Elder Gardner

Elder Gardner will enter the MTC on Wednesday, June 23rd. We will keep this blog up-dated every week with his letters and pictures. If you would like to write to Elder Gardner, please click on the "write a letter" link on the right hand side for directions and his address. If you don't know much about Mormon Missions read the "about missions" page to learn more; it may help you understand some confusing terms in the letters.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Offices Week 1

Hi family! I hope everyone is doing well. This week has been crazy, mom asked me some questions, so I`ll answer them and try to explain what it is like here in the offices.

Here is a normal day: wake up, do some exercise, shower. So far pretty normal. Then we study for about an hour before we head over to the church to work in the offices. Get to the office and check the email to see if anything has happened (usually by now some of the elders have already called about some problem with their fan or their cell phone or their bed or what not). If there is nothing to do yet I go through my checklist of apartments. I have a list of every apartment that we need to renew the contract, change apartments, find a new place, etc. I look to see if there is anything I need to do with these apartments or if I am waiting for the other people to respond. If I need to do something, I call or send an email to the housing agency about the contract. That`s the most common thing I do. Call and email housing agencies. I guess I can explain the steps to getting the apartments.

First I go online and look around for an apartment, then call the agency and set up an appoitment to see it. I send the missionaries that live there to go look at the place and take pictures, which they then email to me. I then have to show the emails to the senior missionary that works in the offices who is in charge of the money, and he approves or rejects the apartment. If he approves it I call the agency and tell them we want to reserve the apartment, then I call an ex-bishop guy we use to carry money around for us. I give him the money and the paperwork and he makes the reserve for the apartment. Till now it has only been a day or two. Now I wait (I mean call almost every day and bug them until they do it) for the agency to email us the contract. When I get it I send it to the church area offices so the legal guys can look at it and make any changes they feel are necessary. I wait (I mean call and bug) for them to send it back to me then I send it back to the agency and tell them to make the changes on the contract. If they accept the changes then everything is great, if they don`t then I get to call and argue and negoitate. This whole contract part can take weeks. Once the changes are made I print out the contract and go with the mission president to a notary place where he signs the contract. Then I give the signed contracts and a lot more money to the bishop guy who goes and gives it the agency in exchange for the keys. Then we give the keys to another guy who works for the mission as the handy man. He helps the missionaries move then fixes up the old apartment to get it ready to give back to the other agency. If all goes well the agency gives us back our deposit, if not I get to call and argue some more. Then I update all of the records we have in the offices and finally am done. It`s pretty intense. As of right now there are about twenty apartments on my checklist. It`s a lot to keep track of.

That`s usually what I do all day. On top of that, if anything breaks in any apartments or if something happens to a cell phone (like robberies) the elders call me and I get to deal with it. And I get to keep track of people paying rent. We just recently changed the way we pay rent, we used to do it all through computers electronically with no hassle. Because of legal problems we have to now give the missionaries the money and they pay the rent in person. So that`s always a big mess because for some reason or another they don`t end up paying the rent. Jolly good fun.

Then there are other random things that pop up randomly. For example: on Thursday we recieved an order of carbon monoxide detectors. I called the mission president to ask how he wanted to distribute them, I thought the easiest way would be wait till transfers on monday. President replied by saying, ¨not to put any stress on you elder, but if you don`t get them all out today you are personally responsible for anyone who dies tonight.¨ Let`s just say I called some taxis and got those detectors out as fast as I could. It took a while though, I had to call alot of companionships and figure out when they would be home to meet the taxi.

Then things like last night when I was on the phone talking to the owner of an apartment for about 15 minutes. Basically she is just old and wanted to complain about how she doesn`t like the elders that are living there. Not much I can do about that.

So sometimes it is kind of stressful, but I am really enjoying it. I get to play around with google earth a lot. We have a map of the whole mission with all area limits drawn in and the apartments marked. It`s really cool. And I`m learning a ton. I think it is a lot more like a real job than normal missionary work is. At five thirty I have to leave the office and go teach. Sometimes it is hard for me to stop thinking about the stuff going on in the offices and focus on the people we are teaching, probably similar to coming home to a family after a long day at work.

This has already been a really long letter. But I still need to answer some of mom`s questions. As of right now there are four elders in the offices, while both the current office elders are training their replacements. For sure one of them leaves on monday (it`s transfers), but we don`t know yet if the elder I`m replacing is going to stay another week to help me out or if he is leaving already. There is also a senior couple that works in the offices with us. As well as the APs (there are four right now after monday there will be two, one of which is my MTC comp) and another senior couple that come and go all day. Us four office elders live together, right now there is another elder living with us while he waits to go home on monday. In the ward (it´s actually a branch) there are the office elders and also zone leaders. Another ward meets in the same chapel as us, and the APs are in that ward.

So I think I answered all the questions. This was a really long letter. Hope you liked it. If you have any more questions, tell mom and she can ask me. If you ask soon enough today I might even answer you today. Have a great week everyone!

Les amo,
Elder Gardner

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