Some days I work backward better than forward. This was one of those days. Four weeks before our next group of missionaries enter the MTC I send out a follow-up letter reminding elders and sisters of the things that we still need to receive, ie., a letter to the President, personal and motor vehicle reports, bike info and if it's been ordered and current cell phone and work numbers and email and/or change of addresses. Can you imagine a missionary moving after they've turned in their papers? :)
All the letters were ready--signed and sealed--and put aside to be mailed on Monday. Because it's transfers next week I'm doing as much as possible this week. When I say everything will hit the fan that's not an understatement. Then I realized that the checklists were included in the sealed and stamped envelope without the president's letter. Oh, boo! I gently pealed off the stamp because there's no way I was wasting all those forever stamps. I'll get over the squandered envelopes. Okay. Round two. Got the letters printed and they were totally unacceptable. For some reason the recipient's' addresses were right underneath the letterhead address with no space at all. Um no--that won't work! Can I just go back, put a space and reprint. Oh no! It requires going to "home," to "letters," to the arrival date, get the incoming list, generate a PDF report, edit, retype all the addresses, then print. You'd better believe that I went immediately and changed the template, because when I do this again in 6 weeks I won't remember that there was a problem. Round three. This time everything was perfect and ready to go again when the mailman (yes mailman, not mail person) delivered the mail which included a returned first pre-MTC packet saying "unclaimed" for an elder who's supposed to be getting the 2nd letter next week. No wonder he hasn't returned any of the requested information! I'll get to the rest of this story later.
We had our 8th accident--one of which was totaled--in 5 weeks. Another missionary is now "red-dotted" for making a lane change and sort of swiping the car in the next lane. So glad Elder Adkins does those reports.
There was a message from Miss D in Salt Lake who'd been in New Orleans and made contact with someone who'd like to talk to the missionaries. Great! Those are good referrals, so I called her back to get the important details, like name, address, phone number, and I reached a wrong number. Really, Mimi? You can't even write the number correctly? And of course I'd erased the message. I'm praying, yes really praying, that Miss D will call back. She's already thinking I'm a flake for not contacting her.
One of the 2nd pre-MTC letter is going to an elder with some minimal special needs. He lives in one state and his mom and step-dad live in another. We've had more contact with step-dad than with the elder. Step-dad (I don't like that term so I'm going to call him dad) has been attentive and concerned. We sent him a copy of several pages so he'd know what Elder G needs to do. Here's another elder who also hasn't turned anything in yet. So I called dad, and, as luck would have it, the number's been disconnected. End of the line for that communication. If we don't hear from Elder G soon, Elder L will get to call the Bishop for assistance.
All of this before noon and I was starting to talk to myself--out loud. But then the day started to turn for the better. I finally got to the box in the mail that was addressed to Elder Lauper, aka Elder Cajun, and Sister Lauper, aka Sister Cajun 2 or Sister Creole. It was from Bronson and Rosa and was filled with Trader Joe goodies-salted butterscotch caramels, English toffee, Belgian cookies, dried cranberries, sesame honey cashew, dried persimmons and artwork from Ara (and her dad)! Thanks Lauper's, for a taste of home.
Someone's house in Denham Springs Stake burned down awhile ago. That's not the good news. I'm not sure who was doing a fundraiser to help with the expenses of rebuilding, but a member of the DS Stake Presidency told the elders to come and pick up food for all of us in the office. So we dined on jambalaya, rice and white beans.
The travel request for go-homes goes into the computer 3 months before their releases. I managed to get 10 into the system without incident but went over every bit of it with a fine tooth comb every step of the way. Electronics just keep amazing me. Almost immediately it shoots back a list with every traveller, their ID#, travel date, departing and arriving airports and confirmation #. Whew. That was a relief.
Wonderful news about the missionary from yesterday who'll be going home tomorrow for surgery. It's serious enough to need to go home and get taken care of but not debilitating or life threatening. Another answered prayer.
I managed to burn CDs for next week's go-homes without any help, because there was no one in the office who could help. In fact, there was no one in the office at all, so I was on my own and determined to be successful.
It gets better. A mom, whose missionary was supposed to enter the mission field about 6 months ago called to say he definitely wouldn't be coming out. All I know about the elder is that it started with medical problems before he entered the MTC. They'd already had a new bike sent and it's being stored in its original box in the mission home garage. Could she donate it to a needy elder? She's also sending a new helmet and bike lock. Normally we can't even try to help missionaries buy and sell bikes because of liability issues which I've mentioned before, but I told mom I'd see what we could do. This becomes the Paul Harvey "rest of the story."
After the pre-MTC #1 packet came in the mail I tried to call the elder but only got his voicemail. I left a message but didn't hear from him yet. We called his Bishop but could only talk to the wife as he was at work. We were going to call tonight, but Sister Bishop called back and told us we could get more information from the Ward Exec Secretary. He didn't answer either so Marc called tonight to request a usable address. Brother S said we could send it to him and he'd help the elder get things completed. Then the sensitive question--would the ward be helping to support the elder? Brother B said they'd be assisting. I forgot to mention that the elder's parents are both non-members, divorced, and he doesn't live with either of them but has been on his own for awhile. You've already figured out that the bike was meant for this elder. It's no coincidence that the returned envelope and phone call came the same day. And to make this better, President Wall popped into the office about the time we were getting ready to leave, and I was able to explain the situation to him. His response was "Yeah! Let's do it!" He had absolutely no reservations. Wonderful man! I"m thinking about the mom whose son won't be serving but the joy she'll receive knowing that she's contributing to someone else's mission for the entire 2 years. This is just one of the mission miracles and another "tender mercy" of the Lord.
This is my last story, because it's 9:40 and past my bedtime. Sister Wall mentioned that she was looking for more Pink Lemonade cake mix and frosting but hadn't been able to find it. We needed to go to Target so I thought I'll just see if they had any. It's a spring thing so won't be in the stores for long. I texted Sister Wall thinking we'd found it when Marc brought to my attention that it was just the cake mix, not the frosting. Too late:( Sister Wall texted right back and was so excited, and I was so in trouble. So now the quest was on. Lucky me. It only took one more store to find the rest. Happy day!
I thought I was done, but NO. Sadly, Marc just got a call from President Wall that another vehicle was just totaled. And their 2 bikes were on the back as he was rear-ended by a truck whose transmission failed. Luckily no one was hurt, and it wasn't the missionary's fault. No red dot! Now I'm really done and heading for La La Land. Warning. I won't be proofreading this till tomorrow.