Monday – the first day of transfer week. Devon’s leg is looking pretty good – still a little red, but vastly improved. I’m also feeling rested and better.
I had a sweet surprise when Sister Liwai showed up in our office for visit, and brought us a box of yummy chocolate covered biscuits – made on the Big Island.
Sister Liwai (pronounced Levi) lives on the Big Island. She was in Oahu for a family wedding (that got cancelled, but she came anyway) and stopped by the office to meet me. She has been organizing the Mission Zone Conference Luncheons on the Big Island for 17 years. She was stake RS president many years ago and has kept the luncheon assignment all these years. She is wonderful and loves our missionaries so much!!! She has been such a cheerful support to me as I was learning how to organize the luncheons – so loving and patient. I was thrilled to meet her. Can’t you just tell by her beautiful smile that she is one in a million!
That was such a good start for my week. We were steady busy but not crazy. I finished the monthly mission newsletter and got that emailed to everyone. I finished the departing books for our missionaries that leave tomorrow. Eight beautiful new missionaries arrived safely from the Provo MTC. They were supposed to arrive about 3:30 but their plane was late. They gathered their luggage and then drove to Tantalus to see Honolulu. Sister Bekker likes to give them a history talk about Hawaii while they are there. She is a big history buff. It was 6:00 pm before they came to the office. We had pizza dinner ready for them. President and the AP’s did a short orientation and then the office staff did their orientation. It was almost 9:00 before we got home – a very long day as we started at 8:00 am. We may need to adjust this schedule.
Tuesday was truly crazy – transfer day. The office was buzzing with missionaries. They love to come see the office staff and we love them. A couple missionaries were pretty sad to be transferring, and, to tell the truth, I was sad to see them go. Oh well, that’s how it goes.
Elder Eborn (L) has been assigned to our ward for the last 5 months. We've enjoyed getting to know him, but he has been transferred. Elder Ashby (R) will be staying and getting a new companion. This is his first transfer cycles, so he is glad to be staying. They are both great missionaries.
Our AP's - Elder Lybbert (L) and Elder Roney (R). Elder Roney is a brand new AP and Elder Lybbert is fairly new himself. They will be great leaders.
Sister Yamamoto (L) and Sister Iino (R) - both from Japan. We bonded with Sister Iino when her apartment had mushrooms and we had to find them a new apartment. Both these sisters are so sweet and such good missionaries.
We had lots of mail because Monday was a holiday. I had multiple calls to make to various offices at the missionary department in SLC: requested a couple coming in March be delayed until April, requested a senior couple who went home in December on medical leave be released in the computer, verified that the missionary coming from Phoenix that we were hosting overnight was really coming (the last two didn’t show up), had an issue with IMOS, and I had to call a couple of senior missionaries on the mainland that are coming in a couple of months. B-U-S-Y! Then I downloaded the photos of the incoming missionaries and emailed them to their parents. Last, but not least, I did the weekly Come and Go Report. We had two new missionary recommendations for Visitor Center missionaries, so those had to be printed up and files made, and had to email a PDF copy to the Visitor Center Director. We ended the day with a trip to Office Depot to pick up the printed newsletters, and Walgreens to pick up the photos of the new missionaries. We stopped at Panda Express for take out on the way home. After dinner we folded laundry and I ironed Devon’s shirts. I also enjoyed short phone calls with Lori, Emily, and Barbara during the day.
Devon was busy all day in the office getting all the moves straightened out in IMOS. Every transfer people get moved, phones get traded, so it’s a job to keep it all organized. It seems there is always a surprise move at the last minute and Devon has to deal with that.
Wednesday Devon was in the office all day working on letters to the landlords. Many of them want to be notified when our missionaries move in and out of their apartments, so Devon prepares letters letting them know who is now living in the apartment. I was busy all day as well. Previously I sent release certificates to only the MLS, MRS, and Office missionaries. The PCC and BYUH sent out their own. Well somewhere along the way this past year they stopped sending them. No one seems to know who was doing the job, so they have now decided to give it to me. It’s no problem, but now I have to go back and send certificates to those who didn’t get one. So that kept me busy. I found out that one of our sisters who has been temporarily serving in Canada Calgary Mission while she waits for her visa approval has been granted her visa. They were going to wait until our next transfer (6 weeks) to send her, but we want her now. So after a few phone calls I think it’s been worked out. As soon as the Calgary Mission has the visa in hand, travel will book her flight to us.
After work we drove to Costco to pick up a few things for us, and a couple of study tables for missionaries. Unfortunately, Costco was out of the tables. We’ll have to go to another Costco tomorrow to get them. We came home, had a quick and easy dinner, and just kicked back.
Thursday Devon was out of the office all day delivering and moving furniture, and then he went to Costco to get the tables. It seemed I had one thing after another all day. President was in the office all afternoon doing interviews, so we had quite a few missionaries in and out. I had to talk to a couple of missionaries whose release date falls between transfers. When this happens, President gives them their choice of which date they want to go home on. One sweet missionary was devastated just thinking about going home much less making a decision about when. We had a long talk. I hope he can work it out. Another elder is thinking about what he wants to do, and the third one knew right away he wanted to stay as long as he could.
We found out that one of our missionaries had a seizure last night and had to go to the emergency room. He is an excellent missionary, but he is being sent home to be evaluated and treated. Hopefully, he will be back. His companion is also fairly new. He did a great job getting help, but it shook him to the core.
Friday – wonderful Friday! All the advancement letters to the parents went out today. This is the fastest I’ve had them out after transfers. I think that’s because President is getting the transfer board finalized quicker in IMOS. When that it done it makes everything easier after transfers. I have about 5 senior couples that need travel home. A couple know what they want to do and were easy to request. But a couple more just can’t make up their minds about when to leave. I encouraged them to talk it over and let me know ASAP – I’m already overdue requesting them. We have 5 senior missionaries that want to change their release dates. It’s not a problem if it’s within 30 days of their original date, but if it is outside that date it gets complicated. So I’ve been working on that as they are all outside the 30 days. Two stand a chance, but I’m not sure about the other three. We’ll see.
Devon was in and out of the office today, but was able to get a lot done. After office hours we went to dinner with the other office couples to a wonderful Asian restaurant in Manoa Valley. It is the best Asian food I’ve had – everything is good, especially the honey walnut shrimp! It was fun to just relax and enjoy time together.
Saturday – our first totally free P-day in quite a while. We slept in! Then we did a little laundry and got cleaned up for the day. We decided to go check out the blowhole at Halona Beach. It was a beautiful sunny day so we were excited to be out in the sun. Well, the rock formations at the blowhole were amazing, and we enjoyed seeing the ocean crash into the rocks, but it was low tide and thus no activity from the blowhole. Oh well. Next time we’ll check the tide charts before we go see it.
We drove a little way farther down the road and stopped at a beach. We pulled our mats and chairs out of the trunk of the car and set up on the beach for an hour. It was glorious basking in the sun and hearing the ocean waves roll in and out. Well, glorious until the clouds rolled in and it started to sprinkle. At that we folded up our stuff and headed back to town.
Sister Shurtz and I meet up when we got home and went to get pedicures. I used to go with Sister Overduyn all the time and she’s gone home. I’m grateful to have a new buddy to do this with me.
I drove home, dropped off Sister Shurtz, picked up Devon, and headed to the theater to see “La La Land.” We both really enjoyed it, but Devon was worried for the first half hour. After the movie we went to Safeway for groceries and then home for dinner and rest. It was a good Saturday.
Sunday was wonderful – sunny and warm. We enjoyed watching the Golden Globe Awards in the evening – especially as we just had seen “La La Land” last night.
I really enjoyed Sunday School today. We are studying the Doctrine and Covenants and today’s lesson was specifically about Jesus Christ and His Atonement. We read and discussed many scriptures – interesting discussion. Our teacher ended with a personal experience I will try to share. He said he told the Lord once that he really didn’t need adversity to keep him faithful, active, obedient. He was going to do that no matter what. But then a strong impression came to him….”But how will you come to know Me?”
I read a quote from Jeffrey Holland this week, “…man’s extremity is God’s opportunity…” This resonates so powerfully in me. I have experienced God’s companionship and comfort most in the moments of my greatest despair. I don’t seek for adversity – but I know it can come at any time, in any form. I try to live to have God’s companionship all the time. How sweet is His peace. But how powerful when His all encompassing love and peace lifts me in my affliction and carries me to a place of peace and hope. My testimony is sure and my heart is full.