Saturday, January 2, 2016

The challenge of opening a new area in the mission

January 2, 2016

We are at crunch time.  In just 3 days, we must have 34 missionaries ready to move to a brand new area of the mission.  The details of that keep popping back up.

* 34 missionaries mean that we are closing 17 apartments where they are currently living.  We had 30+ wards with 4 missionaries.  That has been cut in half.  We had to identify the best areas to keep and to close – a task that involved zone leaders, district leaders, many phone calls, and decisions that involved rent contracts, sizes of areas, and support of the ward in which the apartment resided.
    *Closing 17 apartments – what do we do with all that stuff?  We are arriving to apartments in Ixtapaluca that are already furnished.  We have come up with a list of items for each apartment to give away, and which items will be picked up and brought to the office.  They have been told that the apartments are to be packed, spotless, and ready for a quick pick up.  Mind you, in all the apartments we have closed in the last 18 months, only one was totally ready to “just be picked up.”  This time Keith has “promised” a strong reprimand if they are not ready.  We are hiring a truck to go around and pick it all up.  There are just too many for the “van team” (Olson, Orchard, and us) to do it.
    *Transfers happen on Tuesday.  The domino effect of finding 34 missionaries for Ixtapaluca has caused this to be the biggest transfer ever.  We need 6 new zone leaders and a new assistant.  We need new district leaders. 
       *After the transfer meeting, we gather the 34 missionaries for some lunch, and then load them on a bus to go to Ixtapaluca.  We are renting that bus.  We all drive the 90 minutes to Ixtapaluca and meet the 40 missionaries from the Chalco mission.  Our missionaries will live with them for 36 hours – they need to know the ward, the bishop and the ward mission leader.  They need to know the transportation system, where stores are, and who they can contact for help.  They need to learn where the other missionaries in the common wards are and how to get to them.  They will arrive with little food and with cell phones that may work or not.  All this is just a little scary!!
    *  Ixtapaluca while in the Chalco mission had 40 missionaries.  We are sending 34.  3 areas need to be closed out there.  18 out of the 40 missionaries from Chalco are sisters – we only have 19 total sisters in our whole mission.   We are going to send 6 Sister missionaries to Ixtapaluca.  Therefore we are sending Elders to replace some of the Sisters.   These Elders don’t get the 36 hours of training from the Chalco missionaries.  They get brief training at the church, and then they are on their own.

It is a blessing that we are just receiving 4 new Elders on Monday.  It is also a blessing that we sent 8 missionaries home a little early so they could be home for Christmas.  Therefore, the good by dinner and testimony meeting on Tuesday, and Wednesday at the airport is not happening this time.  We are free to handle the “emergencies” that arise.

Ixtapaluca – Here we come!

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