Thursday, March 28, 2013

Part of a Day in the Office for me

March 28, 2013
A couple of notes:  Today we heard via the grapevine that the Church is only calling one couple per mission.  The rest of the office staff will be local Church Service Missionaries.  I think this is probably because of the increase of missions and the shortage of Senior missionaries.....We need you older folks!!!

Missionaries who have been in the field for a while LOVE neck ties.  This is really the only change they have in their clothes..  Ask your Elder if he'd like neckties he can trade.  If so, go to Good Will or etc. and buy a bunch at a small price and send them as a gift.

I often get asked what I do in the Mission Office as the Mission Secretary.  Yesterday I decided to write down what I did.  I only lasted until noon when I got so busy the idea when out the window.  Here is what I got for 1/2 a day:

8:00 am - office opens
* Devotional (with other office missionaries - prayer, thought, what is going on today)
* Phone call - Church Service missionaries will be in late - Dr. appt. at 9:00
* Forwarded e-mail to appropriate office people and President
* Volunteer we talked to at Church came in - we talked to him for a while
* President came in - gave us information - during the rest of the morning he was in and out of his office as he worked and talked to office workers (including me) at various times
* Phone Call - non-member wanting rent - gave her Transient Bp. phone  number
* Checked computer and found 3 new missionaries coming in - June & July
* Ran off information for files on 3 new missionaries.  Made files.
* Did labels for their files
* Missionary Sisters  called - need copies of items- wrote it down & will try to get copies made
    before they come in this afternoon (Didn't get it done - they had to make them when they came in.)
* 'Mark' came in - had him fill cabinet with videos.  Talked with him.  (He is a homeless by choice
    young man who has walked across part of the US.  Knows a lot about the Church.  He drops by
    often - almost daily - because "it feels good here"  and wants to see if a missionary happens to be
    at the office and can take a few minutes to 'read the Book of Mormon' with him.  Has taken one
    lesson at the church and stood up the Elders today for another one.) He helps do whatever I need.
* Elders came in for supplies - filled order & talked to them briefly.
* Sorted through my work to evaluate what needs to be done most.
10:00 -
* Two phone calls responding to an e-mail about a hair brush a new sister left @ overnight apt.
* Phone call - transferred
* Assistants came in - gave them a message about an Elder extremely allergic to cats
* Made supply list - took a while checking all cabinets, etc.
* Made supply order - takes a while for a big order like the one I did -  Sent to Pres. to OK
* Mail  arrived - Large incoming pile today -  Sorted and delivered in-office mail
* Sorted mail to open and forward at my desk
* Telephone call to transfer
* Typed labels for mail  and ran off - left them to attach and finish black-lining & stamping 'forward'  mail for later when people are there and I need to talk to them because the rest of forwarding mail is mindless work
* Typed labels for Transfer board - 2 new 'zones' - several new 'districts' - lots of new addresses and
   'areas' -  lots of 'DL' and 'ZL' cards
*  Put all of the above in magnet holders - this takes a loooonnnnggg time.  A missionary was there and not busy because his companion was having an interview with Pres. so I had him help me.
* Phone - address needed
* Phone called transferred.

This is where I ran out of time to write things down.  I think I missed several phone calls on this list.
By now it was about noon.

OK - it is now 9:04 pm and I need to get busy and then to bed.  More later...

Friday, March 8, 2013

Our Reno Mission
Elder Dee Lynn and Sister Lois Ann Lynn

June 24, 2012
Tomorrow is the last day we will be at the Las Vegas West Mission.
We've spent 2 weeks at the MTC and 2 weeks here in Las Vegas.
We were to stay here until transfers, which are tomorrow and then Tues. morning we will leave for Reno.  It is an 8 hour drive.

Observations about the last 4 weeks:

Memo to Bishoprics:   It is really difficult to have a farewell one day and be at the MTC the next day.  We were exhausted on Monday:)
We loved being at the ward and their wonderful response; the family gathering and really appreciated them being there; were excited to see Bryson ordained an Elder before leaving for the Marines the same day we started at the MTC and felt badly we didn't get to spend any time at all with those who came to our house after.

The MTC always is WONDERFUL.  The spirit is so strong.  The young Elders and Sisters are a joy to watch.  LA always loves watching the Elders eat.  The food there is really good.  The mass of young missionaries at the firesides is humbling and listening to them sing the traditional missionary 'Called to Serve' brings you to tears.
The training the first week covers 'Preach My Gospel' and if you stay the 2nd week because you are in an office, doing humanitarian, etc.  the training is amazing.  They are really well organized and young returned missionaries do a great deal of the training.

We left Thusday evening and went home, washed a few clothes, packed the car with Todd and Carson's help and left Sat. am to drive to Las Vegas.  We got lost once we were in town and couldn't find the Stake President's home where we would be staying.  We called the Las Vegas Mission President.  He and his wife came and found us and brought us to 'Spiced Strawberry Street.'  President and Sister Richards have a
'casita' on top of their garage where we have lived for 2+ weeks.  It is really nice, with some food preparation facilities and it's own bathroom.  We have been very comfortable here with the air conditioning being very important in these (today 102 degree) temps.

President and Sister Black (NLVM Pres) are a perfect pair as mission president and wife.  He is not only very much on track with his mission work and dealing with the missionaries (firm and decisive) but loving and so pleasant to be around.  He has a funny sense of humor which often has the office and missionaries laughing so people love being around him.  She is so personable and kind.  She is very
effective in her duties.  It doesn't hurt that she is beautiful and that it is obvious her husband repects her as an equal in their calling and her responsibilities.

Brother and Sister Zobell are the Office Sec. and Financial Sec.  Bro. Condor (vehicles) and Sister Condor (baptisms & referrals) are also very pleasant and easy to be around.  Brother Dana is a local service missionary and the main wheel for cars. Pun intended  :) Everyone of these people have given us everything you can think of by way of help.  We have 2 zip drives full of things and LA has 5 binders full of things to help us get started in our new Reno Mission.

As for Reno, our office will be in an old Seminary building there - a small one.  One of the Assistants was there last weekend and he was excited to see that the walls are back up and painted.  :D  We hope that means that this past week the carpet is in, the shelving, desks, phones, file cabinets, computers and everything else needed is in.  We have been told there is a pallet of paper products there.
We know will still need to get more supplies. 

We will be there Wed. and by Sunday (July 1) everything needs to be in place.  Our Reno Pres. Hermansen and his wife and family are arriving Sat. evening. So are the Pres. and Sister from the Las Vegas and the Las Vegas West missions.  On Sunday after Church the
3 President couples will meet for 2 hours then the two couples from Las Vegas will fly home and the Reno mission will be open.

We were able to get an apt. in Reno and have a bed and table and chairs coming on Tues.  Then sometime when we have time, we will need to go look for the rest of what we need in our apt.

One kind of humorous note - we will begin our mission with an Assistant to the Reno President donated from both the Nevada Las Vegas Mission and the Nevada Las Vegas West Mission.  It appears the two Assistants will be Elder Marks and Elder Sparks.  They will live in Sparks and as the word gets out, this is causing a chuckle among the Elders.

This Reno mission has been formed by combining the two Las Vegas Missions which previously covered all of Nevada, a little of Utah and California.  Now the other 2 missions will cover the small southern corner where Las Vegas is.  We will have all of the rest of Nevada.  We are taking 73 missionaries from the LV West mission and 14 from the Las Vegas mission. About 2 weeks from now we will be getting 16 new missionaries from the MTC.  6 weeks after that we will get another 22 missionaries.  No one will go home during all of that time.  By Christmas we should have about 180 missionaries, as will both of the other 2 Nevada Missions.

We are both so excited to be here.  We LOVE being around the missionaries.  We have really enjoyed being in the Las Vegas West Mission office.  We are excited to meet the new Mission President and his wife and 2 children.  We are excited to get to the cooler temps in Reno. :D  We are hoping and need your prayers that we can remember all of the things we have learned in a month and that they will come to mind at the appropriate time.

Thanks for your support and love.   We love you.
Elder and Sister Lynn
March 8 -
It has been a long time since I've written - all during this blog from the beginning.  When I left for our mission, I was healthy, I felt and the Drs. felt.  Then I ended up climbing stairs every day to get to our housing and later found that caused my right hip to deteriorate very quickly and ended up with a lot of pain and finally a hip replacement the day after Christmas.  Before that I had 2 teeth (which were supposed to be fine for more than a year) break at the gum line with cracks up into the roots.  So they had to be extracted - including one dug out  in pieces.  At Thanksgiving we rushed to the hospital after tests on Elder Lynn to have his totally blocked carotid artery cleaned out.  Then about a month ago I started having a lot of sinus problems and ended up with bronchitis and lots of stuff in my lungs and lots of coughing.   I think I've finally conquered that.  I'm beginning to feel better than I can remember for a long time.  So, after telling you all that, I am going to try to write more often.

One thing I want to say, though, is that we have been tremendously blessed by being on a mission during all of this.  Personally, being here and needing to be in the office from 8-5 daily has made a huge difference for me.  If I'd been home these last months would have seemed to have lasted forever.  Being busy has kept my mind of my problems and pain and I have been so happy.  Plus, we've had wonderful Drs. found in really interesting ways - probably the best in the West. 

And of course, to top all of this off, had we been at home, we'd never have known to have the tests Elder Lynn had.   He would either be seriously disabled or dead from another stroke.  The Dr. who worked on him couldn't believe he hadn't had problems before the surgery, the carotid artery was so totally blocked.

So we've been incredibly blessed because we are on this mission. 

On to the mission....

We had a wonderful experience yesterday.  An older woman drove up to the mission office and came in.  She wondered if she was in the right place.  Then she went to her car and brought in 2 bags of things.  I asked her name and she wouldn't tell me.  The President happened to be there and I called him out of his office and he came to meet her.   She finally told him her last name.  Then she returned to her car for one more sack.  An Elder in the office went with her to carry it in.  On the way out of the door she said, "The Lord has greatly blessed me and I want to do something in return."  She got the sack from the car, gave it to the Elder, got in the car and drove off.  She did not want any recognition.  She had given us 8 new boxes of silverware and 2 toasters.  The interesting thing is that an companionship of Elders had just called and asked for a toaster when we could get one.  Each of those boxes can be divided for more than one set of missionaries!

What a blessing!

Just a few minutes later a Sister came with 2 chairs and a vacuum.  We need those things.
We've had several people bring used men's suits, white shirts, neckties, belts, socks and shoes.
We've also gotten women's clothes.  You should see the missionaries go through these things.

A woman called yesterday.  Her husband has just gotten a job across the country.  Their children are all grown and gone and they are downsizing pretty seriously rather than pay for moving things.  They wanted to know what we can use in the mission.  Plus some clothes her last missionary son can't wear any more (size change.)  They are moving at the end of March so we will have more donated things by then.

Our next transfer is March 19.  This is such a busy time!  We have 4 missionaries returning home honorably and we will really miss them.  We have 2 'Temple Square' sisters coming to work for 2 transfers at that time.  Temple square missionaries go out to other missions for a time to work as other missionaries do.  We have 6 'Visa Waiters' at our mission now and they will be leaving as soon as they get their visa's and go to Brazil for their missions.  We will have 13 Sister's (1 Spanish Assignment) and 13 Elders (1 Spanish Assignment) arriving on the 19th.  We are so excited and racing as fast as we can to get ready for them.

This means President will need to choose trainers (our best experienced missionaries) for each of them.  There will need to be a place for them to live - furnished.  A local couple, the Blankenships handle all of this. Apartment rentals or leases need to be signed and deposits made.  Then the information needs to go to Salt Lake so they can be paid regularly Utilities need to be turned on.  Elder Lynn does both of these things.  Transportation (cars or bikes) will need to be arranged for.  A credit card for each missionary needs to be ordered and arrive. (Elder Lynn)  A phone for each companionship has to be ordered, received, turned on with phone numbers recorded. (Elder Lynn)  A incoming book needs to be made for each new missionary. (Sister Blankenship) A transfer board card for the transfer board needs to be printed, cut out, laminated, cut out and a magnet needs to be put on the back for each new missionary. (Sister Lynn) Food needs to be arranged for the incoming missionaries for breakfast and lunch, and for the departing missionaries for dinner and breakfast. (Blankenships)  Schedules need to be made with assignments for the President and Sister Hermansen, the Assistants, the Vehicle person, the Sister who does referrals and baptisms, (Elder & Sister Smegelski);  Elder Lynn who talks about housing and problems and cards with money on them.  I collect papers, put a photo on the back on the ministerial card and laminate it, and trim it; talk about name tags, letters and packages, communication with parents and others that missionaries aren't allowed to call;  arrange forms so we can communicate with parents or guardians and arrange for the first letter home to be written.  We all answer questions.  This period of training lasts about 4 hours or so.  Meanwhile, President interviews every missionary so he can determine who their companion will be and then prays about and chooses companions.  By about 4 or so trainers have arrived and then there is a meeting where companions meet each other.  I wish you could see this.  There are so many hugs, back  pats, so much smiling and excited - especially by the trainers as they meet their new missionary...  New missionaries by this time are looking a little glassy eyed and smiling and acting as excited as exhausted new missionaries can!  Then they all to a meeting where cars are assigned and keys given out by the Vehicle Coordinater, Pres. Hermansen gives instructions and the missionaries who are leaving bear their testimonies.  Missionaries come to the office and collect mail and boxes sent there, gather up the new missionaries luggage, get in cars and trucks and leave.   President and Sister Hermansen take the departing missionaries for dinner and to the mission home where they have a final meeting and spend the night.  They have gone with the Hermansen's to the final temple session in Reno earlier in the week.  Early in the morning they are taken to the plane or wait for people to pick them up. 

More later....