Blog for October 9th, 2016
What a busy week…….!
This week has been a most stressful week thus far in our mission in terms of being busier than I would like; viz., new missionaries arriving, training for the new missionaries, the visit of my other boss (the North American fleet manager) and others, the arrival of a bunch of new vehicles, arranging for car repairs for cars needing to be sold, missionary transfers, missionary car accidents, and getting everything done up in sufficient time to get away to meet my daughter and her family in Banff. Now the details……
Recalling Monday is vague other than considerable scrambling to prepare as much as possible for all that would be happening during the week. This included arranging work to be done on several vehicles needing body and fender work and paint touchup in preparation to put on the market for sale. Late in the day we received a call from our wonderful ward bishop in Sandy. He is also President and Sister Miles' bishop. Bishop Pingree and his wife had been in Vancouver for a conference, then took a train trip through the Canadian Rockies to Banff. At Banff they got off the train, rented a car, and at the time of their call were on their way to see Calgary as well and were wondering if we could meet them for dinner, which we did, We had a wonderful visit and got caught up with all that is going on in the ward and stake at home.
|Bishop and Sister Pingree, President and Sister Miles|
Tuesday morning I made a trip to the airport and picked up several new missionaries. This was followed in the afternoon by the training the office staff provides. Also arriving on Tuesday at noon was the Church fleet manager from Church headquarters, Bro. Paul. He attended our new missionary training and we had a chance to visit some over dinner where he informed me that some new Toyota RAV 4s were on order and should arrive soon.
Wednesday morning, Bro. Paul came to the office to conduct some training and discuss our situation. In the midst of that training I got a call from one of the Calgary Toyota dealers informing me that they had six RAV 4s waiting to be delivered and that six more would be arriving any day. So the cars got delivered that morning and Bro. Paul got to see the delivery end of a process he sets in motion when the cars are ordered from Salt Lake. He and others in his office negotiate the purchase of these vehicles directly from the car manufacturers. I think it was interesting to him to see the other end of the pipeline. He helped me get all the cars inspected as they arrived and we got them parked and put to bed for the time being, so to speak. Bro. Paul was able to show me some aspects of the CARS program, which I use daily keeping track of the details for each car that comes to us. The CARS program is an online data base management system the Church has in place to manage all of the Church fleet. From Calgary Bro. Paul drove on to Edmonton to visit the mission there.
Thursday was transfer day, which I have described before. This entails my driving the missionaries going to the south mission, then loading up the missionaries being transferred to the north part of the mission and making the return trip.
|A trailer full of luggage goes with the missionaries|
Thursday’s trip included taking three vehicles to the south mission, facilitating the swap of a couple of cars from areas being closed to areas being opened, receiving two cars from areas being closed, and returning with the cars that were replaced by the newer cars; in short, three cars went south and five cars came back so now there are a few more vehicles awaiting preparation for sale. This will be the pattern for the next few transfers; during the summer and earlier this fall we were getting more missionaries coming in than the numbers going home, but we will now see the reverse of this until the end of school next spring. Where we were needing to keep cars that ordinarily would have been sold in order to provide cars to missionaries going to areas being opened, now the numbers of missionaries will be dropping until springtime. For me in my work, as these areas close we move cars around so that the older cars come here to be prepped and sold. With the arrival of the new RAV 4s, we will need to sell 15 vehicles.
Friday we were faced with trying to get out of the office early so we could meet my daughter, Brooke, and her family in Banff. (All summer they have been planning to take a Fall vacation in Montana in order to see Flathead Lake, Glacier National Park, and Whitefish, then continue on into the Banff National Park so they could spend some time with us.) Ordinarily on Fridays during transfer week I take the outgoing missionaries to the airport. Fortunately Elder Sefcik was willing to take them to the airport as I needed to prepare a plan for car assignments to a meeting with the mission president, which suddenly now needed to include where to place these new vehicles. I went into the office very early to work on a plan to present to President Miles, and everything seemed to be falling nicely into place; then a phone call came during the meeting informing me and the president that one mission car had just backed into another mission car after a zone planning meeting. One car had already safely moved out of the parking space and was moving forward when the driver suddenly realized he had forgotten to mention something he needed to tell another missionary. He quickly put the car in reverse and began moving backward just as another set of missionaries pulled out of a parking space moving forward and, Bam!, proving yet again that two cars cannot occupy the same space at the same time. The one car, a Cruze, was so badly damaged that the driver’s door couldn’t be opened and the front wheel was bent. The accident cut our meeting short so I could investigate and figure out what needed to be done. This involved arranging for a tow to the Chevy dealer where the repairs will be made. Accidents prompt a whole sequence of events including making sure the missionaries inform the police so they can investigate (if they so choose), arranging for an alternate vehicle for the missionaries not at fault, and getting the missionaries online to provide documentation of an incident involving a Church vehicle. The fact that we had had a couple of inches of snow earlier in the day had no bearing on the accident.
It continues to amaze me how backing up accidents continue to happen when the non-driving companion is required to get out of the vehicle to guide the driver while backing up so that such accidents can be avoided. This is a frequent topic at zone conferences and it was just covered yet again just two weeks ago at each zone conference where we had pairs of missionaries demonstrating how this process works. Statistics show that backing up accidents are the most common and costly accidents missionaries have, so lots of attention is placed on this in training; still the accidents happen.
In any case, we did manage to get on our way to Banff by 3:00 p.m. where we met Brooke and her family at our timeshare (see previous blogs about the timeshare; we go as often as possible). The weather was a bit rainy and cloudy, which made for some great pictures. These are some we took on the way from the main highway to the Worldmark Timeshare.
|Bow River and the Bow River Valley in Canmore, AB|
|Approaching the timeshare|
|Approaching the timeshare|
We went to dinner that evening and visited and made plans for the following day. It was a wonderful reunion.
On Saturday, yesterday, we got up and headed for Lake Louise. Unusual for this time of year in the Park, it rained lightly on us all the way to Lake Louise. The pictures that follow are all from the shores of Lake Louise, which you can see has not yet frozen. The glaciers that feed the lake are not visible due to the clouds. The unusual color is from the sediment in the glacier melt. It is more beautiful than the pictures portray.
|The Knight family. Brooke is my second daughter.|
|Elder and Sister Thorley. It is not as cold as it might look.|
We had decided to also make a hike to a couple of lakes higher up. The trail was initially fairly gradual and okay for Kathy’s knee at first, but then the rain turned to snow and the trail got steeper and the accumulating snow made it more difficult.
|On the trail to Lake Angie above Lake Louise.|
|A pause on the trail at Mirror Lake|
Periodically we could look down on Lake Louise through the trees and revel in the beauty of the beautiful jade color of the lake and the grandeur of the mountains towering over the lake.
Kathy and I got as far as the first lake, which is known as Mirror Lake. We stopped to take a few pictures before the others continued up to the higher lake, Angie's Lake.
|Mirror Lake. No controlled outlet; the water seeps down into the rocks.|
|A pause on the trail|
|More from Mirror Lake|
|Yup, its me. At Mirror Lake|
Kathy and I then slowly made our way back down as the others continued on up to the higher lake. The downslopping trail made the footing treacherous. Despite the challenges of the weather, the hike was beautiful! The snow was falling so gently as there was no wind, and the beauty of the area is wonderful.
This next shot is of Kathy as we again neared the bottom of the trail at Lake Louise. The beautiful hotel in the background is the Lake Louise Hotel. It is the place we went last winter (as shown in a previous blog) to see the ice sculptures. A wedding was being conducted in the area between the walk and the hotel. There were 75-100 in attendance. As we walked by on the trail, the groom was waxing long and eloquent in his vows. In the meantime, the bridesmaids stood shivering in their sleeveless dresses. Finally when the wedding was over, there was a loud whoop; partly, we guess, because the couple were wed, but also because it was time to go inside and get warm!
In the meantime the Knights made it up to Lake Angie where there is a teahouse at the top (bakery goods and hot drinks. (The supplies are taken up each day by horseback). The Knights stopped and had some hot chocolate before making their way back down. We joined up with them again at the bottom and made our way back to Canmore (near Banff) where our timeshare is located; there we BBQ’d some steaks and chicken, small potatoes, and corn on the cob, and had some Caesar's Salad, - all of which we had brought with us with that in mind. Sam, Brooke’s husband, is a marvel with BBQ’g. The meal was great. Sorry, no pictures! Too busy eating I guess.
Today we parted company with Brooke and family who continued on to Great Falls, Montana, for the night. Kathy and I returned home for our church meetings and have rested up this afternoon. Today was my sister, Ann’s, birthday so we had a nice visit by telephone. Ann only recently returned from serving a mission in the New York North Mission. While I talked with sister, Ann, Kathy was chatting with her daughter, Kristie. Suddenly Kristi exclaimed, "There is a naked man walking by our house!" She notified the police; then texted back a short time later to report the man had escaped from the mental hospital which is not far away. Life is full of surprises!
We have had reports that twin grandsons, Jonah and Ethan, are finding the ASL language training at the MTC a real challenge but are progressing well. We are so pleased with them and the decision they have made to serve.
So, it has been an exhausting week. Tomorrow is Canadian Thanksgiving Day and the office will be closed; however, I plan to go to the office in any case and prepare files for all the new cars, those received and for those cars to be delivered during this coming week. Despite the challenges of our mission, it is fun. “No one said it would be easy, only that it would be worth it” and this applies to our mission as well. Have a great week!
Love, Evan and Kathy