Week 45: That sounds monumental!!

Well, I just looked at my phone and I didn’t take any pictures this week!!  We have been so busy with a very large transfer planning week.

Here it is Saturday night at 8:00 PM and I can’t even remember what we did most of the days this week.  I know that Elder Gibb, who has been our AP since sometime in July I think is now going out for his last transfer and being a zone leader (and training a new zone leader) in Dublin.  That is one young man I am really going to miss.  He has such a stillness to his personality.  I enjoy feeling of his spirit and listening to his testimony.  He has a tender heart.  I’m going to have to get a picture with him tomorrow and I will add it here.

So the end of last week I arranged travel for our new AP to come in on Monday of this week.  We get Elder Grant back, who was a zone leader here a few transfers ago.  (Originally from Star Valley).  It is going to be fun to have Elder Wright and Elder Grant.  They are two busy, always running missionaries who will keep things lively around the office too.

The first few days this week we had one of our senior missionary couples in town so he could get his driver’s license.  Elder and Sister Handy are always good for a story and entertain us with their love of history and so I took advantage of having them here to learn what I need to know to pass my own drivers test and to figure out what to do when Sister Gifford and I go to Dublin this next weekend.

Wednesday it snowed off and on all day and it was cold.  The snow of course doesn’t stick around and even though it was on the streets it was literally a dusting of snow.  This was the day Elder Handy was supposed to take his drivers test but the driver testing people cancelled due to snow.  He was taking his test in Airdrie which is an hour away because they have the highest pass rate in the country.  So he drove an hour in the snow and had to turn around and drive an hour back in the snow but they wouldn’t let him test in the snow because it might not be safe.  That was expensive for him since they flew here from Ireland to do this.  They had to buy new plane tickets for Thursday.  It’s impossible to get a drivers license in Ireland.  The wait time just to get an appointment is almost a year.  So that is why he came to the UK to get his license.  That gives him a year again in Ireland which is more than he needs since they go home in July.

Thursday we were hungry all morning at the office.  All of us were.  I don’t know what it was.  I joked with Sister Gifford that it was because we had gone all week without going out to eat.  So at lunch time I took everyone’s orders and I drove to Oink to get pulled pork sandwiches.  They are so good.  I even tried the applesauce on mine this time and it was really good.  Thursday after work we took the Handy’s to the airport.  He passed his test that day with 100%.  Maybe I need to go to Airdrie.

Friday was the day I got all the moves and was told it was final so I got to work.  No one can ever imagine just how much work goes into moves.  My part alone is just crazy.  I’ve been trying to document my thought process as well as my actions on the computer and everything for my replacement.  I don’t leave until the end of September but I already have my replacement.  She has her call and she comes Sept 12.  The bad thing is there is no transfers during our overlap.  So I am trying really hard to create a step-by-step training manual that starts two weeks before transfer planning and what I am doing to get my charts ready etc.  I was doing really well until Friday night and then it just gets too much.  I’m thinking eight different thought patterns at the same time and checking who is going which way and who can meet up with them where.  Is Ryanair or AerLingus cheaper.  Will the train get them to the right place or should we get them on a bus.  Etc etc.  It’s really crazy.  And with more than 100 of our missionaries moving on the same day…it gets a little confusing.  But this is my favorite part of my work.  I love the thinking and the planning.  The filling in charts and creating spreadsheets.

Friday I worked until 7:30, ran home and had a bite to eat then said goodnight to Sister Gifford and went right back to work until 12:20 AM.  I got home but I was so wired that it took me until after 2:00 AM to fall asleep and then I was up wide-awake again at 7:00 AM.  I did finally fall back to sleep about 8:30 AM and slept until 9:45 then I got ready and we were back to the office.  It’s not hard to work all day when there is so much to do.  I told Sister Gifford, let’s work two hours and then we can run to see if we can find some new shoes.  Well those two hours flew by and I needed two more.  Then we did run to shop for shoes and grab some lunch.  But then we were right back to the office working until just now at 8:00 PM.

I’m still not done.  I have 15 missionaries who are entering Ireland for the first time and 2 who have expired GARDA cards.  So I am getting their packets together so they can get their GARDA cards when they get to Ireland.  This is their “green card” basically that allows them to live and work in Ireland.  On top of them having to pay 300 euros for their card I have letters to print and sign, insurance information to gather on each of them, church financial letters, and instructions to obtain your card all to put together in packets for each missionary to take with them to Ireland.  I can have them partially put together before hand but there are a few personal things like current address etc so it does have to wait until this point before I can have them done.

Then we have the GARDA Vetting which is paperwork I have to do on each missionary going into Ireland that certifies them to work with children and vulnerable adults. I have to have that paperwork ready for them to sign and then I scan and submit that along with their passports and VISAs.  I also have to have a list of every address they have lived at since birth.  That’s a pain right there. This is a new thing and this is only my second month working on this.  So in the future that list of addresses is something I am getting from them before they even get on their missions.  It will really save me.  Once everything is scanned and filed I send it all off to GARDA (which is like the police in Ireland) and then wait for the certificates.  Then I file them as well.

Well, there you have it.  My crazy week.

Tonight I ran one set of sister missionaries to a dinner appointment and another set of sister missionaries to a lesson.  Transfers are hard in the fact that some of these sweet sisters that I have learned to love are moving on.  Sister Hill goes home this transfer to Yuma.  Another one of our Edinburgh sisters is getting transferred.  I can’t give details here.  Next week I can.  We don’t talk about moves in detail until after they happen for the safety of our missionaries.  Elder Wong goes home to Bejing.  That is a whole other part of my job.  Departures.  And when they are going back into mainland China it’s a whole different set of rules.  I will miss Elder Wang.  I hope I get to see him again.  I keep telling him when he gets called to be an apostle I will be able to say I knew him when…  He has a powerful testimony and a great ability to articulate and express his feelings.  He has a deep understanding of the gospel.  You would never believe he has only been a member himself for three years.

Well, I think I will try to get to bed early tonight.  Tomorrow is another busy day.  Eight of the departing missionaries came in tonight from Ireland.  It was so good to be there at the office when they came in.  They are so excited and unable to believe it is really here.  They are going home.  I do understand myself now just how fast time really does go.  I never thought I would get to the point where I was worried about time but now I’m hoping I have enough time to get everything done I want to do here.

Well, thanks for getting through this post.  I know it wasn’t very entertaining.  I love you.  Have a nice Sunday tomorrow.  It’s February!!  Can you believe it??

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