It is hard to believe that February is over! We have been on our mission almost 7 months now! It seems like we just got here. We have learned so much and been able to meet so many good people. What a joy it has been to be here!
I thought that I would recap what has been going on in our mission so far. Many have asked me to tell what we our schedule is like.
When we first arrived in the MTC on August 5th we really had no idea what was ahead of us. The MTC was wonderful! We were there with the largest group of Senior Missionaries that had ever come in one week! It was interesting to note that it wasn't only the younger missionaries who are feeling an increased desire to serve. The Lord is encouraging us old folks too! That week was over too fast. We loved the spirit and the things we learned. Then off to California.
We arrived on a Tuesday, met the missionary in charge of housing and got out keys and settled in our funny little apartment. We found our way to the mission office the next day (with the miracle of GPS!) to meet the mission president to find out what great things he had planned for us to do on our mission. That meeting was a bit of a puzzle to us! President Clayton is a wonderful man and we enjoyed talking to him but he didn't give us much direction. We were surprised. He told us the name of our Stake President that we had been assigned to and told us to contact him to see which ward he wanted us to help with. And then he told us that we would need to find lots of other things to fill our time. He encouraged us to be creative and find ways to help the work! He encouraged us that we were adults and didn't need to be "commanded in all things." We quickly called our Stake President and got the name of the bishop of our ward and was able to get involved quickly in the ward. But there was so much more time in our days that just wasn't full. We kept looking, praying, going to the temple - I think we went three times in the first week. We were really wondering if it was worth it to leave our family to come out and not be busy. Looking back at those days, we really should have enjoyed the time and used it to explore San Diego and sight see. But we felt like we should be doing better things with our time. The other Senior Missionaries kept telling us that things will work out and that in three months (!) time we would be busy and settled in to many things. We thought if it took three months we would be severely depressed.
We checked many different things. Just down the street from us is a great Family History Center. I thought that it would be lots of fun to serve there. Roger wasn't so sure. The Director there acted like we were angels from heaven and courted us to take over his spot. He kept us there hours telling us what they needed there. It overwhelmed us a bit to say the least. We talked about being ordinance workers at the temple. We thought we might be able to volunteer with many different civic things, maybe have Roger help coach a soft ball team at the local high school.
We were lucky to be in the same complex as another Senior Couple who were serving at the Mormon Battalion and who never seemed to have a minute to spare. They told us that they had not had a P day for over a month! We asked if we could help out there and they said that you actually had to be called there to help out there so it probably would not work. Then one day they called us and told us to meet them at the Battalion and go to dinner with them after their shift. We showed up there and were greeted by the Director of the Mormon Battalion and his wife, Ed and Sherrie Seegmiller and the Rockwells. We went to a wonderful dinner where they asked us about serving there and we were excited. They needed to talk to the mission president and ask if they could use us there because we are under him and our primary calling is Member and Leadership Support Missionaries. So we waited and waited for days for a call back. The longer we waited the more sure we were that we weren't going to be able to serve there. Finally I talked Roger in to called Elder Seegmiller and ask what had happened. He said that the mission president had OKed us working there as long as we remember that it is our secondary assignment and that our ward comes first! Yay! We knew that we would be able to fill our time with good things.
Within a couple of weeks, thanks to the Mormon Battalion we were up and running and haven't stopped since. Here is a list of the things that we are involved in.
We have been helping in many ways in our ward. We have been getting to know the strong members and helping the weaker ones. As we got acquainted in the ward we have realized that the wards here are so different in many ways! There are tons of names on the ward list that no one even knows or have ever heard of. There are tons of others who are inactive and not coming any more. And there a few stalwart people running the ward. We have organized a Rescue Mission in the ward and are working on finding out if the people still live in the ward and if they don't work on finding where they are so that they can be found. Also trying to find out if there is any interest in coming back and inviting them to be involved in some way - having home or visiting teachers, coming to parties or coming back to church. Mostly we are finding those who are not interested in coming back or have moved. But every now and then - when we are the most tired of looking and when we are sure that this next person will not want to talk to us too - we find a nice person who will talk to us and let us in their hearts. We have been working with many ward members who need more encouragement and specific help. Some struggle with activity, others with mental and physical health problems. We try to encourage and support. We have been invited to dinner with our missionaries into homes of the members which is a wonderful opportunity. We go to Ward Council each week and Missionary Correlation meetings. Lots of fun stuff to do in our ward and some hard stuff.
We serve at the Mormon Battalion about 24 hours per week. We are on shift with the Sister Missionaries and I am usually at the desk trying to keep track of where each sister is, where each tour is, how many are waiting for a tour and where they are, greeting guests, enjoying the sisters there etc. Roger is walking through the Battalion and making sure of the safety of the guests and the sisters. He is in charge of keeping the equipment working - mostly we call Salt Lake and they walk us through how to fix things or they can fix a lot of things from there. On Tuesdays, it is the sisters P day so we are there with the other Senior Couples. It is a fun day to be able to talk to them and also be the ones giving the tours. We just got a new couple this week and they don't know the tour yet. So there were only 4 of us who could give a tour. We spent the whole day giving tours non-stop and coming back in to the entry to find another tour there waiting for us. I gave six tours and two short tours. It was a fun day and time went by quickly.
We also have been given extra assignments at the Battalion. We are in charge of social media and internet advertising. We get to meet with lots of great people - rangers, tour guides, business owners, Old Town people etc and try to be a good example of the church. We love our association with these people and are making wonderful friends. I have been asked to be the Recording Secretary of the San Diego Professional Tour Guides Association. I thought it would be a nice little job to help us get to know people better and it is turning out to be something that they actually want me to DO stuff. It will be a good experience and I am getting to know the other board members in a way I wouldn't be able to otherwise. I felt that I should say yes to this position and we will see where it leads us.... We also get to go to the temple and work in the "Visitor's Center" there sometimes. It is basically a tent out in front of the temple. They have had a center planned several times but it keeps getting cut for other things. We are able to visit with those who are walking around the temple, show them pictures of the inside of the temple and explain what we do in temples. We have been able to get many referrals and give them to missionaries to teach.
We have monthly Family Home Evenings with the other Senior Couples where we can socialize and learn some good things. There are great people who we will be friends with for a long time I am sure. We are able to get together at other times just to play. We are going to the BYU/San Diego game on Saturday with two of the couples.
We have also volunteered and gone through training to be ushers at the three theaters in Balboa Park. We go with several of the tour guides in the SDPTGA and usually go to dinner before. We have met some great people doing this too. We socialize with them in other ways too. Love them.
Roger gets to the beach a couple of times a week and I am able to exercise in our heated pool here at our complex. Oh it is heavenly! We love the weather here!
We love the different things we are doing. We feel so blessed to be busy. Many of the Senior Couples haven't been able to find as much to do and are still searching to stay busy.