Saturday, March 29, 2014

March 29, 2014

I have about an hour free and thought I ought to take advantage of it and get our weekly letter written.  This has been a sad week for us.  They just told us that they aren't going to use us at the Mormon Battalion anymore.  The new director has decided to give those who were actually called to the Battalion more hours and only use us on a substitute basis.  They also want us to be able to spend more time at what we were called to do.  So we will be spending more time in our ward and trying to figure how to stay busy with other things.  It feels as though they are ripping my children away from me.  We have become so attached to the wonderful sister missionaries there.  They show so much love and are such a joy to be around.  We will really miss being able to visit with people from all over the world there too.  :(

We have been busy sending home six more of the sisters.  It has been fun to see them grow from how they were when we first met them and now be ready to take on real life.


 We are also loosing a senior couple from the Battalion.  They have taught us so many things and we hope to be friends after the mission is over.  One of the great perks from being on a mission is that we get to make friend with so many wonderful people.

I am starting to get a handle on the Recording Secretary job I now have.  I send out emails, take reservations for tours, take minutes at meetings, help plan events, meet with the other officers etc. If you want to see that I am official there go to We love our association there and I will be able to stay in that capacity even though I am not at the Battalion anymore.  We have made so many friends with these tour guides and will hope for continued relationships with them after.  They are from all over the world with so many different challenges in their lives.  We hope to be able to be good examples to them and help them.  We have opportunities to go on FAM tours with them each month.  They are familiarization tours that they do for each other to help each other learn more about different areas in San Diego.  It is a great opportunity to talk and get to know so many wonderful people with different beliefs from us.  I guess the more we get to know them, the more we realize how much alike we are too!  We love this opportunity.

One of the tour guides has invited us several times to watch her grand daughter play softball.  She plays on her high school softball team.  Roger is hoping to be able to help coach her in a summer league.  Interestingly enough, both the tour guide and her son and grandkids live in our ward boundaries.

We were feeling like we were getting a handle on the rescue mission of our ward by trying to find all of the inactive people in the ward, make sure they are really living here, and invite them back to church.  This week we received a new list of new move ins!  There are over thirty people on that list! And only a few of them have we seen in church.  Back to knocking on doors.

We had an interesting day yesterday at the Battalion.  There was a group of 120 elementary students what showed up at 1:00 and had to leave by 2:00.  They were supposed to be there by noon. There is no way to get them all through the 45 minute tour in that time.  We had to split them up in groups and rush them through.  So sad and crazy!  Then as soon as they left another group of 180 youth came.  The Mormon Battalion was a part of their Youth Conference.  They were supposed to come in two groups but they all showed up at the same time.  We had to separate them up into groups and had over 30 youth in each tour.  If you have been here you know that that is really pushing the limits of the rooms.  Roger was doing gun demonstrations, we had movies in theatre rooms, we had groups sitting on the lawn, going through tours etc.  It was amazing but we did it and they all seemed to have a great time.  The tour really is a must for all who come to San Diego!

We are getting ready now to head off looking for the lost sheep in our ward for several hours and then I have three sisters that am taking with me to the Women's General Conference Broadcast.  I am crossing my fingers that none of them cancel on me.  That happens a lot.  But it is looking like it might happen.

I love conference and am excited for God to answer my prayers through the talks given in the next two weeks.  I have several questions that I have written down and am praying for guidance to hear the answers to those questions.  I invite you to do the same thing.  Is there something that you are worried about - some challenge you are afraid of?  Write down the questions you have and then listen intently for the answers.  They will come.

Monday, March 24, 2014

March 24, 2014

Hi again!

Life is good here in sunny San Diego.  I have to admit that I don't feel quite so superior being here in this wonderful weather now that the rest of the nation is getting better weather.  We have totally enjoyed missing the snow and cold this year!

Things are settling down with the golf tournament over and we are enjoying the calm.  We have visited with many ward members this week and love the association with them.  We are blessed to be in the ward we are in.  We are excited that we have had an assistant ward mission leader  called and another ward  missionary to help in our efforts there.  Our assistant ward mission leader is a newly returned senior missionary who was also a counselor to the mission president while he was there.  He is fired up and knows the programs and we are thrilled to work with him.

Our missionaries are starting to see more success.  There is a couple in our ward that has come out to church two weeks in a row.  The wife was an inactive member and her husband is not a member.  In the rescue effort of inactive members she was found and the missionaries have been teaching her husband.  She said that she wanted to come back to church but didn't want to do it without her husband.  He has been looking for a job and the missionaries have asked the ward to pray for him.  He just found a job and is thrilled.  They actually will be moving out of the area but tell us that they will be going to church in Texas where they are moving.  They are a darling young couple, she in an attorney, and they will be a great asset to the church there.

There is another man who has just accepted the invitation to be baptized!  This is the first baptism in the ward in over a year.  He used to be married to a single mom in our ward who was the last baptism a year ago.  They were divorced after he got heavily addicted to drugs years ago.  Since then she has found the church and is preparing to go to the temple in a few weeks.  He has been to church for the past three weeks and is planning on getting baptized in April.  We are excited.  He has gone through years of rehab and now is 5 years sober!  It is fun to see this little family come together.

We are seeing the members work harder at inviting investigators for the missionaries to teach but it is a slow process.  As members we pray for our missionaries to be lead to the "pure in heart" or to "those whom the Lord has prepared".  Our prayers now must be for US to be lead to those people so that WE can introduce them to the missionaries.  It works so much better that way.  What a fun time to be a missionary.

We had a father of a missionary come through the Battalion the other day and he was sharing how the internet is being used in his son's mission to spread the gospel.  They spend several hours a day doing "internet proselyting".  They have Facebook pages and can set up a "meeting" on Facebook where many can join to learn different things about the gospel.  One of our returned missionary sisters has been joining those conversations and helping with the teaching of the gospel on line.  Some missionaries are putting videos on youtube and are spreading the message that way.  It will be fun to see what these technology savvy missionaries come up with next!  Check out Elder Brad Witbeck's Facebook page to see a bit of what they are doing.  The face of missionary work is changing.

The Mormon Battalion has been busy this week with people from Arizona again on spring break.  This weekend we are seeing a lot of people from Boise, Idaho.  We are also getting about 60 4th grade kids about 4 days a week.  It keeps things hopping and fun.  We keep thinking that we should spend more time in our ward.  It is easy to let the Battalion take over our time.  We are trying to plan and prepare better to be able to fit everything in that we should be doing.

We were able to have a dinner for all of the MLS missionaries in the mission.  There are now 5 couples with the same MLS calling in the mission (Member and Leadership Support) .  It was good to be with them and get ideas on how to support the missionary program in our wards.  We serve with such wonderful people and they are all so creative.  We will be using what they taught us in the future.

Thanks so much for all of the prayers for us!  We feel them.  Each time I put on my missionary badge I am humbled with the joy and responsibility it represents.

"Carrying a grudge is a heavy burden. As you forgive, you will feel the joy of being forgiven. “ –Henry B. Eyring

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March 17, 2014

Wow! What a day!  But first I'll start with the ret of the week.  Wow!  What a week!

Elder Weber and Elder Wendel at our apartment for Roger's wonderful crepes!  We sure do love these elders!

Sister Brown - one of our wonderful returned Sister missionaries came back for a visit!

Cameron and Kami ready for the waves! We had a beautiful sunny day at the beach!

Cameron and Kami - cute!

Cameron and Kami with us in San Clemente!  Thanks for the visit!

We have had visits from several of the returned sister missionaries from our mission!  Oh it was fun to see them.  We love these girls and love to see them.  We also had a visit from Kathy Chamberlain our dear friend from home.  Her husband was out here for meetings.  It was so much fun to catch up on all of our ward members and friends.  But the best visit was from Cameron and Kami!  They brought along Nate and his wife Sarah.  I jus felt like hugging them both forever - it felt so good to hold them.  We met at our favorite bagel place for breakfast.  We stopped at our friends home there is San Clemente and borrowed a few boogie boards for playing at the beach, stopped at Walmart for a volleyball and then on to the beach for a wonderful day!   It was warm and was so much fun to play with them and talk to them.  We went to the pier and had a yummy dinner there and stopped by the shops in San Clemente to be tempted a bit.  I just wish we could have been with them longer!  But then it wouldn't ever be long enough.

We had to work extra the first half of the week in order to have Thursday off with Cam and Kami so we put in some pretty full days at the Mormon Battalion.  That means we don't get as much time in the ward.  The Battalion has been busier this week too.  Spring breaks from UVU, Arizona, St. George etc were this last week and that fills up our tours.  It is fun!  It makes the time fly by and we get to meet so many wonderful people.

We were able to get to the temple this week.  I went to the front desk and my recommend was expired.  They called someone and let me through - I think mostly because I am a missionary.  I guess we will have to get in and get it renewed by the Mission President.  I didn't even think to check it.  The San Diego temple is so beautiful and we love going there.  There are flowers blooming all over.

We have received a new Elder's Quorum president in our ward and he has called some dynamic people as councilors.  They are on fire and really making a difference in the ward.  They have started visiting people in the ward.  They meet every Thursday night and the Elders and us come, along with the other ward missionaries and we are going to start visiting ward members and investigators.  Roger went with them a couple of weeks ago and it was great.  The Elder's split with the ward members too.  We are excited to see how this affects the missionary work in the ward.  It has already made a difference.  So now we have Wednesday nights with our scripture class and Thursday nights with visiting.

Saturday was our Ward RS Birthday dinner.  Boy they did a great job.  The tables were each decorated by a different sister.  They each had a theme and were done so darling.  We had quiche  and fruit with a birthday cake and then had a great speaker from the stake.  I had two ladies that were supposed to come with me and one of them cancelled just before I was leaving to go get her.  Always disappointing when someone cancels.

Monday was the golf tournament.  It was a long busy day but it felt good when we went home.  We went early to help set things up and register the golfers.  They were all there to support the 4th grade program to bring the kids to Old Town for their history units.  People were generous and happy.  I was able to greet the golfers, tell them how pleased we were that they were supporting the kids and tell them the different ways they could spend more money besides the entry fee they had already paid!  They could buy raffle tickets for different prizes, there was a helicopter drop where 1000 balls were dropped from the helicopter on to the course and the one that was closest to the hole or in the hole won $1000.  You could buy a ball for $5.  They also could buy Mulligans for $5 each.  One of the senior couples donated his Harley Davidson to the cause and they sold tickets to win that for $50 a piece.  I think that I was there to help them gamble their money.....  Really people freely bought all of those things because the real cause was the kids and if they won it was secondary.  After they were all registered we were stationed out on a course to help with the different contests that they were doing.  It was nice to be there and to talk to each set of golfers as they came through.

We had to leave early from the tournament in order to get to the Mormon Battalion.  We had the 3-9 shift last night.  Three of the couples were involved at the golf tournament all day so that only left two couples to run the Mormon Battalion.  It was a fun evening again meeting so many interesting people and enjoying the girls.  Another on of the returned sister missionaries surprised us with a visit and it was so fun.  We love these girls and miss them so much when they are gone.

Today has been a great day of sleeping in, swimming for me and surfing for Roger, washing clothes, cleaning the apartment and goofing off.  Those days are few and far between but so much fun.

Off to the races...............

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

March 12, 2014

Oh no.  I forgot to write last week.  We really have had some crazy weeks lately and time is zipping by.  There really isn't a ton of new stuff to talk about.

I have been trying to help several people in the ward with family history stuff.  I am discouraged a bit with it all and I am hoping that I don't share that with those I am helping and discourage them.  Family Search is still a puzzle to me and I am learning - again - how to do things.  It seems it changes weekly.  I have a lady who has retired and was told in her patriarchal blessing years ago that she would do lots of genealogy work for her ancestors.  She is now ready to start and excited to get working on it.  Another lady is working on getting back to the temple.  She has a few things to iron out and is hoping that she will get help from her ancestors if she gets the work ready for her to do it in the temple.  I think that she is right.  Another lady struggles in life and is waiting to go to the temple. I feel that it will help her to do baptisms for the dead and get involved in their work.  She isn't as excited as the others and can't even remember her grandmother's name so that might just be a bust.  I just know that family history work is a place where the veil is so thin and where help from the other side is often given.  I am praying for knowledge in areas where I really don't have enough.  Or at least a bit of good luck every now and then.

We have another couple leaving from the Mormon Battalion in a few weeks.  It is just so sad to keep saying good bye to people we get so close to.  We keep saying that we will stay friends forever but we all know the reality of that.  We will see each other every now and but this experience of working so closely with them really is a very unique opportunity and blessing.  We appreciate it for what it is and say good bye with heavy hearts.  We also loose 6 very wonderful sister missionaries in three weeks.  I guess what really hits home is that there is one other couple who came out on their mission the same time we did at the Battalion and everyone else has been here a shorter amount of time.  We still feel so new.

We were able to usher at another play at the Old Globe Theatre with our tour guide friends Vera and Charles.  We are inviting them to many things and they haven't yet accepted anything to church functions.  They are wonderful people and we have been able to share many things about the church with them.  We are finding that they are starting to ask the questions and we are able to teach them that way.  The gospel would bless their lives and they would bless the church in so many ways.  We have about 9 people on our list of those who we want to share with.  Some are long shots and others seem more likely but we are always working to know who the Lord would have us teach.  Sometimes those who we think are the least likely are the ones who are most prepared to hear what we have to hear.

I am enjoying the swimming pool more and more.  The pool right next to our apartment has just started being heated.  I used to have to walk to the building across the parking lot to swim and it was in the shade.  Our pool is in the sun and is lovely!  What fun it has been to exercise several times a week that way!  We absolutely love this weather here.  Roger still gets to the beach several times a week too.  He has become an expert at looking up the different beaches in the area and finding out which one has the best waves.  Oh the things we learn on our mission!  He has sent a couple of texts off to people too!  I am quite proud of him.

I have spent lots of time putting together an application for an award for the Mormon Battalion.  The Conference of California Historical Societies gives an award each year and we are applying for it.  It has been quite a project which again, I am not quite equal to with my computer skills.  But I think it turned out good and represents what we do here.  I am working on stuff for web sites and Facebook too.

Monday is the golf tournament that has consumed everyone's time and efforts for such a long time.  We will work at the tournament from 7-2 and then get in the car to get to the Battalion by 3 until 9.  Long day.  It will actually be nice to have it all done and get back to normal for awhile.  Flag day is coming up in May and  that will be our next big push.

The Hastening the Work program of the church continues to be preached in every meeting here.  Our ward council is totally concerning with investigators and inactive people.  Of course our ward missionary council is all about missionary work and most every meeting is too.  We had a wonderful Sacrament meeting this last Sunday with one of our missionaries speaking and a councilor in our Mission Presidency speaking.  I wonder if the people here are getting tired of it all.  I am hoping that they will catch the vision.  We are working on keeping it simple and committing people to #1 Pray for missionary opportunities #2 Listen #3 Share and Invite.  As we talk to people the biggest challenge seems to be #3.  We use excuses as to why we shouldn't be bold and ask.  Maybe it will offend him, maybe they will think that I am only being a friend to bring them to the gospel, maybe they will not like me anymore etc.  We need to remember that God has asked us to do this and He will help us.  If we pray for the opportunity and He gives it to us, He will help us.  But we need to be brave.  We need to base our success on our invitations not on the acceptance of our invitations.  Have you prayed to have missionary opportunities, listened and invited?