Almost every Thursday night the senior missionary couples get together at the Central Building in Moscow, not far from Red Square. There are currently 17 couples serving in various capacities. Humanitarian, law, auditors, medical, ward and member support, (serving in the congregations and teaching leadership skills), CESm, (Church Educational System), working with the young single adults (18 - 30 years old) and office which is us. There are myriad other things which each couple does. Medical, auditors and law serve throughout Russia, not just the mission, so they travel A LOT all over!
Thursday we had been asked to make a presentation so we chose to share exactly what it is that we do in the office. It was very well receieved ad we had comments such as "I'm sure glad I don't have their responsibilities!"
Each couple has plenty to do and each strives to magnify their responsibilities in serving the people and members in Russia, whether it is supplying wheelchairs to a hospital, teaching the member leadership how to conduct an audit or take care of physical and mental issues.
We have talked before about some of what we do. The bottom line is that we serve the missionaries who serve the Lord! It can be something as simple as ordering Book of Mormons or toilet paper for the mission office, offering a kind word to someone who might be feeling discouraged or homesick, inviting the district into our home for a hot meal and some touches of home. Our service covers many things.
As I mentioned Elder Sutton handles finances, making sure cards are funded for paying rent. (Russian landlords tend to be VERY impatient and sometimes want to be paid earlier). is phone rings off the hook. I have recently started putting his phone in our bedroom and closing the door so he can eat in peace!
Our mission president, President Sorenson, whose schedule is beyond busy, counts on us to keep things running smoothly in the mission office. He uses Dave often as a sounding board and he acts as his Executive Secretay. One of the office elders is the executive secretary to the mission presidency, another of the elders orders train tickets for those missionaries who need to come into Moscow from the outlying cities.(among their many other responsibilities) and we don't want to forget Diana, our visa clerk, who is truly an angel.
I try to make sure the mail gos to the city it belongs and that changes every 6 weeks with transfers of missionaries to different locations and I call the parents to let them know their packages for their son or daughter has arrived safely. (it may take weeks and they appreciate knowing).
ANYWAY, we heard some very kind remarks about how much our service is appreciated by our senior couples. One sister, Sister Jones, who arrived with her husband within the past three months, came up and told me. "If it hadn't been for you and Elder Sutton, we would have gone back to the States." ANYTHING that could go wrong did go wrong (through no fault of our own). And when yuour are exhausted from jet lag, don't have a place to live, furniture for your apartment and can't speak the language it can be very stressful indeed We were very distressed that those responsible for taking care of these important things (after we had offered to take care of it ourselves and were told no, they would do it. Well They dropped the ball.) .But we were able to step in and do what was needed to take care of them and we also learned a few things about how to make sure what happened to them in getting settled here in Russia is not repeated. Sister Jones shared, that they prayed and thanked God for the Sutton's who helped make everything right. And then she jokingly asked about angel wings. Well, we all know that I am a LONG way from being an angel. But knowing that the small things we did for them helped them was a blessing for us.
We are forging some very strong and eternal friendships among the wonderful missionaries we work with and serve here. Some days are very long indeed. However, we came to serve a mission. We are NOT on vacation. (however, we do get to see some truly magnificant sights!)
We put our children, grandchildren, moms, siblings, cousins and friends back in the States in the capable hands of our Heavenly Father and go about what we have grown to love.....our mission, the wonderful missionaries and loving Russian people.