This past week flew by with us counting down and preparing for the next transfer which will occur on January 19th. The Virginia Chesapeake Mission sent 5 missionaries home on January 1 to accommodate college schedules and we are sending an additional 9 missionaries home on Tuesday, January 19.....for a total of 14 missionaries. Tuesday evening we will welcome 13 new/returning missionaries. Sometimes, due to physical or mental health, a missionary will go home to seek treatment and end up returning to the mission. We are welcoming one of those missionaries back this coming Tuesday and it feels almost as exciting as Christmas!
Along with preparations for this upcoming transfer, I have realized that I need to spend more hours each week writing instructions/lists for tasks that the Financial Secretary is responsible for. I spent quite a few hours concentrating on that this past week, and although I wrote 7 pages of instructions, my list of things that needed to be addressed did not get shorter----it got longer. Each time I was working on a set of instructions, I would think of one or two other tasks that needed to be explained. So, I'll keep working on that for the next few months and hopefully have everything documented for the new financial secretary. The couple that will be taking over our responsibilities in the office will arrive in the mission on this coming Wednesday, January 20th. They will be working with one of the branches that is about 15 miles from here and also coming into the office one or two days a week to train with us. I'm sure they will catch on fast and it will be a smooth transition when we leave.
Once again we had a week of diverse weather - cloudy, rainy, sunny, windy, and snowy. Of course, my favorite is sunny. In fact, I walked out of the office at lunchtime on Tuesday and just could not help but stare at the beautiful blue sky with white clouds. I was sooooooooo glad to see sun and blue sky after a couple of rainy, gray days!
FINALLY, some blue sky with white clouds! That kind of weather just makes me smile :)
I also love to see the huge trees back here with the gnarled branches and like it even more when parts of the tree are covered in vines. If you look closely in this picture, you will note that the leaves have fallen off the trees, but there are two trees in this picture which are almost totally covered in vines. I find them very interesting and can stare at them for a long time.
Thursday I spent the day making sure utilities are set up and turned on ready for missionaries to move in . We have a new senior missionary couple arriving this week and we have a companionship of Sister Missionaries who have been living with members in Kinston, North Carolina. Those members have decided to sell their home and serve a mission so we had to find a new place for the Sister Missionaries. I'm hoping I got all the i's dotted and all the t's crossed so the moves to the new apartments will go flawlessly!
As I was just climbing into bed on Thursday night, my cell phone rang and when I answered it one of the Sister Missionaries started immediately apologizing for calling so late (9:30). She said she had a problem with her MSF (Missionary Support Fund) card being damaged. I told her we could report it damaged the next day and asked her to give me a call on Friday morning so we could discuss details of replacing her card and how she was going to have money for food until her new card gets here. I did tell her that Salt Lake would want to know what was the matter with her card - was it broken, scratched, etc. She hesitated for a minute and then said, "Um, well, it is in little squares" followed by another pause. I told her we would talk about it on Friday and went to bed.....but I couldn't get that "little squares" out of my mind. What would cause a debit card to be in little squares"? My mind must have been mulling that over all night because when I woke up on Friday morning, I thought I knew what had happened to her card.....
Friday morning I tried to contact the Sister Missionary as soon as Study Time was over, but when she didn't answer her phone I realized she was probably at her District Meeting so I didn't get to talk to her until a little after lunch time. When I spoke with her I said, we were going to talk about what happened to your card. I asked, "Did you cut your card up by mistake?" I heard a little scream and she said, "How did you know? I'm so embarrassed. My personal debit card expired and I pulled it out of my purse to destroy it and after I cut it up I realized I had cut up the wrong card." We had a good laugh when I told her I knew because I had done the same thing once or twice myself. She finally laughed a little and said she guessed we could share company with each other while we were embarrassed by our mistake :) I got her old card cancelled and new one ordered....now we just have to wait and see if she gets a new companion with this transfer to determine who her companion is going to be....I can usually put money on the companions card so the missionary can at least have food to eat!
Friday was spent processing rent payments for February.....96 of them. Some were for a partial month because we are moving from one apartment in a complex to another, some are not due yet for a few weeks so I had to change the software to hold that one payment out of the 96. All in all, between creating the payments, validating the payments, and recording everything in a spreadsheet so I can find it quickly should questions arise about payments, I spent 5 hours working on rent.....and I won't even say how many $$$$ were involved!
As we were leaving the church on Friday I looked down at my feet and saw this pretty little circle....it is one of those seed balls that grow on the trees back here and it had been run over while it was damp so it flattened out instead for breaking up. Mother Nature is soooooo interesting!
Saturday was a stay at home day - washing and drying clothes, a little cleaning, a little sewing and a little baking. I almost feel like Holly Homemaker again :)
The temperatures were in the mid-forties when we left at 8:45 for church, so imagine our surprise when we came out three hours later to this......
Snow covering the windshield of the truck
Huge snowflakes coming down as we are almost to our home away from home
Covered vehicles and still snowing lightly - from the front door of our apartment
Snow and slush just outside our front door. I think I may need to wear my combat boots tomorrow to keep from slipping and sliding away!
This will be a busy week and we need to be prepared for long busy days. Elder Ashton has been busy putting together bicycles for incoming missionaries and taking apart bicycles to ship home for departing missionaries. We have packets of bedding lines up for the new missionaries and pages of instructions for them, so I think we are ready for the busyness :) As we were driving to church this morning Elder Ashton commented that there will be only 2 more transfers before it is time for us to go home.....and it seems like we barely have time to catch our breath between transfers. So, if we can just survive the cold and snow, we will be headed back to sunny Arizona before we can catch our breath!
Happy Winter from the East Coast!