Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Behold A Royal Army! -gfh
The dust is settling from the largest transfer in this mission since President and Sister Poulsen began serving here two years ago! We had eleven elders come from the Provo MTC and three from the SAF MTC litterally next door and we had eighteen returning home. There is a great deal of planning, organizing, scheduling, that happens prior to our transfer days and then more of the same to get everything settled in for the normal routine of mission life. We actually a work for six weeks prior and after to make this happen. The missionaries usually come from the SAF MTC but this time all of the American missionaries came from Provo MTC because of the extremely exaggerated prices for flights coming to ZA during the World Cup Games.
Each one of us in the office has orientation that we need to do with each missionary as well as each missionary having a personal interview with the President. This involves forty minutes of time per missionary. OF course some of those minutes take place congruently but it still takes a lot of time and planning. This is all usually done in the morning before the group orientation, new trainer meeting, and then of course the BIG and WONDERFUL actualy Transfer meeting where each new missionary introduces himself and is introduced to his Trainer. Then each departing missionary has the opportunity to bear his testimony and give some words of advice and counsel as if he were sharing with his younger brother. The words of wisdom that these young men share as a result of the spiritual experiences and growth they have experienced are AMAZING! I write down the counsel from each departing missionary and know I would be a better person/missionary if I would use the counsel in my own life.
In this picture President Poulsen is giving the departing missionaries some final instructions before they give their words of counsel.
The chapel is filled with elders who are all dressed so sharply in their dark suits and have fresh new haircuts and the glow of servants of the Lord about them! We also end each transfer meeting with singing of the Mission Song! There hasn't been a meeting yet that hasn't brought tears to my eyes. The senior couples sit up in the front row and I just have to turn and look in to the faces of that Royal Army as they sing! There are really no words to describe the feeling and the power that is there! (I think I have a good picture of the chapel filled and I'll post it later)
This Transfer we had two families who were able to share in the experience with us. They had come to pick up their missionary sons. One family had come from California and the other family came from Madagascar. The mother from California had tears streaming down her checks nearly the entire time. I can imagine it felt a little like being taken up to Heaven for a brief visit. The family from Madagascar has a daughter that is terminally ill with a kidney disease and has just weeks to live. They have saved for a long time and received help from others to come at this time to be sealed as a family in the temple.
At the end of the Transfer Meeting the office is FILLED with missionaries coming in for supplies and last minute requests. We totally devote our time and attention to every missionary. Then the missionaries get all "sorted out" with their new companions, visit and get caught up with previous companions and depart to their new areas to do some good!"...going forth to conquer on life's great battlefield!"