Sunday, February 12, 2017

Delightful----weather, food, and friends!

For contrast, compare with last week's photo. Much warmer!!

 Wow, warmer temperatures and melting snow as we enjoy yet another Chinook. The warmer temperatures bring with them wet, slushy, and sloppy roads but we’ll take it despite the challenge of maintaining a clean car with all the road spray and splashing slush. We will continue to have above average temperatures for the next several days, As I said, we’ll take it!

We have one rather unfortunate thing happen in the mission this past week. With all the snow we have had (and this was especially so out in British Columbia where this incident happened), a couple of our missionaries thought it would be fun to jump from the back deck of their apartment into the pile of snow below. Unfortunately, the snow didn’t provide much push back as they jumped and one of them drove right through the snow into the ground and broke his femur bone. He ended up in surgery to repair the fracture.

We have received five new Toyota RAV4s with three more to arrive soon. These are intended to replace eight of our higher mileage vehicles (yes, Canadians refer to this as “high mileage” even though the distance and the odometer readings are in kilometers). At the same time, however, these replacement vehicles are just that, replacements. I have been instructed that seven additional vehicles must come out of our fleet to get our vehicle numbers back down to the authorized number, 86. These seven vehicles will not be replaced, so I am struggling with determining which areas will lose cars and become walking areas or return to shared car areas (there are a number of these in our mission where one companionship has the car one week and the other companionship has it the next week). We have known this was coming but were hoping to stall until Spring when the weather would be better. The bottom line, the number of cars having to be moved will be large as it will include the ones coming out of the fleet, the old cars needing to come to the mission office to be sold, and the new cars being placed in the fleet. The logistics of this needs to be worked out ASAP as this coming week is out transfer week.

We will be getting new missionaries on Tuesday and sending the ones completing their missions home on Friday. In between these events, there is the usual Thursday migration as some missionaries will be transferring to the south mission and others coming from the south to the north mission. The picture below is of Kathy and I with two of the ones being affected, Sister Blaser, who is going home, and her companion Sister Melville. It is always sad when missionaries drop by and have pictures taken with us as they prepare to leave, but it is nice to be able to give them a hug and wish them well and invite them to become Facebook friends so we can continue to follow them in their post-mission life.

Sisters Melville and Blaser

 On Friday evening, we were invited by Elder and Sister Sefcik to attend a gathering of High Priests and their wives in the Fish Creek Stake. Elder Sefcik is the High Priest Group Leader in his ward. The event was wonderful; very well organized and very well attended with over 400 hundred in attendance. (We are thinking, “Why doesn’t our stake at home do something like this?”). 

Kathy, Sister Sefcik, Elder Sefcik

The evening began with dinner (delicious roast beef and mashed potatoes, Cesar salad, rolls (actually the Canadian term for rolls is “buns”), gravy, and fruit salad, then banana split cake for desert. The event had a Masters of Ceremonies, who attempted to entertain us with corny jokes but also was there to introduce several musical numbers including ones by a band. Incidentally, the band stayed after the dinner and played for the dancing which followed. It was a wonderful evening.

Over the months we have been here in Canada, we have become very good friends with a local couple, the Swendsons. We have posted pictures of gatherings at their home to which we have been invited. 

Brother Swendson at work

Anyway, Bro. Swendson is retiring soon so that he and his wife can serve a mission. They just received their mission call and will be serving in the North Adriatic Mission where they will oversee humanitarian services in Serbia. That whole area has experienced a huge influx of Syrian refugees fleeing from their homeland due to the ongoing war. Last year the Church spent over 7 million dollars just in Serbia alone for refugee aid. Prior to retirement, Elder Swendson was a senior VP of one of the Canadian banks. He has served as a Stake President, he is a temple sealer, and is the Executive Secretary to the Area Seventy, Elder Spackman. Sister Swendson has likewise had a lifetime of Church service. Certainly the hand of the Lord is directing this call. They are the perfect people for such a challenging mission assignment. Our Christmastime. 

Have a wonderful week!

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