The next weekend on June 27th, we experienced a real Houston thunderstorm. We were at the church 1/2 mile from our apartment when the rain was just beginning. Betty was practicing hymns on the organ to play on Sunday services. The lightning and thunder was all around us when it struck very nearby. There was a crackling and sizzling sound on the speakers above the organ, the lights blinked, and the organ went off. It was decided maybe we’d better get back to our apartment. Dave drove the car around to a closer door, the parking lot was already a lake, Betty jumped in and off we went.
The street was flooded as well as our apartment parking lot. In ankle deep water we sloshed our way to the apartment with lightning and thunder flashing and booming around us. It poured for hours and then again in the early morning the rain, lightning and thunder began again. By 12:15 p.m. when we arrived at church, the 4 inches of rain water was all drained away. The city of Houston knows how to build effecient drainage in all the parking lots and by streets.
Dave and Betty experienced the business of transfer day for the first time on July 1st. President and Sister Mortensen with the Assistants to the President, transport all the departing missionaries who have completed their mission to the airport. There they wait until all missionaries are safely on their flights.
This photo shows only part of the group leaving.
Then with anticipation of meeting all the new missionaries arriving, they wait some more. Here are the 24 new missionaries that arrived July 1st.
The office workers, that’s us, are busy at the church building next to the Mission Office setting up food, tables, booklets, and folders for all the new arrivals. When they arrive, the President says a few words and then leaves the new missionaries to be trained by the office staff while they eat a snack.
Elder Whitlock, newly arrived, and companion Elder Schinn
One new arrival, Elder Whitlock, is from Indio, California where lots of dates are grown. We were excited to talk with him. As we mentioned that we were from Yuma, Arizona, Elder Whitlock gave no recognition to our statement. He’d never heard of Yuma. But he has arrived with great readiness for the work and along with Elder Schinn are assigned to the ward we attend on Sundays.
In the arriving July 1st group, four sister missionaries were not able to travel with the larger group. At the MTC, a small bat was found in their room. So all four were required to stay in Provo at the MTC for 10 days and receive rabies shots.
The following Friday, July 10th, the “Bat Sisters”, as they lovingly became named, arrived. This was the first time for Dave and Betty to instruct new missionaries.
Betty trained these cute sisters about their support cards (debit cards for daily living costs), turning in their utilities bills quickly, the necessity of recording their expenditures to track their balance, and about their medical cards. Each Elder receives $140/month while the Sisters are given $150. In a companionship, that’s $240/$300 per month. Dave instructed them concerning taking care of their apartments, being good stewards and representing the church with orderly living quarters. Also he talked about the rules in using cell phones.
Elder Stevens tells new missionaries about driving their cars, the electronic tracking devise, Tiwi, in the car which monitors agressive driving, speeding, and hard braking with a computer voice prompting. Too many violations means that missionary can’t be a driver. Sister Stevens informs them to notify her about their progress in missionary work and baptism information. The office workers are a support system for missionary work.
The week of 4th of July we had several activities to celebrate this holiday. The Senior missionaries, Elder and Sister Wolfley were given free baseball tickets at the church’s peanut butter factory where they serve and work. This factory is next door to the mission office. So after work on July 1st we all loaded into the Stevens’ truck, traveled downtown to the Minute Maid Sunkist stadium to watch the Astros play.
The Wolfleys and Stevens in front of us.
On the 4th, the same group went to a very nice area called the Woodlands to watch fireworks.