Let me explain a term in this mission called ‘dodge.’ I don’t know if this was a term in anyone else’s mission, but here it has a couple meanings. The most prominent one is that dodge means information. So since we are in the mission headquarters area, people think we have inside information (which we do, because people talk around us), so when they see us they’ll say something like, “Hey, do you have any dodge?” Meaning, “Do you have any inside info?”
Another meaning is ‘sketchy.’ For example, the assistants won’t let us go to the house of one of our investigators because it’s in “a dodgy area.” Or, “This person got called into President’s office because he did something really dodgy.” “We have iPad audits coming up. Get rid of your dodge!”
Anyway, so when transfers are coming up, we get the call from the district leader Sunday night telling us who’s going, who’s staying, and so on, and this is called “Dodge Calls.” And it usually doesn’t come until about 10:30 pm, when I’m usually in bed, so this was me waiting for the dodge call Sunday night and trying SO HARD to stay awake.
And guess what happened when the dodge calls came….?
WALES! My new area is called Swansea in South Wales, and my new companions name is Sister Swapp.
I was actually incredibly shocked because I was pretty sure I was staying in Wylde Green for a lot longer. I think I probably looked like a dumbfounded Neanderthal with sleepy eye. (Think Gomer.) But they’re whitewashing Wylde Green soon so they’re taking both Sister Christy and I out, and there will be no missionaries here for several weeks until Elder Wall and his new companion are moved in. But that won’t be for another couple of weeks. Well, technically it would be called blue-washing, because they’re bringing Elders in where sisters used to be. A lot of places have been rearranged, and a lot of trainers are whitewash training, meaning they’re training in new areas they’ve never been. Sister Christy is being transferred to De Montfort in Leicester and will be companions with Sister Swasey who was in the MTC with me.
This week was full of a bunch of meetings we had to help out with at the office. First was the new trainers meeting, for the missionaries who are going to train the ones that come out of the MTC tomorrow, then the next day was MLC, and the day after that was an activity we were putting on for a bunch of members and investigators to watch Prophet of the Restoration at the church building. So we had a crazy week trying to coordinate events and times with the Assistants and President and Sister Leppard, while still trying to get our most prioritised proselyting done at some point during the week. It was pretty hectic. (I told Sara one of the good stories that happened Thursday after the trainers meeting when the assistants lost one of the sisters. Pretty classic display of what happens most of the time.)
We also had district meeting on Wednesday, which mostly consisted of an hour and a half of Sister Christy, Elder Wall, Sister Leppard and I trying to save Elder Lewis’s life. He has some condition where his vocal chords seize up randomly, choke him, suffocate him, and then he passes out from lack of oxygen. So he’ll be going home sometime in the next couple of weeks, they just have to figure out how, because he can’t get on a plane.
Thursday Elder Wall set up my odometer, so I’ve been tracking how far we bike each day. On the days that we hardly have to go anywhere, it’s six miles at the very least, which isn’t a lot at all when you think about four miles being around a section. But add in the fact that most of that is on hills, no you’ve got a lot more to work with.
A woman in our ward who is moving went through her books and put a bunch up for grabs at the church, and I accidentally took three of them. The Three Nephites, A Marvellous Work and a Wonder, & The Lost Tribes. Woopsy. My mistake. It doesn’t make it easier when I have to pack all my stuff for transfers. My suitcases are LOADED.
On Friday after MLC I was supposed to be updating the mission blog, and we use the Assistant’s office since they have computers, and as I was putting up the new post, they were working on their reports to give to President Leppard, and President needed them A.S.A.P., and he kept walking in and out asking for things, and Elder Wagner kept messing up his report, or typing it in Chinese, or altering the formatting by accident, and he and Elder Hellyer were both calling zone leaders for information, and they were getting really stressed out under the pressure. But I was only noticing all of this subconsciously because I was focused on not messing up the blog.
Then that night, I had a nightmare. Pres. Leppard decided to go on holiday for three months so he left the Assistants in charge of the entire mission, and Sister Christy got transferred, and for some reason I didn’t have a companion, so I had to work in the office. And the Assistants were NAZIS. They’d walk in a shout at me that they needed this document, right now. And I had no idea how to use the software, so I’d just print something out and give it to them. And then they’d freak out more and yell at me louder, so I’d try again, and it would escalate, until finally I just drew the pie chart they wanted with crayons, and then Elder Wagner REALLY took it out on me, and I started crying, and he kept yelling at me, and it really was a very stressful dream and a stressful night. My first initial thought when I woke up in the morning was, The Assistants are so mean! And the day before we had been joking about how if Elder Hellyer had a thin moustache he’d look like one of those intelligent bad guys from a 50s gangster movie. And in my dream he had a Hitler moustache! I was genuinely frightened of the Assistants for five minutes after I woke up.
That night after we showed the Joseph Smith film at the church, we went back over to the office to return their extension chord we’d borrowed, and the minute I saw them I just started laughing, so I had to tell them about my stupid dream. It was so embarrassing, but they just died laughing. Then they started talking about their dreams, and it led from Elder Hellyer dreaming he was solving a murder case, to talking about creepy crime shows. Elder Wagner began talking about one that was particularly gory, and did a disgustingly accurate imitation of breaking someone’s neck while strangling them, with the sound effects and everything, and I naturally reacted with a wigged out weeby-jeeby dance and a strangled “uuugg-iiiIIII!!!” noise.
When shall I learn to contain my reactions? I exposed myself to a round of high riotous laughter, and further reasons for the Assistants teasing me every chance they get. I suppose I shan’t have to endure it much longer though, because tomorrow I will be leaving for Swansea! I’ll miss Wylde Green though, and seeing President and Sister Leppard all the time, and working with the Assistants and senior couples, of course, Sister Christy. I’m so tired thinking about moving to Swansea. It’s like ALL DAY on a coach (bus) Oh boy. And before that I have to help take care of all the 32 new missionaries that are coming in. Oh goodness, it’s going to be a long day. I hope I survive, but it will be good.
I can tell I’m getting much more grounded and comfortable in life here and not killing myself over thinking about not being home, because I’ve seen a lot of people this week that were around in my first district that I haven’t seen in a while, and thought how much I missed them. I’ve made a lot of really good friends here in England among the other missionaries already, and it’ll be sad to leave when the time comes next year. It’s weird how quickly people mean a lot to you.
I wanted to tell you about something neat that happened this week. On Saturday morning all of our appointments fell through, as well as our backup plans. So we decided we needed to tract, but we had no idea where we should go to do it. We knew the general area we wanted to tract, but not which street, so we looked at the street names in that area, read them aloud, and then prayed together. After that we prayed individually for a bit, and each wrote down a list of five street names that came to mind. When we compared the lists there was only one I’m common: Brookhus Farm Road. So we went to Brookhus Farm Road in the pouring rain and started with house number 1. Within 45 minutes we had three new investigators.
God really does love us, and he opens the way for us to work and find those who are prepared, a lead us right to them.
I know the Lord hears and answers our prayer, each and every time we pray. We shouldn’t be afraid to ask Him for anything. He’s our father and He loves us infinitely.
I’m so glad to hear Mary got her mission call!!! All three of us ’97s will be out at once, for a month or two anyway.