September 1, 2014
So funny – we found out yesterday that today is Labor Day in the US. We always were camping on this weekend in Fort Bragg, CA. As many of the family that could join us, would. Had our son not reminded us of that yesterday, the weekend would have passed without notice. Guess we are busy!
So many have asked me what I do each day. I thought I’d take a few minutes to answer. I will try not to rattle on!
Keith does a lot of ministering; my duties are about half administrative and half ministering. When I received my call from President Eyring, I was called to a three year mission to serve as a companion to my husband. We are basically together 24-7. There have only been a few days that we have been apart.
We try to arise at 6:30 like the missionaries. The word “try” is in there for the nights that we return home after 10:30, or the nights we are unable to sleep because of a “crisis” in the mission. (We dread the phone calls after 9:30 pm. Almost always they require immediate or next day action.) We arise and both try and fit in a little exercise – we have a couple of aerobic DVD’s and a tread mill. We eat and get ready. We dress in church clothes every day. We have found safety in the name tag and so that defines how we dress. Unlike the missionaries, we fit most of our studying in at night time.
We have discovered that administering is for all, ministering is for the one. There are always 5-10 missionaries on our radar. They may be there because of health concerns, obedience concerns, or because the spirit guides us to them. We have found that we do best when we immediately react to these concerns. It might be through interviews or through staying the night in our home. Sometimes it involves making trips to the city for glasses, blankets, or shirts. Missionaries move off and on our radars!
Our mission office is 11 miles away. Our mission is another few miles away from the office. Travel time to the office can be anywhere from 20-60 minutes due to traffic. Traveling out to the field adds time to that. We are often in the car 2-3 hours a day depending on traffic. We have made travel routes and put them in a binder to many of our destinations and you would laugh at them – infrastructure is not too great around here! They contain words like “drive around the big ugly head in the middle of the roundabout” and “drive through the crazy intersection that has five lanes squishing down to two.”
When we are at the office, we are either in meetings with the Assistants, the financial secretary, or the Elders who have been asked to come in. If they are confidential interviews, I am not in there. I do birthday cards, transfer planning, financial projections, medical updates, letters to incoming missionaries, and organization of every meeting (agendas, handouts, food, etc). These are my strengths, and Keith’s strengths are in compassion and helping those in need.
If we are not in the office, we may be home or in the mission field. We like to show up at places – like baptisms and Sunday services. We have only attended the ward we live in twice. Every other Sunday we have gone into the field. It’s always fun to see the looks on the faces of the Elders as we walk into a building. We end up speaking at every meeting we walk into.
At home we have an office. We both sit in there with computers. It also has a large white board with pictures of all the missionaries. We have notes all over the pictures – these notes may be anything from a “T” meaning we think they would be a good trainer, to notes like “depressed.” We currently have five with a big “C” on them. That’s short for “cartel.” It’s our catch phrase for a group of elders that we have been slowly identifying. They hide each other’s disobedience. Those with “C’s” will not be in leadership positions at the next change.
We seldom eat our big meal at home. The big meal is at 2 PM and we are not here. Therefore it’s usually at a little restaurant, Subways (better than in the states), or a bakery (they serve sandwiches). Little local restaurants run about $4/person so they are really cheap. Morning is cereal and fruit, night time is about the same.
We live in what we term a “concrete mansion.” We call the living room the “chapel.” We are told it looks just like the waiting room of the Mexico City Temple (currently closed). The church owns the home and therefore provides a housekeeper for 10 hours a week. The place is usually impeccable and so we just try and clean up after ourselves. We do our own laundry (no tears please!) but spend little time with other cleaning.
We have a Vonage phone here. It has a California phone number and works over the computer lines. We keep in touch with our family this way. We probably talk to each of the five families about once a week. We do keep emails and messages going. We also use the phone for calls to SLC, the area presidency, and families of our missionaries when needed.
I hope that answers some of the questions out there. To call this an adventure is almost an understatement! We do feel richly blessed by our Heavenly Father that our bodies are doing well with new food, new stresses, and many to care for. This is an impossible task for two people. However, two people who are guided by divine providence can keep their heads above water – most of the time!