Early January 2nd missionaries loaded their belongings onto three moving vans and a trailer. Unusually cold temperatures caused their breath to trail behind them. It lingered as they moved. These temperatures were unusual; but this was an unusual day. Tulsa, Tulsa East, and Bartlesville Stakes would now be in the Oklahoma City Mission and the missionaries who had been serving in those areas would help open 24 new areas in the Arkansas Bentonville Mission. With the decision being made by the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles early in December there was not much time to orchestrate the whole change, but it’s been my experience that when God is involved things happen. Certainly the change had too many coincidences to be anything short of a miracle.
In early December, on our way to Tulsa, we had a conference call with Elder Southward and President Mansell of the Oklahoma City Mission. It was decided that the smoothest way to transition would be for a set of each of their missionaries to come on December 28th into each of our areas. (That was their regular transfer date). Both sets of missionaries would have a few days together so that they could be introduced to the area, investigators, and members.
For us that meant we would have our normal transfer on December 14th and then just a couple of weeks later we would have another transfer. And, three weeks after that there would be another transfer for us. Change can be a little wild, but it felt right. As if to confirm our decision, as soon as we hung up from the conference call, President and I had the idea that we should see if President Mansell could meet us in Tulsa that night since we were already going to be there. He was available. So he drove to Tulsa and our daughter brought a copy of all the leases, maps, zone make ups and other bits of information. Our office crew got right to work and had it all neatly organized and on its way in a couple of hours. Turns out that this was not the last time that the office crew would drop their normal tasks and pitch in to make things happen. Other hurdles were maneuvered. Because we had 4 sisters who were going home on December 14th, four Sister Missionaries from Oklahoma City Mission came early and were companions with one of our Sisters. Then on the 28th our 4 Sisters left their area and drove to a new area in our mission. The rest followed on the 2nd. With just a week away, we still had quite a few apartments to rent. The next few days were an intense scurry of activity. Phone calls, deposits checks, turning on electricity, and more phone calls, pounded out the time. The day before the transfer, we had two miracles. Two Sister’s apartments fell through, but two bishops didn’t fall through at all! One arranged a spot for the Sisters to temporarily stay after the apartment we were planning on fell through, and the other bishop talked the landlord into taking the Sisters even though they don’t rent to corporations. His selling point. “These three members of our church rent in this same apartment complex they will have the same kind of character.” “If they are like that, we’ll make an exception.” The landlord ended up saying.
Along with the transfer of missionaries came the transfer of furniture and kitchen supplies. The other mission closed their apartments, loaded the vans and sent them to Tulsa. We picked them up and then drove them on three different loops stopping a long the way to give supplies to the new apartments. The missionaries that did this did an exceptional job! Really everything ran extremely smooth. (Lucky for us you only have to be 21 to drive a Penski truck.) It took one more day of President and I going to Springfield to take care of two trucks and bringing the extra supplies back while Elders Kea___, Whit______, and Rad_______ took care of a truck and supplies here. When I pulled in later that evening and they were freezing cold, my heart went out to young men who love the Lord and their missions enough to do whatever needed to be done. It seemed the final miracle of the day took place when President and I continued on to Fayetteville for a meeting. President had a gas card from a car that went to the top of our mission and it really belonged in a car in Fayetteville. Without realizing it until we got there, we had the card and the missionaries who drove that car were there. Little – but big in our book!
And so I again testify that God is involved in all aspects of our life. It is His work, and we are lucky to be part!