Monday, September 30, 2019

Mission Journal,1st Day Training

Discrete selfie before devotional.
It still seems so odd to be on a mission without a companion. There was a brief moment where I felt close to my first companion whose funeral I attended last Saturday. I also felt like Grandma Elinor was at my right shoulder. Someone told a story that I can't verify in anyway that a figure from church history was standing over her left shoulder offering spiritual guidance. As I said, Grandma Elinor is on my right.

The setting is much nicer than walking into old Knight Magnum Hall on the edge of  the BYU Campus. The Joseph Smith Building is the Hotel Utah and was quite something in the old days. We opened with the Monday Mission devotional in an old ballroom on the mezzanine level that is now a chapel. The "Elijah" Choir was very good. I could join if I want to hang around Wednesday evenings for practice - and show up for every Monday devotional, I guess.

The message was a presentation on the special projects of the Church History Library that has missionaries assigned. Interestingly, I know three people currently working on three different projects. A woman married to a guy who still works in my old office is on the Emmeline B. Wells project. A guy in my ward is on the Missionary Database, and his wife is on some secret project. I hope I don't get a secret project or these postings will be very short-lived.

Before the devotional, we were handed our missionary name plates and our ID cards. After, we went to the main lobby for pictures with the mission president and then over to the COB ("Church Office Building") for Security to take our pictures and connect them to our cards. Then it was up to the Mission Offices on the 3rd Floor to the training room, a few rows of computers with our name tags on them. I am right up front and center. There's a nice guy on my right, a former advertising man--and a nice sister on my left who apparently has never married because I asked about her Welsh surname. I said I could help her track them down in Wales.

Here are the notes from Sister Sara M. Fenn and then President Jerry D. Fenn of the Mission:

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Mission Journal, Part 2. Trying to Get Set Apart

Don't you just love bureaucracies? OK, I have to be less sarcastic to begin my new mission. And I think it's all working out. It is just a bit odd that this volunteering gets the cart a bit before the horse as the downtown mission is already for me to go with my local leaders still waiting for the paperwork.

With the instructions e-mailed to me from my mission contacts downtown confirming that my Bishop should be receiving instructions to set me apart (the spiritual blessing of laying hands on my head to authorize my work and receive guidance through inspiration), I checked with my Bishop's executive secretary to see if anything had been scheduled. He diligently put it on the Bishop's calendar and I passed that on to my family able to attend. Then the Bishop asked where the paperwork was. Well, no paperwork other than the e-mails.

My friends down the street who already serve with me as ward temple and family history consultants are already on a part-time, downtown mission. They had advised me that the paperwork follows the training, so I was expecting this. I told my Bishop not to worry about it as I would just go start training and let things work out.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Your Friendly Neighborhood Whistleblower

Yes, that would be me. But I didn't work for the State Department or CIA so I'm not that guy (an American Hero! in my book).

At present, I am safely retired with my benefits and most of my faculties intact. My retirement was already planned for the end of June when we were hit by the trump shutdown of 2018-19 over the Holidays and well into new year.

There was a new, temporary or "acting" boss in the office who, in my opinion, was attempting to assert herself as a proactive advocate of the powers-that-be in DC. That is generally our job with the caveat that we are to advise according to the law and we are held to a higher standard to avoid the appearance of partisan politics. Well, that's been a little dicey in the trump administration.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Mission No. 2: Downtown Charlie Brown, Episode 1

There is still a more spiritual, sacred journal that I keep although not very often. Here I can share my general observations and experiences.

This borders on the weirdly spiritual, but my group of nine in orientation this morning gave me that feeling that I knew them already. I don't even think that I'll be with them that long as we will likely be assigned different duties. It gave me memories of my LTM District, a few of them have been a part of my life for many years. All of them are in my thoughts. This new group may become something similar. We were about equally divided between men and women. Most had lost their spouse. Mine is still teaching school and not ready to retire.

Monday, September 2, 2019

A Challenge to our Circumstantial Origins

We have been researching to break through the brick wall of a 1789 illegitimate birth in  Hay, Breconshire. That is our direct surname origin (although the numerous Vaughans in the Middle Wye and Usk Valleys all claim descent from Sir Roger Vaughan of Bredwardine, legitimately or not - and we connect with a few other of those lines).

This weekend, I had some correspondence on with another user who took some umbrage with us naming her direct ancestor as the putative father of John Vaughan (1789-1851). She gave me permission to share it with her Ancestry user name. Here is the correspondence: