Saturday, December 31, 2011

Prospero Año Nuevo...

How do you measure success in the mission field?

Number of baptisms?
Number of obedient missionaries?
Number of lessons taught?
Number of trips and visits made?
Number of days you have survived without a major meltdown?

Numbers are important.  But we are learning that saving souls does not always mean baptisms...often the souls we are saving are the very missionaries sent here to our mission.

Preach my Gospel reads:  "success... is measured primarily by your commitment..."
You know you are a successful missionary (and every member is a missionary) when:
  • You feel the spirit testify to people through you
  • Love people and desire their salvation
  • Obey with exactness
  • Live so that you can receive and know how to follow the Spirit, who will show you where to go, what to do, and what to say
  • Develop Christlike attributes
  • Work effectively every day, do your very best to bring souls to Christ, and seek earnestly to learn and improve
  • Help build up the Church wherever you are assigned to work (whatever calling you have!)
  • Warn people of the consequences of sin.  Invite them to make and keep commitments.  (sounds like the work of every parent!)
  • Teach and serve others
  • Go about doing good and serving people at every opportunity, whether or not they accept your message
May you find success this coming New Year as measured by the Lord.

Happy New Year!

saying: "goodbye"
to those finishing their
year (and a half)...

Hermanas Banzer and Rendón will be missed.  What excellent missionaries!!

saying: "welcome to the office"
to our new assistant
Elder Jamett with our new assistant Elder Belnap

Elders Razuri, Belnap, Ramirez, Alfaro, Vera, and Jamett
"The Office"
Elder Vera is our New Secretary of Materials in training!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Feliz Navidad

Some things I have learned about celebrating Christmas away from home:

1.  Christmas stockings don´t just appear on Christmas morning (although I have children who might think otherwise!)  This is the 1st Christmas in my entire life (and that is a long life!) that I have NOT had a Christmas stocking...more specifically MY Christmas stocking.  Next year I will fix that problem.

2.  Christmas miracles are real.  We were without natural gas since Monday, Dec 19 due to a break in the gas line.  The whole valley was without gas.  The showers were VERY cold and we could not use our stove which is gas.  That made preparing Christmas dinner a little tricky.  I would carry pots and ingredients to the office as there is a 2 burner electric stove top there.  I would prepare part of the food and carry it back home to finish.  The prediction was that the gas would be out until after the first of the year.  At 10am on Dec 24 the gas was turned back on...A Christmas Miracle.

3.  Some ingredients are worth paying 6 times the cost in the United States.  Having looked and asked everywhere for Karo Syrup, I was at the point of giving up when I walked into a small store and they were unloading bottles of Karo Syrup.  I want one of those!  And at 22 mil pesos a bottle it was worth the price (that is almost $12 a bottle!)  Now if I could just find canned would be worth the price, too!

4.  Some ingredients can not be substituted for in recipes.  Such as: creamed corn, real lemons, cool whip, and raspberries.  I tried...and I will not make those recipes again next year.

5.  The feeling of serving and helping someone else in need is just as sweet here as it was at home.

6. Silent Night has a different meaning here in Colombia.  There is actually nothing Silent about it.  The parties on Christmas Eve involve a lot of loud music, dancing, fireworks, gun powder explosions...all of this beginning at about midnight and going until about 4am! 

7.  Our Christmas traditions are important.  So very grateful that my children love their Christmas traditions and are carrying them on so well without us.  I missed some key traditions of my childhood...abelskivers and fry cakes.  Though I was never there with my ancestors when they made them, somehow once a year through these traditions I can feel the family chain stengthened. 

8.  Skyping with grandchildren is not the same as being there, but it was a miracle via skype to be right there in the same room with toys, wrapping paper, Christmas songs, and the excitement in their eyes.  Ever so grateful for the creator of skype!

all 5 of the Prince Kids together and talking to us on Skype!!

9.  There is NO such thing as vacation for Christmas on a mission.  The phone calls are even more abundant, missionaries still get sick, lives still are changed, the gospel still preached, baptisms still performed, hearts still need consoling, and someone has to do it.  Called to serve...

10.  Remembering Christ´s birth can be done any day, any time, any place, and with anyone.  Sharing this great gift with others is so important.  Feeling the love of our Savior through the words, hearts, and helping hands of others is achievable no matter where you live.  We all need to just find time to "be still...and know..." the Lord is never far away from us.  For this we Adore Him, call His name Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The weather outside is frightful...

RAIN...more rain...and even more...
Water, water all around and in Manizales not a drop to drink!
The rain has caused its share of problems.  Manizales is again without water. 
Our missionaries there are real pioneers.
we do not have to shovel the rain and it isn't cold.  A MERRY Christmas!!

This week we said good bye to Elder Bastias...back to Chile and a new chapter...
how we will miss that smile!


6 Zones gathered in Cali for training and a Christmas Fiesta.
Popayan, Tulua, Palmira, Calima, Villa Colombia, y San Fernando.

Listening to them sing Christmas hymns was inspiring.
Watching them hug and visit with each other was touching.
Enjoying their many talents was amusing.
Worshipping and celebrating together was heart warming.

We love this big missionary family!!
See Super Cali Slideshow on righthand of page!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

December is here!
Come Let Us Adore HIM....

Christmas in the mission field
Memories of home
Sounds of Christmas carols in a foreign language.

No snow,
Lots of lights,
Very few of the ingredients I like to bake with.

No children,
Lots of missionaries,
Very few moments to deck the halls.

No Christmas cards to send,
Lots of hustle and bustle,
Very few jingle bells and ho, ho, ho.

The Christmas story
reminds us of HIS glory
Constant as the shining star
that guided wise men from afar

Christmas in the mission field
Sharing the story of HIS glory
Memories of our eternal home

December is here

And the travel and parties continue...

First to Medellin

One of the gifts of this trip was reuniting
President Prince with his first missionary companion, Javier Ocampo.
I would say Elder Ocampo was a VERY good trainer!

Merry Christmas from Zona Medellín

Although we do not have to travel by donkey to be taxed
sometimes it might be easier than flying to Pasto!
Travel to Pasto is complicated.
We arrived at the airport to find out the flight was delayed 3 + hours
We changed flights and flew into Bogota
We waited
We arrived at the Pasto airport at 12:45pm
Taxi ride into Pasto got us to the chapel just minutes before 2pm

The meeting was supposed to start at 11:30 with lunch at 12:30...
they saved us lunch and brought over a microwave to warm it up.

We adjusted...there was room in the inn when we arrived and we were welcomed with smiles!

Merry Christmas from Zona Pasto
(Papa Noel is none other than our Elder Garcia serving in Ipiales!)

Friday, December 2, 2011

here a little, there a little

When we are "here" (in Cali) we are making plans to be "there" (some other part of the mission)
 and when we are "there" we are wishing for our bed back "here". 
Living out of a suitcase and being on the go has become our norm.

We were asked to attend a Stake Conference in Pereira with Elder Rafael Pino, president of our area.
He spent some specialized training time with our missionaries in the Pereira Zone.  We have emphasized the need of the missionaries and members to work hand in hand.  President Pino has
re-issued the call to double the baptisms in this area.  Listos Siempre Listos!!

Zone leader counsel is always a great meeting.  These leaders have to teach, help sick missionaries, organize, and administer temporal affairs in their zones all while trying to preach the gospel and be an example of baptizing and leadership to those they lead.  We had 7 new zone leaders at this counsel.  We
are blessed to have such great young men learning to be leaders.

Friday we were "here" in Cali, Saturday and Sunday "there" in Manizales, Monday and Tuesday "there" in Pereira, and Wednesday "there" in Armenia.  "There" are hotels that we would rather not stay at and we are always happy to get back "here".

We started our round of Christmas Celebrations. 
It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the Eje Cafetero...

Celebrating with Zona Manizales, Zona Pereira, y Zona Aremenia
A Christmas Program, lunch, talent show and movie...A wonderful day of celebration.