Tuesday we were up bright and early to pick up a young sister at the airport at 7:30 am. She is from New Zealand and has been serving in New Zealand for two or three months while she waited for visa approval. It finally came through and now she is here. President and Sister Bekker couldn't pick her up because they were in Maui, so we volunteered. She's going to be a wonderful missionary.
Wednesday we began pad checks for this transfer. We saw two pad in the morning and both were in pretty good shape. I spent the day working on the September mission newsletter and the A Hui Hou (photos of the departing missionaries and their favorite quote or scripture). I actually have the A Hui Hou completed for the group leaving next week, but decided to start on the one for the next transfer. Creating these documents takes a lot of time. Wednesday evening we drove to Kaneohe to check out a couple of potential apartments for the sisters that are assigned there (the ones who had mushrooms growing out of the carpet in their previous apartment). One agent didn't show and the other apartment was awful. So back to the drawing board. We did enjoy taking the sisters to dinner at Ruby Tuesday - they enjoyed it as well!
Sister Iino from Japan and Sister Christensen from Arizona
Devon spent all day Thursday moving two senior missionary couples to new apartments in Laie. Their current one bedroom pads are having the garage converted into a second bedroom so there is room for more Temple Visitor's Center missionaries. The number of visitors at the Visitor's Center has tripled. This means they are getting more missionaries which means we need more housing. I was finally given the go ahead to reserve travel home for our November departing missionaries. There has been a question about whether one missionary was going to extend, and I had to wait for a decision about that before I could submit the request. I was pretty nervous about getting flights as their scheduled day to fly is Thanksgiving Eve - the busiest travel day of the year. But it's all booked. I've only heard from one parent who is not too happy with her missionary coming home about noon on Thanksgiving. By the time we were finished talking I think she was okay with rearranging some of her holiday plans.
Friday, oh welcome Friday! We did three more pad checks which completed our pad checking for this transfer. Devon found out that he was going to need an additional four apartments when transfers take place next week. That means he will be really busy viewing and securing new housing. It's not a simple process and will take at least 10 to 14 days to get everything set up with the church. In the meantime the missionaries will have to double up in some apartments - not ideal, but they will make it work.
I do all my letters in the mission computer system. The previous secretary did all the letters using form letters she had entered in Microsoft Word. I've entered all the letters into the church's office system, which makes doing letters so much easier. You can set up your letters to automatically insert all the personal information specific to either sisters or elders. However, I hadn't figured out how to enter salutation or address information for parent letters. I was doing it the old fashioned way and that was bugging me, so I made a call to SLC and a sweet girl in tech support showed me how to do it. So simple...and so wonderful...but it meant I would have to spend most of the day entering the correct data in the correct place. I'm excited to try it out on the next batch of parent letters. Friday evening we went to dinner with the other senior couples.
Saturday we spent the day doing chores and errands, and went back to Kaneohe to check out a potential pad for the sisters. This time the agent showed up. We loved the apartment and submitted an application on the spot. Hopefully we can get it. Then we drove to Haleiwa to look for some art work by a Hawaiian artist, Al Furtado. I've seen his paintings and LOVE them. His paintings reflect the love and spirit of the beautiful Hawaiian people. They are robust with so much joy in their faces. He painted pictures mostly of his Hawaiian family doing family things together - dancing, singing, paying ukulele, quilting, etc. Al Furtado passed away in 2012, but there were several of his original painting for sale at the gallery. Needless to say, $20,000 was a bit out of my budget, so I settled for a couple of prints.
A little fuzzy, but one of my favorite Al Furtado paintings.
Sunday, was a lovely, restful day. Elder Eborn (Kaysville, Utah) and Elder Hardy (Spring City, Utah) came over for a dinner of sloppy Joe's, fried potatoes, fruit salad, 4 bean salad, and chocolate cake and ice cream. We had a lovely time visiting with them - both really sweet and obedient elders.
I close my post this week with a tribute to Devon's nephew, Joshua Lynn Jones. He was an amazing young man, He was diagnosed about 8 years ago with brain cancer. He endured surgery and many treatments. Since then he and his family have moved to Utah. He earned his Eagle Scout award and has been an inspiration to so many people. He faithfully did temple baptisms as often as he could at all but two Utah temples. Whenever he was asked how he was doing he would reply, "Great!" and great he was! His cancer returned a few months ago. This time there would be no reprieve. He and his family valiantly prepared for his return to Heavenly Father and on Monday he stepped into eternity. He was barely 17 years old. Our hearts are broken and grateful. We love you, Joshua, and your wonderful family. I know you are happy - and I know we will see you again.
Joshua Lynn Jones
1999 - 2016