This past week we welcomed 12 new missionaries to the Arizona Gilbert Mission. But before we could welcome the new ones, there we 7 departing missionaries that needed some assistance with last minute preparations. They started arriving at the mission office at about noon on Monday and stayed the rest of the day until they went to the departure dinner at 6 p.m.
Sister Finch arriving with her luggage.....the Sisters seem to have more anxiety about having their luggage weighed than the elders do. Looks like some of the elders are just sitting or standing around having a good time.
Elder Partridge is the keeper of the scale......he just told Sister Finch that one bag is right at 50 pounds (Yeah!) but the other bag is 3.5 pounds over (boo!) Notice Sister Finch's reaction to the news. I think she spent about 45 minutes deciding which things she could leave behind or move to her carry on to get the weight to 50 lbs. Elder Ashton had just worked on the bicycle in the foreground and it did not even belong to one of the missionaries going home but they all want to be part of the excitement/chaos on departure day so he picked that day to bring it in to be worked on. The noise level gets pretty high when we have 10 or 12 missionaries in there all needing something different and talking and laughing with each other.....but it is a happy chaos so I don't mind it!
This also becomes a good time to check the mail baskets and see if they have any mail.....sometimes they find a nice surprise like a tie or two left for them by a departing missionary ;-) I asked one Elder about all the ties he was leaving and he informed me that he had more than 100 ties so he didn't think he needed to take them all home!
One of the "new" Elders arriving in the "training" (Primary) room with his luggage on Tuesday.
Bikes and bedding lined up in the back awaiting arriving missionaries.....they place their luggage on the side of the room and head off to lunch first thing.
If the room was this full with 12 missionaries, I'm wondering how it will be August 23 when we are scheduled to get 28 or 29 missionaries.....that should be fun!
Wednesday morning the missionaries go to two separate church buildings to meet up with their new companions. It is pretty quiet in the office until the first meeting lets out.....and then it gets a little crazy again. I think Elder Ashton had about 8 missionaries lined up to ask him various questions or have him look for specific items for them. By Wednesday night of transfer week, I am ready to go home to my quiet house.....even though it is still a big MESS with the remodeling!
And getting home at the end of the day in this 112 degree heat is a bit of a challenge. However, I recently learned that long Sister Missionary skirts work pretty well as oven mitts over the blistering hot steering wheel - plus the air conditioning works a little better on the lower body when the skirt is over the steering wheel ;-)
Thursday and Friday were regular days in the office - working on referrals, baptisms, binders, etc......and acting as chauffeur for Elder Ashton as he ferries cars back and forth to get them fixed! I don't mind doing that in the morning, but my mid afternoon when it is blistering hot I know it will take me a couple of hours back in the office with the fan blowing on me to cool off from being out in the heat for 45 minutes! Then I remind myself that I love my "job" as a Senior Sister Missionary and the pay in blessings far out weighs any challenges!
The remodeling projects continue to progress VERY SLOWLY!! This is the main bathroom walk-in shower that is finally about 2/3 complete. Seems like it has taken forever but it will be VERY NICE when it is complete!
Elder Ashton is going to add grab bars, shelves and a seat in the shower. It has a rain head and a handheld shower that hits at the lower back. It has cost lots of $$$ and time so I hope we really like it.
Elder Ashton and I spent some time Saturday preparing the middle bedroom for paint and carpet. He wanted to move the sewing machine to another room but neither of us had the muscles to do that so I guess we will leave it up to the professionals to move it around.
This has been an interesting adventure this week.....we found my wedding dress and train that is 49 years old in one of the closets! Brought back lots of memories as I looked at that dress and thoughts of gratitude for my sweet mom who sewed it and sewed all the decorative appliques on by hand. What a great influence she has been in my life!
We are LOVING life and working with the missionaries. I had no idea it would be so much fun to hang around all the enthusiastic and strong-spirited young people. This week as I watched the departure video that Elder Partridge prepared, I was overwhelmed and shed tears of joy as I thought of the good these young people do in the world - helping people move, cleaning up the city, teaching about Jesus, loving one another and even loving us funny old Senior Missionaries. How blessed we are to be involved!