Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Training Program for New Missionaries

Training the Trainers

We had the opportunity to launch a new church-wide training program for our new missionaries this change. All the designated trainers were invited into Torreon to be with their new companions for instructions the day after our normal change meeting. This required a little creative arranging of sleeping quarters and a little extra food (ok, a lot of extra food) but after it was over, we really felt that the new missionaries would be getting a great benefit because of this new system. Each companionship with a new missionary received a curriculum for study and they will use an extra hour each day for companionship study. This will be accompanied by video instruction using the two sets of Preach My Gospel videos which are excellent. As an added bonus, they will be with their same trainer for two full changes, if circumstances allow. Below are photos of the before and after of our training luncheon. The table is ready for hungry missionaries.
Now this is a pot of a lot of hot dogs!

Condiments, anyone?

The calm before the storm.

Chow time. Elders Welch, Diaz, Perez, and ?? digging in.

Elders Balbueno, Lopez, Aguirre, Molina, Toone, Barragan, and Lopez O.

Elders Beltran, Welch, President Clark, Elders Payzant and Edwards.

Elder Munson, Sisters Ortega and Gonzalez, Elder Jones and Elder Lopez O.

Elder Maxfield,Rasmussen, Meyers, Chavez, and Gonzalez.

Elder Lambert and his new companion, Elder Tellez.

Elder Olmedo and his trainer Elder Ellgen.

Elders Uribe, Diaz and his new companion, Elder Gutierrez. Elder Gutierrez was released as Assistant to take on the important role of trainer.

Elder Toone and Elder Andrade

This fine looking group is ready to work together to create better missionaries in the Mission Mexico Torreon.

Missionary changes in May 2011

Changes of May 2011

Changes again! It seems like the just keep coming around. With this change, we sent 10 great missionaries home to enjoy their families after their hard work, and welcomed 17 new missionaries ready to find, teach, and baptize. Below, Sr. Ortega poses with Sr. Perez who will return to Mexico City the next day. Elder Trujullo says goodbye to members and missionaries alike at the mission home. His companion, Elder Jensen, was sad to see him go. From left to right...Elder Beltran, Elder McBride, Elder Gutierrez, Elder Jensen, Elder Trujillo, Elder Poot, a member from the Alamos Ward, and Elder Welch.
Since the change fell on Mother's Day, Elders Valencia and Barragan made me a beautiful paper rose. They have talent.

Elder Martinez has been serving as a zone leader with Elder Belnap. Elder Martinez poses with his companion and says his final goodbyes.

A family of members from Latinoamericana Ward brought Elder Valencia in to the mission home. Sr. Perez was so glad to see them and visit with them as she had also served in that area during her mission time.

Elder Marin signals "Victory" He served with honor and returned home the next day. He is from Acapulco.

Elder Estrada looks up from his homework assignment for Sr. Clark. All of the missionaries write a few words that describe their mission experience and what it has meant to them. They also add their contact information so that we can keep in touch.

The Last to speak. They always enjoy their lazagna meal on the night before they go home. We have ice cream sundaes after their testimony meeting. It all makes for a special last day in the mission.

Our veteran missionaries: Back: Elder Bonfil, Elder Marin, Elder Estrada, Elder Lara, Elder Trujillo. Front: Elder Castro, Hermana Perez, Elder Martinez, Elder Pacheco, and Elder Valencia.
Elder Franklin Smith Molina arrived separate from the main group of our missionaries the next day, as he and his sister, who began her service in Guadalajara, traveled together from the MTC in Lima, Peru.

We have been greatly blessed to receive this large group of 16 strong missionaries from the MTC in Mexico City all at the same time. No North Americans will be arriving until August so we were able to interview all of them and assign their areas that day.

Front: Elder Lopez Perez, Elder Balbuena, Elder Olmedo, Hermana Gonzalez, Elder Nicio, and Elder Gonzalez. Middle: Elder Alarcon, Elder Uribe, Elder Chavez, and Elder Lopez Olguin. Back: Elder Andrade, Elder Gomez, Elder Mercado, Elder Diaz, Elder Aguirre, and Elder Tellez.

Welcome to the Mission Mexico Torreon!

Babies on the way!

We are sad to be very near the end of our mission experience but we have three very exciting events that will help us with the transition...we will receive three new grandchildren this year. Below is a photo of our daughter-in-law, Stevie who is expecting their first baby in September, our daughter, Annette, who is expecting their first baby in June, and Melanie, who is expecting baby #4 in May. Below is Annette Clark Steele at one of her baby showers. The "man of Steele" shirt is perfect for their little boy.
And on May 5th, Melanie Clark Steere delivered baby girl Taryn Kae. She weighed in at 7 lb. 8 oz. and was 19 inches long. Two more to go!Here's our beautiful daughter looking quite content to finally have her daughter here safely.
Stevie Hartmann Clark is practicing for the time when she can old her own little girl in September.
Nate Clark is thinking.."before you know it, I will be the dad of one of these little bundles. Yikes!"
Taryn Kae Steere
Taryn is growing fast and we can't wait to give her loves and welcome the other two new babies. They all join Melanie and Jared's other three children so we will double our numbers this year. Our family is being blessed greatly while we are on our mission to Mexico.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mail for missionaries...

Sending Packages to Torreon...
Hey all of you mission moms! We've learned some very interesting things about mail service over the almost three years we have been here. One important lesson that has been reinforced recently is that DHL is NOT a great way to send things to your missionary. We've had a couple of families send things through their local, friendly DHL people in the US and when they arrive at the office in Torreon, there is an added expense to receive it because of taxes and customs fees. I'm talking like $150.00 worth of taxes and customs fees. Nothing you would normally send would be worth that amount. Several packages sent through DHL have been inspected and delayed because of their contents--any quantity of the same item looks like you are trying to sell them here and they are confiscated. At times food items are regulated by a government agency and not allowed in DHL packages. Any drugs sent must have a prescription accompanying them...etc. Below is a photo of a box sent through DHL that was held up at customs, sent to several addresses and finally delivered to our office for a huge charge.

We suggest that you use the US Postal Service for your packages. They sell those boxes that you can fill with whatever weight. Those work great. They are durable and usually are not delayed at customs. (don't ask me why) We have had a few things stolen from packages by postal workers but for the most part, they come through great. I have personally received packages in 13 days. Usually it takes a little longer and plan way ahead to send things for Christmas. We got a box that was mailed from the US on Dec. 13th on Valentine's Day. Nice gift, just two months late. Remember that once the package arrives in the office, we have to take the packages to the areas of the missionaries during our zone conferences or interviews, or, the zone leaders take them out when they return to their areas after zone leader council which is once a month.

You will notice the religious stickers on these boxes. Sometimes this helps the postal workers be honest and not want to defile something of a religious nature. We do whatever we can to get those packages to our missionaries.

Address to use: Missionary name (you would be surprised to know how many letters and boxes we receive with no name on them.

Apartado Postal 792 (this goes to a post office box and our office elders pick mail up three times a week)

Torreon, Coahuila

Mexico 27000

Missionaries love mail so keep those cards and letters coming. We will do all that we can to get them to your missionaries in a timely fashion.

If you have questions, send me (Sr. Clark) an email at