Monday Elder Ellison and I drove up to the Central Coast Zone to do 3 flat inspections. For those that may not know, a flat is NOT a flat tire. Rather a flat is an apartment, condo or some type of housing. Flat inspections have not been done for several months as Elder Ellison and I are just coming up to speed. Elder Ellison has involved all the Senior Couples in helping inspect flats in different areas of the mission. That way we don't have to do 60 inspections and drive extremely long distances.
We started with the Zone leaders flat. It looked like a small older twin home. We pulled up about 15 minutes later than we told them we would be there, due to the fact I had Elder Ellison go back to our flat so I could pick up some cleaning gloves (per Tyler's recommendation) and cleaning supplies, just in case we would have to get involved with showing missionaries how to actually clean.
The minute we walked into Elder Riquelme (pronounced Rikaleme) and TangiPi flat I could sense it was VERY clean. Things were definitely older, worn and seen better days BUT it was clean, organized and well taken care of. I was so shocked at how nice it was, I wanted to give them a big hug, but that would be breaking Mission Rules. The study area was so impressive with maps of their Zone, the missionaries under their charge, spiritual thoughts and quotes on the walls etc. (I even flipped the picture of the Prophet to the back side to make sure their were no inappropriate pictures like in the movie "The Best 2 Years"). They had a few weights and bars for lifting so they could get their exercise in. The fridge and stove were all very clean albeit the fridge was quite empty due to the fact that it was P-day and they had not been out shopping. I was so proud of these 2 Elders I gave them an A+ for a job well done. Now on to the Sisters.
Hmmm, well the Sisters are very sweet and kind, bubbly and full of energy but not quite as responsible as the Zone Leaders. A couple of the Sisters I think really did want to have a cleaner flat but being in a 4 missionary flat made it more challenging. I gave them a number of things to improve on. As we walked out to our car Sister Walker and Lam walked out with us to get some light bulbs. They forgot to bring their flat key so Sister Lam stayed holding the locking gate open. As Elder Ellison was rummaging through the car looking for the light bulbs Sister Walker asked if they got the award for "Most Improved Flat"? We did not know what she was talking about. She said she was brought in last transfer and asked to help the other Sisters do a better job of cleaning and organizing. What a hard job she had. She could not become the "Boss" or do all the cleaning on her own. She had to encourage and lead by example. That is a difficult job for one so young. She was really doing the best with the situation she moved into. Good Job Sister.
The last Flat was another set of Elders. We had gradually fallen farther behind in out time schedule. They were patiently waiting for us sitting on their deck reading scriptures. Once again, when I walked in I could tell this was a clean flat. Lucky for these Elders this flat was new, and pristine and they were doing an excellent job keeping it that way. Their study room once again was organized and clean. Motivating quotes in a couple of spots. The only problem I found was they had a Fan, heater and vacuum in a closet that were not being used. Elder Ellison didn't want to fill up the car with more junk, but I felt we needed to bring it back in to the warehouse so we would know where things were instead of sitting in closets and no one knowing where they were. We tested all the items to make sure we were not hauling back nonworking items. The vacuum was broken so we told them to just throw it in the trash/rubbish. They were hesitant to do so. No one around here wants to throw things away. They think they can be fixed! BY WHO? Elder Ellison doesn't have the time and taking them into repair shops takes money and TIME. By the time you do this the cost is almost as much as a new vacuum. These Elders had their 2 beds in the living room as the 2 small bedrooms would not hold the two beds. It was interesting to see no furniture but 2 beds (neatly made) in the living area.
I am happy to report that I did NOT need my cleaning gloves or have to demonstrate how to clean a toilet. We have 8 more flats to inspect in the next 10 days. I hope we find all of them in as good of condition as we did these 3 flats. It is really enjoyable getting out and putting names with faces of the missionaries. Such outstanding young people.
Driving the hour home from Central Coast we got a phone call from an Elder living in the City on the 27th floor of a building. He called to report a flood they had in their flat. Another story for another time. Stay tuned.