Monday, October 17, 2016

Believe to Achieve! Sister Conference

There are moments on a mission when you can't seem to contain your excitement.  Such was the experience when the Angeles Mission was given permission to have a Sisters Conference on October 6th.  The last Sisters Conference was in 2015 and it had a powerful unifying and energizing impact on the sisters.  We requested permission from the Area Presidency to again bring our sisters together to coincide a visit with some special guests. President & Sister Clark's good friends, the Saumweber's fortuitously planned a trip to Asia in October.  We wanted the Saumwebers to be part of the conference because Sister Saumweber beautifully shares life and gospel experiences that are important and compelling to young adult women.  Difficult family and career choices have refined and qualified the Saumbebers.  She has a wealth of knowledge and love for all she meets. 

The theme of our conference was "Believe to Achieve".  The sisters LOVED getting together and they were uplifted and inspired by the conference.

We all met in the Tarlac Stake Center and opened with remarks from President and Sister Clark.  Sister Marabe sang, "Someone Needs Your Star." We then went into the cultural hall where Sister Lopez had prepared, with the help of some of our delighted elders, a delicious lunch of chicken salad sandwich, chips and fruit with a cupcake for dessert.  The hall looked so festive.  Our elders were ready to serve as they acknowledged the importance of having sisters in our mission.  



Our mission has 12 zones.  A sister can serve her entire 18 months on one side of the mission and may never meet or be introduced to some sisters in the mission.  For this reason, we mixed all of the sisters up in four groups.  They were able to both meet new sisters and reintroduce themselves to sisters previously unknown to them.  The sister training leaders were in charge of the getting to know you games in these small groups.  We loved watching them have such a great time enjoying the spirit of sisterhood.
Photo credits:  Elder Dansie


Our Senior Sisters: Sis. Whiting, Sis. Dansie and Sis. Pugh did an extremely effective role play teaching the harm of gossip.  They began by asking the sisters to all get ready for the next part of the program.  Sisters Dansie and Pugh then went back stage, out of view, talked surreptitiously about Sister Whiting in an unfriendly, offensive and judging way.  They had a live microphone with them and our sisters could hear the things that they were saying about Sister Whiting.  Sister Whiting was with all the young sisters and she acted very hurt that they would say such things about her.  Sister Clark and Sister Saumweber were sitting in the back and the sisters kept looking back at them and acting stunned.  They couldn't believe Sister Clark and Sister Saumweber didn't go and tell Sis. Dansie and Sis. Pugh that they could be heard.  The shock and dismay  on the sisters' faces said it all.  There were some sisters who were crying in the audience.  We knew it was a role play but it felt so terrible hearing the gossip that was being uttered.  

After a few minutes, our senior sisters came to the stage, uncloaked the theatrics, and talked about what had happened.  Important points were made such as: 
It is unChrist-like to criticize what another person likes or doesn't like.
Sisters should ignore what "chicka-chicka" (gossip) they hear because it's probably not true.
If we don't think negative thoughts, we have nothing bad to pass along; only compliments. 
We may misunderstand what others say because we are working in two languages.  
The MHB says:  "If you feel that a leaders conduct is inconsistent with the standards, discuss it only with the Mission President.  No one else.
If another missionary wants to gossip or criticize, walk away.  Don't listen.  Remind them what it says on pg 53 of MHB:  "In all ways be wise and mature in your conduct." 
We are all here on a mission to preach the gospel of Christ.  Christ worked in harmony, teaching followers to accept each other for who they were.  
Living this way helps us become better!



Sister Saumweber is a very accomplished woman.  She has been Vice-President of Responsible Sourcing at Walmart since 2013.  She travels throughout the world making sure the Walmart's suppliers operate safe work places and the workers are treated with dignity.  Before joining Walmart, she was Senior Vice-President for Sara Lee Corporation and help other executive responsibilities leading up to that position.  

Sister Saumweber is currently a member of BYU's Marriott School of Management National Advisory Council.  SHe was a contributing author to Deseret Book's "Why I'm a Mormon" in which she beautifully shares her personal and spiritual journey in life.  

Sister Saumweber has had great success in the work place.  But the work she cherishes most and in which she has the most joy and accomplishment, is alongside her husband Les in raising their family.  They have three children and five grandchildren.  Their oldest son Joe is an entrepreneur/business owner and father of five.  Their second child, Jackie is a budding business woman also with Walmart and their youngest son, Adam, serves as an Assistant to the President in the Canada Edmonton Mission.  

Sister Saumweber enjoys sailing, scuba diving, gardening, cooking, traveling and working out.  She squeezed her trip to the Philippines between a trip to India and Thailand.  

Sister Saumweber spoke to our sisters about life's turbulence.  She related that with one sentence from a doctor, life's plans can be disrupted. Over 30 years ago the doctors told her husband Les, "You cannot work full-time and treat this disease."  She was 24 years old, had been married 5 years and planned an ideal life at home raising children.  Expectations were dashed and a new reality set in.  

This began their journey to greater reliance on the Lord.  They were new converts and realized that God's plan for them was different than the plan they anticipated.  Sister Saumweber completed her education and began to work full time.  This would include travel.  She memorized their children's books so that when she was out of town she could still read to them.  The Runaway Bunny was a favorite. Sister Saumweber managed her travel to be home in the evening before her out-of-town meetings so that she could tuck her children in.  By doing this she calculated over the course of 33 years, she had 792 extra nights tucking her children in.  That's over 2 years of extra nights.  How we spend our time shows what we value.  

Sister Saumweber believes that the gospel gives us vision, perspective and tools so we have the confidence to face trials with purpose and joy.  Our sisters benefited greatly from hearing the Saumweber family's conversion story. They also learned of the need for education and self-improvement.  Women face uncertainty and challenges in life. Some may be like Sister Saumweber and need to become the breadwinner in their family.  Embracing the gospel and all its resources gives us the ability to deal with challenges.  

Sister Saumweber addressed, "Why do we even have trials?" She spoke about confidence. Developing belief in the God and in themselves should be an important part of life. She helped our sisters know that they are in the first chapters of their lives.  She encouraged them not to be a victim of the challenges they will face.  She said, "You get to write the next chapters of your story!  As we face our challenges, we do so with the comfort and joy and confidence that the gospel can provide."  

D&C 6:34, 36 "Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail...Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not."



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