Thursday, August 14, 2014

Little Missionaries to Be:)

We are loving this opportunity to serve the Lord!  We are stretching and growing and are continually amazed at how the Lord guides and sustains us.

Every once in awhile - okay, maybe every day - our hearts turn to our families at home.  Here is a peek at the most recent pics of most of our little ones:)

Little Miss Eva - 2 years old! Going on "vacation!
She got to attend her cousins "Frozen" party!

Happy little Daphne - 8 months old!

First day of school for Calvin and Paige (in center).  Jack's okay with it but Mae's not too sure.

Let's see - should she sunbathe?
Or visit the dentist??

First day of preschool for 3 year old Apollo and Adonis!  Double trouble??!!

Mom & Dad say Clark can holler up a storm - I don't believe it!
Look how precious and innocent he is:)

Handsome little Noah - 4 years old in another month!

Buddy is all smiles with his ball and his swimsuit!
Gus has an innocent smile - but notice the giant squirtgun!

Our Fisher family is fishing!  Claire, Grant, Nolan, Tess and Dad!!

We are missing some recent pics of our 7 Bluth/Allen kiddos - soon to come, I am sure:)


Bienvenidos to 30 new Missionaries!

Tuesday, August 12th - one long, intense, sad, happy, nervous, exciting day - for ALL of us!!
A little view of OUR schedule today:
7 AM - meet at airport to help 30 missionaries check in - take photos - say goodbye.  Last flight for                    
them leaves at 9:25.
9:50 AM - greet 29 new missionaries - flying in from the MTCs in Mexico City and Santiago.  The 30th one arrived later in the afternoon, flying in from Provo.
Group photos, gather a gazillion pieces of luggage, load the bus, head to the mission office.
11 AM - 1:30 PM - Welcome, introductions, training, discuss finance, visa and health issues, have them write a quick letter home to be mailed later with photos with us, have them email home to let the families know of their safe arrival.  All of this times 30, while President Bluth is interviewing each one to determine the companions who will train them, and their sectors to serve in.
1:30 - head for the mission home for their first almuerzo here!  Photo session with each one!
4 PM - back to mission office - Pres. continues interviews, and visa photos are taken.  More training and emailing.  Begin taking ones who are finished to the hotel for the night - a welcome thing after traveling for the last 24 hours!!!  Trying to keep them awake for training was tricky!
7:30 - last interviews completed, last group to hotel, pizzas brought in for them - and goodnight!!
9 PM - Pres. & I back to the mission home to make final placement and type up assignment list for the morning.  Easier said than done, by the way!  Are we tired yet??

Here we are at the airport with 27 brand new, very tired, somewhat apprehensive, greatly excited, and extremely dedicated MISSIONARIES!!!  One companionship must have been in the restroom, and the last Hermana flew in at 2:30.

Almuerzo for 40 today, since we invited the office staff!  Ingrid was on her own, since I was with the group all day.  I don't know how she does it all!!  She fixed chicken enchiladas, chips and guacamole, spanish rice, refried beans, chicken chimis, and brownies and ice cream.  What a fantastic first feast!!!  Dishwashing for 40, anyone??

THE NEXT MORNING - the new trainers for these 30 received instruction from the APS and Pres. Bluth.  The bus brought the new ones to this little chapel and we fixed sack lunches for them to take to their new "homes" - most of them needing to ride the bus - some for 5 or 6 hours to the south!

Everyone was anxious to find out who their companions would be and where they would be going!

Assignments made, happy faces, time to gather luggage and head for the bus station!
Trainers are the greatest!

And off they go!

One last time as a group and then -
a little walk to the bus terminal - maybe a half mile away.

Delivering a few oversized bags to the Hermanas at the terminal, and trying to find who left a few things behind.  Once a mom, always a mom!!

Do we really do all of this again every 6 weeks?!?!?

Vaya con Dios, Misioneros!

On Tuesday, August 12th, we said good bye to 30 incredible missionaries.  And not without a few tears, even though we have only been with them for 6 weeks.  President had a departing interview with each one - half of them Sunday evening, the other half Monday morning.  Then they all came here to the mission home on Monday afternoon for their final almuerzo.  I had been helping Ingrid get ready all morning.  It was a delicious meal - lasagna, salad, freshly baked bread, and banana splits for dessert!  Ingrid is amazing, have I mentioned that?

Here's what almuerzo for 34 looks like in the mission home. (Pres. is sitting at the head)

Missionaries as far as the eye can see!!!

After all were finished eating, we gathered in the living room with chairs everywhere, and had such a powerful testimony meeting.  These young people are now between 20 and 26 years old - still very young!  And yet they have dedicated their lives for the last 1 1/2 to 2 years to the Lord and His work.  They have sacrificed most of what is normal at this age - college, driving cars, dating, movies, music, computers, smart phones, iPads, etc.  They have lived in sub par conditions.  They have learned a new culture and a new language.  They have walked their legs off - no bikes in this mission!  They have been bitten by dogs and had rabies shots and have been cursed with fleas.  They have eaten strange food on a regular basis - often food they don't like!  They have been rejected and made fun of.   They have survived with the Lord by their side and have felt His love for them.  They have learned to love others more than themselves.  They have prayed and fasted and studied and planned harder and longer than most people do in their entire lives!  They have rejoiced as previous strangers have recognized the truth of the gospel and have accepted Christ as their Savior and Redeemer.  Their hearts have changed and they are not the same as when they came, nor will they ever be.  They are standing on solid ground, spiritually.  We felt privileged to bear witness to their growth.  We almost hate to send them back into the world and it's evils, and yet, these young people are the promise and hope of the future - of the church, of society, and ultimately of the world.   After each had expressed their testimonies for a few minutes, we knelt in prayer together one last time.  

And then there was major photo taking!  A big group picture and then 30 different photos of Pres. & I with each one individually - and lots of different cameras:).   Once the photos were finished, Pres. had a few more interviews to do, and the APs and office elders started transporting small groups to the Holiday Inn Express for a clean, soft bed to sleep in and a glorious warm shower in the morning before departing for the airport!

Our first departing missionaries - can you see how amazing they are?!

At the airport, Tuesday morning.  The North Americans left a little ahead - but they were all heading for Santiago and a long awaited opportunity to attend the temple there.  We don't have a temple yet here in Concepcion.  One has been announced, but no groundbreaking yet.  

Our great Latin missionaries!  Meeting with the others in Santiago for their temple trip, then heading for Peru, Columbia, Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador, and Mexico!

The Photographers:)!!


Cambio is the word for "change" in spanish.  We all know that there is nothing as sure as change in life, and that definitely applies to mission life, as well!

Every six weeks we have "cambios", or transfers.  A group of missionaries who have completed their mission service (2 years for the elders and 18 months for the hermanas) depart for their homes, and a group of brand new, fresh from the MTC (Missionary Training Center) arrives to begin their service!
Also, much of the mission is shuffled around to give the missionaries opportunities in leadership, and for serving in different areas.

Right now we have 111 companionships(2 elders or hermanas serving together in a specified zone and sector).  One of our companionships is a trio since we currently have an odd number of elders.  Then there is our indispensible senior office couple, the Pendleys, and ourselves, which brings us to 227 missionaries!  That is a lot of planning every six weeks!!!

Here is President with our two APs (Assistants to the President).  They are such fine young men and their help is invaluable!  Behind them you see "the board" - with all the companionships, zones and sectors.  Their job is to help their President to know the areas and the missionaries.  And then there is much prayer, concern, and inspiration involved to make the changes.  There were many, many hours involved! (sorry - another fuzzy photo!)

Here is a basic map of Chile and her surrounding countries.  We are located where you see the circular logo - about in the middle of the country.  Up in the north - Antofagasta - is desert, and down in the southern tip is penguin country!  We have the "just right" kind of weather!  A few seasons, a little cold, a little warmth.  Lucky us!

And here is a map of our mission area, more or less.  You can see the main cities.  We live in Concepcion, which is outside of our mission.  The river runs southeast from Conce.  Los Angeles, Angol, Lebu, Temuco - these are all of the larger cities in our mission, which is why we end up doing so much traveling.  Where the map turns brown to the east is Argentina!
This is our Mission logo.  The circular nature of it indicates the eternal nature of the gospel truths and their impact on the people who embrace it.  The standing figure represents Nephi - son of Lehi.  His writings begin the Book of Mormon, and he is an incredible hero and example of obedience and righteousness!  The words beneath his feet are from his own words in 1 Nephi 3:7.  Ire = "I will go".  Hare = "I will do" . . .the things which the Lord commands.  Sere = striving to become like Christ.  The background is a representation of the flag of Chile, and the trees are the ones found in this part of the country - the endangered and protected araucaria araucana - or monkey puzzle trees.  A tall Chilean pine.
A very strong logo for a magnificent mission! 

Entrevista Treats!

 Entrevista is the spanish word for interview, and every 12 weeks, President Bluth has an entrevista with every one of the 225 missionaries in the mission!  I decided to participate by baking a special treat for their post-entrevista enjoyment.  I had to be creative since you can't get Crisco, brown sugar, or good chocolate chips down here - that cancelled out the chocolate chip cookies.  What to do?  Homemade oreos!!  Here's the process:

Cake mix chocolate cookies - messy but easy:)

Let them cool and whip up some cream cheese frosting.  They DO have cream cheese and powdered sugar!

Put them together and what have you got?  Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Oreos!  A taste of home for the North Americans and a new treat for the Latins.  Now, to wrap them individually and freeze them to take as we travel to the different zones.
Only 200 more to go!

Ward Talent Show!

Friday, August 8th - the ward we actually belong to, which is the San Pedro Ward, had a talent show! The Latins are passionate about their music and the entertainment was fun.  Turns out, some of our missionaries are also passionate musicians:)!

Sorry for the blurry iPhone photo, but you get the picture:).  From left to right - Elder A, Elder T, Elder H, and Elder P - performing The Sounds of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel.  They were superbueno!  Love the makeshift drum by Elder A, and the maraca (a coke can filled with something noisy) by Elder P.  Whatever - it worked and the crowd loved it!  Elder T is great on the guitar and he and Elder H did the vocals.  Great job, elders!

And here are four of our wonderful Hermanas - Hna. A, Hna. S, Hna. M, and Hna. B.  They sang a beautiful song in Spanish and I didn't catch the title - they were a hit!  

Missionary life:)

Lothaire was traveling south and popped in on a couple of the elders in Angol.

When Elder G and Elder A heard that President Bluth was stopping by they had a quick cleanup project!  This is how garbage is put out for pick up in many of the areas.  It helps to keep the dogs from spreading it everywhere!

And here they are, inside of their apartment - organized and hard at work!  We have such awesome missionaries!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sunday at Boca Sur

Today was Sunday, August 3rd, and we chose to go visit the ward called Boca de la Costa, referred to as Boca Sur by the missionaries.  It was a beautiful experience!

Here is Lothaire with some of the members of the ward - a chilly morning in Chile!

And here are our two Elders trying to get the gate open so that we can all go in!

We did finally all make it in and were so warmly welcomed by the members of this little ward.  It was fast and testimony meeting and there was not a moment that the pulpit wasn't occupied.  These sweet people are so humble and grateful for the blessings of the gospel in their lives.  A new member was confirmed today, and Elder C (the one not on the phone) had the great privilege of giving a name and a blessing to a little baby.  He is only 19, but has such a strong, mature spirit.  It was a beautiful thing to witness the Priesthood in action.  I often wish that the parents of these incredible missionaries could see their sons and daughters in action.  They would be so proud of them!

Gotta love Pdays (when you can get them)!

Preparation days (Pdays) are ideally supposed to come every Saturday for us as Mission Presidents - Mondays for our missionaries.  For us, there are often other commitments to fulfill, so when an open Saturday presents itself we have fun with it for a few hours!

We found Mexican food in Chile!  
And it was GREAT!  They love to put eggs on everything:).  On my plate is a yummy chicken flauta!  The yellow spots are corn - they also love to put corn in everything:)
We are at the airport mall here - still trying to find a few things to complete the home decor.  And still waiting for our shipment from home to arrive.  It will be like Christmas for us!!!