Sunday, August 30, 2009

A visit by an Apostle of the Lord

Saturday, 29 August, was a real treat for the missionaries and members here in the Baltics. Elder L. Tom Perry (of the Quorum of the Twleve) and his wife, Elder Ronald Rasband (Senior President of the Presidency of the Seventy) and his wife, and Elder Wolfgang Paul (our Area President) and his wife, were all here in Riga.

For the first time, at least since President and Sister Dance's arrival a year ago, every missionary in the Baltic Mission was gathered in one room to see and hear these General Authorities. To begin with, the Brethren and their wives stood at the back of the room and each of us were able to go through the line and shake their hands. What warm and loving people each one of them are.

Then we listened for two hours to wonderful counsel and direction and inspiration. Each of the Brethren spoke under the direction of the Spirit. I took copious notes, some of which I will share with my 3 grandsons who are preparing for missions within the next 2 years.

There was a bit of last-minute flurry for the office staff. President and Sister Dance were, of course, in charge of the visit by these guests. Things had been planned out carefully in advance but, as almost always happens, there are things that are thought of as the event nears.

First of all was a phone call from President Dance (from Estonia where he was hosting a Mission Presidents' Seminar), asking me to find a way to put up a "privacy" or "modesty" panel on the stage in front of the guests. We found out there are no such things in Riga. We had thought we could find some stanchions (spelling?) and drape some fabric over them. President Dance had been very specific about not wanting tables used (something about the Communist Congress having met in that building, sitting behind tables--didn't want that feeling).

We made calls to the U.S. Embassy among others, and nothing! We went to the World Trade Center to see what they might have. The man there was very helpful and understood what we were looking for, but said they didn't have anything. What they did have was a dozen or so narrow tables, about 3 feet high, dark faux wood, with a rectangular panel (of the same dark faux wood) on the front side that went to the floor and and to within a couple of inches of either side. We lined up 7 of them, with two rows of 6 chairs each set back from them and it looked very nice.

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