Well, we are a month into the New Year and time seems to be going by quickly. We spent New Year’s Eve with the other senior missionary couples watching a movie together. We all brought snacks and such to share. By 10:00 p.m. we decided that it was New Year’s somewhere and so we called it a night! Aren’t we older folks just the party animals?
As the year kicked off we were involved in organizing a Seminar for the 16 regional self-reliance managers. It was held last week, January 20 through 23. Bonnie made a few suggestions to the program, which were implemented, and they were a little diversion from just meeting after meeting all day long. She suggested they bring in some of the local stake coordinating committees that the managers work with and have a participatory panel or a ‘role play’ exercise. They liked that idea and it turned out to be very successful and meaningful for the managers. It will help them to better assist the committees they work with on a daily basis. The days at the seminar were long, every day from 7 a.m. until 9 or 10 at night. But all in all it was beneficial for everyone who attended.
The seminar was held at the Manzana del Templo, or ‘Temple Square’. That is what they call the complex of buildings where the Mexico City temple is located, the same as we call it in Salt Lake City. It is about 1-2 hours away from our location, depending on traffic. It is not a commute we wanted to make twice a day every day for a week. So we were able to stay with another missionary couple, the Smith’s from Ammon, Idaho, whose apartment is there, at Temple Square. They have a nice apartment and invited us to stay with them. Luckily, they have an extra bedroom! Otherwise we would have been in the dorms of the old MTC, which is also located at the temple grounds. FYI, the Mexico MTC has moved over to the former Benimérito de las Américas School. That was a primary and secondary school that was owned and operated by the church until last year, when it was closed and converted to the new MTC.
We had our first experience driving here in Mexico City when we went to the seminar. We had good directions from Netza Salinas, who is in charge of the Self-Reliance initiative here in Mexico, and got there in good time, with Craig at the wheel. We did miss a few turns that snuck up on us but were able to get back on course without any problem.
We are still trying to get a lot of data on self-reliance from the stakes in Mexico. Some records haven’t been kept well at all, and some are very outdated. So we are trying to collect the information and create central files and lists, and then maintain them. Craig will also be translating some documents into Spanish that we received from Salt Lake at the seminar, so that is keeping him busy.
We finally got the oven changed in our apartment! Yea! The holidays are clearly not the time for things to go wrong, in Mexico. It takes a long time to get things taken care of on good days, but holidays everyone just takes off and you just have to wait if you need something. Then, on the day we got the new oven, our microwave went out! So as you can see, there is a never an end to things that happen on the temporal affairs front.
Our lives have been blessed while we have been serving here. Craig has been in good health and been able to endure the days in the office, including the seminar days. It was difficult for him, but he did well. We have learned so much about self-reliance and are seeing how it has blessed the lives of many of the members here. Each stake has to send an informative bulletin about self-reliance progress to their Stake President each month, with a copy to our office here. These bulletins should include success stories. We have read many and are able to see how people’s lives have been changed by following the plan that has been set out by the church. We can tell that it is truly an inspired initiative of the church. This year the Church is rolling out a new program based on self-reliance groups to help participating members. It starts right off by getting them to begin working on personal self-reliance in the very first lesson. We are excited to see how the members will grow and learn from this new appraoch. These groups also teach members to rely on faith and obedience to the laws of the gospel. The Doctrine & Covenants 29:34 says, ”Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal.”
We hope that all of you are doing well and enjoying many blessings this New Year. Our thoughts and prayers are with each of you.
Here we are at the Mexico Temple Square, at the end of the Seminar.
When you are in Book of Mormon land, you never know when Captain Moroni might show up.
This is the group attending the seminar, in front of the Temple.
Temple at Night. It was the view from our bedroom window.
Everyone shared a talent the first night. Craig wrote a poem in Spanish about Self-Reliance and I accompanied it with music- - in Spanish!