Saturday, November 14, 2015

Mission Reassignment to Texas


Eileen and I got reassigned to the Texas San Antonio Mission on Sept 8. We were told the reassignment process would take several weeks but we got a lesson in the amount of pull that Mission Presidents and Stake Presidents can have. We told the Mission President we were ready for the reassignment on a Saturday and he put us in touch with the Stake President who transferred our membership records from Kansas to Texas on Sunday. I got a letter from my cardiologist stating I was fit for service on Monday and e-mailed it to the Stake President that evening. The Stake President sent the letter and other paperwork on to a committee at church headquarters on Tuesday morning. By Tuesday afternoon the missionary Medical Committee had cleared me for service. The Stake President told the Mission President he could request our reassignment to the TSAM. President Slaughter made that request on Wednesday and contacted us on Thursday to tell us the reassignment had been approved but we would have to be set apart to our new mission. We talked to the Stake President on Friday and he set us apart on Sunday afternoon. Our membership records were sent back to Kansas on Sunday evening. Eileen and I started working in the Mission Office at 9:30 a.m. on Monday morning.

President Slaughter with his Assistants in his office
Our first week was pretty hectic as we had no idea what to expect and no preparation for the transfers that would be taking place that week. Things are quite busy for the office staff when transfers take place. The week basically works like this.

The week before transfers the Mission President and his assistants go into the President’s Office, open a big board that shows all the missionaries and where they are serving. They remove the picture cards of all those who are going home in a few days and they add the cards of all the new missionaries that will arrive in a few days. Then they begin to put companionships together and move people around in the mission. They stay in that room until late afternoon when the job is done. Then they close the board and lock it so nobody knows what changes are being made until the following week at the transfer meetings.                                  

Car Czar & Referral Queen Spencer from Denver
Elder Williams takes care of 100+ apartments
On transfer week the missionaries going home all come to San Antonio on Monday for their last two days in the mission. On Tuesday they have a final meeting in the morning and office missionaries provide a luncheon. Then they go to the San Antonio Temple, followed by a formal dinner at the mission home---provided by the office missionaries. Early Wednesday morning the outgoing missionaries travel to the airport and catch an early morning flight home. By late morning the arriving missionaries are picked up at the airport and taken to the mission office to get some things they need for the mission and have lunch. From there they visit the Alamo and end up at the Mission Home for a dinner and discussion with the Mission President. The days are long for everyone. On Thursday the new missionaries meet their first companion and other missionaries learn where they will be transferred to.

Sister Greenwood smiles at the transfer board as she will be going home in a few days
Elders Calley and Hilario discuss a referral given to Sister Spencer
There are two transfer meetings to get all of this done. The first is at 8 a.m. in San Antonio for those in the southern half of the mission, which goes all the way to the border of Mexico. At 2 p.m. there is a second meeting for those in the northern half of the mission in Austin. There is lots of excitement at both of these meetings and tons of energy afterwards as companionships pick up their mail that has come in over the last few weeks, get their bikes if they are going to a bike area, say goodbye to their old companion and make their way out of the parking lot which looks like a Toyota dealership that is giving a free bike rack with every car they sell.
The next 5 weeks will be pretty routine. My job was to manage all of the 100+ apartments that house the missionaries and to pay all the bills associated with housing including utilities. I also worked with the ‘moving Elders’ who move furniture around as we open and close apartments which is a constant process because wards divide and stake boundaries get changed and this changes the areas where the missionaries work so they have to relocate.
76 of our 200+ missionaries are Spanish Speaking and a few are Sign Language missionaries to the deaf community

Eileen was the “face” of the office. She answered the phone, greeted everyone that came in, sent welcome letters out to incoming missionaries, arranged flight plans for those coming in or going home, prepared the picture cards for the transfer board, etc. Her computer skills improved a lot over the short time we were in the office.

We worked in the office for just 5 weeks. Long enough to see how it worked and how important those who work in the office are to the smooth operation of the mission, which has lots of moving parts. But now we are in Austin working with refugees and immigrants from Africa and other areas.

1 comment:

  1. Hello! It was so good to hear from you Elder Ferguson, and to see what you were doing in November. What amazes me is there are African, + other, Refugees in South Texas! This is the first I've heard of this. Are you getting Syrian refugees also?

    Last night we enjoyed our Holiday Dinner, with lots of comfort food (pasta dishes), salads and desserts. It was decided to not cause members stress over cooking Turkeys and Hams, Santa Claus, etc.; there wasn't a single complaint & lots of very full members by the end of the meal.

    After an hour of stuffing faces and visiting up a storm the Primary Children were dressed up in sheets of material to turn them into Angels (w/ wings!!), 3 Kings (w/ gold crowns), Mary and Joseph (w/ babydoll Jesus), and a flock of Shepherds!

    As Bishop Moss read the Christmas Story, the participants walked to the wooden manger in time with the story prompts. Each and every one with huge smiles and for the most part no idea of how to act, but they will remember this experience for years!

    Str Genile Dennison was the Wardrobe Czar, and provided energy and enthusiasm to the presentation, while sorting through the yards of materials that were shared for the program.

    All in All, it was a smashing success! All except I didn't even think of taking a photo until just now...typical! :(

    Looking forward to hearing about the Refugees in S. Texas...