This was one of those days when we just had to take a deep breath and say a prayer that everything would eventually work out--and it always does. We had eight new missionaries arrive in Rome from the Provo MTC. There was an air strike in Paris that messed up all the flights from London. They were late leaving Chicago and that added to the confusion. When they finally arrived in Rome, they were almost two hours late. Add that to the fact that most of them didn't get all their luggage and it became even more problematic. After waiting for the next flight from London (that was also delayed), we eventually we had four missionaries who had all their luggage. President and I put them in the car with us and took them to Rome because we were trying to get them there for a baptism in the church there. We stopped very briefly at the Rome Temple Site just long enough to snap the traditional temple pictures. We were a little late for the baptism, but got there for most of it.
The four elders who remained at the airport in search of lost luggage didn't make it to any of the baptism. They did eventually make it to the villa for dinner, but without their luggage. (Four days later they still don't have their luggage. The office elders are doing everything they can to encourage the airlines to search harder. In the end everything will be okay, but in the meantime it will make for some very interesting entries in their journals.
One of the elders got to the villa and realized he didn't have his wallet. President took him back to the airport to check with lost and found, but they hadn't had anything turned in. The wallet is probably gone forever. It's a traumatic experience, but it isn't the end of the world--it just seems like it at the time.
Because of all the delays and confusion, President wasn't able to do interviews in an orderly manner like we usually try to do. I ended up doing most of the training that he usually does while he took the missionaries out and interviewed them one at a time. He doesn't make their final assignments until he has had a chance to talk to each of them and then he prays about it before he passes out the golden envelopes.
We always take a picture of the missionaries all together to put on the fridge with a magnet. It stays there until all the missionaries have completed their missions and then it is put in a scrapbook for future missionaries to see. For the first time in the year that we have been here, we were never able to get all the missionaries together for a picture. Consequently, this group will have two pictures on the fridge. They will be an anomaly.
In spite of all the confusion, we really feel like this group of missionaries will be topnotch. We're excited for them and for their trainers. Every trainer this transfer is a first time trainer, but they are great missionaries and will do an excellent job.
It's a great time to be a missionary!!!