June 29, 2008
I decided to publish our weekly reports to the mission president so these are out of chronology.
Dear President Mickelsen:
In accordance with the Mission protocols, we are writing to report on our week of June 22nd to 29th. We would also be sending a letter home, but as yet we have no Internet connection in our apartment. We will keep trying to get that activated through Olga this week. Meanwhile, we have sent a brief note from the office Internet connection to our daughter reporting our arrival.
We have moved into unit 40 and cleaned the entire apartment including surfaces, dishes, appliances, and anything else that did not move out of the way. We feel much more at home here today than we did on Monday. We have made it ours and considering that Olga surprised us by paying three months rent on it, we consider it home for at least that long. We have reimbursed the mission for our portion of June and will pay the July rent by the 4th.
We have been welcomed and feel accepted by all we have met. We are grateful for the loving spirit of the staff and missionaries and have tried to return the same. If there are any fences to be mended we would appreciate your counsel.
Elders Fry & Lunt have oriented us to the office and begun to show us our duties. We plan to be in the office from 9 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday with only occasional exceptions for outside duties.
Wednesday the left bank elders planned to take the Hughes and ourselves shopping at IKEA, but the Hughes had workers installing their internet and could not make the appointment. Elders Pister & Harper agreed to take us anyway and would re-schedule with the Hughes. Three other elders joined us for the trip. We bought a few small kitchen items, ate at the IKEA and had the elders back on duty before 6 pm.
Friday the District Meeting was held in our apartment. Elders McCleary & Gambardella came at 11 am to help us set up and their meeting ran from 11:30 to 12:30 pm. Sister Simmons made Tortilla Soup, veggies, and a sheet-cake for them and they seemed to enjoy it. Most of the companionships were gone by a little after 1 pm and the ZL’s stayed to cleanup until about 1:30 pm. I was very impressed with the meeting. The ZL’s were well prepared, very business-like, and the lesson was a strong spiritual discussion about identifying and finding the “Elect”. It could not have been a better run meeting if they had been 50 year old high priests.
We attended the First and Second Branch meetings today and were asked to speak in both Sacrament Meetings. Sister Simmons introduced us and bore her testimony. I preached a brief sermon on I Nephi 3:7 and bore my testimony. The elders translated for us in both Branches. I felt that we were well received. Second Branch had only 18 present and the Branch President was sick so Misha conducted and taught Sunday School. First Branch had about 35 attending including 8 missionaries. (Office Elders, Zone Leaders, Sister Companionship, and us). Elders Bressler and Hoopes escorted us to church and Elders Fry & Lunt brought us home where we served them the left-overs of Friday’s lunch and discussed the office procedures further.
This next week we plan to work in the office daily, have the sister companionship to dinner on Tuesday, and host the YSA fireside on Sunday. We have coordinated with Misha on the fireside and expect him to call us with a count of expected attendees. We will also be working on an inventory of mission-owned items in our apartment this week and will turn it in to Olga. I will assist Elder Fry to make the agenda for the Tuesday presidency meeting and sit in on that meeting and the Wednesday meeting if appropriate.
We are still working on several challenges with the apartment. Olga is still trying to locate the landlord; she does not have a contact point with her as yet.
1. The refrigerator continues to ice up and we cannot get the freezer door open, or after prying it open, getting it tightly closed due to the ice formation. As a result, it does not really keep the food cold.
2. We are unclear about what things we should repair/replace at our expense and need some clarification.
3. The landlord seems to be storing things in the apartment, both in the living room credenza (books) and a lot in the “porch” area.
4. The kitchen counter-top Formica next to the sink is split and a piece is broken out exposing the pressboard to moisture and causing it to swell, retaining water & bacteria.
Finally, I need to purchase a bag like the elders carry, considering the rule against using backpacks. There was one in the Holmes’ things left unclaimed when we went through it last week. If that one is still available I would like to have it. Otherwise, I will buy one on Saturday.
We are excited to get started on our office assignment and look forward to a great week.
Elder & Sister Simmons