Sunday, October 3, 2010

Mission President's Seminar in Merida, Mexico

Seminario de los Presidentes de Mision

Merida, September 6-10, 2010

The Area Presidency and the 23 Mission Presidents and their wives were invited to join together in Merida for the annual Mission President's Seminar. We spent 4 days in September meeting together to learn of the eight new lessons for missionaries and to practice the things we learned. It provided a way for us to "refuel our spiritual tanks" and to get new ideas to take back to our missions. We also enjoyed meeting the new presidents and becoming re-aquinted with those who had been here one or two years already. The conference took place in the beautiful Hotel Fiesta Americana in downtown Merida. The lobby of the hotel was beautiful!

Everyone enjoyed Pres. and Sr. Chavez and Pres. and Sr. Angulo enjy a meal together.

Old friends...(in more than one sense of the word). Srs. Rex, Heyn, Daisy Bratcher from the area office, Sr. Hansen and myself enjoy a little after dinner visiting.

Presidents Castenada y Saucedo and wives get acquainted. The Castenadas are from Gomez Palacio, Durango and were dear friends to us before they were called. Nicolas served as the Stake President of the Gomez Palacio Stake before being called to serve as the President of a new mission in Villahermosa.

Sr. Velasco gives me a big hug. She is so full of love and enthusiam for the work.

We got one day off to sight-see. Everyone traveled by bus to the ruins of Uxmal. It was fascinating and also very HOT. Afterward, we visited a museum in Merida.

Bruce and I in the courtyard of the "monjas".

Pyramids and structures can be seen in every direction. There are still many covered with dense jungle in the distance.

Our fearless leaders atop one of the pyramids we were allowed to climb.

Elder Benjamin De Hoyas, President Daniel Johnson, and Elder Octovio Tenario

An ancient pyramid!

Serpents were a common decoration.

Only iguanas live there now.

Basquing in the sun.

Back in Merida, President Clark met a "Dare" officer and had to have his photo taken with him as he served on the board of "McGruff and Dare" before coming on the mission. We sent this photo to the founder of the program to show her that her efforts to keep kids safe had spread to Mexico.

President Steven and Sr. Sherilyn Rex from Laketown, Idaho are serving in Puebla, Mexico

President Pete and Sr. JoElla Hansen from California are the presidents in Veracruz, Mexico

President and Sr. De La Cruz

They have family in Torreon and lived there before their missionary service.

President and Sr. Velasco

Our generation of wives...L to R: Hermanas Velasco, Hansen, Clark, De La Cruz, Rex, Nancollas, Heyn

The Presidents from our generation: L to R:Clark, Hansen, Velasco, Rex, Heyn, DeLaCruz, Nancollas

Our last time all together!

President Hansen and President Clark sharing ideas and frustrations.

Presidents Rex, Hansen, Heyn, and Clark
It was a great seminar and we will miss these fine people.

September 2010

The August Change lasts till the end of September
There's never a dull moment at the mission home. Look what the CCM in Mexico City sent to us...7 wonderful native missionaries all ready to preach the gospel to the people of our mission area. They arrived at 2:30 in the afternoon so we fed them, interviewed them,and sent them to work with the elders in the areas near the mission home with the companionships already serving here. That evening, we went to the airport to pick up 7 North Americans to join them and we had a great evening of visiting and eating. The next day woud be the change meeting. (luckily, there are exactly 14 beds in the casita behind our home so everyone had a place and hopefully they slept.) Shown here: Elders Juarez, Davila, Avila, Garcia, Curiel, Duran and Ramirez. Gifts from the north...Elders Harman, Butterfield, Rasmussen, Holder, Alexander, Lunt, and Myers.
A week later we got word that Hermana Mamani from Peru, had received her visa and would be with us on Saturday night. She is a delightful sister and ready to serve. Here she is shown in front of her assigned apartment in Madero where she would serve with Hermanas Lopez and Garcia.
We then got notification that 5 more missionaries from North America had received their visas and when would we like them to arrive? We were in Merida all week for the mission president's seminar so we arranged for our assistants to pick them up at the airport Friday night at 8:40 and we flew in at 11:40 and the next morning we all enjoyed breakfast in the mission home together! Here are Elders Gollner (Canada), Wahl, Ogden, Bickmore, and Young.

A week later we got word that the 4 missionaries who had entered the MTC on May 19th had finally received their visas. They had been temporarily assigned to the Salt Lake City Mission so that they could work while waiting for their clearance. Here are the famous lost missionaries...Elders Lyon, Belnap, Burgin, and Scothorne. We are still missing Elder Lambert who should have arrived with the earlier groups. Hopefully we will have word of his arrival soon and our change of August which lasted till the end of September will be complete.

Welcome to the Torreon Mexico Mission--one and all!

August 2010--the change of all changes!

The month of August brought the necessity to send 19 seasoned missionaries to their homes to begin their lives "after mission". Because many of them had school committments, we sent them home in 3 groups so that they would not lose a full semester. Below, Elders Sanchez and Hurtado pose at the Torreon airport on the morning of their flights. They returned to their homes on August 2. On August 15-16, we enjoyed the brief company of our second August group who were returning to school which started August 26-29th. Here, Elders Porter and Hernandez Sanchez have one last photo taken with their companion Elder Martinez.
Elders Galvan and Heffernan goof around as they say goodbye to their companion, Elder Knowles.

Elder Benson was surprized by a visit from this family that he baptized in his first ward in Torreon. They are still strong members of the church and "how great is their joy".

The second group of August--10 in total, in their group photo. Elder Robinson, top right, was there as an assistant but he would also return in two weeks. B: Elders Martinez, Sorensen, Torgerson, Phillips, Robinson. F: Knowles, Benson, Galt, Harris, Atwood, Moynihan.

The third group left us on August 29th. They were either returning to work and save money for school or their school start dates fell later in September. Here Elder DeOlarte says goodbye to Elder Stevens. You can just see the love that they have for one another because they served the Lord and the people of Matamoros together.

The family Morales comes to say a last goodbye to Elders Richardson, Shepherd, Maldonado and Jimenez. We got a note from Elder Jimenez a week later saying he had been called to serve as 2nd counselor in the bishopric in his home ward! He didn't have a break, just a change of venue.

The group from areas Nazas and Industrial pose with the brother who brought them to the mission home: Elders Carrillo, Mills, & Beltran say goodbye to Elder Maldonado.

Group 3 at the Cena de Despidida...L to R:Maldonado, Jimenez, Richardson, Shepherd, Pdte. Clark, Kober, Robinson, Blanco and Stevens. In the background you can see the maps of Mexico and the United States that I recently made. They hold the photos of each missionary who has served in our mission since we came. They will be a wonderful keepsake for after the mission.

Group shot: B: Elders Jimenez, Stevens, Kober, Robinson, and Richardson. F: Elders Blanco (Peru), Maldonado, and Shepherd.

The next post will tell of the 24 new missionaries we received in 5 separate groups in September. These last two months have been challenging and full of change to say the least.