Above: Staring at the transfer board.
As soon as the Leadership meeting ended yesterday, we met with our Assistants to begin Transfer Planning. I capitalize that because it’s a Big Deal. Every six weeks we get a new group of missionaries from the MTCs in Provo and Mexico City and we send a group of missionaries home who have honorably completed their missions.
That means we need to re-adjust the area assignments. When people ask me what transfers are like, I tell them it’s like playing chess and dominoes at the same time, from about a dozen angles! You might be interested in hearing more about the things we consider when we do transfers.
First of all we consider leadership. Who’s going home, where do we need to replace someone? We have 9 zones with 18 Zone Leaders. These are our most experienced and wonderful missionaries who know how to work and love others. They are our mission leaders. They go on exchanges with everyone in their zone at least once each transfer period.
Each zone has 3-4 districts. Each district has a District Leader. The districts usually have 3-6 companionships. District Leaders look after everyone in their stewardship, checking in on them several times a week. They lead by examples, give support and are cheerleaders.
We also have Sister Training Leaders. Right now we have 7. These sisters look after the sisters in their areas, sometimes in multiple zones. They report to and counsel with President Lewis and are a huge help.
So once we have our leaders in place, the dominoes have already begun to fall. As changes are made we consider the following:
Language of missionary (Spanish or English)
Elder or Sister
New areas opening
Type of area (ward/branch/ YSA/ personality of area)
Length of time missionary has been in an area
Length of time missionary has been with a companion
Previous companions (try not to duplicate)
Previous areas (try not to duplicate)
How long they’ve been in the mission Junior/Senior companion seniority
Special needs of missionaries (health, access to medical care, etc.)
Above all, we listen to promptings and inspiration as changes are made. Sometimes unlikely or unexpected combinations of missionaries end up together, and we don’t understand why, or wonder if they will work out. Almost always, after a few weeks we get a letter with a story explaining some miracle that has happened because two missionaries were put together.
It’s an amazing process. I have no doubt God’s hand is in the details of missionary work here in the Yakima Mission. He directs us and helps us know what to do. I feel like I have a front row seat to that process every transfer period. It’s exciting and inspiring to watch things unfold.
This morning President Lewis started making the leadership calls to those who will be serving in new leadership positions. Tomorrow night the rest of the transfer information will go out to every zone. Sunday missionaries going to new assignments can say their farewells. Monday is P-Day and the departing missionaries will come to the mission home for their farewell dinner and testimony meeting. Those being transferred have time to pack and say goodbyes.
Tuesday morning the departing group goes to the airport and by the end of the day, they’ll be reunited with their families. After their flight takes off, our new arrivals land and the fun begins all over again. We are excited for all the goodness this next week will hold!
Below is a peek at the transfer board. This is an OLD photo, from a couple of transfers ago, just to give you an idea of what it looks like. The new board is still under lock and key for now!