Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Week 50 Report

Monday – the beginning of another transfer week. The full force of activities won’t hit until later. The morning was busy with emails and regular mail. We had a ton of packages and letters delivered. I suppose the fact that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day may have something to do with it. Compounding the sheer volume of mail was the fact that forwarding is not a simple procedure this week. We usually use an IMOS program that pulls up the missionaries’ addresses and we can easily make labels. Well, the program won’t be updated with the new transfers until the end of the week. So we have to pull out all the mail going to missionaries being transferred and type labels one by one. It’s a slow process. Thankfully tomorrow the Zone Leaders will be in the office and can take a lot of the mail directly back to the missionaries. After tomorrow it will have to go through the USPS as usual.

Devon left for his MRI at 2:00 and I had a PT appointment at 3:45. After that we went to Sam’s Club to pick up the pizza for the arriving missionaries’ dinner at the office. They arrived about 5:30 – tired, but with bright eyes and lots of enthusiasm. We have 9 new sisters and 2 new elders. Most of the sisters are going to the Laie Temple Visitor’s Center. They ate dinner, listened to office and AP orientation, and some thoughts from President Bekker. Then we took their solo photo and one with President and Sister Bekker.  Around 8:00 pm they left for the mission home and some much needed sleep. It was a very long day for all of us. We arrived at 8:00 am and left about 8:30 pm. Bed was a welcome sight for us as well.

Tuesday was busy all day. We had tons of missionaries come to the office to pick up mail and to say hello. They were here for the transfer meeting where they meet their new companions. The word is out that we are leaving soon, so with sad faces they came by to say goodbye. It’s so hard but I feel grateful for the love and friendship from these fine young people. We love them like our grandchildren and visa versa.

I emailed photos of the new missionaries to their parents and spent a lot of time on the Come and Go Report. I do it every week, but the week of transfers I have to delete whole columns, add new ones, and move everyone around. The young elders and sisters usually all come on scheduled days, but the senior missionaries come whenever throughout the month. It takes time to keep it straight. I also have a couple of seniors who want exceptions to their departing plans. It takes time to explain their options, which usually aren't what they had in mind. Thankfully they usually adjust.

Devon left the office early to check out a few new apartments. I stayed till 5:00. When Devon came home around 7:00 we had dinner, watched a little TV and I enjoyed playing my ukulele for about 45 minutes. I haven’t played lately and I sure missed it.

Wednesday was business as usual…well almost usual. I spent most of the morning updating the phone directory and a few other items that I hope will help my replacement. Devon was also very busy with paper work in the office. At lunchtime we left to pick up a CD of his recent MRI. The doctor hasn’t called us with the results yet – hopefully tomorrow. We’ll take the CD with us when we see a neurologist in Utah. We decided to pick up lunch in the hospital cafeteria. It was great and really cheap. We brought it back to the office to eat. We also stopped at Walgreens to pick up the photos of the new missionaries. During the afternoon I made the transfer board cards for the 11 new junior missionaries and 3 couples that recently arrived. We left for home ON TIME and had a restful evening at our pad.

Friday – what a beautiful day: crystal clear blue skies reflecting on the ocean making it also a beautiful blue color. The air was warm, but not too hot, and a slight breeze was blowing. It was a perfect Hawaiian day. Remind me…why am I leaving? 

The day went well in the office. I wrapped up a few more things. I’m coming to the conclusion it will never be completely wrapped up. Every day there are new circumstances and things to work on. But, for the most part my work is up to date and ready to hand over to Sister Williams. I had a nice visit with my physical therapist, Jennifer. She has been a great help and I can tell I am improving – especially if I remember to do my exercises. Devon’s jaw pain is no better – maybe worse. We finally heard from his doctor. The MRI was normal. That's good news - no tumors or other issues. So we will  get his records faxed to a neurologist in Utah and try to get an appointment for soon after we get home. In the meantime, he soldiers through each day.

In the evening we started packing. Our suitcases will be full, but I think we can get everything in and stay under the weight limit. It’s a good thing we shipped several boxes home.

Saturday – our last P-Day. Our first stop was the Swap Meet. I needed to exchange a dress I bought last week for a different size, and pick up some fabric charm packs for my daughter-in-law’s friend. I also bought couple of Hawaiian appliqué pillow covers. Devon was thrilled that we were in and out rather quickly. Then we pointed the car in the direction of Laie. Along the way we stopped to see the Valley of the Temples. It is a beautiful cemetery. We called it the Forest Lawn of O’ahu. It was truly breathtaking!

Up on one hill was a row of these family mausoleums. 
There were designated burial areas for various groups. This one was really interesting.

At the end of the cemetery was this beautiful Buddhist Temple, surrounded by a large koi pond.
Buddha shrine inside the temple
So many large koi in the pond. They were used to being fed by the tourists, so they all congregated by the bridge waiting for food to be thrown in the water.
One pond was full of bull frogs serenading us with their deep pitched croak.
View standing in front of the Buddhist temple.

Next stop was the Polynesian Cultural Center. We met a Highland Ward member and her family there. We get a 50% discount on tickets, so we try to help our friends when they come to the PCC. It was great seeing them.

We met Cecily Nelson, a friend Devon when to high school with in Taber. She treated us to lunch at the buffet. It was delicious, but better still was her sweet company. We enjoyed visiting and sharing our mission experiences. She has about 5 months left and then will return to her home in Utah. It’s been a real treat to meet her and spend time with her now and then. We made one last stop at the Mission Settlement and the Ukulele Experience Store – my two favorite places at the PCC - where we said good buy to some sweet mission friends. Next stop was to pick up a couple of bicycles from some elders that have been assigned a car. Other missionaries need the bicycles.

Our last stop was at Brother and Sister Yim’s beautiful new home in Laie. Oh how we love this wonderful couple. They invited all the senior missionaries from our FHE group to a BBQ. It was wonderful being together one last time. A special treat was when President and Sister Bekker and Elder and Sister Zwick came by for a few minutes.

Elder and Sister Zwick shared some thoughts and their testimonies – it was wonderful! Then we ate till we were stuffed: hot dogs, hamburgers, macaroni salad, fruit salad, chips, root beer floats, apple pie, and a yummy gluten-free cheesecake. Last, but not least Sister Yim lead us in a fun game and we sang a couple of songs.

Sister Yim brought out her uke and I accompanied (as best I could). Oh how I love these wonderful people…and oh how I’m going to miss them. They are truly the cream of the crop! I sure hope our paths cross again.

Devon and Elder Williams drove home together in the mission truck so they could drop off the bicycles to the other missionaries. Sister Williams and I drove home together in the little Cruz. It was wonderful to have time to visit and talk about office things. They both are perfect replacements. They are excited about the assignment, very capable, and willing to serve.

Sunday was a wonderful Sacrament Meeting. The talks were about callings. I don’t think I’ve ever heard better youth talks, and the two adults also gave amazing talks. The youth did the musical item and it was amazing! Sunday School and Relief Society also were so good. I think our upcoming departure on Friday caught the ward by surprise. The bishop thought we would be here another Sunday. So we missed having Aloha Oe sung to us, but that was just fine with me. I couldn’t have stood there without crying my eyes out.

We came home, fixed a simple dinner in our little kitchenette and had short naps. We ended our last Sunday with a walk and watched a little TV. I talked with Barbara earlier in the day and was very relieved that Rodney’s surgery for his fractured femur went well. Devon called his sister, Gwen, and had a nice visit. It’s hard to be away when our loved ones are having health issues. We will keep them in our prayers, and hope our next phone calls will have good news.

What a wonderful week it's been! We feel so much love from the wonderful people here and our wonderful family and friends at home. Our hearts are so torn. You all have blessed our lives in more ways than you can imagine and we are eternally grateful. Now to get through the last week and the heartbreak of leaving this wonderful place.

This tree is at the PCC. It is covered with the Sandpaper Vine. The leaves feel like sandpaper and it has clusters of lilac colored flowers that make it look very much like a lilac bush.

I love the beautiful flowers of Hawaii!