Monday, September 30, 2013

Seminar for Mission President

 Every six months we get to attend a Seminar for Mission Presidents and their spouses in the North America Southwest area.  There were 21 Mission Presidents, Elder Neil L Anderson, Elder Tad Callister, Elder Foster, Elder Teh and their spouses.  It was a time of training, learning, inspiring and just plain fun! First we all attended the San Antonio Temple together.  
2013 Mission President Seminar
When we arrived they had a lunch waiting for us along with a really cute gift bag full of mementos  
one of the rooms we met in
With Friday night being date night, it was spent touring The Alamo....

We then got to take a tour on the riverboat

Saturday and Sunday was spent learning and receiving counsel and instruction.  It was an amazing experience.  The wives even had their own session with Elder Anderson, where we received great counsel and love.  Needless to say, we took lots of notes and have a lot of information to share with our missionaries! Speaking of which, we thought for sure we would not be able to concentrate, much less enjoy ourselves, being away for 4 days from our kids and all of our missionaries.  So we were surprised at just how relaxed we felt!  (not sure if that's good or bad??) We were happy to come back and find all was well. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

FIRST Zone Conference and Transfers #2

 Our first Zone Conference was held the week of August 13th...we had been here for a total of 16 days, had toured the mission, met all the missionaries and senior couples, attempted to organize every needful thing in the mission home, (now our home for 3 years) attended our first MLC and did our first training, attended our first specialized training mtg and did some more training, welcomed 20 new missionaries and did more some training, went through our first transfer, said good-bye to 13 departing missionaries, and then it was Zone Conference.  What is Zone Conference you ask? 

A zone is what Kim was in for the first few hours....but its also where zones are brought together quarterly in one place for up to 6 hours- to train, teach, motivate and instruct. Its normally held every 6 weeks or so for 6 hours.  We got to attend one every day that week of the 13th and it was amazing!   We do some training, role playing, goal setting, singing, eating (sisters from the Stake will take turns feeding the missionaries at Zone Conferences and it is of course very organized, very nice and very yummy) Not only was it great to see all of the missionaries again but it really gave us the opportunity to interact with them and learn more about them.  My favorite part was hearing all of them sing. My second favorite part was watching them interact with each other.  These missionaries are so awesome!  They are so happy and so focused.  We left feeling so inspired and invigorated.

 Quick snap shots of that President Ames took before the official picture for history was taken and Sister Ames is definitely in a zone 

Kileen Zone performing a musical number
Sister Glazier leading (the sister of Sister Lehnardt)


Role Playing or rather...."Real Playing" or Practicing!
Every Zone has a group of ladies that fixes a nice lunch for us and even leave us treats for the road!
Getting ready for car inspection @ Zone Conference

Every 6 weeks we have the "incoming missionaries" 
Our most recent new missionaries (arrived Sept. 17th)
After we pick them up from the airport, treat them to a Texas Welcome barb-e-que, have a getting to know you and testimony mtg, training etc. we introduce them to their new trainers.

Meanwhile..... transfers are happening out in the parking lot, and somehow it all works very smoothly! 

We then take the "departing missionaries" back to the Mission Home, attend the Temple, treat them to a good bye barb-e-que, have a going away/testimony meeting and then its off to the airport the next morning.
Our 2nd group of departing missionaries who left Sept. 19th

This time one of the Assistants to President Ames will be going home-:-(  And though we are excited for him to move on the the next phase in his life, he will be missed.  He was a great assistant to President Ames, in helping him get organized, situated and so patient!  He was always smiling and a great leader.

 In between transfers we have MLC every first Friday, specialized training, interviews (with each missionary), farewell to Senior Couples, speaking engagements at Stake Conferences, firesides, dinners, etc. and Zone Conference. In addition President Ames is reading an email he receives from each missionary (roughly around 277 e-mails a week) Sister Ames is taking care of the medical needs that the missionaries might have, and there are always extra events that are needing our attention (car and bike accidents, major sicknesses, trips to the ER, etc.) We also get a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy who visits, trains, evaluates and teaches us.  (more on that in October) And every now and then, we get a surprise visit from one of the Twelve Apostles who in this case was Elder Neil L Anderson and with him was his wife Kathy, Elder Callister and his wife Kathy. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Meanwhile.... as we await our 100 day mark

As posted earlier...we are only days away from our 100 day mark!  It will be a very symbolic day indeed, proving to ourselves that we made it through the "adjustment period" and we will be able to consider ourselves officially acclimated! Meaning we really have to be on top of our game!  Big goals indeed, that include keeping up with our blog on a regular week schedule, and just keeping up with our new schedule period! Here are some of the highlights of the past 100 days! 
We took the first Saturday and Monday after we arrived, somewhat getting getting organized, attended church/our ward on Sunday, and then Tuesday we were off and running or rather, driving. The assistants Elder Border and Elder Smith picked us up at the crack of dawn and we spent the entire week touring the mission, meeting ALL of the missionaries.  
Fort Worth skyline....I think

Waco is one of the furthest areas of our mission, its about a 2 hr drive

As we toured the mission, we would meet the missionaries at one of the church's, where they would all pile into the benches.  Jessica, Jacob and I would say a few words and then these anxiously awaiting missionaries would finally get to not only hear from, but meet their new Mission President, literally.  He had each one of them come up and we got to meet and shake each one of their hands.  It was so much fun and we just loved every minute of it.  President Ames wanted to be able to look into each eyes of each missionary, and though not sure what we were expecting to find, what we found was more inspiring that we could have imagined.  Missionaries and Senior couples that were dedicated, driven, disciplined, delightful, diligent and so devoted! We immediately loved them and were excited to serve them however needed.
After touring the mission and meeting all of the missionaries, we finished off the week, Friday, Sept. 5th, where we were introduced to what it called, MLC.  Missionary Leadership Council.  It is held monthly and it consists of the Mission President and his wife, assistants to the President (Elder Border and Elder Smith), zone leaders, and sister training leaders.  It is here, that we all counsel together and discuss the needs, goals, and vision for the mission.  Its awesome and so inspiring to hear the insight and knowledge of these young missionaries.  The next couple of weeks were interviews, where President Ames will interview with ALL the missionaries.  He would leave at 6:30 AM return by 11:00 PM- grueling schedule to say the least.  We were constantly shocked at how invigorated he was when he got home. Although, he did complain of his neck being really sore from the position he would keep while talking with these missionaries.  (Only those who have had interviews with him would understand)but needless to say its a very engaging position.  He would then share how amazing these young Elders and Sisters are, and would share with us some of their conversion stories and sacrifices to be here on a mission.  Normally the Mission President's wife will train and visit with the missionaries while they are waiting for their interview, so Kim is very excited to be able to do that next time.  The following Saturday we were given an open house and we would have to say our most favorite part was the surprise we were given, when some of our missionaries in the area came out from the upstairs and sang to us and the guests, "Called to serve- Forward! Texas Fort Worth"!  We were all thinking..."we could do this for three years, no problem"!

We then had a few days to enroll in schools, get needed shots, attend a rodeo (so we could call ourselves Texans) get Jessica's license, Rodney called his two counselors/mission presidency, among other things that needed to be done.


Jessica driving away all alone

Jessica driving away all alone

President and Sister Peterson, President and Sister Ames, President and Sister Passey

And then it was TRANSFERS!