Thursday, June 26, 2014

Interviews and Exchanges

                             Interviews and Exchanges with missionaries

Every quarter President Ames meets with every single missionary in the mission.  He begins at 8:00 am and will normally meet with them for 15 min.  This giving him a chance to see where they are at spiritually, mentally, and physically, to answer question or concerns that might have and provide instructions.  During interviews the Zone Leaders are providing training and instruction that was discussed in the Missionary Leadership Council held.  It is so powerful to watch it come full circle, and really seems to unite them as missionaries and as a zone.  Then after a quick lunch, President Ames goes on exchanges with four different companionship that the Zone Leaders have set up.  In order for President Ames to go on an exchange with the sister missionaries, I need to be with him and sometimes depending on my schedule with the kids, I get to go and its definitely become one of my most favorite things to do!  (especially the Spanish speaking)!!
After exchanges with the missionaries, President Ames then goes over the appointment with them, asking them questions, giving them feedback and instructions. 

President Ames then spends the rest of the evening with one of the ward or stake leaders that the Zone leaders have arranged. It helps him to know of the strengths and concerns in the different areas/stakes and mostly gives the leaders the opportunity to let President Ames how he and the missionaries can help them in their particular area/Stake/ward.  Our hope is that I will be able to go out on visits/exchanges with some sister leaders in the stake and wards as well.

Interview weeks.... though exhausting are truly amazing!! Our missionaries are truly using their time effectively, and teaching to the people's needs and desires, giving them hope, happiness, true and everlasting knowledge.  Our missionaries are just amazing.

Friday, June 6, 2014

June MLC

Missionary Leadership Training

This is always held the first Friday of every month. "It is where full expression from all participants (Mission President and his wife, assistants to the president, zone leaders and sister training leaders) are invited in a council setting, unifying the efforts of both male and female council members". 

Its always an amazing experience as we observe the leaders of the mission counsel together with love unfeigned for all 286 missionaries, the work and for each other.

As we were counseling together and discussing the needs of the mission/missionaries, one of the concerns that came up had to do with planning discussed in chapter 8 of the guide manual "Preach My Gospel" that each of the missionaries have. (see below)

Preach My Gospel

cover of Preach My Gospel
Use Preach My Gospel to meet your needs as a missionary. You can spend an entire study session on just a few paragraphs—or an entire chapter. You can study chapters in order or plan another sequence that better meets your needs. This flexibility allows you to study what you need when you need it and as directed by your mission president.
All of the chapters in Preach My Gospel will help prepare you to fulfill your purpose as a missionary. 

We particularly discussed chapter 8 having to do with planning and the need to do better in managing our time, particularly the weekly planning session.  In Preach My Gospel it reads:

The Weekly Planning Session

Once you have set goals, decide how you will achieve them. You and your companion should hold a weekly planning session on a day and at a time that is less productive for proselyting, such as Thursday or Friday morning. Your mission president will set the day and time of the weekly planning session. This weekly planning may take two to three hours to complete.
Your discussion should focus on the needs of people and how to help them progress. During this weekly planning session, review past goals and set new goals for the coming week. Consider every aspect of your proselyting.
Sunday evening is the recommended time for the weekly call-in report. A Sunday-evening report provides the most accurate and timely status of the mission because most baptisms and confirmations take place on Saturday or Sunday.
Because the day you hold your weekly planning session is likely to be different from your reporting day, approach your weekly planning with 10 days in mind. For example, if your weekly planning session is on Thursday, you will review the progress on your goals so far that week, and you will plan what you need to do to achieve these goals through Sunday. Then, set goals and make plans for the next week from Monday to Sunday. On Sunday evening you will total and report the results from the past week, and you will have your plan ready for the coming week. Below is a description of how the planning guidelines apply to a weekly planning session.
So after much counsel and instruction, one of the things decided at MLC was that the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders were going to train and focus on planning and chapter 8 during interviews that were to take place the next 3 weeks!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

First "official" family reunion

It just so happened to work out that all the kids would be able to visit/fly in for Memorial Day weekend.  We were very excited to say the least and were counting the days.  Isaac, Alex and Chelsea were able to stay for an entire week so at the last minute, we decided to make it our FIRST annual family reunion.  Although, we were all together for a week before entering the MTC in June last year (for the first time since Isaac had been home from his mission) we were quite distracted getting ready for the mission and still had a lot of preparing to do, (so feel that it really didn't count).  It was still a little distracting being here on the mission but at least we were able to enjoy each other and be together. 

 I was constantly touched by how sensitive and mindful they were of our time, in doing things that needed to be done in the mission.  They have always been are are continually so supportive.  I pray they never feel that we take them for granted.
Day 1 
Friday we had a training and follow up meeting for new trainers, district leaders, and new missionaries.  Alex (our oldest) joined us and I'm pretty sure I drove him crazy asking him for constant feedback, but I always love and learn from what he has to say.  After the meeting we met up with the rest of the kids (except Jacob who was still in school) and Elder Border who was visiting, for some good Mexican food. Elder Border was one of the assistants who greeted us when we first arrived.  Its always so fun to have the missionaries come back and visit.
  President Ames/Dad and I had an office meeting we had to get to and things to pick for transfers that would take place the next week, so took a quick sunny selfie and then we were off....

Friday evening Chels, Jess and I did our traditional girls night out that included pedicures, going out to dinner, frozen yogurt for dessert with lots and lots of girl talk.

Meanwhile, the guys were going to catch a baseball game but ended up catching up on video games instead while waiting for President Ames/dad to get out of an appt. and so appropriately ended their evening by eating at Five Guys.
Day 2
Saturday morning after some much needed rest, we ventured out for a beautiful bike ride.  With lunches, frisbee golf equipment, water and helmets, we were ready to ride!
But not without our cycling selfie first.....

And some last minute texts....
 And some last minute bike checks....
 and some last minute fanny pack adjustments...
 and some last minute cuteness clicks...(photo bomb included)

And THEN...
we were off!
I loved looking up from my handlebars and seeing all of my sweet kids bicycling together

We biked 7 miles to a path and park where we ate some lunch, played some frisbee golf, clashed with some poison ivy, and other exciting adventures along the way, then biked back another 7 miles...a total of 14 miles.

We loved being together as a family.  We are constantly reminded of how blessed and wonderful it is to have the children (and in law) that we do.  They are just amazing and bring us so much happiness.
 Day 3
 Church started at 9:00, which comes pretty fast when celebrating, visiting, and playing.  We actually made it on time and really enjoyed being able to be together at church.  We then came home to a crock pot roast meal, much needed naps and down time.  I loved seeing my boys together, doing different things but just being together. 
  The missionaries assigned to our ward stopped by for a follow up on some commitments they had given us the last time they had visited with us. And with it being Elder De Lima's last Sunday with us before being transfers, there was some exchanging of ties... and apparently President Ames loves yellow ties~ Elder De Lima will be missed in our ward.  
Kolby is our sweet nephew from Idaho, attending BYU, he is the same age as our Isaac and is selling alarm systems in San Antonio for the summer.  When he heard that the entire family was going to be in town, he drove all the way up to spend Sunday with us.  We sure love Kolby....

Some things (thankfully) never change...
 Almost there...
 Not quite (but thanks Jess, Kolby, Alex and Chels)

One more just in case...
 Oh was fun while it lasted (right Jess?)

 It was a great Sabbath Day...Sunday Selfies included

Day 4 
Memorial Day! We weren't exactly sure what we were going to have time to do, but one thing was for sure...we were going to do it together, even if it meant swapping out the cars to ride in the mission van!  That in itself is quite an experience if you haven't tried it~
Now that we were all together, it was time to grab some lunch in Fort Worth at the Stockyards at the famous Risky's barb-e-que with all you can eat ribs and eat we did!


 Stockyards Selfie!
Then it was off to shoot some guns at the shooting range~I thought it was an appropriate way to celebrate Memorial Day, given our freedoms and liberties.  Alex and Chelsea own a gun and Alex actually brought his with him (leave it to Texas to have your carry on be a gun) its always making me nervous, and we are in Texas where pretty much everyone has a gun, so we thought it would be good to educate ourselves and shoot a few rounds. 
I was kinda nervous!
First you need your protective eye and ear wear 

 loading the mags were harder than I would have expected


Gotta love the bonding....
 Truly Texan now

 Alex giving his sister instructions
 obviously great instructions...Jess marking her shot
And just in case anyone was wondering.....  
Shooting selfie!
And what better way to finish off the day then a trip to Braums....
It was a great day!
Day 5
With it being transfers, President Ames/dad and I would be busy picking up new missionaries, training, feeding, settling, along with saying goodbye to departing missionaries so the kids all went rock climbing and rock climbing they did!

Sibling Selfie
 Sure love these kids
I was reminded again just how much I love being together as a family, and saw the value of beginning our own family reunion. 


noun \(ˌ)rē-ˈyün-yən\

: an act of getting people together again after they have been apart : an act of reuniting
: an organized gathering of people who have not been together for a long time