This week was a busy one. We began our training with the Jessens. They wanted us to be able to participate in a transfer period before they leave. I can't begin to express the love and admiration that I feel for the Jessens and the Residoris. Those two couples created a very organized, efficient, fun and warm atmosphere in the office. I know that while the Jessens, Residoris and Mortons have served, every missionary knew they as missionaries had value. I have only begun to see all of the things that the Jessens have taken care of, and they also made the missionaries comfortable and made it fun. Add to that group the Mortons who live in the area and were supposed to be part-time, but Sister Morton worked full-time on medical needs and Elder Morton took care of bicycles and helped out in lots of other ways, I love those people. They have left impossible shoes to fill.
But they have all completed the time of their assignments and are returning to their families. So, on Tuesday we went to stay with the Jessens so we would not have to commute in the traffic (it is a 45 minute drive from our apartment during non-traffic times). The first day was spent in getting the new missionaries from the airport. We didn't have a large group come in this time. When they arrive, there is an orientation for them to explain how things work. After the orientation, they spend the night at the mission home with President and Sister Bennion.
On Wednesday, transfers take place. The Assistants have to figure out where each companionship will meet. That takes amazing logistical planning. We had so many apartment closures and changes this time that missionaries were coming and going like crazy. We had to account for phones, house keys, and car keys. I was responsible for changing the phone assignments on a list. Thankfully, Sister Jessen is really good at this and had planned ahead so we had a list of the changes. That helped, but it was still a challenge.
The outgoing missionaries are loaded into a van and allowed to attend a Temple session. That is one of the things the missionaries most value.
On Wednesday night, our mission serves the outgoing missionaries dinner and then has a fireside in which each of them has a short time to bear testimony and say good-bye. Missionaries get to invite people they have grown to love here. The local wards generously bring cookies to serve afterwards. I heard that we had 250 in attendance, but I counted a lot more than that.
I made around 100 cookies and so did another of the office missionaries. I am guessing we had about 500 cookies and they were all gone.
On Thursday morning, we got up early to be at the mission home for breakfast. We loaded up missionaries and took them to the airport. We had 21 leave this time, but it was so well organized that it was a smooth trip. I was not as emotional as usual. I guess it is because I was trying to learn my job.
Our new home is a house where we live on the upper floors and the Assistants live in the basement. One of the sweet things that the Jessens have done is establish a good-night ritual with the Assistants. It reminds me a bit of days when we were raising teenagers, except the Assistants are cooperative and do not complain.
On Thursday night, we attended a Temple session in Portuguese. This Thursday we will do so again.
On Friday, we helped our Cumorah sisters to get rid of some things other missionaries had left. Missionaries are notorious for leaving things behind when transferred or going home. It is amazing what exists in apartments!
On Saturday, we helped deep clean our Branch building, then helped a family in the Branch move into a house. We are very happy for them, but sad to have them move from the part of the city where they had been living because they were so helpful being close to the building. This is a special family who have worked hard to be able to buy a home. Thanks to our missionaries who are serving in the other ward (our missionaries were already moving someone else) Elder Dixon's back held up and it was done quickly.
To top off the week, we attended a production of "Tarzan" done by the CYT (Christian Youth Theater) because one of our Young Men was in it. I was so proud to see that he had stated in the program that he will be serving a mission! Great way to start sharing! We hope to support other activities and productions of the youth in our Branch and the investigators.