Monday, October 5, 2015

First Week on the Job

Hard at work
We started work in the mission office in earnest this week. The Jarrards come in from Mainz a couple of days a week to help with the financial stuff and with things like the mission newsletter, the blog, and the mission history. Notice Janet is making good use of a German dictionary to prop up the computer screen. The monitor we have is not adjustable.

Beyond Jeff's mechanical ability
So, after the first day, Jeff was trying to lock the file cabinets. He succeeded in locking them, but inadvertently changed the combination -- on both drawers. When we arrived Tuesday morning, dear Sister Fingerle was a little excited when we could not open the drawers. Opening them is key to starting the day and the work really doesn't proceed until we have access to keys that are locked in the cabinets. Oops! So, Jeff stood at the cabinets for more than an hour dialing combinations in succession until he managed to open both of them. That's the price you pay for being ignorant. The good news is that he learns and will not make that mistake again.

The work is complicated. We have a lot to learn. And resolving issues on the phone with vendors, banks, insurance companies, and others requires more vocabulary than we have. The prospect of our sweet German couple leaving the office in our hands as they end their church service mission is terrifying. They complete their mission in November, so we have to learn fast and hope that the Swiss elder who works part time in the office will step up and help us out from time to time.

One morning we went to the local government office to register. There was much stamping of documents and the woman stared for a long time at our marriage license (we were told to bring a certified copy). I'm not sure what was on there that was so important. When we left the office, there was a small open air market right outside, and we found a pastry with a poppy seed filling that was pretty good.
Flower, baked goods, sausage, and fresh raw chicken
The Woolseys came into the office one day, too, and Elder Woolsey tried to train me on fleet management. Well, that's something else to learn. There aren't very many cars, but they are problematic. Germany loves what people refer to as "Blitzboxes." These are cameras that monitor intersections and are tucked away in other places and equipped with radar cameras. Tickets are mailed to the area office, and the area office forwards them to us to pay. We have to track all of the tickets and report periodically to the president. This is a very efficient fund raising tool for local governments, but the traffic and parking fines are much smaller than in the US. The ticket comes with your picture on it, so it is hard to deny - Smile, please!

Following is a short pictorial tour of the mission office. We are here from 8:00 until about 4:30 every day (or longer). We are trying to protect the sacred funds used to support the missionary effort. We start each day with whoever else is here and have a short devotional and prayer together. Then it's time to go to work!

Welcome to the office

We have a small kitchen

The conference room we use for weekly staff meetings
Reception and Mission Secretary's office
President's office - rarely used as he is out with the missionaries all the time


  1. Yikes what a welcome by locking the cabinets, haha! Good thing you were all mcgivery and got it open. Yall will learn in no time! By November you'll be pros :)

  2. Too funny about the locks. Glad the issue was resolved as quickly as it was. Dealing with government bureaucracy in Europe makes ours here look like child's play. I recall when my parents and siblings were living in Belgium my mom had to sign up to receive mother's allowances each month. She didn't need it of course, but got a certain amount from the government for each of her two dependent children living there with them. You'll get used to it. Keep us posted. Love the news.