I have been postponing another entry here because we have been expecting our mission call. We sent in our papers in April. Actually, none of it is by paper any more. It is all online. Anyway, we filled out the forms, answered all the questions, and forwarded it to our bishop. He added some comments and forwarded it to the stake president, who made some comments and sent it on to Salt Lake. We were available after mid-September. Two of our daughters were expecting babies in August. (Both beautiful little granddaughters are safely here now.)
While we were on a trip to Vancouver and Seattle in early May, visiting friends there and taking in the breath-taking beauty of the rhododendrons in the Northwest, I received a call from our stake president. One of the questions in the health history was about any surgeries that we had been advised to have that had not yet been done. President said the medical people in Salt Lake were concerned about the hip surgery Gaye had been advised to have but was not yet done. She had been experiencing increasing discomfort in her hip, the result from a horse riding accident many centuries ago. One of our good friends had actually received his call and then had both hips replaced after his call was received, so we sent in our papers and scheduled the surgery. July was the earliest Gaye could get in, so that was our plan. So President wanted to know if we should consider an assignment that would not require much walking--in other words, a desk job.
I told him that we wanted to be out and active, that the hip was scheduled, and that we anticipated that we would be all ready to go with a healed new hip by our availability date in September. He said he would call us right back. Well, he called the medical people in Salt Lake back and they told him that we should get the hip done and recover for 3-6 months (months! I was thinking 3-6 weeks based on our friend’s experience), and then the papers should be resubmitted. Okay. Fine. We thought we might still be able to get out of here before Thanksgiving.
The hip replacement surgery went great and after three uneventful weeks of healing we were ready to reactivate the application. President said all he would need to do is push a button and it would be rolling again. So I told him we were doing great and he could push the button. Two weeks passed and no word of any action going on with the application. Then President said there was a problem. The application had been cancelled! We were not even in the system any more. So we reviewed the previously filled out application form, sent it to our bishop who forwarded it to our stake president (sound familiar?) who sent it on the Salt Lake. Bishop received a notice by email that the application was received on September 4. I concluded that we would probably not be going by mid-September.
We had not heard anything more, except that there was another message that the application had been received September 12 (!). We would need to be a little patient. That is no problem because we are really not in a hurry. Maybe we will be out of town by Christmas. That is fine because none of our kids were planning on coming to our place for Christmas this year. Our turn was last year.
September ended and still no more information. Gaye’s sister has been on two missions with her husband and has been through this before. She had a number to call in Salt Lake that would connect us to the missionary department and we could find out where we were in the process. So I called the number and the service missionary on the other end looked up our names. Our application was ready to go to the Twelve. We learned that the procedure for assigning couples is a little different from that for the young elders and sisters. A summary is sent to each of the departments who compare the application to their needs. They make recommendations back to the committee who forward that on to the Twelve, who make the assignments. Then it goes to President Monson for approval, on to the mailing department for processing and mailing, and the call will usually be received by the missionaries the end of the week after the papers go to the Twelve. So the man on the phone said we should get our call by the end of next week. When I first called Church Headquarters, though, and was transferred to the missionary department, there was a message to leave a message. I wanted to talk to a real person, so I hung up and tried again, that time making connection with a real person, who gave me the information. However, I received a call back from another missionary in Salt Lake who was returning my first attempt. He also looked up our information and said the Twelve would not be meeting this week because of General Conference, so we should not expect to receive our call before October 20.
I am retired now (am I enjoying it? YES!), so we are really not on a tight schedule. There are plenty of things to do between now and when we leave. The anticipation has been getting a little old because we would like to be preparing in specific ways for our assignment. And the problem of not knowing has been a little burdensome. So now we can begin to make some plans. We want to go to Yellowstone, visit the kids, put the garden to sleep, get the maintenance issues on the house, furnace, carpets, yard, etc, all resolved. Maybe we will be out of here before Christmas, but we are not betting on it. (Have you ever noticed how Mormons bet on everything, but never in a way that would exchange money? You wanna bet?) That is okay. Whenever and wherever we go is fine. Gaye and I are just happy to be alive, well, and moving on with life. I hope you are, too.
That’s all for now. The next blog will be with specific information of where we will be and what we will be doing for the next 18 months.