I'm so glad it is Sunday and I have a few minutes to catch my breath.....this past week I felt like I was running and running but could never quite run fast enough to catch the train ..... then Monday as I tried to make it home for a quick lunch (because I had piles of work waiting for me at the office), I got stopped and had to wait for the long train to go by. In the 18 years I have lived in Gilbert, I think this is only the 3rd time I have had to wait for a train. To avoid frustration I decided to imagine where the cargo on each train car was going.....and before I knew it I was again on my way home for lunch.
The train lumbering along.
Finally....the end of the train.
When I returned to the office I got busy trying to complete the 14 binders that needed to be ready on Tuesday. It was pretty challenging because the printer was not functioning properly and even after the repairman came, it would only print one sheet at a time before jamming. Tense afternoon as I tried to finish. However, it seemed a little better as the departing missionaries began to arrive for their departure interviews with the President and to get their luggage weighed.
Sister Bischoff is ready to roll. Her bags both came in at least 5 lbs under the allotted 50 lbs.
Elder Marler and Elder Reynolds get their luggage weighed as Elder Macki looks on. They both passed as well - no repacking needed.
These missionaries departed on Tuesday morning at about 9 a.m. Incoming missionaries arrive at 11:30 and are brought to the church for lunch and some orientation.
Elder Ashton and I went to the church about 11:45 to take care of last minute preparations in the room where we provide the orientation training. As you can see from the image below - as senior missionaries we get to try our hand at new things.....Elder Ashton was trying out a little artwork/signage to assist the incoming missionaries.
Evan as the missionaries walked in the door and this was on the wall directly in front of them, we had a couple ask what they were supposed to do with their luggage;-)
And speaking of luggage, I thought this was a really cute set - especially if you were taking a "road trip".
The Sisters who prepare the lunch for the missionaries do a great job - with the food and the decorations. We really appreciate all that they do!
When I arrived at the office on Wednesday, I found a brightly colored envelope with a smiley face on it laying on my keyboard. I opened it to find these two origami cranes inside. It really touched me because earlier in the week I had read that origami cranes are considered good luck for cancer survivors. One of our small Sister Missionaries (from Mangolia) had made these for Elder Ashton and I and written a very sweet note thanking us for all we do. That, coupled with the teary eyes as I said good-bye to one of the Elders who left, reinforced that we are doing a good thing for these young missionaries.
Love these origami creations!
We had another surprise on Thursday (I think) morning at the office. Elder McKnight who returned home about 2 months ago stopped in to say hello. He looked and sounded really good. He spent some time unable to drive while he was on his mission because he was speeding and had his Tiwi card (that allows him to drive) taken away. He couldn't wait to tell Elder Ashton that he has a video of him going 100 miles an hour after he got home - and saying "Take that Tiwi". I would say a part of his frontal lobe of the brain has still not completely developed....but he was going on his first date with this young lady to the temple so I guess he can't be all bad;-)
Thursday afternoon/evening was the Gladys Knight and the Saints Unified Voices Choir fireside in our mission. (No, they did not sing Midnight Train to Georgia but that song has been running through my mind all week :) ) We had been working for weeks in preparation for this and it was a huge effort. Firesides were also held in Mesa and Tempe. We helped with the administrative side of tracking people who requested that a packet be delivered to them. As of today I see that we have about 200 people that live within our mission boundaries that requested the packet. That should keep the missionaries pretty busy for awhile.
Yes - even though she is a few years older than me - she really does look like this!
We were privileged to take a short break from our duties and listen to Sister Knight talk about her family joining the church and her investigating to make sure her kids weren't joining a cult and some of the feelings and thoughts she experienced. She talked about knowing that singing is what Heavenly Father wants her to do and she considers her voice a gift from Him. She then sang a beautiful song about her feelings for Jesus. I wish you all could have heard it!
Friday was spent updating spreadsheets in the office.......I only got about half done so I will have plenty to keep me busy this upcoming week, too. After arriving home on Friday I checked FB and started to see a bit about Hurricane Matthew not treating my friends and ward members back in Virginia and North Carolina very good. I continue to have a prayer in my heart for them as they had some pretty significant flooding in the area and will be mopping up for awhile. In the 18 months we were there, we saw only a little flooding but we did see places along the road where markers indicated that water could get up to 3 or 4 feet in some areas.....I think it got that high yesterday/last night.
Sending special thoughts and prayers to those we came to love in Virginia and Georgia. Hope you are all safe and recovering (even if it be slowly)!