November 10, 2014
We are just starting our fifth month on our mission. Every six weeks we welcome new missionaries, and send other ones back home. On Monday the new missionaries arrive and we train then. On Tuesdays we meet with all those being changed, including the new missionaries. Changes are announced and everyone cheers and greets their new companions. Tuesday night we have a big good bye dinner at our home for those returning home the next day. Wednesday morning we are on the way to the airport and bus station to say our good byes to the missionaries returning home. Elders (boys) serve for 24 months. Hermanas (girls) serve for 18 months.
We are a revolving door! We arrived in July with 191 total missionaries serving in our mission. Since then we have received 67 more and sent 39 to their homes. The goal of the church is to have each mission with a compliment of 200 missionaries. Therefore, we expect to lose more missionaries than we gain during the next six months.
There is such excitement as we stand at the airport like we did today. We waited anxiously for 10 North American Elders to pass through customs. They are always a little scared but some try to hide it. They are always tired because they have left the Provo MTC at 4 in the morning and traveled all day. They are unfamiliar with customs and the forms but just have to figure it out. And then they pass through the opaque glass doors into a culture and language they have never experienced before. We greet them there.
There is equal excitement for the Latino missionaries who have been at the training center on the other side of Mexico City. We arrange a van to go and pick them up. They arrive less fearful because they are not facing a new language. However, many are away from home for the first time and have never “been in charge” of themselves. We received 8 of these Elders today.
Every six weeks we have to identify new trainers. As we pull missionaries to train, we must then place their former companion with a new companion. With a net increase of 12 missionaries this time, we had to find 6 new apartments and furnish them. Furnishing includes everything – beds, refrigerators, stove tops, eating utensils, cooking items, desks, tables and chairs. We had to arrange training, prepare materials, order credit cards, and insurance cards. You finish one transfer, take a 2 week break, and start to work on the next transfer. We don’t do this alone – it takes a team! Our team is us, and 6 Elders.
Four months on a mission and 37 trips to the airport so far. Turn, turn, turn….