Sunday, May 26, 2013

New Digs for YFTM

View from present YFTM apartment
 New Elders

We have had a lot of transfers lately.  There is usually no or very little notice before one or both are suddenly moved out.  One effect of that is to not get too close to any of them.  They will be pulled right out from under our feet.  Anyway, we now have a couple of great elders serving in Tortola.  Elder Taylor is from Colorado and Elder Smith is from Tooele Utah.  Taylor and Smith.  Pretty common Mormon family names.

Present YFTM digs
Our YFTM (young full-time missionaries) have been living above Cane Garden Bay on the north-west coast of Tortola.  
Cane Garden Bay from current YFTM apartment

The layout of this island is rugged with a narrow strip of land along the coast and a high, rugged ridge that runs the complete length of the island, like the Continental Divide in Western US.  The main population centers are in the middle of the south side at Road Town and at East End not far from where we live.  The YFTM, however, have been living high on a hill side far from those two population centers.  They have the big Toyota Tacoma truck  to drive up and down those high and very steep roads.  The truck gets around 11-12 mpg.  We drive Suzzie, on the other hand, and get around 21-22 mpg.  It is one of the mysteries of the mission.

When we were first sent to Tortola a hundred years ago in November 2012 President told us we need to find a place for the YFTM to live where they can be closer to the people on flat land where they can use their bikes and park the second most expensive car in the mission.  We started to look in earnest and were told that we could not do anything until closer to the end of May when the present contract would end.  We kept our eyes and ears open but we could not really start to look seriously until a few weeks ago.  Then we had a very small time window to find a place because we had given notice the beginning of April that we would not be renewing the present contract.

We found a few places to check out but they were either too high on the hill sides or too expensive or too far from the population centers.  The clock was ticking.  Then one day I stopped in at the real estate office that has been helping us with other projects over the past few months and I asked if they had found anything.  She acted like this was a new request, which it was not, and took my contact information.  Then she said she had a friend who had just told her that she had an apartment that would meet our needs.  She called the lady right then, and then told me that it would be available very soon, but that someone else was in line ahead of us, so we would need to check back in 3 days.  I thanked her and left somewhat discouraged because it seemed that we might have missed the best lead we had had since we started looking.

The next day the real estate lady called me to say that she thought she had found what we were looking for (it was the same place she had mentioned the day before), and I needed to come to the office to help them determine what things we would need to have in the apartment for furnishings.  I went over and told her that the mission already owns the missionary beds and that we can provide dishes, silver ware, pots and pans, a table, etc, and that all we would really need was a stove and a fridge.  We had previously discussed the budget restraints and I told her that that number was very firm.  The mission housing director told me that it must be under a certain figure, but we already knew there was nothing available at that number.  Besides, the mission was paying $100 more than that for the place they were already living in.  To make it short, we looked at the apartment and it is exactly what we have been looking for!  Even the price was right.

I contacted the mission office to report to them.  Over the past few months we have had some really confusing and frustrating experiences with the area real estate office in trying to deal with the rules and regulations that an organization as big as the Church must of necessity have.  A friend many years ago told me to never let the bureaucracy of the Church to ruin my testimony.  I appreciate that counsel.  The church real estate office sent me a contract that they insist we use.  I took that to the realty company and they said they will use their own contract and not ours.  Proverbial rock and hard place sort of trap.  Finally I contacted one of the mission staff, a retired judge, and he said he would try to help.  What he found out was that if we did not use the company’s contract we would be back to square one because they would absolutely not use our contract.

I think I have prayed more about this particular problem than any I can remember.  It has been really frustrating to realize that there is nothing more I can do.  Prayers are answered, however, and we just received authorization from president to proceed with the project.  So tomorrow I will go to the real estate company office and get the contract going.  They have to sign it, then I need to send it to President for his signature, and then it will be returned to me so I can take it to the company.  Then, fingers crossed, we will be able to start moving the elders.  The month ends next Friday.  Here are some photos.

New Neighborhood

Getting there.  Might need to walk the bikes up this one.

Suzzie parked in the driveway.

Apartment entry

Balcony view


Bedroom area


Inspiration room

The new apartment is bottom floor above the retainer wall.

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