Friday, January 15, 2016

Week Fifteen: First Week in the Office

Alright my lovely people, I'll try to keep this brief.

I honestly don't know how many weeks I will try to keep my letter brief and fail.

A brief summary:

This week I arrived in the Office with my Companion, Elder Shepherd. And we immediately started being trained by the Office Couple, Elder and Sister Hermansen. They are from Utah and they return home from their mission January 26th. Elder Hermansen is training Elder Shepherd to be the Financial Secretary and Sister Hermansen is training me to be the Office Secretary.

This means Elder Shepherd gets to worry about Financial things and I get to worry about Office things. Which means, everything. I help run President Mkhabela's schedule, I deal with the paperwork for the incoming missionaries (I get to know everyone coming to Zimbabwe, or anywhere in Africa, a few months in advance), I deal with the paperwork for missionaries returning home (I put together their departing folders, certificates, emails to their priesthood leaders and families, etc.), I deal with running mission meetings and helping them run smoothly, I input baptismal records to the Church servers, I do correspondence with the Southeast African Area Office as well as Salt Lake, I organize and handle the mail for the mission, I make reservations for things, order lunch, etc.

I have gained a huge appreciation and greater respect for secretaries. They do so much that no one knows about.

So I have been busily learning the duties and responsibilities of this calling. I've been meeting all the other people who work for the Church here. A lot of it is unimpressive throughout the week, I spend most of the day at a desk. However there are still a few amazing things that happen.

Just yesterday, It started to rain, and then a man comes into the front door of the building, shakes off the water a bit, then comes to the office window and cheerfully and casually says "Hello!"
Sister Hermansen responded "Hello Elder Dube" then proceeded to introduce me as her replacement. I was confused because this man didn't have a name tag on. I greeted him, he talked to Sister Hermansen a bit, then he ran back out into the rain. Sister Hermansen gave me an umbrella to help him and so I ran out after him, but he was nowhere to be seen. I returned and then asked if he was who I thought he was. "Yes, that was General Authority, Elder Dube. He comes here on vacation with his wife."

It was so casual and so amazing. He returned with his wife shortly after the rain stopped, and then they waited until their car arrived.

I may get to meet him again tomorrow, but it is unsure.

Ponderizing this week is Proverbs 3:1-2 " My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee."

Until next Saturday,

-Elder Wilcken

PS. A tragedy just happened. My SD card got corrupted. I had backed up most of the files, but not since a week or so ago. So all the pictures this last week were lost. Ah well.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Week Fourteen: Unexpected Changes at Transfers

My dear loved ones,

This is the 1st day of transfer 3/17. And much to my surprise, I was taken from Bindura! Even more to my surprise, I've been called to serve in the Mission Office under the title "Special Assignment"! My new companion, Elder Shepherd, and I are the new office Elders replacing the office couple, the Hermansens. Elder Shepherd is the new financial secretary and I am the new front desk secretary.

Elder Shepherd is starting his 4th transfer and I am starting my 3rd. Never before has an Elder gone to the office straight from the first 12-week training. This is completely unexpected and crazy, but I am so excited.

The Office Elders have their preparation days on Saturdays instead of Mondays, so until I leave the Office, people should write to me by Friday night instead of Sunday night.

It is likely that we will be here until the new office couple arrives, in about 5 months. Unless the Lord has different plans of course.

Elder Shepherd is from Utah, and apparently he was supposed to be in my MTC group, but they moved his entry date up 6 weeks. So far we are getting along wonderfully. He seems to be a really cool Elder.

In other news, this last week was very slow, as it was the end of the transfer. Not a lot of work was able to be done unfortunately. And now it seems while I'm in the office not a lot will be done, proselyting-wise. But I will still be very busy helping the mission run better. I'll apparently be in charge of mail, baptismal records, having candy on my desk for the missionaries, etc.

I had pictures to send, but I left them in my bag at our house. But with the better network connection, hopefully I'll be able to send more.

Ponderizing scripture:  D&C 121:34-36, 39-40 (Lest I get to boastful with this calling.)

Until next week, I love you all.

-Elder Wilcken

Week Thirteen: Birthday, Christmas, and All That Good Stuff

Merry Late Christmas (and Happy New Year!)
So everyone knows, my birthday was really something special. After doing some work in the areas, our zone went to visit a family for each companionship to sing Christmas Carols for them! At most of the houses, we sang our rendition of Far Far Away on Judea's Plains. Most were so impressed that they asked us to sing another song, even though we said we would only sing one. So we would quickly pick another one, and we would sing it (and it would still be pretty impressive).

After the caroling, my companion and I returned to our "Family", the Rabsons, for dinner, along with 3 other companionships. I arrived with the second group, as we were delayed a few minutes. So they were able to ambush me.

There is a tradition here in Africa, of "baptizing" the birthday person with buckets of water, and sometimes other things as well, like flour, sand, or charcoal. I was fortunate enough that they only chose water. I was going to be wet, but clean. Then I made a bad choice, I ran. As soon as I saw the bucket behind the wall, I ran. I thought I was safe, but then I tripped into someone's garden. As soon as I hit the ground I gave up. I accepted my fate, and I laid there in the mud as they poured bucket after bucket on me. Then one of the Elders helped me up, we all had a good laugh, many happy pictures were taken, and then I got to go inside, shower, and change into the clean clothes they so thoughtfully ironed and brought for me. We then had a lovely dinner followed by a birthday cake with my "Family" of friends and missionaries.

Then on Christmas we got to visit that family, the Rabsons, again.Then in the evening as a zone we had a Christmas Braai while missionaries called home to their families.

Even better, on Saturday we had a baptism for one of our investigators! She is the cousin of the First convert I baptized, and the grandchild of the Grandparents I baptized last time. This family has really been growing in the gospel. She was then able to be confirmed on Sunday, and now we just need to help her stay active!

This upcoming week is the end of the transfer, the end of my 12 week training, and my companion, Elder Makoni is pretty sure he will be transferred. It is all moving along very well
Ponderizing D&C 37:4, It is important to remember people have the freedom to choose to accept the gospel or not, to be obedient or not.

Until next week, I have been so blessed this past year to be on the Lord's side. I know he blesses me and I am so thankful for his guidance in my life.

-Elder Wilcken