Saturday, May 28, 2016

May 28, 2016 - Back to the - Back to the - Back to the Office!

Elder Frey loves saying that every time that we hop into the car at an absurdly early time to travel to the Mission Office. I've gotten into the habit, too. It's a fun way of laughing in the face of chaos. Or giving in by small degrees to the insanity. Either - or.

This week was pretty calm, actually. On Sunday, because of the musical number that Elder Frey and I did, we were asked to plan another musical number for the ward. We are considering doing "Savior, Redeemer of my Soul". (Rob Gardner's version, it's a good one!) It's just hard to find time to practice the piece - the Office demands quite a bit of time, and the piece is pretty complex. Oh, well. We'll make it work somehow.

On Monday, we moved Elders out of the apartment in Pasila, a place close to Central Helsinki. We moved them a short distance away, so that they will actually live in their area boundaries. That's always preferable. They did a fantastic job of cleaning and packing the apartment - this was by far the easiest apartment to close down in the Office, or so I've been told. I didn't have to do any of the other 7 or so. Although I might be doing another soon for a former Senior Couple apartment in Kuopio. I don't know about that, though.

Wednesday, we had to switch out 2 more phones in the Marjaniemi district. Porvoo is a part of that district, so I've been there earlier in my mission. I got to see the church again, switch phones and SIM cards around, give a bike to the Porvoo Elders (not that they'll need it there), and took a desk from the storage in the Sisters' apartment nearby so that the Savonlinna companionship with three Elders can have a desk to each of them. We also arranged to get a third bed to them. I think they'll appreciate that.

Oh, that same day, we found out that the Waste Toner Box was full on the printer that we have. So we need to wait for a part before the printer can be used again. That's a bit of a bump in the Office... Thankfully, for smaller needs, we set up another slow, black-and-white printer that uses expensive ink. So there's that to save us temporarily.

The Mission History is nearly done. We are format-checking everything for, like, the fifth time, just to make sure that the Mission Histories are consistent within themselves and between each other. Wow, we've worked so hard on these things! President and Sister Watson will also be adding things of their own in shortly, so we should be well practiced at re-formatting things to fit by that point. I am definitely finding a way to take these things home, since we've poured our souls into these things... Probably just copy the electronic file. One less thing for the luggage bag. Yikes. Moving past that...

Well, TO THE Q's!

What did you learn this week?

This last District Meeting that we had, we talked a lot about two concepts/principles - Obedience, and Through Christ, we can be cleansed of sin. That was a very insightful District Meeting, I felt! We referenced quite a few other talks and Mormon Messages, although we of course didn't actually watch / read any of them during the meeting itself. The two that I remember are the parable of the Mediator (where the concepts of Justice and Mercy are explained) and the talk/video God is the Gardner. I love both of the messages in those.

What did you share this week?

I seriously struggle with this question every single time it pops up... I think this week, the thing that I was most relied upon for sharing was my computer knowledge. It's kinda funny - it's not really that I do anything more complex than what I did back at home. I'm pretty sure almost anyone that is familiar with a computer could have "solved" the problems that I did this week. Still, though, I am praised in this Office for knowing how to fix every problem under the sun. It helps, I guess, that their problems are generally not giant coding errors or anything like that - it's, "The text is too small, and I can't change it, since this program only keeps one size of text throughout", and so I change the Zoom back to its default setting instead of 25% size. Things like that. All it takes is sitting down at the monitor and thinking, "what button accidentally got pressed that could be pressed again to solve this?" The solution generally comes quickly. It's still fun, though, especially since it utterly baffles the onlooker that I bend over, scan the screen, press a single button, and the problem resolves itself (like the Zoom example above).

The one feat that I was proud of myself for this week was figuring out how to print off a Car Periodic Inspection form. Since the previous Automobile Secretary has gone home, the task has been switched to another Office member. She promptly has switched the task over to her husband, even though it's still technically her task. He just does it for her. Anyways, no one could find the default form for a periodic inspection anywhere. I remembered the format of it (you know - 100% car areas and all that), and so knew that the information was directly printed onto the page, which made me doubt the existence of a "blank page", since there was a lot of specific information that probably wasn't filled in manually. So, I opened up the electronic manual, saw the word "Inspection", read a little more, and proceeded to use the Car Program that I've never touched before to print off specific inspections for each car. The program makes them for you - you just have to select the car and press the right button, and it prints it right out. No problem. That process took about 3 minutes or so, as compared to the 3 days that they had been trying to find this thing before they came to me. Gotta love the manuals!

What did you teach this week?

This week, we taught about how Faith in Jesus Christ can orient a lot of our efforts, and bless us in a ton of different ways. The person we were teaching had a couple very honest concerns/statements, and I feel that our testifying about the importance of Faith really helped to solidify things with this person that he does have a loving Heavenly Father that has enabled him to find happiness through Jesus Christ and His Atonement.

Did anything funny/strange happen this week?
Hmm. This is a hard question. Well, I started to story-tell to Elder Frey again! I hadn't story-told at all this last transfer we had together, mostly because we had a lot of things on our plate that we had to discuss about Mission History and other tasks. It was better then to just focus our discussions on those things. Now, though, most of those tasks are completed or at the point where we don't need to discuss more, we just need to sit down and edit our work. So, that has left a lot of driving time where we no longer have a topic of discussion. Enter stories back into the picture... It's a lot of fun! I'm generally telling books that I know, occasionally a movie or two that I've seen, or describing how one story that he knows could have gone better. I hope that I haven't made him cynical of stories - just aware of what they need to accomplish for me to be happy. :)

So, the something funny that has repeatedly been happening is that because Elder Frey and I get along so well, he knows that if he asks clarification questions either seriously or jokingly, I'll answer, generally in the same way in which he asked. This has led to a lot of funny off-shoots of conversation. For one example, I was talking about how it's always scary when I hear about some story that I love getting a sequel, especially when it was not intended to receive a sequel initially. (Had this conversation after someone talking nearby very loudly ruined a tragedy in the new Star Wars movie for me...) He asked why you have to worry about sequels like that. I explained that sometimes, they take characters that you love and have to change them in some way. If the book or movie ended with a character resolution between two people, they'll generally break them apart the next book or movie, if the sequel wasn't originally planned. If the book or movie ended with a personal character resolution, like coming to understand how to treat people better or something, the next book or movie will magnify either the same character flaw popping up again or a different one that wasn't a problem earlier. That always scares me, that the character that I like could become a character that I inherently don't like anymore, if the habit or trait that gets emphasized is something that I don't agree with (for example, they start swearing when they've never sworn before). Elder Frey asked, this time almost in jest, for an example from a story that he would know. To that, I quickly painted the plot to the unexpected Harry Potter 8, told from 10 years or so after the epilogue in book 7. Ginny and Harry are divorced, Hermione is dead, and Ron has a serious drug and alcohol problem. All of these problems are possible - the characters could easily be cast as having progressed to these points - BUT YOU SHOULDN'T WRITE THAT BOOK. It destroys the original 7. It was kinda fun and strange to talk about.

Oh, here's another fun incident - I was storytelling some story very quickly, and I hit a part where I didn't explain the setting of the new conflict at all. I essentially said that the two main characters entered into a castle and thereafter proceeded to have a conflict with a knight. I didn't explain any more than that, since it wasn't the most important of scenes. The most important part was the conversation that they had with the guy after disabling him, and they convince the guy that he's on the wrong side. At this point, Elder Frey gave a clarification statement, mostly for fun. He said that the image in his head had been them in an empty, white room, they twirled around their swords, and then they all sat down at a picnic table and started to discuss how the knight was in the wrong. I nodded, explained that I should have described the setting more, but said as well, "You're not far off from the point of this, though. I'm just gonna make one change to the mental image in your head. The picnic table is upside-down, on top of the knight, and the main characters are pushing down while explaining this to him." Elder Frey started to laugh a lot, and so did I. It was a fun moment. I love story-telling!

Well, I managed to make this into a longer e-mail, despite not much happening. Yay, me!

I hope that everyone is doing well. Be safe, all!

Oh, and here's the new district -

Vanhin David Milligan

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