My Mission Week
For those who think that because we have been having such great fun on the weekends that we are not on a mission but are actually on a vacation, I want to relate just a bit of our mission week.
Last week both Elder Jones and I attended a Zone Conference and had the opportunity to give some instructions to the young missionaries. He instructed them about cars, accidents, reporting, gas receipts and I instructed on commissary ordering and baptismal records. Then I volunteered to make them a treat for their Zone activity this past Monday. They enjoyed lemon cake and 7 layer dip and chips.
Our job at the office is often quite busy, but sometimes there is not much to do, so I have been cleaning out closets, organizing things, etc. This week Elder Jones joined in, deciding that he did not like the way his desk was situated. So we moved his desk and credenza that houses his files and supplies. This was not too easy as the credenza got caught on the heater vent that it had covered for so long and Dad just kept trying to lift it. We eventually thought it must be bolted to the wall or floor, but by that time Dad had grunted and weight lifted it many times. That night he could hardly brush his teeth for strain to his forearm muscles! Anyway, the result was that he swapped positions and now faces the wall like the other desks in the room and that gives the room much more room. We moved unused items to storage and atop cupboards and now have a decent work space.
Last week we were told that on Monday we would meet with the President--all of the office staff. We were happy because we had some coordination issues that we wished to discuss. As it turned out the purpose of the meeting was to introduce a new service missionary who will be doing apartments. This is a very big headache so we are happy he will be taking on this challenge. For instance: We learned just last Friday that we were getting a new senior couple in our mission transfering from Washington DC North. They microfilm records and had apparently run out of work so are coming to Cambridge, DE to work there. That necessitates a place to live, so this new missionary has worked all week on this. Meanwhile the couple is in a hotel. Until working in the mission office I never realized all of the details that had to take place in order for missionaries to be able to accomplish their work.
Corry was approached this week by the mission president and asked to put together a presentation about stress. Each week he has a conference call with all of the missionaries and Corry will take one of these 30 minutes in November for his presentation. Elder Jones has been working diligently on this assignment ever since.
Thursday we have a district that meets and we may attend. Sister Smuin and I attend. This week they had some zone leaders there as well and we went through the training and then role-played presenting the discussion on the Plan of Salvation. It was fun. Elder Taylor and I traded off doing the teaching. I do so admire these elders and sisters and their confidence and fluency in presenting gospel discussions. They are amazing! It is good practice for me because the Sisters assigned to our ward have asked me to teach with them on occasion.
Friday we received 4 new cars for our mission, so I drove our car and took 4 missionaries to pick up the cars. I will do the same thing again on Monday as we receive 4 more cars that day. I even was able to find my own way back to the office (with the aid of "Scout"). We went through some lovely country, including the Marion Golf course where the US Open is played.
We have a young Elder who has worked in the office until just after we arrived and has automated nearly everything. He will be going home the end of this month and he has decided that I am the most logical person in the office to show the complex spreadsheets to. So Friday my brain got really challenged! It was a spreadsheet and its application through e-mail that enables all of the information in the Church'es missionary data base to be transferred into a cell phone. This way the president and others who need it can have all of the phone numbers, medical id, address, etc. of each missionary (270) at their disposal. The problem is that every time they do transfers, this data base must be formatted and imported, etc. I took copious notes and then had to quickly type them all up while I could understand what I had learned.
This week there is a conference of all of the Mission Presidents in the Northeast United States and it will be held here in Philadelphia. Russell M. Nelson will be the visiting authority. They will tour the missions and will use a bus and one of our mission vans, so Dad had to make sure it was in tip-top shape. It had been in an accident and was missing a mirror. Long story short, Dad got it all in shape but did not know that if it was over $175 authorization from SLC was needed. OOPS! So he had to do one of those forms to ask permission post haste.
Through all of this I have learned great respect for the Mission President. Apparently our mission has the second highest amount of missionaries in the USA. Boston has just a few more than us. The mission president interviews these kids regularly and in our case, it takes him quite some time to get this all done. This last week he was busy all week with interviews and in fact had to sent one elder home. He was feeling the stress. He told us he has lost 12 pounds just recently due to the stress. He is a fine man and a good mission president and we just want to do whatever we can to alleviate any stress he has over the running of the office. We are thankful for this opportunity to serve and are especially grateful to our children for their love and support, even financial support. We love you all! Elder and Sister Jones