Saturday, October 10, 2015

2015-10-10 Weathy and Gamby (and Smithy... for two more days)

(Kathy says:  This week, I had asked a few questions, so he is answering.  The first paragraph is expressing excitement that his father's arrangement of "O Come All Ye Faithful" for symphony and chorus will be performed by Seattle Ensign Symphony and Chorus at Benaroya Hall in December!)

Hello! Going to save a little time here, and answer some questions in my public email.

Mom:  So, you’ll have to tell us all about your new position!  I know you will miss working with people to help them more directly—but know that you are serving in a way that keeps the mission going forward!  If you are missing being “in the trenches” a lot, talk to the mission president about that.  I’m sure he’ll understand!

Glad you’re enjoying the air conditioning!

People were asking me…are Elders Gamboa and Smith your companions? How does that work?  Are they the AP and some other assignment? 

I imagine you may have less time for photos, but try to send some anyway.

Do you still cook for yourselves?  Do you have meals with the Pres?  Are you living in the mission home? Do you have easier access to a computer for Skype purposes?

Rob:  Thanks for writing! Yeah, Dad told me. I'm so happy! Wish I could be there to hear it... 

Elder Smith was the old secretary to the president--I got here two weeks before the end of the change, and he's been training me. We've been wandering around as a trio, and this Monday he'll leave to a different area and leave me all by my lonesome self. With my companion, Elder Gamboa. Elder Gamboa (from Zacatecas, MX) is the financial secretary, and the two secretaries are always companions. There are actually two more secretaries, one for records and one for materials, and they're a married couple, so they're also companions. There are two assistants to the president, Elder Espinoza (from Sinaloa, MX) and Elder Ribeiro (from Brazil), that are also companions. We're not companions with them, but we do see them a lot, because we live with them and usually eat with them, when they're not traveling (doing splits with the various zone leaders).

As for cooking for ourselves, nothing has changed. We eat lunch with members, and we're left to fend for ourselves for breakfast and, if we want it, dinner (but they don't give us time for dinner--if we're hungry, we fix ourselves something at 9:30, after we're done planning for the next day. It's always been like that, all over the mission). We occasionally get to eat with President Córdova, but only on special occasions. We went out for goat tacos yesterday with the assistants, President Córdova, and his wife to celebrate/mourn Elder Smith's leaving. We don't live in the offices, or the president's house, but our apartment is pretty decent. And yes, I think this Christmas should work out better than Mother's Day, hehe :)

The best part about this assignment is probably being close to President Córdova. He's open to chat (although he wants me to teach him English, but he has little to no time to practice), and he's a fount of wisdom. He's a great teacher, and I'm excited to work closely with him. 

Pictures should actually be a lot easier to do (we still have a full P-day, it's just a different day of the week). Here's one. Here's me and Elder Gamboa. In the background, you have... my desk! 

This second one was from my second day here. It was Elder Ribeiro's birthday. He's holding the cake. Then there's Elder Gamboa, Elder Smith, Sister Amaya (she had a sprained ankle, so she had to come in) the Willinghams (the other secretaries), and Elder Espinoza. 

Love you all!

Élder Rob Weatherford

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

2015-10-3 Weatherford and Gamboa... and Smith

Ok. First things first. I am no longer with Elder Lind. Elder Lind is in Tuxtepec. I am not. I am in Veracruz again. All right, that's out of the way--now I can continue.

We had a really good week... almost a week and a half ago. Saira told us she feels ready to get baptized, there was finally legal progress on Georgina and Nestor's wedding, and Jesus was going along really well. Oh, and Álvaro and Reyna finally went to church again! Reyna was even at the point where she was joking about her baptism... it's kind of hard to explain, but I'm sure the missionaries know what I'm talking about... that's when you know they're really considering the idea. So, we had Saira and possibly Georgina lined up for the last day of the transfer, the 11th. And then, Monday night, I get a call from the assistant. Special transfers! I'm going the next morning at 5am to the bus station to catch a ride to Veracruz! It's two weeks early so I can be trained to be the new Secretary to the President. A desk job! It's actually going to be really cool, I think, although my time in the field is going to be (extremely) limited. I don't know how it works in other missions, especially the States, but the biggest and most important part of my job is managing the visa, travel, etc. paperwork to make sure the foreign missionaries remain legally. I'm in charge of receiving those that arrive (and, of course, all their paperwork), renewing the visas of those that have more time in the mission, arranging the flights for those that are leaving, and a bunch of other stuff. I get to talk to people over the phone from all over North and South America in a variety of languages (well, English and Spanish... I don't know what I'll do when it's time to do it for the Brazilian missionaries...), visit a bunch (only a couple, actually, I think... but often) of governmental offices, and I get my own desk (!). It's a lot of work, actually, a lot of complicated governmental procedures I have to learn, and, of course, a lot of filing. And then, ideally, in the evening we can go out to work in our area. But, of course, the thing that excites me the most is the air conditioning in the offices :) 

The thing about this assignment is that it's a minimum of six months. When I get out of the office, the end of my mission will be in sight. That's a sobering thought. But I've been praying about it, and I feel good in knowing that if this is where the Lord wants me, it's for a reason. I'll push all the paper He wants me to, and I'll do it happily. 

It may not be on the mountain height
Or over the stormy sea,
It may not be at the battle’s front
My Lord will have need of me.

My battles are going to be more with government officials than with the hosts of Satan (hold the political jokes, please) for a few months, but I'm still a missionary, and I'm still where the Lord wants me to be.

I'm going to wait to write about Conference until I see all of it, but it's been amazing so far! It's always special, even if sad, to see new apostles chosen. President Packer, Elder Perry, and Elder Scott were outstanding men, but the work doesn't stop, and they're now resting (or maybe not... they're probably still hard at work in the Lord's service!) while others are called and qualified to take their place. And the work rolls on!

Élder Rob Weatherford

P.S. My P-days will be on Saturday, now, and not Monday. Just FYI.

2015-10-3 Don't worry, Mom...

*From Rob's mom, Kathy:  When I took him to task for not letting me know until after he was over the illness, here's what he said:
"Yeah, I've been good for a while. I just didn't write until after I got better :) But I did tell you!

Don't worry! It wasn't even that serious. Seriously, like I said, that sickness usually lays out people for over a month, but after I got the blessing there were a couple of rocky days, and then I pretty much completely recovered. And now... well, you'll find out in a sec when I send the group email, but I'm going to be a little more sheltered now for a while. Oh yeah, and my pdays are going to be on Saturday, not Monday, just today was a little harder to write because of conference and everything. Sorry about last week. It's been a little crazy recently."

So, there you have that.  Group Email next!