Tuesday, June 02, 2009

MTC & Swine Flu

Today was a tough day at work because the story broke last night at 5:20 p.m. that there were three confirmed cases of Swine Flu at the MTC. I did not know that until this morning when I got to work and saw the BYU paper with the headline. I knew they had some cases of type A flu, but not Swine flu. So here is what is happening in case some of you have heard it on the news.
Three elders got the Swine flu (brought in by someone's family member but I don't know where they were from). It takes about 48 hours to get a confirmation that it is actually Swine flu. Two of the elders are already fine and back to class but one is still in isolation. About 22 elders total have the type A flu. As a result of this, a decision that had been made earlier but wasn't going to take place until September is now in effect. That decision is that no family members can go inside the buildings with their missionary when they bring them to the MTC. All they can do is stop at the curb, let the missionary out and say goodbye and then drive off. There will be ushers to help them with their luggage. Apparently one elder had 75 family members in tow and officials said they could not handle crowds as large as that. It creates problems with security and they don't have enough room for that many people. As of tomorrow (Wednesday is the drop-off day every week), the families will not be allowed into the MTC buildings. That will be a permanent plan, not just for this flu outbreak.
I scrambled around all day long looking for disposable goods, especially cutlery that was wrapped. They figure this will probably last until about June 15, but it may be fine by next Monday. Some vendors freaked out and said they wouldn't deliver to any place that has Swine flu so I had to make arrangements for them to deliver to our building rather than to the MTC. Other vendors said they thought the whole blown-up issue of Swine flu was ridiculous and they would deliver directly to the MTC no matter what. I had to call all the vendors that deliver to the MTC and speak to them, reassuring them but also giving them the option as to where they could deliver their goods.
When you think about it, it's quite miraculous that there has been as little health issues as there are at the MTC considering how many missionaries come from all over the world. They have jumped right on this and have handled it very professionally without unneccessary alarm.
There are 140 missionaries waiting to be shipped to their destinations, but the MTC is not sending them out for a while. They get 500 new ones tomorrow. What's mind boggling is how many meals they will be preparing for the next week -- 6600 per day! Do you realize how much food that is?!? I personally think the MTC itself is a miracle. They handle so many people on a day-to-day basis that it's quite remarkable.
I've said it before and I'll say it now -- my job is rarely boring!


chelsey said...

So the families won't be able to go thru the whole video and you out one door, them thru another door experience now? Is there no official goodbye for the family now?

Seth and Natalie said...

How sad for Wes and Calli! Julie told me about this yesterday and while it makes sense it still kind of stinks for us. I was looking forward to that experience, especially for my little gal. Oh well, they have to do what they have to do.

The Duke said...

What it means is that the goodbyes need to be said at home or at an airport when they live far away like we did with Jason. They are discouraging even siblings coming along in the car but won't say anything if they do come along. I can guarantee that it will be a quick goodbye at the MTC because there will be lines of cars dropping the missionaries off. It will be a quick hug and off they go.
I was sad about it when I heard because I would get so pumped up when we would see the video "Called to Serve" and see all those missionaries in one place. It literally showed the "army of God" all together and it was powerful. It was also like tearing my heart out - bittersweet experience. I don't think any of them were any harder than when we said goodbye to Jason at the airport, though. I remember the kids falling apart and how terrible I felt because we couldn't go with him out to Utah.
I'm sure we'll all get used to it.
Im sorry, Natalie, that you won't be able to have that experience.

Jess and Jen said...

It was certainly a tear jerker experience. I remember seeing that video with Adam, Lance, Dave, and myself. What a bunch of bawl babies we all become when we know we're leaving for two years and won't see our families. It was tough. The nice thing is we fairly quickly got over it once we met up with other missionaries.

Oh wait, I didn't go to Lance's separation. I was at work and since I'd been down there the day before with the family, I decided I didn't need to go again. I was sitting at work that day and felt horrible (!) that I wasn't there at the MTC with Lance. I decided I'd go to all the seeing-off parties from that point on. -Jess

Jason said...

Lance's good-bye was the only one that I have been able to go to. It was a great experience since I hadn't been able to see either Adam or Jess off. The coming home part is pretty cool, too. One of the missionaries serving in our ward is going home today. I remember that feeling of excitement, apprehension, and even a bit of sorrow over having to leave.

I hope the Elders that are sick will get well soon and that this flu will soon be a thing of the past.