Monday, September 30, 2013

A Dream

President Holm was in this afternoon and gathered all the staff in his office for a meeting.  Before we adjourned, he told us about an experience a couple of elders shared with him last week.  Around 8:30 at night, the two elders were finished with their appointments, and decided to knock some doors till it was time to go home.  They got to the end of the street and discussed which way they should go next.  The junior companion said he thought they should go left, so they started walking that way.  Then the senior companion said, "No...let's go right."  So, the two turned around and started to walk the other way.  They had walked a short distance, when the junior companion said, "I feel very strongly that we should go left."  So after some discussion, they turned back and walked toward a house.  Inside that house, a middle aged man had been on the internet, chatting with his daughter.  He had told her about a dream he'd had the night before.  He said, "I dreamed that two Mormon missionaries would be coming to my door today."  As he said that, he glanced out his window and exclaimed, "Oh my gosh!  They're coming right now!  Oh, they've turned around.  They're walking the other way."  Then he told her, "Wait!  They're coming back!"  He discontinued his chat and went to answer the door.  He welcomed the two missionaries into his home, and asked them to explain to him how they are led by the Spirit to know what to do.  The elders talked to him for a few minutes, and then set up a teaching appointment for tonight.  It will be interesting to see what happens.  President Holm said he hears stories like that every week.  I hope we'll hear more of them!

I guess the Mihlbergers had a miracle happen to them while they were out apartment hunting last week.  They shared it with the President, but Elder Mihlberger said the rest of us would have to wait to read it.  He's writing it up.  I hope  he hurries.  I'm anxious to hear!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

September 23-29

Well, we finished our first full week in the mission.  The office was busy almost every day - some days it was so busy, we were like, "Let's make a run for it before the phone rings again!!!"  We get an hour for lunch, and other than that, it's 9 to 5 (or later).

We start the day with a devotional - a spiritual thought/scripture and a prayer.  We have each been assigned a day to do the devotional.  The Fentons shared an experience with us on Thursday that was so touching to me.  They said that when they first came to the mission - they were sent to Georgetown - down on the coast. Elder Fenton said his first thought was, "Oh Great!  We're going to the beach!"  But after they arrived, they were, among other things, assigned to visit a young man in prison.  He said he had been waiting for 13 years for them!  He met them with his scriptures in hand, and tears streaming down his face.  Elder Fenton said he was the epitome of "a broken heart and a contrite spirit."  They visited him each week until they were sent to the office.  The Stake President in Georgetown, and President Holm promised the Fentons that their friend at the prison would be taken care of.  He only has two more years of incarceration - and I hope and pray that when he's out, he will be given a chance to further turn his life around and become successful.  Part of the Fentons' thought that day was about gratitude.  They said that the young man at the prison told them that a few months ago, he was allowed to go outside in the evening, to help pick up a load of cans or something that had been spilled.  As he was outside, he looked upward, into the sky, and saw the moon and the stars and the milky way - the first time he had seen the heavens in over thirteen years!  How often do we express gratitude for the beauties of the earth and skies?  I know I don't - nearly enough!

We had a weird thing happen on Friday.  Our regular mail carrier, Rose, is a very large woman.  She never gets out of the truck to deliver the mail to the office.  She honks the horn and someone from the office goes outside to bring the mail in.  She give us her key to the back, and we get our letters and packages - and put the outgoing mail into her truck.  She usually comes between 2 and 3 o'clock.  Friday, Elder Arrington and I got back from lunch at 2:15.  I noticed that there was a phone message while we were gone.  It was from Rose. She said she had stopped two times at the office and nobody was there - so she took everything back to the post office and had scanned it all as "closed for business."  Well, both our offices are in front.  There were others in the office, but they didn't hear her honk, I guess, so rather than coming inside (the lights were all on), she just drove away.  Weird!  I was glad that she, at least, left the message.  I called her back and she told us that if we wanted to drive down to the Post Office, she'd wait by the truck till we got there to get our mail.  Elder Arrington took the outgoing mail with him, met her there, and brought the new mail back in our car.

Friday night we drove up to the temple in Hopkins, which is about 25 minutes away.  We got there at dusk. They only do endowment sessions every two hours, and we had missed the 5 PM session, so we went and did family sealings while we waited for the 7 PM session to begin.  The Columbia, SC temple is very small, but very beautiful.  We hope to get up there a couple of times a month, anyway.

Yesterday was the Okra Strut, shopping and the Women's Conference (for me).  I always love the Women's Conference.  I especially enjoyed Sister Stephens' talk and President Monson's.  Heavenly Father's message to the women of the church is that He loves us, unconditionally.  He loves ALL HIS CHILDREN unconditionally, whether we think we deserve it or not.  Being at that conference last night really has me looking forward to next weekend!  I LOVE General Conference!

Today was Fast and Testimony Mtg.  I jotted down some notes so I could remember some of the testimonies.  One young girl told about a letter she got from her brother who's on a mission.  He wanted to thank her for always making food for him and his friends when he was home - even though he didn't always thank her.  She compared that to the way the Lord continues to bless us - even when we don't always show gratitude to Him.  She said that she was glad to have been given the chance to serve her little brother.

Another sister told of an experience she had following a recent surgery.  She had her finger wrapped and was told by her surgeon to keep it absolutely dry, or it wouldn't heal.  She said she was always VERY careful not to get it wet.  One the way home from work Wednesday, the Spirit told her to remove her dressing.  She was driving, and didn't obey at first, but again she was told, "Unwrap your finger."  This time, she pulled over into a parking lot and removed the brown bandage from her finger.  Everything was dry, and she thought, "What?"  Then she was told to take the rest of the bandage off, so she did - and as she got further in, the white bandaging was damp.  When she took it completely off her wound was damp, white and open.  She realized that a little corner of the gauze was hanging out, underneath all the brown bandaging, and every time she got her hand wet, the gauze acted like a wick - pulling moisture up and into the wound.  So...she was able to get it cleaned, dried and medicated - and now it has started to heal.  (Kind of long story - but I thought it was pretty cool.)

There was a lot more, and the meeting was very good.  Those are just two of the testimonies that stood out to me.

In the combined Relief Society/Priesthood Meeting (which is held, church-wide, on the 5th Sunday of the month), Elder and Sister Mihlberger, from the office, spoke to us about the addiction recovery program of the church.  They meet with addicts, of one kind or another, every Thursday night.  They talked about the different kids of addictions - substances and behaviors.  There are so many of them nowadays!  They testified that it is an inspired program given by inspired leaders for our day!  The church's program is a lot like AA, but it is based on the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  They showed some video clips that include former addicts' testimonies and they are very touching and inspirational.  The Mihlbergers are the perfect couple to work in this program!  I'd like to learn more about it.

Sunday afternoon, we got to feed the sisters!  At 5:00, four of the cutest young sisters, including Sister Rogers, from Farr West, came to dinner along with Sister, Barlow - a single Senior Sister who's over travel at the office.  We had salad (which Sister Barlow brought), beef stew, and home-made (Rhoades) bread.  After dinner, Sister Rogers, and he companion, Sister Davis, gave us a spiritual thought.  Sister Rogers sang a verse of "I Stand All Amazed," while her companion read Alma 7:11 - " And he shall go forth, suffering pains and aafflictions andbtemptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will ctake upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people." They then bore their testimonies of Christ and His atonement in our behalf.  We had prayer together, and they left - just a few minutes after 6:00.  We feed two of the elders next Sunday, but I am looking forward to having the sisters come again.  It was a sweet experience!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Home of the Okra Strut!

We live in Columbia, but the mission office is in Irmo - about 5 minutes away.  When we first got to town, we noticed a big banner hanging over  the street on the way to the office.  It said Okra Strut - September 27&28.  We had an idea that it was something like North Ogden's Cherry Days, or Brigham City's Peach Days Parades.  We were right.  A couple of days ago, when Rose was delivering the mail to the office, she asked us if we were going.  We thought it sounded like fun!

Their parade was very similar to the community parades back home, but the celebration, I think, was bigger.  They had carnival rides, and tons of food vendors.  I heard they had craft vendors too, but we didn't see any of those.  We went in search of funnel cake (because we missed getting one at Peach Days) and some deep fried okra.  They had plenty of deep fried everything, but as far as we could see, they only sold okra in one spot.  When we bought ours, people kept coming up to us and asking "Where'd y'all get that?"

I got Lisa a 40th Anniversary Okra Strut t-shirt.  Hope she likes it.

I've attempted, below, to put pictures on the blog.  I have no clue what I'm doing, but I figure poorly placed pictures are better than no pictures at all.

Our funnel cake!  Notice the big trash
can full of lemonade behind and to the
 left of  Elder Arrington!

Here's Okra Man!  All the children
had to have their pictures taken with
him.  He started to collapse and fold over
on one little kid...and he was outta there!

I think this was my favorite float.  Pretty cute!
We saw several Disney Princesses - and look!
Cinderella's carriage!
Irmo, SC is home of the Okra Strut!
Who knew?

Saw one horse in the whole parade!
We're not in Utah anymore!!!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

1st Weekend in Columbia...

Highlights of the weekend were talking to Lisa for 20 minutes, shopping at the Commissary and PX at Fort Jackson, Cold Stone Creamery (which is right next door - we'll see how that goes!!!), church, and dinner with President and Sister Holm.

We have been assigned to the Chapin Branch, and it is small!  There were only 8 women in Relief Society, but the lesson was very good!  I was asked to play the piano and give the opening prayer.  Yeah - I'm thinking they'll put us right to work.  People here are very friendly!  We enjoyed our meetings very much.  It was awesome to see the young Elders take over the Gospel Essentials Sunday School class.  These kids are so young - yet they've been prepared all their lives to serve.

At 5 PM we went, along with 3 other couples, and Sister Barlow, to President and Sister Holm's home for dinner.  We visited, and introduced ourselves and got to know the Holms a little better.  They are gracious, and amazing people.  They only have 10 more months left in the mission.  Mission Presidents are called for a period of three years.  Now we are home, and waiting to Skype Alexis and London before we got to bed. It's been a busy weekend, but we are ready to go for it - our first full week at the office!

Day Two

On our second day at the office, there was only one other senior couple there-just the four of us, most of the day.  I WAS in charge of the phones and the mail and the media orders and all those front office assignments.  It was kind of scary.  When I think that the Deckers will be going home this week, and the Mihlbergers go home in two months - Jack and I will be the most experienced senior missionaries in the office!  Sister Barlow, from Corvallis OR, came just three days after we did, and the Fentons, from East Milcreek, UT have been here for 4 months, but were just assigned to the office.  We are all new - and we will be in charge!  Yikes!  We will have help, though.  The APs will be there.  They are young missionaries, who have been called as Assistants to the President.  Most of them know more about the computer systems that any of us seniors.  And they know a lot about office procedures, so they'll be a big help to us, I'm sure.

There were a lot more phone calls that second day!  Sister missionaries who had lost their car keys had found them.  Elders who had just had the oil changed in their car, needed the PIN number for the credit card so they could pay for the service.  A mom, whose daughter is coming to the mission in a few weeks, had a question about putting church music on an iPod Shuffle for her.  She wanted her daughter to have access to music, but she was concerned about complying with mission rules.  I thought that was cool!

My favorite phone call came from a Sister at the Institute (like a Seminary for college students).  She said a young man had wandered into the building looking for the family history services.  He also wanted some literature about the church, because he was interested in knowing what we believe.  The Sister asked him if he would like two representatives to come to his home and bring the literature and answer questions.  He said he would.  So...she called the mission office (me) to find missionaries who were in the man's area. Sister Decker knew from the zip code, which zone he lived in, so I called the zone leader and gave him the man's name and address.  The missionaries could have showed up at his home that very afternoon.  How cool is that?

Jack worked with Sister Decker again, on finances.  Hope he's got it all down, because she'll only be here 2 more days!  He's had a lot of experience with finance though - so I'm not worried about him at all!

When we finished at the office, we went to Texas Roadhouse for dinner.  We had enough ribs and steak left for two more meals!  As we left Texas Roadhouse, a man called to us, "Can y'all tell me something about The Plan of Salvation?"  Jack smiled and said, "We probably can't tell you anything you don't already know." The man and his family were members, and welcomed us to South Carolina.

We also got to FaceTime with Ann, Haley and Spencer Friday night.  We loved that! Love to keep in touch with the family!!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Office

Today was our first day at the office.  We were busy all day long, learning and doing!  Sister Decker trained Jack in several aspects of finance.  He paid bills, paid rent, discussed new missionary packets and instructions pertaining to finance, reviewed statements, posted receipts and made a bank deposit.  

Sister Mihlberger trained me.  I am now office receptionist.  I answer the phone and route calls, I take care of the mail and make labels.  I'm over media and name tag orders.  I learned all that today.  Some other responsibilities I'll have, which will come later, will be referral manager, zone packets, schedule buildings for zone conferences, fire sides and luncheons, and make office cleaning assignments.

The biggest, and most time consuming assignment I have is mail!  We have around 200 missionaries in our mission.  Mail and packages from home are SO important to these kids!  All mail and packages are sent to the mission office.  It is my job to re-route them to each missionary.  The reason families don't send the mail directly to the missionaries' apartments is that their addresses could change every six weeks during transfers.  I have to go through all the mail and alphabetized it, then create current address labels for each piece.  When the labels are applied, all traces of the previous addresses and zip codes have to be blacked out.  Then the mail and packages are put in the next day's out-going mail.  I thought we had a lot of mail today, but Sister Mihlberger said that Monday and Friday are the biggest mail days.  And, she said, "At Christmas, it gets crazy!"  I can imagine!!!

First day at the office was fun!  We learned so much!  We got to meet some cool new people-Dwight, the UPS guy, and Rose, the mail truck driver.  They are so cute and friendly!  They call the office staff by Elder and Sister, and just seem to be part of our little family.  :o)

Columbia, SC!!!

Wednesday, we completed our journey to Columbia, SC.  The drive from Knoxville to Columbia was gorgeous!  I loved the Great Smokey Mountains!  I loved the drive on the freeway cut through wooded forest land.  I have some photos which I'll post later, when I figure out how to pull them off my iPad and put them in Blogger.  

We called the mission office when we got into town.  We were told that President Holm didn't want us to come in the first day.  He wanted us to rest.  :o). The Deckers met us at our apartment (which had been theirs until we arrived).  It is very nice.  It has two bedrooms - one is used as an office- two bathrooms, kitchen, dining area and living area.  There is also a laundry room, storage room and a walk-in closet.  I'll post pictures of the apartment later, also.

We got all our stuff put away, and made a list of things to buy.  We plan to make this place our own, and I feel very comfortable about living here for the next 18 months.

Sister Mihlbergers, (she and her husband also live in our apartment complex) stopped by and brought us a welcome basket.  She let us know that the four senior couple who live in the area, and work in the office, would be going to dinner that evening.

At 5:30, the Mihlbergers picked us up for dinner at the Olive Garden.  We went with the Deckers, and another couple...the Fentons.  We had a great time getting to know one another and discussing the mission.  Sister Milberger kept referring to the Tsunami.  It took me a few minutes to figure out she was referring to what others had called The Surge.  The huge influx of missionaries into missions around the world, since President Monson's historic announcement last October, has caused an overload in the mission offices!   Everyone has been working long and hard to keep up!  The Fentons, whose original mission call had them serving as MLS missionaries (Member and Leadership Support), have been reassigned to the office, where Elder Fenton  is now doing cars and Sister Fenton is doing housing.  I don't envy either of them!  Cars and housing are huge!  Now that I think of it...every job in the office is huge!

When we got home, we left again to shop for some things for the house, along with some basic groceries.  While we were gone, Sister Rogers and her companion dropped by to welcome us.  Sister Rogers is from Farr West, and I am really looking forward to seeing her!  I have a special delivery for her...a big hug from her mom!  

Went to bed at 10:30, and for the first time in a long time...we slept 8 hours!!!

A Little Detour in Tennessee

Monday  we left Edmund and drove to Memphis.  we stayed overnight there, after we went to a restaurant for some Memphis Barbecue.  the barbecue was delicious, but the rolls were out of this world!  They were kind of like small baguettes, with a crispy crust.

In the morning, we headed to Knoxville, TN, where we stayed with my nephew, Ryan and his family.  They took us to dinner at a place called Sullivan's.  They know the owners, and I think they must be regulars, because everyone in the place seemed to know them.  The food was amazing...especially the fried corn on the cob!  (It seems that I am obsessed with food,  but that will all change when I start doing all the cooking at the apartment!)

When we got back to their house, Ryan helped us upgrade our GPS system and our iPads and iPhones.  He is an amazing computer geek!  
It was so fun to visit with Ryan and Heather and their two children.  I wish they lived closer to us so we could see them more often.  Well...I guess they live closer now!  They're only about 4-5 hours away!

Danny and Dalena, Grandchildren, and Amazing Food

The drive from Grand Island to Edmund, OK was only about 7 hours.  We arrived just after 4:00.  It was so great to see our family again!  The younger kids are going to change so much while we're gone! I try not to let myself think about that too much.  

Magda has to be one of the busiest little girls ever!  She played with blocks, colored, fed her dolls and all her animals dinner, and went shopping.  Dalena saved two shopping bags with handles on them for Magda's shopping.  She shops from the pantry.  :o). She also helps Dalena cook.  Saturday night's dinner included fresh tortillas.  Magda had her own tortilla press and made several tortillas that really looked pretty good!  (Magda is only 2 1/2 years old!)  

Bronson is a chunk!  He's pulling himself up to things and walking around.  He's a pretty happy little guy, and oh, so handsome!

There was also a pot of beans simmering on the stove.  It's the cutest little pot ever!  It's made of clay, but it's very light.  I wish I had taken a picture of it.  For dinner we had quesadillas, carne con su propio jugo, beans, fresh pineapple slices and Braum's ice cream for dessert.  Sunday, Dalena made, from scratch, shepherd's pie and potato rolls.  For dessert, she made grilled home-made pound cake with strawberries and whipped cream.  She is amazing!

It's always hard telling family goodbye...especially the little ones, because you know they're going to change so much...and you just hope they even remember who you are.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

First Leg

We were on I-15 by 10:00.  We drove straight through to Grand Island, NE the first day.  I was running on 3 hours of sleep and Jack on 4.  He drove most of the way, and was okay with it.  Late afternoon, he said he needed me to take over.   I wondered if I could stay awake even for 30 minutes...long enough for him to get a short nap.  Luckily, as soon as I began driving, there were angry black clouds in the distance.  It didn't take long  to reach them!  When I hit that blinding rainstorm,  my adrenalin kicked in.  I was good for the rest of the night!  The rain subsided while I was driving and a beautiful little rainbow appeared.  It was like a message for me.  Psalms 46:10. 

We drove till almost 11 PM, Utah time.  We had called ahead and booked a motel.  When we got there, we did nothing but get ready and go to bed!  I don't think with of us moved all night.  It felt so good to sleep 7 1/2 hours!

Home Again

Most of the people in our office training group were leaving for their missions after lunch, so we decided we would too.  We packed up and drove straight home (with a Parson's Bakery detour in Bountiful), arriving there about 3:30.  We continued gathering the things we planned to take with us to SC.  At 7:00 or so, Lisa called from the gym.  She needed a ride home, because she wasn't feeling well.  When we got back, our street was lined with cars.  Most of the family had come over to see us one last time before we left.  There was no packing done while the kids were there... But that was okay!  I was so glad we were able to hug them and tell them we loved them one last time.

We pretty much finished packing Thursday night.  In the morning, we stopped at the Boli's to give Gus his birthday card and gift.  Funny story about the card...We ran into Lee's Market to choose and buy a card.  While I was standing there browsing, the inter-com music caught my attention.  The song was James Taylor's "I'm Going to Carolina in My Mind."  How cool was that?

Then we went to the Barbers' to say goodbye.  Justin had gone to work, but he had stayed up to finish the blockheads for us.  The pictures on them were so they are current and WONDERFUL!  Hugged all the kids...even little Jed, who usually doesn't like hugs from us.  He had to give us a kiss as well.  Bless his little heart!

Last stop was at Dad's.  He was a little emotional.  I can't let myself go there.   I sure love my Dad!!!


Another thing we learned is about the hastening of the work.  Last fall there were 58,500 missionaries.  Since President Monson's announcement last October, there are now 76,000 in the field.  By the end of this fall, there will be 85,000.  We were told that this time will go down in church history as the largest expansion of missionary work in history!  It is EPIC!  So happy to be a part of it

MTC Week 2 - Office Training

The second week at the MTC was good, but very different from the first.  While the first week was centered on "Preach My Gospel," the second week was mostly on office procedures.  I learned a lot!  I hope I remember it all, but I know I'll get a chance to practice once I'm in Columbia.   

Jack has always been the one to use Exel.  He makes spreadsheets for everything!  Now I know how to make them too.  We also worked in IMOS...International Mission Office Recording System.  That tracks all the information on all the missionaries all over the world.  pretty important when there are over 75,000 of them out!

We learned how to do newsletters  in Word, and group correspondence, and a whole lot of other things.  They also talked to us about the importance of our relationship with the young missionaries.  They are SO young now...just kids, really.  We can console them and encourage them.  We can be their grandma and grandpa.  I hope there will be senior couples in the Philippines and in Paraguay, for Ty and Justin.

Brother Russ Foutin talked to us the last morning we were there.  He is over a large area of the world as a fleet manager.  Worldwide, the church has over 20,000 vehicles in its fleet.  There is a brand new software program to manage fleet the world over for the church.  Brother Foutin is really excited about it.  It's called CARS!  How cool is that?  It stands for church automotive recording system.  :o)

Brother Foutin stressed the two following points.
1.  Stay anchored to the approved program.
2.  In everything we do, we are representatives of The Lord and His church.  We need to remember that in our dress, our speech, our actions, how we take care of our apartment and our vehicle.  

We will have our own vehicle in the mission field, but others, including the young Elders and Sisters will be driving church owned vehicles.  Brother Foutin said repeatedly that everyone who is authorized to drive a church owned vehicle MUST remember that the cost of the vehicles and their maintenance comes from tithing money, and it is sacred money.

One of the men in our group asked about cost effectiveness - the price of cars and their maintenance vs. the number of baptisms.  Brother Foutin said that a member of the Twelve (he wouldn't say who) said, "If it takes one car per baptism, it is worth it."   D&C 18:10

After learning about the responsibilities of the vehicle secretary, can I just say, I'm glad I'm not one.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

MTC - A Veritable Missionary Factory!

Thom Rothey and his cute wife!  Thom was in my home ward, and Dad was his scout master.  :o)

When we arrived at the front doors of the MTC Monday morning, we were greeted by a service missionary we knew well...Elder Thom Rothey!  After we checked in and got our name tags, we parked and were ushered to our room in Senior Missionary housing...a building just behind the main building.  There were probably 20-30 young missionaries with HOST badges clipped on their name tags who carried our luggage and showed us where to go.  Such handsome and courteous young men!  Their mothers would be proud!  We went to an orientation meeting at the chapel right next to the MTC.  That's where all our classes are held.  In that first meeting, we had introductions.  There were 127 senior missionaries who arrived on September 2nd.  The record for arriving seniors is 128.  Most are senior couples, but there are a few single sisters too.  Most of us are housed in the dorms, but since there are so many here right now, the overflow are being housed at a Marriott Hotel in Provo.

We meet every morning at the chapel for a hymn and prayer, then we're in class till noon, when we go to the cafeteria for lunch.  The MTC cafeteria is a wondrous place!  They feed about 3,500 missionaries within a span of 2 1/2 to 3 hours!  There are basically four food lines - a salad/wrap line, a burger line and two different main entree lines.  There are at least three drink lines, where you can get sodas, milk, juices or the favorite of most missionaries...chocolate milk.  There's always fresh fruit and all kinds of desserts.  Missionaries can eat all they want of everything they want.  Tyler said today that he and his companion have both gained 10 pounds over the past 5 weeks!  The cafeteria is a fun place to go to watch all these beautiful young people.  They are so kind and courteous!  Every one of them seems so dedicated, and happy to be here.  We hear a lot of them chatting in the languages  of the countries they're going to.  Not sure, but I think there are about 28 different languages taught here.  Oops!  I stand corrected!  50 languages are taught here! 

After lunch we have 3 more hours of class and we are done for the day.  On Tuesday night, however, we attended a devotional at the Marriott Center.  There were over 3,000 missionaries there that night!  Quite a sight to see!  As we exited the building, an extraordinarily TALL Elder passed us in the hallway!  He was 7'6" tall!  I thought sure he was being sent to Japan on his mission, but nope!  He's going to Ventura, CA.  :o)

It has been great fun to be here with Tyler this week.  He and quite a few Elders and Sisters in his zone are leaving early Monday morning for the airport.  They will fly from SLC to Portland,  to Tokyo and then to Manila.  Then they will be bused to their destinations.  Ty only has a 2 1/2 hour bus ride.  Some of the others will be riding up to 11 or 12!  I can't even imagine!