Thursday, November 5, 2009

VISA's and the Swine Flu

Still no VISA’s but there might be a light at the end of the tunnel, finally. More things have happened that seem to have two perspectives. Sort of the ‘clouds with a silver lining’ idea.

A little over a week ago, our mission doctor and his wife finally returned home. They had extended a couple of times in an effort to continue medical care coverage for our missionaries. But, one person can only do so much and, finally giving in to pressure from home, they returned to the states.

So, the area presidency temporarily transferred a couple who had been serving in Hong Kong, reassigning them here in Mongolia. Elder and Sister Whitman arrived later on the same day that Elder/Doctor and Sister Anderson left. Sister Whitman is a nurse. And a really good one, too! She has been doing wonderfully in helping here -- at all hours of the day and night!

Elder Whitman is a lawyer. In fact, he has been a law professor and has helped with several law programs at universities in the states, not the least of which was his role in helping to launch the law school at Brigham Young University a number of years ago.

And guess what President Andersen (our mission President) assigned Elder Whitman to work on? VISA’s, of course, and he has jumped in with both feet! After working on it for a week, he seems to feel that there might be something that could be worked out. Good news!

Then, Sister Caldwell and I felt that we ought to mention the problem to one of the groups to whom we teach English; a group of local court judges. One of those judges was surprised to learn that we were having trouble. And his response was encouraging. He thought he might be able to put in a good word or two for us and had some ideas about things we might do. He has now been working with Elder Whitman as they work out a proposal which will be presented to the Mongolian Government soon and which could not only ease the current difficulty, but might hopefully revamp our current arrangement with Mongolia and eliminate the problem entirely.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Page 2.

The swine flu has hit here pretty hard, now. No sick missionaries, that we know of, but Mongolia has the dubious distinction of being second place among nations for the quickest spread of this pandemic illness.
This is us in surgical masks, a common sight here now-a-days as people try to avoid the flu.

All public meetings have been canceled for an indefinite period. Which means we can not hold church services, baptisms, conferences, reporting and planning meetings, workshops, etc. Right now, we have an estimated 40 to 50 people waiting to be baptized who can not have that opportunity until the situation changes. We are concerned about that and the possible difficulties in retaining those individuals and others. In addition, it now becomes difficult, of course, for us to receive that weekly rejuvenation and opportunity to renew covenants during Sacrament Meeting. But the Lord is in charge and He can influence and control where we can not. So we will do what we can and leave the rest in His hands.

So where’s the silver lining in this one? Sister Caldwell and I are now getting caught up on things which we had gotten way behind in! And we might even find a few minutes here and there to rest a bit – maybe! And with us being shorthanded in the senior missionary department, the timing seems rather nice! Just as long as it doesn’t last too long, that is! We’d rather be busy and accomplishing something than sitting around wondering what to do and worrying about all the lost time.

In the meantime, Dominos anyone?