This past set of Zone Conferences were fantastic. The Zone Leaders really took charge of their Zones and were very prepared. One aspect of the mission that I haven't talked about much are the District Leaders. These young men have a very important assignment to weekly hold district meetings. This is where so much practice and teaching is done. We have fantastic District Leaders who are doing everything they can to help their district. I decided to picture the missionaries in their districts and recognize their district leader. This is the Bilbao District. L to R. Elders Hanson and Roldan, Zone Leaders, Hnas Patten and Sandoval, Elder Cepeda, District Leader, with his companion, Elder Araya.
The Las Arenas District is pictured here. These are the office Elders and Hna!! (We love Hna Belnap) They function a bit differently and don't have a district leader, but everyone here adds to the success of running the mission. L. to R. Elders Woods and Ashby, ayudantes, Elder and Hna Belnap, Elder Dredge, ayudante, and Elders Holmes and Hansen, financial and secretary of the mission. Elder Ashby is leaving us next week during a mid-transfer. We are getting a native Elder and are excited for Elder Ashby to be his trainer. We have loved Elder Ashby in the office and he will be missed.
This is the Santander District led by Elder Griotti. Things are going great in Santander. L. to R. Hnas Johns and Miskin, Elder Griotti and Ryser.
Oh, the Hermanas like to pose! These are wonderful Hermanas who are working and happy.
Our cleaver Zone Leaders had a wonderful focus for the Bilbao Zone. You can see the creativity of these two Elders. They created this poster to demonstrate their point about helping new converts with love. It was great! Thanks Elders Roldan and Hansen.
A great looking group. We also had a visitor to each of our Zone Conferences. I don't have a picture of him, but Pres. De Molino, of the Stake Presidency came and talked about his conversion and how we as missionaries can work better with members. It was fantastic.
Oh yes, the crazy picture. It is a must!
Our next Zone Conference was the Vitoria Zone but we held it in Logrono so Pres. Ruiz de Mendoza could come and attend and talk to us. He is the second counselor in the mission presidency. He also shared some wonderful examples of working with members and his conversion. What a spiritual feast we had. The missionaries loved it.
This is our fearless District of Logrono. Elder Castellon is the District leader along with his companion, Elder Crocker. Hna Rudder and Sanchez are the wonderful Hermanas. It will be sad after this transfer as we won't be having hermanas in Logrono anymore. This is what happens when the missionary force is reduced. But they aren't going out quietly. They have a baptism set and are working up till the last minute. Way to go Hermanas!
Our Vitoria District is led by Elder Sayaz. He and his companion, Elder Esteves-Garcia are tearing things up in Burgos. Did I hear they have 2 baptisms set? Anyway, this district has the Zone leaders and the Hermanas of Vitoria. L. to R. Elders Esteves-Garcia, Elder Nestvogel, Elder Sayaz and Flory. With Hermanas Stosich and Bell. A great group.
The humble?!? Pamplona District is led by Elder Skidmore. L. to R. Elders Zamora, Hansen, Skidmore and the ever lively Elder Webb. This was his last Zone Conference and we will miss him! (as well as all that are leaving, but you just can't not notice Elder Webb)
A companionship of Hermanas in each Zone Conference taught the zones on how to use the "Testimony Glove." Every set of Hermanas did a fantastic job. We need them to teach more often, they are great. Thanks also to Hermanas Rudder and Sanchez for translating it into Spanish.
As Elder Nestvogel, one of the Zone Leaders along with Elder Flory is motioning that all went smoothly in Logrono. A great day.
O.k., time to let the hair down!
Our next Zone Conference was the Leon Zone, and as their Zone Leaders remind us, "We can't touch them" They are so on fire. They have been leading the mission in baptisms for the past few months. Many wonderful miracles are happening there. Pictured here is our Gijon District led so faithfully by Elder Rowley. He is pictured with his companion Elder Leon and the Hermanas Abellon and Roerig. This is a great group. Gijon has seen 7 baptisms this year with two more this weekend. Way to go!
The Oviedo District is led by Elder Anderson, who just left the office. We miss him but we are sure his leadership is appreciated in Oviedo. Standing is Elder Saune and Elder Anderson and sitting is Elders Jackson and Southwick who are in Aviles. Lot's of baptisms going on here. Aviles is having their second baptism this year as well as Oviedo has 4 baptismal dates set with 3-4 baptisms already this year.
Here is the powerful Leon District led by District Leader Elder Strickland. Leon has had 7 baptisms so far this year with 3 in Ponferrada and one in Benevente with at least 10 more dates set. These young men are working hand in hand with the Lord and are being led by the Spirit. We love this army of the Lord! L to R. Elders Driggs, Gerber, Ciccio, Pederson, Cairns, Strickland, Smith and Farnsworth. Elder Cairns and Pederson are the Zone Leaders and are leading this Zone with a lot of faith!
We had to take a picture with our "fearsome foursome." These four Elders were the first Elders we met that were coming to the Spain Bilbao Mission. We met them their 1st week in the MTC in Provo last April and they are approaching their year mark. They have shown they were a special group. Currently Elder Driggs and Gerber are companions in Ponferrada and Elders Southwick and Jackson are companions in Aviles. They are all working so hard, it tells us that friends can be great companions together. They seem to inspire each other to do better. It is fun to watch. We also had Presidente Martinez, the District President come and talk to us and the conference was held in Ponferrada. I didn't get a picture of him but trust me, he was fantastic and so inspiring. His conversion story is so special and he has the vision that this District will become a Stake. Maybe that is why this Zone is moving forward so fast. They have leaders all around them that have put missionary work first. That is the key!
Elders, what are you doing with my camera?
Taking a picture of our great Elder Smith, I can live with that!
The Zone Conference was very special; we learned a lot and left with our spirits believing in miracles and that we are doing the work of the Lord.
O.K., this isn't the whole group, but the funny picture was blurry. Which ayudante was holding the camera? This one will have to do.
The next and last day was in Santiago. What a great place for a Zone Conference. We always feel a strong spirit in this Zone and this time didn't disappoint us. Elder Nelson, one of the Zone Leaders is shown with his birthday surprise. His mother asked if I could get something for the whole Zone and she arranged to pay for it. Now mom's, you don't need to do this, I call all the missionaries on their birthday and we have something for them and recognize them in Zone Conference, but this worked out and it was fun. Empanadas for everyone to start the day off. It was a hit!
Presidente Justino Gonzalas came and spoke at this conference. He is the 1st counselor in the mission presidency. He did a wonderful job. This was such a great idea to have a member-leader in each of the Zones come and speak. The missionaries loved hearing from the natives and they added so much power to the conference. Thank-you to all of you who came.
This is the A Coruna District which is led by Elder McClanahan. They have been working hard and by the Zone conference they had 6 baptismal dates set. L. to R. Elder Stevens, Hna Calderon, Elder McClanahan, Hna Moraza, Elder Sanchez, Hna Sieverts and Elder Blazian.
Our Santiago District is comprised of the Elders in Santiago and Pontevedra. Ghee, Elder Frank, you didn't have to pose so well! Both companionships have baptismal dates set and are working to get more. L. to R. District Leader Elder Moya, Elder Frank, Elder Aston and Elder Nye. This definitely wins for most original picture, don't you think?
Elder Howard, the "baby" of the group along with Hna Huntsman is showing his district off. This district is led by the wonderful leadership of Elder Quinn, who is Elder Howard's companion. And guess what, they both play the violin incredibly well. All but one of the companionships have a baptismal date and the one that doesn't was hoping to set one in the next day or two. L. to R. Elders Renshaw, Nelson, Nielsen, Howard, Hnas Huntsman and Fitches, Elders Oscanoa and Quinn. Elders Nelson and Nielsen are the wonderful Zone Leaders here.
Our Traveling Trainers came to this Zone Conference. They felt prompted when they were in their first district meeting in the Vigo Zone to challenge the whole Zone to come to Zone Conference with a baptismal date set. At the time there weren't any baptismal dates set. What faith they showed as well as all the missionaries. Every companionship but one had dates set and as I said, the one that didn't was going to set one the next day or two. The conference was very spiritual and the closeness to the spirit that our missionaries demonstrate is humbling and magnificent at the same time. Elder Corbridge and Moore have been doing a great job at raising the leval of all the missionaries. We love them and will miss them as they are approaching their last weeks, yikes!
3 ayudantes. Elder Ashby is leaving the office next week and Elder Moore will be going home. Elder Dredge, you need to hold down the fort with Elder Woods. I know they can do it.
A great Zone Conference, what a Zone!
Oh yes, we have to have the humor!