Saturday the 29th of June was a big day for the mission. Yet, like most changes in church leadership it happens without much fanfare. As we all know, with each calling that is extended comes a release in the future. Saturday's transition happened when President Leif J. Erickson stepped off the plane and assumed the role of Mission President of Zambia/Malawi. He had been set apart previously for that event. President Padovich was ready and told me once Pres. Erickson was on the ground he (Pres. Padovich) would be just "Mike or Mikele."
It was fun to witness the two couples. One, relieved, tearful, and full of experience and love for his missionaries and the peoples of Malawi and Zambia. The other, eager, scared, overwhelmed with immediate tasks, yet confident with a new vision of where the mission was headed for the next three years. It cracked me up they were both wearing their "power/pink" ties.
The two couples spent perhaps two and half hours together. Then the Padovich's were off to the airport. President Erickson had a full day of interviews and a little time to unpack their suitcases downstairs in their new home.
We invited them to dinner and our goal was to keep them up as long as possible so they could start adjusting to the time zone change. Pres. Erickson jumped in their assigned car and followed us to the grocery store. We sent them in alone and Kristi and I talked about our first day and how familiar things seemed, yet so totally foreign. We laughed knowing what they were going through.
Pres. Erickson had served a mission in Australia so I didn't worry about him driving on the left. You have to start sometime. They then followed us to our home for a simple dinner of stew.
As you can see, 30 plus hours of travel plus a full day of "meet and greet" can wilt you a little, but they held up better than I could have under all that pressure.
We sent them out with full faith that they would find the mission home again in the dark streets of Lusaka. He carries his own light.