Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Road to a Mission ~ Part 3

From Elder Foley~

Friday, April 18th, 2008 was my last day at work as a scripture supervisor for Church translation. It started off by going to the doctor for a final examination. I then went into the office and began to tidy up my office. I had removed almost everything previously but there were still a few odds and ends left, e.g. cleaning out my email, copy some personal files from my office computer, throwing away some old papers, etc. At noon the other scripture supervisors took me to lunch at the Lion House. A couple of my former managers also were there. It was a very pleasant experience. We reminisced a lot about former colleagues and what they were currently doing. Last Monday I had a more formal recognition with a larger group of my department and was honored there. At 2:00 pm I went to Human Resources for my exit interview. This included turning in my work badge, credit card and parking sticking. I filled out a short interview form and chatted with HR representative about going on a mission. After the interview I went back to the office, picked up my knapsack, said goodbye to a couple of people and left.

Today was an emotionial time. It seemed unreal in many ways that my employment was at an end. I have fond memories of my numerous trips abroad, the people that I worked with there, special talks given by general authorities to our group, and the unquestioned divine assistance as I struggled with translation issues and other problems throughout my career.

My patriarchal blessing promised me safety if I would be cautious during my travels. I know that that promise was fulfilled. In all I made the following work trips:
-- 40 trips to Africa
-- 7 trips to the Pacific Islands
-- 3 trips to Scandinavia
-- 8 trips to Latin America
-- 1 trip to Canada
-- several trips in the US including Indiana, North Carolina, Arizona, Idaho, Washington, and California.

I know that the blessing of the Lord was with me in these travels and pray that it will continue with me as I enter the next phase of my life.

(pictures on right in Ecuador, picture on left in Ethiopia)

Road to a Mission ~ Part 2

From Sister Foley~

The Mission Call

Well, after President Hinkley (junior) called the missionary department and checked on our mission call, we were told it was in the mail. That was unusual because it was a Thursday and calls usually would arrive on Wednesday. Nevertheless we anxiously checked the mail Thursday and Friday and Monday and Tuesday and it finally came the following Wednesday, December 4th. We were so excited to learn we were going to Mexico City, and although we hadn't considered a Visitors Center mission, it sounded just right for us.

Along with the mission call came a booklet with a list of all we had to do to prepare and all we had to bring with us. A big one for me was Spanish tutoring which I began in January three times a week by telephone with Hermano Pierson from the MTC. It has been a very stressful but good experience and although I cannot say I speak Spanish well, my vocabulary and understanding have certainly grown.

Getting ready to leave has not only taken many, many hours, it has taken mucho dinero. I found my wardrobe was not really what I needed and had to purchase quite a few clothes. Larry needed a new suit, ties, raincoat, etc. Anyway it has been a huge, at times overwhelming experience. There are also the things you wouldn't think of such as sewing kits, first aid kits, sheets, towels, umbrellas, alarm clock and on and on. Also we had to have immunizations, not fun!! Larry had already had many of his due to church travel with his job, but I needed them all.

We set up a "Packing Central" in our spare room and wow has it ever been a project. Saturday Julia and Sadie will move in to begin their stay at the Foley Homestead. Our packing central will be transformed into Sadie's room so we must get finished this week. Boy is that a challenge. We have now had our mission postponed two weeks due to "scheduling problems" at the MTC so we will be all together for awhile. Oh well, I don't know why we wouldn't expect to be challenged with this as well.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Road To a Mission ~ Part I

Mission Preparation-Part I

Submitting our papers

We have always talked about going on a mission after retirement. As the time got close we were really excited to submit our papers, we thought it was great you can now submit them on line, what we didn't know is that it is no easy process. There are numerous sections, pages of questions, medical exam, dental exam, etc, etc. We had to have a "missionary" picture taken and then figure out how to get it the correct size and attach it to the form. We finally got it attached, sent in our form and the bishop said he received the form but no picture was attached. With Heather's help we finally got it sent in. Then the wait began. Everyone told us that with the on line system many people were getting calls in two weeks, so we started the wait, and we waited and waited but no call came. Finally after almost 6 weeks the bishop called the stake president and he called the missionary department. I don't know what kind of influence he used (he IS the son of President Hinkley), but on December 4th we finally received our call. We were very excited to open it and learn we were going to Mexico City. It was great sharing it with all the kids on a conference call and be able to hear the excitement in their voices.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Change of plans!

Hi everyone. We can't quite believe it but I just got a call from the bishop and they are changing the date of our going in the MTC. I guess it is a scheduling problem with the MTC. Now we do not go in until May 12th and will leave for Mexico on May 21. We will still go ahead and have our farewell this Sunday. Can't quite believe it.--Sister Foley

Sunday, April 6, 2008

I Hope They Call Me On A Mission

Here are the guesses of our entire family on where my parents would be called. As you can see, no one was right! :) Thanks to Kathy who made this awesome Google Map. You have to click on "view larger map" to get the full effect.

View Larger Map

Here is the phonecall announcing to all 6 kids/4 kids in law, and 18 grandkids where they are going. Thanks to uncle Pat and his fancy conference call system!


Here is a letter from the church to prepare my parents for their mission....
March 12, 2008
Dear Elder & Sister Foley,

I am very pleased to welcome you as missionaries to Misión México Este, specifically to your assignment as a supervising couple in the Centro para Visitantes del Templo de la Ciudad de México. Serving in the CV is a wonderful, testimony-building experience. You will feel the influence of the Spirit as you interact with visitors (members and nonmembers) and sister missionaries. The CV is a very special place.

We have currently 20 sister missionaries assigned to us. Each of these sisters was called under inspiration to serve in the CV. They are capable, dedicated missionaries, and I know that you will enjoy serving with them.

The CV is open about 10 hours a day, seven days a week. With the three FTM and two volunteer couples taking our turns, it works out to about five shifts apiece per week; in other words, you will have two days off each week.

The two principle responsibilities of the CV are: 1) serve those who visit the center, 2) process referrals that we receive from those visitors and from other sources. I hope that the Center will be open by the time you arrive, but I cannot guarantee it. What started out to be a 5-6 month project has ballooned into 9+ month project. Our best guess is that we will be in service by late April. Since July we have maintained a five-hour per day, six-day a week schedule processing referrals. We were provided space in the Centro de Capacitación Misional where we have an office and a referral work room. We process 1000-1500 referrals per month, the great majority from missionaries working in the four missions in Mexico City.

In an effort to continue the spirit of the CV during the period of closure, we developed a program of open houses which we have been presenting every Saturday since early August. We have been all over Mexico City, and we have many stories to tell about our experiences with stake and ward leaders, members and nonmembers. The program has been a great success in terms of the number of nonmembers who have come, and the number of referrals we have received. Last month over 600 nonmembers came to the four open houses we held. Many of these are people we have invited in from the street.

We three couples live in the “Zarahemla” building on the manzana del templo (temple square). Currently there are 4 missionary sisters and 3 other couples living in our building as wellAll of us in our apartment building (except the sister missionaries) join together every Monday for Family Home Evening, and we socialize in other ways as well.

All of the apartments are three-bedroom units. The bedrooms are not spacious, but they are certainly adequate. A small kitchen, equipped wash room, dining area and living room complete each apartment. We pay US$250 per month rent. Our food bill runs about US$250-300 per month, transportation US$20-30, depending on how far you range, eating out and other forms of entertainment US$50-60 per month. We have both wireless and cable Internet access in each apartment.

The apartments are well-furnished. You should get a listing of the equipment and furnishings in your call package. If this does not arrive, let me know. Some things you may wish to consider bringing would be your own favorite pillow, if that is a problem, 2-3 changes of casual clothes, books and DVD’s you may wish to use while here, medical items, both prescription and over-the-counter stuff like cold remedies, etc.

There is a fully stocked grocery store, La Bodega Aurora, five blocks from the manzana. A short bus ride away is a Wal-Mart and Sams. There are a number of other stores in the area. We have not found many “sterling” restaurants near the square, but we often take a bus or bus-metro trip into town for site-seeing, shopping, etc., and we usually eat in town. There are three open-air markets (tianguis) within walking distance of your apartment, where you can purchase a wide variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and other items.

If you have any questions about your responsibilities, accommodations, etc. don´t hesitate to contact me. All the best in your preparations to join us.

Warm regards,
Elder and Sister Garvin