"Transfer Week" is a common term used in our mission and is said with a mixture of excitement and dread. It is the week when we send missionaries home at the end of their service and welcome brand spanking new missionaries just arriving here in Virginia. Along with the departures and arrivals, it usually involves a number of missionaries having new companions assigned to them and maybe even being assigned to work in a different city or town. All in all, it is a physically and emotionally demanding week......and this past week was just that - a physically and emotionally demanding transfer week.
My first assignment on the Monday morning of transfer week is to get on the airline website and "check in" all the missionaries that will be departing on Tuesday morning, print out their boarding passes, pay for two checked bags and print out the receipt. I put that all together for each missionary and hand it to the Mission President so he can give it to them when they arrive at the airport on Tuesday morning. This past week that was a task that went smoothly because there were only 10 missionaries traveling home. However, as I went down the list and checked each one off I found myself feeling quite emotional as I realized I will probably not get any more handshakes or hugs from these missionaries I have adopted as my surrogate grandchildren. I was glad most of us from the office were able to get one last photo with a couple of the departing young Elders.
Sure wanted to hug these two young men when I told them good-bye but since that is against the rules I had to satisfy myself with a warm handshake.
The departing missionaries usually leave the airport at about 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning and the new arriving missionaries usually arrive about 3:30 p.m. - this week they didn't arrive until 5 p.m. so it made for a little later night. We welcomed 7 Sisters and 5 Elders. Our responsibility this time was fairly simple - we helped get them all fed and did some clean-up after dinner. I called the parents of 4 of the arriving missionaries to let them know that their son/daughter had arrived safely and seemed to be in good spirits. We had an interesting phenomena occur this time.....one of the arriving Sisters is best friends with one of the Sisters already serving here in the mission. It was so great to see them hugging and hugging each other with huge smiles on their faces on Wednesday morning when they saw each other!!! They are not living together or serving in the same town/city but they certainly were excited to be serving in the same mission.
To accomplish our assignments for that evening, we left the office at about 4 p.m. to drive to Norfolk.
This is our trip through the tunnel that passes under the river between Portsmouth and Norfolk. There was quite a bit of traffic that afternoon as we were in the midst of rush hour. Elder Ashton told me he had learned that the huge fans you see at the top of the tunnel are there in case there is a car fire, the fans will be turned on to dissipate the smoke. I always breathe at least a tiny sigh of relief when we come out on the other side of the tunnel.
On our way to the chapel we got behind a vehicle that had come up with a unique way of attaching the bumper to the car ---- bungee cords! Elder Ashton and I got a laugh about that because he deals with bumper issues on mission cars on a fairly regular basis and we thought maybe he could use this picture in his training......of what NOT to do :)
I noticed this multi-colored tree in the parking lot at the Norfolk Chapel and felt I needed to capture a picture of it so I will be able to look back and remember Fall's beauty when we are baking in 100 degree heat in Arizona next fall :)
All set up just waiting for the missionaries to arrive.
This is the arriving group in the Norfolk Building Cultural hall along with President and Sister Baker. The second Elder from President Baker on the left of the picture is the son of Eric Ciminski who I have known for more than 20 years......first as a Field Trainer in Safford Arizona. They now live in Gilbert so it was interesting to greet someone who lives close to our home :)
Wednesday is the day for all the new missionaries and any missionaries moving to a different city or picking up a new companion to come into the office. It is total chaos once the meeting is over and they all come into the office, bringing receipts, asking questions about cars, asking for supplies, etc. But a good chaos. We sure are having fun serving with these young missionaries!
By lunchtime on Wednesday, this is what our beautiful tree of flame in the parking lot looked like.....swiftly losing it's leaves!
Thursday and Friday are quieter, catch-up days in the office.....in fact, I caught Elder Ashton taking a 1 hour nap on Friday afternoon while sitting straight up in his chair at his desk. When he woke up I asked him how long he thought he had been asleep and he said "10 minutes". He was shocked when I told him he had been asleep for an hour but obviously his body needed the rest.
Leaves, leaves, everywhere. When we arrived at the office on Friday morning it seemed like the air was literally raining the smaller leaves you see here. I love the glorious color but sure am glad I am not responsible for cleaning up all the leaves!
Glorious color is all around us - even the evergreen trees try to get in the act with the climbing vines turning a variety of colors.
RED trees in the school yard across the street.
Even with the brilliant fall colors and trees losing their leaves, there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy various kinds of blooms. The white "lillies" are about 5" in diameter when they are fully open.
Since I am no longer 25 years old, nor do I have the energy of a 25 year old, we decided not to go exploring on Saturday and stayed at home doing laundry and a little napping so I'll finish up with a few more pictures from historic Cape Charles that I took a week ago Saturday.
Another of the many historic homes in Cape Charles - there were a ton of them!
I liked this one with the fabric (maybe canvas) shades
Loved the rounded porch on this one and the fact that kids bikes were in the front yard....made me think about how many families might have lived in this home over the years.
I really like the picture of this one through the tree branches and with the fall decorations.
I'm intrigued by these plants with the HUGE leaves - I see them quite frequently but have no idea what they are.
Stage Door is a community theater in Cape Charles --- I loved this creative Mermaid out front
I liked the lengthwise view of this street of mostly historic homes and really like the blue and white combination on the house on the corner.
CAPE CHARLES MUSEUM FINDS
OLD Tractor probably circa 1930's
The Jetty House - see explanation below.
See explanation below
This High Ball and station house sit on the museum grounds.
Replica of railroad cars that would have traveled down the coast to Cape Charles
Anyone remember this type of Cash Register?
How about this switch board?
An early (almost prehistoric) version of video games?
Vernor's Ginger Ale ad
Old Post Office Boxes
This is a model of the type of boat used by British settlers at Jamestown area to travel up the rivers in hopes of trading with the local native tribes - one like this was used when the settlers tried to trade with the Powhatan Indians
The original Arlington plantation is in the area of Cape Charles and was owned by the Custis family. Martha Custis married George Washington at this plantation. All that remains now are 4 stones that may have been the cornerstones of the foundation and two grave markers. We didn't visit this site but would like to go back sometime and see what is there.
MORE CAPE CHARLES
A large home in one of the newer developments in Cape Charles designed to look like a historic home.
A historic home near the beach in Cape Charles just beginning the restoration process.
If you look closely you can see 3 ships on the horizon waiting to leave the bay - they would need to go under the bridge or over one of the tunnels.....I didn't see them do either but I'm sure they did. The Chesapeake Bay is still a busy shipping area as it was in the 1700 - 1800's.
Saturday we took an hour in the middle of the day to go with the Sister Missionaries to an appointment with an investigator. They had prayed about what to talk to the investigator about and came prepared but he was unable to focus on anything they were trying to tell him. It nearly broke my heart when I looked at one of the young missionaries fighting to keep the tears away. They work so hard and leave behind everything familiar to come here and teach people and sometimes the rejection is hard for them to take. All I could do was give them a little hug and a pep talk to not give up.....which was good because I needed that pep talk myself. I find as we get closer to the end of our time of service here, the more I miss my family and friends and am looking forward to lots of hugs when I get back in Arizona. Despite missing you all, this is a great experience and I am surprised at how this experience is changing my perception of many things.
Happy November from Virginia!