Wednesday, January 28, 2015

North in the Mission

We were in the most northern part of the mission last week.  We had interviews in Santa Maria on Thursday.  We stayed in San Luis Obispo Thursday night because interviews were in Atascadero on Friday. We enjoyed having dinner with President and Sister Casper. 
 Saturday we drove to Paso Robles which is the most northern city in our mission.  From there we drove to see the elephant seals. Our drive reminded us of being in Jace's mission in Santa Rosa, California.  We came across more vineyards.
 This was such a beautiful sight that we stopped to see the green and realized the ocean was in the distance. 

 The pregnant females begin arriving about mid December.
 The pups nurse for 4 weeks and quadruple in weight. 
 We were told there are thousands on the beach from January to May. 
 These two that are raised up will go at each other's necks. They battle for breeding rights. 
 The males have big long noses.

We drove to Morro Bay.  We went to a baptism of the wife of a member. 
Stake Conference was in Atascadero on Saturday and Sunday. We were asked to take 2 minutes each Saturday night. We thought we each had 5 minutes on Sunday.  Sunday we were asked to take 2 more minutes each. Elder Packer who is an area Seventy was so great to listen to.
Sister Casper put together a box lunch for us and we ate it as we drove back to Ventura.  It is a beautiful drive. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dr. Suess

 When I went walking last week I came across these plants.  I have no idea as to what they are called.  There are some of these plants on the way to the church in Ventura. We've labeled them Dr. Suess plants.  Don't they look like they came out of one of his books? 
I said this statement last week "If I were home,  I would be cold outside; but here I'm cold inside."  Today I had the same sentiment.  We were in Santa Maria for interviews.  I was freezing in the church and went outside with missionaries to warm up.
Last week we were invited to be in Newbury Park for Stake Conference.  We were asked to take 15 minutes in the Saturday night's session.  That meant I had 5 and President had 10. Elder Sitati in the First Quorum of Seventy presided. He is from South Africa and has a great accent. We met him in the foyer and walked up to the stand.  He leaned over to President and asked if we were going to be there on Sunday.  He said yes.  Elder Satati then said I would like your wife to take up to 10 minutes tonight and you talk tomorrow.  President had prepared a talk. We were told the focus for the meeting would be ward councils.  He was going to tell them that MLC is like a ward council in the mission field and how we come together to coordinate the activities in the mission in hastening the work. All week I studied Preach My Gospel, the Ensign, and scriptures because I had no idea what I was going to say and I just wanted to prepare myself.  Really, what do you say in 5 minutes?  I had one sentence written down that I thought I may use.  "There is neither man or woman in this Church who is not on a mission. " That quote is from Brigham Young. I did use that statement but I was given stories or experiences that I was able to share. Our focus right now is working with the members.  The members make such a difference in the success of missionary work. I shared the experience we had of going to a baptism earlier in the day of a young married man. They were married in May. She was a member and the church was important to her. Mainly by her example he became interested.  His parents did not go to the wedding because he was marrying a Mormon and have disowned him.  He started taking the lessons and the ward embraced him and he was baptized.  He expressed thoughts after being baptized and it was great. Another experience was hearing from a bishop last week.  He called to get phone numbers of two sisters who had taught one of his employees.  About 5 months ago the employee was in his office.  The man from Mexico was concerned about his immigration and his wife who was still in Mexico.  Their marriage was suffering. During the conversation the bishop was prompted to ask the man if he would talk with the missionaries.  He agreed to the offer. That night the bishop went to a baptism (in fact we were at that one) and gave them the man's contact info. Well the employee went back to Mexico but met with the sisters a couple of times.  The bishop wanted the sister's numbers so he could tell them the man had called and wanted the bishop to thank the sisters for planting the seed. He, his wife,  and children were getting baptized in Mexico. As the bishop told me the story,  I got chills. 
I am learning to trust in the Lord.  He does put thoughts and words in my mouth. In preparing for the 5 minutes I knew I would be guided but I needed to prepare myself.  
More to the stake conference story --So President is not told how long he would be talking on Sunday.  We'll the talk he had was not going to work.  He put together thoughts on our purpose. With talks that transpired prior to his 10 minutes,  he didn't give that talk.  His remarks were about the memory of being called to be a mission president and his heart attack.  He told them we were to be here at this time. He shared what the missionary purpose is and invited the congregation to invite their friends. 
He did an excellent job. 
This week we are attending San Luis Obispo 's stake conference. Elder Packer who is an area Seventy will be presiding. President has 15 minutes in the leadership session, evening session is not certain, and Sunday we each have 5 minutes.  Here we go again. ..

Thursday, January 15, 2015


I wish the pictures could show how beautiful the sunset really is.  Dell took this picture from the deck of the mission home.  We have some glorious sunsets.
It is so neat how we belong to the Church and it is all around the world.  President interviewed a man from the middle east for baptism.  He speaks some English but he had been taught by missionaries speaking Farsi over the phone who were in Los Angeles.  They came up for the interview so that they could translate.  He was baptized last Saturday along with a young adult from the YSA ward.  The meeting was held in the chapel.  All talks were translated into Farsi.  It was pretty amazing.  The missionary spoke Farsi when baptizing him and then said it in English.
This gentlemen has been in the states only 3 months.  He feels that he came here to find the Church.  The president had to interview him because he was Muslim.  If a person is planning on returning to his country, it is counseled not to get baptized in the Chruch.  His comment is if I go back, I will be killed any way.  He is a very sweet man.  His wife attended the baptism and sacrament meeting the next day for his confirmation.  
After those baptisms we met the Stake President and his wife (of the man's stake) for dinner.  We couldn't spend a lot of time because we had two more baptisms that were at the Spanish branch.  It was conducted in Spanish and English but the talks were all in Spanish.
The missionaries like to do object lessons for a message after having dinner with members or investigators.
They showed me a couple while waiting for interviews with the president.

 The board represents the cross, the one nail in the board represents Christ, and the other nails are the sins of all of us.
You can see Christ carries all of our sins.
This rat trap is used to demonstrate faith.  With a pencil the spring is touched and it goes off.  While the companion is reading a scripture the other missionary releases the spring so when touched it won't hurt.  The people are promised the trap will not hurt them.
FYI -- this month are interviews.  It takes 11 days to complete them.  We've done all but 3.  Next week we go up north and will be there for four days as we also have stake conference in San Luis Obispo on Saturday and Sunday. 
While the missionaries are waiting for their interview I get to visit with them.  This go around of interviews they each received a ___________ (you need to look up Mosiah 4:16)
It was fun to see their reactions as most of them had a chuckle.  The hope is every time they see a succor they will remember our experience and Mosiah 4:16.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Beach House

We were invited  to go to a beach house with the Jones.  These pictures are taken on their deck.  It is a low tide but by the time we left this evening the ocean was past the rocks (covering them).  They told us the ocean would eventually be up to the stairs.

Notice the sign on the rafter.  We were all happy to be there.  We've been looking forward to a little time away from...

The sunset was beautiful.  Dell turned around and took the picture of the moon coming up.  We thought it was so neat to have both scenes at the same time.

Friday, January 2, 2015

January 2015

Yesterday started off well as we cleaned up Christmas decor before going to a district meeting held in Ventura.  A talk was given on feeling good about yourself.  We had an EDPEP on talking with people  and truly caring about them.  Also, bring in a gospel principle.  When President and I did it, the role playing when we kept in mind a real person we have had experience with was much more successful.  Each missionary shared what goals they would be working on for the week.  Before it was our turn we didn't think we would participate but the spirit prompts.  I told them I was impressed with all they do.  It is a new year and I had decided that I would start working on Spanish again.  Oh my, they all started writing it down.  "Whoa," I said "that means I really have to do it."  They got a laugh out of that.  I told them I was going to be reading an article from the Ensign each day also.  Dad said he was going to be more organized.  Well both of our goals went out the window.  We left district meeting to get gas before wanting to go to the store to get a bag to store the Christmas tree in.  A call from one of the senior couples called asking what our schedule was.  He said they were having a crisis.  OK, we drove right to the office.  We dealt with it and then ran to Hobby Lobby to check out lit Christmas trees.  Woohoo, 80% off of Christmas items.  We found a tree and bags for next year's devotionals.  We felt really good about that.  We went home so emails could be read and I was still updating my tablet's calendar for the year.  We received a phone call from some sisters in Santa Barbara.  One of the sisters was having medical issues and she had not gotten better.  We told them to go to the ER because we knew she wasn't able to get into the doctor until January 20 (which she had made an appointment for a gastrologist). We met them at the hospital.  We didn't get home until 11:30.  I was disappointed because I thought I would be able to listen to the Ensign but it is not available yet.  I did listen and repeat Spanish.  My desire is to make time to sit down and study the language.
How appropriate at the district meeting that patience was discussed.  The sister lead a discussion doing an acronym with PATIENCE.   
This morning I did the 15 minute workout (I forgot, Brooke, what it is called) because of time.  We have to be to the office now so that Dad can go over the transfer board with the assistants.  Two missionaries have to be moved today because of issues revealed last night.  
So when I say, "You never know what is in store when we answer the phone," you can kind of see no matter how organized, we don't have control.  I told the missionaries I was learning flexibility.  Laurie has repeated that to me on several occasions.  I really am doing better.
2015 is starting out a little bumpy but it's OK.  We feel very blessed.  Still amazed we are on a mission.  Much to improve on but so ready to do the Lord's will!
We love you and are grateful for your prayers and support.  We miss you but are very thankful we can skype or face time you and be able to see your beautiful faces. 
I am grateful for my testimony.  I feel it is a blessing to know the Gospel of Jesus Christ is TRUE.  Our missionary purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel, through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  
Our mission now has 5 new areas of focus which go along with the purpose:
We begin with the end in mind.
We are consecrated servants of Jesus Christ.
We strive to serve the Lord through our obedience.
We are led by the Spirit as we find and teach.
We desire the salvation of souls.
I love how President is an instrument in HIS hands.
I love you ALL!