Monday, December 23, 2013

December 22, 2013

Christmas is almost here!  Amazing.  Can it really come with no hint of snow or cold?  I get moments where I fell all Christmasy but most of the time I am totally not believing that this is Christmas time. I guess it totally is because I am so far away from what has always been my focus for Christmas - my family!  We are having a wonderful time though doing different things this year.



The other day we were close to the beach and we had some free time so my surfer boy had to check if the waves were up.  They were looking good so he jumped out in the water.  It was a beautiful day and I was wondering what I should do while he was there - walk the beach, talk to people, go get some stuff at the store.  I finally decided to just sit down and relax.  It was a good choice.  It is so hard for me to sit and just do nothing while out here.  I feel that I should be using all of my time to do good!  As I sat I looked over and saw a man with a guitar, wearing an Hawaiian shirt singing Christmas carols!  So cool.  So I moved over closer and listened as I watched the beautiful blue sky, the waves, felt the warmth of the sun on my face.  He also sang one of my favorite songs that starts out, "slow down, you move to fast.  Gotta make the moment last…. Feeling groovy!"  and I was able to relax more.  When he started singing, "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow" I had to smile.  It was a delightful hour and I felt the love of the Lord in my life.
Roger the Soldier!

We have been still spending plenty of time at the  Battalion.  There always seems to be extra things to do there.  We have  many tours of 4th grade kids come in for their unit on California history.  So much fun.  About 70 kids show up at the same time and we have to split them up in to three groups.  One starts the tour, the other goes out to gold panning and Roger takes the third group into the theatre room and teaches them about the 1816 flintlock musket that the Mormon Battalion was given in the army.  We have a 12 Days of Christmas program for 12 days before Christmas.  At 7 each night there is a different musical group performing in our theater.  That has added lots of people coming through each day.  The sister missionaries had had many opportunities to sing in the town square or at functions around Old Town and they have really impressed so many with their talents.  It is a fun time to be at the Mormon Battalion.

Our ward has been fun too.  Christmas parties with the ward, the Relief Society etc.  Lots of good opportunities to rub shoulders with good people and for them to be able to bring friends around too.  We continue to have good study classes on Wednesday nights.  In an eight day period of time we had three dinner appointments with members of our ward.  Each time they invite us and our Elder Missionaries.  That is always fun to be with the missionaries.  We really love them and admire their determination to work hard and be successful.  They are great examples to us.  Roger teaches the Wednesday classes and I taught last week in Gospel Principles and will teach again this week.  We have been trying to clean up the list of members of our ward.  There are so many that no one knows that they really exist or not.  We are plotting them all on a huge map of the ward and then will split them up with others that live around them and try to find out if they really live there and if they want church support and love.  It is a monumental task but it needs to be done.  I am so used to looking at our ward list and knowing everyone on it.

One of the other senior sisters and I spent a day baking inedible gingerbread men to give to the senior couples living here in our complex.  They turned out cute.  We made a girl one and boy one and put missionary badges on the front with the couples names on them - tied them together with a bow and gave them out.  It actually was fun.

At the missionary office they keep track of which elders and sisters don't get packages and then try to make sure that they get something.  There are five sisters at the Battalion who are foreign and poor and won't be getting anything from home and the couples there have split them up to give them a few things.  I was thinking that it would have been fun to do that as a family event from us and our kids.  But they just let us know two days ago.  So we went out and did our one and only Christmas present shopping trip for this year!  Two days before Christmas is not the time to go out!  It is amazing to see the circumstances that these sweet sisters come from and their sacrifices to be on a mission.  We really enjoy them.

Christmas Lights at the Temple
We have had the opportunity to be at the San Diego Temple several nights lately too.  It is beautiful there with a great spirit.  They have assigned more missionaries to be there because of the increased number of people there just to see the lights etc.  We have talked to people from all over and have had the opportunity to show pictures to many of the inside of the temple and explain what goes on in there and why we have temples.  Most want to go inside and we have to explain why that doesn't happen.

The weather here has been amazing.  During the day it is sunny and beautiful but by night it gets quite cold - way down to 55 or so!  It is strange how cold that can seem.  At the temple, I wear tights with leggings over them, my clothes, my coat, gloves and a scarf!  They keep telling me it is because it is a moist cold that it gets me.  Maybe I am just getting used to this warm stuff here and becoming soft.  It is 77 degrees today!

Balboa Park's Art Section
We are taking the opportunity to go to Balboa park most Tuesdays to visit the free museums there.  Each week there are different museums free.  It is a huge part close to downtown with lush greenery.  Last week was extra fun with all of the Christmas decorations up and many people enjoying what is there.  It was a great atmosphere and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Sunshine makes me happy.

We are seeing good things happen with people we have made friends with.  More and more doors are opening and we are feeling their love and appreciation.  This is hard work but I have felt the "burdens on my back lifted" as we have tried to do all we should.  There are days when we are out the door by 8:30 am and don't get back home until 9:30 pm. being busy all day and changing clothes many times by the time we are done.  I have felt better than I have in a long time even though I am VERY tired by the time we fall in to bed.

The Mormon Battalion tree with pioneers and covered wagons
We feel the Lord hand in our mission and pause to thank Him for His life and example to all.  What a blessing it is to put that tag on with His name on it and represent Him.  I still don't comprehend all He did but I know that I will feel better about standing before Him because of being here on a mission.  I understand more fully His love for each of His children and His desire to help them.  How lucky we are to know He lives!




Merry Christmas too all!


Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas!
Our Missionary Christmas Tree - Another senior couple left the tree and the lights and I have picked up the rest of the decorations here and there.  Candy canes from the Senior Couples FHE, elves and snowflakes from a bench here at our apartment where people put things to share with others.  The bows are from a ribbon that I brought home after the ward Christmas party, etc.  All free.  Kinda fun.

Here we are working at the KPBS TV pledge program
with our tour guide friends.

Pretending to be famous!

Some of the sisters at the Mormon Battalion also serve in our
area here where we live.  They came by and left us a cute
"heart attack".  How how loved we feel!  We love those
girls!
The Dr. Seuss Christmas Tree outside of the Old Globe Theatre



The Christmas Concert at the San Diego Temple.  What a beautiful setting!

December 13, 2013

Well, I finally feel like Christmas is coming. But it isn't because of the weather! I was starting to feel sorry for us because it was highs of around mid 50's for about a week - FREEZING! Then I heard what Utah's weather is doing and I am glad to be here. Still it is hard to get that "Christmas Feeling" with the weather so nice. It was high 60's today and into the 70's all week next week. I know - you are feeling sorry for me.

We have had lots of Christmasy things going on. It was our Ward Christmas Party and wow so many people showed up! We were so proud of our ward members for inviting neighbors etc. The whole cultural hall was filled and the food and program was great.

We got to usher at a wonderful performance of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and then got to see it! So fun! It was professional and wonderful! It was in Balboa Park at the Old Globe Theatre and we went with our new tour guide friends. We were able to go to lunch with them after and get to know them better. Such great people.

At each of the church things that we have been to, Sister Guyman brings the best things. That's who had us to dinner along with our Elders the other night. They are an older couple and are so darling. Their house was decorated for Christmas, the table was Christmas plates, napkins etc. And the food was great! It was fun to be fed good home cooking in such a warm, inviting atmosphere.

We were able to spend part of a day in Balboa Park together just playing. Balboa Park is a huge beautiful park in the middle of San Diego. There are lots of museums in there and on Tuesdays they take turns having several of them free. So now that we aren't working at the Battalion on Tuesdays we have decided to go to several of them when we can. It was a beautiful day and fun to just hang out with my best friend.

We are still loving this mission stuff but I have to admit that it is harder this month knowing that Christmas is going on without us at home.  With that being said, it is good being here too.  We can have a different emphasis and focus on doing missionary stuff.  There is something very cool about being out of the world a bit and be able to do the Lord's work.

Friday, December 6, 2013

December 6, 2013

Wow!  Time is flying by so quickly!

I didn't get to tell you that we had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  The best part of it was that we were able to see most of the kids and grandkids - via FaceTime!  Yeah!  It was hard to see them all enjoying being together without us but it was so good to be able to see their faces and talk to some of them!  We had our meal at the Mormon Battalion.  We had about 40 people there, Mormon Battalion sister missionaries, senior couple missionaries, several families of the couples who were visiting for the holiday, a new military convert and his family and some of his friends, a tour guide and her son who we invited as our "family" etc.  We had tons of great food and enjoyed the afternoon.

The day before Thanksgiving my son Adam and his wife had a new little boy - born early and only 4 lbs. 12 oz.  That caused me a bit of concern but everyone around us here has been praying for little Covey and he now home and doing well.  He spent a little over a week in the NICU at Utah Valley.

We have been busy with the Mormon Battalion more than usual because one of the senior couple's mom died and they went home to Utah for four days for the Funeral.  Amazing what dedication they have.  They left on Thanksgiving, drove home that night and the next day, got home in time to dress her mom Friday, went to the funeral Saturday, spent time with family on Sunday and were home here by Monday afternoon.  We handled their shifts and ours during that time which has left us without much down time.  It has been good and we have enjoyed it though - just need some time now to wash clothes and clean a bit!

Our ward has been getting busier and we are excited about that too.  We have been trying to start a rescue and focus program in the ward.  It is coming along well and we are realizing that we will be spending lots more time finding people who we have names, birthrates, etc for but who no one knows or has seen in the ward.  We will also be trying to visit inactive families and invite them to come back to church.  The ward council is excited about this too.  We will be moving into our ward boundaries on January 12th!  That will make things so much easier to be involved there and helpful.  We had our third Study Class on Wednesday night.  We are studying Preach My Gospel and everyone there seems to really enjoy the interaction and learning.  We meet in a lovely home of one of the members and it is sooooo nice to be in there warm, pleasant surroundings.

We have been making friends with so many good people - people who aren't members, who are and many who are somewhere in-between.  There are some who are coming back to the gospel and others who are new to it and need guidance and love.  We also had 6 sister missionaries go home last week and we have received 5 new wonderful sisters.  They have been so great to just step in and learn.  I am so amazed at the strength and quality of young women we have here.  I learn so much from all of these people and really am enjoying being able to be a part of their lives.  What fun a mission is!

We have had our hours at the Mormon Battalion cut.  We are getting a new director for the Battalion next month and the previous director is trying to get things into shape to receive them.  We are part time helpers there and the other couples are called there as their primary responsibility.  They need more hours so we get less.  We love it there so much so it was a bit sad but it comes at a good time with the things we want to do in the ward.  We still are involved up to our eyeballs with the social media and tourism stuff we do for the Battalion.  In fact our evening tonight should be interesting.  One of the tour guides in our group is going to host one of the PBS pledge nights tonight at KPBS here in San Diego and we are going to be answering phones there for the pledges.  We will be on TV hanging out with the other tour guides in our association.  We should get to meet lots of interesting people tonight.

I was thinking how cold it was here yesterday and then I looked on Facebook and saw the crazy temperatures in Utah!  Oh my.  Sorry.  It has been highs in the low 60's and high 50's and we are freezing.  I won't complain.  We love the weather here - lots of sunshine.  Part of why I am cold is I have to wear dresses.  How do you keep warm with a dress on?  The sisters have taught me that I should wear leggings under my skirts so I am a bit warmer these days.

The gospel is true.  I see the light of it in the eyes of so many here and I also see the challenges that come when it isn't there.  I feel so lucky to be here to be a part of this great work.  Thanks for so many prayers offered for us.  We actually feel your prayers and they help us when things get hard.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving dinner!

I had the Sisters help me make our Thanksgiving turkey relish tray.  We had so much fun doing it!

The finished product!

We had a wonderful meal with Sister Missionaries, Couple Missionaries, some family of the couples and friends!

About 38 of us in the theatre room in the Mormon Battalion.


November 28, 2013

I forgot to write last week.  Here is part of what I sent the family last week:

We were able to spend the day Tuesday with the tour guides I talked about last week. We have been going to meetings with them since we got here and they invited us to go to the zoo with them. They are in their 70's and are from Switzerland. What a fun couple. They are still giving tours often, volunteering all over and loving life. We had a fun time with them and feel like we are making friends that will last forever. We found out that they actually live in our ward boundaries. Imagine that! We are going to volunteer with them and try to spend more time with them. The zoo was amazing. It was a little cooler that day and the animals were more active than usual. We saw a rhinoceros playing in his pond with a huge ball just like a little kid. So cool. 

We worked a little more than usual at the Mormon Battalion this week. We had to take a shift for one of the other couples. She cooks for the elders and sisters as they leave and arrive to the mission and Friday was their day to do that. So we added an extra 4 hours on to our 22 hours per week this week. 

We had our first Scripture Class in the ward this week. Roger gave the lesson on the Apostasy. He did a great job. We had about 10 people there - hope to get a few more but too big wouldn't be what we want. We want it to be a safe place for those who have questions to come get them answered. There are many there who are excited about the class. We had it in the home of one of our members and it was nice to be in that kind of atmosphere. All in all it was a success.

It is bitter sweet at the MB this week. We are loosing six sisters from our group of 28! If I had known they were going to leave us I just wouldn't have grown to love them! It is so hard to see them go. I was adding them to my Facebook friends and realized that there are people that so anxious for them to leave and come back to them - their friends and family back home. I forgot that for a moment. It is strange to be on the other side of things. 

We had a farewell testimony meeting Thursday night. Oh I wish that I could have taped their testimonies! They talked about how strange it felt when they first got here, that they grew to love their mission, to bear testimony with courage and conviction, things that they wished they had done better and things that they learned to do well. They bore such strong testimonies and challenged us all to "step it up" and do more. Don't leave with regrets. They told us to not be afraid to "open our mouths" to everyone! The Spirit there was sweet and nourishing and I was overwhelmed with love for these girls and a stronger commitment to our mission. There were lots of tears and hugs and pictures and hugs and love going around. More hugs.

The next day we went to check apartments early in the day. We got through with a few hours before we had to be to the MB and not enough time to go home and back again so Grandpa was able to stop off at the beach for some exercise. I was debating if I should do some errands or just relax. Then I remembered the sisters challenge to step it up and open my mouth. So I went out on the walkway by the sand and talked to people! OK that was scary and I don't think I did a great job - but I did it! One man from Minnesota just was nice and went on his way. Another young man from Israel talked to me for about 10 minutes and asked questions. I told him that he needed to come to the Mormon Battalion and found the information on his phone for him. I bore testimony of our Prophet and felt my testimony of him grow. I am not sure what the young man thought but I hope that he thinks about what we said. I came back and talked to the sisters and had told them what happened and they gave me great pointers on how to do better! I will keep practicing!

Ward Council will be good tomorrow. The auxiliary leaders will be coming with their lists of all of the members and what they know about them. It is amazing how many on their list are totally not known by anyone. We will sort them out and try to start the rescue mission of the church by focusing on a few at a time and organizing our efforts in Ward Council. All will be working together to make it happen. 

Well, we just found out that we will be working lots more this next week. One of the couples just had their mom die and they will be going back to Utah for the funeral right after Thanksgiving so we will be taking care of their shifts as well as our own! Wish us luck! 

Gotta run. It is late and we are tired! Loving this mission thing!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

We have to say good bye to these six amazing sisters in a week!  What a great bunch of women!

November 17, 2013

Oh my goodness - time just flies by! I can't believe that we have been here three and a half months already. We have learned so much but still have such a long way to go. 

We spent time looking for apartment for the last two weeks but it has paid off. The only problem is that we can't move until January 12th! But with how fast time seems to go by we will be moving before we know it. Our place is in our ward boundaries and just about 5 minutes from the Battalion so we feel good about it. 

I was invited last week to go to a quilting club with many of the members of the ward and a few non-members. There are over 20 ladies who have had this group going for about 20 years! It was fun to go and to get to know the women there and be in a relaxed setting like that. They had a yummy luncheon too. This missionary work is so hard… 

I spent a day at the hospital with a darling little 8 month old boy who had to have surgery. His mom needed a break and to go hang out with her other children so I had the opportunity to go and relieve here. This little boy didn't have a soft spot on his head when he was born so he had to have an incision from one ear over the top of his head to the other ear, have the skin pealed back so they could cut open his skull and spacers put in, then closed back up. Amazing what the doctors can do. He is doing well and I was able to hold him and rock him for several hours. Fun. Made me miss you all though.

We had a meeting with the Professional Tour Guides Association this week. It is interesting to go there and meet so many different people and get to know them. One of the tour guides has a season pass to the zoo and when we told her that we hadn't been yet she offered to take us with her on Monday. She has seemed to have an interest in us and we are anxious to spend the day with her. Another one of the guides went through the tour at the Mormon Battalion two months ago and loved it. She is new to the area and said that she had so many questions about what we believe. I tried to get in touch with her and couldn't find her so I made sure I talked to her this time. She wants to meet and ask questions about the church. She gave me her contact information. Cool. 

We have 4th and 5th grade kids come to Old Town and the Battalion this time of year. It is a part of their history of California learning. On Thursday we were supposed to have 40 of them come. We give them a little shorter tour and make sure to keep it totally historic and not religious. I got a call around 9:15 that morning from Haines who organizes the field trips and he was pretty anxious. Instead of 40 kids showing up they had 150 extra! He called and asked how many we could handle at the same time. I told him 90 and within 5 minutes the first group showed up! We had one group in a tour, one in the theatre room watching a video and the third out on the lawn marching and playing games from long ago. We just got through with those three groups and the second half showed up. The Sisters were so great to just jump in and make up how to keep these kids involved and happy. That was a fun morning and it made me miss you all a bit more.

We presented the Focus 15 program to the ward council and we are starting to roll that program out in stages. I will explain it another time. We are also starting a Scripture Class and are trying to figure out really what we want to do there - study the Book of Mormon, Conference talks, lessons? That will start this Wednesday and will be in a home of one of the members. 

We had a meeting with our group of MLS (member and leadership support) missionaries Friday. There are 5 couples in our mission who have that calling and we are different than all of the others. The others have their calling pretty much scheduled for them when they come. The MLS missionaries have to figure things out and make things happen for themselves. We love this group because we are able to share ideas on how to help our wards and how to stay busy doing good things. We were also able to share ideas on the best restaurants, places to visit, stores, hair cutting shops, recipes, etc. too. It was nice to be with such good people. 

Today we were able to go on a tour - free - because of the relationship the Mormon Battalion has with Old Town. There is a Trolley tour that takes people to many of the beaches in San Diego and to many sites. We went with another MB couple and had a great time. It was a bit cold today and I was feeling like we were really starting to experience winter here. Burr. Then we came home and watched the BYU football game and the snow. Oh I love California winters! It got all the way down to 62 degrees today. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Halloween with the Mormon Battalion Sisters!  Cameron and Kami sent some fun Halloween stuff and we shared the fun with the Sisters.  They loved it!

We had a Halloween party with the Senior Couples that night.  There were 24 of us total.  Great people!

Bethany's family came to see us and we got to play with them at the beach, the Battalion and dinner!

Roger's birthday!  The Sisters made him an apple crisp and surprised him in one of the tour rooms!  He was a happy birthday boy!

November 9, 2013

I have been putting off doing this because there is so much to catch up on and then there just gets more to catch up on by waiting.  So here we go….

I have been missing the fall leaves.  I had to get on my photos on my computer and look at the leaves in front of my house last year so that I could pretend to enjoy them.  But then when I heard it was snowing back home I have been just fine to enjoy our weather here.  We are missing kids and grandkids more and more.  But luckily we keep busy and try to focus on what we are doing here.

We love our mission and what we are doing.  We wish that the missionary work in our ward was going better.  We realize that the folks here that are active in the church are doing so much more than we do back home.  As the High Priest Group Leader said, "Ten percent of the people here are doing ninety percent of the work."  That was evident when we went to help with the ward's church cleaning assignment today and there was the wonderful lady in charge - who does a hundred other things in the ward and stake, the Relief Society President and her counselor and us!  The missionaries aren't kept busy enough teaching and they are so amazing.  It is such a shame and we are trying to figure out how to be missionaries ourselves so we can teach them how to share the blessing of the gospel better with others.   We love the people in our ward.  We had a dinner with a sweet widow, her non member friend and the missionaries and were able to hear Elder Johnson bear his testimony of Joseph Smith with great humility and strength.  A highlight of my mission!  We had another couple invite us to go to dinner with them and then pay for the whole tab. Something we didn't expect.  They are great examples in the ward and want to share their love for the Lord and they gave us great insight on how to work with the ward members.  We brought an investigator, a single lady, to the Mormon Battalion the other day so she could see the Joseph Smith movie with us and the missionaries.  Again I was able to hear our amazing Elder Johnson bear his testimony and feel the Spirit confirm it.  I am in awe of the maturity and depth our missionaries gain while serving the Lord!  Another highlight.  We feel at home here already and feel the love of so many.

We have realized that it is really hard to do what we should do in our ward because we live quite a ways from it.  So we have been looking for another apartment closer.  Our apartment is about 15 - 30 minutes away from the Battalion depending on traffic and then it is another 10-15 minutes away from the ward.  Wish us luck.  It would be nice to be in a place that isn't quite as noisy as we are here too.  Sleeping is something that is hard for me when things are quiet!

The Mormon Battalion is quite slow and some shifts are a bit challenging to keep busy.  We are supposed to keep the Sisters there doing good things too.  I have been taking the newer Sisters on tour and practicing with them without any guests.  It is so fun to feel their desire to do well and to help them.  I remember not too long ago going through that and feeling my heart beat out of my chest with anxiety. I am getting some time to actually study the books we have on the Mormon Battalion and that has been so inspiring.  We are gearing up for Thanksgiving and Christmas when we have lots of visitors.  We have a Twelve Days of Christmas program every night at 7pm starting on December 12th and we are getting things put together to advertise and plan those events.

We went to a Facebook for Small Business Seminar with the director and his wife this last week and learned a lot about what we can do to get our Facebook page better received and advertised.  We don't have control of what actually goes on there because the church needs to keep control of that but we now have better ideas about what kinds of pictures to send and what to ask for.  We have had meetings with the creator of Internet sites to try to get our presence on their sites to be more effective.  That is interesting and way over all of our heads.  The 12 Stakes in the area have called representatives for 10 year callings to work in Public Affairs.  They are to build relationships of trust in the community and to get the word out about things that the church does in the area.  A big part of what they do is work to share the story of the Mormon Battalion.  We get to work with these wonderful people and help them.

It keeps my head swimming to try to remember all of the different things that we are working on.  We are constantly changing our clothes to match our assignments!  Pioneer outfits to missionary clothes to service clothes to public affairs clothes and back again!  It keeps things interesting and fun.  We are amazed at the things those around us think that we can do so we just study and pray and stumble along the best we can and things seem to work out.

We love what we are doing and I am so happy to be here with my companion.  We are blessed to be where we are doing what we are doing.  Thanks for your prayers and love.

My biggest problem with doing this blog is that I don't really know if anyone out there really is "listening".  Every now and then drop us an email and let us know you are still alive too, K?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Padres Stadium on tour with the Millers, another Senior Couple

Sunset on the porch of the Mormon Battalion

Some of our wonderful Sisters

Blooming flowers in October!

October 21
Wow ten days since last post.  Things are good here in sunny California!  We have had wonderful weather which has been so nice.  Our hot little apartment has turned into a more comfortable place.

I have had several people ask what a normal day for is like.  There really is no normal day because things are changing all of the time.  Here is what we do:

Five days of the week we spend 3-4 hours a day at the Mormon Battalion.  Every now and then we serve on Tuesdays all day from 9-5 so the sister missionaries can be off for P day.  We have Friday and Saturday with no commitment to the MB unless one of the other Senior Couples need help, have a doctor appointment, have kids in town and need time to play with them etc.  So basically we have a schedule but it is always changing.

Along with the Mormon Battalion schedule we have assignments there to work on Public Relations and Tourism.  We have meetings off and on with other members who are called to do the same thing.  There are about 8 people called from 12 different stakes in the area to work with Public Relations for the church here in San Diego.  Their calls are for 10 years so that they can make relationships of trust with the community and not have people keep changing and coming in and out of callings.  We have just had a whole new group of people called and they are excited about getting the word out better than ever before that we have wonderful things going on here and that others should come participate.  We get to be the liaison for the Mormon Battalion and Old Town for that group.  They are planning big things to help bring others to Christ through great events, entertainment, patents etc.  Exciting.

Also we are involved with Old Town merchants, tour guides and chamber of commerce with the things that they are doing to promote and make Old Town better.  We are able to enjoy people from unique walks of life and get to know them, help them and be involved in Old Town activities.

The added joy of the Mormon Battalion is working with the Sister Missionaries and loving them!  Oh how we enjoy learning from them and learning to love them.  There are 28 Sister Missionaries called to the MB and they serve half of the day there and then have the other half to go proselyte in their area they are assigned to.  At any given time there are 3-4 of those sisters who have been called to proselyte full time for two to three transfers (transfers are every six weeks) and then they come back and trade with others.  We also have 4 other couples we get to work with and love.

Then we have the ward - which is our primary calling.  We go to Ward Council on Sunday and the whole thing now is dedicated to missionary work.  We then have a Missionary Council meeting with the Ward Mission Leader and the missionaries.  We are excited about M Russell Ballard's challenge to have every member of the church introduce the gospel to one person before Christmas as a Christmas present to the Savior and are focusing on that to help members be more involved.  Members are the key to the new "Hastening the Work" programs.  Missionaries aren't as effective by themselves.  Then we have our block of meetings with us attending Gospel Principles class.  Sometimes we have had lots of people and other times it ends up being the leaders there with no new members or investigators.  There are other things like the Relief Society night things, ward BBQ's, ward parties, ward endowment sessions and baptism sessions, cleaning the church, helping people move etc that we are involved in too.

We have several people we are seeing regularly.  People with mental and physical problems and those who have problems with their testimonies.  We want to interact with good members too so that they will know us and feel comfortable sending people our way.  We don't do much teaching of the lessons. That is done by the Elders in our ward.  We have had opportunity to be involved with investigators too in mostly a friend shipping effort.  We fit all of that in between Mormon Battalion stuff.

It is good to have both or we wouldn't be able to keep busy enough.  We have had opportunity to exercise at the beach, go on sightseeing tours, play with friends and family when they come, go to events and play with other wonderful Senior Missionaries and to enjoy each other's company.

We have had a good week - busy one and we are loving our mission!


Friday, October 11, 2013

October 10

What a fun week this has been!  Two sets of visitors in two days!  Yesterday my sister Kim and her darling family came by the Mormon Battalion and visited.  We then went to lunch at one of the yummy restaurants here in Old Town.  Then today Bethany and Kevin brought our handsome, beautiful, darling grandkids with them to see us!  Roger got to make his famous crepes and then they took off to the zoo.  When they were good and tired of the zoo, they came and let us take them through the tour at the Battalion.  Then off to dinner together.  Tomorrow they will let us fix them crepes again and then we are going to play at the LaJolla Shores Beach!  ..........a little taste of October at the beach house - without the beach house of course!  Thanks for coming.  We feel not so far away from home now!

Saturday we had our neighbors the Robinson's over for breakfast before General Conference.  They are a wonderful missionary couple from Pleasant Grove and have been a their mission several months longer than we have.  We were able to watch the second session of conference at another couple's apartment and then had a spaghetti dinner with five other couples.  It was so nice to be with those wonderful people.  Most of them are serving at the military bases and are having such a great experience with lots of baptisms etc.  All of the girls went shopping while the men watched the Priesthood Session there at the apartment.

Sunday was a great day because we got to stay home all day!  We had a new couple, the Van Ormans who just arrived in the mission last week over for Sunday dinner.  Roast, mashed potatoes, gravy, cheese rolls  etc.  It really was the first big meal that we have cooked since being here.  It was nice to have the time to cook a real meal - - and to eat it!  We really fooled them - they thought we did this ALL of the time.

The Senior Couples have a Family Home Evening every month and Monday was the night for it.  Unfortunately we had to work a shift at the MB.  Fortunately it was in the theatre rooms in the MB so we were able to still visit before and after with the couples.  There were over 20 couples there and we are starting to know them all and love them so much.

Tuesday was a tough day.  Training was at 8 am and then we were on shift from 9-5.  It went really quickly though.  It is Arizona's and Utah's fall break and we have tons of darling families coming in.  We would take a tour, come back to the lobby and there would be another tour waiting.  Just as we were ready to drag ourselves home at 5 the director at the Battalion asked us to go to a dinner with them.  It was at Cafe Coyote here in Old Town.  There is a man who is running for mayor that he is supporting.  He will be good for the tourism industry if he wins and Elder Seegmiller wanted us to go with them to the event.  There were many restaurant and shop owners in Old Town there and we were able to meet them and the mayoral candidate.  Interesting.  Three more hours until we were able to drag home.

Wednesday was amazing at the MB.  It was raining and cooler so all of the families from Arizona and Utah came instead of the beach.  It was crazy!  We then went off to visit many in the ward.  It is really sad to see the how the gospel has slipped out of people's lives and they hardly knew it was happening.  It is also heartwarming to see those who the gospel keeps blessing their lives.

Thursday was another good day.  More families during our 9-12 shift.  That's when my sister Kim and her family came.  We went to one of our favorite restaurants, Miguels.  The best cheese sauce for chips and I over did - but oh so good!  We then took off to help a blind couple get some things at the store.  She is such a sweet lady with a good baptist testimony.  She prays and loves the Lord.  It was good to help them and feel their appreciation.  We then took off for a session at our beautiful temple.

I am not sure it is legal to be having this much fun on a mission!  It is hard, fun, happy, sad, and so rewarding.  One of the lessons learned from our Mormon Battalion tour is that if we follow the Prophet with faith we will be blessed.  I know that is true and see it happening in our lives and in the lives of so many people we meet here.

Friday, October 4, 2013

October 3

Hi Everyone,
     This week has been crazy busy.  That's good.  We finally got a fixed schedule for the Mormon Battalion.  That will help us with so many things.  We can plan better now.
     We work Sunday night, Monday middle of the day, Tuesday night, Wednesday and Thursday mornings.  That gives us all day Friday, Saturday and most of Sunday for ward things, an actual P day etc.  Plus the time in between and before and after shifts the other days.
     We had to say good bye to two missionary couples this last week.  But we received two new ones!  We are gearing up for loosing SIX of our wonderful sisters at the Mormon Battalion in November too.  Oh it is hard, we have already grown to love them so much.  But going home is as much a part of this whole missionary thing as being here.  Learning to use what we all have learned here and be better is huge.

Roger, Sister JoAnn Jensen, Me, Debbie Bullock, Graham Bullock, and Elder Ron Jensen
     I had the fun opportunity to have dinner with Debbie Riggs Bullock and her husband this last week.  Debbie was my neighbor growing up and her family was my second family.  They had mostly girls and it was so fun for me to be there and get away from all of the boys in my house!  Her mom was so good to me when my mom died.  Debbie and her husband live here in the area and are doing a mission from home in the military.  I hear from all of the Senior Couples how respected and wonderful they are.  We were able to catch up and compare notes.  It was so fun to reconnect.  We rode up with another couple from the mission here and had a fun time with them too.
Sunset at the beach after dinner


     We worked at the Mormon Battalion during the Relief Society General Conference.  I was excited to hear that they were going to turn on the broadcast in one of the Theatre Rooms but soon realized that if there were sisters not doing much they needed to be the ones in there.  I can watch it later online and they can't.  So I have had to try to watch it in our "free" time!  What a beautiful conference session.  We are looking forward to watching conference with no interruptions!  We don't have to be anywhere then.  We are actually buying a roast, cooking it and having a real dinner Sunday because we will be here to actually cook it!  Yeah!
     Saturday we went to a Fam tour with the Professional Tour Guides Association.  It is a tour that one of the tour guides does for the other guides to show them new things and get them fam-iliar with new things.  We were in the downtown area of San Diego, by the Padres stadium, into hotels that over look the stadium, into restaurants and business there and ended up at the opening of the new library in downtown San Diego.  We were going to go through the library but the lines were amazingly long so we all decided there were better times to go.
The new, amazing library in San Diego! Yup that domed roof thing is a library!

The coolest little sidewalk garden in downtown San Diego.

Padres Stadium
     Sunday was ward council at 9, church at 11 to 2, drive home and fix a quick meal and eat it, change our clothes, drive to the Mormon Battalion by 4 and work there until 9, drive home and fall in to bed.  Monday was sleep in a bit, late breakfast, MB at 1 to 5, and home to get some things done.  Tuesday was Training Meeting at the MB at 8, a meeting with the director of the MB from 9 to 11:30, off to visit a lady in the ward who is in the hospital, and I can't remember what else. Wednesday was Roger's birthday - MB from 9-12, meet the elders from our ward and took them to Hometown Buffet for lunch and tried to encourage and help them, went to visit a couple who are both blind non-members to invite them to watch conference, a session at the temple and then home.  Thursday was MB from 9 to 12, a little bit of shopping and home, then back to the MB for a planning meeting at 6:30 to 8:30 with the director of the MB and others who have been called from the 12 stakes that are in our mission boundaries.  There are many big and small events planned for the next 6 to 8 months to enhance the Mormon Battalion experience and to bring attention to it.  We get to be a part of those things.  Friday - today was P day! We really enjoyed just playing - I guess we will have to fit in P day stuff in the rest of the week.  We went to the beach and enjoyed the day together.  Dinner and then visited with friends of Roger's and listened to part of the BYU game on the way home and after getting home.
     I hadn't been able to shop for anything for Roger's birthday (he is ALWAYS with me!) so I asked the Sister Missionaries to help me make it special.  They were so cute.  They made him an apple crisp and brought it to the MB that morning.  They hid in one of the tour rooms behind all of the rocks in there and then jumped out and sang Happy Birthday!  One of the sisters brought him a pumpkin cookie and they kept reminding him that it was his birthday all of the time we were there.  I am sure that it made his day!  I will post pictures as soon as I get them from the sisters.  I didn't have batteries in my camera that day!
     We are missing those back at home.  That is the biggest challenge of being here.  We love you all!

Friday, September 27, 2013


Oh time is flying by. Last week was a bit slow and this week has been crazy. The couple that we are replacing is leaving tomorrow and there have been lots of little things that they kept saying they needed to show us but we both kept putting off. We have had a couple of days where we were gone early in the day until 9 or 10 at night, changing clothes from Mormon Battalion clothes to normal clothes then back again! 

Church gets better each time we go. We are getting to know people better and they are so good to the missionaries. They love us without even knowing us. Just because we are missionaries. That puts pressure on us to be loving and kind back and to be helpful. It is good for us to watch how we act more and try harder with everyone. It is amazing how wearing a name badge seems to help us be braver. Maybe we think that people are expecting us to do that. You returned missionaries know what I am saying. The rest of you will have to go and experience it. It is so cool.

We are working with several different people in our ward. It is fun to get to know them and love them.  a couple of them are investigators and one is an active member.  Missionary work is so fulfilling and we get excited to see in them the good things that can be magnified by the gospel.  I am trying not to think of what I will feel if they decide to not accept it.  I am trying to have faith that they will.

Monday was a big day. Gone around 10:00 am and didn't get home until after 10:00 pm. Lots of Mormon Battalion stuff. Saying goodbye to the people we are replacing and trying to learn all that they know before they go.

Yesterday we were gone from 8am - 10pm. Mormon Battalion meeting at 8. Worked there from 9-5. Dinner with the Senior Couples after and then we hit a play in the theatre just a block away. Fun. We forgot to take clothes to change in to so we had to go down in our Mormon Battalion attire. People were giving us lots of strange looks. One man from England came up to me and said, "Excuse me. Can I tell you that it is so nice to see a lady in a skirt!" He went on to say how the way women dress these days is awful and he loved seeing us dressed this way." I had to explain to him why I was dressed like I was and he seemed disappointed. 

Today we are taking off in a few minutes to help with car inspections. The missionaries when they come to zone conference drop off their keys with us as they go in and while they are in the meeting we check a billion things on their cars to make sure all is OK. Then we HAVE to hit a beach for a few hours, then the Mormon Battalion for a shift from 1 - 5. While there we have to help prepare for the Professional Tour Guides Meeting that will meet at the MB at 6:00. So that means we are in Pday clothes to check cars and need to change to beach stuff, then into MB costumes and finally normal missionary clothes for the meeting. Oh the trials of missionary life! It is fun that we are involved in so many different things. It keeps things interesting. 

We have had time to enjoy San Diego too.  We first and foremost have found a great beach. The sand is wonderful, white and clean. The beach goes out slowly into the ocean and there are bathrooms and a shower there too! Nice waves for little kids and bigger ones just down the beach for big kids. We went to Point Loma last week. It is an amazing 360 degree view of the bay and the ocean! There is a lighthouse there that is beautiful. What an incredible view! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Soldier Olivia

Lots of our gang last year in the Campfire room

Olivia, Emmie and Kamree panning for gold

Mormon Battalion

My son Mike just told me that sometime we would have to explain what the Mormon Battalion is. Maybe there are more of you that have no idea what we are talking about when we say the Mormon Battalion. So here we go.....

The Mormon Battalion is not a visitor's center but an Historic Site. So we have to be so careful not to proselyte or make people feel we are being missionaries. We try very hard to not make people uncomfortable and just tell the history of what happened.  We help tell the story of a group of 500 soldiers who march from Iowa to San Diego. They were recruited through President Polk to go help secure the area here in the war against Mexico. It is told is such fun way. It is a great interactive program that is well done and wonderfully moving. We go to five different rooms. The first room is a room where talking pictures help tell the story. The next room looks like a camp ground that the Mormon's were in when they were recruited and tells the story in a video presentation. Brigham Young tells the camp that they won't have to fight if they keep their faith and are true to the gospel. The third room is the outfitting room. It looks just like the outfitting room that the Battalion actually went to. There we get a volunteer from the group to dress up as a soldier. I will put a picture of Soldier Olivia, our grand daughter, when she came with us to the MB last year. The fourth room is depicting a campfire on the Santa Fe plains.  It again is a video presentation showing as a movie what it was like to be there. It shows their challenges and the things they accomplished. We move on to the last room where we are finally back in San Diego. It is a room that depicts the courthouse that the Battalion built after they arrived here. They taught the Mexican's how to make bricks and it was the first brick building in the city. We talk again to pictures and they help tell the end of the story. We explain that these were "ordinary people who did something ordinary through their faith in Jesus Christ". We remind them that the Mormon Battalion was a great success story. They didn't have to fight like they were promised. Everywhere there was supposed to be an army to fight them - no one was there. They help forge new trails that helped others when they came west. They were paid and were able to send money back to help buy wagons, food and supplies for their families to come west, and they helped build the city of San Diego and great relationships with those that were already here. 


It is a beautiful building. The sister missionaries usually do the tours. On Tuesdays, it is their P day so the senior couples do the tours then. The sisters really are great and darling. They really make the tours wonderful. And they are so much fun to be around. We really enjoy being there with all of the good people who work with us. 


There used to be more talking about religion but we are totally to refrain unless people ask us. We just tell the story of these wonderful people and what they accomplished. 


We are going to the San Diego Tourism Authority tomorrow all day. We are making relationships to market the Mormon Battalion try to let more people know how great it is. 


I would love it if you all would do me one favor. Go to the Mormon Battalion Historic Site FaceBook page and "like it" and then go to Yelp and put on a positive review of the Mormon Battalion. That would be a good way to help us do some missionary work! There are only 39 reviews on Yelp and three or four of them are negative. But that gives us a bad overall rating. We are thinking that if we all put on a positive report we can bring up the rating. 


We love you all! We also love any and all emails and letters we get!  Thanks so much for your love and support.  It means a lot!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

This is our group of Senior Couples that we work with at the Mormon Battalion and President and Sister Clayton in front of the Mormon Battalion.  The director of the MB is in the front of the picture.

The Elders at Elder Seegmiller's birthday party.

My very first business card!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

September 9,2013

We are starting to fill in our days with lots of interesting things and go to bed tired and happy to be busy.  We gave talks this week in church.  I talked on Missionary Work and Roger talked on Temple Marriage.  I think that we did fine and now we won't have to give talks for awhile.

We are enjoying the Mormon Battalion more and more each time we go.  We love the couples.  They are wonderful - each in different ways!  We love the Sisters!  Oh they are cute and fun and loving and smart and kind............  They love us too and show it so abundantly.  They are so much better at giving the tours than we are.  We have had several of them take us aside and have us practice with them and then tell us what we can do better and what we did right.  They all think I am so lucky to have Roger for a husband.  They watch us carefully and notice everything we do.  I think it helps us step up in how we treat each other and it is lots of fun.

The miracles are there at the Mormon Battalion everyday.  Tuesdays are the Sister's Pday and so we have to take care of the Battalion with the other Senior Couples for the day.  It is a long day - from 8 - 5.  Today we had the equipment go down.  As luck would have it Roger was the one giving the tour.  He sat there in the dark and had to tell the people what they would have seen in each room.  He said it worked out OK because the men had lots of questions about the church and he was able to talk to them and answer them specifically.  The couple elders started working on the equipment madly hoping to get it going before more visitors came.  The couple sisters wondered what we could do to help.  We went into the other room and had a prayer for the equipment and our husbands that it would get working soon.  We also prayed that those who were planning on coming to the MB would have their plans delayed so they could see the presentation.  There is such a strong spirit with it.  It took about almost an hour for things to get running again and only one couple came during that time.  As soon as things were running again we got visitors coming in consistently.  The Lord is in the details.

We have visited and helped many people in our ward.  We are learning to know them better and to love them.  We enjoy serving and teaching them.  They have such good hearts.

We had our first visitors a week ago. Roger's friend Gary Snyder and his wife Lynette came to San Diego and spent last Sunday with us.  They came to our wonderful ward and then to our house for dinner.  We don't have tons of stuff here to cook with so it was a bit of an adventure to have some one over for dinner.  But it worked and was so much fun to have them here.  We took them over to the Mormon Battalion after and got them on a tour.

We love our friends and miss you.  We would love to hear from you.  My email is martsyg@gmail.com. 

From Preach My Gospel : There is no more compelling work than this, nor any which brings greater satisfaction  We challenge you to rise to a new sense of commitment to assist our Father in Heaven. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Address

Oh by the way, in case any of you are thinking about sending us cookies or letters our address is 4490 Collwood Blvd. #39, San Diego, California 92115.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September 4, 2013 

Three Weeks in California!

Oh wow!  Have we been here that long - has it only been that long?

We feel more like missionaries and have had some good experiences in this last week.  We were loaded our first Sunday with lots of people to visit and find.  There is a list of those who are on the ward list but haven't been seen at all there.  We have been finding out what is going on with them.  Many really never were active in the church for very long.  They got baptized without really being converted.  Most of them were cordial and kind.  It was fun talking to them and hearing their stories.  Some of the addresses were not even real addresses.  A few are interested in getting involved again and want home teachers and some contact.  It was a grueling three days searching, knocking, driving, talking etc.  A bit of a taste of what missionaries used to do all of the time.  We have enjoyed talking to others from the ward who have been less active and have good hearts.  We still have some that we haven't found home and keep going back to see them.

We were still wondering what we really would do to fill our time once this list was done.  We still had not heard from the Seegmillers or the mission president so we forged on to find other things we might do.  We went to the Family History Center which just happens to be a few minutes drive from our apartment.  Oh my!  We walked in and met the director of the center.  I told him that we were new missionaries in the area and we were just checking out what service opportunities there might be there.  He just lit up and said that he was hearing the Tabernacle Choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus!  They are so understaffed.  He showed us around the wonderful renovation that they have just done there.  They have doubled the size of the center and added two large teaching rooms.  There are 30 brand new touch screen computers with huge monitors on each in a room with a large screen for viewing and teaching.  There is another large teaching room with tables and hook ups for people to bring their own computers and to learn directly on them.  They have a nice library and the regular desks to use the book on and a large screen area there to do MORE teaching.  They also have 20 other "normal"computers and cubbies to do genealogy work and searching on.  They are the center for the whole area to teach and train the young men and young women.  They have youth groups come in the evenings and teach them.  The director really was looking for someone to replace his wife and him and thought we might be that couple.  He kept us there for over 3 hours overwhelming us.  If any of you out there want to some to beautiful San Diego and be the directors for the Family History Center here there could be a wonderful opportunity here!

Finally we heard from the Mormon Battalion director and he said that he was going to ask the mission president if we could serve there.  He would let us know.  So we were still waiting and still looking for things to keep us busy.  We spent time visiting with the list we were given and visited with several semi-active people from the ward.  What a wonderful opportunity that was!  To sit in a living room with wonderful people and teach them the principles of the gospel was so sweet.  We heard wonderful and sad stories, listened to a sweet lady pray for the very first time out loud, invited her to read and pray, made new friends, taught a lesson, went to a baptism in Spanish, helped clean the church building, help a sweet grandma move, ate pancakes with a bunch of wonderful young families in the ward, and finally heard from the Battalion.  We are going to be able to serve there.  We are more and more excited for this opportunity as time goes on!

We went to lunch with the Battalion directors and spent all afternoon learning about what our responsibilities there will be.  We will be giving tours, manning the Mormon Battalion Historic Site, working with civic leaders with public relations, working with tourism to help get more people to the site, and so much more.  Our heads were swimming.  We have been trying to learn our script!  Oh!  Our brains don't memorize like they used to.  We spent an afternoon with the wonderful couple who are leaving in 6 weeks trying to understand what they have been doing on web sites etc.  We have a lot to figure out.  Since then we have spent several shifts in the center training with the other couples there. The Sisters are darling and loving.  And the couples are good people trying to serve the Lord and are doing a bang up job of it all.  The theme of the Battalion story is, "These were ordinary men that did something extraordinary because of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!"  As I was struggling with all we had to learn one of the Elders turned to me and said, "You are an ordinary person who can do extraordinary things through your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!"  And I can - we can!

We spent all day the last two Tuesdays at the Battalion.  Usually the Sister Missionaries are there and we only have to do four hours shifts but Tuesdays are the Sister Missionaries Pday so the Senior Couples do the whole thing.  We are finally learning things and both of us felt that we had the script down pretty good.  So yesterday we did tours by ourselves!  Oh that was scary!  It was so much harder to say when there are people on a tour looking at you and there is all kinds of media that we have to interact with.  It was a little bit of a train wreck my first tour but I told the people that it was my first tour and they were so much fun and got me through it.  All in all I am sure that we will love working there.  On Sunday we had 910 people through the center.  It is slowing down now with kids getting in to school.  Then we start 4th grade tours for the schools in San Diego!  We can't proselyte there unless asked a question.  But there still are plenty of opportunities to teach the gospel.  The Spirit directs these good people in so many ways to our direction and we are able to give them a taste of the gospel.

People make this work wonderful.  Those that know and feel as we do and those that don't.  Good people and good hearts!  We love it!