Monday, November 21 2016 we flew home to Allen to begin our live-at-home mission here in the Texas Dallas mission. We are sooooo excited. We met with President Taylor today and discussed how we can help the Lord’s work here. We will meet again on Friday to finalize our assignment. But today we attended our very first ever Mission Leadership Council. All the young missionary zone leaders, assistants and sister training leaders were there. President Taylor let us sit in since we were already at the building. Those young missionaries are wonderful; so willing to learn and so willing to listen to counsel, both earthly and heavenly. Tomorrow we get to go to zone meeting and meet with more amazing young missionaries in zone conference. Talk about perfect timing.
Monday, November 14, 2016 we were supposed to be on a flight to South Africa. Unfortunately, our visas had not yet arrived and Wednesday we learned our visas to South Africa had been denied. We had thought about this possibility and decided that if the Lord needed us in South Africa the way would be provided for us to go, but if not, we knew that we must be needed more someplace else. So we asked what came next and the very nice travel lady told us that was up to the missionary department.
We called them on Wednesday afternoon after classes, and another very nice lady told us the man who handled that was out but that she would email him and he would get back to us on Thursday. Sure enough, Thursday morning we heard from an extremely nice man and he told us we would probably be reassigned to a mission within the United States. Then early in the afternoon he called again and said they had decided to appeal the denial of our visa, and that we would be temporarily assigned as live-at-home MLS missionaries in the Texas Dallas mission until our visa status was resolved and then we would (probably) go to South Africa. However, that plan was contingent on approval by the Missionary Committee which would, he said, probably take until the next Wednesday or Thursday. Then, an hour later he called again and said the Missionary Committee had expedited the process and approved the plan.
So, we are headed back to Texas on Monday, November 21 2016 to be live-at-home MLS missionaries assigned to the Texas Dallas mission until our visas can be approved. We are really excited to serve in Texas especially since we have been doubly trained. Which would make sense we guess since we hopefully will serve in the South Africa mission when our visa status has been successfully appealed. Kind of a two-missions-in-one deal.
So, we are now entering our second week at the Mission Training Center (MTC) here in Provo, Utah. The original plan called for us to fly out on Monday, November 14. But even the best laid plans are subject to delay from power-hungry government bureaucrats. Our visa to South Africa has not yet come, so we will enjoy the MTC until our visa and passports arrive. In October we made a special day trip to Washington, D.C. to submit our visa applications in person. For every other couple sent to South Africa this has worked splendidly. But apparently all the dotting of the i’s and crossing of the t’s on our application were subject to more strenuous scrutiny. So we wait.
The good news, though, is that we get to revisit our last week’s training with a new and improved version this week. They are updating the training this next week, so that should be fun. I’m trying to persuade the MTC that getting this extra training should count towards our next mission, thus saving the church the expense of bringing us back to Provo. That idea hasn’t gained a lot of traction, though.