Week 9 Busy, new companion, and learning as fast as I can

Wow!!  It’s Friday already.  All day long I kept thinking it was Thursday and it wasn’t until half way through the day I realized it was Friday.  That’s a scary thought when you still have lots of work to do.

It’s transfer week next week so of course that means hectic in the office this week and next.  I am going to come to love these weeks but for now I’m just doing my best to learn my new position.  More about that later.

Last Saturday found Sister Dent and I at the airport waiting for my new companion to land.  Her plane was delayed a bit but not too bad and Sister Gifford got here safe and sound from the Provo MTC.  She is from North Carolina (an hour and a half South East of Raleigh) so not in Brisco’s mission.  (Brisco is my nephew).  She hasn’t shown any signs of jet lag this week so she is doing better than I did my first week.

We took her to the mission home to meet the President and Sister Donaldson. He of course put a box over her head and asked her why we put ourselves through this.  Funny guy.

We did pictures and then took her to the store to buy groceries.  I got a new skirt and two new shirts at Sainsbury.  Sainsbury is kind of like a Super Target or Smith’s Marketplace.  Not as big but same type of store.  I think I spent less than 30 pounds and got those clothes and a few groceries so I got a good deal on the clothes.  I’m so glad I bought the shirts because they are thin t-shirt type shirts and it has been so hot here.  We are melting today.  Something I never thought I would hear myself say on my mission.  I don’t get it.  Temperatures are maybe low 70’s but it is sweltering. Is the air different or something?  I don’t know. But boy, the Scots are delighted. Everyone is out in the parks with their little Hibachi’s cooking away and having a great time.

This whole week has been filled with training Sister Gifford to take over my desk and then getting trained to take over as Secretary.  This is my second time for transfers.  Really 3rd but should have only been second time.  And both times it has been a holiday during transfers.  So of course all travel is already sold out and so our missionaries are traveling at 3:00AM to get to their new places. Some will be flying when we wouldn’t normally have had to have them fly. And then to top it off the bus and ferry site where we get that travel was having server issues all day and kept closing on us when we would try to pay.  That was 60 tickets we had booked with them to have it all lost.  So we called them and then literally took 3 hours for them to even try to run our credit card because it doesn’t have a person’s name as the card holder. It’s a mission credit card and they didn’t believe us that it would work even though we buy lots of tickets on line with them. They wanted to talk to the person who the card belonged to and they wouldn’t accept that it belonged to us. So finally we had to get Elder Winter on the line and he finally talked them into giving it a try. I guess they wanted a man’s voice, not a lady’s. Who knows.

To top that all off, Europe is on the highest security alert due to the bombing this past week and they think there is another one out there so we are concerned for the safety of our missionaries and we want them to stay away from large crowds and stay two-by-two and not in groups which makes it hard on them. They truly love each other and want to hang out with everyone. But we can’t have that this time. Rules are very important and need to be strictly heeded. They are traveling on a holiday so we are trying to keep the Facebook chatter down on who is traveling where and when. It’s a real problem that we have with members thinking it is their job to keep parents informed of every little thing that is happening in the mission and often times they have transfer information before all the missionaries seem to have it. We are working on those leaks and hoping everyone will listen to the president when he says no giving details to anyone.  Parent’s can find out like they should, through P’Day emails.  I do have to say though that we have wonderful people here supporting our missionaries and loving them and taking care of them like they were their own and that is a lovely thing about the people here. So I hope what I just said isn’t taken the wrong way if someone reads it from here. We love you, we just want the missionaries to be extra safe.

I am anticipating seeing all the missionaries coming through for departures.  I only know a few of them that are going home this time but I’ve talked on the phone with several more and it will be nice to see them.  They come into the office Sunday and have dinner, hike Pratt’s Hill (Arthur’s Seat) and then have their testimony meeting.  We will help Sister Donaldson with dinner after church and then clean up the kitchen while they are in their testimony meeting.  Sister Dent will get to go into that meeting since she is leaving next week.

Then on Tuesday we get 9 new missionaries and the trainers will be in the office to pick them up and we train the trainers and then talk with the new missionaries.

Wednesday is leadership meeting with all zone leaders so I have to get their travel done tomorrow (Saturday).  No fun travels this weekend for me. But that’s okay.  I’m loving this work.  This is going to be so much more fun.  Harder and more work – longer hours but so much more what I enjoy.

Tuesday night this week we were invited over to the Winter’s for dinner. Elder Winter cooked and I think I have found a new dish for Sunday family meals.  He made Kung Pow Chicken and it was delicious.  I never thought I liked Chinese Food but this was really tasty and reminded me a bit of Curry.  So I am going to have to get his recipe.  I should have taken pictures.

Wednesday night I didn’t sleep well.  I ended up carrying on a conversation over text with Lorna at 3:00AM (8:00PM her time) about what stops I should use on the organ because I’m playing for Ward Conference on Sunday.  What was I thinking.  I have had no extra time to practice.  Then I talked with Lacey and Landon a bit around 4:00AM.  Finally I just got in the shower and got ready for work.  I hate it when I have nights like that.  I did sleep better on Thursday, after a nice meal of …you guessed it, Five Guys.  We are so original.

Tonight, (Friday), Sister Gifford and I walked to the store and bought a few groceries (Diet Coke and a Ritter Sports Chocolate Bar for me).  It was such a nice walk.  It’s like summer here and they don’t have summer here usually.  I should never have started in on the chocolate here.  It’s getting to be a habit.

Well, I’m off to bed. We will work at least six hours tomorrow I bet and I do need to practice the organ.  And we have a baptism tomorrow night to go to as well.  Our ward has a temple trip tomorrow (we can’t go, we can get permission to go one time during our mission and I want to try for August so we can go to the pageant.)  But I was able to help a boy in the ward print out a temple file card that he found all by himself of his great-grandpa.  He is 17 and a priest in our ward and the only member in his family.  He is so excited to be taking the name to the temple and doing the baptism for his great-grandpa.  I am hoping for a special experience for him. He has one more year of high school and then he plans to put his mission papers in.  His name is Sonju.  I will have to find out exactly how to spell that but he is a great kid.

Anyway, I hope this finds all of you well.  Congratulations to Avery and Kaden for completing 4th and 1st grade today.  Happy Summer.  I’ll be waiting to hear about the books you are reading in Grandma’s Summer Reading Club.  We will have to have your dad take you for ice cream when you get your books done.

Love all of you.

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