This morning we received a call from Elder Collins (I hope that I remembered that correctly – if not I apologize in advance) who, with his wife, are in charge of housing for the mission. He asked us where we would like to live and what kind of accommodations we would need. We talked for a while and he very kindly took us through some decisions we had to make.
I pointed out to him that where we should live depended on where President Anderson decided we should serve. Because we have found that on out other missions the president changed our callings before we left for the MTC.
We were happy to hear that we can have Comcast for our internet provider so we will not need to change any of our e-mail addresses. Also that we will not need to walk up many flights of stairs to get to our apartment.
All in all it sounds as if we will be comfortable, be close to the office if that where we will serve, and in general just being shifting addresses and not so much lifestyles. That will certainly be different than before. The Lord’s tender mercies continue to bless us.
When we served in Indonesia we had to buy a car and have a driver. When we went to South Africa we were provided a car and got to drive – even if it was on the wrong side. Now we are going to Florida and so we decided that our poor Maxima with 140,000 miles on it would probably not make it through 18 months so we purchased a nice, new to us Dodge mini-van and we will both be able to drive on the right side of the road.
We count it a tender mercy that we have the health and financial ability to go on missions. It seems that when we decide to put in our papers things just start to happen. This time within days of our sending off our papers our kitchen flooded and it pretty much had to be stripped to the studs. The insurance would have covered replacing things as they were but we decided that since we had the opportunity we should do a few upgrades that we had planned to do after we got home from our mission. Of course that meant we had costs that we had not planned on.
The next thing that happened is the back fence gave up the ghost and we will need to pay our share of having it replaced either before we go or soon after we leave.
Then of course there is the need to get a decent cell phone. We have been getting along with a cheap little pay as you go phone because we did not want to invest in a smart phone if we were going off to somewhere where we could not get service. The more we think of this the more we are leaning towards keeping our inexpensive phone and save some money.
And it goes on and on but the fact is that we will be able to handle the problems as they come up and will serve our mission in Florida. What ever happens we know that we have been called by a Prophet of God to serve in the Florida Fort Lauderdale mission. With God on our side who can oppose us.
One last thing. We are happy to have the support of our friends throughout the world and of course our family. We will miss a couple more graduations, the birth of at least one new grandchild, and possibly a wedding or two. But we are sure that our children and grandchildren fully support us as we go forth to serve. And of course with modern technology we are as close as the phone or the computer. When I complained to our daughter that we had not heard from her for a couple of weeks while we were in Indonesia, she mentions that we had more contact with her now than when we lived just 50 minutes apart.
We received a call from president Anderson of the Florida Fort Lauderdale mission. He had not yet received notification of our call but seemed happy to hear that we are going to be coming in early November as he has three couples that will be soon heading home.
We talked a little about what we might be doing and found that there are three couples assigned to the office. If I got it correctly one couple is local and serve part time in the office and part time at home. We also found that there is a new ERC couple that is coming but we did not ask when.
We mentioned that we hoped that we have time to work with some of the wards and go out with the young missionaries. He seemed pleased that we were willing to serve outside the office. We told him we would serve in whatever way he was inspired to assign us.
We also got a letter from the mission travel department explaining how we would be re-imbursed for our traveling by car to the mission field. It seems very fair and we look forward to traveling across the country once again.
Mary had her first three tutoring sessions and is very excited about improving her Spanish skills. I am sure that by the time we leave for Florida she will be able to understand and carry on a conversation with the Spanish speaking members. If we get a chance to teach some English classes that will certainly help.
On a different note but important for our sanity as we prepare for leaving on our mission, the kitchen has been put back together and we have a functioning dishwasher, stovetop, and sink. After three months it is a pleasure just to be able to rinse dishes in a real sink instead of the one in the bathroom.
When we called the mission office the sister who was there told us that a large number of calls come in each day where the caller speaks Spanish and that she was the only one there who even spoke ‘fractured’ Spanish. As we thought about this we decided that since Mary took a couple of years of Spanish in high school and one year in college that she should take advantage of the tutoring service at the MTC.
So we called Maria’s office and set it all up. The program calls for purchasing a large amount of material from the bookstore…after our 40% discount it still came to over $100…which we did. Maria then appointed Mary a tutor and she will start 3 days a week lessons starting today at 11:00.
I am not going to take lessons because I know that I have absolutely no abilities for learning to hear and speak a foreign language. I will try to learn how to read the Book of Mormon in Spanish and maybe I will be able to pick up some Spanish over the next 18 months or so.
While I am writing I will mention that last night – the 12th – we spoke at the Empty Nesters social about our mission to South Africa. Mary put together an excellent slide show and did most of the narration with me breaking in to add a few comments from time to time. We ran about 10 minutes long but that was OK as most of the people seemed to enjoy seeing and hearing about Africa. However when we were done the rest quickly left.
We called the mission office and asked to talk to the President. He was in a Zone Conference but sister Steimle, who is a senior missionary working in the office, was very happy to hear that we had been called. She said three couples were going home and they had not heard about any being called to replace them.
We talked to her about our other missions, asked questions about where we would live, and other things. Mary told her that she had some high school Spanish and was going to take some tutoring. Sister Steimle said that many of the phone calls were from Spanish speakers and she was the only one in the office that spoke any Spanish. She called her language skill as ‘fractured Spanish.’
We are hoping that the mission president will call us back tonight or tomorrow so we can ask him some questions and have him get acquainted with us and our skills. It is up to him where we actually will serve.
On another note, after 2 1/2 months we finally once again have countertops and hopefully later today we the plumber and electrician will be here to hook up the sink, the cooktop, the dishwasher and the water supply to the refrigerator. We will probably have one month to enjoy our redone kitchen before we leave it for 18 months.
Our friendly mailman went out of his way to bring us our mission call before he started his actual route. He came to our door and handed it to Mary. I was out doing some errands but when she called to tell me to hurry home I was only about a minute away.
For the third time we opened that magic white envelope and read that we were called to serve in the Florida Fort Lauderdale Mission as office specialists. Our calls to Indonesia and Durban South Africa both said we were called to be office missionaries and both times we ended up serving in a different calling.
We called out children and some of our friends who have been asking us almost every week if we had received our call. Then we wrote our acceptance letters, went to see the bishop so he could endorse them and mailed them back to Church headquarters before they changed their mind.
We then had the privilege of serving our shift at the Bishop’s Storehouse where we kept quite busy for 6 hours.
We truly feel we are blessed by being able to serve another mission for the Lord. We know it is what we should do while our health is good and we have the resources to serve. D&C 4:3 comes to mind – “Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work.” We feel we are called to the work.