Sunday, August 26, 2012

Institute Update

We had 5 students and the Institute Director in attendance yesterday.  The Institute Director is also our Stake President.  He was a nice addition to the class.  We held our third class of the semester.
Our students include:
 Daniela, who is 18 years old.  Her mother has been a member for many years.  Daniela and her Dad were baptised about 9 years ago.  Her Dad is a counselor in our branch presidency. She is a student of music and interior design and is the second counselor in Primary.
Jhonatan, who is 20 years old . He has been a member for 4 years and had been working and preparing for a mission. He is our Branch Mission Leader.  He is the only member in his family and lives with an Aunt.
Felipe is in his last year of High School and just turned 18 this week.  He lived with his Grandmother so he was not a member until recently. He now lives with his mother who is member. He was baptised last Oct  and is a Priest.  One can go on a mission at 18 here, just like in Mexico.  This was just authorized.  I know of one 18 year old we have had in our mission.
Pablo is 26 years old.  He lived with his widowed mother until last month when she passed away.  He was our Young Men president. He is now living with an aunt in another ward across town.  He was baptised 2 years ago and came back to join us.
Juan José is also 20 years old and has a mission called to Ecuador.  He grew up in the church and is working a lot to meet his obligations for military service.  We have visited his family as home teachers often.  Both parents and all three children are active members, a rarity here.

Our focus has been on helping the young people read the scriptures every day.  We took brownies for those who read every day last week.  Now we are going to learn how to make chocolate muffins (cupcakes) for the treat next week.  A challenge with only one six-muffin pan.  We found it for $5.00 US (50% off) but they only had one.

As always, the teachers are learning the most and we are enjoying the association with the youth.   We are glad to have something meaningful to do outside of the office.  The office work is important but not very spiritually invigorating.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Cali Institute, the building, will be closed 1 Sept.  The institute program is alive and well.  Cali doesn't qualify for a building.  Instead of an institute building we have institute in the stakes.  
For years each ward has had a least one seminary class.  Institute is operating with a similar concept except that the young adults who want to go to a different ward for institute with their freinds can do so.  Or if work schedules dictate when they can attend they can choose one that fits their schedule.  Seminary students can not attend outside of their ward.

The Institute program was already using some of the chapels around town to hold classes.  Now there will be at least one class in each chapel.   There are 15 chapels in the 3 stakes. We started last week in our chapel.  We are hosting Mission Preparation.  Some chapels have two classes; Mission Prep and Old Testament.  The institute director will have an office in one of the ward houses. We started with 3 students but are planning on 4 today.   The teachers of our class are learning the most about teaching institute and using our class time wisely.  One of our focus' is to encourage the youth to read the scriptures daily.  That is the only thing we keep track of besides attendance.

I am curious to see how overall attendance changes.  Last semester they had 32 enrolled in Mission Prep.;  30 in the institute building and 2 in a ward house.  We will meet each month with the institute director and at that meeting we will find out if the chage has effected attendance.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Branch Activity

Dance Party at the branch last night. The theme was Hawaiian.  It was a bring your friends missionary activity.  We had to leave about when it started to get going good.   There were a lot of people showing up.  The Primary and Young Women's did the work.  Lays for everyone and fruit on a stick. On a sad note the car that brought the goodies to the chapel was stolen from the street in front.  They usually  park cars inside the gate.   We don´t know why it was on the street, maybe the gate hadn´t been opened yet.  The Primary President´s husband (non member) was trying to report the incident when we arrived.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hotel Oliver

Our two bedrooms can now hold 8 missionaries but not their luggage.  It is pretty tight to get 4 missionaries in a room.  When we had eight new missionaries our living room was full of their luggage.  This week we only had four zone leaders and they had only brought a minimum for a one night stay.  They each slept on a bottom bunk with the window and door open.  Since they were from Pasto,over 8,000 ft elevation, they thought it was hot here in Cali.  (Average daytime temp in Pasto is 60° F., nighttime is 48°F.  Since it is almost on the equator it is always cold in Pasto.)  Pasto is also a 10 hour bus ride away from Cali.

The room across the hall is our room.  We sleep with the door shut and the fan on when we have extra missionaries staying with us.  We usually sleep with all the windows and doors open.  We have three bathrooms with showers and a half bath with mirror (good for shaving) off the living room. 

The mission was slow to utilize our extra bedrooms because of the space issue.  The Torgerson have been hosing missionaries for some time but their apartment is much bigger.  It was the assistants who finally said to Sister Prince why can´t we open Hotel Oliver that started the ball rolling.  In the last transfer Torgerson´s and Oliver´s were full and the mission still had to rent rooms for 3 new sisters in a nearby hostel.  Previously the overflow house was across town and left the mission with logistic challenges.  From Oliver´s and Torgerson´s the missionaries can walk to the Mission Home and the Mission Office. They even roll their suitcases down the street to the Mission Home

We really should have taken a picture of the apartment full of luggage.  We will get another chance as the next incoming group will also be more than 20.  


I made cowboy cookies for the zone leaders consejo.  This is all that is left.  I got Laura Bush's Texas Cowboy Cookie recipe on line.  It made 7 dozen normal size cookies.  We gave all the zone leaders 2 cookies with a brownie. Sister Torgerson made the brownies.  Sister Prince likes to cook and usually has a great time in the kitchen.  Right now her kitchen is being remodeled.  She came up with wonderful chicken a la king in her roaster oven.  Ana and Maria helped prepare lunch at the office.  We had the chicken over rice (cooked in rice cookers in the office) with french bread (heated and butter melted in Sister Torgerson's oven), a wonderful salad (with real ranch dressing) and the dessert.  The lunch was a big hit with all the zone leaders and they didn't even know Sister Prince doesn't have a kitchen.

Missionary Preparation

We have been asked to teach an institute class.  Missionary Preparation.  We will go to a training meeting on Sunday but what we have figured out so far is that each ward in our stake will host this class for 17 - 26 year-olds in the ward.   We have two missionaries serving in Peru from our branch and another preparing to leave for Ecuador in Sept.  Hopefully there will be more.   We don't know how big the class will be because we only know a few in that age group but we are sure there are more in the branch.
This painting came from the office.  Sister Prince brought it over.   Someone said it looks more like Argentina because Colombia is not flat.   After the office elders change houses it may go to their new apartment but for now we are taking care of it.