Thursday, April 28, 2011

Surprise seminar in Cuernavaca--April 2011

Seminar in Cocoyoc

All the mission presidents in Mexico (23, soon to be 24) have a twice yearly meeting to share new information and be rejuvenated spiritually for the next six months. This year, the wives were invited to the spring meeting as the Area Presidency announced some exciting changes which involve the assigning of trainers for new missionaries. The meeting was held over the mountain to the south of Mexico City in an area called Cocoyoc. The property used to be a sugar plantation and was built in the 1600's. It was turned into a hotel property and has been beautifully maintained. Although the meetings took the majority of our time, just being with the other presidents and wives made the trip a pleasant change of pace and rejuvenated our spirits.

Hotel Hacienda Cocoyoc is in the state of Morelos near Cuernavaca. This area is called the land of eternal springtime so here is a sample of the flower beds in bloom in April.

One of the plantation buildings which has been turned into a banquet hall.

President Clark stands under a stone archway covered with the roots of a very old tree.

Muscle Man!

Just wishing we had the time to enjoy one of three pools...

We had most of our meals out doors. Here are the Villareals who serve in Mexico City and the Castenedas, who serve in Villahermosa. President and Sr. Casteneda are originally from our mission area. He was released as president of the Gomez Palacio Stake so that he could serve as a mission president.

President and Sr. Rex from the Puebla Mission

Our Area President and wife, President Daniel and Leann Johnson.

Sr. Hansen (Veracruz) and Sr. Heyn (Tijuana)

A view of the inside of the banquet hall.

The outgoing generation of mission presidents and wives together one last time. We will all return home in July. We are missing President and Sr. De La Cruz who spent the night in the hospital because of a worrisome chest pain. They are pictured below. (all is well)

Left to Right: Clarks (Torreon), Heyns(Tijuana), Nancollas (Mexico City North), Hansens (Veracruz) Rex (Puebla), and Velazco (Tuxtla-Gutierrez).

President and Sr. De La Cruz (Oaxaca)

Presidents Velazco, Heyn, and Clark, visit President De La Cruz to give him a blessing and bring him back to the hotel so that they can catch their flight to Oaxaca.

Here we are in front of the beautiful waterfall. Now it's time to get back to work, finding, teaching, baptizing, and building men out of 18-26 year old missionaries. It is a joyful work but it is work.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

March 2011 Changes

This photo should be at the end of this segment but my blogging skills are less than perfect so I'll just say that this is what an excited new missionary looks like. Elder Rodrigo Rodriguez was the last of the 16 missionary we received during a very long day in March. We got up at 4 a.m. to prepare to be at the airport at 5:00 so that our outgoing missionaries could catch their planes at 6. Elder Rodriguez arrived that same night at 11:30 so it was a long day but well worth it as these missionaries are going to be great.

This is what some of our North Americans always want to do when they enter the mission home...lay on the carpet. Most of the homes in our area have tile or cement floors so this is a simple pleasure that Elder Adams, Elder Abbot, and Elder Jones enjoyed on their last Sunday in the mission. Some of the members from Barrio San Luis brought Elder Chatu to the mission home and posed for one last photo together before his return the following day.

On the Sunday of change weekend, the returning missionaries come to the mission home during the afternoon to have their final interviews with President Clark, to weigh their luggage, and to visit and share mission stories. Some haven't seen the rest of their group for many months, some not at all, depending for their assignments. After the interviews, we enjoy a lasagna dinner together and then have a testimony meeting so they can share with each other the wonderful, faith building experiences they have enjoyed. It is a bitter sweet reunion.

Elder Chatu and Elder Morales enjoy a little Torreon sunshine for the last time.

Our office staff and their replacements pose behind the rose garden at the mission home.

Left to right: Elder Payzant, financial secretary, Elder Welch, new assistent, Elder Robb, former assistent, Elder Gutierrez, current assistant, Elder Young, membership secretary, Elder Castellanos, former secretary of the mission, Elder Juarez, new secretary of the mission, Elder Wahl, missionary returning home for knee surgery. He has been helping out in the office while waiting for his travel.

Nine of the best...Back: Elder Adams, Elder Abbot, Elder Gallegos, Elder Franco, Elder Weyland, Elder Chatu. Front: Elder Robb, Elder Morales, and Elder Jones. We miss them a lot.

Monday morning we put 9 missionaries on planes and were blessed to receive these three outstanding young men from the Missionary Training Center in Mexico City. L to R: Elder Gomar, Elder Canul, and Elder Gil.

B: Elders Carter, Seiter, Peterson, and Strong.

M: Elders Porter, Jensen, Olea, and Orr,

F: Elders Kennedy, Sorenson, Perry and Pack

I know a lot of US moms have been checking this blog daily to see their sons photos appear after their arrival from the MTC in Provo. It is hard to believe that they all received their visas on time and were able to join us Monday evening. We all ate a bit of dinner and hit the sack so that we could hit the ground running the next morning. It was a challenge to get everyone processed and ready to meet their trainers by the 2:00 meeting but things went like clockwork and all are happily serving in their first areas.

We are now in the process of visiting all the zones in the mission and doing interviews and we are pleased that all are doing so well.