Monday, August 12, 2013

Kids, Computers, and a Letter

The Primary in Coihueco Branch. The barrettes in the hair of the girls is courtesy of Sally. They were made by Norma Spendlove and Sally loves giving them away to the cute little girls. The children in Chile are absolutely darling.

It seems that much of our mission is spent on our computers. "El Rescate" (The Rescue) is very dependent on google doc technology. We've learned quit a bit about google spreadsheets. We now have the ward or branch list of over 200 of the approximately 600 units that exist in Chile in the form of a google spreadsheet.  The missionaries and members are updating the information on these sheets and the lost sheep are being found along with new investigators.

While we were in Curicó we had the chance to meet with Ben Ingram to work out the final details on the new Progress Document (P-doc).

What Ben has been able to do has been truly remarkable. He loves automation and he has automated so much of this whole process.  We now use only one document per ward or branch and it has the results of the data base and the data from MLS. The data processing is getting about 76% results without any more human effort. The members and missionaries just need to go visit the people.

We trained another clerk who is going to be a huge blessing to Los Copihues Ward. He gets the importance of the task of updating MLS.

Sally always writes beautiful letters home and this week was no exception.

"Today the "cambios" were announced.  Almost all of the missionaries in the mission seem to be moving to a new area.  Twenty-sixish missionaries left for home at 1 p.m. today.  It is the first time that I have felt sad for the cambios.  It is because we will be missing 8 zone leaders that we have grown to love and who have been with us since we arrived in Chile.  Elder Carter was our favorite and there is just one left here, from our first group of 4 zone leaders, in Talca.  He is the assistant (Elder Rees) and has extended his mission one more cambio.  All the Elders that he came with, two years ago, he had to take to the airport and wave good-bye to them.  I'm sure he was sad to see them leave but he told me that he is not sad to be staying a little longer to help the Arringtons  learn the mission.  He will even sacrifice a semester of school.  What a great young man he is.

One bad thing happened at the airport.  Elder Arroyo, who has been in the office for much of his mission, found out that his passport had expired!!  He didn't know until he was in line to check in!!  He knows all about visas and passports and just forgot about checking his own.  The mission president called us and asked if Elder Arroyo could spend the night tonight and if we could drive him to Santiago in the morning, to the Mexican consulate. We would have to change 3 appointments tomorrow, and turn down the Hermanas who always sleep here during transfers.  After a few hours of stalling, we got a call from President Arrington and he said we didn't have to go after all, because they were waiting to hear from the Area Presidency on what to do.  We were so happy and relieved.  The Hermanas were happy too.  Elder Arroyo will be fine in the Mission Home tonight.  I think we all got a huge blessing.

Yesterday, we started our Sunday going to a tiny Branch in Retiro, for their Branch conference.  There is a Senior, Chilean couple there, and he is the Branch Pres.  They have a converted house for their chapel.  It is very nice and there are portable heaters and they turn them on!!  The Moras have the Branch humming.  There were over 50 attending and it was even raining.  Usually, if it rains, the attendance is down.  The night before, we were there, also for a "fireside".  Dad was the main speaker and the topic was, "the family".  You can't imagine how much Dad does in a day here.  He is trying to organize a program to rescue every menos activos in all of Chile, and also fulfill other requests for speaking assignments, in a different language from his comfort zone, temple recommend interviews, tidbits of missionary problems, and answering his phone, quite often.  I remember Sister Hinckley telling President Hinckley, when he would say, "I wonder what I should speak about?"  She would always say,  "I'm sure you'll come up with something."  That is kind of how I feel.  I just pray that Dad will "come up with something".  So last night, we set up our cool, portable screen, (we have used it a ton), our projector, (another ton), and Dad started out by telling about his parents and how they were, less-active, and a good home teacher got them going back to church, and how the gospel has blessed generations.  Then he told the people that he wanted to introduce them to our family.  He showed pictures from the family reunion.  As each picture came up, he would say something like, "this is my oldest daughter, and her husband served a mission in Guatemala".  He went through every picture the same.  I was hoping it wasn't too braggy, but then I didn't even care.  I just wanted to stare at our beautiful family and thank my Heavenly Father for the blessing you are to us.  I wanted to fly home the next day, too!  Then, he ended with five key things to help you have a strong family.  I also understood that he said, we had problems along the way, things weren't perfect, just keep trying....etc.  If the people didn't like it, they sure loved the molasses crinkles that I brought for the refreshments!  They all wanted the recipe and I delivered it on Sunday morning.  Back to the Sundayschedule.  After the Sacrament meeting in Retire, we drove to Parral for temple recommend interviews, then to Cauquenes for more temple recommend interviews.  We came home for some black beans over rice, which we fixed and ate in 45 minutes, thanks to the crock pot.  We got back in the car and drove to Talcahuano for a big introduction meeting with stake leaders, bishops, and secretaries, about, "the rescue".  Dad has done this presentation to different audiences at least 25 times.  He has modified and revised, modified, and revised it, again and again.  Talcahuano has two stakes and is on the peninsula by Concepci√≥n.  The meeting went well and we ended up putting 480 KL on the car.  It was a great day though, and I love being able to say that I drive all over Chile.

Last week, was also busy with training missionaries in the Rancagua Mission.  We went to  Talca and Curico and saw many of the missionaries that were in our mission, before the boundary change. We spent the night in a hotel that we knew was brand new, in Talca.  The room was very nice and about 54 degrees when we walked into it.  We turned on the heater and it hummed all night long.  In the morning, I looked out the window and my view was right over an adobe shell of a building.  Only the outer walls remained, and they were covered with graffiti.  Oh, Talca!  The saying in Chile is this:  "London, Paris, and Talca".  We knew some good tips for the Warnes. (Chile Rancagua new president & wife - the mission with Elder Archuleta); where to get a quick, huge bowl of lasagna, in between his interviewing of 2 zones, and the best panaderia in town.  We didn't have time to show them the ice cream place.  They are great people, and add to our blessing of meeting and rubbing shoulders with the best.

We continue to be amazed as each week rolls by and we have great things happen all the time.  When you are in the service of the Lord and trying to be obedient, you are showered with blessings!  He always keeps his end of the promise.  D&C 82:10

Sally is the best missionary in the world and everyone loves her. They will all cry when she goes home. She is so kind to all the missionaries and members. We have been having the time of our lives!

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