WOW! What a week! We experienced our first transfer here in the Arizona, Gilbert mission and "experience" is the perfect word to describe.....this was a new experience for me even though we had 13 transfers while we were in Virginia. WE had six missionaries going home and were expecting only 7 missionaries to arrive so I was sure it would be an easy thing. NOT!!!!
About noon on Monday, missionaries started arriving at the mission office in preparation for exit interviews and a departure dinner later in the day. The sister missionaries started arriving first and Elder Partridge (the tall senior missionary) had a little hand held scale that he used to weigh each piece of luggage. If he found that one piece of luggage was overweight and the other was under, he instructed the missionaries to start moving things. What chaos we had for awhile as that occurred!!!
Sisters arriving and Elder Partridge weighing luggage
Sister's luggage piled in the entrance to the mission office and Sister Partridge watching over the arrivals and weighing of the luggage.
Sister missionaries trying to take just a few more pictures of the mission experience.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the mission office, Elder Ashton is working feverishly to get bikes packed up to ship home for 3 different missionaries.
When we left the office about 10 after 5, there were still a number of missionaries there waiting to be interviewed by the President. They were all going to a member's home for dinner and then returning to their apartments/homes with their current companions.
Return flights for missionaries left at 9:10 a.m. and the airport is about 20 miles away in city traffic so they had to leave Gilbert by 7 a.m. However, we had one Elder with a health issue who was returning to Sweden to finish out his mission. His flight left Phoenix at 12:05 A.M. on Tuesday morning (Monday night) so the assistants had to be out past curfew to take him to the airport. Most incoming missionaries arrived about 11:30 a.m. and reached the "incoming" building about 12:45.
Prior to the missionaries arrival, Elder Ashton and I made a stop on the way to the office to retrieve the bedding from the storage building that is about 1.5 miles away. As soon as we arrived at the office and had completed our devotional, we started putting the bedding packets together (thank you Virginia Chesapeake Mission for giving me the idea to put it all in a mesh laundry bag!). We got the packets all ready and decided we better get it out of the way, so took it out to my GMC Terrain and stuffed the cargo section and the back seat. Meantime, Elder Ashton went back to the storage facility to pick up bicycles for the incoming missionaries. This is largely a biking mission so every missionary needs a bike....He rigged up a way to get 6 full size bicycles in the back of a Nissan truck....but had to make a trip back to the storage to get the 7th bike. About noon we took the bedding and the bikes to the "incoming" building and got set up for a little training. Elder Ashton loved getting into his teacher mode and spending a full hour teaching the missionaries. I told him he will need to have them do jumping jacks or something because I think one Elder slept through the entire presentation.
After the training by several different senior missionaries, the "newbies" were taken on a tour of the temple grounds and then dropped off to spend the night with a host family. Elders would be staying with one family and Sisters with another family......no hotel stays here in Gilbert. To add to all this excitement we had an Elder who was supposed to be arriving from England. He had been delayed there for 3 months waiting for his Visa and we were told he would arrive about 1 p.m. That would put him a little behind in the training but not too much. By Tuesday morning we were notified that he would not be arriving until 3:30 p.m. and changes were made to the plans so that Elder Partridge could go pick him up. About noon he notified Elder Partridge that he missed his connecting flight in Minneapolis and would not be arriving until 10:30 p.m. ----- which turned out to be 12:30 a.m. The assistants to the President were waiting for him at the office after he was picked up by a set of Senior missionaries. So- he missed all of his training and showed up to the office on Wednesday to pick up his bike and get started. He will be serving in our ward so I have seen him a couple of times. He has a cute smile on his face and I LOVE to listen to his British accent. We have another Elder from Britain and I would like to just sit and have a conversation with the two of them so I can hear their accent.....maybe we should include the Elder from New Zealand too :)
As if we are not busy enough at the office, Elder Ashton has been coming home, changing clothes and getting back to demolition in the kitchen and bathroom. What a mess we are in!!! But I guess it is good that we are gone all day so I only have to deal with the mess for a few hours a day.
We got this far with the demo of the kitchen pantry and thought we might have a problem with the duct work.....but had a young man who grew up with our sons in St. Johns come over on Saturday and he got it all modified for us. Yeah for good people we can trust!
The missionaries in the Arizona Gilbert mission are very blessed to be able to attend the temple in Gilbert once every transfer. Sessions are reserved for each zone in the mission --there are ten zones - with 14-10 missionaries per zone. Each transfer, the make-up of the zones change and it is my responsibility to get the new zone information (with clothing sizes) to the temple within one day of transfers. This was quite a task for me this first time and I got a call from the temple yesterday telling me I had missed getting the clothing sizes in for a few missionaries. Guess I know what I will be doing first thing in the morning. Later on in the week I think I'll try putting all the information on a spreadsheet to see if that makes it easier next time......still in a learning curve :)
Our son, Colby, and his wife stopped by to visit for a few minutes on Thursday night. It is so great to be close to family so we can enjoy spending time with them. They offered to come over on Saturday morning and help with the construction and we jumped at the offer. It is so much easier for a 41 year old and a couple of teenagers to get the work done than it is for us two old people to try to do it!
Colby and Elder Ashton getting ready to hang sheet rock on the walls before tile goes up for the new shower.
Cooper and Tucker, two of my handsome grandsons, have their eye protection on getting ready to do more demo on the kitchen pantry. They also helped me haul a dining room table, leaf, and six chairs plus two end tables a few miles away to be used for incoming refugees. I'm a blessed woman to have such a great family that is willing to help!
Since we arrived home a month ago, I have noticed a number of trees with these purple flowers alongside the road. Friday when I went to the gym, I stopped to take some pictures and was pleasantly surprised at how pretty the flowers on the trees/bushes are.
You will notice that this tree had seed pods growing and hanging down on it - the other one didn't have any seed pods yet.
A pretty cluster of blooms and buds mixed in together.
Close-up and personal. Notice the white and the yellow that highlight the inside of the bloom. "I'm so glad that I live in this beautiful world...."
Stake Conference this weekend was a rich blessing. Several survivors of the huge fire that occurred April 22 in our ward boundaries spoke about the angels seen and unseen who helped them through that trying time. This morning we had two families attend and honored with a few words who have just recently begun to return to activity - one of them following the death of their 17 year old son two days after he would have graduated from high school. The father spoke about being angry with God, but when his son passed he was inspired to know that God knew his pain and that he would see his young son again......talk about lots of tissues in use!
The weeks go flying by as we keep busy with the mission, our home remodel, and our family. And I still find time to think of VCM (Virginia Chesapeake Mission) almost daily and how much we miss our friends in Virginia. Hope this note from 116 degree Arizona finds you all well and happy!