What a BUSY week in the Virginia Chesapeake Mission! We send missionaries home and get new missionaries about every six weeks......and this past week was one of those weeks. In addition to that, as it draws closer to the holidays the office starts receiving packages from home with holiday gifts and goodies for the missionaries.
The foyer of the office looked like this on Monday - bikes ready to be shipped home, boxes for new missionaries scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, and holiday gifts. In the background you can see two chairs....the one on the left is mine and the one on the right is Elder Ashton's.......lots of togetherness every day :) And we can hear each other's groans of frustration when we can't find the right file or can't remember what steps to follow in the computer program. But even with all that, we are doing well!
One of my responsibilities for Monday morning was to print boarding passes and pay baggage fees for 25 departing missionaries. I had from 9:45 to noon to get that done, with a 1 hour interruption for a meeting slipped in there. I did not know that I needed to print baggage receipts for each passenger (I thought the airline computer system would show that baggage fees had been paid) so I got all the boarding passes but really struggled to get the receipts in the 1 hour I had after the President told me he needed those. Needless to say I didn't get it all done by noon - in fact it was more like 1 o'clock when we finally finished and I can't remember if we even got lunch that day.....maybe it was just late.
Tuesday was not quite so hectic as the departing and arriving missionaries did not come into the office. However, when the President returned from the airport he told me that I had paid for two bags for an Elder that only took one bag home so I needed to work with the airline to get a refund for the second bag......I've got that process in the works. But I have a couple of questions.....How do you only take home one bag of items? Were all the pants and shirts so worn out that he threw them away or did he donate them to Goodwill? Lesson learned - I will call each departing missionary a week before they are scheduled to leave and find out if they will be taking one or two bags home :)
Tuesday evening we helped the other office couple set up a meal for the 20 arriving missionaries.....the food was put out buffet style. They had 3 pans of lasagna, 3 loaves of garlic bread, a large green salad, and dessert......sort of reminded me of our bi-weekly family dinners and I really wished my family was there!
Wednesday was a day to remember! It was raining cats and dogs!
We had 120 missionaries come to the office on Wednesday morning for orientation and transfer meeting. Elder Ashton and I had to talk with the 20 new missionaries and explain what we do and when they need to contact us. The other 100 missionaries were there because the President had to make changes in companionships (who lives and works with who) due to the 25 departing missionaries and the 20 arriving missionaries. Most of those 120 missionaries were moving to a new place. The hallways and foyer of the church were CROWDED with luggage!
The missionaries all met with the Mission President and his wife and the new companionships were announced. In the office we could hear squeals, giggles, shouts, etc. (mostly from the Sister Missionaries) as they received their new assignments. I am not used to the squeals and giggles (Felicia never did much of that ) so I think that is something I need to adjust to and prepare myself for each time there is a transfer meeting ;-) Once the meeting was over, a sack lunch was provided for the missionaries....We thought that was a good time for us to run out and grab lunch but we had only been gone about 10 minutes when my phone rang and I heard a voice of panic saying, "Are you and Elder Ashton in the building? We have missionaries here who need car keys and information about drivers, etc." No one told us that we needed to be available until after all missionaries had left the building so we immediately returned to the church/office and found it jammed with missionaries looking for packages, needing information about cars and drivers, needing teaching supplies. Can I say SEMI-ORGANIZED CHAOS! The young missionaries have so much energy and enthusiasm I almost get tired just watching them. And the rain continued to pour down. As missionaries grabbed their luggage and loaded it up then came back into the office to get other things they were literally dripping water! One of the new missionaries that was dripping wet was kind enough to let me take his picture.....I told him that he reminds me of my grandson Cooper and found it interesting that his name is Elder Davis and Cooper's name is Cooper DAVIS Ashton. He grinned and said that was interesting because his first name starts with C - he is Cameron Davis. Interesting coincidences!
I think it is his tall thin frame and rosy cheeks that remind me the most of Cooper.
The rain continued for the rest of the day and even into Thursday. I found it interesting to see what happened to the plants and ground after that good soaking. The trees outside the office window got so wet that the lichen really stood out on the wet side of the tree!
The 2.5 days of rain has also caused moss to grow outside our door.....I really feel like I am back in Washington state with all the rain and gray skies. Sure am glad to see the sun today!
We were ready for a day off by the time Thursday arrived and had a nice Thanksgiving dinner with our neighbors (the other office couple). I made a pumpkin pie, a pecan pie, and a large green salad. I spent most of the rest of the day cooking mini loaves of sweet bread.....I've been assigned to make 20 of those by next Saturday. Loaf number 10, 11, and 12 cooling and waiting to go in the freezer.
Friday was a quiet day at the office and Elder Ashton and I were able to get caught up on a few things. Today we plan to go exploring again.....hoping to see some interesting sights!