Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Just in from Guatemala...

Hermana De León arrived this morning from Guatemala - flying solo!
She was welcomed at the airport by Hermana and Elder Oliver,
taken to immigration, trained in the office, given lunch with the office crew,
picked up by her companion and taken to her area.

She arrived in her proselyting area in time to leave her suitcase at the apartment 
and arrive at the church for her first baptism.
She gave a talk at the baptism, met and greeted members,
and did it all with a smile.  (she left at 1am from Guatemala!!)

We arrived, after a full day of missionary interviews in Palmira,
in time to attend the baptism,
give Sister DeLeón a warm welcome, and her Mission President interview
and then take her and her companion home.

A full day of missionary work...
oh, and she brought us several references that she got on the airplane!

You're off to a great start Sister De León!!!
Welcome to the best mission in the world!

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Special Witness...

The city of Cali was blessed this past weekend with a special visitor.
Elder David A. Bednar, an apostle and special witness of Jesus Christ,
came to speak to our missionaries and the members of Cali.

He was accompanied by (left to right) 
Elder Craig C. Christensen, 1st Quorum of the Seventy,
Elder Abraham Querro, Area Seventy, 
Elder Hernando Camargo, Area Seventy, 
Elder Rafael Pino, 1st Quorum of the Seventy and President of the South America Northwest Area.

Words are not adequate to describe the gentle kindness, 
powerful teachings, loving acceptance, and the tangible spirit
that were felt in our hearts and lives from this visit.

Although I have felt quite alone and removed here in this corner of the world,
I felt SO grateful for their reassurance and love that we are not forgotten.

Colombia Cali Mission - April 27, 2013
Special Visit from Elder David A Bednar and his wife Susan
While the brethren were in attendance at a special Priesthood Leadership Training meeting for the Cali and Medellin coordinating councils,
I had the opportunity to be with these lovely women in 2 Auxiliary Training meeings -
one for the Primary and Young women leaders and one for the Relief Society leaders.
from left to right
Sister Wakefield (Bogota Temle Matron), Sister Pitarch (Medellin Mission), 
Sister Christensen, Sister Bednar, Sister Pino, and myself

Seeing how we were the hosting mission, I was in charge of both lunch and dinner.
I felt like I was balancing a fine line between being both Martha and Mary this day...wanting to sit and listen to an Apostle and hoping the kitchen was ready and prepared.  Thanks to Ana and Maria everything was perfect and arrived on time.

Words can not express my love for these wonderful women.
They have to understand the vision I have in my head and make it happen.
They arrived early to help me chop and plan.  They shuttled food from home to chapel, back home and then to a different chapel for the dinner.  They cleaned, washed, and organized so that when I arrived shortly before 10pm I wouldn't have to do it.  
They put up with my "gringo" ways and my recipes that I adapt to Colombia.
They are angels with capable hands and willing hearts.

We were well fed spiritually 
and the food to eat turned out okay, too!

Sister, Sisters, there were never such devoted sisters...

I have always liked this song from the movie "White Christmas".
Maybe it was because I always wished for a sister 
and admired those who had one.
Sisters in the gospel have been my strength.

Here in the mission, as well as in all the world,
the number of sister missionaries is increasing.

Caring, sharing...sometimes...every little thing that they are wearing!

On Friday, April 26 we had all of our sister missionaries together.
They arrived in Cali for a mission conference
so we had to take advantage of them all being together.

It was fun to decorate and plan for them to arrive
We turned the house into a fun restaurant, 
worked hard in the kitchen, and awaited their arrival!

 Being in different zones all over the mission, they were SO happy to see each other again.
 An emotional reunion...Hermana Blanco with her trainer, Hermana Sepulveda!
These beautiful sisters arrived from the MTC together!

Our 4 Sister Trainer Leaders!  
Hermanas Medina, Fuentealba, Jacobo, and Araneda

They gave a wonderful training to the sisters helping them to remember
why they are here, the need for obedience, the importance of inviting others to be baptized, and the need to act.
Needs were met physically, spiritually, and emotionally
as we found strength in being sisters in the gospel.

The sisters of the Colombia Cali Mission
26 devoted sisters...here to invite others to come unto Christ.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A few good young men...

We attended church in the Palmeras Branch today.
What a wonderful experience!
Partaking of the sacrament that was administered and blessed
by worthy priesthood holders, was truly a blessing.
Look how sharp they look.  What gentlemen they were.
They are learning their priesthood duties and honoring covenants.

I was given these flowers by the Branch President when we left.
The flowers here in Colombia are ALMOST as
wonderful as the members!

Just a few fun photos!
A good Sunday!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Give Me This Mountain...

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings; that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good; that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth." 
Mosiah 12:21

On Thursday, April 11, 2013 we held our first ever Mission Leadership Council
This was somewhat "historic" for us and throughout the world.
On Friday, April 5, 2013 (the day before General Conference)
the announcement was made as follows:

Mission Leadership Council
The Lord’s Church is governed through councils at every level. Full expression from all participants
is invited in council settings, unifying the efforts of both male and female council members. With
these principles in mind:
 A monthly mission leadership council will replace zone leader council.
 The mission president and his wife, assistants to the president, zone leaders, and sister
training leaders (see below) will participate in mission leadership council meetings.
Sister Training Leaders
Some sister missionaries should be assigned as sister training leaders to help train other sisters.
These sister training leaders are responsible to conduct companion exchanges with other sisters.
They serve as a vital part of mission leadership. Sister training leaders:
 Are members of and participate in the mission leadership council.
 Are experienced and exemplary missionaries who serve in a companionship with another
sister training leader.
 Are responsible for the training and welfare of sister missionaries assigned to them.
 Maintain a vibrant proselyting area in addition to working regularly with other sisters.
 Conduct 24‐hour companion exchanges every six weeks with each companionship of sisters
assigned to them Report directly to the mission president on sisters’ issues (an average of
two exchanges per week).
 Are assigned to a specific zone. However, depending on mission geography and the number
of sisters in the mission, the mission president may assign sister training leaders to train
sisters in a single zone or in multiple zones. It is not necessary to have a companionship of
sister training leaders in every zone.
 Function as members of districts and of zones and assist the mission president,zone
leaders, and district leaders in training meetings and zone conferences.

We are still "pioneers" in the process, 
but wanted to do something great to show the 
significance of this announcement.  
We unitedly proclaimed...GIVE ME THIS MOUNTAIN!
And we began our hike up the "Tres Cruces" mountain!

And we made it to the top where we talked about the similarity between
climbing a mountain and missionary work.
Then we sang "Called to Serve" to the world below.

Everyone cleaned up pretty well!
 Misión Colombia Cali Leaderhip Council
 April 2013

 New Zone leaders - Elders Guerrero, Cha, and Perez
Sister Training Leaders
Sisters Medina, Fuentealba, Araneda, and Jacobo
The wind beneath our wings...our senior couples!
Left to right:  Elder and Sister Oliver AND Sister and Elder Torgerson

YES...How beautiful upon the mountains were the feet... of these great young men and women that are bringing good tidings; that publisheth peace;...that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth.

Watch for more news on how our missionary council leads out!

Bienvenidos a la mejor misión del mundo!!

Our April 2013 group arrived from the MTC in Bogota 
on Tuesday, April 9
5 Sisters and 8 Elders
Hermanas Romero, Avila, Ordonez, Valerio and Vargas
Elderes Rowley, Lawrence, Sacco, Wilkerson, Stevenson, 
Among this group there are 3 waiting for their Visas
They will be going to Argentina but for now they are ours! (we won't tell you who!)

A windy day to Cristo Rey with our new missionaries.

"Wherefore, go ye and preach my gospel, whether to the north or to the south, 
to the east or to the west, it mattereth not, for ye cannot go amiss." D&C 80:3
These were TIRED missionaries! and the day was still not over!
They finished there day with a pizza dinner and then attended a baptismal service.
President Prince and I went BACK to the airport to pick up one last missionary
Elder Mitchell who arrived straight from the Provo MTC.
He arrived in time to attend the training and receive his trainer 
(he is the bottom right corner of the collage!)



And they are OFF to save the world...one conversion at a time!
(and NO ONE went away hungry!)