January 9, 2014
The final two missionaries are on their way to the airport to fly to Sicily. It's time to settle down and take a deep breath. We thought we finally had transfer day under control. We were wrong. This has been a very unusual, challenging transfer. The metro workers were on strike today. That means nobody could get to the bus or train station if they were supposed to get there by metro. It meant extra people making extra trips to the train and bus stations, but it eventually worked. We had one sister whose backpack was stolen while she was waiting for the train. It contained her passport and other important items. The police recovered everything except the euros she had in it and her camera. Euros can be replaced and a camera can be replaced, but the pictures are gone forever. We are in the process of changing out old cars for new cars in a couple of areas. For the first time we had two missionaries who are being transferred to Sardegna drive a car to the ferry and take the car by ferry to Sardegna. That meant they had to travel overnight and spend 15 hours on the ferry. They seemed pretty excited about doing it. They were excited until the ferry broke down in the middle of the ocean and they had to wait until new parts could be taken to them to repair the ferry. It only took an extra 10 hours. That wouldn't have been so bad if they hadn't forgotten to take the phone # of the missionaries who were meeting them at the ferry so it took a long time to connect with them. (We have to keep reminding ourselves that these missionaries are still kids.) We had two more missionaries who were driving a car to the eastern part of Italy from Rome. It's a long drive, but they were excited to stop in Napoli and get a pizza en route. We have missionaries who are being transferred to a new location for the first time since they got here on their missions. Some of them are really excited and some are apprehensive. We have two sisters going to a city that has never had sisters before. Three cities will see an increase in the number of missionaries serving there. Some of our missionaries are being transferred to their final location prior to being released next transfer. We have one office elder who is being transferred back into the field and a new one coming in to take his place. He has a lot to learn and the remaining elder has a lot to teach. One of the assistants is also being transferred back into the field and a new one just arrived to take his place. The old saying that "the only thing constant is change" is certainly true in the mission field. It's like a big jigsaw puzzle. Tonight the puzzle is complete, but by morning someone will have knocked it on the floor and we'll start all over again. Hopefully next time the puzzle will only have 100 pieces instead of 500.