Called To Serve

"CALLED TO SERVE"

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

WE LOVE OUR MISSIONARIES!


ZONE CONFERENCES!

Perhaps one of the reasons I am neglectful in regularly posting on this blog is because I am not with ALL of the missionaries very often!  When I go to blog, I realize that I don't have pictures to post, even though things are going well and everyone is working hard!   So...today, I want to take advantage of the fact that I just spent a wonderful week with ALL of our missionaries!  This past week was dedicated to zone conferences.  We have six zones so we had two zones meet together on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  We have zone conferences every three months.  We have tried to capture the great week we had as we met with each zone!  Perhaps this post may seem long to some, but, at least, for the "moms" of the missionaries, we hope you can find your missionary somewhere in these pictures and enjoy some special moments with us! 

GATHERING TOGETHER

Here are some of our missionaries as they began gathering for a day's worth of meetings at zone conference.







We appreciate those missionaries who are able to share their talents with us.  Here is one of our missionaries playing prelude music as the missionaries gather for zone conference.
Another one of our talented missionaries playing prelude at one of the zone conferences.  I will never forget this elder.  From the day he stepped off of the plane and we learned that he played the piano,  we began having him play for us.  His mother can be happy to know that those many hours of making him practice the piano has certainly paid off here.  He has been put to good use wherever he has served!
Here is another one of our talented pianists.  Prior to the start of this zone conference, several elders couldn't help but gather around and listen to  this elder to play some of his beautiful church prelude music.

DEMONSTRATIONS AND RECOGNITIONS

We are teaching our missionaries at each conference the things that they can do to become not only  "extraordinary" missionaries but "extraordinary" people.  We talked about the importance of eating healthy.   I am demonstrating how they can make an egg in just one minute!  We gave them each a bowl so they could make these 1 minute eggs in their apartments.


 This is one of our assistants teaching the missionaries how to make a healthy,  inexpensive drink, using oatmeal, milk, yogurt, and a banana.  The great thing about this drink is that there are many variations, depending on what's in the house, and it is quick and easy to make! 
Another thing we emphasized in becoming an extraordinary missionary is to keep your apartments clean.  These three elders standing were among the 18 missionaries recognized over the course of the week for having received "10 excellence" in their house cleaning assignments.
These missionaries were among the many recognized at each of the three conferences for having no dirty dishes in their sinks when they left home that morning to attend conference!  A fruit roll-up can go a long way in encouraging missionaries to keep their places clean!!

Another program we are encouraging in becoming an "extraordinary missionary" is to learn a second language.  Of course, the Americans will have to work hard, but they will learn Spanish easier than someone will learn Enghlish, given that they are serving in Mexico.   But, we have a daily program where the English and Spanish speakers can work on their second language with their companions.  These are two elders being recognized for having completed their first grammar book in English!  Yeah!  Good for them!



BIRTHDAY BASKET!



We like to recognize those who will have birthdays during the upcoming three months.  I spent lots of time making and freezing big brownies and mini banana bread loaves.  They could each choose one from the birthday basket.  This is the group of birthday missionaries from our first zone conference.

These are the birthdays being celebrated from our second day's zone conference.  Please note on the table in front of them, the bowls that we gave them for their 1 minute eggs!  Also, sitting on that table is a bottle of vitamins for each missionary to take with them, as well as a small bottle of hand sanitizer to keep in their back packs.  These are all things we talked about during the zone conference, on how to be an "extraordinary missionary."

Our last group of missionaries being recognized for their upcoming birthdays over the course of the next three months.



TEACHING


The president takes several hours during zone conference to train the missionaries on how to be better teachers.  Here he is demonstrating something to the missionaries with one of the sister missionaries.



BREAK TIME!

After three hours of sitting, a break was very much welcomed!!  The peanut butter pretzels, miniature candy bars, and juices went fast!  Finding hungry missionaries is NEVER a problem!




The hermanas were a little more civil when they got their snack.  They quietly went and got what they wanted, then off to a quiet spot to eat!  I couldn't help but capture the difference between 20 year old sisters and 20 year old elders!  We love them BOTH!!


LA COMIDA PREPARATION
The zone conferences are from 10:00 AM -3:00 PM.  After a wonderful day of being spiritually fed, we had to nourish them physically as well!  Here are our office secretaries hard at work!  These missionaries are called to serve in the office for several months at a time, then they rotate back out into the field to teach.  While in the office they are responsible for making sure the missionaries stay current on their visa status, they are responsible for handling any of the financial concerns of the mission, and ordering all of the mission materials.  This is just the beginning of their many assignments, not to mention assisting me at our big functions where we serve food!  Here they are preparing pulled pork to serve the hungry missionaries.  Over the course of 3 days we served approximately 300 sandwiches, along with several side dishes, dessert, and drink!  We had 157  hungry missionaries to feed during the week, along with the president, two assistants,  3 secretaries, and myself.  Mission accomplished!

By the time the second day came along, these elders were really getting into it!!  I turned at one point, only to see them dancing as they were mixing and pouring!  Gotta love 'em!!

Having just served 57 missionaries in record time,  here we are putting out seconds for everyone!  We KNEW they would be back!!

CAPTURING SOME MEMORIES DURING LA COMIDA BEFORE THEY HEADED BACK OUT TO THEIR AREAS TO BEGIN AN EVENING OF TEACHING!































Hanging out in the kitchen after eating, trying to finish off ANYTHING they could find to eat!










La Paz and La Libertad Zones

Amalucan and Fuertes Zones

Chiautempan and Tlaxcala Zones

SAYING GOODBYE FOR THREE MORE MONTHS

Our missionaries love to gather every three months to see each other.  They get to meet up with past companions.  They get to see companions they had while in the language training centers prior to coming on their missions.  It's a nice break from their daily routines but they are always ready, eager, and willing to get back to work!

Here is one of our two darling senior couples.  They have been called to serve for 18 months, coming from Texas.  They are also ready to leave after a day's worth of meetings to get back to work!

FINISHERS WANTED!!  Capturing some of our missionaries at one of the zone conferences, staying until everything was cleaned up!  I am so impressed!  These are not the only ones who did this.  This was the only time I happened to be in the right place at the right time with my camera.  But, we have some great missionaries who are always looking for ways to serve!  They show up early and are the last ones to leave, only with the intention to offer any help that might be needed!!  Thank you to the parents who taught them well!
This says it all!  It was a great week of zone conferences, but after repeating the same things for six hours, three days in a row, it can be exhausting.  After returning back to the mission home, after our last zone conference, the secretaries, the assistants,  and my husband all crashed on the couch!  I was right there with them, but had to muster up enough energy to take this picture.  I thought it was a priceless picture!  Take a few minutes to rest because it is now time to get started on our next transfers!  We have 17 new missionaries that we will greet in a week!  Lots to do to get ready for them.


CONSEJO DE LIDERAZGOS 

Prior to Zone Conferences, we had our monthly Leadership Council meeting at our house.  Because I had so much food  to prepare for Zone Conferences,   I was running out of time as well as space in my refrigerators and freezers.  So, instead of preparing a nice cooked breakfast for our leaders, as I usually do, I decided to serve cold cereals, yogurt, fruit, and muffins.  Here's the group, excited to have a nice selection of cereal to choose from.  They were good sports to let me get away with serving them this for breakfast!! 


At the end of the day, after lots of training and lots of eating, we posed for a "serious" picture.  When we were done with our "serious" shot, someone requested a "silly" picture!  How much sillier can one get when we are dressed in white shirts and ties, and skirts?  What a great group of leaders we have!


At our last couple of leadership councils, we have enjoyed a few of our missionaries sharing their talents.  This first elder that will sing was in a Marache band before he came on his mission.  He has a beautiful and powerful voice.  He leaves to go home in November.  We will certainly miss his singing as well as him.  He is a very special missionary!  

The second one that you view is one of our first missionaries who arrived in the field after we arrived.  In fact, while we were at the MTC for a Mission President's Seminar, we got to meet him and several others that would be coming out to our mission soon after our arrival!  On this particular day, while waiting for our dinner to finish baking in the oven, this elder was begged to do his impersonation of Michael Jackson.  Who knew such talent existed?  We look forward to discovering other talented missionaries over the course of the next two years!

(Hopefully, when this is sent, it will work!  Sorry, if it doesn't!) 





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HOSPITAL VISITS
We feel very fortunate that a trip to the hospital is not very routine.  But, we also feel grateful for a nice hospital that is no more than 7 minutes away from our home.  When missionaries have ended up in the hospital for various stomach issues, usually, we are able to get over there right away, assess the situation, and visit with them.  We are happy to annonuce that these missionaries are back at work and doing great! 










No...this elder didn't end up in the hospital, but we didn't want to leave him out!  He injured his shoulder while playing fĂștbol on P-day!  We are happy that he didn't end up in the hospital, nor did he have to be sent home for surgery!

Tis A Gift To Be Simple

This past Sunday, my husband was asked to speak at church in one of our three small branches in our mission.  This particular branch is about 2 1/2 hours north of where the mission house is.  Although we don't get up there as often as we would like, we try to make our way up to the various branches on a regular basis.  As I sat there in church this past Sunday, I couldn't help but get a little teary-eyed as I watched our dear missionaries in this branch.  They are tucked far away in a tiny little pueblo.  It is easy to be forgotten up there, yet, that doesn't matter to them.  They are great missionaries and they will do the work that they came to do, whether being watched or not!  That is the sign of great missionaries... "extraordinary" missionaries...I might add!!! 

When we first arrived over a year ago, this little branch struggled and on a good day they would probably have 15 people come to church and the people would show up late.   This past week there were probably 45 people there and when we walked in 15 minutes before the meeting was to start, the majority of them were sitting in their seats listening to prelude music and eagerly waiting for Sacrament meeting to begin.  We were sooooo impressed and very touched.  This is to the credit of some great missionaries that have diligently served up there over this last year!  

One of the things that touched me was watching one of our missionaries play the "piano."  A year ago, there was no such thing as prelude music!  During this past year, since we have been attending, we have seen several things evolve.  For example, the missionaries have taught them to come on time to meetings.  Also, there was a time when we sang without any music in Sacrament meetings.  There was no music, other than our voices!  Then, one of the elders started playing music on CD's which we would listen to for prelude, then sing to them during the meeting as a congregation. THIS TIME, they had a KEYBOARD!  The elder playing the music knows enough music to play with one finger and that's what he was doing!  I looked at the music he was reading.  He had made his own copy of music writing out a singe melody line for him to play.  It touched my heart!!  And, there sat the people listening reverently!  I simply HAD to re-enact the scene upon arrival, after church was over! 

Yes, life is simple up there, yet not easy!  The simplicity of the prelude music said it all that day!  What a contrast from the time when we first started attending that branch!  One little step at a time will one day create a beautiful harmony in the Chignahuapan Branch!   THANKS TO SUCH GREAT MISSIONARIES who are teaching and training the future of the church in that little, remote area! 

This sweet elder had taken the time to write out the hymns that would be sung during the day in his notebook.  He played them for prelude music, then we enjoyed singing together as he played with one finger.  I was truly impressed!

The Hermana leading the singing is one of our senior missionaries.  She and her husband have been asked to serve in this branch.  Her husband has been called, under the direction of my husband, to be the branch president.  The missionary in the seat behind the podium conducted Sacrament meeting that day, while his companion at the keyboard, played the "piano."  These two have both been called as counselors in this branch presidency.


What a pleasure it is to serve with all of these missionaries!  Whether in the branches or in the city, they are working hard!  WE LOVE OUR MISSIONARIES!!














































































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