Sunday, March 27, 2011

Not A Hero -gfh

So, this is Saturday morning and I'm sick! I was going to be the office hero...the only one not to get sick. But alas, it was not to be. Two weeks ago one of the senior elders was in the office when he was sick. Shortly everyone else took their turn. Rusty was sick last week and we didn't go out to our branch. I stayed home with him because it's too far for me to travel alone..even tho I am independent and capable. President doesn't like it and I am obedient. It looks like I'll be home again tomorrow.
Last night we were "investigators" for the teaching experience in the SAF MTC. We love doing that. However, I had told them earlier in the week not to plan on us because Elder H wasn't feeling well. But the other office couple was planning to go. So Friday morning at devotional the other couple is sick so Elder H, who is now feeling fine, and I volunteer to take their place. Now we hope the germ circle does not continuue in the MTC.
Rusty is hovering. He wants to pamper and take care of me. He won't let me do that when he is sick. I told him this morning that he's just been waiting for me to get sick so he could take care of me. He says "not so". (but it is very nice to be pampered.)
Well, that's the saga of the old sick people. ...

Botswana visas are coming along. Four of our sister missionaries were going to be "kicked out" because they hadn't received their residence visas. But with a new lady in the "power position" they were told to stay and it would be worked out. The sad thing would have been that Botswana is the only place where they can serve in the South Africa mission. First Presidency has directed this because it is the safest place for them..."a kinder gentler nation". So now they can complete their mission. Also, did I tell you that all the stress over getting papers, and requirements together for Botswana residence visas for our other missionaries so President would have a "pool" to draw from for Transfers...that has all been placed on hold. This is a great burden lifted from my shoulders. All the time I'm doing this I'm thinking " why are we flooding the Bots immigration with visa requests when churches are under investigation. Doesn't this raise a red flag?" So I got a call from the Visa Czar in Area Office and he said to suspend all applications BECAUSE it was making the Bots government nervous. Ahhhhhhh, now my office stress is very manageable. The Lord works in mysterious ways. Maybe he was just testing me to see my level of commitment and obedience. I hope I passed. But the Botswana investigation is due to be completed the end of March, which is very soon. We shall see. Don't stop praying yet.
We have our flight itinerary already...actually cause I'm the one who does that. We're stopping over in London for three days and will be home, PDX, 15 July. Sounds like I'm trunky but very definitely not. I do need to see family, and new grandbabies and have some walks on the beach, but there is so much still to do here. I'm editing the office secretary handbook. There have been a great deal of changes since the last update and especially during my time. Funny thing is that I understand the book more now after 15 months than when I first got here and was desperately looking for direction. So my update may not help the new secretary much. We thought our replacements were the couple arriving 11 June which would give us good time to train. It turns out they will be replacing the other couple who do not go home until 1 August and our replacement couple will be here just a week before we leave. Well, that's probably a good thing. Too much time to train can be overwhelming for all concerned. Better to give basic training, hand her the new office manual and wish her well. The work goes forth! It's kind of like drawing the hand out of wet sand...eventually they will say, remember so and so? What was their names anyway! I have put together a folder for each couple with bios and contact details of each they have served with. We had something similar in DC and it has proved to be a treasure! Each couple does their own bio and gets it to me. I add their picture, print it off and distribute out at transfer time. The one in DC was called The Trumpet. Ours is called “The Shield”. There is a line in our mission song that is in Zulu and it means "Faith is our shield". Thought that would work.
New mission president, President Omer and Sister Omer arriving 28 June. We'll have about two weeks with them. Hope that will be helpful to them. We know it will be a blessing for us to serve with them even a brief time.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

When ye are in the service..... -gfh

Last Saturday we had a YSA service project of cleaning up the litter around the branch neighborhood. The church grounds are very well cared for and there is a high fence around the property but the surrounding area can be a real eye sore.

The Ennerdale Litter Patrol: Pride, Ntokozo, Brassington and Admire(Elder H was off getting some goodies and Molefe was still out on "patrol")

Of course there were refreshments! I served "Sloppy Joes" which they had never had or heard of before! The guys came to understand why they were call that! The next day at church Ntkozo told me he couldn't get sloppy joe spots out of his shirt but then he asked "When can we have sloppy joes again?"

The missionaries were having a meeting at the branch and joined us...of course!

Molefe, the independant member of The Litter Patrol, joined the group for the food

The activity was great fun! We accomplished a good service not only for the branch but for the surrounding neighbors. This activity had been planned for some time but it turned out to be the day before our Branch Conference with all the stake people visiting! Ennerdale Branch was all "Spiffy" for the occasion!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Behind The Scenes -gfh

I've blogged about our transfer days before but didn't say about the behind the scenes.
First of all, I am in charge of the Transfer Packets. This is a plastic bag for each area (85 of 'em) with the forms, planners, Transfer News, and Ensign/Liahonas that the missionaries will need for the next six weeks. A couple of weeks before the bags need to be "stuffed" I compile all the forms. One morning there were a couple of elders in the office with nothing to do so I recruited their help! It was the fastest counting and sorting I'd ever seen because those young guys turned it in to a competition. Speed and accuracy!! and the winner is......

On the morning of Transfers the President, Sister Poulsen and the Assistants pick up the incoming missionaries at the SAF MTC (which is just through the door from our office). I tag along in the background to keep things going smoothly and to try to keep everyone on schedule. Pictures are taken outside and then the elders hurrying to the chapel(which is also in our compound)for orientation.

I love this picture of President with the new elders. He is giving them counsel about how to button their suits, show their teeth when they smile, hands to side...

Then off with the luggage to the orientation meeting where the office couples get to take a few minutes to introduce ourselves. President wants the missionaries to know that we are "real people". If Elder H and I fail to tell them about our long distance bike riding President reminds us. He has even asked the missionaries "Any of you ride bikes? What's the farthest you've ridden? The Henrichsens will tell you what a REAL bike ride is". So that opens up a fun connection with them.

And after the orientation there are three hours for President interviews and orientation from the office staff relating to medical,flats,cars, post,finances, etc. etc. I'm sure by the end of the day everything is a blur. (hopefully a happy one)
Elder H is in charge of lunch and it's pizza and cold drink (soda) for all the new missionaries and their trainers.
Then the big Transfer/Departure meeting at 1:00 with testimonies and sometimes, parents here to pick up their missionary. It is a Fabulous day of activity, inspiration, and exhaustion! Just thought you'd like to know.
We really do love it!!