Off to Hogwarts (with appologies to J. K. Rowling)

Friday was a busy day. Trudy was greatly assisted by her friends Clarel and Yolette, who worked feverishly with cleaning and vacuuming. We also had a contractor in to finish up some work on our home. We were set apart as full time missionaries later that evening by one of our church leaders, who also gave us counsel and a blessing. Not much sleep for Rick that night as he finished packing and making last minute preparations etc. We were up early on Saturday morning for our regular shift in the Temple, headed home to collect our bags and before we knew it our friend Isabelle was at the door to take us to the airport.

Trudy and Isabelle at the Airport

Trudy and Isabelle at the Airport

So how much luggage can we take to live for two years in Africa? Four checked bags and four carry on items. We are not sure what we forgot to pack, but we had room and about 20 pounds of weight available for additional “stuff”. It should be interesting…

Packed and ready to go.

Packed and ready to go.

With that, we looked for platform 9 3/4 to head to Hogwarts (known by Muggles as the Missionary Training Centre)…

Away we go

Away we go

We were seen off at the airport by Emma and then were on our way.

Emma and her Dad

Emma and her Dad

To Catch a Thief

We thought that we lived in a nice secure suburban neighbourhood, but given the events over the past couple of weeks, we need to re-think this supposition. It is apparent that there is a thief on the loose, a time thief! We started off this time of preparation having more than three months to get things in order. Before we knew it, we could count the number of days left on one hand. The only logical explanation for the few number of days left is there being a thief in our midst. We are quite confident that it has nothing to do with putting a “to do” list together that had way more items on it than the time available or that items took longer to complete than expected. In spite of the theft, Trudy did a wonderful job of getting our personal items, kitchen and bedroom packed up and the full time missionaries assigned to our congregation, Elders Benz and Mahoney, helped move our bedroom furniture into the basement. All was as ready as it could be for our friends to move into our home and for us to depart.

The “Tail” of Two Cities

With some apologies to Charles Dickens for borrowing and changing the title of his classic work, referring to the past few weeks “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. We have felt the excitement of getting ready for our new opportunity to serve, been blest with kind thoughts and well wishes of many, but have also needed to bid farewell for a time to loved ones. Borrowing again from Dickens, we know that “it is a far, far, better thing that [we] do, than [we] have ever done…” but these farewells are difficult. Along this line of thought, as many of you know, we have a cat, Calalilly.

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Calalilly in action in our home

Cats and missions to Africa don’t mix well, so you can understand the challenge we were facing when we decided we wanted serve. Fortunately, we also have a wonderful sister-in-law that loves animals and wanted to fill a hole in her life caused by the passing of her dog. Calalilly is a wonderful “old lady cat” (not that we are implying our sister-in-law is an old lady!) who loves to sit in your lap, but that gentle, docile animal tends to get a bit wild when you try to put her into her carrier. With her new home several hours away from where we live, the carrier was a necessity. We were very grateful that she went into the carrier without a struggle and did well on the journey. We spent a few hours with her in her new home and after she settled in, we quietly slipped away. Hard day for Trudy who has had Calalilly for a long time and she has helped Trudy through some very tough times. We are grateful to know that she will be loved and well cared for in her new home.

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Calalilly in action in her new home

Learning From Oxen and Tetris

Who knew that preparing for our mission would be assisted by learning of oxen and Tetris? We had the opportunity to speak to our church congregation on Sunday. Trudy spoke on the topic of Charity, it being the pure love of Christ. Love is the greatest Commandment. Love is the basis of all of the attributes of Jesus Christ and the reason for the Atonement.  In our upcoming missionary service, we will have many more opportunities to do this and are looking forward to it. In addition to providing an overview of our mission, Rick spoke about the invitation to “take my yoke upon you and learn of me” that is found in Matthew 11:28-30. As you know, a yoke is frequently used to join oxen together so they can work as a team in carrying and pulling heavy loads. Unlike other methods used to unite horses or dogs into teams, it is not necessary to have two oxen that are relatively closely matched in their abilities paired together. A yoke is custom fit to the particular team and accommodates significant differences in the strength and abilities of the two animals. An apt analogy when we consider us being yoked to the Saviour.

We continued to get our home ready for the couple that will be living in it while we are on our mission, by gathering “stuff” that had accumulated over the years (you know those things that you are sure you will need someday…) in order to take it to the local dump. We also began to pack things into boxes for storage. Given that our truck has a fixed amount of space to carry material and our basement only has so much room to store things, having gained great skill at the game of Tetris would have been very helpful! Fortunately in this as well as other areas in our lives, we can gain skills by doing. As far as the dump goes, gathering, loading, reorganizing, unloading 490 kg (almost 1100 pounds) of material helps to explain why Rick was a bit tired at the end of the day.

As One Door Closes, Another Opens…

It has been a busy week of change and preparation. On August 31, Rick retired after more than 33 years of continuous employment. It has been quite a run! A small gathering was held in the afternoon, which gave Rick a chance to thank co-workers and the company for the personal relationships, support and opportunities he has enjoyed over the years and to speak about our mission to Liberia.

Leo Dumaine Commenting on Rick's Career and Upcoming Mission

Leo Dumaine Commenting on Rick’s Career and Upcoming Mission

Leo Dumane, Rick, Angela Avery

Angela Avery Says Farewell to an Honourary Member of the Legal Team

In her remarks, Angela reminisced about a particularly difficult negotiation and how she, Lyle Lisitza and Rick discussed doing a Haka (a traditional Maori war chant) before meetings with the other party.

Link to a Haka being performed by the New Zealand rugby team

Leo Dumane, Rick, Ken Lueers

Ken Lueers Wishing Rick Well in His Next Adventure

The balance of the week was spent meeting with people that will manage our affairs while we are gone and purchasing materials for our mission. As a retirement gift, Rick was given generous gift cards from co-workers and the company to assist them in purchasing things for our mission. We are not sure how many couples go to the local camping equipment store to purchase needed items for their mission, but we did! A big thank you to all that helped make this possible for us.