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Updates from Uruguay


Live from Uruguay

    This page contains updates coming from Uruguay.  Most of these updates come from the current Mission President.  Many thanks to him for letting us know what's happening in Uruguay.  It takes a lot of time to write these updates.

May 2003
January 2003
October 2002
August 2002
March 2002
December 2001
  183 Baptisms
November 2001
  134 Baptisms
October 2001
  116 Baptisms
September 2001
  193 Baptisms
August 2001
  140 Baptisms
July 2001
  116 Baptisms
June 2001
April 2001
 
May 11, 2003

Much has happened since I last wrote. We have been very busy implementing changes resulting from the Church’s focus on teaching by the Spirit. Charlas are longer to be memorized. Added emphasis has been placed in teaching the apostasy and restoration. Just about everything we do in the mission has been affected by this change. We are placing much more emphasis on the need for ‘treasuring up’ and the need to learn by the Spirit. Missionaries have been asked to develop outlines (we call them ‘guias’ – to be guided by the Spirit) for the charlas. The principles of the ‘charla cortas’ that we rolled out over a year and a half ago have prepared our mission very well for what we are doing now. We have completely re-written the ‘Misionero Celestial’ to support and reflect the new teaching methodology. The only memorization that a missionary does now is with scriptures. We have added doctrinal exams at each of the five levels along with a personal spiritual evaluation test to encourage spiritual growth. We are using our district meetings and zone conferences to train missionaries in the new way to teach. The Church has sent a DVD player and projector to each mission to aid in training.

You are probably aware that our replacements have been called and announced; they are President and Sister Herreyra from Santiago, Chile. They will be bringing a 20-year-old daughter with them along with their 13-year-old son. There was a time when there were over 50 Chilean missionaries in our mission. Within one month of President Herreyra’s arrival there will only be three missionaries from Chile in our mission. The 34 Latins we have in the mission now represents less than 20% of our total missionaries. At one point nearly one half of our missionaries were Latin.

Recently we had zone conferences with a theme that centered on the titles and responsibilities of Jesus Christ. We were blessed to be able to have President Jay E. Jensen attend part of each conference and bare his testimony as a special witness of the Savior. Last week we had a mission tour with Elder Carlos E. Aguero, second counselor in our area presidency. In addition to meeting in conferences with all missionaries he held a fireside for the members in Tacuarembó.

The Tacuarembó member district continues to show impressive growth. Weekly sacrament meeting attendance now averages nearly 700. The number of active, worthy Melquisedec priesthood holders has more than doubled in the past 16 months. A stake should be created in Tacuarembó very shortly. I recently approved an addition to the Rama 5 / 6 chapel. This is the district center chapel where missionaries hold their weekly district meetings. The addition is massive and includes a major re-modeling of the existing structure converting it into a stake center. The current ‘salon sacramental’ will be converted into stake offices and classrooms. The cultural hall will also be changed into classrooms and will also include the baptismal font. A new chapel will be added on with a seating capacity of about 600 people. Work is scheduled to begin around October.

Yesterday we held a special leadership meeting in Montevideo for all district and zone leaders in the mission. We have been blessed with a wonderful group of leaders in our mission. We continue to be impressed with their desire and willingness to do whatever is asked of them.

This will likely be my last “Mission Update” for the mission website since our time here in Uruguay is quickly coming to a close. Thanks once again for all those that have gone before us. We are seeing the fruits of your labors. Amidst a struggling economy and significant emigration of the local populace, the Church in Uruguay continues to grow. We have developed a deep love for these dear people and will miss them a great deal. These have been ‘days never to be forgotten.’

Sincerely, President Chidester


January 28, 2003

Greetings from the beautiful land of Uruguay. We hope each of you had an enjoyable Christmas and are having a good start to the new year. It is hard to believe that 2003 is already upon us. As we reflect back on this past year we give thanks for the many blessings we received and for the many wonderful miracles that happened in the lives of our missionaries as well as the mission.

The year 2002 was indeed a wonderful year for the mission. The focus on working with the members in a balanced effort in the areas of conversion, retention, and reactivation has paid huge dividends. The Church in Uruguay is being greatly strengthened as a result. The emphasis we have placed on baptizing men is making a big difference. In December the mission once again achieved more than 200 baptisms with 214. We finished the year 2002 as the top baptizing mission in the South America South Area when measured as baptisms per missionary. Retention improved steadily throughout the year 2002 where we finished near the top in the area as well.

Since the last update the remodeling for the mission home has been completed. We started on the project last July and had a steady stream of construction workers for the last six months of 2002. The finished product is beautiful. We are thoroughly enjoying the additional space and newness of nearly everything. The new presidents office in the mission home is spacious and perfect for doing the administrative work of the mission, holding interviews and meetings.

The demographics of the mission have greatly changed over the past year. The current make up of the mission is as follows:

  Country Hermanas Elders
USA 26 113
Paraguay 3 17
Chile 1 11
Argentina 1 5
Germany   2
Guatemala 1 1
Uruguay   2
Bolivia   1
Honduras   1
Mexico 1  
Total 33 153

The above numbers include our wonderful senior couple, the Gouldings, who are from Sandy, Utah. Elder Goulding was recently released as branch president in Rosario where he and Hermana Goulding did an amazing job of helping the branch grow and become stronger. The new branch president is Hermano Barreto. He joined the Church last July. Elder Goulding is now serving as first counselor in the El Real branch.

The Uruguayan economy continues to struggle. When we arrived in Uruguay over two and a half years ago we received 11 and 7/8 pesos for every U.S. dollar exchanged. That figure is now up to 27 and 1/2 per dollar. There are no longer any McDonald's restaurants in the interior of our mission. The one in Rivera closed down quite some time ago. The restaurants in Salto, Paysandú, and La Teja closed within the past few months.

We enjoyed visits from several of our former missionaries. Kenley Chapman and Gavin Poulton were here in November. Jeff Knight, Dave Jensen, and Rhett Frandsen stopped by the last week of December. We had a very enjoyable time with each of them. Mauro Palominos and Alexis Garcia are scheduled to be here in February.

As always we appreciate hearing from our former missionaries. We are aware of at least seven of our returned missionaries who got married on December 27. We wished we could have shared the joy of their special day with them. We are happy for them and look forward to meeting their spouses.

We are in the middle of zone conferences right now. Our theme for this conference is the Abrahamic covenant and the gathering of Israel.

May the Lord bless you in all of your righteous endeavors. We feel very fortunate to be involved in this great work with the terrific people of Uruguay.

Sincerely,  President Chidester


October 7, 2002

Many of our former missionaries have written me recently asking whether or not we have reached our mission baptism goal yet. At the first of this year we established a mission wide goal of “202 en 2002.” I am pleased to announce that we met the goal in the month of September with 242 baptisms. That is an all-time mission record and one that came about as the result of a lot of hard work and faith by an impressive group of missionaries.

Several months ago we began to put an increased focus on working closely as a team with the members. We have been emphasizing not just convert baptisms but retention and reactivation as well. We are seeing impressive results in all three areas. 82% of the baptisms this past month came from member references. Retention has improved in each of the last several months as a result of the increased member involvement in the work.

We also recently changed our measure for “less actives.” We no longer count hours worked in that area but rather we track the number of “less actives” attending church each week. We are seeing a very significant increase in overall church attendance throughout the mission. The Salto and Mercedes stakes now have very specific plans and goals to divide their stakes. While that won’t happen for a while good progress is being made on their plans.

We recently completed phase one of the mission home remodeling project. The front room, family room, and entry way have been greatly upgraded. Items included are an impressive custom designed china buffet, a custom made computer / entertainment unit for the family room, new couches, lamps and tables for the front room, wood paneling and crown molding, mirrors, custom frosted glass pocket doors between the informal and formal dining areas along with new paint, and wallpaper. We also have new curtains and draperies in the front room, entry way, and formal and informal dining areas. While the whole process was quite disruptive the finished product looks very nice. Phase two of the remodeling project should be completed by the end of the year. This phase includes a significant addition to the mission home for a president’s office and doubling the size of the front room. The current president’s office will become a laundry room and the current laundry room will become a pantry.

There is a wonderful spirit of dedication and focus in the mission. We have been greatly impressed with the level of spirituality exhibited by our missionaries. The missionaries have taken to heart the need to constantly strive to reach “Un Nivel Más Alto." There is a sincere desire to make on going improvements to everything we do in the mission. The results have been impressive.

We hope each of you is enjoying life’s richest blessings. May the Lord bless you with the righteous desires of your hearts. Your prayers on behalf of this great mission are always appreciated.

Sincerely, President Chidester


August, 2002

My how time flies! I just realized the last Mission Update I wrote was in March; that seems like it was just last week. Much has happened these past few months.

Most of you have probably heard about the financial problems we are having in Uruguay right now. All banks were closed last week. The money situation is making life down here pretty exciting right now. Our office elders (with the help of the Administrative Offices in Carrasco) bought each companionship enough food for a week and went around the mission delivering it to each zone. We have also changed banks and are giving each missionary new bank cards. Banco Montevideo collapsed; it exists no more. Things should start to return to normal later this week.

April was a remarkable time to be in the mission. The month started with General Conference which always is a nice spiritual boost. A few weeks later Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve came to Uruguay to hold a regional conference for the stakes in Montevideo. There were over 5400 people in attendance at the Cilindro (located in Flores) for the Sunday general session. We were honored to have Elder and Sister Nelson join us in the mission home for dinner on Sunday. While in Montevideo Elder Nelson held a mission conference for all of the missionaries in both Uruguayan missions. The conference was held in Rodó (Barrio 4) and turned out to be a wonderful experience for all present. It was an impressive site to see nearly 400 missionaries gathered in one chapel.

In May we introduced a 60 day Book of Mormon reading program. We asked the missionaries to highlight specific references to Jesus Christ (when He talks, when He is referred to, the atonement, and His attributes). At the end of May we had a mission tour with Elder Claudio D. Zivic who until recently served as the second counselor in our Area Presidency. We held one conference in Villa Muñoz for the three zones in Montevideo as well as the Colonia zone. Another conference was held in Paysandú for the six interior zones. As part of his mission tour Elder Zivic also spoke at a very well attended fireside in Tacuarembó.

During the June zone conferences we presented a new charla to be used by all missionaries. Charla 7 was written to help missionaries better prepare their investigators for baptism. The charla reviews key doctrine along with commitments an individual makes when getting baptized. We also presented a new program that had previously been presented to our stake president. The focus of the new program is to help local leaders work with and reach out to "menos activos". All missionaries in a zone meet on a designated day in a specific ward or branch in their stake and do "divisiones"; with members to visit "menos activos". We are seeing a lot of success with this new program. The local leaders are very excited.

A couple of weeks ago we attended the Mercedes stake conference presided over by Elder Carlos Aguero. Elder Aguero was recently called to be a member of our Area Presidency. We have seen a lot of growth and progress in the Mercedes stake in our time here. Between the two general sessions held there were over 700 in attendance. There were 165 new members that came to the new member meeting. The general session for Fray Bentos was held in a rented hall since the main chapel is closed while major remodeling is taking place. The Mercedes zone continues to do very well.

We recently finished with this years round of branch conferences. They have been very rewarding despite the fact that holding 14 different branch conferences is very tiring. One of the real bright spots of the mission has been the growth and strengthening of the Church in Rosario and Carmelo. There is a great spirit in these branches now and a much needed sense of hope. This past weekend two adult men were baptized in Rosario. Carmelo now has an average weekly attendance of between 55 and 60. There is an energy level in Carmelo now that we have not seen before.

The mission set an all time mission record for number of baptisms in the most recent quarter; April, May and June. We were blessed with 483 baptisms; which works out to an average of 161 baptisms per month. We are encouraged by the retention focus and efforts we are seeing which is resulting in 'real growth' of the Church.

For this round of zone conferences we are putting emphasis on working with local leaders and members in the areas of conversion, retention, and reactivation. We decided to hold ten different conferences (one for each zone) at night to allow local leaders to attend. The three conferences we held last week in Salto, Paysandú, and Mercedes were absolutely wonderful. Missionaries and members alike left the conferences very uplifted and motivated. Everyone seemed pleased with the custom made leather bookmark we gave them as a keepsake.

We are fortunate to have a very dedicated group of missionaries. We are continually impressed with the high level of discipline our missionaries exhibit. It is a tremendous blessing for us to be able serve with such focused, hard working, and obedient servants of the Lord.

Sincerely, President Chidester


March, 2002

We have been extremely busy these past few months. Our three married children and seven grandchildren were all able to visit us here during the Christmas holidays. We had a delightful time with them. They really enjoyed getting to see many of the places we have been telling them about. The Sunday before Christmas was a special time for our family as we were able to travel to Colonia and put on a special Christmas sacrament meeting in Nueva Helvecia and also one for the three branches in Colonia Sarmiento. Many of you know about our son Ryan. He will be ending his mission in the Chile Santiago North mission in about four weeks and coming to Uruguay for several days before heading home.

Many blessings continue to be showered upon our mission. The Lord has been very kind to us. We are very pleased with the progress of the mission. Below is an outline of news of interest from our mission.

Last month we held a district conference in Tacuarembó where the district presidency was reorganized. President Jorge Da Silva was honorably released after having served faithfully well for nearly seven years. Gustavo Hernandez was sustained as the new district president with Ramon Ferreira as first counselor and Angel Sosa as second counselor. There were five hundred people in attendance at the conference. We know the new presidency will do a fine job. The district is making progress towards becoming a stake.

We have been blessed with several senior couples. The Browns (Mesa, Arizona) continue to serve in Libertad, the Christiansens (Centerville, Utah) have provided invaluable service in our offices and will now be moving out to Carmelo, the Gouldings (Sandy, Utah) will be moving to Rosario where Elder Goulding will be serving as the branch president. The Ogden's (Sandy, Utah) had been serving in Colonia and traveling throughout the district preparing and taking people to the temple. Elder Ogden has since been called as mission president for the Argentina, Cordoba mission and left our mission at the end of December.

Several of the branches in Colonia are experiencing some good growth. The branch in El General that was created last year is doing very well and having baptisms nearly every week. There is a new housing development in that part of Colonia and many people are moving into the area.

At yesterday's zone leader council I presented a new organization for the mission. Effective with the upcoming change there will only be one zone leader in each zone. The idea is to have only one person responsible and accountable for a zone. Zone leaders will serve for two to four changes and then someone else will be given the opportunity to serve. This will provide the added benefit of being able to put experienced zone leaders in as district leaders; this will greatly strengthen our districts. We refer to the district leaders as the "bishops of our mission."  The success of our mission is found in the success of our districts. The new organization has been received quite favorably by the missionaries.

Also during our council yesterday we presented a newly created mission manual that contains, among several other things, a new certification program. The new program replaces the former "Misionero Celestial" and "Gringo Celestial" programs. The new program has five levels and will require on going certification throughout the entire time a missionary serves in our mission. Each missionary will be focusing personal efforts to improve their Christian attributes, study of the gospel, missionary techniques, ongoing memorization of the charlas, and language study. Latin missionaries have been given English materials and will be learning English at each of the five levels. I am looking forward to having all of our Latin missionaries stand at a zone conference and recite D & C 4 in English.

We have cut in half the number of "numbers" we are now collecting. As an example, we are longer counting "heart charlas"; but rather putting an emphasis on the number of second charlas. As we increase the number of second charlas we will increase the number of baptismal challenges given. We piloted this approach in a couple of zones and the results were impressive enough to extend this to the whole mission.

Last night I attended a meeting with the stake presidents of the Montevideo area stakes. The meeting was held to prepare for the regional conference that will be held in Montevideo on April 27-28, 2002. Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Twelve will be the presiding authority. We will be fortunate enough to have a special conference with him. All missionaries from both missions in Uruguay will be attending the missionary conference.

We are appreciative of the emails and letters that many of you have sent us. We take joy in your personal accomplishments and blessings. We are honored to be involved in this great work. May the Lord bless each of you with the righteous desires of your heart.

With love and appreciation ,
President Chidester


November, 2001

We can hardly believe how fast time is passing by. This next week is another Change Week. Going home on Thursday will be Elders Miller, Miller, Tolman, Palominos, Ruiz, Compton, Escobar, Chee, Jensen, and Tesch.

We enjoy spending time with the "fieles" prior to their departure for home. We love being able to attend a session in the temple with them on the Wednesday night before they leave. Those are special moments for them and for us. We are very appreciative of their sacrifice and dedicated service. We also take the opportunity to spend time with the "oros" on the temple grounds when they first arrive in Uruguay. We talk about the vision of our mission which is :

Ver la gente en ropa blanca tres veces!  Bautismo, Templo, y Reino Celestial.

Un nivel más alto en todo lo que hacemos.

I have begun sending a letter to each new convert congratulating them on their baptism, asking for references, and inviting them to the temple. We are putting a lot of emphasis in the mission on getting new converts to the temple to do baptisms of family names as soon as possible after their own baptism (within the first month for those living in Montevideo and within three months for those living in the interior). Missionaries are trained how to help the new members fill out the necessary forms which they will bring with them to the temple. A number of our missionaries have been proxy for family names of their converts. It does not get any better than that.

We have been putting a lot of emphasis on increasing the importance and effectiveness of our district leaders. Districts are now smaller which results in a larger number of districts (27 right now). The district leaders have been given a lot more responsibility which includes weekly training in missionary skills, meeting weekly baptism goals, improving retention, and overall accountability for the missionaries in their district. The district leaders are very excited about the change.

We have changed the zone conference format whereby we have workshops with topics being identified by the zone leaders at our zone leader council. We divide the missionaries into three groups with one of the groups being newer North American missionaries (their workshops are conducted in English). We now are holding smaller zone conferences (five each cycle) with two zones at each conference and an average of 36 missionaries per conference.

This past week we moved out of the mission offices on Goes and into a brand new office building on Avenida Italia close to the British Hospital. The new mission office address is Italia 2364 piso 4, Montevideo, Uruguay 11.600. The office telephone number is the same as before (598 2 400 8890). We have leased the entire fourth floor of this lovely new building. In addition to the offices we have three separate apartments. One is being used by the office elders and the other two will be used by senior couples.

We held our zone leader council last Friday. Our current zone leaders are Elders Blake, Trinidad, Araya (former assistant), Illesca, McCann, Vignolio, Salamanca, Mills, Stark, Ferre, Hornibrook, Franco, Kevan, Kleven (former assistant), Romero, McClleland, Frandsen, Texeira, Tapia, Torres. The four assistants are Elders Duncan and Christensen (Montevideo Sector), Elder Spencer (Norte Sector) and Elder Street (Noroeste).

The mission continues to be richly blessed. Our missionaries are being rewarded for their great faith and hard work. We appreciate your prayers.

Sincerely,

President Chidester


August, 2001

It's time to heat up the oven and bake cinnamon rolls! Those of you that served with us know what that means. We had 116 baptisms in July. Please treat yourself to a Cinnabon; you deserve it. The mission is on fire!!! Recently we put a major emphasis on baptizing weekly. Each zone has a weekly goal. The most important part of the weekly district meeting is to identify by name and by specific week the investigators who can be baptized. This focus has made a huge difference in the mission. It appears we will achieve our goal of 100 baptisms in the first three weeks of August.

This is going to be an extremely busy month for Sister Chidester and me. We are introducing a new way for our missionaries to be fed. It is called the "Mamita" program. Each companionship will have an "hermana" called from their ward or branch who will be assigned to prepare their daily "almuerzo". The food will be prepared in the missionaries apartments. The objectives of the program are to: 1) ensure each missionary has sufficient time for his afternoon studies (no more walking clear across town to eat) 2) improve the nutritional quality of the meals. I have presented the plan to the stake presidents and have their full support. In preparation for this new program President and Sister Sana and Sister Chidester and I inspected every apartment in the mission. We identified specific requirements for each apartment. The result has been that approximately 30% of the missionaries will be moving and upgrading their apartments. The "cueva" in Tacuarembó for example has been condemned by the mission. I hope that doesn't make anybody too sad. Each companionship will have their own refrigerator, microwave, "garrafa", plates and eating utensils, etc. We are in the process of buying these items right now. We have been working closely with our area medical doctor (Dr. Hardy) to develop approved menus. Dr. Hardy will be joining us for a mission tour where the bishops and "mamitas" will be trained in this new program. We have also developed approved menus for easy to fix breakfasts. We expect to see a big improvement in the health of our missionaries as a result of this program.

As mentioned earlier the number of baptisms are up significantly. We have been able to maintain our missions wonderful tradition of good retention. We instituted a program several months ago where we involve members with people who are in teaching. Beginning with the second charla we expect our investigators to have daily positive contact with a member. We have also seen a nice increase in the percentage of men being baptized. We are now focusing our efforts on reducing the conversion cycle time through increasing our faith and the faith of our investigators. We are only teaching from the Church approved charlas.

I have got to sign off now. I have a meeting with the press in Dolores later today. Dolores is celebrating 200 years as a city. The Church has a special activity planned this evening to honor the city founders.

Regards,

President Chidester


June, 2001

Greetings to all from “la tierra del sol”. The sun has returned after a prolonged absence. There was some serious flooding that occurred several weeks ago in Artigas and Rivera. A large number of people were left homeless. Many of the homes of Church member families were severely damaged. Most of the damage was done in the area of the Artigas First ward. The chapels were used as temporary shelters for a period of time. We even had one companionship of elders that knocked doors (classrooms) inside one of the chapels and were able to give some charlas. The Church assisted in providing relief efforts. The situation has greatly improved now.

Those of you that served in Tacuarembó will be happy to know that the new chapel for Rama Uno was dedicated on June 17, 2001. The building is located on Ruta 31 on the very west part of the city in an area referred as the Matutina. It is a great site and the neighbors are very excited about having such a lovely facility in their neighborhood. We held an open house and gave printed invitations to everyone in the area as well as all dignitaries in Tacuarembó. The missionaries also set up expositions in two different plazas to invite people to the open house. I had interviews with a local radio station as well as a Tacuarembó television station (Canal 10). Very few people came to the open house Friday night due to a very bad rain storm. Fortunately the rain had stopped by Saturday and as a result several hundred people came to see the new chapel. The members did a nice job of setting up booths explaining the various organizations of the Church. The open house was a huge success. Elder Salamanca and Elder Magelsen baptized a couple in the brand new font on Saturday evening. Many non-members were able to witness the baptismal service. On Sunday I dedicated the chapel with 274 people in attendance. Not bad for a branch with a membership of 104. A large number of non-members came to the dedicatory services.

We have been working with President Chineppe (Rivera stake) to help support the small and remote branch in Vichadero. About three months ago we began sending two missionaries out to Vichadero for two days a week. President Sana made a special visit to the branch sacrament meeting and got people motivated. A number of ‘menos activos’ have started to come back. The members have been giving the missionaries a lot of references. We now have two missionaries serving full-time and living in the town. Attendance has more than doubled in the branch and the elders are projecting many baptisms over the next two months. I had the opportunity to visit Vichadero a week ago Saturday and was very warmly received. I ended up having an impromptu fireside with the members and took Elder Lara and Elder Bennett out to lunch at the only restaurant in town.

Two additional senior couples have been called to our mission and will be joining us within the next couple of months. The Christiansens from Centerville, Utah are currently in the Senior MTC and will arrive in Uruguay on July 10. They will spend the first half of their mission working in the offices. Elder Christiansen is a retired Major General in the Army Reserves. Imagine how it is going to be now for missionaries calling the offices about their “reembolsos”. The Christiansens are terrific people and are going to make a wonderful contribution to our mission. The Ogdens from Sandy, Utah will be entering the Senior MTC next week. They will be serving in Colonia with Elder Ogden serving as a district ‘conciliente’. They will have access to a mission vehicle and will travel all over Colonia to help strengthen the members. Elder Ogden served a mission in Argentina years ago and has pretty much kept up with his Castellano. We are looking forward to having them join us. The members in Colonia will be greatly blessed by their service.

There are so many more things I could share with you but I am out of time. We are honored to be involved in this great work. Thanks to those of you who have served here and done your part to strengthen the kingdom in this part of the Lord’s vineyard.

Sincerely,

President Chidester


April, 2001

We are enjoying an absolutely gorgeous Uruguayan fall. After an unbearably hot summer the relief in temperatures has been greatly appreciated.

The temple dedication was a spectacular event. We felt the Spirit very strongly and thought of those who have gone before us in this wonderful missionary cause and made all of this possible. The members and missionaries were thrilled to see President Hinckley. He spoke at each of the four dedicatory sessions and paid a nice tribute to the missionary efforts that are occurring here and that have taken place over the years. We like seeing the street in front of the temple lined with cars every afternoon and evening. President Brooks (temple president) says he is quite pleased with temple attendance thus far. I have seen a number of families entering the temple to be sealed. There have been many tears of gratitude and joy shed here the past several weeks.

The mission is doing well and making a lot of progress. Earlier today I held the monthly zone leader council and announced several changes we are implementing in the mission. As a way to address the great distances that separate us in our mission we have divided the mission into three sectors; Norte (Artigas, Rivera, and Tacuarembó), Noroeste (Salto, Paysandú, and Mercedes), and Montevideo (Flores, Oeste, Cerro, and Colonia). We now have four assistants in the mission. Elder Knight (Utah) and Elder Araya (Chile) will provide support to the Montevideo sector. Elder Weber (Colorado) will continue to serve in Salto and be the assistant for the Noroeste sector. Elder Garcia (Ecuador) will continue to serve in Tacuarembó and be the assistant for the Norte sector. We will be holding five zone conferences (Oeste/Colonia, Flores/Cerro, Mercedes/Paysandú, Salto/Artigas, Rivera/Tacuarembó) every six weeks. The assistants will only attend zone conferences for zones in their sectors with the exception of the Salto/Artigas conference which will be attended by the assistants from the Norte and Noroeste sectors.

We also introduced the "Plan de los Rediles". This is a highly effective missionary technique that has been used by a number of missions over many years. Each companionship will have a poster in their apartment with groupings for Encontrar, Enseñar, Bautizar, Hermanar, Reactivados, and Gigantes Durmientes. "Post-its" are used to write names of individuals which are then placed in the appropriate box. This is a good way to visualize the progress of the work in a given area and to ensure a balanced effort is being performed. We have also changed several of our measures which will help provide the focus we want.

Regards, President Chidester

 

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