This was a very exciting week --On Monday we had five elders and one sister returning home. They had their final interview with the President. (Yes, I'm referring to your dad in the third person which thing I never cared for, but it's expected here.) We served them lunch here at our home --- pulled pork on toasted buns --- had a short testimony meeting, and then sent them on their way to the airport. I am excited for their mothers who are ten kinds of happy right now!
Tuesday was a special day ---TEN NEW MISSIONARIES arrived! These included the six Spanish learners whom we were able to meet at the MTC while we were there, so they were OUR elders! In addition there were four other English speaking elders who were in the MTC after we left. I opted not to make the airport trip so that I could be home with Emily and have lunch ready. We fed them ---same menu--- took pictures, then headed over to the nearby church which houses the mission office. (SO convenient and such a blessing!) While President conducted interviews, the office couples oriented them concerning cars, housing, $$, etc. I took my turn explaining medical procedures. By the end, they were pretty glazed over and tired.
However, soon we could hear and FEEL the buzz of energy out in the hall as, first, zone leaders, and then trainers gathered. As those who will teach the new missionaries, "trainer" is an especially important leadership position in a mission.
There were so many highlights during this day, but my favorite has to be when President announced the new companionships. As each trainer enthusiastically embraced or greeted his missionary, you could sense the instant love and support they felt. Lots of bear hugs and smiles; some just looked very comfortable together. A wonderful moment for each one.
Another highlight was unexpected ---the two assistants came in and told me there was a medical question in another room. I innocently stepped into a little room filled with our 20 zone leaders who proceeded to give me an enthusiastic standing ovation! I have no idea why! Perhaps it was because, medically speaking, I had "done no harm" to that point! As I told them, "There's a lot of power in this room." That was certainly true. I will remember this for a long time.
Finally, I was able to witness TRANSFERS for the first time! The Washington Everett Mission handles these very efficiently, I think. Every missionary who is moving gets a ride from a member to the Mill Creek chapel. They then find out where they are going, make the switch, and head to their next area in another member car. It was fun to watch as missionary friends who hadn't seen each other for a while greeted each other with great affection. Toss in the new missionaries and it looks like organized chaos until suddenly the parking lot is empty again.
The topper for all this came on Friday when we gathered the new missionaries and their trainers back for further training and we listened to some of the experiences they'd had already. As one elder said, "I saw it all yesterday, and it was good."--meaning, he'd had good and bad experiences, but knew that the good felt SO good, the bad didn't matter. We heard some simply wonderful and wonderfully simple testimonies.
This was, of course, our first new missionary orientation, but your Dad did a masterful job. Even I took notes! (I made a short presentation about manners/appearance and why they are important. Dad helped me by portraying the slouchy missionary.) These young men are so ready to do whatever you ask and that is very humbling. Please keep them in your prayers.
THIS WEEK: We are preparing for our first Zone Leader Council