Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Mentally exhausted" and "Somewhat undernourished" and "Having great success."

Hello everyone! This is a mentally exhausted and somewhat undernourished version of the Elder Knorr you once knew.

Yes, the office is quite a beast. I'm doing the best I can to understand all the duties and responsibilities I have as an office elder. There's a lot to do! Among all of the things that I have to do, the most pressing and stressful is residency, which is basically trying to keep all of our missionaries legal in Spain. It has to do with preparing and sending information to the government, in various stages and within various time frames, as well as setting up appointments for our missionaries to go in and get fingerprinted and stuff, all in order to obtain residency cards for them. It's very hard because even when we do our part perfectly and by-the-book, the government is so slow and overworked that they take too long to get back to us and our residencies start expiring. So we've started using these "Administrative Silence" pleas that we fill out and turn in to get immediate appointments. The worst part of it all is that if we fail in anything and a missionary's residency is expired for more than three months, that missionary cannot be made legal again and has to be sent out of the country. Yeah, big consequences.

The rest of my duties involve preparing spreadsheets, reports, organizing emails, coordinating flights home, and managing all manner of randomly appearing crises. It's been a little challenging having my brain working like this again, I've had more headaches in the past week than I have in my whole mission combined. My head is just a tumbling kaleidoscope of chaos at times. We don't go home to eat either at mediodia, so it's either sack lunches or nothing, unless one of the senior couples in the office has pity on us and brings us something to eat.

In spite of the massive time constraints the office has been putting on our proselyting schedule, we've been able to teach several lessons and we have lots of investigators.
Most of that is thanks to Elder Dredge and Elder Holub, who both work full time in Alcobendas and have been having great success. We all share the area, so they plan some visits for us at night that we can go out and teach after being in the office all day. I will confess: it's a mockery compared to how we used to work, just a few hours of time to teach every day. I already miss the old proselyting schedule and being able to spend all of my time doing the work of the Lord. Now I just spend all my time allowing the other missionaries to do the work of the Lord uninterrupted. I understand how important my job is, but I wish I wasn't the one who had to do it. In any case, I'm learning how to do it as fast and as well as I can so that when Elder Whitesides leaves, which could happen very, very soon, I'll be ready to take over.

In other news, we have a new companion! Elder Anderson arrived this last Monday from the Canary Islands to be the new Financial Secretary, dealing with all things related to money: bills, reimbursements, monthly allotments, etc. He is in a trio with Elder Whitesides and me, and is learning Elder Seel's current job. The Seels will be leaving soon, so Elder Anderson has been spending lots of time in the office learning everything he has to know. I don't envy h
im; his job looks even more complicated than mine, not to mention all of the other changes he's had to go through recently. He's holding up really well though.

The five of us who live in
Alcobendas are all living in a two-man apartment. It's been quite a challenge getting things organized so that it works, but we've finally got it all figured out. It's a bit cramped, and there never seems to be enough food, but it's kind of fun in its own way.

Oh wow...I don't think there's really any other news right now. It's been an interesting week. Today we'll be taking most of preparation day off to instead be in the office and work on some urgent residency matters. Yeah, I know. Way fun. But I hope to at least take an hour or two to write letters. Thanks for all your support and everything. I love being a missionary and I hope that I can be serviceable to the Lord in whatever He calls me to do. I love you!

-Elder Knorr

P.S. Elder Whitesides and I realized that we come from office elder lineage. His dad and his older brother both served in the office on their missions, and so did Dad [and Grandpa Godfrey]. This means that Ethan and perhaps also my posterity will also serve in the office.