Tuesday, May 31, 2016


This morning I was out doing my walk/run.  I turned up to do the circle and saw this coyote.  I didn't quite know what to do but to take out my phone and take a picture.  It watched me but then started down the circle.  It made me a little nervous.  I have no idea if it would really approach me or not but was glad it decided I wasn't very interesting.

Saturday, May 21, 2016


Instead of strawberry fields we are seeing a lot of celery being grown and mustard grass.

As we were passing the pickers, they could tell President was taking pictures and they were cheering and waving.
This is mustard grass.  Apparently this plant puts nitrates into the soil.  We've seen a field where these plants were cut down and the field left with the residue.  I wonder how soon it will be cleared to plant strawberries or will a season go by before planting.
We took off walking this week to see all this cement dumped on the mission home property.  The FM Group got a hold of the city and it was removed.  Who dumps something like this on someone's property?  We are hoping for some landscaping to occur in this area and thought maybe these were rocks to start the project.  Upon closer examination we saw cinderblock and broken up cement as well.
Landon and Haley Wallace came back to California.  We loved visiting with our past assistant and Haley.  She served in this mission prior to our arrival.  It's so GREAT they dated and fell in love.  Haley heard about waffles mormon so we invited them to come back on Monday to have some.  They also like avacados so hopefully picking their own made for a great memory.  

These beautiful flowers are at the entrance to the mission office.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Service in Ojai

The Chamber of Commerce in Ojai requested our missionaries help out with directing people at 5 homes for the garden show.  We told the city 18 missionaries would be able to help out for 3 hours on Saturday.  That was suppose to include us.  Well we had 18 missionaries and with us it would be 20, so we bowed out but wanted to go and be supportive.  The Cammacks are members in the Ventura stake and they showed their yard.  They love Disneyland and have subtle signs of mickey mouse throughout.  They also have a turtle.  I didn't get pictures.  The two pictures below are from their garden.  I've never seen such big geraniums.
While there I received a phone call from a couple of missionaries saying the woman at the house they had been assigned to didn't need their help.  Fortunately Hal, who was helping with the garden show was at the Cammacks when we were and he was able to talk to the home owner on the phone right then.  

Elder Boyce and Elder Kuepper helping people to know what direction to go.
We were going to help out at the Turtle Conservancy.  Since we were not needed, the Cammacks made arrangements for us to go see it.  President has something about turtles.
This made me think of Jurassic Park.

The turtles go in through that door nightly.
Hermanas Eames and Frias were in this area to make sure all was good.  These were very friendly turtles.  President touched one and then was told he shouldn't do that.  He said the skin was very smooth.
The turtles eat oranges.  The Cammacks feed their turtle green beans and watermelon.
Elder Weiss and Elder Peterson
Turtle size is increasing.
Meet Daphane!
48 years old and 350 pounds.  It takes 4 men to move her.

I think both look happy!
We hurried off to go to a baptism in Thousand Oaks.
We finally had dinner with the President & Sister Houston in Santa Barbara.  The meal was outstanding.  Probably the best clam chowder yet.  I had parmesan crusted halibut that was so tender and Dell had a combination of sea food in broth.  The four of us shared a molten chocolate cake with ice cream.

Monday, May 9, 2016

14.26 Miles

We rode our bikes on the Ojai trail 14.26 miles round trip.  We started at Canaga Larga and rode east to Ojai.  It's been awhile since taking the opportunity.  We've never ridden the whole trail due to time (and to be honest, probably distance).  We have it as a goal to ride the whole distance.
When an assistant leaves the responsibility of being an AP, during our week of the transfer process we go to lunch and the Elder chooses where.  Today we ate at Woodranch Grill.  
The jacaranda tree is in full bloom now.  It is a gorgeous tree with purple flowers.  We see them lining the streets of Ventura.  They are beautiful but as you can see below, very messy on the streets.

On my walk/run I went past this house and the thought came to me that this was a "burning bush."
I thought these flowers were so beautiful.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Mission President's' Seminar

We drove to Burbank airport Thursday morning, May 28, to catch a 10:30 flight to Seattle for the mission presidents'seminar in Kirkland, Washington.  A shuttle picked us up from the Seattle airport  and drove us to the hotel.  We stayed at the Woodmark hotel which was off of Lake Washington.
We had read information regarding the hotel and found out they had bikes available so we planned to ride bikes after getting there for our exercise instead of getting up extra early to get our exercise in. 
We rode past Jimmy Johns and had to stop.  We haven't seen one of these since being in California.  Since we were hungry, we split a sandwich.
We had intended to get some cash before the trip but didn't so we had to look for an ATM while riding.
The town had great bike lanes on the roads.  We were able to find a trail off of the main roads.  We rode almost 8 miles.

This is the view from our window.  Lake Washington and the Olympic Mountains. The tent in the bottom right corner is where we had lunches both days.  It rained on Friday but Saturday was beautiful.
We were physically and spiritually fed!  The food was great but the training was wonderful and the spirit amazing.  Elder Hallstrom presided with his assistants being Elder Johnson and Elder Hamula.  Their wives were there also and conducted the break out session with the wives.
The topics included:
Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts
Using Time Wisely (which I enjoyed as the plan is to talk about this at our next MLC/District Leader training on the 12th).
Finding People to Teach
Talked about some of the guidelines for missionaries and senior couples.
President & Sister Ballard - Portland
President & Sister Clark - Fresno and Sister & President Russell - Eugene
President & Sister Samuelian - Salem (the VanLeeuwens are the office couple there) and 
Sister and President Burt - Canada Vancouver
The Wares - Kennewick, Schmitts - SanDiego, Ballards - Portland, Lewises - Yakima, 
President Blatter - Tacoma, Bonhams - Everett, Sister Blatter, Russells - Eugene
Ballards, Burts, Jardines - Sacramento, Marstons - Roseville, Clarks
All lived in Utah when they were called.

We thought we should start with the desserts.

President & Sister Robinson from Anchorage
Sister & President Taggart - Anaheim and the Ballards

Planes were landing and docking.
Because our shuttle would not pick us up until 5:30 we got a late check out for 4:00 and went walking.  
This picture does not show how steep the road was.
This is a trail that goes for miles.  We got to it from the road.  So after walking 2 plus miles we turned around to go back.  Well, we walked past the place to go to the road and had to turn around again.  Our whole walk ended up 6.74 miles and Dell got a blister on the bottom of his foot.  We made it back to the hotel to hurry and clean up and change before check out time.
I tried taking a picture of Mt. Rainier.
I was disappointed that no one sat by me as I was ready to talk about the Gospel.  Dell was on the isle.  He had his IPad and was looking at the Plan of Salvation pamphlet on it.  The woman across the isle asked him what he was watching and how could he since there was no wifi.  To make the story short, he gave her a Book of Mormon and she wanted him to write his name and telephone number in it.  We'll be praying for her.