"A man filled with the love of God is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race." Joseph Smith

Monday, April 28, 2014

Welfare Training Begins

Greetings from the MTC – still!  Today we began training for our specific assignment of humanitarian and welfare work.  We were given a tour of Welfare Square in Salt Lake City.  The tour included the Bishop’s Storehouse:

At The Bishop's Storehouse, excellent selection and quality!

Deseret Industries:

An amazing selection!

The granary:

The jam canning facility:
It was strawberry jam this time!

The cheese making facility:

We tasted some - it was yummy!

We learned there are 142 storehouses throughout the world, including 30 wheat-filled silos in the United States holding 13 million pounds of wheat, enough for every person in the United States to have 2 pounds!  

And for an example of disaster response, for the recent typhoon in the Philippines, the Church has so far donated 500,000 pounds of supplies, 40,000 food and hygiene kits, with 25,000 hours donated by 10,000 LDS volunteers. They are also building 3200 homes. But they didn't just build the homes - they had 5 men learn how to do the trade from a master carpenter, and then they shared the labor to build each of their homes together.  After those 5 were built, those men helped train others to build their homes, and on it went.  Thus hundreds of people have learned a trade and skill they otherwise would not have known, became certified in carpentry, and are now employable in their own communities. The local carpentry companies are happily hiring these trained men. This is one of ways humanitarian efforts work - immediate help for the immediate needs, and then begin training and coaching toward self-reliance and independence.  I love this work!

Elder and Sister Coffey

Monday, April 21, 2014

Entering the MTC - What Is It Like?

Our first day in the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah!  Ever wonder what goes on?  We were met at the door by a couple who gave us our name tags, met at another door by young missionaries who carried our luggage up to our room overlooking the mountains and the Provo Temple, 
escorted by another missionary to help get oriented with where things are in the building, met by other senior missionaries to get us started in our orientation, ate all we could eat for lunch, then back over to the chapel for more orientation.  Then ate all we could eat for dinner.  We do a lot of eating and sitting at this point!  And friendly people at every turn to help you with anything you might need.

Found out we need some more immunizations for our exciting labor – Japanese encephalitis and typhoid – very costly – but beats getting sick in Asia!   

                                                              The world map - we are pointing to Hong Kong!


                         The MTC - with tulips!

It is fun to visit with the other couples and hear their stories, where they are going, and the kind of mission they will be doing.  Some come with tons of Church leadership experience and some are just normal people like us.  There are 40% more senior couples this year than last year and the Church is thrilled, but they need so many more.  This is so much fun! Come join us!

Elder Greg and Sister Deborah Coffey

Thursday, April 17, 2014

It's Starts!

It has begun!  Our missionary training officially began today even though we don’t check into the Missionary Training Center until Monday.  Today we were able to meet with the head of the wheelchair initiatives for the whole Church. Our meeting was at the Welfare offices of the Church, located on the 7th floor of the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City – seen in the photo below. 

We learned that the Church has about 7 or 8 different kinds of wheelchairs it donates, depending on the size of the recipient and the specific need.  Thousands of wheelchairs are donated throughout the world to the poorest of the poor who cannot otherwise afford one, making for a life-changing experience for them and their families.  We work through local government agencies and non-government organizations in each of the countries to distribute the wheelchairs. 

We learned that rather than just give wheelchairs away randomly, it is important to work closely with the local organizations in training them how to properly fit a person for a wheelchair.  If a person is not properly fitted for the right kind of wheelchair, they could possibly develop pressure sores, some of which could be dangerous and even life-threatening, particularly in the more developing countries where disease is common.  Thus the importance for the Church to work closely to teach the organizations what to look for, how to make sure the wheelchair is the right one for the person, and then to be the on-the-ground contact point for continuing support.

Tomorrow – more training from the Church Office Building on emergency response, medical cares, water initiatives, etc.  This is way fun!!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

We are official!

On Sunday, April 6th, Greg and I were set apart as missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a special blessing given to us by our ecclesiastical church leader (President Terry Slezak) that recognizes us as official missionaries and by the authority of the priesthood bestows upon us the rights and privileges of serving in that capacity.  So we are officially Elder Greg and Sister Deborah Coffey!

The next day, Monday April 7th, we loaded the last of our belonging in our Budget truck, locked the door, and drove away.  It was a tender moment.  We have lived here for 14 years, the longest we have lived anywhere. We leave behind dear friends and one of our sons.  God bless them all!

We will spend the next 2 weeks visiting family and friends in Idaho and Utah, and slowly make our way to Provo, Utah where we will begin our 2 weeks of formal training in the Missionary Training Center (MTC) on April 21st.

We will arrive in Hong Kong on May 6th.  After we get adjusted and settled, we'll add some photos to show where we are and how life will be in our new home. The journey has begun!