2 Aug 2017
Lessons to be Learned
The time was coming for outgoing missionaries to be heading home after 2 successful years of service in Australia. Most missionaries had learned many valuable skills and lessons that would help them throughout their lives. However there are some that still struggled with being obedient.
About a month before departing missionaries leave, we will give them instructions on how many suitcase and weight they can take home with them. The missionaries returning to Islands or Countries with small airports are only allowed 1 checked on suitcase weighing 23 Kilo (approx 46 lbs), a carry on suit case no more than 7 Kilo and a personal item. The Church will pay to mail 1 20K box with specific dimensions to the individual's home. Several missionaries came into me early to get the appropriate size box. The really organized missionaries returned a week or two before departing to fill in the proper forms and have it shipped early so they would receive the box by the time they got home. One Elder we will call Elder K was going home to Cambodia. I gave him the right size box and told him to be sure and not go over the allotted 20 Kilos. A couple of days later he texted me and said he couldn't get everything in the box I gave him and could he ship 2 boxes home that totalled the 20 Kilos? I tried calling him but he did not answer so I had to leave a voice message that 2 boxes could not be shipped because there was a charge per box. I never heard back from him.
The day of departure came and Elder K showed up without a box. I asked him where his box was? He said the Zone Leaders would bring it the following week. I totd him we needed to weigh it and fill out the proper forms. He assured me the weight was correct. I told him if it was even a little bit over weight I would have to go through his belonging and choose what to pull out of the box to get it within appropriate limits. Once again he assured me there would be NO problem with his box. I had him fill in the mandatory paperwork, strongly encouraging him to be sure and fill in All information and do it correctly. Once again the cliche "no problem" was his response.
Yesterday the Zone Leaders brought in Elder K's box. Immediately I could tell there was going to be a problem. He had packed his belongings in a flimsy box that circumference was bulging. When we took it downstairs to the mail room, it was over weight and out of limits with it's circumference. Not only was the size and weight a problem, but he had left off his Postal Code. Without the postal code we can not ship it. The weight and dimensions of his bag would cost an additional $150. Why didn't this Elder follow instructions? I have sent him an email and hope to hear from him soon. But I am not holding my breath as other returned missionaries have not responded to emails I have sent regarding left behind items. We have a Sister that left 20 lbs of Beads, shampoo, hand lotion and candy that she wanted a member to ship to her at a cost of $200. I am pretty sure she can buy those things for less, even in the Philippines.
So here we sit with 2 large boxes of items that will probably never make it home. Some of the Seniors hate to throw anything away. Not me. I just want clean work spaces. Just not sure what a reasonable amount of time is before donating or throwing personal items away?