Friday, March 8, 2013

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....

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