Monday, May 6, 2013

Mystery Transfer Out of Rwanda - May 6, 2013

I have a story for you all.

This past week was transfer news and we found out if we were staying in our old areas or being shifted to a new area. It is always exciting to find out this kind of news. Last Tuesday we were anxiously waiting for transfer news to come. You never know what is going to happen. Elder Terry and I were walking to an appointment and Elder Andres, a senior couple missionary gave us a call. When I answered the call he responded, “Hi Elder Bitter, may I speak with Elder Terry. I handed the phone over to Elder Terry and Elder Andres then told Elder Terry to walk a little ways away from me so that he could speak to him privately. This was really weird because that had never happened before. I wondered what in the world was going on.

The conversation ended and Elder Terry relayed that Elder Andres just told him the transfer news but said that he wasn’t supposed to tell me. I was dumbfounded. We then continued on with the day and I was just wondered why I couldn’t know the transfer news. It was really getting on my nerves and I was wondering why I was not good enough to know. After a little while I just got over it and stopped worrying. It ended up being a really good day over all.

That night was possibly the last night that Elder Terry and I would be together so we threw ourselves a little party. We cooked all the food we had left in the apartment. We made pancakes, oatmeal and mashed potatoes. It was pretty awesome. After we had eaten we were still just chilling and the phone rings. We thought that it might be the Assistants calling to give us the transfer news -- rather, give me transfer news since Elder Terry was already in the know. Once again I pick up the call and it’s Elder Stefenhagen who is just another missionary in the area. Elder Stefenhagen was in a foul mood and asked to speak to Elder Terry.

At this point I was convinced that no one wanted to speak to me. I continued eating I gave the phone to Elder Terry. Elder Terry then speaks to Elder Steffenhagen and I hear my name over the phone. At this point I was wondering what was going on or why Elder Steffenhagen was bugged. I needed to know what is going on! Elder Terry then hangs up the phone and says that Elder Steffenhagen just got called by the Baileys and they told him the transfer news as well. Talk about a serious communications leak in the system. President Jackson and the Assistants are the only ones who are supposed to know the transfer news.

Elder Terry looks at me and says, “Well, I think it’s getting late and you really need to know the news or you might have some travel problems. He said, “Elder Bitter, you are getting transferred. You need to pack your bags because you will be boarding a plane soon. Well apparently I was sent a plane ticket for the next morning. The only reason that he hadn’t told me was because Elder Andres committed him to secrecy. Once he said that, I went and packed my bags. We stayed up talking for a little longer then packed it in for the night.

The next morning (Wednesday) I patiently waited for the AP's (Assistants to President Jackson) to call me with the transfer news. I expected a conversation like, “Hey Elder Bitter, you need to pack your bags since you are leaving on a flight in 3 hours” (or something like that). One hour goes by and they don’t call, two hours pass and they don’t call, the third hour goes by and they never call. Elder and Sister Baily show up with their truck to take me to the airport. At this point I still don’t know where my plane is taking me and I definitely don’t know about my new area. I hop on my plane and it takes me to Kampala so part of the mystery is solved but still do not know where in Uganda I will be serving.

After landing I went to the mission office with no phone and just my suitcase. No one is there so I wait for the APs or President Jackson to show up. It turns out that the APs were doing new
missionary trainings with President Jackson at the time. Time goes on and I wait: 30 min, 1 hour, two hours, and so on until about 4 hours pass by. The APs finally show up at the mission office where I have been getting older. They start talking to me like everything is normal. I eventually cut them off and ask them when I am going so I can find out my new assignment (it’s now 7pm Wednesday evening). They were shocked that I did not know my new area. I just looked at them and said, “You never called anyone in Rwanda to tell them their new areas. The only reason I got on the plane is that I received a plane ticket by email and the Baileys gave me a ride to the airport.

The APs just looked at each other with a look that said “whoops, messed that one up”. hahaha
I finally found out my new area assignment – Entebbe, which is about 20 miles south of Kampala. To put a long story short, the APs told me that Entebbe is an area that needs to be fixed. It got really messed up about 6 months back and my job is to regain the trust of the ward and get this area back on its feet. I’m the new District Leader of the area and have responsibility for one other set of missionaries.

My new companion is Elder Tracy. He is an opera singer and apparently is pretty good at it. He was going to be on ‘America’s Got Talent’ but his mission report date came before the day he was to perform. I really like this area. The ward has a lot of fixing that is needed and a lot of trust building to do. I have a feeling that I might be here for a while until we can get it all rolling again. This is my new home :) My companion is awesome and my new area is good.

I know that this will be a good experience. I know it will take some time but that it will be good as new in just a few months. :)

I love you all and hope that all is well. Sorry this email didn't talk a whole lot about our investigators. Now I don’t have any in this area. We are just working hard to get it going and building up some steam.

This will be an amazing area and I am happy to have the opportunity to serve here. :)

I love you all.  I look forward to calling home.


Elder Bitter

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