Len has done a wonderful job of organizing us to get going on another round of apartment visits. We finished 25% in April. He has become the one who moves the smoke/CO detector up higher as part of those visits and about 75% of that chore is complete. Kit and Sister Bradshaw participated in a stake Just Serve event Saturday morning by making fleece blankets for charitable uses in Fresno. There was quite a crowd and at least three different projects were done. The picture shows part of what was going on.
Missionaries have various designations, depending on assignments during their missions. Each one begins as a trainee of course. The ones who are teaching the new missionaries are designated as trainers. It is a big responsibility to help new ones learn how to manage all the details of daily life, and especially to help them increase in their own spirituality and also learn how to serve and teach people in a Christlike way. Many times, training one new missionary is the maximum, and not everyone has the chance (or the desire) to be a trainer. Occasionally someone is called to train more.
In a pair of missionaries, a junior companion is less experienced and a senior companion is more experienced. In addition to their regular responsibilities, sister training leaders and district leaders are in charge of helping 4-6 pairs of missionaries in an area (usually 2 district leaders per zone). Zone leaders are missionaries who have responsibilities for 8-12 pairs of missionaries (we have 8 zones in the California Fresno Mission). They may have a small truck or SUV to help them deliver supplies and mail from the mission office to the people in their zones. Missionaries in larger areas drive cars, while those who are in small towns or compact areas of a larger city may use bicycles to get around. The ones with vehicles help the ones on bicycles with grocery shopping or rides to places where bikes are insufficient. In our mission there is one assignment where missionaries go by train to get to district or zone meetings. Sometimes senior missionaries also regularly provide transportation for young missionaries.
There are always two missionaries who are Assistants to the President. Their assignments are more varied than others since they pretty much do whatever the president needs them to do. That includes helping to teach the other missionaries at training meetings, helping with any sort of emergency problem, such as picking up or taking someone to the airport whose travel schedule doesn’t fit the usual. They help organize special meetings, sometimes generate new computer files that streamline mission work, host new missionaries overnight at the beginning and end of missions, and many other things. They still do service and teach people who want to know more for some hours each week. The assistants are among the missionaries we get to know best since they are in the office several times a week.
Typically, zone leaders and assistants are chosen toward the end of their missions and serve until they leave. Sometimes they are needed earlier on, in which case they may serve for up to about four months and then have other assignments.
There is now an assistant who will be finishing the last weeks of his mission in a small town. His mission was in English, but he always dreamed of being a Spanish missionary. He has now been given a brief opportunity to work in a Spanish-English area. Having seen him performing the duties of an assistant, it is very interesting to see him noticeably becoming a more introspective, meeker young man as he prepares to serve in a much different way. Perhaps coming full circle will be the most meaningful time of all for him.