Friday, September 28, 2012

A Typical Cambio

I try to post photographs of our new missionaries each time they arrive. But recently I realized that maybe the pictures don't make sense and the blog readers might not understand what we do on a transfer day. So I've assembled some photos to document what goes on during a typical cambio. Now there really isn't a "typical" cambio because as much as we plan for a smooth day, there are always little things that occur that throw the schedule off. Nevertheless, we have some traditions that we like to share with our new missionaries so that their first day is memorable.

Usually the North American and Latin missionaries arrive on the same flight from Santiago.  This is the best case scenario and it makes our day so easy.  After greeting all the missionaries at the airport we drive them to our city's natural monument, La Portada, for a photo op.  Each missionary has his picture taken with President and Hermana Bruce and we also take a group photo.

First picture with Hermana and Presidente Bruce

No matter the time of year, La Portada is windy.  This can result in some interesting faces and photos. And sometimes we get crazy hair pictures too.

Group photo at La Portada

Depending on the number of missionaries that arrive and how tight our day is planned because of plane and bus schedules the missionaries are either taken to the mission office for breakfast or to the Institute. The first order of business is paperwork and a headshot.  We want to learn more about our missionaries and need their family contact information so we have a short form for them to fill out.  We also need to take a picture for their visa and for their name tag on the transfer board in the President's office.

Filling out the information sheet

Headshot taken at the Institute
After the administrative work is done the training meeting starts and the group begins with a song, "Called to Serve" and during the second verse our trainers come into the room enthusiastically singing too.  These missionaries have been in another building receiving their instructions on being a trainer to a new missionary and are VERY excited to meet their nuevitos.

New missionaries singing "Called to Serve"

Trainers joining in with the song
When the singing is over we have introductions by everyone.  We share our names, where we are from, and for the trainers, how long we have served in the mission.

Making introductions
How do the new missionaries find out who their first companion will be?  We inherited this tradition when we arrived in the mission and all the missionaries love it.  Presidente Bruce has an envelope for each new missionary with his/her companion and sector enclosed inside.  The nuevito sits in a chair in the middle of the room and reads about his assignment.  As soon as the trainer's name is announced he jumps with excitement and runs to greet his new companion.  The trainer has a shoe shine brush in hand and poses as if he is shining the shoe of his nuevito while pictures are being taken.  I think the new missionary is in shock a little with all the excitement and doesn't know what is going on but it is as exciting as Christmas morning for our trainers as they meet their new companions.

Trainers are always excited to meet their nuevitos

Each missionary receives his/her assignment in a specially marked envelope

Presidente and Hermana Bruce greet the new missionary also

Presidente Bruce distributes the envelopes one by one to the nuevitos

The trainers shine the shoes of each new missionary

The trainer assignments are exciting for everyone

The first introduction to his trainer

A new companion with his trainer

A trainer with her nuevita

After the introductions and assignments have been made we all have lunch together.  Finally it is time for the missionaries to travel to their new areas.  Some are assigned to Antofagasta with only a short taxi ride to the pension.  But many are put on buses for a 5-12 hour trip to their sectors.  But before they depart the missionaries have a final photo taken with Presidente and Hermana Bruce.

A new hermana with her trainer

Trainer and nuevito

The first companionship is so important to the missionary

The new missionaries receive a new pillow, an orientation binder and a bag with "important" stuff (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, shoe shiner and medications) to take to their sector.  With all their luggage and these added items their arms are full and they are grateful for a new companion to help them travel.

Our Assistants help so much during the cambios

One final picture of the group so we can remember this important day to our missionaries.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Farewell to the September Group

 Why is it so hard to say goodbye?  Here in Chile we say Chao when we leave someone inferring that we will see them again.  Adios is said when the farewell is more permanent.  We said a sad Adios to these missionaries on September 11th.  They are dear to us and were all wonderful leaders in our  mission.

We love you all with all our hearts.

We will always love your service, your strength, your love and your silly natures.

September Cambio

On September 11th we welcomed 14 new missionaries. The Latins arrived in the morning, right on time and unfortunately our gringos missed a flight and arrived later that day.  We whisked our new Latin missionaries to La Portada for a photo shoot and missed the opportunity with the late arriving Gringos because of bus schedules.  Below are the pictures taken at La Portada.

Several sweet missionaries came to us from the CCM in Santiago.

One of our new traveling assistants.

Our other new traveling assistant.

One of our office assistants.

These two left on a bus to Arica to start their travels later in the day.

Our traveling sisters.  They travel the mission to work with all of the hermana companionships.  
When all of our missionaries had safely arrived in Antofagasta we gathered with the new trainers and introduced the new missionaries with their first companions.  Afterwards we enjoyed Dominoes pizza for lunch and took more pictures before the missionaries boarded buses for their sectors.

This sister met her new companion with a pacifier. 

An elder greeted his "son" with a bib and pacifier.  Is there a trend here in the mission?

All the Hermanas love each other.

Reunions at the nuevito meeting.

Hermana Bruce chooses the next trainer to meet his nuevito