The purpose of this blog is to highlight the beautiful city of Guadalajara; the faithful members, the valiant missionaries who serve here, as well as the people, culture, and food.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Follow Up Training

What a great day we had with our newest missionaries.  Just three of them, but they are fabulous!
Follow Up Training!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Acaponeta Branch Conference

We had a sweet day together for our Acaponeta Branch Conference.  Our final leadership training was on Saturday with the Tepic, Santiago and Vallarta leaders.  We stayed in Tepic so we could drive to Acaponeta first thing Sunday morning.  It was a beautiful drive.  We were happy to be traveling with our assistants for this conference.
Elder Perez who has the assignment to be the Branch President and his companion Elder Vazquez were standing outside welcoming us as we drove up.  We were thankful that President Macias, the District President and his counselors could join with us.
There were about 33 in attendance with probably 12 of those being District  Mission visitors.

The Acaponeta Branch right after Sacrament meeting

Elder Petersen and Elder Olivarez taught the gospel doctrine class
I love their visual on the chalk board.
I took a picture of both sides of the room

Elder Petersen explained the principles of the 
gospel as best he could...

Everyone was pretty involved in the lesson 

everyone that is.... except this little guy, who listened
and listened, and listened, until he could listen no more...

I love these two Assistants!

From the left, Elder Vazquez and President Clayton
the three brethren in the branch, and President Macias

Today, I met a young girl named Talia there in the Acaponeta Branch. Just one young woman age girl. I can't imagine how unconnected and out of place she probably felt there with the small children and then the adults, many who are older women. She and her mother have been less active in recent months, but they came today, she came today. I asked Elder Perez, the Branch President if he had personal progress material for her. They had one personal progress book and a journal… just one.

I stood there in the entry way of the little House of Prayer there in Acuponeta, and introduced the Personal Progress books to her with Elder Petersen translating for me. I realize that she probably was not understanding, even in my simple terms about setting a goal and writing her feelings down in the journal. But I was trying. This young woman has very few possessions at all, let alone something special just for her. The delicate soft pink personal progress book and journal was a genuine treasure in her hands, I could feel she felt special as I was talking just with her. I wanted to hug her and sit with her for another hour or so, someplace comfortable and private, but it just couldn't happen. I am having my daughterJani bring a few more young women things when she comes next week like a bookmark and a picture of a young woman and the Savior and the young woman torch necklace.
This young woman promised me that she would look through the book this afternoon and write down what she felt in her journal. I hope she will.
After Sunday School. Talia, the young woman I just met is on my right in the orange blouse.

a quick picture of the children

Quite frankly, I was a little sad to see the new white paint
to the outside of the House of Prayer here in Acaponeta.
I absolutely loved the soft orange color it used to be,
and how the sun would color everything with a wonderful glow.
Nevertheless, it was freshly painted a clean white, and swept clean.

President Clayton with Elder Vazquez and Elder Perez

President with Elder Perez, serving as Branch President

On our drive home, you can see the beautiful 
statue of Christ on the hill in the distance.

I love to see these trucks and carts and barrels
filled with mops and brooms of all shapes and sizes.

on his merry way...

Let's just have a closer look at the treasures 
loaded on his truck

I loved seeing this sweet lady protecting herself 
from the sun

                Do you see how beautifully swept clean everything is?

ok, I couldn't resist...

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Leadership Training

This past week we began our Leadership Training... which is training for our
zone leaders, district leaders and our sister training leaders.

Just a few highlights from our training:
Opening Song - The Time is Far Spent, with special emphasis on the words of the chorus in verse 3 Go Forward, Be Faithful the Promise is Sure!

* Scripture Theme introduced - 3 Nephi 5:13
“Behold, I am a disciple of Christ the Son of God.  I have been called of Him to declare His word among His people, that they might have eternal life”.

President Clayton

*** Faith!
* Alma 17:1-5 The sons of Mosiah and Alma the younger met as they journeyed on their mission. Notwithstanding their afflictions, they had remained completely faithful and were still enthusiastic, committed and undaunted during their 14 year mission. They were valiant men of God.
* What will your mission history include?
*Every single day of these 18 months for sisters, and 2 years for Elders, you are writing your history.
*You can not think that 'this day' will not count.  Every day counts. Each day is a fresh start.
*Does God know our thoughts?  Do we have to verbalized what we are thinking?  Will he know if we are excited for, and enthusiastic to be in our area, teaching and contacting, and working with our companion?
*What can we do to increase our faith?  
* There is no area in our mission that cannot have success.
* Begin your day with faith. In each of your areas begin with great faith for what you can do and for how your area can progress.

*** Satan is raging-
* President talked about the challenge our mission is facing with violence and opposition.
* Satan is waging a war.  But we are the Lord's army, we are God's soldiers.
* We must show God each day that we have faith in His work.
*** Who has the keys to missionary work? The Stake Presidents and Bishops.
* Goals must be coming from the Stakes, Wards, Districts and Branches.
* We offer our help but the key holders must give direction.* We must help the members and leaders strengthen their faith. They need our support.
* Our role is to build trust, to love, support and encourage.
*** Goals - objectives to work toward
* Goals are tools that can give us direction and motivation
* Track monthly achievements
* Some Bishops and Branch Presidents do not fully understand the process of setting and working towards a goal, and how statistics can aid in that process.
* It is a perspective change for us and for them, that we are not the ones setting the goals.
* We must be united in our efforts to support and sustain our local church leaders in their goals.
*** When the Lord knows that he can trust us, he will give us more responsibility.
* He will provide families to teach.
* We will see success.
* We will see miracles according to our obedience and our faith.

*** How do members act and contribute during the lessons when they go on divisions with us?
* We must help prepare and encourage them to follow along and be ready to participate.
* Invite them to be prepared to bear testimony or share an experience.
* Fellow shipping is key.
* Member participation is vital.

* Adjusting our teaching to meet the needs of those we teach.

* When you can't teach the whole lesson, let the spirit guide you to know what part of the lesson you need to teach

* Ask inspired questions
*Listen to feelings as well as words.
*Don't be afraid of moments of quiet, times when you are listening to the spirit guide you and search for answers.
* As companions, support each other. When you are unified in your companionship there is much more power.

Sister Clayton

*** Your Faith will grow not by Chance, but by Choice.  Neil L. Andersen
*Teaching effectively:
*We are part of a Mighty Work.
*Truly, Daniel’s prophecy of the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands continues to roll forth, and it will eventually fill the whole earth.  (D&C 65:2)

***No matter how large this church grows, even withstanding, it will penetrated every continent, visited every clime, be swept in every country and sounded in every ear.. Boyd K. Packer has said “that the true success of the gospel of Jesus Christ will be measured by the spiritual strength of its individual members. We need the strength of conviction that is found in the heart of every loyal disciple of Christ.
There is no end to the Savior's power to bless and direct the lives of those who seek His truth and righteousness”.

*So, just how engaged in the work of the Lord are we?
* How effective are we as teachers and guides?

* President Gordon B. Hinckley’s father’s advice to him as a young missionary was to forget himself and go to work.
*How does setting yourself aside, forgetting yourself, allow you to give yourself to this work?

***How do we begin teaching?
*The first 5 minutes - so important!
*We must build trust, and confidence, we must be sincere.  Again, those first few introductory moments can and must set the stage for the spirit to be present, and for the hearts of our investigator to be opened. With warmth, and tender eye contact, with your heart and soul, with genuine love, we must connect and invite the Lord's spirit to be with us.

***Elder Boyd K. Packer tells this parable:
A merchant man seeking precious jewels, found at last the perfect pearl.
He had the finest craftsman carve a superb jewel box, and line it with blue velvet.
He put his pearl of great price on display so others could share his treasure.
He watched as people came to see it.
Soon, he turned away in sorrow.
It was the box they admired, not the pearl.

Then Elder Packer says… we are all blind, until we see

*What is the pearl?
*What does he mean, we are all blind, until we see?
*How can we detract from the message?
*Who is the real teacher?  The Spirit

***D&C1:23 The fullness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world and before kings and rulers.

*President Packer tells a story long ago of “an old convert from Norway who was called to teach a group of mischievous Aaronic Priesthood boys.  They were greatly amused by his broken English, but somehow, the spirit polished his words and soon the boys responded.  I have heard one brother who was one of the young mischievous boys in his class testify on more than one occasion, we could warm our hands by the fire of his faith.”

***We are involved in the majesty of God’s holy work.

* The single most important element in this work is the spirit
* By study and faith, you will become a more capable instrument in the hands of the Lord
* The quality and power of your teaching is influenced by your personal worthiness.
* Story of Elisha 2 Kings 6:16 They that be with us, are more than they that be with them.

*Usually these heavenly armies of horses and chariots of fire are invisible.  Jeffrey R. Holland said this:
“In the gospel of Jesus Christ you have help from both sides of the veil and you must never forget that. When disappointment and discouragement strike—and they will—you remember and never forget that if our eyes could be opened we would see horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see riding at reckless speed to come to our protection. They will always be there, these armies of heaven, in defense of Abraham’s seed” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “For Times of Trouble,” New Era, Oct. 1980, 15).

* The standard works are your basic source for teaching.
* The scriptures invite the Holy Ghost into your teaching.
* The scriptures answer the great questions of the soul.
* The scriptures give authority and validity to your teaching.
* Your ability to teach with power from the scriptures comes in large measure from the time you personally spend studying them.

Here we are with our Colima, Guzman, and Manzanillo leaders

                                              With our Union, Lomas, and Independencia leaders

Our final leadership training in Tepic with the
Tepic, Santiago and Vallarta leaders