This has been a bitter/sweet week! It was exceptionally busy. Since we had only recently returned from our exile to the Baltics, many things had piled up in our absence. However those things had to take a backseat to more urgent matters. Our beloved Mission President and his wife had only one week before they left for home. We have watched them work nonstop since we arrived in March. They certainly were sprinting to the finish line, not coasting. Whenever we thought we could get to our pile of responsibilities, one or the other (sometimes both) would find a new detail that needed to be completed before they left.
Keeping busy all week definitely kept us from having idle time to feel sad about their departure. However, in one of our meetings, with emotion in his voice, President Roth said that when they came on their mission three years ago it was so very hard to leave home. But now that the time has passed it is even harder to leave the mission. While they were here they enjoyed working together. They love the missionaries and feel for them as for their own children. Also they have developed a great love for the country of Bulgaria and the people here.
Since they have been so busy, they have not had much time to plan for their future. As they left they only seemed to feel the loss, not any anticipation. However, I am sure that after they boarded their plane for the flight home they had time to get excited about what is to come. They have children and grandchildren who are eager to welcome them home as well as dear friends. Once the reins were turned over to another I am sure they were able to begin to planning an after mission future.
On Friday our new president arrived, jet lagged but somehow bright-eyed and eager. President Wilstead and his lovely wife arrived to a welcome party in front of the building with a Bulgarian flag and wide smiles. With only a few hours of orientation they were handed the reins as the Roths hopped into the van and were whisked to the airport. They looked a little shell shocked as the thought hit them that they were in charge and they didn’t even know where to find food nor did they have any local currency. We spent the day with them showing them the best places to shop and helping them locate needed supplies. Many times we heard them exclaim, “Holy Cow! This is sooo different!” as they realized ‘we are not in Kansas anymore!’ But it was a fun and productive way to get to know them.
We are excited for the future of our mission as a new leader continues to build on the accomplishments of those who came before. The baton was passed without any incident.
Unfortunately, due to privacy and security issues we are unable to post pictures of the changing of the guard. We wish the best for our departed president and are happy to be able to support the new president as he acclimates himself to his new responsibilities as well as new surroundings.
|On the river looking at old town|
|In the park looking at the canal|
While in Latvia we were able to take a ride on a boat around the canal which goes through Old Town and out into the River Daugava. It was a very interesting and peaceful adventure. We are including those pictures this week, even though we are no longer there. Have a great week!