Sunday, January 26, 2014

Transfers- January 2014

A new batch of missionaries have arrived! 19 new elders and 10 new sisters have come to the Philippines Baguio Mission! There were lots of fun activities planned to help these new missionaries enjoy their first few days here in San Fernando. Thursday morning, President Balledos took time to meet with each new missionary. In the meantime, the others got to enjoy some fun proselyting activities. They were introduced to 'Preaching by the way', where we take advantage of every opportunity to talk to everyone! They practiced at the chapel and then put it into reality. Each missionary had 2 cards they were to give away in the San Fernando Plaza. They were nervous, but excited! They were told to go and preach! What is really emphasized here in the Baguio Mission is the importance of Talking To Everyone! So that is just what the missionaries did! Anyone that they saw, they went up to and started sharing the gospel. They handed out pamphlets, pass-along cards, got return appointments, contact information and started planting seeds.

Here are some of the new missionaries preaching by the way to the 'old' missionaries.

 Elders in the plaza planting some seeds!

 The activities continued and the new missionaries were sent on a mini scavenger hunt. They had to navigate themselves around the San Fernando area. They rode a jeepney from the plaza to one of the nearby malls where they were to buy ingredients for a Filipino favorite, chicken adobo!

Back at the chapel they enjoyed a nice lunch.

 The missionaries then traveled to the mission home where they got to do some laundry! In case they can't find a washing machine in their areas, they are now prepared to wash their own clothes by hand.

Now was the time when they put their cooking skills to the test! There was no complete recipe for them to follow, so the missionaries had to work together to add just the right amount of ingredients to their chicken adobo.

While waiting for the taste testers to judge, as tradition, the new missionaries got to go to the beach and walk on the sand. 1 rule: Have fun. Just don't get wet!

Afterwards, everyone came inside to have their new missionary orientation. Some of the missionaries got to bear their testimony, others participated in role plays. The skills they learned in the MTC really showed. The assistants to the president went over the key indicators and other part of mission life that each missionary would be focusing on. All was concluded with an enthusiastically sung Baguio Mission song!

Everyone then spent the evening outside enjoying a delicious dinner. Some experienced pancit and lumpia for the first time. And as sometimes custom here in the Philippines, no utensils were used. All of the missionaries really enjoyed their first few days here in Baguio Mission. President and Sister Balledos had wonderful activities planned to help them adjust and enjoy the experience of living here in the Philippines.

January 17, 2014 was transfer day! The new missionaries anxiously waited to meet their new companions. To start the day, the missionaries who would be training these new missionaries had their 'train the trainers' meeting. They were inspired by workshops given by President and the assistants. This helped them learn more about their role and responsibility of being a trainer. They learned about the resources given to them like the 12 weeks program and the Adjusting to Missionary Life booklet. The trainers and trainees all met up in the chapel later to be paired with their inspired companionships. Many new areas are opening up due to all of the new missionaries, which allows the work of the Lord to be hastened even more in these new areas.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Philippines Baguio Mission is... REDEFINED!

The Baguio Mission is being Redefined! With the new year having arrived, the Baguio Philippines mission has set new goals, new standards, and a new excellence. All is changing for the better. We are trying hard to be an obedient mission, a role playing mission, a Preach My Gospel mission, a model mission, and a baptizing mission! In order for these new techniques to be implemented, we needed the help of all members of the Baguio mission. To introduce these new ideas, a Leadership Training was held for 3 days in San Fernando. On each of these days, information, ideas, and techniques were discussed on how to better the mission. The theme of the training was 'The Good Samaritan" and how each of us need to be that good Samaritan to others-- to help them and have compassion on all those we interact with. Day 1 started with all of the leaders of the mission. This included President Balledos, the assistants to the president, the zone leaders, the sister training leaders, and other missionaries that were invited to attend. Here they discussed the changes to the mission and what would be happening in the future. For weeks, President Balledos and other leaders had prayerfully considered and planned for the new things to happen and now is when it would be introduced.

The missionaries who attended day 1 of the training worked together as they discussed the new changes and added their input. They discussed their role as zone leaders and sister training leaders and how they could better manifest their calling with regard to these changes. The assistants to the president provided different workshops to help explain and enlighten.  Elder Sison gave an inspired workshop titled "Plan People, Not Lessons". He talked about the importance of daily planning and how we can set better goals to help us stretch ourselves. After many prayers and fasting of the whole mission, new standards of excellence have been introduced. This includes finding 5 new investigators and 5 potential investigators each week. 10 lessons to investigators (5 with a members present) and 15 recent-convert/less active lessons each week. In addition, we are to extend a baptism date to 7 investigators each week, which will hopefully lead to baptizing and confirming 3 precious souls each transfer. We are all excited for these new standards and goals. We know all of these have been inspired by our leaders to help us hasten the Lord's work in this area.
They introduced a new schedule that the entire mission will follow starting next transfer. This will help us be more united as a mission. We now have a very specific time to plan and update our area book, which will allow our planning to be more effective. Elder Sison emphasized the importance of personal and companionship study and how to better utilize our time and resources to improve our lessons and teaching skills. Of course, to put this technique into action, there was a role play about introducing The Book of Mormon for the first time.

Later Elder Moffat gave a workshop on how we can better become 'Zion' as a mission. He asked for the missionaries' thoughts on how we can better become Zion. Some ideas included specialized trainings as a zone, zone activities, and being unified in all that we do. All of these have been addressed and will support the new changes.

Elder Pitman concluded the workshops with teaching about 'Hand-me-downs', some zones getting bikes, and obedience. Obedience had really been stressed these 3 days of training. The missionaries know the importance of obedience and we hope with the new changes it will help the missionaries become more obedient. We know that obedience is key to a successful mission and we look forward to the new changes that will help us become an exactly obedient mission.

The STL's provided a fun activity as an icebreaker during the meeting

Day 2 was much like the first. But in order to successfully implement all of these new ideas, we needed to gradually present them to the missionaries. Day 2 training included those who were at the first meeting, in addition to all of the District Leaders in the mission. In this way, the district leaders could then convey the workshops and ideas to the members in their district. When the district leaders came in, all of the other missionaries has switched their name tags as a preview to the "Big Changes" coming.

 Of course more role plays so that the leaders could practice how to teach!

In this meeting, they also talked about the new key indicators. the missionaries all contributed their ideas on what the purpose of key indicators is. Many volunteered their ideas-- key indicators are to measure our success, set goals, help us to focus, seek improvement. Everyone got in groups and made news! They wrote down the baptisms they had for that transfers and how they found the person that was baptized-- referral, street contacting, part member family, etc. This way the missionaries could share their ideas about having successful baptisms, and others could hear new ideas. Some of the groups presented their ideas in the form of a 2 minute news clip. This added excitement and enthusiasm to the meeting.

We also have a new cycle training plan. This suggessted study plan is intednded to add structure and additional study ideas for out trainings. It will be used in district meetings, zone training, and companionship studies. It has inspired topics that we can each focus on. For example, obedience, being converted unto Christ, baptism, small things become great (no effort wasted through commitments), and repentance. the missionaries are looking forward to this plan to help increase their testimonies and grow spiritually.
Another theme of the training was Citius, Altius, and Fortius. These symbolisms were chosen because we want 'Faster Improvement' (Citius), 'Higher Standards and growth' (Altius), and 'Stronger Commitments' (Fortius). These will help improve all aspects of missionary life and work.

Day 3 consisted of the leaders and the trainers. They were then taught about the new changes in workshops. This way they could implement the new changes to those they are training. The missionaries were free to ask any questions so they could effectively teach it to their trainees. It was a successful training for all. All of the missionaries are really looking forward to the new year. The new standards, schedules, techniques are all to help the Baguio mission to become better. We are so grateful for the inspired words of our leaders and the work the missionaries are putting in. We know that through these efforts, the Baguio mission will be better than ever!

Ending it with a jubilant Baguio Mission theme song!

We also want to thank Sister Balledos for providing the food for all of the hungry missionaries! It was very much enjoyed!