Today was the last day at church for the Boise’s. They’re missionaries, an older couple (as in, older than me!) from the US. They came over as Church Education System missionaries to promote and develop the seminary and institute programs here. They go home on Friday. Another couple, they mentioned, will be arriving in December to take their places. So we’ll be again at 5 sets of missionaries – three older couples and two sets of little boy missionaries.
The other two couples are the Bennions with Latter-day Saint Humanitarian Services, or something called something close to that, and the Griffiths, who are proselyting missionaries. The little boy missionaries – well, I call them that because, heck, I’m so old. They’re generally between 19-21 years of age. Of the four little boy missionaries we have in our ward, two are from the US, as in Lawrence from Utah, and two are from elsewhere in Asia, like Elder Woo from Singapore. I haven’t actually met and/or spoken at any great depth with the other set of missionaries, but I’ve heard that one of the other missionaries is from Pakistan.
Anyway, the Boise’s have been here for, I would guess, the last 18 months or something pretty close to that. They’re a pretty neat couple, and it’s sad to see them go, but on the other hand, such is the life of missionaries. They come, they go.
I was recruited, and that’s a whole other story, to help out with the branch Christmas party. Today after church, there was supposed to be a short, as in 15 minute, meeting for everyone who was helping out with the Christmas party. That would amount to something like 50 or 60 people. The guy in charge of it announced that the meeting would be in a specific room, I went, it started way late (our trishaw driver was already waiting for us), and the room the meeting was in was big enough to hold maybe 12 people sitting down, maybe 20 if standing up. How did he expect everyone to show up?
I ended up leaving after about five minutes because it became very clear to me very fast that this meeting would take forever, and I didn’t have that kind of time, and it was mostly a check in for how each area was doing, and seeing as how the person in charge of organizing the subcommittee I was supposed to be in hadn’t even contacted me, it was useless for me to be there, since I knew absolutely nothing at all. It wasn’t a doing meeting, it was a reporting meeting. If we were actually going to do something productive, then fine, I’ll stick around. But this? It’s useless. It just ties up absolutely everybody who doesn’t need to be there.
It would have made more sense if he had a meeting with the person in charge of each subcommittee, and each subcommittee met together to do actual planning and work. But the little people surely did not need to be at that meeting.
This is what I call poor planning. And I have little patience for this sort of thing, unfortunately. Or perhaps fortunately. Depends on the point of view.
However, I am under the impression that this is standard meeting tactics here. I have heard that it’s standard meeting tactics in Asia in general, but I have no experience with the rest of Asia, so I can only base my opinion on my experiences or, well, you know. I have heard about meetings that Fahim has attended where it amounts to the same thing – invite absolutely everyone concerned to the meeting and make them all stay for the entire time even if they are only concerned with fifteen minutes worth out of the eight hour session.
They apparently haven’t heard of delegation and responsibility and efficiency and . . . Whatever. I just hate wasting my time, and I felt like that was all it was.