Conference was this past weekend as you all know. Conference is not the same when you aren’t right in Utah with the same time zone. We had a session at conference at the church on Saturday at 5:00 PM which was the first Saturday session live in Utah. Because this is moves week I didn’t have time to go to the church so I put it on my computer at the mission office and tried to listen while I was booking trains and making my “Moves Planning” charts and “Moves Tracker” charts. I worked all of Saturday afternoon and got home about 7:00 PM that night.
Sunday morning I was back at the office by 10:30 after a nice breakfast that Sister Gifford made. I had stayed up late Saturday night cutting out planner inserts that I’ve been making. There are 7 pages front and back that we have designed and then they had to be printed, cut, laminated, collated, punched and rubber banded together. The cutting took the longest. We are making 200 copies of the 7 pages. Anyone who is standing around looking bored gets a pair of scissors and some pages to cut. There was still lots of moves that were being planned out and my phone was busy with phone calls from zone leaders etc. Priesthood Session was at 9:00 on Sunday morning at the church for the men and then 1:00 PM they watched the 2nd Saturday session and 5:00 PM the first Sunday session. I didn’t make it over for any of it. But again listened at my desk.
We helped Sister Donaldson a bit with the departure dinner but we benefited more than we worked this time. I didn’t even do any dishes. I was really busy this time because of the extra projects we are working on. And I knew I was going to be out of the office on Monday so I was trying to be that much more ahead of schedule. We didn’t leave the office Sunday night until after 9:00 PM.
Monday is our miracle story. I don’t know if I can explain it in the way you will understand that it truly was a miracle but I’m going to give it a go. Elder and Sister Marker are moving from Stornoway to Stranraer. So we are talking the second furthest point north in our mission to the furthest south in Scotland. Usually when we are looking for new flats we will do the pre-work by looking on line and making phone calls but then we send out a set of missionaries to go and look at the places we have lined up. (By we – I mean Sister Gifford). Well this time President came into the office and said he wanted Sister Gifford and I to go to Stranraer and look. This was to happen on Monday which is the day missionaries go home and the day before the new ones get her. One of the busiest days for me. But I worked extra hard this past weekend to gear up for being gone on Monday and we took off in torrential rains to drive to Stranraer. It’s a beautiful drive but the rain made it so we didn’t see much really. Well, Sister Gifford had three places we were going to see that she thought was near Stranraer. There were no places to see in Stranraer. Before we even got to where we were going the first place cancelled as they already found a tenant. The second place in a town called Girvan was in a very old shabby building down a very little road and the place was filthy. It probably could have been cleaned up but it was so smelly and gross and full of junk. I couldn’t believe the letting agent could stand there with a straight face while we looked around. It was horrible. There would be no way I would ever live there. So we were feeling a bit discouraged by the time we got to the third location.
The third place was in a town called Turnberry and the apartment sat between Donald Trump’s golf course and the sea. It was beautiful and the apartment was amazing. We were so excited. We told the lady we would take it and to email us all the paperwork. We couldn’t believe our good luck. Well we got back in the car and I said to Sister Gifford – do you know how far away Stranraer is? She thought it was no more than 20 minutes away and we talked and decided that was okay. But before we could even get out of the parking lot we were both feeling overwhelmingly that we needed to drive to Stranraer. I didn’t want to because we had already found the apartment and I had so much work to do and we were almost 3 hours away from the office. But I knew that we had to go to Stranraer. There was no question. So off we went.
It took us 45 minutes to drive there. And the road followed along the Irish Sea and was narrow and there were a lot of big trucks that went by. The farther we drove the more we realized we had not found a place for the Markers. Every little town we came to we thought was going to be Stranraer and it wasn’t. Then all of a sudden we were there and we found that Stranraer was a larger town and we realized that we had to find a place there. That was where the Markers needed to be. We got online and still there were no listings for places to lease and we drove around looking for signs and saw none. Then we happened onto the grocery store so we parked and went inside. We went to the customer service/lottery counter and asked if they had a local paper we could buy. The clerk said she would look in the paper and see if there was anything listed so we wouldn’t have to purchase the paper. She opened the paper and said there were two places and she wrote the phone numbers down and handed them to us. No other description and we didn’t dare ask. So we went out to the car and Sister Gifford dialed one number and I dialed the other. Her lady had a place above a business but she didn’t have the keys to show it to us. Her husband wouldn’t be home until 6:00 and he had the keys. We said we would call back. My phone number came back with a message saying the phone was turned off and to text a message. So I sent a text saying we were hoping to find a place to rent. I got a call right back and a man asked about us. I explained and he asked where we were. I told him we were in Morrison’s parking lot and he said stay there I’ll be over in a few minutes. So we waited and he pulled up and hopped in the back of our car. He said he was screening calls because he didn’t want to deal with kids looking for apartments. He has had enough young tenants and he wouldn’t do it again. But when he heard our voices and then met us he asked us to drive him to his house to get the keys then took us to an apartment he had made for his mother and everything was top quality and new. He called his wife and had her come meet us and the deal was done. He even gave us a kiss on the cheek to seal it.
Just as we were leaving my phone rang and it was Elder Gibb asking where we were. He and Elder Peacock were in Cairnryan which is one town north dropping missionaries off at the ferry. Yes, the first phone call I got that morning on the way to Stranraer was six missionaries had missed their bus in Glasgow and had no way to get to the ferry. So I told them to call Elder Winter and see what their options were (since I was driving). Unknown to me he sent the APs, Elder Gibb and Elder Peacock to pick up the missionaries with the van and get them down to the ferry. Anyway, they were hungry and hoping we were nearby which we were. So they came to Stranraer for dinner. And while they were there they found a good location for their film they needed to make for meetings this week so I became their camera man and we got that filmed. Then just as we were nearing Edinburgh on our way home, Sister Donaldson called and asked if we could run to Costco and grab eight pillows for the new missionaries. We had to hurry because Costco closes at 8:30 and it was already 7:30 but we made it and got back to the office by 9:00. I did a few things that couldn’t wait for morning and then we finally went home and crawled into bed.
Tuesday the new missionaries got here and all was well with them. A few getting homesick as usual but they will survive. We had Elder Palmer here for training before he was to meet his new companion in Paisley and then the two of them were heading on a train to Stranraer which is their new area. Stranraer white-washed this time which means both missionaries moved out of the flat and two new ones are moving in. Well I helped Elder Palmer get all his tickets for he and Elder Cunha to get to Stranraer. Elder Palmer was leaving here to go back to Paisley on the train with all the train tickets for both of them. Elder Cunha was going to be at the Paisley Train Station with his and Elder Palmer’s luggage. (4 large suitcases and 2 small bags.) Well after Elder Palmer left I got a frantic call from him and he was on the wrong train and wanted to know what to do. I pulled up the route for the train he was on and it didn’t even go near Paisley or Glasgow. It did however go to Ayr which is where the Paisley train would be going as well so the APs helped get all the luggage on with Elder Cunha (who I had to buy a second ticket for since Elder Palmer had his) and then I kept my fingers crossed that Elder Palmer would get off in Ayr and find the Paisley Train so he could help Elder Cunha get all the luggage off. Then they just had to get on the Stranraer train and be home. I didn’t get another call from them so I’m hoping they got it all worked out.
That’s about the way this whole week has been going it seems. But that’s what makes it fun. I had another project this week which needed to be done by Thursday as well. Done!!
Thursday after Mission Leader Council all the office workers and President and Sister Donaldson went to dinner and I stayed behind to finish up the office work and then to wait for Lacey and Jake to fly in from France.
Well it is Sunday and we are going to Alloa for church. I just have my phone so I’m going to publish this and continue this next week.
Love you all,