Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July 30, 2014

 I was cleaning up the kitchen after making the last batch oh chocolate chip cookies when I heard a loud sound.  I wondered if it was a crash.  Our home is on the corner of a busy road and cars go fast.  I went out on the deck and I saw dirt or dust in the air down the road.  Our yard is lined with trees and part of it with a low wall.  I could tell through the trees that cats were still going on the road. I went back in the house thinking there wasn't a problem.  Just a few minutes later I heard sirens.  Sure enough the fire truck parked in front of our house and an ambulance on the side of the road. A couple of police cars as well. I didn't go to the road but made sure it was not Dell out there.  He had gone to get his hair cut (that's another story). I finished cleaning up and Dell came home.  He said the police wanted him to go look at the wall because there was a little damage.  A car must have been going too fast and ended up hitting a tree and then some of the wall. 
We let the FM people (take care of our place) know and someone came over to check things out. We took advantage and had Don look at the security system that still didn't work,  fix some screens on windows and hang a wall clock.  Good timing. 
The car was towed away soon after. 

Monday, July 28, 2014


We were at the office most of the day.  I came home earlier to get dinner ready so we could go to a husband and wife baptism in Simi Valley (about 45 minutes away).  We used the GPS and got to the church.  Oh, the problem was there were no cars.  I parked the car so we could try to get a hold of someone to find out where the baptism was.  A black car pulled up and the sister in the car asked if we were looking for a baptism.  She said," I don't know why I came here, I know it was at the other church."  We followed her to the other ward which was about 10 or so minutes away.  We were late but oh well.  We got out of the car and went over to her and said I need to give you a hug.  "You were an angel tonight."  No coincidence!  Miracle!
The husband and wife had been taught in the ward her cousin lived in who was the only member in their family.  The couple and baby live in another ward.  The chapel was so full of members from both wards and nonmember family members.  They will be attending the ward they live in.  
The talk about the Holy Ghost was given by the cousin.  She basically talked to all of the nonmembers and it was wonderful.  I was thinking she is going to bring in a lot of investigators.  Also, there were about 6 nonmembers that had been invited to attend.  We had six sister missionaries there.  Let me tell you, they were "working the crowd."  We had members wanting to talk to us.  One came up to us and said, "we've never had a mission president come to one of our baptisms." 
We go back to Simi Valley tomorrow for interviews.  I need to go review pictures, names, and questionnaires.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

One month

June 27, 2014 is when we landed in the California Ventura Mission; so it's been a month.  I really don't think anyone can tell you how it will be.  You do hear, you'll be so busy.  There are a lot of different emotions and issues.  I think all are a learning process.  It's interesting though, there seems to always be an issue on the other end of the telephone line.  Every morning prayers are said to be able to do and say what the Lord wants.  

It is wonderful being around all of the missionaries.  It is definitely a challenge to learn all of their names and be able to put a face with a name.  That is my desire -- to know all of the missionaries.  We had them all fill out a questionnaire when we met a few weeks ago.  I review those and look at their picture to make an association.  I have organized the questionnaires according to the zone they serve in and in the order they have their interview.  It's been good that the President has had interviews so close to when we had the first meeting.  All of them look familiar but still working on connecting the face and name.  It helps to see them at baptisms and church.  Once transfers occur, my system will have to be changed.

Today we drove about a half an hour to attend church in Ojai.  There are four Elders serving in that ward.  We were asked to sit on the stand and President was asked to take 5 minutes.  He, of course, did an excellent job.  He told them we'd be speaking at Stake Conference.  Bro. Whipple who was conducting said that was a teaser and we'd be able to hear from Sis. Felix then as well.  The comment was made that they didn't know we were coming.  I like the idea of popping in so that it isn't as formal and then they don't have to feel we have to talk.  We get such warm receptions.  One set of Elders was excited for us to meet their investigator and it was her first time attending.  She stayed for the full block and I sat with her in Relief Society.  I was glad I was there and was able to help her understand.  The Relief Society is having Christmas in July mid week activity.  I asked her if she would like to go see what classes were being offered.  She already saw them and was interested.  I was able to connect her with the sister doing that class and hopefully she will go.

We had a wonderful experience attending the ward.  It began at 10:00 so that is the only one we went to today.  We got home after 2:00.  I was starving so we had a snack out on the deck.  It was good to talk about some ideas for what is going to happen the next couple of weeks.  Much to do.  Maybe what we experienced this last month is not unique.  Just different in how we will be busy.

We are going to Pres. Lithgoe's (Stake President in Camarillo) home (about a half an hour away) for dinner tonight but will need to be back by 9:00 as last week we started the plan to call all of the Sister Training Leaders Sunday nights and have them report to us about the sisters they have stewardship over.  President received in his emails this week that they liked that.

(As I look back on this past year, I can't believe all that has transpired.  It was a year ago Dell was released from being the YSA Bishop).  

So, I want to leave by saying -- it's been a good month!

Friday, July 25, 2014


 We know how to fill a Pday!  We had our first Pday and it's only been 4 weeks.  Woohoo! 
We picked up President and Sister Kasper at their home to go hiking close to their home. They live in San Luis Obispo. He serves as the Stake President. 
 We had to climb two gates.  Funny thing, coming back down Dell said I think we can open it. Great, that was after I had climbed it.
 That peak is where the missionaries like to hike.  This hike took us higher and not so many people hike it.
 President and Sister Kasper have two sons and two daughters.  The oldest will be home from his mission in Italy in 12 days.  The 2nd son leaves for Brazil in August. 
 Look hard and you can see the ocean. 
 After the hike and watermelon we went back to the hotel to shower and check out. The 
Sea Shanty in Cayusco was recommended so we stopped there for lunch.  So good! I had salmon tacos and D had a snapper sandwich.  We sat outside by a couple from Arizona who spend a month each year in the area. They were aware of the Mormons and they like their red wine every day at 5:00. They gave us some info on elephant seals which we were headed to see after lunch.  Important info was shared about ice cream. .. we enjoyed visiting 
(I am sure they did as well).
 Males battle for breeding rights.  In January there are thousands of seals on the beach. The males can grow as much as 5,000 lbs and 16 ft. 

 They go for the necks.  It was interesting to watch.  They make a gurgling sound and even a big elongated belch sound.  
 Those laying on the beach would flip sand on themselves. 

On the way to Morro Bay we saw wild zebras in the field.  You can see it isn't clear.  The marine layer had not burned off.

 When we drove to Atascadero a couple of weeks ago,  President Jones told us about the cinnamon rolls here.  We stopped to get (only 2) rolls for breakfast.  I hope you can tell from the shelves they offered many kinds. This was around 3:00 and the place was still busy.  You can see the sparse shelves. 

 Plain and pecan. 
So our "friends" at the Sea Shanty told us about Doc Bernstein's ice cream lab in 
Arroyo Grande.  Mention hot fudge and I'm there. They make their own waffle cones which D partook of.  It was very good.  
We checked into our hotel in Santa Maria before going to President Hulstine's (Stake President in Santa Maria)  home for dinner.  They have three kids still at home and
two are married. 
It was a fantastic first Pday!  (President even refrained from reading emails)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


We drove up to San Luis Obispo yesterday afternoon.  I did the driving so President could read emails.  He went out with the Elders last night and I went with the
Sister Training Leaders. We had a wonderful visit with a less active member, who wants to come back, and her Jewish husband. He looked right at me and asked "why do you say Heavenly Father rather than God? " I'm sure glad I knew the answer.  The sisters have a return visit on Sunday.
I experienced my first time tracking. The sisters were great. I was not as comfortable as I want to be. Maybe because I know how I felt when people from another religion came to our door and I really didn't want to hear what they had to say. 
It was also around the dinner hour. 
This picture was taken today while at interviews. 

Monday, July 21, 2014


We chose to go to Santa Paula for church.  Dell thought it was at 10:00. The drive was beautiful.  We parked and I said there are a lot of cars here for a 10:00 church.  We were there about 8 minutes early. Sure enough the sacrament was finishing up.  It had started at 9:30. We went in late. It was a good meeting and fun to see 4 sister missionaries who we saw this past week.  One of our YSA's mother from a couple of years ago came up and introduced herself.  I remembered her at our YSA Relief Society.  That was fun.  Since we didn't take the sacrament we decided to go back to Ventura and attend the Spanish branch.  I asked President to make sure if they wanted us to say anything, to tell them I didn't speak Spanish.  We were able to sit in the congregation.  I liked singing in Spanish.  It is easier to pronounce the words because it is slower.  The return missionary spoke very fast.  
No,  I didn't understand very much. 
I was writing in my journal tonight when Dell came in to share a comment from an email.  He then told me the branch president in Santa Maria was from Argentina.  He called earlier which I didn't know.  I can't believe it. We've been asked to speak in Sacrament Meeting the end of August.  Do you wonder why he didn't tell me?  Do you think he was trying to figure out a way?  Dell told the branch president that I don't speak Spanish.  The branch president said no problem that they have translators.  Oh goodness I better find time and at least get my testimony down. 
Any prayers would be appreciated.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

3 weeks

I have got to figure out a way to make time to write in my journal. I was going to catch up last Sunday but we drove up north to hear Sis Dalton and were gone 7 1/2 hours.  The days are so full and by the time we are ready to go to bed we're "out."

Tuesday President and I went to Santa Barbara for interviews.  We meet Elder and 
Sis. McIntosh who are CES missionaries and who will help us out with inspecting apartments in the Santa Barbara Zone. We went to dinner with them at a restaurant on the beach.  This was the closest we've been to the beach since being here.  We drove back to Santa Barbara on Wednesday and then interviews Thursday and Friday in Ventura.  

Friday was CRAZY.  If you want more details,  call.  We exercised in the morning.  We got back and President had a message to call the mission president in the neighboring mission.  He had a missionary that took off on his bike and was thought to have come to our mission.  His brother was serving in our mission.  Long story short,  when President went to the office to meet with a very troubled missionary, the missing Elder was waiting at the office.  18 interviews were scheduled in Ventura but we had to push them back a half hour. I met him at the church in Ventura.  A family whose son/brother serving in our mission called the night before to set up a time to meet us at 4:00. They had been vacationing in Newport and driving through. Fortunately we had their number and was able to call them and tell them we wouldn't be home until 5:00. They still wanted to come by. Of course I had to show off our family picture before they could come in and sit down.  We had to leave at 6:00 to go back to the church where we would meet the 8 stake presidents and wives.  We had a nice dinner and enjoyed meeting them all.  The plan is to get to know them well. 

It's unreal that we arrived in the mission 3 weeks ago yesterday.  Maybe a better way to say it is, I can't believe it's only been 3 weeks. 

This morning I got up to make orange muffins for Dell's meeting with his counselors.  Yes,  he went out this morning and picked an orange.  Unreal
He went to the office and I baked cookies for next week's interviews. I got ready to be to the office at 10:00 for a meeting with the Assistants. That started around 10:30 and went until 3:30 with a break to go to Panda Express for lunch.  We had to see if that is where we'll take the new missionaries the day they arrive.  I'm not a fan.  That is what they've done in the past.  We have a better understanding of arrivals and transfer meeting.  I found out when visiting with companions while their companion was in interview that many of the missionaries had not seen the mission home.  I would like to make that happen. 

We got to a baptism of a 15 year old at 4:00. The mom has been less active. President encouraged the mom to get a recommend and go with her son to do baptisms for the dead.

We are at home and guess what President is doing? Emails. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Daltons

Notice where Sis Dalton's arm is.  We were asked to sit on the stand.  So we were able to greet the Daltons as they came to sit down.  I started off by saying we were the ones who Skyped with you on Friday.  I was also able to say to Bro. Dalton that I had been in a sealing of one of our young adults that he had performed the sealing. He is so friendly.  There was a time he kept talking to President and our Senior missionary,  Sis Miles,  said oh he'll keep talking until they are best friends.  I said I think they are on their way.  Bro. Dalton spoke on Covenant Keeping People.  He spoke on the covenants we keep and how covenants in the temple are essential to our exaltation. 
 Sis Dalton is so wonderful.  We know she is known for the statement a call for a return to virtue.  She told the youth at the conference that was held Thursday to Saturday to be Guardians of Virtue. "Our personal purity is so important so we can qualify for the companionship of the Holy Ghost. " she is so aware of the Spirit.  Bro. and Sis Dalton splurged and went to a Broadway play that had been recommended.  They were so excited because they had not done that before. At the very beginning something was said and she thought, did he really say that? A few minutes later the man did in deed say what she thought she heard.  The Daltons looked at each other and got up and left.  A very expensive 10 minutes.  They felt the Spirit leave.  I was so impressed with who she is and how she is directed by the Holy Ghost.  How many of us would have gotten up and left the show so early into it. My thoughts are go to Tuachan,  no problems with what is being performed there. One last comment,  "The temple is the reason for everything we do."  As Elder Nelson said,  "Begin with the end in mind." That is what we are sharing with our missionaries. 
After the fireside was over our missionaries came to us and wanted us to meet their investigator.  They are quite excited about him. He has been sober now for 6 or 8 months.  I understand he has had a rough life. He wants to be a good Dad now for his teenagers.  I told him we would be praying for him which he appreciated.  President leaned in to him and said,  "when you take the next step and be baptized,  we will be there." We then drove back to Ventura which took almost 2 1/2 hours. 
I agree with Sis Dalton, what a privilege to be on the Earth at this time. 
 This is the wall we we look at every morning. We love you all! 
 Tonight President made our first guacamole with two of our avocados.  We had President and Sis Jones over for "Cafe Rio" pork.  We are toying with the idea of that being prepared for the missionaries for one of the meals. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014


 We drove to Simi Valley yesterday.  President was reading emails and I did the driving.  So glad we had the GPS.  We went past strawberry fields and orchards.  The missionaries helped me to understand that the workers are not called migrant workers but field workers.  They live here and don't move around for the most part.  On our walks we have seen citrus trees and bushes filed with fruit.  It was fun to see a grapefruit tree. Yesterday was neat seeing the grove of trees. I wish we had stopped to get a better picture showing hillsides of trees in patterns.
The temperature in Simi Valley was definitely warmer than in Ventura.  The air or breeze has some coolness to it in Ventura.
We stopped at a fruit stand.  A flat of strawberries was $15. While there a gentleman started unloading strawberries from his pickup truck.  We new they were fresh.
We made freezer jam last night.  What you see was a half flat. We froze most of the rest but kept out enough for dinner tomorrow as we're having the Stake President and family here.
The green plants on top are alavera plants from Susie (the woman Pres helped with some pruning last week). She said let it dry a little and then stick it in some dirt.  Tomorrow we will do that.

While president finished reading the emails for the week I made more chocolate chip cookies for interviews for nest week. I have to do a shout out to Melissa Hackett for her recipe.  The missionaries have liked them.  We went across the street to meet our neighbors and took them cookies.  At first they were not very receptive; kind of holding back.  Of course we had our name tags on. It ended up with Mike planning on bringing over a hiking book for us that he has at the office. We will just be very friendly.  We were going to visit the neighbors next door but they weren't home.

I don't care for the honking that the drivers do,  especially since some are directed at me. Example: if I am trying to switch lanes and the people won't let me in, the driver behind me doesn't want to slow down because I have to slow down to get in that lane.

Friday the area doctor (he is over 5 missions) and his wife came to meet us.  We had a meeting also with our nurse practicioner and Skyped with our senior missionary who will be handling the initial first calls from the missionary. She was up north being the chauffeur for Sis Dalton and her husband as the Daltons were speaking at a tri stake youth conference.
We were teasing Sis Miles that they were there having a good time and that Sis Dalton want really there. She went in the other room and got her. We Skyped with Sis Dalton.  So fun!

President had a meeting this morning with the Ventura Stake.  We are now driving with he and his wife 3 hours north to a fireside that the Daltons will be speaking at. Flexibility is the key.  We were going to go to a Spanish baptism at 3:45 but have to leave here at
4:00. Oh well the Spanish language will be put on hold a little longer.  I'm not even working on it right now.  Craziness!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

 We went for our morning walk today. Dell set his phone for 15 minutes so we could turn around and go back home. The alarm sounded but he said let's go a little further. We found (I will call her) Susie who was trimming.  Dell asked if she needed help.  I think it took her back but she said yes if you want to.  The plant to the left is a huge cactus.  While he was working Susie and I talked. I introduced ourselves and that we had just moved in. I told her we were missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Had she heard of our church? She said the girls had been by and they were very nice.  She told me she likes genealogy and she had been to our church to do some.  She has 2/3 of an acre in the back.  Apparently like a park and the neighbor who came out to leave for work said it was beautiful and like a botanical garden.  We will go back to see her. The plan is to take family search info to her. Dell came up with the idea of referring her to It would be neat if we could find a story about gardening in I'm a mormon for her to relate to. It was a neat experience.
 As we were walking back home we saw this huge tent.  Wow termites. Never seen something like that.
Dell is holding the first avocado from our back yard.  We had it in a tuna fish sandwich. So good!

Today was the first of 14 days of President doing interviews.  He spent about 15 minutes with each missionary.  There were 22. I just visited with those waiting for their interview so that I could get to know them. For those who have been called Spanish speaking, the interview was held in Spanish.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Tomorrow President Felix begins interviews through the mission. We thought it would be fun to have cookies for those who would like one. Our daughter, Shelby, told me once that I show my love through food.  So tomorrow and Thursday we will see two zones.  I made 6 dozen tonight; only 14 more dozen to go to have enough for the month.

This morning my helper lady came. It was nice to give instruction and leave. To start off she will come Tuesdays and Fridays totaling 10 hours.  This will only work though if she can iron.  I can have someone for 20 hours a week.  It will vary depending on the week.  The FM lady sees that but the church has a contract with a company.  If it won't work for the company then the church may hire someone who can be more flexible.
We went to the office (again I thought for a couple of hours that ended being until after 5:00) so President could meet with a sister who was going home for health reasons. We reviewed many form letters to determine if they would be used.  It was great that we were able to meet with each office couple to understand what their responsibilities were.

To my hiking friends,  do you remember our discussion about a Bosh vs  a Kitchen aid? The house here has a kitchen aid but I brought my Bosh.  Some day I will try it. Have a great hike in the morning. See, I still think about you.

Today I was given a car I can drive. It is a silver Toyota Corolla.  Nothing like"Gorgeous" but it will help us out when I need to get to somewhere and Dell is tied up.

It is hard to believe we have only been here 11 days. It is weird about time.  We get up earlier than before (at least I do), the day zooms by but when we go to bed and look back on the day,  morning seems a long time ago.

President has 240 letters to read from missionaries each week. That is what he's been doing this evening. Yesterday one of the members came to the office to help President with getting connected with his iPad and new laptop.  Also made it so Pres can read in the car while I drive. My phone has GPS and I can work it (

It's time to go as I still need to review pictures and questionnaires of those we will see tomorrow.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Whenever possible we eat outside.

Things we wonder if we will ever get use to:
Missionaries standing when we enter the room
Be asked to speak without warning
Getting up early without going to bed early
Not exercising every day (no time)
Phone ringing or texts with issues or problems
Not being organized
Having avocado and citrus fruit in the back yard
Not talking to family any time we want
Wearing a dress 7 days a week or Dell in a white shirt and tie 7 days a week
Having shoes on all day
Trying to pick a tie that wasn't worn that week
The Samsung phone
Getting around
The different vegetation, flowers and trees
Not having a keyless entry and ignition to the Avalon
The placement of the garbage under the sink
Remembering which cupboard has what
To not referring to the Elders as"guys" (it's not the mission culture)
"Foggy" each morning until the sun burns it off
Not eating
Being 15 minutes early to meetings
Missionaries getting sick
Being in awe of the missionaries

This past week we toured the mission so we could meet all of the missionaries.  This picture overlooks Santa Barbara. 

 Driving on 101 after picking up a returning Elder from the Santa Barbara airport.
 We pass these fields when going to the mission office.

 It was so much fun going to dinner with the McMasters. They stayed with us last night. Dell had a 7:00 meeting this morning.  The rest of us went to church.  Afterwards we came back to our home so they could pick some fruit. McMasters drove me to the mission office where Dell was.  They went onto the airport to go home. Dell and I went to church. A member of the stake presidency was there. He invited us to sit on the stand.  He said then you will be closer to the pulpit. I was not excited to do that but we did.  The high councilor we sat by on the stand played football at Weber State. It was made known that the Bishop loves football and so does President Maddox.  Dell should really get along with them.  After the Bishop finished his testimony he invited us to share ours.  The first of, I am sure,  many opportunities to do so.
 When I got out of the car in the garage I saw a lizard scamper under the chairs.  Dell is trying to get it to go out the door.
It doesn't show up that it was red striped. It was bigger than ones we see in St George.  Once it came out it didn't go out.  It wasn't afraid of us.  There will be no leaving the door to the house open.

This week has been unbelievably busy. We traveled to 8 different zones. One day it was to three. We presented a PowerPoint introducing ourselves. We included the story of the heart attack so the missionaries would know we are suppose to be here in the California Ventura Mission.  We have felt much love and respect from the Elders and Sisters. A total of 241 with 92 of them being sisters. Dell talked to them about having both feet in and being fully committed.  He shared our favorite scripture D & C 12:8 and told them we would be talking about that in future zone conferences. We met with each companionship for 5 minutes. Each one filed out a questionnaire so we could review it and keep for years to come.  It really will help us get to know and remember them.