Transfer day is spiritual, fun, and at time frantic. It comes every 6 weeks when some missionaries come in and some go home. Today there were 3 new missionaries and 5 went to the Orlando temple for one more great experiences before flying out tomorrow for their homes. The new missionaries are a little in shock and the returning missionaries are caught between being happy about soon seeing their families and yet there is a sad side. They are leaving companions and other missionaries who they have not only come to love but who they have shared the amazing experience of bringing others unto Christ and changing their lives forever – both the one being baptized and the missionary.
The president and the assistants start thinking about transfer a couple of weeks in advance but the final transfer list often is not fully completed until the morning of transfers. Usually on the Friday or Monday before the transfer day we get a draft of what is likely to be what is going to happen. We start putting the information in a couple of programs that need to be completed after transfers are finished. Then on transfer day we find out what is really going to happen as the missionaries are actually moved to their new zones, districts and areas.
One of the most touching part of transfers is when companions who have served together for 6 weeks to months give each other a big hug and say goodbye for a while. Then they give their new companions a big hug of welcome. After the meeting there is another round of saying goodbye, transferring luggage and bikes to new cars and then one by one they drive off to get to their areas so they can get in 8 hours or so of work before ending the day.
Today we brought in mail and packages that we have accumulated for the last 4 days because we could not forward it until the transfers are final. Any missionary that is at the meeting pick up their mail and the Zone leaders are supposed to pick up any mail for their missionaries that did not come in. About 85% of the mail gets picked up and we send the rest out as soon as we are sure where the missionaries are going to be living. One of the ‘packages’ that came through the mail was this plastic egg that was just as you see it above. No box or packing – just a plain egg with an address and postage attached. It is a tribute to the USPO that the egg arrived at the right address, intact and without a crack.
There was another interesting twist today. A number of cars got new Tiwi boxes and we were supposed to be able to activate them once they are Â installed but for some reason it just would not work so Elder Beagley finally gave up and had the missionaries take the cars and he will work out the details later. The missionaries wanted to get back to their areas and get to work.
After everything was wrapped up we stopped at home long enough to eat some lunch and then went into the office. The assistants came in an made a few last changes – just getting the names of some of the areas the way they wanted them. As they were leaving I asked if any of the missionaries were going to be moved to a new address and I found out some of them are…we can not complete the transfer fully until we have that information so we will get it tomorrow.
All of this and a few more interesting problems that came up made the day fly by. While I will be glad when everything is finalized for another 6 weeks, it has been a real learning experience to go through one like this as Financial secretary. It is kind of the difference between watching a play and being behind the stage trying to make the play go on smoothly.