|Bonus rendezvous with Kit's sister Carolyn and her husband Jan during our quick trip to Arizona|
Last week went fast. The office closed for MLK Day, but that didn’t make too much difference in our schedule since we went to both big choir practices (one in Fresno and the other an hour away) to help Sister Clark prepare the missionaries for singing next Saturday when one of the apostles, Elder Russell Nelson, will come and speak to all the missionaries.
We were able to get everything we needed to finish for the week done in three days. After work Thursday we drove to the airport and flew to AZ. It turned out to be more practical for us to go there for Kit’s annual infusion to increase bone strength than to have it done in Fresno. We stayed with Whitney and Jeff’s family, which was a lot of fun. One good surprise was that Kit’s sister and husband from UT were also in town visiting their son. We were able to meet for a quick catch-up.
Sunday morning, we hopped back on the plane and returned. Our neighbors next door invited us over for a good dinner and a visit, after which we made chocolate chip cookies to hand out on Monday when we did apartment checks for our own zone. By having shorter travel times and only eight (as opposed to 10 or 11) apartments this time, we were done with apartment checks by noon, had lunch with the zone leaders, and had the afternoon left to work in the office. Lots to do this week, both for the special meeting and program Saturday and also to be ready for another transfer next week. Thirteen missionaries are going home and about the same number will arrive.
Not every missionary is able to stay to the end of her/his mission. Being in the office we have necessarily become aware of “emergency transfers”. Many are for medical reasons. Here, the mission nurse helps with straightforward health concerns. She is a locally called missionary who had a nursing career and has a good network here. If a condition is beyond her expertise, she consults with local doctors or refers the missionary to an appropriate physician. The mission President is in the loop, plus the missionary’s parents are notified and participate in decision-making. If a missionary needs surgery or other on-going help, it is sometimes necessary to return home for treatment and support. Some are able to resolve the issues, return, and complete the mission. Senior missionaries can choose to have needed surgery or other procedures here or back at home. Of course, acute problems such as broken bones or appendicitis, have to be dealt with at once. Sometimes the distance from home and the quality of available medical care figures into the decision. We have seen missionaries go home due to such diverse issues as a tumor that needed surgery, uncontrollable migraines, spine (disc) troubles. One missionary who is near the end of his time here said, “It is always a sad thing for everyone when someone has to leave early”. We certainly share in the sorrow for the struggles of these young people. Privacy is protected so the number of people aware of the trouble or the departure can be quite limited.
With love from Len and Kit