Saturday, May 31, 2008

Some couples that went through us

Below are some pictures of a few of the couples that we have been with all week. There were 15 couples plus one single older sister this week. This was a very small group. Usually they have twice that many and next week they are slated for a larger group. We loved the time we spent with these couples about half of our group will go foriegn and the other half are in the US. Also about half have served on at least one other full time couple mission. There was lots of experience in the group.

Our teachers were wonderful and the material was great and very useful. We taught alot to volunteers and they have learned to role play really well.

On the last day they brought in some former senior missionaries for the whole group and a couple of nursed who had been on medical missions. One of the companionships was two senior sisters, the oldest of whom was 85. She turned 80 5 months into her 18 month mission. Her companion was in her late 60's. The were assigned to a little town (about 6 square blocks) in the outback of Austrailia. There experiences were and suggestions were inspiring and wonderful. This 80 + year old sister had more ability in her little finger than I have seen in most people half her age. She was so dynamic.

We had so many good experiences here. We have one more week of training. All next week we will be getting training from the Church Medical and Social Services offices. See you all later. Keep checking in. We now fly out on Monday Jun 9th, 2008.

Someplace in South East Asia and/or Mylasia

Didn't get this couple by the map. They headed out early. They had their medical training a week early and are now on the way to Hong Kong.

Colombia, Venazuela, and Equador - Spanish Speaking

The West Indies and Guyana--Just a wave away from us

Orlando Florida

Mosambique - Portuguese Speaking

Malasia -

This was our district. We were the medical district One couple to the Marshal Islands, One couple to Hong Kong Asia Area - English Speaking plus one couple going to Tiwain- Manderin Speaking and us to South America North

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pictures from the MTC

The Milling Crowd while new young Elders and Sisters come in. Groups like this are all over the lobby.

Outside the MTC

Christy and Anthony saying goodby

Our Room in the MTC

Email that went out

This is just a note to all of you that we promised to keep informed. We entered the MTC yesterday (Mission Training Center for the non members of our church- please excuse us if our lingo sounds like alphabet soup. We have a ton of acranyms. I think we in this church could speak for days and never complete a sentence that didn't have an acranym in it.) Entering and beginning training was an overwhelming experience. Seniors come in on Monday, Young Elders and Sisters from the US and Canada come in on Wed. and Foriegn Elders and Sisters that are coming here for English training come in on Thursday. There are other language training missions around the world so not all missionaries come here. There are between 1800-2000 Young Elders and Sisters and about 100 Seniors here now. We are in training or have homework most of the day. I have a few minutes tonight because we just finished a Devotional. It was done by Sister Ann Dibb, she is a counselor in the Young Woman's Presidency and the Daughter of President Monson. Her remarks were about the characteristics of her father. It was a great experience. The Seniors all sit down front and it was overwhelming when 2000 missionaries behind us sang Called to Serve. The couples we are in the MTC with are mostly Humanitarian and Welfare missionaries with a few going in other directions and 3 medical and 5 proselyting. We have couples with us who are going to the Republic of Georgia (humanitarian), Tiwain (Proselyting) Hong Kong (Medical), Singapore(humanitarian), the Marshal Islands(medical), Surenam(Proselyting), Canada(Proselyting), Germany (Humanitarian), Madagascar( can't remember to do what) and Us to Colombia(medical and auditing). The rest are going to places in the US, About half of the couples have already served at least one mission. Some have served more. There is another group of seniors here as well who are finishing up training for Church Education System Missions. And there are some mission presidents and wives learning languages. I met one the other day struggling with tagalog (I think) anyway what they speak in the Phillipines. It is amazing the language program that goes on here. Starting Friday I will be teaching gospel discussions in Spanish. That is a scary thought since I am not quite even sure how to ask to go the bathroom. I just finished an exercised where I had to give Darwin commands and directions and get him from one place to another in Spanish. I only walked him into a poll a couple of times. Oh well. You will find that this post is repeated on our blog which is at in the Blog Zone under Darwin and Vicki Blog. This will be the only time. From now on I will probably just send out some notes that say I have posted some things. I will try to post weekly (or daily if things are exciting.)

Oh By the Way. We have learned that we will be traveling a lot in Colombia and Ecuedor and we will have a 2 day training with the auditor trainers from the Carribian, Mexico, Central America and Western South America in Mexico City in July so I will try to keep the pictures and posts coming. The pictures that will go up with this post are just a few scenes from the MTC on Wed of Last Week when we shout a few pictures of the 10:00 batch of missionaries coming in. I also hope to have a picture of our MTC Tutor up. So check it out. Again it is in the BLOG ZONE - Darwin and Vicki Blog at

Love you all and miss you.


MTC It is hectic.

t is time for bed but I wanted to write a little bit about today. Today is May 26, 2008. We entered the MTC today. It was interesting. They didn't have any of our material because someone had indicated that we were not coming. It is a long story as to how that happened and I will tell it later for now lets just say that Darwin was looking forward to getting his name tag and that was one of the things that was not available. They got things straightened out so we were able to get a room but will not have a name tag or id card until wednesday. In the mean time we have keys to our room but no key to the building we live in so we have to go in when others can open the door for us. Other than a minor problem about whether we were supposed to be here or not every thing went fine. It is kind of overwhelming to be here. There are only 15 couples and one single older sister in our group of senior missionaries for this week. We are headed all over the world. I need to go to bed now so will write more tomorrow.

It is Tuesday and we are headed to a devotional. Will try to write later. For those of you who don't know much about the MTC (Missionary Training Center) you can look at this link.

Monday, May 19, 2008


We have had a wonderful time this past week as we have finished our preprations for leaving the country for two years. We have visited family and friends and said goodby for a season to people we love and appreciate. We caught Michelle Lewis off guard when we stopped in and said goodby to her on our way up to Great Falls. We stayed with my brother, Skip and his wife, Deb and used their house as a base off operations as we took some time to do some visiting with friends from Wards in Great Falls as well as other good friends that we miss now that we are in Idaho. Marcia Armstrong stopped by and we spent time with Lola Tracy, Shelia, Cherron and Pop Cunningham and Jim and Cindy Asthalter as well as many others. Thank you all for being good friends. This will be one of the last pre mission blog entries. I hope you will check in as we try to share some of what is happening to us in our new assignment in Colombia and Ecuador.

Cindy and Jim, We love you and will miss you. Thank you for a wonderful dinner and a wonderful friendship. Start studing Spanish.

Skip and Deb we love you, too. More than I think you understand. You are a great little brother, even if you have called me the "Crab Grass in the Lawn of Life" Don't worry we will stay out of the jungle.

We stopped by Temple Square to join with all those who were wishing Josh Kundis and his a new Bride a great beginning.

And what would a trip to Provo be if I didn't get to the BYU campus. These are shots of Library, not the best place for looking at the prize winning landscaping but great for remembering all the hours you spent studing if you too were a student or faculty member here. I was both. I was at BYU for two years as an undergraduate and then came back and spent some time as a counselor in the counseling center. This campus feels like home every time I come back.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Set Apart as Missionaries tonight

Darwin and I were set apart tonight by President Bues. We will be leaving Idaho on Friday. We hope to be back to Salt Lake City on the 16th to go to Josh Kundis's Wedding reception.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My Aunt Alma 90

After Ben's graduation we flew to Sacramento, California. We stayed with Kaye and Dan Wilson my cousins whom I have not seen for over 15 years. Alma is the wife of my mother's brother Gene. Gene and Alma and Hike (my mothers other brother) and Lorene his Wife and My mom and dad used to get together at my parents home each summer so I knew my Aunts and Uncles really well, however, I did not know my cousins Kaye and Keith (her brother) and their spouses as adults. Kaye hosted a 90th birthday party for Alma (Hike is 92) and these two are the only ones left alive of the 3 couples. Kaye and Dan were great hosts and we had a wonderful time. I spent some time each day in the hamock.

Alma is a little person who looks fragil on the outside but who has had plenty of adventure. Including living in Siagon, Vietnam while Gene built runways and roads during the Vietnam War and traveling down the Amazon in a boat full of chickens. Not at all the "little old lady" type she was an inspiration to me and fit right in with my mother and grandmother, great grand mother and great aunt Jenetta. All of whom were women of courage and strength and get up and go, not a shrinking violet in the bunch.

This is Kelsey, Kaye's youngest daughter doing Irish step dancing. She spent a year in Ireland and just got back from spending some time with her older sister who is studing in New Zealand.

Kaye and Dan trying to auction off the left overs from the party to the highest bidder. We we were all stuffed on mints and check mix. (Addicted is more like it)

This is the hamock that called to me each day and where I enjoyed the California Spring.

Darwin and I at Kaye and Dans.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I have not posted for a while so I am going to do some catching up. Darwin and I were in Phoenix with Ben, Kirsten and Kate. Ben graduated on May 2, 2008 with an MBA in International Finance from The Thunderbird School of Global Management. According to the Graduation Program the Thunderbird Mission is: "We educate global leaders who create sustainable prosperity worldwide." If graduation was any indication they really do have a diverse program. There were flag bearers from 36 different nations. In order to have a flag in the ceremony you had to have at lease 2 people graduating from that country. Because the faculty and student body is from all over the world so was the audience. There were people who had just gotten off the plane from Beijing, Bancock, Israel, Jordon, Lebanon, and France sitting close to us. There was a little family from India right in front of us with 2 kids. Many of the families were dressed in traditional dress. Steven Forbes the CEO of Forbes Magazine was the graduation speaker. We are proud of Ben. He is currently on a internship junket to south America. He spent a week in Argentina and is now in Chili for two weeks. Kirsten will join him for 4 days in Santiago. They will be moving to the San Fransisco Bay area as soon as they get back. Ben has taken a job as an international financial analyst with a consulting firm that assess the worth of foreign properties and major business acquisitions. (I really don't know exactly what he will be doing but it has something to do with valuing companies to give other companies some idea of what a business is worth before they buy it) Here are some pictures from graduation day and the graduate reception that took place on May 1.