Some of our responsibilities in the office are a bit out of the ordinary. I have learned as time has gone by that our mission is not just about helping the mission run smoothly; it is not just about giving President Sorenson peace of mind that all will be well in the office during his many absences as he travels around this vast mission seeing to the needs of his missionaries; it is also about NURTURING our young missionaries. Hmmmmm. I like that. Sometimes we play the role of Mom and Dad to these young men and women who are far away from their families.
Due to visa trips, interviews with President Sorenson and other reasons, many of our missionaries find themselves in the office. We have enjoyed getting acquainted with the ones we don't know (who have been in the outer cities for instance). Dave has had a couple of really close relationships with our office elders and it has benefitted both of them. After all, we, too, are away from our family and this is a chance to love and be loved by these precious missionaries.
I try to make sure there are healthy snacks available for hungry missionaries when they come back from their visa trip to Latvia half starved. (arn't young men usually half-starved?) Our young women too. Sometimes I'll have baked some muffins and bring them to the office when there is a special meeting between President S. and his AP's (assistants to the President).
I am responsible for placing orders and making sure we have enough Book of Mormons, other missionary needs, toilet paper, copier paper and even a new laminator which was purchased last month. Everything we need in our office, kitchen and bathrooms.
What does all of this have to do with water filters and worm pills you might ask? WELL, Elder Sutton is responsible for ordering water filters for each companionship and making sure that each apartment has them. Making sure new apartments (which we open up as our mission grows and we have a greater need for more apartments) have new water filters installed.
What is the need for water filters? Well, the water here in Russia is not safe to drink due to antiquated pipes and the distribution system through which the water runs. Drinking the water from the tap can and will most likely make you VERY sick and cause all kinds of unwelcome problems. The water filters have to be changed every so often as well, and he has a system set up to make sure the new filters are passed out in a timely fashion and he lets them know when they need to be changed.
There are NO drinking fountains to be found anywhere. There is no such thing as a free glass of water at a restaurant. You order bottled water. Gas or still.With bubbles or not.
That's where the worm pills come in. Every missionary who leaves to go home from their mission gets a very special "gift" in their farewell packet. Two boxes of worm pills (different kinds) They are to be taken upon arriving back home (where that may be - Germany, Vladivstok, US, or Sweden, etc). These pills rid your system from any unwelcome critters that may have found their way into your intestinal tract during your stay in Russia.
SOOOOO, one of my responsibilities is to track down worm pills at the aptekas and make sure the missionaries have them. So far I have been unsuccessful in finding a pharmacy that will deliver which would of course make my life a lot easier. I am going to ask the office elders to help me see if something can be worked out.
So, there you have it. A little out of the norm, don't you think?
Until next time, dos vidonya.