Sunday, December 6, 2015
Transfers, Arrivals, Departures, Training, Oh MY! ! !
This last Tuesday as our 22 departing missionaries got to the airport (late) the agents in trying to get them all on the plane tagged all the baggage to Salt Lake City under the names of 3 missionaries. The unfortunate thing was 4 were going to Phoenix, 1 to Saint George, 1 to Houston and 1 to San Francisco. And President had given me their bag tags. I was able to work with Delta and Alaska Airlines to locate most of it and by Wednesday morning everyone but our Elder from San Francisco had their bags. He called me on Thursday and was beside himself. English is his second language - Chinese being his first. My 12 years in the airline industry came in handy and with some prayer and a mention to a couple of agents about how many TSA violations were involved in them mis-tagging that many bags, Alaska Airlines was able to locate the bags and deliver them to our Elder. Whew!
Thursday while the missionary choir was singing in the choir loft at the Stake Center a light fixture from the very high ceiling suddenly fell. This was probably a 40 pound acrylic fixture handing above our new missionaries. It feel, shattered and not one piece touched a single missionary.
After training on Thursday Greg and Elder P had a van load of missionaries going south. About half way between Roseburg and Grants Pass it started raining - HARD - and continued all the way into Grants Pass. Greg was thinking what a mess that was going to be when they got there and needed to get the missionaries out with all their luggage that was in the trailer. They pulled into the parking lot and the rain stopped. Everyone got unloaded and on their way and the rain started right up again.
Some may say that we were "lucky" or that those were just coincidence, but I KNOW better - I know that "the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance" (I Nephi 1:20) These wonderful young missionaries are so often watched out for and protected, it's humbling to behold.
This last week was "transfer week" - our busiest week of the 6 week cycle that is a mission in the office. Here's a rundown so you can see what we do.
Monday is transfers - this means that at least 2 or the Elders in the office are gone ALL day diving missionaries from one end of the mission (Corvallis) to the other (Medford or Klamath Falls) and back to Eugene. Meanwhile, the sisters in the office hold down the fort and also shop for the 8 meals that will be provided during the week for 12 - 40 people. That night is a dinner for the departing missionaries at the mission home - we don't attend or cook - just shop.
Tuesday is departure day for those missionaries going home at the end of their 18 months or 2 years. It's exciting and sad all at the same time. We're excited to see them go on to the next phase of their lives - school, marriage, etc.. but some of these young people walk into our hearts and stay and it's hard to see them go! We truly love them and are grateful for the time we get to spend with them.
Wednesday is arrival day - the new missionaries fresh from the Missionary Training Center. We fix them lunch and greet them. I always feel like I know them already since I receive their information in the office and communicate with them with a welcome packet, answering questions, and preparing their notebooks for training. They spend the afternoon training and then there's a dinner for them that night. Meanwhile the office staff are feeding their trainers dinner.
Thursday begins with breakfast bright and early for the trainers and any other missionaries who come to sing in the welcoming ceremony choir (usually about 40-60). This is one of my favorite times. The choir is always amazing! They sing the same song for each group - a medley of "As Sisters in Zion" and "We'll Bring the World His Truth". After the ceremony the office staff does our training. Then the moment they have all been waiting for - who is my trainer and where is my first area. It's always fun and entertaining to watch this process. So much energy and enthusiasm! Often on Thursday after training the brethren again hit the road to Corvallis and Medford to deliver missionaries to their areas. It's a long day, but a wonderful experience.
Friday we play catch-up to all the work that we didn't get to during the week. And then we drag ourselves home to collapse!
Posted by laurie at 4:52 PM