Saturday, January 10, 2015

We're Almost Gone

Today is our last day in the home we are renting.  We leave for Samoa on Monday.  It's been 9 months since we made our decision to serve another mission.  We haven't needed all that time to prepare, but I thought I would provide some advice to those senior couples that are thinking about serving a mission

  • Start downsizing now - It's amazing how much "stuff" you acquire over the years.  I don't consider us to be pack rats.  We have moved 8 times since graduated from BYU and have tried to get rid of "non-essential" stuff each time (Angela and I have different definitions of that term).  With this move we gave away three beds, a couch, 2 overstuffed chairs, all our area rugs, an exercise bike, a treadmill, a large TV, and then made 8 trips to Goodwill with our SUV stuffed.  Even at that we needed to rent a 10x30 storage unit that is stacked to the top of it's 9 foot ceilings with our essentials.  
  • Think about what you're going to do with your cars.  We traded in Angela's SUV to the dealer, but since we weren't buying another car, we didn't get a great deal.  But keeping them means keeping them insured, registered, inspected and driven occasionally.  It's been good to keep my older 4-Runner to finish our last minute running around.
  • Start early on your physicals/dental - We are in relatively good health, but it was amazing how an out of range blood or urine test led to ultrasounds, MRI, cat scans, to confirm that "people of a certain age" like we are fit for duty.  If you're going overseas, make sure your teeth will last until you get back.
  • Getting untangled from life in the US is like the tar baby in Aesop's fable.  If you are selling your house, address and contact info needs to be changed for health plans, life/car insurance, pensions/401K, etc.  Utilities, phones, cable, etc need to be cancelled or disconnected.  If you have ever tried to cancel something you know how difficult it can be.  You wait on hold for extended periods of time, only to get an agent who must surely be paid to convince you not to cancel and to aggravate the heck out of you.
  • Spending time with family/friends before you go.  This is the best and hardest part of leaving. Taking time to travel to see siblings, parents and children/grandchildren and others in your life under the guise that this is the "last time" you'll see each other is both joyful and tearful.  But before you know it, you're back (hard to believe but we left for our first mission to India 2 years and 8 months ago).
  • The final angst, is trying to fit all you're going to need in your remote/3rd world home into 2 suitcases a piece (Valium anyone?).  It really helps you consider what you can and can't live without.
I hope I haven't discourage anyone from considering a mission.  In the end, preparing is a lot about "stuff" and is far outweighed by the great experiences you will have, the fabulous people you will meet, the new friendships you will make and the life altering way you will come home with a new perspective of what's really important in life.  We are excited to serve the Lord's people in Samoa. We hope we can help you feel what's it like through this blog. Talofa.

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