Sunday, November 10, 2013

How many people does it take to run an office?

At a High Priests' Banquet last night at the West Columbia Stake Center, we were seated with Sister Barlow, to other couples and a single sister.  When we introduced ourselves as office missionaries, one of the sisters asked, "It takes three of you to run the office?"  It was a great question - but to us, it seemed incredulous.  We three are actually only part of the office staff!  There are two other couples that weren't at our table.

The Mihlbergers leave for home (St. George, UT) in just over two weeks.  They have been our go-to people, since they have been in the office longer than any of us.  Then the staff will number five.  Here's just some of what we do...

Elder Arrington:  pays bills, puts money on the missionaries' MLS cards (that's the money they have to live on each month), records baptisms, orders and sets up cell phones for missionaries, orders media and office supplies, orders copies of the Book of Mormon (mostly in English, but also in other languages - we've had requests for Spanish, Chinese, French, and Pohnpeian in the two months we've been there).

Sister Arrington (that's me):  answers phone and directs phone calls, handles all incoming and outgoing mail, takes and fills media orders, takes and faxes and receives and sends name-tag orders, puts together Harvester (the mission monthly newsletter) and send out Harvester.

Sister Barlow:  handles all travel for missionaries.  Every six weeks, we have an average of 22 missionaries come new to the mission, and an average of 8 missionaries go home, because their time of service has expired.  Sister Barlow also puts together all of the mailings to send to the new missionaries and all of the papers to send home with the departing missionaries.

Sister Fenton:  handles housing for all the missionaries.  Since the surge began, a year ago, we've had more and more missionaries come into the mission.  Last transfer, Sister Fenton had to procure and set up NINE new apartments/houses throughout the mission.

Elder Fenton:  handles everything to do with CARS.  He picks up new cars, sells old cars, trains missionaires in care and operation of fleet, pays for car repairs and maintenance.

Elder and Sister Mihlberger have pretty much taught us all they knew.  We have their phone numbers handy in case we have to call them with questions after they leave.

We, the Mission Office Staff, try to keep everything running in an orderly fashion so that President Holm can concentrate 100% of his time with the young missionaries, who are serving in every part of the state.  He is a wonderful man and mission president.  I think I can safely say that he has the profound love and respect of every one of the almost 250 Elders and Sisters in the South Carolina, Columbia Mission.

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