Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dec. 6, 2012
Wow!  It has been so long since I wrote.  We have been really busy.  Since I wrote last a lot has happened.

We have had Elders leave and more arrive.  Every incoming set of Elders is sooooo exciting!  We get to meet them fresh from the MTC.  They are soooo tired.  They have probably not slept a lot the night before they leave.  They have had to pack and usually have tried to wash or go to the MTC bookstore.  Then the hardest part has been saying good-bye to all the Missionaries they have worked with and especially those going to other missions.  Once they've gotten to bed most have not been able to sleep because they have been worried/anxious/excited  etc.

So when they arrive most are a bit bleary eyed.  Once they get here to the airport they have to listen to lots and lots of instructions.  The first is to get their luggage and put it in the van/trailer at a particular spot.  President Hermansen and the 2 Assistants to the President are usually the ones who pick up the new Elders and Sister Hermansen drives the sisters.  They come to the mission office where we have a 'brunch' ready for them to eat.  (They have most likely not eaten at the MTC.)   We have fresh fruit, cold cereal and milk, muffins, bagels and cream cheese, juice and hot chocolate.  While they are eating they listen to instructions.  "Put all the papers you were told to bring in the envelope in this box."  Questions are answered.  "Line up over here for photos with President and Sister Hermansen."  Names are called.  Poses made. Camera's snap.  Then they gather outside for a group photo in front of the Mission Office.  Meanwhile Sister Hermansen has been taking candid shots while everything happens.

Then off to one of the first LDS church buildings in the Sparks/Reno area.  It is across the parking lot and we have some of our mission meetings there.  President and Sister Hermansen and the Assistants talk.  President leaves the room to begin individual interviews.  More instruction is given.  Sister Hermansen talks about health  - how to stay healthy, exercise, what to do if you are sick, how to eat,  how and what to clean and when.   Elder Smigelski talks about cars, car safety, and what you need to do to be able to drive.  Videos are shown about this.  Sister Smigelski talks about referrals and how to fill out baptism papers and what to do with them. (Send them to the office IMMEDIATELY!)

Elder Lynn instructs on apartments.  Keep them clean.  Do not make holes in the walls, etc.  He talks about mission funding cards which have the money for each missionary on them and are used like a credit cards, how to use them and to NOT lose them or attach the pin number to the card. (Duh?)

Elder Blankenship talks about bikes and bike safety.  Sister Lynn talks about mail, name tag purchasing and gives a grandmotherly bit of advice.  (Wash your hands as often as you can during the day.  Consider the member homes some of you are living at as their temples.  Write your parents.  Write your first letter now.
You will get homesick.  You will have stomach aches and colds.  You do not need to go to the hospital for these things, but if you really get sick, call Sister Hermansen.  This is a once in a lifetime chance.  Do your best.  Etc)

Somewhere in the middle of this we break for lunch which is always the same.   Pizza, salad, cold water, dessert.

Then it is back to the finish of the above instruction.  There are also papers to fill out during all of the above and to be collected.  Drivers liscenses which have been collected and photo-copied are returned.  Visas from the out of the country missionaries collected, copied and kept by the mission office and the copies given to the missionary until they leave the mission.

When President finishes his interviews he returns to the office and determines which new missionary will go with which previously selected trainer.  Meanwhile the trainers have arrived and are waiting in the gym.  (Or just 'happening by' the kitchen to see if there is any extra pizza.

President returns to the Church and then the FUN begins, as he calls out the name of the trainer and the new missionary (who is waiting in the hall.)  Hugs are given, cheers are cheered and everyone is smiling.  After all the new missionaries are assigned, everyone troops into the chapel.  A song and prayer, business by the President as necessary and then a testimony meeting by the departing Elders.  Then everyone leaves.  The new missionaries pick up their luggage which is now in the gym along the wall.  A trip is made to the mission office to pick up mail and packages and then they are off to their new residence with their new companion.

This is a hectic, busy and happy occasion for all of us.

Once every has left, the missionaries who have finished their missions say good-byes to old
companions.  Photos are taken.  President and Sister Hermansen have dinner with those departing.  Usually a temple session has been attended earlier in the week or after dinner.  The departing Missionaries go with
President and Sister Hermansen to the mission home where there is a special meeting.  (I don't know what happens from the time they leave the Church.

This is a sad time for me because I gotten to know and love these Elders and Sisters and know that I probably won't see them again during this earth life.  But it is an example of the cycle of life going on.

In addition to all the arrivals, departures and transfers Elder Lynn and I moved from a 2nd story apt. to a ground level one.  Some of the Elders moved us.  Thank you, Thank you, Elders.  You are great life savers.

Our first Senior Couple arrived!!!!   We are just so happy and appreciative of them being willing to serve a mission.  The missionaries helped them move the things from their car into the apt.  They will be working with  missionaries in Sparks where we have a less-active ward.   They are very excited and we are so grateful!

Two more couples will be coming, one the first of January and one the end of January.  We can't wait to get them here.

In the middle of this, on the day we moved, Elder Lynn went in and had kind of emergency surgery.  He had his cartodid artery cleaned out.  It was completely blocked and bent.  The surgeon did a great job and Elder Lynn is back running full speed here.  This was a result of a regular 6 month exam he has for his heart.  He had a stroke in July 2011 and recovered so well that we were able to come on this mission.  While he was having all of his tests they uncovered the need for this surgery, called on Tues. evening and the surgery was the next day.   He will go in soon for a check of his other artery and we will see if he needs that one done, too.  Meanwhile, since I have been here I have developed problems with my right hip and am going to have a hip replacement here in Reno the end of Dec.  One of the things that we have learned from our missions is that life goes on for you while you are on your mission.  Things happen.  You just adjust and go forward.  However, you are greatly blessed in these trials.  We are very aware of our Heavenly Father caring for us, especially on our mission.  We are so thankful he is there and knows us and takes care of us.  We just do our best and keep going.

We are greatly blessed to have President and Sister Hermansen to work with.  He is so supportive of all of the missionaries, including us.  Our missionaries are soooo blessed to have him for a Mission President.

One of the things that had me laughing (tongue in cheek) was that an Elder called to report a 'few dents' in the roof of his car.  When ask how they got there he said an unnamed Elder had been dancing on the roof of the car.  Later when someone told us who the unnamed Elder was, all of our mouths dropped open.  We aren't sure if we were given the right name, but if it was, then none of us would have EVER guessed he would be on top of a car doing anything.  He is one of our model Elders.

So life goes on in the mission.  I've got to write more often.  I keep forgetting great things I could tell about...Until later, then.
Sister Lynn

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