Daily Archives: December 4, 2011

One Month…

***Editorial correction. Mary tells me I need to correct this post because when I wrote it we had been in Fort Lauderdale only 24 days. It was a month since we left Utah on our trip across the country to the mission.

31 Days ago we drove up to the mission office and introduced ourselves to the couples who were there. I have to say we are so comfortable it seems like we have always been here.

Today our meetings at the Weston ward started with Ward Council at 11:30 and ended 6 hours later as we left the chapel after a wonderful baptismal service for a lovely woman who found the Church through members who brought the feeling of peace and love into her life. It was just as PMG says – she did not know what she was looking for but when she felt it she knew she wanted to be a part of it. Mary was asked to play the piano – the ward mission leader brother Wood was very relieved when he found out she could play – and I gave the closing prayer. Mary is also playing for Relief Society so her talents are being well used.

Ward Council was well run and mainly was about people and their needs. They did spend time on the temple trip but part of that was making sure the new converts were encouraged to go. The other calendar event that took time was the Christmas party that is coming up on Friday but again some of that time was encouraging members to bring non-LDS friends. We were asked to work with one of the new converts and give the new member lessons in the coming week.

Our first testimony meeting was much different than our first one in South Africa but a number of the testimonies touched my spirit. 6 hours seems like a long time but I must say that except for a spot in the middle of SS when I really wanted to just nod off, it went quickly.

I think this next month will see us getting much more involved with the ward and missionary work. The ward had a goal of 8 baptism and they had 3. In each case the investigators pretty much asked for the missionaries so the members did not have much to do with preparing their friends to receive them. We are going to try to work on that in the months ahead but we need to do it with lots of love so no one thinks we are being critical of their efforts. I think if they see we are working hard they will want to help.

Cars…Mail…Finances..Paperwork – keeping the mission running

I would guess that most members, including missionaries who have not served in a mission office, have no idea how much everyday effort goes into keeping a mission up and running.

Housing: Elder Collins spends his days keeping a roof over the missionaries head. This includes finding apartments in the right areas and negotiating leases or rents, furnishing the apartments, replacing furniture, moving apartments, solving problems from non-working toasters to missionaries who look themselves out of their apartments, and anything else that needs to be done to see that missionaries are safely housed.

Vehicles: Elder Beagley spends his days trying to keep things moving. This includes keeping track of which vehicles is where, getting wrecked vehicles repaired, solving any problem that occur to any of the 50 plus vehicles in the mission, moving new cars in and older cars out, and making monthly reports to Salt Lake. He also handles cellphones and the problems that come up from that.

Mail: Sister Collins and Sister Pier  are in charge of the mail. It is amazing how many packages and how much mail comes into the office each day. This must be sorted and forwarded to wherever the missionary is now serving. So each piece must be relabeled and have the old routing imprints blocked out before it is taken back to the postoffice and re-mailed. UPS and Fedex packages must be resent or hand delivered to the missionaries. They say that it is about to get really crazy in the mail room over the next three weeks as Christmas packages come in.

Finances: Elder Steimle handles all the finances for the mission and also a number of other things that need to be done each cycle as missionaries move, come into the mission and leave the mission. He arranges for the payment of all bills. Everything must be carefully documented so when the auditors come – and they come regularly – they will be able to make sure that the Lord’s money is being well taken care of.

Mission Office: Sister Steimle handles the front desk and the phone calls that come in. She is also responsible for making travel arrangements for all the incoming and outgoing missionaries. She handles all the President’s correspondence. She is the hub around the rest of the mission revolves.

Other things: Elder Sommerfeldt helps elder Collins with housing and is the expert on getting rid of bed bugs, moving furniture, and housing inspections. He also helps Elder Beagley with the autos and is an expert on bicycles. Each missionary has to have a bike if they serve in the Fort Lauderdale mission.

Sister Sommerfeldt is the mission nurse. She is on call at all times to answer the needs of the missionaries. Her phone rings whenever a missionary feels like they are not well or have some problem with their health. Sister Anderson, the mission presidents wife, is also the go to person when it comes to missionary health problems.

Sister Beagley takes care of reporting baptisms and confirmations to the Church so the new members can be recorded. She is constantly trying to get the missionaries to get the reports to her and then trying to get them to get to her with all the information and signatures correct. This is not a job for anyone who gets frustrated easily as some missionaries think that as soon as a person in baptized and confirmed their work is finished and the rest is just paperwork.

Elder Beagley is also in charge of cellphones which means that when a missionary drops their phone in the toilet – a regular problem – a phone stops working or is broken, he has to take care of the problem.

Elder Collins also takes care of ordering all the missionary supplies that are used in bringing the gospel to the people of Florida. He has to order them in three languages: English, Spanish and Haitian-Creole and any other special language that might be needed.

I am sure I left out many of the tasks that must be done each day to keep the mission up and running and that allows the mission president and the missionaries to go about their daily work of helping others come unto Christ.

Of course these wonderful senior couples than go home have dinner and then often go out to visit less active and part member families, home teach, and work with the young missionaries. But one thing is constant – the joy that comes from serving the Lord as a senior missionary.