Everyday there is a changing of the guard in front of Buckingham Palace in London. There is much fanfare and people come just to watch the ceremony.
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints the changing of the guard happens much more quietly and with great humility. We met President and Sister Keyes at the Kansas City Temple yesterday to pick up their car and send them on their way to the airport. No crowds, no regrets, and no one trying to hold onto their power and position.
President and Sister Keyes' whole focus these last few months has been to make sure that everything was ready for President and Sister Vest and that the transition would happen smoothly for the Vests, for the missionaries, and for the members of the Church in the Missouri Independence Mission.
Mission accomplished. President and Sister Vest met with the Keyes yesterday morning for two hours and then they met with the Assistants to the President for an hour. They came to the office and met the office staff for a couple of hours just getting to know each other and get an idea of our responsibilities and callings.
|President and Sister Vest, Missouri Independence Mission|
|Elder Haws, President Hepworth, President Keyes, President Medina|
They are from Texas and he was an executive for Kimberly Clark. They have 5 children and 9 grandchildren with more on the way.
They shared with us some of their experiences of being with the First Presidency and Apostles during their week of training at the MTC. They both bore fervent testimonies of the reality that we have true Prophets, Seers, and Revelators leading our Church today.
It was a wonderful meeting and we are excited to help them adjust to mission life. They will be fantastic.
I am so thankful for the great faith and diligence these two wonderful couples display. They are truly the Lord's servants and I am honored to know them both and have the wonderful opportunity to serve with both of them.
I have been a party to several transitions in my life, often called "changing of the guard" as Debi said. In a few cases I have been the "new guy".
When I was a young missionary I was in the office when we said goodbye to our beloved President Hartman Rector and welcomed our equally beloved President Spencer H. Osborn. I quickly learned that even though they were very different personalities, they were both called of God to lead us and to move the mission forward.
I have been very involved with assisting President Keyes in putting the affairs of the mission in order and preparing every needful thing so that the transition for the Vest's would be as smooth as possible.
I have previously talked about installing the new computers in the office. In addition, I had to upgrade the computer in the mission home. I needed to go to the home and have some "alone" time there to work. This was difficult to arrange, but I saw a window of opportunity on Friday afternoon.
The Keyes spent their last night in the home, Thursday. Friday morning it was cleaned. The Vests arrived Saturday morning. So I went there at 2:00 pm. I had a key and the code to the alarm.
I had previously noticed that there was a wall safe. President Keyes had never used it and did not know how to open it. So I called a safe cracker from Gregg's Locks and Keys (not me) and he came. It is an old Sears model.
I guess I had the idea that he would use a doctors stethoscope and listen to the tumblers and open it. Not so. He said, "I can drill it or I can bust it, which would you like?" I did not want either. Well, as I was moving the old printer, a paper feel on the floor. It was instructions on opening an old Sears safe, and a combination. I tried it, first going right 4 times. Then I tried going left 4 times. The combination did not open it. But I decided to call off the "cracker" (not a derogatory white male term) and send him on his way. We would have to think about it some more.
I had worked the new laptop in the office, and had it ready to go. I ordered a "docking station" and a larger monitor, as well as a wireless mouse and keyboard. He was to have a better setup than President Keyes had. President Keyes had a little board, like a kitchen chopping block, that he pulled out and put his laptop on. I even found a table that we could use temporarily.
I ordered a new printer. His was a standard black and white. The handbook called for a multi-function color printer. I got a HP Wireless printer. But I did not know how to set up a wireless printer. I called the Salt Lake Global Help Line and after an hour and a half, we gave up. I then called HP's global help desk and got my new best friend, Jayco, in India. I thought of the Rudyard Kipling poem:
Now in Injia's sunny clime,
Where I used to spend my time
A-servin' of 'Er Majesty the Queen,
Of all them blackfaced crew
The finest man I knew
Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din.
|He was the "finest man I ever knew"|
Well, maybe Jayco was a relative, but after only another half hour I had a fully operational wireless printer connected to the laptop that was sitting in a docking port that was hooked to the internet and was supporting a large color monitor, a wireless mouse and a keyboard. It can scan, copy, fax, cook breakfast and all of this without any wires connected. And my mother wanted me to explain to her how a cell phone worked!
We also put this big 3-ring binder together with everything we could think of that President Vest might want to know. It was a huge effort by the office staff, and President Keyes wanted it just right. He really wanted to leave the mission with no loose ties.
Well, we got them to the airplane, and we met the Vest. We love them already. I only got one call from them last night. They were sort of lost, and they wanted to know if we had a GPS navigation devise, or do their smartphones have a data plan? I hope they got home safe.
Today I called the Sprint help line and yes, they really should be smart (the phones that is) and even though they have not been fully used in the past, they will soon be sending and receiving texts, email, internet, pictures and other data.
When I was a public official, I attended several public relations training sessions. One man said that we should all memorize three things, and when faced with any disaster or emergency repeat the following:
1. We are here
2. We are assessing the situation
3. We are prepared to take the appropriate actions needed
We are servants of the Most High God. It is an honor and a privilege to SERVE!