Transfer week is here – ready or not! Fortunately we are ready! Everyone was busy Monday morning with last minute details before the new missionaries arrived. Our old schedule for transfer week was spread over four days. When we realized that transfer week would fall on Thanksgiving week we knew we had to make some modifications. After many drafts we finally figured out a schedule that might work to reduce four days’ worth of activities into three. The daylight savings time change in Utah complicated things, having our new missionaries arriving an hour later than usual. They came with big smiles, strong handshakes, and are excited to be here. We had a simple pizza dinner with pineapple, grapes, kale salad, and Haagen Dazs ice cream bars ready at the office. They listened to a shortened office orientation, and some orientation from President Bekker, and then departed to the mission home for a much needed night’s sleep. We worked at the office until 7:45 while I finished printing out the departing letters for our 16 departing missionaries’ departing binders.
Tuesday of transfer week is the actual transfer day. It’s always very busy with so many missionaries coming to meet up with their new companions. They come to the office for mail, supplies, hugs, and just to say hello. It’s crazy, but we love seeing all of them…and they love seeing us. One of our AP’s is being transferred back to the mission field and he asked if he could take the office missionaries with him. We’ll miss him! One missionary from our ward is also being transferred. He’s been here 6 months and we’re going to really miss him as well. I think he shook my hand 4 times before he left. I emailed the photos of the new missionaries to their parents. I filed the new missionaries’ files and pulled the departing missionaries’ files. They have to be taken apart and shredded. I just hate doing that! So hard to say goodbye!
On Wednesday things quieted down. There is always plenty to keep us busy and the day quietly rolled on. After work we made a trip to Costco for a few things we were out of, and so did everyone else in Honolulu! It was crazy busy! We decided to drive over to the Ward Street Shopping Center and grab a quick bite and see a movie. Both were enjoyable.
Thursday – Thanksgiving! It was a nice, quiet day. A wonderful couple in our Manoa Ward, Brother and Sister Mataele, invited us to dinner at their home. Every Thanksgiving they put on an amazing dinner and invite many friends, family, and missionaries to join them. There were probably 40 people including us, Elder and Sister Reeder, President and Sister Bekker, and 6 of our young missionaries. There was so much food – turkey, ham, steak, a whole roasted pig (on a slab of wood), fish, chicken, mussels, sushi and every side dish you can imagine (some I recognized and some I didn't). At the end of the meal they pass out containers for you to fill up with food to take home. We played a cute game and had some very sweet moments where a few people shared what Thanksgiving meant to them. Elder Eborn and Elder Ashby from our ward were asked to share and they both did an amazing job – especially Elder Ashby who has been here only three days. We went home with full tummys, a box full of food, and hearts full of gratitude. It is a Thanksgiving we will treasure in our hearts for a long time.
Friday was technically a day off, but we meet Elder and Sister Reeder at the office at 8:30 am. Sister Overduyn usually takes care of the mail each day, but they have family in town and so Sister Reeder and I came in to do it. Good thing as we had almost 60 letters and 6 packages that needed to be forwarded on. We answered emails and a few calls. Helped a few missionaries that came in with problems. We decided to take off mid morning to go to the Kamaka Factory tour. It’s a family run business celebrating their 100th anniversary this year. They make high-end ukulele (starting at $900.00). When we got there, there were so many people we decided to leave and try another time. So we drove to the docks where two cars were waiting to be picked up. Elder Reeder has to rotate the cars between the islands. Some places put more miles on cars than others – for instance, our 2013 car has only19,000 miles on it. So we will be swapping it with one with more miles. When they reach 50,000 miles he has to sell them. I think we have 90 something cars in our mission. It’s a big job. The rest of Friday we napped and relaxed at home. I finished sewing some placemats I started making a while ago out of Hawaiian fabric.
Saturday was spent running errands (for us and the mission), and trying to rest a little. Sunday was another wonderful Sabbath. Elder Eborn and Elder Ashby came over for dinner. We always enjoy their company and this time was no exception. Elder Ashby seems to be settling in really good to mission life. The organist for our ward has been called to be the RS President, so they asked me to fill in until they can find someone to take the calling. Technically, as full-time missionaries we can’t be given official callings – our records are in our home ward not the ward here. But we can take any assignment that helps the ward. It’s a good assignment for me, though quite challenging due to the chemo-related neuropathy in my feet and hands. It’s hard to play the pedals when the feeling in my feet is spotty at best. But, I’m grateful for the opportunity.
We’ve had almost constant rain this past week and most days I need a sweater to keep warm…especially in the office where the air conditioner continues to blast cold air. We all are wrapped up in sweaters or blankets. So I suppose winter is here. All the stores are decorated for Christmas and Christmas music is everywhere. I love it, but truthfully it doesn’t feel like Christmas. Still, I’m looking forward to the holidays. It is my favorite time of the year.