Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Office

This post is also instigated by Angela who wanted to see what transpired in a typical day at The Office.  "The Office" of the New York Mission bears no resemblance to the TV show of that name a few years ago.  I never watched it, but was exposed to it a bit as Angela and Ethan viewed it during some of their times staying with us.  I say it has no resemblance to our group because unlike the TV show, we are united in purpose under leaders inspired by God and motivated by love.  Also, we share very common backgrounds from our experiences in the church.  It is awesome to be part of this team.

This is our team as we bid farewell to one couple, the Workmans on the right.  They were released after 18 months to return to North Carolina.  She served as nurse and he was the housing coordinator.  A local retired nurse will fill that role as a church service missionary.  We hope a couple will be here in November to look after the housing function.  Until then, Brother Spencer and I will cover the housing needs.  

Sister Jones works closely with Sister Spencer who is the main secretary.  A big part of her job is  coordinating the air flights of arriving and departing missionaries.  She also edits the uplifting monthly newsletter, "Glad Tidings from Cumorah."  Also, she is the primary planner and preparer for the various lunches and dinners the staff puts together for different missionary groups, along with many other responsibilities. 

Elder Spencer previously was the records specialist but transitioned to the vehicle coordinator when we came.  He is very busy tracking the missionaries mileage, gas usage, and maintenance,   An accident takes a full day or two out of his week filing reports and talking with insurance representatives.  He also inspects the cars at zone conferences.  Additionally, he oversees the ipads and cell phones.

The Spencers have been here almost a year and will be serving at least 18 months.  They are beloved by the missionaries and are great mentors.  They raised 7 sons. 

So here is Sister Jones starting the day putting our lunch in the refrigerator. We lunch with the Spencers about 1ish.  

One of my jobs is to keep the supply room stocked and fill requests from the missionaries for materials.  We have  the Book of Mormon in about 75 different languages on hand. Since I have been here, there have been requests for Swahili,  Russian, and Arabic as well as ones to be more expected.   

We also have a full supply of pamphlets. 

Of course, it would be very bad form to run out of Books of Mormon.  The missionaries usually request them by the case.  About 1,200 have been distributed since I arrived. 

Here is my workspace.  I am usually a lone man in my room entering accounts payable, reconciling credit card charges,  processing lease renewals and coordinating the opening and closing of apartments. 

The "keys" to my calling. 

There is a lot of LDS art throughout the office.  Sister Jones thought this piece in my office was worthy of a picture.  

Sister Jones tracks baptisms and transmits records to Church Headquarters.  The forms submitted by the missionaries are seldom complete since they require information like the maiden name of the mother of the person baptized.  So she spends time hunting down these facts.  She also tracks and distributes referrals from a variety of sources.  It is an online system that is not very functional. 

Sister Jones's day gets really busy when the mailman delivers the mail.  Her job is much more than just sorting it.  Since the mail for missionaries comes to the office, she then has to forward it all on to the missionaries throughout the mission.  Packages need to be forwarded in the most expeditious way possible. 

The trusty mail machine figures out the postage.

We usually have some missionaries stop by the office daily.  That is the highlight...feeling the spirit and dedication of the missionaries.  These Elders actually sang for the office staff although they requested that it not be video recorded. (They did a really great job though.)

So that is pretty much how a day goes.  We have a staff meeting with President Evans on Monday mornings and receive the benefit of his teaching and inspiration.  He is usually around the office for meetings with the APs, (assistant to the president) or others, so we see him a couple of times a week.  However, we are generally on our own to figure out how to deal with situations that come up. 

At day's end, which is frequently 6 or 7 o'clock, we feel tired but that we have made a real contribution to "building up the Kingdom."  

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