Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The First Month

There aren't many words that I may use to describe our lives since arriving in Texas.  We laugh because we thought that we were busy before arriving, however, B-U-S-Y is the only word that can explain the pace that our lives have taken on.  Here are some of the things that we have been doing:

1.  "Meet the President Tour" and missionary interviews: After the whirlwind introduction that we received into the mission, we were finally able to tour the mission and meet each and every missionary.  We traveled to each zone and we introduced ourselves by showing a presentation about our family and some of the things that we enjoy doing. Each of our children had been videotaped sharing their  thoughts about their parents and advice that they would give to missionaries serving with us.
   We then gave the first of the eight special training lessons that were introduced to us while at the Mission President's Seminar.  This first lesson is about teaching the Doctrine of Christ.  The missionaries loved the new Preach My Gospel DVD's that were introduced and immediately started to apply the lessons into their teaching.

 One missionary wrote:  "The changes in the mission are pretty exciting.  I look forward to trying the new ideas given by the Quorum of the Twelve.  Well, our area saw a lot of baptismal dates this past week, I think a lot of it had to do with the training... After that we found a way to simply and clearly teach about baptism and then we asked the people if they would like these blessings in their lives, many people have said 'yes'. As a result, we have 11 baptismal dates. The best part is a lot of those people with a date have been taught many times so they are prepared."

Another missionary: "We are grateful for the training we were given the day of interviews. We applied the principles that very same day in our teaching with one of our investigators that had doubts about baptism.  As we followed the spirit and used scriptures, he realized that he already knew everything in his heart. He was baptized yesterday.. .. It has always touched my heart in the scripture in D&C 50 when it says that the preacher and the one that is learning rejoice together--- this is what we want to do in our zone."

After the "Meet the President" meeting, President Trayner interviewed each missionary
while I took time to informally chat with them and get to know them. I respect and love each one of them! This tour took us two weeks to complete.

   Some pictures we took as we made our first mission tour:

Loredo Zone

McAllen Zone

Sinton Zone

Harlingen Zone

Brownsville Zone

Corpus Christi Zone

So I see that I'm missing pictures of the Mission Zone.  Hopefully, I'll locate it and get it posted as well!

2. Moving in: Our boxes of belongings finally arrived from South Jordan. I enlisted the help of some very helpful and willing missionaries to rearrange furniture... I couldn't help but do it.... it's the Interior Designer in me!

3.  Youth Conferences:  In one weekend, we had the opportunity to speak at two Youth Conferences.  One in McAllen and one at  a lake in Laredo.

Laredo Youth Conference

Not a great picture, but this is a Pulga (flee market) in Laredo

4.  Baptisms: We have attended a baptism nearly every week since we arrived.  The first was of the Sanchez family.  A family of five, with three old enough for baptism.  We understand that the father of the family received the priesthood last week.  We also saw the baptisms of three youth from one family and the baptism one young adult.

5.  Four day training in Corpus Christi:  President and I took time during these trainings to observe missionaries in planning sessions and to go out and proselyte with them in the evening.  They wore us out! Here are more comments from the missionaries about these new lessons that emphasis how to become a better teacher of the gospel while using the Preach My Gospel manual:

"The biggest help that I learned at the conference was learning how to truly receive spiritual revelation during the lessons. The role plays helped out so much with that.  Also, I learned when to end lessons correctly and have the spirit strong as we end.... Using the gift of discernment really will help our investigators needs, and already this week I saw it helping our lessons being directed to the needs of our investigators.  It really will be a big help in every lesson."

"Whew- this past week was very exhausting, but very rewarding as I learned a lot about how I can make my teaching much more effective.... I learned more about how the conversion process works and I received a lot of revelation about what I can do to better my teaching and be more effective. I really saw the blessings from focusing more on the spirit as we had  G_____, S_______, and R_____ come to church this Sunday.  I know that focusing more on the spirit will bring the spirit more into my lessons which in turn will help my investigators become converted to the restored Gospel."

6.  Incoming Missionaries:  We were so happy to welcome our first group of missionaries to our mission.  We had already met most of them at the MTC and we have been anxious for their arrival ever since. I have called them my "babies."  My husband explains that all the other missionaries already here were "adopted" into our family, but these new fifteen missionaries are our babies.  Because they are our first, they will always have a special spot in our hearts.  We will watch their progress with the anxiety of new parents.  Here are some pictures of their arrival:

7.  First transfers:  We watched the "organized chaos" as the first transfers took place and our new "babies" were sent out to work with their very experienced and capable trainers. Other missionaries had to move from one location to another. Here are some pictures of the chaos:

8. Out-going missionaries:  We had one of the best experiences possible when we were able to send home the first "graduates."  We had each returning missionary to dinner at our home.  They each signed our Texas longhorns and then told what they will remember most about the mission.  We finished with a testimony meeting.  Each missionary expressed how quickly their time in the mission had passed by.

  The mission office also said good-bye to Elder Clayton who had served in the office for eight months!  He was happy to be reassigned into the field, but we will miss his knowledge and help so very much!  Thanks Elder Clayton!

9.  More incoming missionaries:  We were pleased to welcome five missionaries from the MTC into the Texas McAllen Mission.  They are waiting for their visas to go to Brazil, but were anxious to be put to work with real missionaries.  Hopefully, their Portuguese will remain strong as they work with the Spanish-speaking missionaries here!  They're a great strength to us!  They were so anxious to get to work that I missed getting a group picture....

Wow... so this is my "quick" summary of what has happened in the past month.  Miracles are happening everyday.  One of the greenie missionaries had the opportunity to confirm a new member on his first Sunday here- in Spanish.  He did wonderfully!  President Trayner and I were able to attend the meeting and we are so happy for him!  Also, another greenie was able to baptize on his first Saturday here ( I understand that the convert was so overwhelmed that she fainted in the font!). 

 President Trayner is known  to frequently exclaim to the missionaries, "EXITO!" (success!)  and so are our wishes to all of you!

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