunities out of this situation.
Here are a few photos of some of our missionaries in Durango enjoying their "no tie" zone conference snacks.
Elders Calleja, Roman, Bautista, Galeana, De La Cruz, y Ruiz
Elders Packard, Clark, and Libby, model their tan lines!

Elders Dishman, Packard, Kent, and Spencer enjoy their bananas.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Influenza Epidemic

Dear Parents

An outbreak of "swine flu" has occured in Mexico but no cases of this disease have been documented in the Torreon area or other areas of the mission. Nevertheless, we are taking all the precautions given to us by both the government of Mexico and the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. As of Wednesday, April 29th, there will be no zone conferences held in our mission, or in other missions in Mexico. The area presidency has suspended all large church gatherings for the week and the president of Mexico has asked that businesses close and that people stay home to prevent the spread of the disease President Caldaron will be re-evaluating the situation on May 5th and will give us further directives at that time. The Church has suspended the entrance of missionaries to serve in Mexico into the country at this time and no missionaries from Mexico will be entering the MTC in Mexico City for the time being. Missionaries who are scheduled to return home at this time will be allowed to do so as long as they do not currently have any of the symptoms.

All of the missionaries in the Mexico Torreon Mission have been advised to wash their hands at least every 2 hours with soap for 15 seconds in duration. They have also been advised to stay away from anyone with cold-like symptoms. If they feel more comfortable wearing a face mask, they are certainly welcome to do so. Many in the cities are doing such. This virus manifests itself very quickly with very high temperatures and headache accompanied by muscle aches, weakness, nasal congestion, sneezing, sore throat and cough. According to an email we received from our area medical advisor, 313 cases were diagnosed during the months of October to March with 30 deaths from those cases. News broadcasts continue to update us on the numbers every day. As we receive calls from missionaries with flu-like symptoms, we advise them that if their temperature is not over 39-40 degrees celsius, they are probably fine and to use the normal methods for relieving symptoms of colds and flu that are inevitible. The large media exposure about the swine flu has caused some of the missionaries to worry that their runny noses indicate the problem but in all cases, their temperatures have been normal or only slightly elevated.

Although all parents are concerned, we hope that the parents of our missionaries will feel peace by knowing that their sons or daughters are serving the Lord Jesus Christ at this time and are entitled to a great amount of protection in doing so. Please continue to pray for your missionaries and we will do all in our power to protect them from this outbreak of influenza.

Con amor,

Hermana Clark