Sunday, April 1, 2018

January 2018 Circle of Life

We had a Transfer Day - on January 1st!  So we had a Leaving Dinner and Fireside on New Years Eve, the 31st!  It will be a New Years Eve, I will always remember, spending it with the three great missionaries going home and all the Elders that work in the Mission Office.  The three Elders going home had all worked in the Office during their Mission, so it was a great reunion and celebration with all the Office Elders and Assistants to the President.
  We said goodbye to 3 wonderful missionaries, Elder Falcon, Elder Solano and Elder Anieves - you will be missed and we appreciate your hard work here in the Mission and in the service of our Lord in finding souls to bring to Christ.

Office Elder's Selfie with the Missionaries
going home and us

Adios Elder Falcom, Elder
Anieves and Elder Solano!

The airport good-bye

We then turn around and receive the new group of Missionaries -
New Missionaries -Hermanas Sanchez and Roe and
Elders Morales, Tamayo, Cornaby, Cardenas
and Fredriksen
And in the evening from the Guatemala MTC,
Elder Loza from Bolivia.

At the Villa Stake Center they meet their companions
Another part of the change this day was President changed the
Assistants to the President, so we said good bye to Elder Pérez
and Elder Estrella and we welcomed the new Assistants
Elder Cordoba and Elder Fairbanks

Saturday, March 31, 2018


The town of Benemerito is the farthest area from the Mission Office.  It is southeast of Villahermosa and on the border of Guatemala, literally, you just cross the river at the edge of town and you are in Guatemala.  When we arrived there, my cellphone - welcomed my phone to Guatemala cell service and explained the roaming charges - I quickly put my phone on airplane mode.😏
Sunday, December 10, 2017, President and I visited the Benemerito Branch.  It is a 5 1/2 hour drive by car from Villahermosa, so we left early.  As we drove out of Villahermosa we began to see runners carrying torches with groups of people in a truck near them.  We realized they were commemorating the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, each runner had on a coverlet with a picture of Juan Diego, the peasant boy that saw the Virgin Mary, and the trucks were covered with decorations of Virgin of Guadalupe.  We saw the runners and groups all along the road all the way to Benemerito.  It was incredible to see the many, many people participating and taking turns running and supporting each other.

The runners were all ages, from older

to younger

One of the trucks supporting runners


Once we got to Benemerito President Haws met with the Branch President and they called and set apart two new Branch Presidency Counselors.
  After the 3-hour block of Sunday meetings we went to the Branch President's house for lunch with his family.  It was wonderful to be with them and the mole chicken was great!
Benemerito Chapel

Road to Benemerito Chapel

Branch Presidente Mateo, with his two new
Counselors and their wives and Presidente Haws
and Presidente Valencia, 2nd Counselor in Mission

The wonderful Benemerito Elders! Elders Duque,
Graves, Rodriguez and Miranda with us

Presidente Mateo's family and his wonderful wife
that made all of us some lunch.

After lunch we drove around Benemerito and to the river, where people cross-over to Guatemala.  There was a line of taxi's at the water's edge for people that came across in the little boat.  It was an interesting perspective of the life there in Benemerito.  We also saw the Sunday fútbol game going on in the cancha near the river.
The soccer field, to make it big enough they took
in part of the street!

The road next to the soccer field that goes to the
river crossing to Guatemala, you can see the river
in the middle of the picture

River crossing to Guatemala, with the line of
taxi's waiting.

There are interesting sites along the road to Benemerito - here are two of my favorites -
Yes, that sign says: Slow Jaguar Crossing 😁

The road literally goes through
the jungle!

We also pass by a crocodile sanctuary

Sunday, March 4, 2018

December Special Transfer

On December 14th we had a special transfer - special because it was a part from the regular Transfer days, special because it was a special group of Hermanas- it was the group that arrived 3 days after we started as Mission President.  So this was our first group to go home that had only been with us. It was a sad and wonderful day- sad because we will miss them, but wonderful because we have seen all three of them grow and become something different than the day they arrived. We sent them home stronger, more rooted in the Gospel, stronger testimonies of our Savior Jesus Christ and more confident and capable and . . .more tired.  Their 18 months had arrived on December 14th and President sent them home to their families for Christmas!
Adios grandes Hermanas - Hermana Perez, Hermana Castaneda and Hermana Morales - we love you!

The Villahermosa Hermanas joined us
for the Farewell Dinner, it was a
beautiful group - from top left Hermanas
Rodriguez, DeJesus, Bistrain, Castaneda,
Perez, Torres, Morales and Perez

Hermanas Torres, Castaneda and Morales

It's official - they are going home. Adios Grandes
Farewell hug for Hermana Perez

Farewell hug for Hermana Castaneda

The three Hermanas display an afghan
that a Sister in Coatza made for
Hermana Castaneda - beautiful!

Three Week Training for the November Arrivals

We had the "News" return with their companions for Three Week Training, on December 7th.  It was a big group, but a successful and informative day for all.

November group of Missionaries with their Trainers/Companions, the AP's and
Hermana and Presidente Haws

President teaching the philosophies and principles
of the Mission

We have various versions - but it is still all - esfuerza al máximo!!

November Consejo

Villahermosa Mission Leaders
The first Wednesday after a Transfer day is our Mission Leadership Council or Consejo.  It is one of my favorite days in the cycle of the Mission - all the Zone Leaders and the Sister Training Leaders come into the Mission Office and we join together to discuss the Mission. President Haws always does excellent teachings about leadership principles and the philosophy of the Mission. He gives his vision of the Mission and we review the Key Indicators and discuss how we are doing as a Mission. Then there is council and discussion with the President and the Mission Leaders about various matters of importance and how we can help the Missionaries and the Mission.  I love to see the growth in the individuals and the Mission.  It feels like we are always progressing and moving forward - the Lord is definitely directing the Mission and guiding through inspiration the President and all the missionaries.
Some of the Zone Leaders, doing a selfie with
Hermana Haws

November Consejo ~

Sister Training Leaders

Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders
work together to set the goals for their Zone

Discussing what are their Zone's needs

Zone Leaders working with the Sister Training Leaders

Presidente Haws teachings and principles for the

Elder Pérez and Elder Estrella, AP's, with more of
Presidente Haws teachings

Lunch break - this Consejo it is Subway!

Siempre Esfuerza al Máximo!

Sam's Visit!

Every once in a while we get a visit from one or more of our children.  This time our son Sam came down for the week of Thanksgiving (which really is nothing here, but for him it was a lighter week of work in the U.S., so easier time to come here).  But it happened to be the busiest time of our Transfer Cycle, which we warned him about and he said- that's ok, I will just tag along and get to see what you really do and then he could do his work on his computer, while we were doing all our stuff.  So here are a few fun photos with Sam, in the Mission, with missionaries and him getting to see the real Mission!
Sam with Presidente y Hermana Haws at the
Farewell Dinner/Fireside in the Mission Home

Sam got to see Presidente y Hermana Haws teaching
the Trainers on Sunday night before the News arrived.

At the airport on Monday morning - Sam was joining
the Office Elders in a selfie with the Leaving
Missionaries and Presidente y Hermana Haws

On Wednesday, Sam joined Elder Hendricks and
Elder Serrato for a selfie with the Leadership Council

So - OXXO's are a staple in Mexico. There is one about
every other block. So as we were going in for a cold drink,
into one of these OXXO's - I said I have
never gotten a picture of an OXXO
- and well - now we have one! Thanks Sam!

Cascadas de Misol Há ~

   On Thursday, Thanksgiving day, we got to do something fun and spectacular before Sam had to leave on Thursday night. We visited one of the top ten waterfalls in Mexico, which just happens to be in our Mission boundaries and near Palenque - Misol Ha!  It is spectacular. It was raining hard that day, but we were not dissuaded and we were rewarded for our perseverance. By the time we arrived it was drizzling and that soon gave way - so we were able to climb around and enjoy the beauty and Sam even went swimming under the waterfall!

Cascadas de Misol Ha

Sam with us in front of the waterfall

There was water every where, even
from the sky!

The path that goes behind the waterfall

Sam and I behind the waterfall

You know it must be low, if I have to

President on the path

Me, President and Sam!!

Sam even gave us a farewell as he went
up the escalator of Esfuerza al Máximo!

WE LOVE YOU SAM. . . .until next time