Dear Family and Friends,
We are going to have two subjects this time: The Office, and Transfer Week.
First, The Office: Since we have arrived in Japan we have worked in the office with 6 missionaries: the Assistants to the President (they help with the missionaries but not with the office per se), Elder Iida who is Jim’s trainer in the financial area, Elder Lee who is Pat’s trainer in the secretarial area, Elder Muroi who is the Commissariat (he orders everything and takes care of all supplies and makes all arrangements regarding housing), and Elder Maruji who is the Recorder (he records all baptisms, referrals, and information that the mission needs to keep records of).
Our office is arranged thusly: I am at the front desk to welcome visitors, delivery people, answer calls, and forward mail. You go around my desk to get to the main back area where the Assistants, Recorder, and Commissariat sit. From that room you access the Mission President’s office and Jim’s financial office. We also have a large storage room, and hallway with two bathrooms.
This has been the way things are until this last week. Since it was transfer week, two of our missionaries were transferred out: Elder Maruji (my trainer, Elder Lee, is taking over his position, and Elder Iida (Jim will have to be on his own now! AAGHHHHHHH!! [Do you sense any panic?]) So we all went through a period of mourning.
Second, Transfer Week:
Monday was mostly a preparation day of making copies and handouts and getting things ready for the missionaries going home and those coming in. The missionaries going arrived at the mission home Monday night for interviews with the mission president and to spend the night.
Tuesday morning we all had a delicious breakfast at the mission home with Pres. & Sis. Hill, the returning missionaries, and all of the office people. We had scrambled eggs, toast, and bacon, and juice. Then Pres. & Sis. Hill took the returning missionaries to the temple for lunch and a session. When they got home, they had a nice dinner and a testimony meeting and went to bed.
Wednesday we all had a delicious breakfast at the mission home—a wonderful breakfast casserole and cinnamon rolls. It was fantastic!! Then Elders Iida and Maruji left (so hard to see them go!) Then Pres. & Sis. Hill and the Assistants took the returning missionaries to the airport. They took two vans with everyone’s luggage. They sent the missionaries off on their various flights: two to Australia, one to the U.S., one to her home in Japan, and one sister had her parents come over and will spend the next 10 days going around Tokyo and a few other places in Japan to see where their daughter served. Then the Hills and Assistants stayed at the airport until the plane arrived with 11 missionaries from the Provo MTC. They had all their luggage shipped back to the mission home and brought the missionaries back where they met the missionaries from the Japan MTC who came on train from the JMTC which is about an hour from here. The Hills gave them a nice “Welcome to Japan and Your Mission” dinner and bedded them down all over the house. The sisters were all in the guest bedroom area where they had their own bathroom, the elders spread to all the other rooms. Missionaries were both in beds and on futons.
Thursday morning we all had breakfast at the mission home again—this time they served French toast and orange slices and yogurt. Then we started our training. Jim went first to talk about the financial stuff. Pat was second and talked about passports, gaijin (foreigner) cards, had them write letters to home (very short), fill out an information form that Sis. Hill keeps, and letter-forms that they are to fill out and send to Pres. Hill each week. Then the Recorded and Commissariat taught them. We started @ 8:30 a.m. and finished @ 11:30 a.m. Then we rearranged the tables and chairs to accommodate all the new missionaries, office people, and all the new Senior Companions (those missionaries already in the mission who will train these new missionaries)—so there were about 40 there. What was really fun was that the Assistants told everyone that it was my birthday, so they all sang Happy Birthday and then took a few pictures. I was asked to give the blessing on the food, and then we ate Okinawan Tacos, which is Tacos without tortillas or chips, but with rice. It was delicious!! And we had brownies for dessert!!!!!
Then the office staff went back to the office to work while the new missionaries and their companions had some meetings to help them get started, then they collected all their stuff and left. Suddenly, everything was VERY quiet! We just kept working and trying to get things done. We all had lots to do to organize all the stuff on which we have been working.
Friday was so quiet—recovering from all the activity of the week. We had had so much to eat all week that we probably gained 5 pounds (unwanted pounds!!!). And since we haven’t had any time to exercise, just walking back and forth to the honbu, we really feel tired. We hope this next week will be more normal and maybe we can exercise some. This week I (Jim) have not been home before 9:30 any night. I hope things settle down next week.
If you have any questions about this stuff or anything else, please feel free to ask. We also enjoy hearing from each of you about the things going on in your lives. We love all of you,
Elder & Sister Hartzell (Jim & Pat) (Mom & Dad)