MLC, or mission leadership council, a meeting of Pres and Sis Bell, the APs, zone leaders, and sister trainer leaders, was scheduled New Years. President and Sister Bell decided that for logistical and safety reasons, it might be better to have the MLC members come the afternoon of New Year’s Eve. And then it was decided that this new group of leaders really needed to bond in order to move the work of the mission ahead. We met at the mission home and the leadership played some really fun minute-to-win-it type games, had snacks that the office missionaries helped provide, and then tolled in the new year at 10 p.m. The next morning we gathered the MLC for a yummy pancake breakfast and after lunch, participated with the council meetings. We are impressed by the leadership of Pres and Sis Bell and the strong spirit of the young missionaries they are mentoring.
The day after, Elder Erickson and I went out to Lebanon, Illinois to take a look at an apartment that had been hurriedly left by the missionaries at the last transfer. The apartment had been left vacant until the next transfer because of some strange missionary numbers. It was a good thing we left. With only two suitcases to make their move, the elders had left much stuff of no use or value and a fridge and freezer with things that would surely be a problem in another few weeks.
On January 3rd, we participated in new missionary training. And the first part of the day was a trip to the St Louis Temple. What a blessing to go back to the temple for the first time in over a month. The last time was at the Preston, England Temple. Surprisingly, the St Louis and the Preston temples have the same layout. They reminded RaDene and me of our wonderful experience in England a short two months ago. After the mission office staff helped with a lunch, the Bells and the new missionaries and their trainers began some training. It has been a little over two weeks now since these new missionaries arrived, and the thinking is that rather than have too much training as soon as they arrive, it is better to get them out into the field, and then bring them back after a couple of weeks when they are settled enough to be able to absorb more information. The office missionaries talked about their portion of the administrative work (e.g., reports, housing, finance, cars, and health) and the Bells and the zone leaders carried the load on spiritual training. Since RaDene and I are still new missionaries too, we stayed for the whole of it. We agreed, and Pres Bell confirmed, that we need to do our best when talking about administrative matters in future meetings to be as engaging and uplifting as possible.
Taking Off the Training Wheels
Starting tomorrow, January 6th, RaDene will officially take the Mission Secretary chair in the office, with Sister Erickson supporting and performing various special projects, like preparing the mission history for the year—apparently a job to be avoided until there are no alternatives. Sister Hatfield will be stepping into big shoes. Luckily, RaDene has big feet, spiritually speaking, and with all her people skills, she will be much loved. Pres Bell has already said that Sis Hatfield is free to mold the job to fit her particular strengths. I can’t wait to watch all the good things that happen.