July 31, 2009
Thanks to all those who replied to last week’s email report – we loved hearing from you. I’m hoping we’ve gotten the email glitches worked thru so that we’re sending it to all the family.
This week here at the Provo MTC has been focused on training specific to our assignment to work in the mission office. The church has a relatively new system called IMOS that’s been developed for the needs of mission offices so that’s what they’ve been teaching us. It’s internet based so we had to have our church membership numbers and confirmation dates to get accounts set up – we assume that’ll carry over to Spain with us. We covered finance which includes the allowances given to the missionaries each month, the paying of rent and utilities for the apartments, adding and deleting the housing units in the rent pool and tracking the expenses of the mission president and mission office. We covered the tracking of mission vehicles – maintenance and repair of each vehicle (and I get the sense that there’s a high volume of repair incidents wherever there are cars), the process for authorizing missionaries to drive and the focus on safety. We’ve been told that our Bilbao mission has only three cars so, if we’re assigned to do that, it shouldn’t be much of a time burner. While the elders were being trained in vehicle care, Flo was being taught how to handle investigator referrals and how to use MS mail merge functions. We had some training for Microsoft Word and Excel and Outlook and they spent a little time covering the task of ensuring that missionaries are taking care of their apartments, zone conferences and missionary transfers. Most of it was pretty interesting and something we expect to use but old brains fill and weary quickly so I’m glad they didn’t give us much more.
But it seems like the number one thing we did this week (much like last week) is EAT! Breakfast isn’t a piece of toast and glass of skim milk – nearly everything they have looks and tastes good (the pink grapefruit I tried one morning probably shouldn’t be labeled grapefruit) so we feel obligated to reward the preparers by partaking (we’re missionaries; we don’t want to offend anyone!). Lunch comes every day, starts between 11:30 & noon and we’re driven by the same motives we had for breakfast. Dinner starts at 4:30, always presents good variety and nearly everything I tried tasted good. We nearly always sit with one or more senior couples so it’s a good time to become better acquainted and build friendships. I find it quite interesting that, in 10 days, couples here could build friendships that we hope will endure beyond our missions – someone has already suggested we try to have a reunion in two years (not sure who’s going to pull that off). There are some very ordinary people going to some very difficult assignments and I admire them very much.
Except for Tuesday evening when Elder Dellenbach came to the MTC devotional, we continued to have a Spanish tutoring class each evening and we think it’s helped us a lot to see our tutor face-to-face for instructions (even though we're still taking baby steps with the language). Mario’s a very personable young man and it was a little hard to say goodbye last night knowing it might be the last time we’ll see him.
We’ve spent most of today (Friday) packing, doing laundry, cleaning and taking care of administrative things with plans to leave on a shuttle to SLC to spend the weekend with Gene & Lynda. They’ll take us to the airport on Monday morning, our flight’s scheduled for 9:50 and is due in Madrid on Tuesday morning. We’re excited to be involved in this great work; they keep telling us they could easily use double the number of senior missionaries they now have so we’re certainly made to feel needed.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is true – that should be a powerful motivator to each of us to try hard to live it. May each be blessed.
Elder & Sister Belnap