Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Getting Ready for a Foreign Mission

When we started this project we knew we would be going overseas, and we knew we would be having to wrap up a 39-year-old business. Both of those options meant we'd be spending a lot more time getting ready! Simple retirement and going stateside would have been much easier and less problematic.

First, and most pressing, was selling 300 head of livestock and some expensive equipment. We were lucky to find a broker for the cows and calves and a broker for the equipment. People we hadn't heard from for years called wanting this or that or the other. Our neighbor down the road wanted to lease all the hay ground. Another neighbor wanted to lease all the pastures. We owned 14 acres of worthless property in Nevada that we could sell in order to offset capital gains taxes. Clint contacted a real estate agent in Pahrump and she agreed to start the process of selling the desert acres. That was just for starters.

The Confined Animal inspector came and signed us off on the manure ponds. One of our hired men stayed for a few weeks and helped clean up. I retired from teaching college and jumped through the hoops for the State of Oregon retirement system. We renewed our passports with older and grayer photos!

Sunset over the wheel lines

Sister Isabela Ibalo, a PEF employee in Buenos Aires, answered our questions on whether we should have an International Driver's License and a smart phone. She said both would be good to have starting out--we would be issued local cell phones as PEF missionaries, but not smart phones, and Chilean drivers licenses, which might take months to obtain.

We found out our Oregon driver's licenses couldn't be renewed until after we left, which meant we couldn't get the international driver's licenses we wanted. Clint spent four days calling the DMV, and finally our state Senator Ted Ferrioli, to get the Oregon DMV to accommodate two citizens. The head of the DMV finally called back (after the bureaucrats in the system never did) and graciously told us what we needed to do. We figure it was good practice for when Clint deals with government officials in other parts of the world.

I bought an unlocked GSM Galaxy Samsung S3 and an Ultra Mobile SIM card with a month by month plan so we could practice on an international smart phone. We will buy a new SIM card when we are in Chile, and find a plan there on Movistar or Entel or one of the other South American carrier plans. I checked out several senior missionary blogs to see what they recommended--down jackets for the cold winters, and American electronics; and I found several Concepcion Chile South mission Facebook sites. (Clint is electronically challenged, so this part of it is left to me.) So many kind and encouraging missionaries and great photos of an obviously beautiful country.

Do you want to house sit our country cottage and my 1/2 acre garden?

The sunny fall border

Black-eyed Susans and butterfly bush blooming near the garden shed

Columbines blooming under the fruit trees

We have been to the CPA a number of times figuring out the tax consequences of selling off part of a business. We gave our daughter Vanessa who lives 20 minutes away Power of Attorney and put her on a new checking account we will use overseas. We are hiring a bookkeeper and will have her take care of any stray bills and business. You can request the Post Office online a to redirect you mail every six months. We are having to figure out insurance (the Church provides inexpensive health insurance if you are going overseas), Social Security, and Medicare since Clint will be turning 66 while we are away.

Then there are the medical and dental checkups and immunizations. We found out I needed a secondary cataract operation on my right eye, Clint needed a root canal and new glasses, my cholesterol was sky-high and came down with Lipitor, and otherwise we are in excellent health. We finally ended up going to our son-in-law Mark, an internist, to fill out our application, since the Physician's Assistant we were going to wasn't familiar enough with the application requirements. Some immunizations are required, some we got because we could. Fortunately my insurance paid for most of the costs. Hepatitis A and B, Shingles, Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis, Pneumonia, Typhoid immunizations. Some more painful than others. You can get Typhoid in a four-pill over seven days option, although it made me nauseous and gave me headaches.

Our worst problem is what to do with our house. Grandpa's empty house on the farm will be rented to one of the new hired men, but our house is on a separate acre from the farm, with a large garden, full of furniture and belongings. We expected we could leave it locked for two years, but without anyone here year round to look after it, we will have to rent it out. The property management companies in town won't touch it because it's out in the country (people will grow pot, don't you know) and because it has too many bedrooms (required by law to allow 2-3 people per bedroom). So we have faith that just the right house sitters will show up at just the right time. Meantime, I am decluttering closets and basement and office and and bedrooms, bath and kitchen in an ongoing choice of what I want to find when I come back. It is rather liberating to get rid of what has built up over nearly 40 years. My children are the unexpected and not always cooperative beneficiaries of this exercise, although they don't seem to mind me giving away the James Christensen fantasy prints I have purchased over the years and that have increased in value!

"Benediction" by James Christensen

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