Sunday, February 5, 2017

Blog for February 5, 2017

Quite a different winter than last year……


 Last December as we knew we were coming to Calgary to begin our mission, we were concerned about what the winter would hold. The weather was bitter cold that December as we arrived and we were certain we would turn into Popsicles, but, alas, the weather turned moderate and the remainder of the winter was quite mild. This year has proved to be quite a different experience, - more cold and more snow. It is snowing as I write this and quite cold, but so far we are not Popsicles. Last week I told of the Chinooks that bring warmer weather to the area and we have enjoyed the effects of our recent Chinook which took away most of the December and January snow. Now, with the accumulating snow received over the past few days, we will look forward to the next Chinook.

Work has been busy; I was able to finally to complete the data entry process for the car inspections done in January. Data entry is a laborious and boring part of my job, but the time intensive part of the inspection process is the follow up part, viz., arranging the needed servicing for items revealed through the inspections. This requires communicating with the service facilities and with the missionaries to coordinate schedules, then following up to make sure it all happens according to plan.

I have mentioned in a past blog of the process of ordering and then receiving new vehicles. Nine new vehicles have been ordered; ordinarily, these take about two months before they start arriving. To my surprise, I received a call from Toyota indicating the first of these cars is to arrive on Monday and the others by the 10th of this month. It would have been nice to take a big breath before starting a new round of moving cars about the mission to put the new ones into service and bring the older ones out of service and getting them ready to be sold.

Wintertime driving conditions certainly do add to the accident rates involving our mission cars. We have about a 50:50 mix of our missionaries sliding into others and others sliding into our mission vehicles. Either way, it is a challenge keeping up needed repairs to keep our cars in service. For those who read last week’s blog, I told of someone backing up and into the front bumper of one of our cars. I included a picture of the car as I closed out that blog. This week I will include a picture of the same car being hauled away for repairs. This will give you a mental picture as I describe what comes next.

Big boo boo

 I keep a local collision repair place quite busy with damaged cars from the Calgary area. Similarly, this happens in the Lethbridge and Cardston areas as well and to some extent in the BC part of the mission also. Here in Calgary, I have had to bring a second facility into play in order to keep up. And so it goes. I can truly say, there is never a dull moment in the life of a mission vehicle coordinator!

Kathy likewise has been very busy. In addition to her usual duties (Mission President’s schedule, building scheduling, President’s travel arrangements, handling of medical bills, gas card receipts), she also has responsibility to put together the mission history for the year. This was particularly difficult last year being new to the area and to the mission. She had to reach out and pull in information and pictures from all over the mission despite being new. This year was somewhat easier as she knew who to talk to and what the job entailed. We are looking forward to reading it as it is nearing completion.
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All too soon it will be over, - our mission that is. All three of the office couples are looking with some alarm as the end of our missions approach; the Peppingers in February (are now extending into March), the Sefciks in March, and then Kathy and I in May. We know others will be assigned and will arrive eager to begin, but our concern is that our replacements might arrive after we have left. Couples assigned have usually gone to the MTC for training, but, as was our experience, the training does not prepare one for the myriad of details that the tasks require nor how to make it work under local conditions. It certainly works best to arrive and have a week or two to learn the details from those who have been in the trenches. Tis not a perfect world!

The temple is closed for a few weeks for some upkeep and minor repairs so on Friday evening we went to see the latest Star Wars movie, “Rogue One”. I loved it but Kathy was not quite so enthusiastic. Peppingers went with us and we also went to one of our favorite restaurants nearby the theater, so that was a change from our usual Friday evenings.

From time to time we get an opportunity to have our pictures taken with some of our missionaries as they stop at the office to get mail and supplies. It is always fun to see them. Thursday, Elders Murdock and Smith stopped by. They serve way out in BC and were in Calgary for a Mission Leadership Conference the day before. I will include the picture below.

Elder Smith, me, Kathy, Sis Peppinger, Elder Peppinger, Elder Murdock

 Before I close, may I say how much the Church needs you to step up and volunteer to serve. There are so many ways senior couples can serve and somewhere among these opportunities is the perfect fit for you. Many of you who read this blog (and the blogs of others who are serving couples missions) are in retirement or nearing retirement. Yes, missions are busy and you work hard, but there are few things in life as rewarding and filled with joy as serving with these wonderful young missionaries. We have a message to share with the world, a message the world so desperately needs. The Lord needs you!

Have a wonderful week (regardless of how the Super Bowl turns out; - I am taping it to watch later).

With much love,

Elder and Sister Thorley

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