Thursday, March 2, 2017

Our New Assignment

We have some new responsibilities as of today.  On Monday after we left for Kichwamba (Queen Elizabeth National Park) we received a call from President Collings informing us that the mission office couple (The Bratsmans would be leaving because of health problems.  He then asked us if we would be the interim couple for four weeks until the new office couple arrives.  Of course, we said that we would.

After Rick hung up the phone and said, "Do you want to cry?"  Just less than a week before we were on our morning walk and talking about how we have loved being in Mbale and interacting with the wonderful people there.  I said,  "I'm so glad that we were assigned here and not stuck in some office somewhere."  I think someone must have heard me and laughed to himself and said...."just you wait Sister Phelps!"

On that drive to Kichwamba I think I went through the five steps of grief....
*Denial...."Maybe President won't really need us."
*Anger....."How could this happen, life is going so great in Mbale.  What about all of our investigators and branch members that we love!"
*Bargaining....."Maybe we can go home every weekend to see our members."
*Depression......"I don't EVEN want to think about learning all of my responsibilities!"

*Acceptance....."I think I'm going to survive this and maybe , just maybe even kind of like this assignment."

Well, today was the first day in the office.  Elder and Sister Bratsman were able to come in and help to teach us of some of our new responsibilities.  Our heads are spinning and we hope we don't completely mess everything up in the office in the next few weeks!

Elder Phelps is in charge of the finances over the whole mission.   His responsibilities include:

Making sure the bills get paid for all missionary housing and utilities.
Keeping track of ALL mission expenditures and making sure there is an adequate paper trail to follow them.
Picking up money from the bank for reimbursements.
....And whatever else is needed

Some of my responsibilities will be:
Office and Proselyting supplies
Office e-mail
Opening all of President's mail and organizing it.
Keeping track of all the missionary files.
Take care of incoming and outgoing mail for all of the missionaries.
Preparing packets for arriving and departing missionaries. (this is the most in depth)
Manage the comings and goings of the office.

Today during the training session I received a frantic phone call from a dear friend in Mbale.  She and her husband are not members of the Church but Elder Phelps and I have taught them a little and feel quite close to them.  She was sobbing on the phone and for two full minutes could barely even talk.  She said that they had gotten into a fight and he told her he was leaving her.  She is with child and was frantic!  She said, "I wish you were here so you could talk to him."  I know that Elder Phelps and I cannot fix everything that goes wrong in people's lives but I so wanted to be with her at this time.  I wanted to be a calming influence and to wrap my arms around her to help bring her comfort and solace.  I am worried that she will have to sleep alone in their apt. tonight which is NOT in a good area of town.  These are the things that I want to be in Mbale for, to help the people who mean so much to us in their time of need.

We are having four baptisms this weekend so we are planning to go back for those.  We will get to be there for the next two Sundays so that will be great.  Hopefully our Branch missionaries will continue in the preaching and keep bringing others to the truth.  We are hopeful that we can return by the first part of April to spend our last few weeks with our beloved friends!  There is still so much to accomplish before we leave.

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