Welcome to the Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission office on the day before transfers! Yes, that is my lunch that brought me this afternoon. Most of it is still on the plate but there was no time to worry about food. The mess is commissary, mail, packets for the new missionaries, this month's Ensign & Liahona for all the companionships and even a washer & dryer going to one of the apartments. But this isn't the craziest part of the day.
Marc & I came into the office this morning at 7:30 because I had a ton of things to do. I knew the new missionary list would be coming in from Salt Lake which requires the large envelope full of info for new elders and sisters, entering info into IMOS, new files, etc. We received 8 new elders--no sisters assigned to us this week. They'll be coming in sometime between May and August. After getting the messages off the phone and filling IMOS info, Sister O and I went over to the mission home to pick up cake pans and ingredients to help Sister Wall make lime jello poke cakes for tomorrow's lunch. We also raided her recipe file for some of the great recipes she's used while here in the mission. She's getting good at serving large amounts of people in a short amount of time. She doesn't cook for all occasions, but pretty often.
Just after we arrived back at the office I took a call from Elder C, a new elder from the Mexico MTC. The 3 missionaries from Mexico had arrived in Dallas and were waiting for the 7 others from the Provo MTC. The connecting flight from Dallas to Baton Rouge had been canceled--probably due to bad weather here--and he was a little concerned! I can hardly blame him. All of the 10 incoming missionaries had probably been up since 2 or 3 am because their flights were very early. The next flight to BR was full but chances of getting 10 people standby on a full flight are slim to none. (A little side note on the weather. We went from 80 to 40 degrees between Sunday night and Monday. And the rain today is that freezing cold kind that, we found out later, had caused the freeways to have to close again. It's just not a good thing when the bridges freeze, but that's a whole other issue that I didn't need to worry about.)
I called the travel girl in Salt Lake who handles all of our flights, both incoming and go homes. Mind you, she manages the travel for 65 missions! Holy Cow!!! This lady will bend over backward for us and today was no different. The best option we had was to reroute them to New Orleans. The only other possibility was to put them in a hotel and bring them in tomorrow morning. Um. Not a chance. On transfer day there wouldn't even be anyone available to go to the airport. Travel lady talked to Pres Wall and the arrangements were made. Everyone was scrambling to get the Wall's, the van and the trailer (to carry 25 pieces of luggage to New Orleans).
We didn't hear much for awhile, then, around 3 pm, we discovered that the missionaries were safely on their way to Baton Rouge but their luggage wasn't! Worse than that, they're told to bring an overnight bag to stay at the mission home tonight. Normally their luggage is safely stowed till tomorrow when they meet their new companions and head to their first areas, and all they need is a few overnight items. Unfortunately, for some reason the airline made them check all of their carry-ons. Oh, our poor missionaries. They arrived with whatever they had in their pockets or purses. No comb, brush, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, change of clothes--NOTHING! I guess you could say they started their missions with a real adventure.
I'm excited to meet them tomorrow morning and put the names with the faces that I've seen dozens of times and grown to love already. This is the first group of missionaries that I really feel a relationship. I'd just like to call them my firstborns in the mission:)
It's not likely that I'll be posting tomorrow because we'll be busy from before dawn till well past dark. After we do the orientation at the mission home we'll get back to the office to get a few daily chores accomplished, pick up about 18 trays of Subway sandwiches then back to the Stake Center for transfers, help serve lunch and clean up. We should be back to the office by 3:30 or 4, breathe, then the temple session at 5:30. With a little luck we'll be home around 8:30.