Our first week in the mission field hasn’t quite been what we expected but we are being well taken care of and are getting through it one day at a time. As I write, Dad is in the hospital and I am staying at the mission home; but I would like to go back a week and begin from the evening we left you all in Burley.
We drove straight to Provo, arriving at the Super 8 around 10:30 PM. They weren’t expecting us as no one had told them we were coming in before morning, but they were very accommodating but didn’t have any rooms on the 1st floor where they usually put the missionary couples because of all their luggage. We said that would be fine as we could just leave our two big ones in the car all week. So we proceeded on with our two other suitcases each and lugged them upstairs and got settled in quickly so we could get up early and check into the MTC the next morning by 7:30. We asked for a 6 O’clock wake up call to make sure we were up and ready, but as you can imagine, we were up about 5:30 anxious to start the day.
The four days at the MTC were busy with our Office training classes from 8 AM to 5PM and we met 3 other Senior couples as well as 2 single Senior sisters taking the same office training. We met the Ivey’s from Utah going to Recife Brazil, The Freeman’s from Utah going to Honolulu, Hawaii; the Jenson’s from Utah going to Ft. Worth, Texas; Sister Cooper from Maine going to Charlotte, North Carolina; and Sister Manning from Washington State going to Milan Italy. All were great people and we enjoying meeting them as well as working with them for the four days.
Our days were pretty much all the same except on Tuesday evening we got to go to the Devotional they hold each week; this week we had Elder Jay Jensen of the Presidency of the Seventy’s Quorum and he did an excellent job of speaking on “The Book of Mormon.” We got to shake his hand afterwards as he came up to Dad and remembered us but couldn’t remember where we had met. We told him we served with President Bricknell and he had come to Idaho for one of our Mission Tours a few years ago. We told him we were going to South Africa and would see the Bricknell’s so he told us to give them a big hug for him and wife and said what great people they are; which we certainly agree with.
We also met up with the Carter’s a couple of time for dinner at the MTC one evening and also we went with them to the devotional. The Carter’s served with us in Ukraine (they were in Zaporozhe on the SW part of our mission) and now have been called to be Mission President in Armenia. They don’t actually leave until July 1st, but they are attending the MTC three days a week for language training. One Wednesday evening we went out to dinner with the Pattee’s who served with us in Ukraine also (they served in Poltava, way up North) and we met them at Red Lobster which is always a treat for us. They are also turning in their papers for another mission, we are trying to convince them to come to South Africa with us, but they just got a call today from a Mission President they don’t even know that wants them to come to Belize. I guess we’ll have to see what happens with that and see if we hear from them telling us they would rather come to South Africa and then we’ll tell our Mission President to contact them. I think most Senior Couples these days get grabbed up before they even get their papers in.
The only other exciting thing that happened at the MTC were more shots and a training we had to take for Malaria. Because we are serving in Botswana, the MTC required us to be trained on the importance of taking medication every day we are there and also getting netting to put over our sleeping area and spraying our clothes down with this really strong bug spray that we will be able to get there. We have since talked with President Poulsen and he said the really problem is up farther than where we live and he didn’t think it would be necessary, but for us to talk to the Olson’s when we actually got there. We’ll want to be careful and not get bitten, but I sure hope we don’t have to take all the precautions they told us about at the MTC, especially the daily dose of medicine.
We did our laundry at the MTC Thursday evening after classes so we could get up bright and early Friday morning and head for the airport. We drove to Handy Truck Lines warehouse by 8 O’Clock and one of their employees drove us to the airport and waiting while we got our bags all check in to make sure we were alright on everything. He was most helpful in lugging our heavy suitcase and everything went off like clockwork there. In fact, the MTC travel people told us that Delta just started charging $50.00 for the 2nd piece of luggage, so we went prepared to pay $100. For our 2 big suitcases, but they let us check 2 pieces each with no extra charge as long as they were not overweight. We had 2 cases weight exactly 50 pounds, one suitcase weighted 49 pounds and the last one was 51, but they just pushed everything through and said we were fine. That was a relief and a bonus on the money end of things, so we just headed upstairs with our carry on small suitcases (one each) and my duffle bag (called my purse) and dad’s computer bag which counted as his small carry on. The wait was long, almost 3 hours, but seemed to go pretty fast and before we knew it we were headed for our 4 hours flight to Atlanta. We arrived pretty much on time and had a 2 ½ hour layover there which was quite ample, but not a huge inconvenience as that is really a big airport and we had to take the underground subway to our next gate. We jumped onto the subway train but as soon as we cleared the door, the door came closed on my suitcase and I could rip it loose. They little voice on the subway keep saying, “stand clear of the door” but I couldn’t get my suitcase out as it was smashed by the door. Finally someone hit the “emergency opening” button and the door reversed so I could pull it inside with us and we were on our way again. WE caught our next flight just fine, did a little seat trading and Dad and I were together on the very last row of the plane, but we did have an empty seat in between us so we had a little room to spread out and were right next to the restrooms for the entire 16 hour flight. The flight did seem VERY LONG, but we each got about 4 or 5 hours sleep which we thought was pretty good under the circumstances and we had a change to grab the restrooms when they weren’t very busy and freshen up a bit before meeting the Bricknell’s and another office couple named The Botournay’s after passing through passport and immigration control quite easily. We talked there for a few minutes and then Elder Botournay went and got the Mission Pakki (name for pick-up here) and loaded our luggage. They took us to the Mission Home which was about a 1 Hour drive, and we settled ourselves in as the Poulsen’s were out of town to a Zone Conference and didn’t arrive home until later tonight. I took a nice refreshing bath, but miss-read a bottle I found in their bathroom cupboard and had lotion in my bath instead of bubbles. The language might be the same here, but the labels all look different and I’ll have to pay better attention next time. We didn’t wait up for them as we were quite exhausted, but met them bright and early the next morning. We slept quite well until about 3AM and then our bodies somehow thought it was morning, but Dad said a wonderful prayer for us and Heavenly Father helped us to be able to get back to sleep until about 6 AM which made for a pretty good first night’s sleep here in the mission.