First full week--with the emphasis on full!
Don has been kept busy making agendas, typing up minutes, and participating in a number of meetings, including an area presidency meeting and a weekend area council meeting, attended not only by the area presidency but by the eight area Seventies from throughout Central America, by the area Director of Temporal Affairs (DTA), and others from the area office who attended to help with logistics. He has also made and sent out a number of reports, helped track and process recommendations for new bishops, boundary reorganizations, and applications to the First Presidency for sealing approval or restoration of blessings, all of which need to be approved by the area presidency before they go to the First Presidency in Salt Lake City.
We've also enjoyed attending our first Sunday in the Santa Fe Branch, which we'll be attending regularly during our mission. Likely we'll be given significant though probably not presiding assignments in the branch organization in the near future.
We've also enjoyed getting better acquainted with the area presidency and with other missionary couples and English-speaking couples in town. With us, there are a total of six missionary couples living in our rather small apartment meeting, plus a BYU professor on sabbatical, with his wife.
We've normally been up by 5:00 or 5:30 and have been getting in to the office by 7:00 a.m. Usually we've been there until 5:00 or 6:00. It won't always be that demanding, but there was much to do this first week--especially since the positions had been vacant for a couple of weeks.
In the "small world" department we would mention such discoveries as:
- Finding that the new brother-in-law of Pedro Abularach (my successor as CES Area Director and one of the area Seventies) is a man we used to home teach back in Weston.
- Finding that the new area medical advisors (doctor and wife), Elder and Sister Macarthur, are parents of one of the missionaries we had in Mexico City.
- Finding that the Guatemala MTC president and his wife were CES people we had known when we were in Georgia and they had the Miami assignment we would later have.
- Finding that my contact in the Confidential Records office in Salt Lake City (dealing with such issues as sealing approvals, restoration of blessings, etc.) is another former CES colleague from the US Southeast area.
- Finding that one of the other senior missionary brethren (an Elder Blackburn) was on his mission in Argentina at the same time as Virginia.
- Realizing that I already knew five of the eight area Seventies from previous missions we have served in Central America.
- Realizing that I have previously met seven of the twelve mission presidents in Central America and know four of them well, including three who were CES men (including one I had the privilege of hiring), plus President Madrigal, to whom I was a counselor in Panama.
The area presidency (L to R, Elder James B. Martino, 2nd counselor; Elder Enrique R. Falabella, 1st counselor; and Elder Don R. Clarke, area president.)