October 25, 2013
Capi (leader) Conference is held every other transfer which equates to once every three months or quarterly. It's an opportunity to bring all the zone leaders and sister training leaders from across the mission to one location and do training. In the Italy Rome Mission, this is a huge undertaking because the leaders either have to fly because they are on islands, take 10 hr. train rides, or travel long distances by train or bus. The office elders are new at making all the travel arrangements and scheduling since they have only been in the office for a week. Kudos to them because of how they made all the arrangements and got everybody to Rome and then home again. It's really a massive undertaking.
I owe a big thank you to one of the senior couples who came and helped me cook and serve the food. It's a big job to feed that many hungry missionaries. It amazes me how much food hungry elders can consume. The sisters usually eat their fair share, but some of the elders can consume what would normally feed a whole family. Surprisingly, the elders usually lose weight, and the sisters gain weight. My theory is that the elders mainly eat when someone else feeds them and then walk it off. The sisters, on the other hand, cook and try to learn how to prepare the food so they can cook for their families when they get home. They probably taste it as they prepare it and then eat the final product.
We fed the missionaries dinner in three shifts as different groups arrived either from the airport or the metro station. It gets pretty loud in the villa as they hug each other and renew friendships. After a long day, they eventually settle down and fall asleep.
Breakfast is served buffet style so they can eat in shifts as they rotate their way through the showers. Eventually everyone shows up at the front door and they take a 15 minute walk to the church for the conference.
At this conference, we were excited to have Elder/Doctor Wing with us. He is the Area Medical Doctor and was here from Germany. A large portion of the meeting consisted of his presentation to the mission leaders about health issues and how to avoid and manage concerns common among missionaries. He was able to personally meet with a couple of our missionaries who had some concerns and it was a very valuable opportunity to ask questions. I wish we could do this every time, but it just isn't feasible. Gratefully, Dr Wing is only a phone call away and I usually call him at least once or twice a day asking for advice. If it's a difficult issue I'm not very familiar with, he will call and talk to the missionary personally and then follow up with me. I'm amazed at the procedure that has been set up by the church to deal with missionary health issues. If I call Dr. Wing with something he is uncertain about, he is only a computer or a phone call away from some of the best specialists in the world. It's a very comforting thing to me as I hear from missionaries who are sick or injured.
We have had several severe soccer injuries lately which has resulted in a new policy for our mission. The new policy is that missionaries are not allowed to play soccer with members or investigators at any time. They are still allowed to play on p-day but only with other missionaries of the same sex and at 3/4 speed. We are hopeful this policy will result in less injuries. The missionaries aren't very happy about it, but we are here to be missionaries, not athletes.