First Week in March 2014
This week was transfer week. That is always a big week in the mission office, because we get to participate closely with the outgoing, incoming, and transferring missionaries--and all of the busyness that accompanies that. We love it! This transfer we went home 7 missionaries and forwarded 3 VISA waiters to Brazil. The next day we received 1 sister missionary and 1 VISA blessing, going to Russia. So our count is slowly going down from the 275 young missionaries we have had. We get to go to the farewell dinner and hear the mature testimonies of the outgoing missionaries. We marvel at their stories and their strong testimonies and we also realize that some do not go home to supportive families. The photo above is all of the missionaries who were affected by the transfer--either going to a new place or getting a new companion. These missionaries are so excited to see old companions and fellow missionaries that they arrive very early that day, hoping to have time to renew friendships. They check for mail, packages, commissary items, and it can get a bit hectic. There are some awesome missionaries represented in this photo, and the more we get to know them, the more we love them. Elder Jones is pleased that he will get to meet with some of them and help them on a weekly basis. The president has given him this assignment. We did get 2 new sisters in our ward and we did accompany them on the very first night to a teaching assignment, so they are on the ball missionaries. Sister Handy and Howard are their names. Elder Jones received 3 new pickups this week and we hurried out to get them so that they could be traded out at transfers. One of the pickups went to a set of sisters in Montrose, PA--way north. The sisters scared us Monday night with a call that they needed help. They had been teaching a family and on the way home their gps told them to take a different road than they had taken to get there. They knew they were in trouble when the road they turned onto was unplowed. They immediately got stuck in about 18" of snow and slid off the road trying to drive. The whole process with them took over 4 hours. They got stuck. They called a member for help. It was getting dark so Elder Jones got their coordinates in case we had to call search and rescue. Members arrived--an older couple--and got them out of the ditch. The sisters were able to drive to the top of the hill and were safe, but now the older couple was stuck and could not get out. Elder Jones had them stay atop the hill and wait. They could not see the older couple and cell phone reception was spotty, so they had to wait. They called another member with a tow truck and finally they were all OK. The sisters then came on Friday to pick up their new truck. They took 6 hours to drive a usual 3 hour trip. They called and explained that they had no cash so had to keep plugging into the gps to take NO toll roads (which in PA are hard to find if you want highways or freeways). Elder Jones handed them some cash and they made it home in 3 hours! Friday night 2 elders in NJ had a wreck involving another car and Elder Jones had to take a quick trip to Cherry Hills area Saturday morning to get their report, give them instructions, and get photos of the car. We were so happy, though, that nobody was injured. We surely do know that Heavenly Father must use hundreds of angels to help watch over these young missionaries!
Saturday was John's birthday and we celebrated our 46th anniversary a day early by going to the 76ers versus the Jazz. The Jazz won! The game was quite fun, actually. Here is a shot of 10 senior missionaries (President and Sister Anderson in the foreground) having fun in each others company. Being on a mission as a senior missionary is lots of hard work, but also LOTS of fun, enjoyment, laughter, friendships, etc. Did I already say that we are so happy to be serving this mission? We are!
Today was a wonderful Sacrament meeting on missionary work. The talks were not your usual "we should all be member missionaries" talks, but were just how we could readily accomplish the admonition to take the gospel to all the world, starting right in our own sphere of influence. Then we had a pot luck lunch after church and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Tomorrow we are in charge of our monthly Senior Missionary get-together. We did it last month also, but tomorrow is just soup, salad, bread and dessert and the games that we did not get to play last month. It will be easy, yet fun.
I was approached today by the Relief Society to participate in the Birthday Celebration. It seems that someone was assigned a 10 minute presentation on "A woman's sphere of influence" and now cannot do it. So it looks like I will be scurrying to plan for this program in 3 days. This will stretch me, as I prefer to plan and prepare, but this will need to be fairly spontaneous. I can do this.....
One last thing--we hit 50 degrees twice this week so the snow is melting! Someone today said that they were happy to finally welcome spring, so we are hopeful they know what they are speaking about because the forecast calls for snow and rain this week.