|This is the chapel under construction in Pan de Azucar.|
It will be really neat when it's done.
|Young and Hungry missionaries! I think the sister on the bottom right looks like Sabrina. I love the smirk!|
|Taking Elder Alvarez to his area|
The missionaries that are going home arrive at the mission home about 11:00 A. M. on Wednesday. They have a little training and then head to the Temple for the 3:00 P. M. session. Renee spent most of Wednesday afternoon preparing dinner for them. I am so proud of this group. Most of them were Zone Leaders when we arrived and all of them have served well. The mission is going to miss them and the leadership that they provide. Wednesday night they are served a special dinner with the Eddy family and we are invited. It is fun to eat with the missionaries. They are so happy and excited to talk about all of the neat things that they have accomplished. We are also invited to the testimony meeting after. I love to hear them express what they have learned in the last 18 months to two years. It is also very sad as we will probably not see some of the missionaries again, especially the ones from Latin America. One thing for sure is that they are returning with strong testimonies of the truth and are ready to be leaders at home as they were in the mission.
I have to tell this story. Even though I can see the great growth and leadership in the missionaries some of them look a little young. Let’s says that some of them don’t look like they have had too many razor burns in their life. Well, one of the missionaries that is going home remarked the other day that he has had to charge his electric razor twice during his mission. That pretty much explains it doesn’t it?
Thursday is when the missionaries go home. We had one sister leave in the middle of the night. My first trip to the airport was at 6:00 A.M. I don’t have any problem getting up at 5:00 A.M. to start the day but those of you that know me know that I usually prefer to go hunting or fishing vs. go to the airport at this time. Oh well, that time will come again. Our next trip to the airport was at 10:00 A. M, when most of the missionaries left. Everything went smooth until the missionaries that are going to the USA checked in. That is when we found out that there is not only a weight limit on the checked bags of 23 kilos; there is also a limit of 10 kilos on the carry-on bags. Almost all of the Elders' bags were overweight. They had to trash some of the things they really wanted to take home. It was a sad time and hard to see them have to do it. The airport was also real busy so it was quite a hassle. They eventually all made it on the plane and home.
Besides the missionaries leaving on Thursday, we also received a visit from the new Area President, Elder Texiera, who came over with his wife to do some training. They had a meeting for about half of the mission on Thursday that included feeding over 100 missionaries and a meeting for all the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders on Friday. Renee did meals for all of these meetings as well. I didn’t get to hear the conference as the mission president asked me to go to the airport. They were real good meetings and the missionaries learned a lot.
After a busy week we headed for Castillos Saturday morning. We had lunch again with Narda and her family. We really enjoyed the milanesas and rice. What a treat to eat at her home. On Saturday afternoon and evening we went on several visits with the recently released Branch President, Pablo Eguren, and Fortunato. We had some amazing visits. On one visit that the missionaries lined up for us, we taught a group of six that included family and friends. We talked about the tree of life and where they fit on the path. We invited them to come to Church. After that we visited a single sister that is really a ball of fire. She stated that she became inactive 14 years ago when her 2 year old son was killed in a car accident. What a tragedy. We talked about how the atonement was not only to pay for our sins but also to help with all the pains and trials in life. The Spirit was strong in all of our visits. We are praying for our friends in Castillos to see their way back to Church.
Today was a pretty day and there were 21 people in Church. There were many new faces as the many hours of hard work are paying off for the Elders. When we walked in the door of the Church you could feel the enthusiasm and excitement. Several of the returning members are stepping up and taking an active part in the branch. As their testimonies grow, the branch grows as well. Elder Stewart, the current Branch President was really excited. We are excited to see what is going to happen in the coming weeks.
We are grateful for a full week that was filled with the Spirit. What a blessing to be able to participate in such a wonderful work. We are grateful for all of you and appreciate your support.
We love you
Gordon and Renee
Here we are on the busiest street at the busiest time of day and these two are washing cars.
That's what I call capitalism.