It has been an interesting experience ‘winding down’ our mission here in the Congo. Both Terri and I have been very busy our entire mission, and have accumulated numerous jobs as we picked up work after other couples were gone. Now it is time for others to pick up the work we are doing, with the hope that nothing will be ‘dropped’ or left undone.
It is a balancing act between wanting to stay busy till the last day, and making sure that others learn and begin doing the work that we have been doing.
Elder Eastman did a great job aiding me to transition to his job of managing the apartments. He had put in place policies and procedures that helped me to understand the scope of the work, and then he let me slowly take over much of the work before he left. I still use all the things he put in place for me to use…I am simply building upon the work that he started.
And even though I was doing a lot of the work before Elder Eastman left, I did not understand just how much work there was until he actually left and ALL the work fell to me! I can see the same thing happening as I prepare to leave. There are so many little things Terri and I do that no one is aware of (as they have their own jobs to do), that they will not be noticed until we leave.
Tomorrow is our official on month day. Next week will be busy with Elder Ellis coming for a mission tour, and even though we just finished with a transfer, Terri is already up to her neck in the next transfer—which will be a huge one, as the new President has decided to shake things up a bit, and we have 14 new missionaries coming. I doubt there will be more than 25% of the mission that is not moving.
The week after should be slower, as the Thomas’ and Ellis’ will be in the north country; but we also have a new couple arriving that we will need to start training. The Drapers will need to hit the ground running as they will be charged with handling the transfers when Terri leaves, and will only have a week until this next huge transfer hits.
The next week begins the big transfer… and then we leave for home. Enough said.
Of course we are thinking about home a lot now (especially since we have our tickets and a set date!), but try to concentrate on the work and making sure that things are in place when we leave.
I learned a long time ago that everyone is expendable—life does not permit a vacuum. When we leave someone else will come and fill-in the holes left behind. It is the same in the corporate world, and even in families: life goes on and those left behind find ways to move forward—often finding better and/or more efficient ways of doing the things you once did. That being said, we are trying to make the transition easy for those following us.
I am constantly amazed at how much time and effort it takes to run a mission, and how blessed missions are that have senior couples—people who actually know what they are doing—working behind the scenes to make the mission function, and to provide a framework for the missionary work being done by the young men and women called to serve. We may not preach the gospel, we may not even be seen that much, but the mission could not run without us!
All the more reason for those pondering a life of service to make the decision to come! What greater reason is there than: you are needed! You have spent a lifetime developing talents and abilities that have earned you an income, and perhaps acclaim in your specific field of endeavor…now perhaps it is time to use those same talents and abilities in the service of God!