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?