Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Our Prayers Have Been Answered

This may be the most important post on our blog.  It will be short and not have any pictures.  You don't ask to take pictures with a general authority.  Yesterday we met with Elder Jorge Zeballos of the First Quorum of the Seventy and a counselor in the South America South Area Presidency.  He is a warm and friendly Chilean.  We met in a beautiful meeting room in the former offices of the Chile Area Presidency located in the Church Office Building in Santiago, immediately adjacent to the temple.  Accompanied by Ben Ingram, the creator of the database, we gave our presentation.  It was well received.  Elder Zeballos was enthusiastic.  He asked me to send him the presentation so he could share it with the Area Presidency.  I emailed it to him and he received it right there at the conclusion of the 1 hour meeting.

The project will go forward.  More than a quarter of a million Chilean Latter-day Saints will be found and invited to come unto Christ again.  Thousands of new converts will be found among the family members and friends of those less-active Saints.  Member missionary work will be strengthened.  The membership records will be updated.  Just a couple of weeks ago at the new mission president's seminar, Elder David F.Evans, Executive Director of the Missionary Department said, "In addition to the finding, teaching and baptizing you remember from you mission, the missionaries of today will also become rescuers of many members who are lost and will find and teach many family members, friends and associates of those who have been rescued."  This will happen in Chile.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

President & Sister Arrington Meet the Missionaries

 President & Sister Arrington Meet the Missionaries
This is how Sally described the meeting:

At the Zone Conference in Chillán, the missionaries lined the walls of the cultural center in a huge circle.  They stood and waited for the Arringtons to arrive to greet and meet them.  It took about an hour and a half for the Arringtons to make it around the circle.  They paused at each missionary to learn something about each one.  We all went into the chapel to hear a message from both of them.  Sister Arrington had a translator and gave a brief but powerful message.  President Arrington set a nice tone and I know he will be a great president.  His Spanish sounds really good to me.  He has used it in his job and has served in a Spanish Ward for the last 18 months.  He doesn't sound very "gringo".   He has a calm and spiritual nature.

Sister Arrington has a wonderful spirit about her.  She readily admits that she misses her grandchildren terribly.  The Arrington's are humble ordinary people who have been called to this extra-ordinary work of bringing souls to Christ. 

To the parents of our missionaries:  Your children are in good hands.  Fear not.  The Lord has sent His best to care for and watch over your stalwart sons and daughters.  This is His work and His kingdom that we are building.  His hand is apparent all the time.  Your children are watched over and cared for.  And they are the best!  What a royal generation!

Here are some more thoughts from Sally:
Poor Sister Arrington has frozen at every meeting.  At the council meeting we got our portable heater out of our trunk to warm up her feet.  She said the heaters have not worked wherever she has gone.  On Sunday they came with us to a Branch Conference.  I thought, for sure, that they would turn on the heater for that.  Nope!  It was 12 degrees, centigrade, about 54 F, in the chapel.  I should have worn my boots! They tried to get the heater working, but it just blew out cold air. The Arringtons came to dinner after the conference and the assistants invited themselves too.  They had a meeting in our apartment while Sister Arrington and I got to know each other, more.  Doug was called back into the mission presidency by President Arrington.

Sally's reputation as a fantastic cook has spread throughout the mission.  The assistants drove from Concepción to Chillán for dinner and a meeting after the Parral Branch Conference.  Her potato soup, homemade rolls, and lemon pie will never be forgotten!

Here is more of her note to our family:
"Our "project" keeps getting better and better.  We continue to have "promptings" on what to do and how to involve the members.  I wish you all could have seen Dad on Sunday, as he gave the, "third hour", presentation.  It was the 20th time, and he had totally changed it up to align with the missionary meeting, two weeks ago.  He was so enthusiastic and you could see his love for the gospel and the importance of finding the lost sheep, emanating from his being!  It is such a blessing for me to watch him as he is an instrument in the Lord's hand.  I am just having fun, understand more Spanish and don't feel quite so dumb.  I emptied a bag of candy into my pocket, and gave some to every cute kid at church.  All Chilean children are darling.  I kiss and greet everyone as usual and feel totally comfortable.  A lady sitting behind me started talking to me in English.  I always ask them how they learned English and she told me that she taught it in school, but now she is retired and has no one to practice with.  Then she said, "I love this church, the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints!" She said it with such appreciation that she is a member!  It was so good to hear and see her love for the gospel.  The lady sitting by her was commenting how cold it was, so I went and sat by her and shared my blanket.  A mission helps us to drop all of our 'walls'."

Today, Tuesday, we start training the missionaries in the 2 new zones we picked up from the Concepción South Mission, Talcahuano Norte and Talcahuano Sur on our project of finding the lost members. We have their online documents done.  We just need the research of each member's database results completed.  It takes time.  The missionaries need to know how to do it so they can teach the members. 

Friday we have another meeting in Santiago with the membership and statistics department and we are taking Ben Ingram with us.  We will pick him up in Curicó on our way.  We hope we can get all the data from them instead of having to go to individual stakes and districts.  We are also meeting with Bishop Tom Woodworth from Temuco (a couple of hours south of Chillán) who will be at the temple on a ward temple excursion.  He called me out of the blue about 2 weeks ago.  He had seen our blog and wanted to help with our project.  He is a website creator.  Just exactly what we have been praying for!  We want to move our project to a website instead of using google docs.  Ben knows how to do it but just hasn't had the 80 to 100 hours needed to create the website that will do everything we need it to do with the database and membership data.  We are looking forward to moving this project along.