That's pretty much all we have done all week. Monday and Tuesday were relatively normal days taking care of this and that in preparation for the missionaries returning home and the incoming missionaries. Monday night since we drive the giant van we were tasked with picking up all the missionaries who were going home the following day and took them to our townhome so they would have a place to lay their head. It was pretty entertaining watching all these missionaries walk around the house like zombies, conscious of their imminent doom of returning home. That night when we tried to go to bed they mostly just spent time tossing war stories back and forth from their two years of experience under their belt. Eventually we got to bed around midnight only to have the alarm go off at 5 the following morning so people could start taking showers since they had to leave around 7 that morning. My companion and I stayed behind and cleaned up around the house in preparation for the incoming missionaries that night so they had a good example of what missionary housing is to look like (not to say that we don't clean throughout the other six weeks because we do). We finally finish that afternoon and after sharing some pizza with some fellow missionaries one last time we took off walking the 4 miles to our area. Since the van is technically the transfer van and transfers were now upon us we were sore out of luck in terms of transportation. Having not walked that far at one given time in a very long time (I can't remember the last time to be honest) it was surprisingly strenuous and made me extremely grateful for the car we drove. The weather was on our side though as it has been consistently getting warmer (we are into the 50's now – it’s awesome) so it was overall a pleasant afternoon. We (slowly) made our way over to the mission home to look over the missionaries that had arrived earlier in the day from the Provo MTC as the President and the assistants took off to pick up the incoming group from the Mexico MTC. So for two hours we showed them the church and how to properly give a church tour in addition to a walk around the temple grounds as well. Upon the return of the Spanish missionaries from Mexico we (thankfully) took the van back to head to dinner and then make the rounds of goodbyes that night only to return and repeat the process of the night before. The new missionaries all piled into Megatron (our affectionately named van) and headed with us to our humble abode to spend the night. Thankfully since most of them were running on little to no sleep we were able to make it to bed on time and since the numbers were fewer than the preceding night the alarm went off at 6 instead of 5. So we repeated a similar process of short showers and dropping people off Wednesday morning in time for transfers. It was tough saying goodbye to an area and zone after only 6 weeks but I was glad to be going back to the basin.
Upon arrival Othello we still got to sit around for a few hours waiting for people to come and go so that transfers would be finished and were able to go out to work that night but that work came to an abrupt halt Thursday morning. The day started with a trip to Basin City to coordinate with some other missionaries about the upcoming Zone Meeting we would be having and that was finished in time for us to head back down to the very area I had come from not even 24 hours prior for a trainer trainee meeting. There are four companionships out of the 12 in our zone where one is a brand new missionary and so we were invited to attend the meeting that explains to them a little about missionary work. It was a fun meeting to be a part of and enjoy the presence of all the excitement the new missionaries brought to the field. After the meeting we had some dinner and then worked our way over to North Pasco to correlate with a member of the Stake Presidency about the missionary work in that stake. It was a rather inspiring meeting since as we discussed it on the way home, my companion and I - both 19 years of age - are tasked with working with these men that have had twice our age in experience in the church and life. They trust us enough to work closely with these men and I was privileged with this opportunity to learn from some of the finest in the area. After an hour road trip home we made it back in time for a lesson with a recent convert before heading home that night. And then Friday happened.
Friday started off with what's called District Leader Orientation. About what the name implies. There are three District leaders in the zone that have been district leaders for 0, 1, or 2 transfers previous and so we took a few hours to sit them down and tell them what was going on (in a nice way). It was a surprisingly inspiring meeting given that we only had 30 minutes to plan for it between dinner and correlation the previous night. The district leaders were all super young but they have a huge desire to do a good job and so my companion and I are extremely excited for what is going to happen this transfer in working with them. After some pizza we headed home to sit down and plan for another 2 hours in preparation for the Zone Meeting that would occur the following day and despite the limited amount of time the trainings came together super well. We spent a few minutes finally starting the weekly planning that normally occurs on Friday before heading to dinner and then going to work that night since we were both sick of our apartment and wanted to actually do something, not just plan for it.
Saturday started off with what I think was one of the best Zone Meetings I have been to (me running it has nothing to do with it by the way). It was great to see how even though we didn't have as much time as we would have liked to put more thought into the training (our last training was planned for at 6 AM the morning of) the Lord was able to magnify our efforts and carry the spirit of what we wanted to get across to the members of the zone. Once the meeting had concluded and lunch was finished and goodbyes were had, we drove to Les Schwab to fix a flat tire we discovered that morning (when it rains it pours right) and started the weekly planning that was supposed to have occurred the previous day and upon completion of the tire fix we returned home to plan for the upcoming week until dinner and just left all the planning for a later time (we finally finished it Sunday night).
Throughout this whole process of meetings and correlation and planning it’s been interesting to note how the Lord recognizes the time and effort we have to put into the various matters of the zone and since it detracts from our proselyting time He makes the time we do have to go out and work that much more effective. For example, Friday night we only had three hours to work. We were supposed to meet with a kid that is getting baptized soon but for one reason or another it ended up not panning out so we went and tried by a house we felt inspired to try by. We talked with the kid that answered the door for about 15 minutes and left having taught the Restoration, inviting him to be baptized, and a return appointment. That was followed by a lesson where we were finally able to put two kids on date for baptism (just realized I use the word 'kids' a lot - it is referring to people under the age 18, not just like 9 year old kids) that had been needing to happen for a few weeks now.
Overall this past week has been exhausting to say the least but it really has been great to be working with the people I am with and to be back in Othello. The blessings just keep coming and I am super excited to be where I am at right now and the opportunities that are lying just around the corner.
The quote this week comes from our mission president a few weeks ago when he had come to pick up a missionary who had some medical problems. He walked into our house to pick up the luggage and say a prayer with us before departing and came into the main room where we all were. After the prayer, he stands up, looks around, and then remarks:
"I have been into that hallway hundreds of times but I have never been into the inner sanctum before."
It warmed my heart knowing that I lived in the inner sanctum of something. Haven't decided what yet, but it’s the inner sanctum of something.
And with that I wish you all a good week and a happy post-Single's Awareness Day.