Monday, September 29, 2014

Struggles in Atlanta

Struggles in Atlanta

Randall has hit an all-time low. Wanting to be back in Africa, questioning why he is in Atlanta, just really down. We knew it was coming but still hard to hear from someone who is usually so fun. If you have time write him and send some words of encouragement, he would love to hear from a friend about now.

Current Address:

100 Knight Way apt# 210, Fayetteville, Georgia 30214 


Monday, September 8, 2014

Part 3

Part Three
From there, things got crazy again.  Plans to get us on a plane came and then fell through. I think I packed like 5 times. We soon discovered that the hotel had a cafeteria where they had the closest thing we had seen to a hamburger and fries, so naturally every elder went down all at once and ordered one or two....... or three:)  Over all we stayed in the Lungi Airport hotel for three days and on the dawn of the third day when the first light was in the sky we looked to the east (only Cadence will understand that last sentence;).  On the third day we actually all checked out of the hotel and headed to the airport. Upon arrival at the airport we were greeted by two very nice and big guards who then checked us for weapons I think, and then doused our hands in chlorine. We then were allowed to proceed to the actual airport. Now the airport looked more like a biological weapons war zone than an airport. It was covered with plastic and there were people walking around in hazmat suits. We took our bags and made our way to the front door and were greeted by a mountain of paperwork and multiple temperature checks. After informing them about every little aspect about my last five months, we were allowed to enter the building. Upon entrance we found more paperwork and more temperature checks. We were all admitted to pass through.  They then took our bags and put them on the plane. We however went to go wait for the plane to be prepared for us. When the plane was almost prepared the crew members came out to the waiting area and kinda gave us the info on how this was going to go down. They told us they were from International SOS and that before we were permitted to board we would be going through a health check where they once again asked us a bunch of questions and checked our temperature. We were all given the green light and we boarded the plane. When we were on the plane we were served the best tasting airplane food ever! 

The ride to Portugal took us over the Sahara Desert, something I thought I would never see in my life. We landed in Portugal at night and they took us to a separate terminal from the rest of the airport. After customs we were greeted by the missionaries for Portugal and by a senior couple who took us all back to a room and gave us some water and crackers then they told us that there have been some changes in our assignments.  We were all shocked.  It was then that I knew that I was not going back to West Africa anytime soon.  They gave us all our assignments, we were being sent all over the United States, and me, I was assigned to Atlanta.  They told us we would be leaving tomorrow morning and that we would be spending the night in a hotel, so we went to the hotel and spent the night in Portugal, another thing I thought I would never do.

This is where I'm going to end the adventure today.

Elder Gebauer

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Part 2

We pulled up and saw a surprising sight, all 180 elders and sisters all in one place. The first thing I noticed was the AP’s. They were tired, looked like they hadn’t more than a few hours of sleep in the last 3 days. Elder Stanford was wearing basketball shorts, white shirt, flip flops and looked like a mountain man who was dressed by a three year old. I mentioned to him that he looked tired. He simply smiled like he always did and replied “Elder Gebauer, you don’t know the half of it”. He then told me to take my district and to go weigh our bags because we were only allowed to bring 44lb in a big bag and 20lb in a smaller one and that was it, nothing more. So I put my bag on the scale and it came in at 55lb. I had to drop 11lb. So we got to work just like everyone else taking everything out of our bags and sorting through it to see what we could leave behind (remember at this point we still thought that we would be going to Ghana another third world country so deodorant and things were still worth more than gold). You should have seen the mission home, just abandoned stuff everywhere, mountains or shirts, piles of ties, towering stacks of mission reference books and PMG’s. I still don’t know what happened to everything but I would hope that it went to membership and people that need it.

From there things started to get crazy.  Plans would be made for us to leave and then they would change and we would be staying for days and then they would change again. This went on and on for a matter of hours. There came a point were we just didn’t even listen anymore. We were all just too tired, depressed and sick of plans. We were finally organized into a large mass so president could address us, he had a plan. All American elders were to go to a hotel next to the airport and would be flying out the next day. African sisters and elders were not able to leave the country at this point because of passport restrictions. All the elders and sisters said their heartfelt goodbyes and that was the first time I saw an African elder cry. Such a sight nearly brought me to tears but being so incredibly manly I withheld this overwhelming urge to sweat from my eyeballs. All the American elders collected their things and got into the vehicles and off we went.

When we arrived at the hotel we were all in awe at this place. It was an actual building with its cheap flooring and crappy bathrooms. It was the greatest thing we had seen in months. That was until we saw the girl working the front desk. We couldn’t believe our eyes. It was an actual white girl in the flesh!!!! If you could just image this poor girl, all she sees is 80 American elders walk through the front door and just staring dumbfounded. From there we all got checked in and went to our rooms.   I was in a group of missionaries that I had never met. There were 5 of us and there was one bed. I volunteered to sleep in the chair. We soon discovered that the hotel had hot showers. If anything could brighten the mood in that hotel it was hot showers though they didn’t have much for water pressure and the water was brown. It didn’t matter, it was hot and not out of a bucket.               
This is where the story will end for this week. I will continue next week.

Your African missionary
Elder Gebauer

Pictures of Randall in Atlanta Georia shortly after arriving.