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.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Zone Conferences #1

Zone Conferences!

Our zone conferences have followed the same pattern
and theme as our mission council this past month of July.
To New Heights - Teaching repentance and baptizing converts!

We love zone conferences!
What a blessing it is to rub shoulders with our missionaries in all the unique areas of our
large mission.  It is such a joy to watch them interact with their companions, and their zones, and
for us to feel the unity and camaraderie throughout the mission.
Additionally, we thrill to see first hand our zone leaders leading out in righteousness,
as they teach, and bear testimony, and as they encourage and motivate the missionaries
under their stewardship - to new heights.

We began our round of Zone Conferences with the Guzman and Colima Zones combined.
With zone leaders Elder Vaifanua and Elder Bravo in Guzman, and Elder Robledo and Elder McAllister in Colima.  They did an outstanding job coordinating and dividing up the teaching assignments and responsibilities.  It was a large group, but everything ran so smoothly.

Zone Leaders highlighting the importance of accurate reporting

Feeling the weight of our calling.
What will it take to go further?  
What motivates us to stay the course and 
remain focused, and on task?

Elder Rojas held the missionary plank
for their demonstration.

President had everyone go outside to play a game he calls 
azucar and aguacate (sugar and avocado), 
which is his remake of the old fashioned game, candy and caster oil.
These missionaries had a ball!  It was so fun 
 to watch them listen carefully to President as he called, 
either azucar or aguacate, and then run
this way or that way trying to tag someone to 
come join their side.  As we came back inside, 
 President related this experience, to our daily work
and goals here in the mission. 

As we focus on something good; 
when we work as a team, and as we stay motivated; 
there is simply not time for anything else.  We do not have
time for problems, or distractions, for immodest thoughts,
or for disobedience and selfishness.  This work requires all
of our righteous, focused efforts. 

Just us sisters

Our picnic lunch - with a twist!

Explaining the 5 different stations, and what each
missionary needed to do, to make their picnic lunch.

At station #1 
Each missionary was asked to recite aloud to 
President Clayton
our new scripture for the next several months, 
D&C 42:6 

Then, they had to wash their hands, lathering up good
 while singing I am a Child of God in English.

Afterwards, they picked up a cookie for their picnic.

Station #2 
Each missionaries was asked to recite their missionary purpose
perfectly to a zone leader.
They could then make themselves a peanut butter and
honey sandwich.

Station #3
Each missionary was asked to recite Doctrine and Covenants 4- perfectly.
 Each Elder then had to re-tie their tie, in a crisp and conservative knot.
Each sister learned how to french braid their hair, or how to secure their hair in a fashionable bun.
 Both Elders and Sisters had to show that they could lead a hymn correctly.  
They then could pick up a bag of chips to add to their picnic.


Station #4
Each missionary was asked to recite the Standard of Truth in Spanish 
and in English- perfectly.

And correctly iron a clean white shirt.
I demonstrated, just to double check that we were all
on the same page in our understanding :) 
of how to iron a  clean white shirt, 
and I use the word clean loosely :)
just kidding (but not really).  I did give some suggestions
for how to use an old toothbrush and a bit of simple 
dish soap to scrub their collars clean. 
And, I defined the term elbow grease. (just sayin)
They could then pick up their drinks.

Honestly.. I love these missionaries so much!!

Finally Station #5
Each missionary was to recite 3 Nephi 5:13
and then correctly sew a white button on their clean white shirt.
I did a quick demonstration, threading the needle and 
tying a knot. There were oohs and ahhs all around
as I tied an easy knot in the thread again and again 
so all could see :) 
I'm trying not to let it go to my head j/k
(look at their faces...) I love it.

And at this station, they picked up a candy bar.

my favorite pictures..

After lunch, I talked about effective planning.
 individual planning, and the area books, 

* The responsibility of record keeping
*What our record keeping books reveal, about
  the kind of missionary that we a
*Accountability, and Dependability
*Sacred trust 
*The individuals we meet and contact into, deserve
 to have their names written and recorded in our
 books, accounting in writing, to our Father in Heaven.

 The Assistants object lesson.
 The gospel is beautiful.  How we 'serve' it or
 share it with the people we meet is important.                                   
 Elder McAllister brought out a beautiful cake
and asked Sister Palma if she would like
a piece, and she said, yes, and he asked her to bring he
plate a little closer, and he grabbed a fist full of cake with his
hand and plopped it onto her plate.  He then served another
slice of cake with a knife and handed it to another missionary.

 Inviting our investigators to be baptized.
 *we invite, we do not give baptismal challenges.


President's closing remarks
D&C 15:6
*The most important thing that each of us can do,
and the thing which will be of most worth unto us,
is to teach and declare repentance.

*We must preach this doctrine with love.
Our goal is to live with our Father in Heaven again.
Nothing is more important.
Our Savior's purpose, through His Atonement,
is to help us be clean, so that we can return to 
live with our Father in Heaven.
*D&C 18:10-16
*We are preaching the gospel of repentance for
10 plus hours each day.  We are finding and 
rescuing souls.  The Father's children are precious
to Him, and we are the ones seeking His help to find 
them, teach them and help to save them.
Our role is vital.
*1 Nephi 10:21 
*No unclean thing can dwell with God.

*Weekly letters - 
1.  Tell me how you are doing.
2. Tell me of the miracles you are seeing.
3. Tell me how your investigators are progressing,
 and how are they changing.

Next we met with our Manzanillo Zone
with zone leaders Elder Price and Elder Bradly

What an excellent job they did having everything organized and prepared to begin.

I talked about our early morning personal 
scripture reading.
A key factor in our day is when that alarm 
goes off at 6:30 am.
How obedient and disciplined are we?

These zone leaders put a little twist to 
feeling the weight of our calling.
What will it take to go further?  
What motivates us to stay the course and 
remain focused, and on task?
Elder Martinez's arms did not give out.

He was asked to then hold their zone banner and see if
he could hold it longer than he had held his scriptures.

They asked other members of his district come and help 
and support him.

President's game

Our picnic lunch and stations.
Me demonstrating sewing a button on.

and how to iron a missionary white shirt.

President manning the hand washing station, and 
cookie distributing.

   I loved watching these Elders making sure they
   had the rhythm down correctly.

       I absolutely love these pictures.

love it. 

Our activity checking over the area books.

Elder Price and Elder Bradley's object lesson,
serving up the ice cream with his hands.  
Point made. Check.

       Baptismal invitation practice.

President Clayton
5 things I would like you to remember

1. In this mission, baptism is our goal and our purpose.
   Baptism is a part of conversion.  Numbers tell us where we are and where we are going.
   We are not looking for numbers, we are looking for souls.

2. Baptism is central to the Doctrine of Christ.
   We invite others to be baptized, we do not challenge them to be baptized.
   Baptism is a commandment, not a suggestion.

3. We are looking for people, for souls, not numbers.

4. Miracles come from our faith, faith does not come because of miracles
  We must have faith sufficient to find those seeking for truth.
  Begin each day with hope that you are going to find the individuals the Lord desires you to find

5. We must do this work with love, with expectations and with hope.  
This work of Salvation is a work of love and joy.

Next was our Tepic Zone Conference with wonderful
zone leaders Elder Nix and Elder Barrera.

The zone leaders taught very well and
chose Elder Palenque and asked him to hold a 
missionary plank for as long as he could.
The first time, he held it for 2:52.  

  The second time with his specific missionary purpose
  and focus of reaching new heights in mind, he held
 the missionary plank for 3:18.  Good for him.

President's game - azucar and aguacate 
(sugar and avocado), 

More pictures of our day together.

Zone Leader Elder Nix staying at his station, listening to
the missionaries sing and lead a hymn, and recite the
Standard of Truth in Spanish and in English.

Elder Barrera was at Station #2 as the missionaries
recited their missionary purpose and made their

Sister Calixo was the volunteer
 who receive a blob of cake on her plate, 
served with Elder Barrera's hands.
He did not even offer her a glass of cold milk.  :/

Practicing the baptismal challenge.  
The gospel is a beautiful thing.  
It is how we serve it to others that is
 so important. How do we serve, 
or present the gospel message?

I was blessed to be with these sweet sisters today.

We met with the  Santiago Zone next. 

With zone leaders Elder Stanger and Elder Luciano,
who did an outstanding job, with this being
their first zone conference, they had everything
in order and well prepared.
This Santiago building is a red brick building and
the only two story chapel in our mission.  It is right
across the street from a funeral home, and often there is quite
the delay getting out of the parking lot, when there
is a funeral procession in progress.  It is blisteringly hot
much of the time here in Santiago, and most often the
only rooms they cool, are the ones needed at the time.
We most often meet for our missionary meetings,
 in the upstairs overflow room.
We loved walking upstairs and opening the door to 
that one large room, with the air conditioner on, and
seeing our missionaries there, waiting for us to arrive,
reading their scriptures, or quietly visiting.
We love this dedicated group, and for their smiles,
smiling through the serious heat,
every single day.

The assistants beginning game of telephone.

It was so so hot here in Santiago.  Bless these
missionary's hearts to come outside and play this
game with President.  They ran and ran and we 
really had to cool down and drink plenty of
agua when we came indoors.

We didn't even think about that green bucket 
all day. The ceiling started leaking water
 first thing, and without  missing a beat, the
 zone leaders went and got a bucket,
 positioned it right under that drip, 
and we went on.  

ok, I'm just noticing that bucket of 
not so clean looking water... wowzers.

   #greenbucket - catching the drips from the air
    conditioner blowing like crazy in this one room.

I am so glad I caught Elder Stanger serving this cake
to Sister Garcia.   Even with the cherry on top,
she wasn't falling for it. 

*note, Elder Stanger licking his fingers.. :)

Wonderful zone leaders.  They did a fabulous job today.

President's closing remarks.
There was a terrific storm brewing all afternoon 
long.  Finally the rain began, and boy, 
It began pouring cats and dogs!
Big crashes of lightening and booming
 thundering.  Being upstairs in this old
brick building, we really felt it.
President didn't miss a beat.  He kept right on 
teaching.  I videoed some so you could hear the storm, and 
President's final words to the zone.

Next, our Vallarta Zone

With once again, wonderful zone leaders
 Elder Saldana and Elder Contreras.
I know I have said each of the zone leaders are 
wonderful and outstanding and fabulous,
and they are!  

President's introduction

  Early morning personal scripture study.
  Why we get up at 6:30 am?

Zone Leaders challenge

Elder Crofts held his missionary plank the first time for 3:50. 

The second time he held it for 5 minutes.  
He was still holding strong, when 
Elder Saldana put his hand on Elder Crofts
shoulder and said, it is enough. 
It was very tender.

President's game

Double checking that everyone remembers how
to correctly iron a missionary white shirt. :)

And how to knot the thread and sew a button on to a shirt.

President Clayton is in charge of quality control
at station #1, ensuring correct hand washing procedures.

I love that Elder Schank is whistling while he is ironing.

Sewing a button on the closest shirt available. 

Every single Elder that has served cake for their
object lesson, and has grabbed a hand full of cake with
their entire hand, and has licked their fingers.
(I am trying not to think about that too much..)

I know.
I love these missionaries so much.