First of all, I have been preoccupied with some amazing news in our family. Our son, Conner, who returned from his mission in October, is getting married in June! He and Taylor, his fiancé have sent us some wonderful photos, and have been working out the details of their wedding. She is so sweet, and organized, and has just been able to take charge, and hopefully have the wedding of her dreams. We have just enjoyed hearing the details of what they are doing. We are so thrilled to have her join the family. She is perfect for Conner!
One of the miracles we have seen while serving a mission is how much President Collings has been blessed physically. When he was a young man, before he was married, he loved running. He would compete in track and cross country in high school, and would spend hours each week running. It was really a passion for him. After marriage, his life got busy, and he wasn’t always able to run. He then developed tendinitis, and it seemed like every time he tried to start a routine of running every day, he would run for a few days, or weeks, and then would have so much pain from the tendonitis that he would have to stop. He tried every year for about 15 years, and was always disappointed. Once we arrived in Uganda, he decided he wanted to try running again. We are encouraged to exercise for 30 minutes every day as part of our missionary schedule, so he tried running again. This time, he was able to do it with no pain at all. He has progressed with his distance and speed, and even had some missionaries say that they wanted to run with him when they were staying at the mission home, or when he was staying in their zone for interviews or work with the branches. It has been so fun to see him out there with the missionaries, and the missionaries enjoying a run with their mission president. I thought I would share a couple of pictures of recent runs he has had out in the mission branches with our missionaries.
Always, the week of transfers ends with us sending our seasoned veterans home. This week was no different. We said goodbye to 8 missionaries, 5 elders and 3 sisters. We were here to receive the sisters, and I can’t believe how fast time flies! They are already done with their missions and going home!! The elders have been with us for almost two years as well. They were only with their previous mission president for two transfers. As I contemplate the time we have spent with these missionaries, I have seen so much growth from each of them. It’s hard to imagine these are the same young men and young women we met 2 years or 18 months ago. Chokes me up to have to let them go. All 8 are from African countries, and will be such a blessing to the church in their own country, and their own families as well. They have great confidence in their Savior, and great testimonies of the things they have been teaching. Some have families in the church, and others are the first or only members in their families, and have missionary work of their own to do. They will be returning to South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, Ghana, Kenya, and Namibia. We love them so much, and will miss them!!
Elder Khoriyo, Elder Fiagbedzi, Elder Dhlamini, Elder Lukhele, Elder Sakala,
Sister Shabalala, Sister Ngulu, and Sister Ramson
The last group left for the airport at 4:30 am on Friday morning. At 8:00 am that same day, we had moving trucks and workers here to start moving us to our new mission home.
So, an explanation on the mission home. First of all, for moms of missionaries who are reading this, the address to send letters and packages to your missionaries has not changed. Those are sent to the mission office, which has not changed. We have had a mission president and wife in this mission home since 2005. It was a rental, and the landlord approached the church several times to see if we wanted to purchase it. However, the the price he was asking for the home was very inflated, and it didn’t make sense for us to pay so much for it. About 3 months ago, we were given notice that the landlord did find a buyer for the home, and we would need to leave. We went with some people in real estate and after they had looked at about 10 properties, and weeded out the ones that for sure wouldn’t work, they took us to see some of the homes that would work. We walked through 4 or 5 homes, and immediately fell in love with the one we are moving to. The best news is that the price was less than what we were paying. Not only do we have a newer home, but we are saving money, and we are situated in a better place. All around it has been very positive. We are always asking our missionaries to transfer to new apartments, it seems fitting that we have our own transfer. There are a lot of memories here, not only for us, but for the missionaries. This is where they come for their first meeting with the mission president. Many zone conferences are held here. Many interviews have been held here along with dinners, and testimony meetings. Hopefully we will be able to have the same feelings for the new home we are moving into.
Moving is a bit different than it is in the United States. I was given a stack of boxes, and told that they would be coming on Friday to take everything to the new home. I spent the week boxing up everything I could, except for the things we needed for transfers. We had 7-8 missionaries staying at the mission home for 3 nights in a row. On Friday morning, I was packing up the bedding for the bunk beds, pots, pans, and food we used for feeding the missionaries, and the rest of our clothes, etc. The missionaries did notice while they were staying with us, that every shelf and cabinet was empty. The house looked pretty bare.
The moving van was a large open truck, which took all the furniture and boxes in 4 loads. I wish I had been able to get a picture, when they were done packing the trucks, the workers just sat on top of the furniture in the back of the truck and rode over to the new place. Sitting on a nice overstuffed chair is my kind of a ride! Haha.
I think we all thought that the move would be done very quickly. We decided to get a room at a hotel for one night so everything could be moved in before we stayed there. We didn’t really think about all the extra things that needed to be done. Things that take quite a bit of time to do. I spent Saturday showing the workers where to put the large furniture, and where to hang the pictures. We have all cement walls here, so it’s not easy for us to hang pictures on our own. There are air conditioners in each room hanging on the wall. I didn’t realize that when we move, the air conditioning company would be moving each air conditioner from the old mission home to the new one. Which means drilling holes in the walls, and running wires, etc. That process alone has taken two days, and will take at least one more day to complete. It causes so much dust and dirt, that we really can’t unpack and set up things until they are done. They also are hanging fire extinguishers and smoke detectors, and changing out all the locks in the house. As I said, lots of things that I hadn’t thought of. So, we will be spending a few more nights away from the house while it’s bustling with workers. It’s been an amazing experience so far. I am posting a picture of the outside of the new home. As things start to come together, I will post pictures of the inside of the home. It’s really a blessing to be here.
See that cute person on the front porch? That’s Jackie. I couldn’t have done it without her help. She has been amazing, helping me every step of the way with this move. She is right there, packing, and cleaning, and helping me to stay sane.
She is easier to see in this picture. A very sweet young woman!