I should start with two Thursdays ago. Elder Tunney and I were transfer planning for the zone, planning out exchanges, trainings, and p-day activities, when we starting talking about what it'd be like if all we did was go on exchanges with other missionaries. As we continued to talk about it, it sounded better and better; we talked about the challenges that you'd face, the sheer logistics of the whole thing. Eventually it sounded so good we decided to call President Ahlander and set up a meeting with him. We sat down and laid out the entire idea with him the next day. Our idea was that there would be a companionship of "traveling elders" - their entire purpose would be to go on exchanges with companionships all across the mission (at President's discretion). Five days out of the week they'd go on exchanges in a different zone every day, then finish the exchange around 9:00pm, drive to the next apartment, and begin the exchange with the next companionship. Sundays would be normal proselyting days and Mondays would still be preparation day/planning day for the coming week. This isn't a new idea; in fact, Elder Holland was a traveling elder in his mission in England. The method we presented, however, would better fit a mission much more dense like ours. Through the traveling elders, President could get a better idea of what's happening around the mission and missionaries could have personal interaction with someone sincerely dedicated to help them improve. Overall, it'd be a great way to increase mission morale, obedience, and discipleship.
To our surprise, he loved it. He said he'd think about it and get back to us. Three or four days later (last week), he brings us into his office and says he wants to try it...and he wants us to be the two traveling elders! We were taken aback, but accepted the assignment and assumed that we'd start at the beginning of the next transfer (March 10th). At the end of our meeting in his office, he turns to the transfer board (a board with all of the pictures of the missionaries in the mission) and says, "Well, we just have to make a few emergency transfers and you can start on Monday".
We were shocked. "Monday?!"
He said he didn't want to wait - he'd double-transfer two new Zone Leaders to take our place on Monday and give us a week to help them acclimate to the ward. Then, on the 17th, we'd hit the road and start doing our back-to-back exchanges. Today at 10:00am Elder Hunsaker and Elder Lane, the new Meadows ZL's, moved in to our apartment and we moved into the AP's apartment with them. We'll only be spending Saturday night and Sunday night in the AP's apartment - otherwise, we'll be sleeping in apartments all across the mission, a different place every night (our bishop gave us a couple of sleeping bags...we're covered).
It's been crazy. The whole mission is buzzing about the mid-transfer transfer and our new assignments. I'm really excited; miracles happen on exchanges, and now my mission life is dedicated to them. My job will be to provide uplifting experiences for these missionaries and help where I can, and I hope I can do that effectively. I'm nervous as well, because no one's done this before; there's no manual, no training. We're flying by the seat of our pants. I know I'll be exhausted, but I'm looking forward to the next couple of weeks. I have no idea how long I'll be a traveling elder - it could be until I go home - but I'm going to work as hard as I can.
I'm sure I'll have more details next week. No idea how this week of floating will work out. Anyways, awesome week, I love you, and I'll talk atcha later!