Week 16 – Made it through the longest, hardest week

The week is coming to an end.  It’s Saturday morning and we had planned on taking a day and just walking around Edinburgh and then maybe driving over to a garden and nursery that isn’t too far away and browse.  They have a butterfly house as well that you can go in and we thought that would be fun.  We may still get something to do before the day is over but my phone rang early this morning and Sister Sams is sick and needs a place to sleep today.  The missionaries cannot be alone ever.  They have to be in sight of their companions at all times unless they are in the bathroom. We have two sets of sister missionaries that live near here and between them they cover Edinburgh, Corstophrine, and then drive to Glenrothes which is about an hour away. And today is not a P-Day for young missionaries.  Their P-Day is Mondays.  The sisters have appointments in Glenrothes and Edinburgh so they have to keep moving as a three-some and Sister Sams is coming to sleep here.  So we are going to hang out at home.  (Just to be clear, we have a set of Chinese-speaking missionaries, our APs and two other sets of Elders that also work in Edinburgh.)  Edinburgh is huge.

I was up by 5:30AM which is the normal for me.  I’ve said before that it is light until about 11:00PM and gets light again by 4:00AM.  Birds start chirping usually be 3:30AM.  So I usually am waking up with the birds.  I keep my window open in my bedroom for the fresh air so I hear the birds.  Anyway, since I was up I got my bedroom and bathroom all clean and changed the sheets on my bed so Sister Sams will have a nice place to sleep.

Sunday was the largest group for dinner.  Sister Donaldson’s job never seems to end. Not only did she have about 10 missionaries sleeping over on Saturday night as well as the new Area Seventy, who I met but I forgot his name already.  Very nice man.  Then Sunday morning all the Stake Presidents and the Area Seventy along with President and Sister Donaldson had breakfast and then off to a meeting somewhere. I had so much to do that I went into the office before church and worked

for about an hour.  Sister Gifford went into the kitchen to help Sister Donaldson.  Then as soon as church was over we were right back to the office.  There were 32 people for dinner which was the usual three kinds of vegi’s, roast and two types of potatoes and then of course dessert which I skipped so I could get back to work.  I did a lot of the dishes before going back to my office again.

And I swept the floor so I did a bit of kitchen help as well.  After dinner I wrapped up my work

for the evening and after counting seats in the van and cars realized I would need to

be back Monday morning early enough to help drive missionaries to the airport.  We got home about 8:00.

Well, Monday morning was rainy and the Elders were all out in the wet loading up suitcases.  One missionary had to go to the train station so Elder Winter took him and 13 needed to go to the airport.  After they all climbed into the van and President’s car there was only 2 left and instead of having me go the APs split up and took their car as well so I settled back into my desk to start cleaning up everything and start focusing on what needed to be done for the 19 arrivals on Tuesday.  About 45 minutes later my phone rang and it was Elder Peacock.  One of the missionaries couldn’t find one of their suitcases – could I go look in the garage and see if it is there.  The garage was still full of 9 other missionaries suitcases that were waiting for their parents to come pick them up so I was unzipping luggage trying to figure out if Sister Lehtimaki’s suitcase was among them.  Her description in her broken English (she is Swedish) was it was black and a strap.  Well, that fit about 18 0f the 20 suitcases still standing in the garage but yes, her suitcase was there.  I grabbed it, threw it in my car and took off.  So I ended up going to the airport after all.  The crazy thing is I was the only car left at the mission home.  If I had gone in the first place there would have been no one who could drive her suitcase to the airport.  Those things happen all the time.  Little tender mercies that seem to be nothing until they all play out.  Monday we left the office at 7:30PM, tired and knowing the week was just barely beginning and we still had lots to do.

Tuesday our 19 missionaries were on their way with the exception of one.  Elder O’Connor from Eagle Mountain had injured his knee in the MTC.  We knew that but I kept thinking he would be fine.  I had seen several pictures of them in the MTC and I knew he always had a big smile on his face but after X-Rays it was discovered that the injury was extensive enough that he would need surgery.  This is a young man that plays football and is really good at it.  So I’m sure his knees are precious to his future so of course we wish him a speedy recovery from surgery.  He will need to work hard with physical therapy and such but we hope he will improve and heal quickly and join us later this year.  I had already started to form a bond in my heart for this missionary as I had already connected with his mother over Facebook and had watched him prepare and leave on his mission.  I was so excited to see him and still am for when he comes.  I read a letter from the MTC President in Preston who described him and talked about how he worked tirelessly the morning the missionaries left the MTC to come to Scotland and other places.  He carried luggage and hugged everyone and wished them well.  That speaks volumes to his character and his determination.  Prayers for Elder O’Connor.

It doesn’t matter how prepared you think you are there is always going to be something that changes or gets mixed up.  After booking all the plane, ferry, train and bus tickets I then started to get the phone calls.  I have a doctors appointment that I can’t miss, our car has to go into the shop before we can take it back to the islands, we have a baptism that we have to be to.  So the re-booking begins. Tuesday the new missionaries arrived and we had the training meeting while they hiked Pratt’s hill. I have a part in that meeting to do. But a part of Tuesday for me can’t happen until President interviews all the new missionaries and then pairs them up with their new companions.  And because we were short a missionary we had an extra trainer which also caused a few area changes and one going to Ireland we weren’t expecting and two coming from Ireland back to Scotland that wasn’t expected so there were those changes as well.  I also have pictures and letters that have to be sent home to the parents before I leave on Tuesday and with so many new missionaries I didn’t even get to start that until about 7:30.  The Winter’s took Sister Gifford home about that time and I stayed and worked until just after 9:00PM.  But all the letters and pictures got sent out.  The mistake I made though was I forgot to change the format from .pub to .pdf so I re-did all the pictures again Wednesday morning.  Only one parent complained but I don’t really know how many had tried to open them and couldn’t or how many hadn’t actually seen it yet so I just did them all again.

Wednesday is New Leadership meeting and it was also the parades in Belfast so any new missionaries and their companions heading to Belfast or The Republic of Ireland were still here as well as any missionary who was becoming a District Leader or Sister Training Leader for the first time.  It’s fun to have these kids here.  I’ve gotten to know most of them at least over the phone and it’s fun to sit and visit with them and enjoy their cute personalities.  They are always so up-beat and excited about everything.  I am finding I can offer them a drop of Wild Orange oil and they get so excited and want to know where to put it or why they feel so happy when they smell it. I have fun pulling that out when they are hanging around the office. Still such a busy day but a good busy.  I’m not feeling stress or pressure on these days, just busy which I love.  I don’t mind the stress and pressure either, I’d rather have that than be bored, which doesn’t happen very often.

Wednesday night Sister Gifford and I went to teach with Elder Peacock and Elder Gibb.  We went to visit Nikki who we had met last Sunday at church and they were going back for a second lesson.  She is my age and so Elder Peacock thought that would be good for her and also Sister Gifford is a convert so that would be helpful as well.  She is a great lady.  I think we would be friends if I met her at home.  She loves literature and has studied it in college.  They asked her to start reading the Book of Mormon the last time they visited with her and she was so excited to report about her readings.  She had two notebooks with her Book of Mormon.  One she was writing questions in and the other she was writing about what she was reading. She had read through Chapter 13 in First Nephi.  She wanted proper pronunciations of some of the names and then started talking about the different characters she had been reading about and how faithful Nephi was and how his brothers wavered and even tied him up and yet he forgave them.  She talked about Ishmael’s family and the dynamics there.  She mapped out Lehi’s dream.  She wanted to know exactly what they meant by sacrifices being offered.  (She wanted to make sure it wasn’t children or virgins.)  This book excites here and she believes every word she reads.  We watched a video of Joseph’s First Vision and she believes that really happened. As Sister Gifford and I each talked to here it was so simple to do. I talked about my feelings of the Olive Tree because she had mentioned that earlier as well and I talked about the light of Christ and what it means to feel something in your heart.  Sister Gifford talked about her own conversion and mentioned that it wasn’t hard for her to give up coffee and alcohol. (Yikes – I have no idea if they had talked to her about the Word of Wisdom yet.)  She also talked about how she came to know the Book of Mormon was true which is a great story. Well, we did get side-tracked onto the Word of Wisdom after that and she said she had just bought a new package of coffee – the good stuff too, not the cheap stuff and she had only used it once.  The Elders asked her if she would be willing to give it up now and not drink anymore.  She said she would do it on Monday.  They asked her why she felt she needed to wait until Monday.  She said Monday is a new beginning but then after we sat there for a while she said, I will stop on Friday.  So she was giving herself one more day and then she was going to be done.  She doesn’t drink alcohol which is a blessing for her and she doesn’t smoke or take drugs.  So coffee is the one hurdle for her.  We left her place at 9:00 PM, the appointment started at 8:00PM.  That was such a great evening and a great way to wrap up the busy part of our week.

We were literally a few blocks from the castle at Nikki’s flat so Sister Gifford and I drove up around the castle area and drove up and down Queen’s Street, Princess Street, George Street etc so I could get a better feel for the layout of the area when it wasn’t as busy.  I knew that I would be driving there the next day and it would be busy so I was glad for a practice run.  Also, the Elders asked us if we wanted to go back to Nikki’s on Friday night so that was a great thing too.

Thursday was MLS or MLM (I can’t remember for sure and I don’t even know what it stands for) but it is the day when all the APs, Zone Leaders, Sister Training Leader Trainers, and Sister Training Leaders meet with the Donaldsons and the Thompsons.  Again, a great day for us because we work with these Zone Leaders and talk with them often.  Some of the zone leaders I have posted about before like Elder Selander, Elder Schmidt, Elder Jones.  Thursday was also my birthday.  It’s hard to keep things like that quiet.  They were all in the dining room having breakfast along with the left over missionaries that were still here so there were about 26 of them when I got called in and they had a cake and sang happy birthday to me.  I wish I had my camera so I could film all their bright shiny faces.  They are so sweet.  Here are some really beautiful flowers that the Donaldson’s gave to me.

Then Thursday afternoon I got to drive up to the bus station at Waverley Place near the castle and pick up Elder Price and Elder Arenas and run them to the hospital so Elder Arenas could get his hand looked at.  This is the Elder who is from the Philipines and came with an incredibly injured hand from the MTC.  He had been in the hospital for two weeks before coming to us about two weeks ago and he still needs medical care.  After

his doctor visit I decided to get these two some dinner before taking them back to the bus station.  I had just discovered a drive-thru McDonald’s earlier this week when Sister Gifford and I went in search of a new bed for Elder Gibb so I wanted to try it out.  Something that was an almost every day occurance for me at home has become so foreign.  Of course it really feels foreign when the speaker to order is to your right and the window is also to the right.  I was feeling very uncoordinated trying to get the drink container into the car.  But they enjoyed their Quarter Pounders and I enjoyed the freedom of driving down the road drinking a Diet Coke.  Elder Price is pictured here as we were waiting in the waiting area for Elder Arenas.  I wish I had taken a picture of him as well.  I do have one of him in Week 13.  Elder Price is a nephew to Lori Wright from my Canterbury Ward.  He was so excited to figure that out. He said he hadn’t found anyone yet who knew anyone he knew. This picture is for Lori.  Oh funny story… We were walking back to the car and I was asking them if they had time for me to grab them a hamburger or something before the bus ride home (which is over an hour). We were in an area unfamiliar to me but I said we will get you something some how.  Elder Arenas looked and me and said what is this some how?  He is still learning English.  So I had to try and describe what I meant by some how.  I told him we would make it happen.  That we would figure out a way to get them a hamburger and fries before getting back to the bus station.  Some how we would do it.  He had the cutest grin and started singing a song with the words some how, some where and some time.  Funny conversation, but once he got it figured out he smiled and said thank you very much.  He says that like it is one word.  thankyouverymuch.

While I was out with the Elders, Sister Gifford was back at the mission home fixing dinner for the sisters that were here and getting to stay an extra night and day for a special Sister Leadership Conference.  It’s like a big slumber party for these girls.  They are having such a great time and learning lots and enjoying wonderful presentations from the APs, The Donaldson’s and The Thompsons.  We of course stayed after dinner and cleaned up the kitchen again.  And we got home once again just after 9:00.  I literally haven’t seen my flat more than a hour a day for over a week now.

I had a great birthday even though I worked and worked.  I really like the work so it was just fine with me.  I received a package from Craig and Laurine filled with great Mexican flavors to help me concoct a few tasty dishes to my liking.  It’s crazy how you just can’t find any of this type of stuff here.  I do find flour tortillas and they have the Old El Paso taco kits like you can find in the grocery store but to just get a can of refried beans or a bottle of salsa or enchilada sauce is impossible.  And when you do find something like that it is nothing like the flavor you were hoping for.  So thank you for the box.  It took a weeks worth of grocery money just to send it to me – I appreciate it.  I also got a box from Mom and Dad which again was wonderful.  They sent me a few of the flavors to put into water which I love.  I have looked here for those as well and I haven’t found them.  They also sent me some Nalley’s Chili (the best) and my favorite Campbell’s Bean with Bacon Soup.  I can’t wait to grill up a grilled cheese sandwich and sit with my soup.  They also sent me a new shirt with short-sleeves.  So glad.  It’s always a battle in the office with the heat.  The radiator in my office is stuck in the on position so it is always hot and the Winter’s are always freezing so they are cranking the heat on constantly.  I turn it down half way whenever I walk by but they do the same in the other direction when they walk by.  I usually have my windows open in my office but short-sleeves help so much.  And I didn’t bring many since I thought I was going to be cold.

Friday was wrap up day.  The Winters left on Thursday to go to the Shetland Islands for their anniversary so it is quiet.  I sat at my desk and listened to a webcast that I’ve been trying to get time for on Heaven Journaling. We left the office about 4:30 and went home to rest until our appointment with Nikki at 8:00.  At about 7:00 we got a call saying Nikki had a headache and was going to bed.  She had thrown out her coffee that morning so I wonder if that is why she has a headache!!  I guess we will see her at church on Sunday.

Well that brings me to this point here.  I am sitting in my living room at the table watching the rain and feeling a cool breeze as I type.  Sister Sams is asleep in my bed and Sister Gifford is reading her book aloud to me about all the restaurants she wants to go to.  And I’m hoping that at some point today there will be something to take a picture of so I can finish my blog with something fun.  I am going to run and practice the organ because I’m playing again tomorrow and Sister Gifford is going to stay here with Sister Sams.  Sister Six said she would be back about 4:00 to get Sister Sams.  That should give us time to do something.

Update:  Well, Sister Six didn’t get here until almost 7:00.  I have to admit I didn’t do anything productive today.  I did clean my bathroom and change the sheets on my bed and vacuum but that was all done by 8:30AM in time for Sister Sams to come.  Here is my picture for the day.  We ran to M&S which is the place I get the good chocolate milk (which they were out of tonight).

We literally do over half of our grocery shopping in this little place.  It’s easy and good.  Who would have thought. Here’s to next week.  I’m glad we were able to be here for Sister Sams.  Of course I was hoping for a fun day so we could look next week in the eye but I am here to support and that’s what today was all about.  I love these girls.  I’m glad they feel they can ask for help.

I hope you all are enjoying the heat!!  I would love a day or two of that here.  It did rain most the day here today which makes staying home easier too.  Maybe tomorrow will be bright and sunny and we will go for a drive.



One thought on “Week 16 – Made it through the longest, hardest week

  1. Hi Sister Call. I enjoy reading your blog and following your adventures in the Mission Home. Please give Elder Peacock my love. He served in our ward here in Belfast for his first area and it was very clear from an early stage that he was going to be an outstanding missionary.

    Love and hugs.

    Margaret Watson (Holywood Road Ward) xxx

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