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.
My Bishop is a good man and diligent so he had his Exec-Sec check their mailbox at the Stake Center and there was no paperwork. The Bishop then contacted the Stake President and a Clerk. The Clerk was also aware that the paperwork for these downtown assignments often follows the commencement of the mission (odd for such a well-organized Church and the Headquarters Mission). Our Stake President gave the Bishop the authorization to go ahead and set me apart. Spirit does conquer the letter on some occasions.
There is an ongoing link to my first mission. Yesterday, I also attended the funeral of my first missionary companion, Elder Craig Winter, a most honorable and good man. We entered the old Jesse Knight Building at about the same time on July 15, 1976 and were assigned to be temporary companions as we bade farewell to our parents. Call it what you may, but we were already on the list to be companions in the Language Training Mission along with a third to join us. We did figure out after some time that Church efficiency assigned LTM Missionary companions in a District by alphabet. Elder Winter and I as a "V" were destined by bureaucracy to be together but no earthly power other than sheer coincidence placed us together as we first walked through the door. In spite of all the conflicts and tensions of typical missionary companions, I love that guy. And I did from the beginning which only grew.
So, here I am with moistened eyes dedicating my new service to the Lord and to my dear friend who has now joined the ranks of those faithful Elders serving missions to teach the Gospel on the other side of the veil. So many have yet to hear the Word and have the opportunity of choices to enter sacred covenants that can only be provided with physical bodies for baptisms and other ordinations of physical touch with the earthly and the divine. That is the work on behalf of the dead that I will now begin in Family and Church History.
I will not be blogging on my setting-apart blessing. I will make notes in my more personal and private journal for spiritual experiences.
Forward to the first day here.
Go back in Mission Journal here.