Sunday, August 7, 2016

Well, I can dream, can't I?

August 7, 2016

Greetings, once again from Calgary. I don’t have any pictures to share from our week’s activities as we have stayed home this weekend; however, I do have a couple of car pictures to share. No, none of them are mine nor are they in the mission fleet. I do like cars, though, and when I see a really nice one, I need a picture. I can tease President Miles by sending him the picture and tell him, “Your new mission car has arrived.” And, I can dream, can’t I?  ………

Very nice Jaguar!

Nice 4-door Porche

We have had a wonderful week, - rewarding and even a bit slower pace than usual. One of the most enjoyable aspects of our work is the opportunity to interact with the young Elders and Sisters as they come to the office for teaching supplies, for car issues, mail, etc. and sometimes they come in just because they enjoy visiting with the office staff. Sometimes several companionships are there at the same time, especially after training and leadership meetings. They usually make a trip to the office before they return to their areas and it is always fun to listen to their banter and overhear them discussing experiences. In many cases, some have served together for a time and love to update each other on what has happened since they were together last. At times we overhear things that particularly intrigue us. This also happens when I am transporting a group of them from one part of the mission to the other and they visit. Following are some things I have found particularly interesting…….:

1. Often we have heard references to certain missionaries as, ‘”happy guy”, “sad guy”, “tall guy”, “quiet guy”, “fly guy”, and another, “not a guy” (you’ll have to think about this for a moment). When we asked about these nicknames, it turns out, about a year ago, there were a bunch of missionaries with the last name of Johnson. To distinguish one Elder Johnson from another, over time these nicknames were developed and they stuck. The surprising thing is that everyone in the conversation who has been in the mission for awhile all seem to know exactly which Johnson the other is referring to. The one nickname that really cracks me up is the one missionary they refer to as, “Not a guy”. Have you figured this out? There was a Sister Johnson also serving here during that period; hence, not a guy. We presently have just two Johnsons serving and one goes home in a couple of weeks, but we have three Larsens/Larsons, three Christensens/Christensons, three Kings, three Chens, and four Smiths. Any way, I am constantly amazed about how clever the missionaries are, and how quick they are to start rumors! We have to be careful to keep information out of sight or out of our conversations while the missionaries are in the office because of how quickly news of this or that goes out, and sometimes conclusions and supposed insights are passed to others as fact that are totally incorrect, or the correct fact gets altered each time in the passing and what evolves is far from the truth. (This reminds me of the game of Gossip.)
The most recent example is; - we have a small number of missionaries who for reasons of athletic or academic scholarships must get home a week or two earlier than their scheduled release date. As word got out that so and so was going home early to start school, rumor spread throughout the mission that the entire transfer group would be going home early, and when some missionaries mentioned this in their weekly email home we began to get calls from anxious parents wondering why they weren’t informed.   

2. We commonly hear missionaries referring to certain missionaries as, “my father”, “my son”, “my grandpa”, etc. Recently, while transporting a dozen missionaries in the mission van, I asked for a translation. Here it is:
            A father for a given Elder is the trainer he had in his first area.
            A son is the Elder who was one’s trainee
            A grandpa is the trainer’s trainer in the trainee’s first area
            To die is to go home at the end of the mission. This is usually expressed as the area in which a missionary last served, as in, “He died in Clareshome.”
            Being born is the date one started his/her mission, or the date he entered the MTC.
            A mother is the most senior Sister who served in a missionary’s district at the time they were in their first area.
            Different from the Elders, a father for Sisters is the first District Leader they had in their first area.
            Since a missionary is “born” at the MTC, it is referred to as the womb, but sometimes it also means one’s first area.

There are probably a few more terms than I have here but this will give you some idea. Now picture me while driving and trying to follow a conversation between two Elders behind me:

“Elder, where are you coming from?” 
“Pincher Creek.”
“No way! I was born there?” (In this case it refers not to the MTC but to the first area where he served.) “Who was your companion?”
“Elder Smith.”
“Which one?”
“Sam Smith.”
“No way! He was my father!” 
“So who was your father?”
“Elder Jones.”
“Wow, I was in the womb with him. Really neat guy.”
And so forth. One needs a translation guide to follow the conversation.

We continue to have the most amazing summer weather. Each day we have some clouds roll in from the foothills to the west and give us a quarter inch of rain or so, but sometimes it becomes hail for a time. We have had some hail damaged cars as a result. These are reported to Fleet Headquarters in SLC and an insurance file is created for each but we will wait until they get to 80,000 +/- kilometers before considering what to do with them. Hail damaged cars are evaluated by an independent insurance adjuster and then a decision is made (not by me) whether the car will be totaled, fixed, or sold as a hail damaged car. I think I have mentioned before that we have several hail damaged cars mostly down in the Lethbridge area which were beat up in July of 2013 and these are some that are due to be taken out of the fleet but this won’t happen until we start having our missionary numbers go down a bit as we get into the Fall. I was informed during the week that we will be getting 11 new Rogues in 4-6 weeks. In the meantime, we have every one of our cars assigned. We are getting 28 new missionaries a the next transfer plus two senior couples (who will bring their own vehicles) but only 13 missionaries going home. In order to have enough cars, some areas will go back to walking/bicycling or sharing a car with another area.

Again on Friday we were able to go to the Calgary Temple with our office mates, the Peppingers. Afterward we went to dinner. It was a great way to cap off the week. Yesterday, we spent much of the day cleaning our apartment and ironing since it had been two weeks since we were last able to do so.

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