What a roller coaster of a few weeks. I’m sure by now most of you have heard that both the Liberia Monrovia Mission and the Sierra Leone Mission have been evacuated and all the missionaries have been reassigned to new missions. I have been reassigned to the Salt Lake City Central Mission. What a difference!
This morning as I was cleaning up the apartment, which has A/C and is under a doctor’s office, I just thought to myself, how did I get here?? Why am I still uncomfortable even though I am in my native country? I got so used to sleeping under a net, sweating all night, sweating all day, talking funny, living with 2+ other Elders. Now I just ride a bike, I hardly sweat, and I am freezing after about 5 minutes in the apartment. It is totally different. I did laundry in a washer and dryer, since when can my clothes be washed and dried in about 2 hours?? That’s just crazy. I also was looking at 4 of the 7 shirts I brought with me from LIB. I can’t wear them because the collar is just ripped up, if I had realized that before, I would have left them or given them away. As I was folding them and putting them into my suit case, I had a little moment to myself and just remembered the LIBerian people. I miss them so much. They had such great and simple faith. I really hope and pray every day that Ebola will leave that country and missionaries will be able to go back to that beautiful country.
Okay, so how did I get to Salt Lake? Friday morning we were told to pack our bags, no more than 23 KG (50ish pounds). Saturday we got picked and went to the mission home for a couple hours then took a long bus ride to Harbel where the airport is. As we got there, the private plane that the church rented out through Delta wasn't there, and Ghana didn't want us to come there. So, we had to go back to the apartments. Sunday no church, no leaving the compound. All West Africans were able to leave. Monday all the Americans got picked in the morning and went to the mission home, and the we traveled to the airport. East Africans flew out on Tuesday. Americans went to Brussels (Belgium) and started to split away after that. I went to London next, waited around for a couple hours, met missionaries returning home... then flew to Seatac for about 4 hours. Then landed in salt lake at about 11:10. Very long Monday and Tuesday for me.
President Moffat is my new Mission President, he met us by baggage claim, he was just shocked at the way we looked. Exhausted, red eyed, scruffy (no shaving), no money, the money we did have was in euros and pounds or LD, our shirts were stained brown, collars were all ripped up. He asked if we were hungry, we asked for rice. Since it was midnight at this point, everything was closed and we just went to the hotel for the night.
The next day there was a transfer meeting and President Moffat introduced us and explained why we were there. It was funny, before we were introduced, many elders were asking us who our trainers were, thinking that we just came from the MTC. We laughed and just said wait a little while, the looks on their faces when we said we were from LIB was hilarious. I was given bedding from Sister Moffat since I left mine, she gave me a couple new white shirts, a pillow, and a hand-me-down bike and helmet.
Teaching here is very different, i am still getting used to it. I have had a couple people ask me where I am from so I say Seattle, then they have a very puzzled look on their face. So, I have to explain that I was in LIB for 18 months and that’s why I talk funny. I didn’t really notice it, but I guess I do have accent.
My new companion is Elder Franco from Anaheim, California and has just about 2 months left. It’s been interesting adjusting back to a 1st world country so quickly. Everyone reading this: we have a very blessed life style.
I love you all and please pray for the Liberians.
Still the White African (I love this line!)
In extra emails:
I asked him what was different here:
This is actually a blessing I think. If I would have gone straight home, I would have been bored and even more confused about the change, but here I’m still busy so I really don’t have time to worry about it. It is very different, but I’m doing good.
How is the missionary work? I’m just tired of not teaching people. I maybe taught 8 lessons last week... i was doing that in less than 2 days...
He did get a package his aunt Jennifer sent and a package that I sent before he left Liberia. Thank you for the Oreo's, but I didn’t have much. I had to get about 12 kgs out of my suitcase and wasn’t watching closely and they were eaten.
How is the American food treating you: The only food that is giving me a hard time is candy and dairy, but I have a little milk every day to help, and cheese on a sandwich for lunch. We have dinner almost every night with members.
I am in the Murray Utah Stake, covering the 3rd, 8th and 25th wards... yes I’m over 3 wards... Church for me starts at about 7am with meetings, and ends at about 3. Then it’s time to go find people to teach. We have two buildings, two wards meet at the same time so we switch off every week. Most companionships have 2 to 3 wards to cover.
How are Elder LaMont and Elder Elliott doing? (There were 4 missionaries from West Africa that were reassigned to the Salt Lake City Central Mission. Elder Elliott and Elder LaMont traveled with Collin from Liberia, another one came from the Sierra Leone Misson). Did you meet the one that came from Sierra Leone? I will meet all the West African elders tomorrow and again on Thursday for a special training for us.
When people ask about you, what do you want me to tell them now? Tell people I’m trying to adjust but I’m happy and staying busy.
|This is their last picture together at the Mission home. Collin is standing just to the right of center, wearing a blue tie.|
|Removing weight and repacking, they needed to stay under 50 pounds|
|Collin is kind of in the middle of the picture, he wasn't looking to happy. They were waiting for instructons.|
|Elder Elliott, Sister Kirkham, and Collin|
|Elder LaMont, Elder Park, and Elder Elliott|
All three were assigned to the Salt Lake City Central Mission
|Sister Kirkham and Sister Berrett|
So many thanks to these wonderful ladies who have watched over the missionaries and provided some of the pictures I have posted on this blog.
|Elder Berrett and President Kirkham|
Packed and ready to go
|loading up the vans, the second attempt.|
|Sign at Roberts International Airport in Liberia|