Sunday, September 4, 2016

24 new missionaries and 2 new cars!

Blog for September 4, 2016

Arriving missionaries on 8/30/16 at Calgary International
This past week was transfer week. On Tuesday we picked up 22 new missionaries at the airport. One additional Mandarin speaking missionary had arrived earlier and another English speaking missionary came the day after, but 24 in all. On the other hand, only 11 went home, so again we had more missionaries come to our mission than went home. This always presents a challenge; new areas have to be opened, apartments have to be found and furnished, some 3-leg companionships have to be set up, and where cars are needed and none are available, areas have to be determined who can share a car or walk. This is a planning challenge starting with the mission president and working down through the rest of us in housing and car assignments. In the case of cars, we did have one additional Nissan Rogue arrive last week and another came at the end of this week - too late to help the immediate situation since we weren’t sure when it would arrive. We have nine more which will arrive over the next week or so.

The new group of missionaries is wonderful. Our training sessions with them went well, although it had to be done at one of the nearby chapels instead of the mission home as the entire basement area of the mission home is being renovated. Water got into the basement on a couple of occasions last summer with all the rain we had, so it is necessary to replace the carpet and some of the lower portion of the walls due to the danger of mold and mildew. We will all look forward to being able to meet in the mission home again when the work is done. It is certainly much more cozy and family-like there.

On Thursday we caravanned to Lethbridge taking 15 missionaries south to their new assignments and returning with 11 others being transferred here to the Calgary area. In addition, there are still others who are being transferred to other assignments and new companions that do not need to move north or south but move east and west in the two primary transfer locations, Calgary and Lethbridge. I wish everyone had an opportunity to see the interactions of the missionaries when so many convene at a given location. Missionaries frequently see those missionaries serving within their districts and zones but may not see missionaries with whom they have served previously for months at a time. It is always a joy filled occasion. Eleven missionaries fit in the mission van, which I typically drive (I also pull the trailer filled with missionary luggage). I get to hear lots of missionary stories, humorous and touching, as they share experiences during the two-hour trip in each direction. This is always a treat. I have commented before about the missionary lingo which one must understand in order to make sense of the conversations: where they were “born” = the first area where they served, where they will “die” which has reference to where they anticipate will be their last service area before they go home, their “sons” = i.e., missionaries they trained, their “fathers” = the trainer in their very first area, a “grandfather” = the missionary who trained their trainer, and so on.

The Calgary Temple is open again after a two-week maintenance closure. Kathy and I were able to go and perform some work for family Kathy has identified in her genealogical research. We usually go with Elder and Sister Peppinger but they have their son visiting and are out in the Banff area with him over the weekend.

Yesterday we cleaned our apartment, after which I got the car washed and vacuumed and the oil changed. Later in the day we went to a Provincial Park wilderness area close to our home for a hike. The area is called Fish Creek Provincial Park. Fish Creek is a lesser river in the area but has unspoiled areas on both sides of the river and it extends all the way across Calgary in a generally west to east direction. The biking and hiking trails there are wonderful. I will include a few pictures we took along the way. As you can see, some of the trees have begun to change and the temperature is definitely getting cooler; Fall is arriving in Alberta.


Old horse barn built by a rancher family along Fish Creek - about 1905. 
Today we stayed home and went to our “home Ward”, the Heritage Ward. Being Fast and Testimony Sunday, we heard some wonderful testimonies including one from our new missionary from Germany who just arrived on Tuesday. His English is excellent and his knowledge and testimony of the Gospel are wonderful. He is impressive, and Kathy and I can practice our German on him!

We hope you and your families are well. We are grateful for our own families and are looking forward to our trip to Miles City, Montana in two weeks for a family gathering and to see my twin grandson’s off for their own missions. As mentioned in a previous blog, both of them will be serving American Sign Language missions, one in the Las Angeles area and the other in Rochester, New York. 

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