Monday, May 26, 2014

May 26, 2014

Happy!  Happy!  Happy!  We have had three sets of visitors this week and it has been so much fun.

The first visitor we had this week was Landon (our grandson)!  He was here with friends just enjoying California and he actually called and let us see him for several hours.  Does that tell you what wonderful grandparents we are - that we have a grandson who would leave his friends (cute girls and guys) and come spend time with us?!!!  No it really tells you what a great kid Landon is that he knew how much it would mean to us if he came to see us!  Thanks Landon!  We took him to the Battalion where he got the great honor of being our soldier and then out to lunch in Old Town.  After that it was time to meet up with his friends so we took him back to the temple grounds and said goodbye.

 We love going back there and hugging the sisters!

Ready to go out on the town!
The next set of visitors was Abby Tucker, Mimi Rex and Stephanie Contreras!  They are the former Sister Tucker, Sister Rex and Sister Contreras 8 weeks ago and now are back into the real world.  They came back to San Diego for a visit and we were able to have them come stay in our little apartment for a few days.  Two on our futon and one on the couch with one bathroom between the 5 of us!  Our abode turned into a girl's dorm room with four flat irons, various makeup bags, wet swimming suits hanging to dry, towels everywhere etc.  You get the picture.  Interesting and oh so fun to be able to hug them and hear how things are going for them.  They left this afternoon, leaving our apartment feeling so large.

Me and my girls!

Our next happy wonderful group is Mike, Megan and wonderful little Kinley!  What a joy it is to have there here!  They came on Friday and thought that they would go to the beach on Saturday but the weather didn't cooperate so they went to the zoo instead.  We had planned to go to the beach with them but quickly rounded up some people to visit and met up with Mike and family later in the day.  They came to church with us Sunday and came and played games with us at night.  Monday is beach day for sure with a visit to Hodads - a Diner's and Dives favorite.  Tuesday is Disneyland and then a sad farewell!  Little Kinley is a sweet, happy little thing and it is so fun to get to know this older and smarter little girl.  I guess I don't really realize all that we are missing until I see how much people have changed!  
Selfies with Kinley!

The covered wagon at the Mormon Battalion

Mike, Megan and darling little Kinley are here!
In between all of this fun we have been able to do some actual missionary work.  Went to the office a couple of times this week,  did our Visitor's center shift, went on splits with our new ward's leaders, gave a presentation on one of my pioneer ancestors, Jane Vail Johnson at the DUP meeting, was introduced at the La Jolla Institute to the kids and met with the director there to try to better understand how we will be involved there in teaching and mentoring, cleaned the church and went to eight hours of church and meetings on Sunday.  What a great week!  

Off to the beach!  Maybe we can find someone to baptize there!  

Saturday, May 17, 2014

May 17, 2014

I usually write on Sunday but we are really booked up tomorrow and today is not as busy so I will try to get this done now.

We are back to being really busy and you won't hear me complain any more about that.  Now we will complain that we are too busy!  The stake president took us aside on Sunday last week and asked us if we would serve in another ward along with the one we already work with.  That will be good and fun to get to know a bunch more people.  So tomorrow starts at 7am with ward council for the 12th ward, Sacrament meeting at 9, 11 is the 10th ward council meeting, 12 is our missionary coordination meeting, 1 is Sacrament meeting for the 10th ward and then we have to decide if we can get our selves to stay for Sunday School and Priesthood/Relief Society!  Better take a lunch.  It is a bit overwhelming to think that we can get to know another ward but many of the senior couples have several wards.  I have been going on splits with some of the sister missionaries and one of the ward that they serve in is the 12th ward so I already have a head start on some of them.  At least this time as we start with a new ward, we have a better idea of what worked and didn't in the 10th ward and may not waste as much time at first.  We are starting to know things - sort of.  That's cool!

We have served at the Visitor's Center this week.  It was REALLY hot and not too many people were there to talk to.  It was over 100 degrees there.  I had a little crochet class and taught several sisters in the ward how to crochet an easy blanket.  That was a good time to get to know the hearts of those sisters and be able to help them.  Lives just aren't easy sometimes.  That night I got to go on splits with a sister missionary who had been transferred and it was her last night in her area.  She had been in that area for 8 months and the people had grown to love and respect her.  It was such a sweet experience as she said goodbye and they told her of their love for her and how she had blessed their lives!  We went into the humble homes of so many people who bore testimony and cried.  A real highlight for me to see what one little sister missionary had done in the hearts of so many.

Pete and Karen Belliston came back from their MONTH long cruise on Tuesday.  We had their car parked here for the month and I got to pick them up from the harbor and send them off home.  They looked refreshed and happy.  We just might have to try that one of these days.  Transfers were that day and since we are helping at the office we were all involved in many things that day.  Driving cars, picking up elders from the airport (one straight from the Phillipines!) delivering them to the transfer meeting, etc.  Kind of a crazy exciting time.  The missionaries don't really like to change but they are all excited about the changes at the same time.

We had a belated birthday party that afternoon for a sweet sister in the ward who was in the hospital when her birthday came.  She was so excited that people cared about her and came to it.  She kept inviting people and it was a good event to show her love.

We had the opportunity to have dinner in a wonderful home of a sweet couple in our ward.  They have just returned home from serving a mission and he has just been called to be our assistant ward mission leader.  It was fun to be with them and to see the sun set over the ocean from their backyard.  I usually make sure when I am in California on vacation that I am at a place where I can see the sun set each evening if possible.  I haven't had many opportunities here on our mission to do that.  It was great.

We had our monthly meeting with the other MLS couples this week and that is always good.  We get to relax with each other and learn what the others are doing that we might do in our wards.  We ushered last night at the LaJolla playhouse and saw a wonderful musical.  We get to be with good people while we do that and are able to meet lots of others.

I am sure there is more to tell but there is no more time.  So adios until next week.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

May 11, 2014 Happy Mother's Day!

Well it has been an interesting week to say the least. I have seen miracles over and over again and feel so blessed to be at this end of the week! Alan is in St. George in the Therapia Rehab Facility. It has been a struggle of worry and problems to get him there. Cory and Adam have bent over backwards to help Alan but in the end we all have realized that we can't really help. Alan needs what he is now getting. I am proud of Alan for being willing to go even though it is hard. That takes guts. Please join with me in praying for Alan. I am going to pray that his heart will be open to what he is learning and that he can find peace. He has been living in torment for such a long time. It feels good to know that he is in a place that he will be safe. The church is helping me pay for the rehab and I am so grateful to the bishop, our stake president for their work to find the right place. I was thinking that I would have to fly home to take care of the details but they came together and got it done for us. I am also grateful for all those who contribute to fast offering funds for this opportunity. The church has a miraculous program to help. I was feeling bad that I was having to rely on church funds to get Alan this help and I prayed a lot to find peace and know that it was OK to take the help. I was impressed with the feeling that I have helped others through my years of paying into the church and now it is time for me to allow others to help me. I also felt that I can "pay it forward" as I go on in my life and help others more. We are so blessed to have the inspiration of a Prophet to set up programs like this to bless each other. I feel so relieved and blessed.
We had the opportunity to have M. Russell Ballard here in San Diego and have a special missionary meeting with him on Monday. The YSA fireside he spoke at on Sunday was broadcast from here and then he had a special meeting the next morning with all of the missionaries from our mission. His daughter is our mission president's wife so we get special privileges  It always is amazing to be in a large group of missionaries! There is such a wonderful, strong feeling of strength and courage in a group like that. To sing as a missionary group, "Called to Serve" is a spiritual experience every time for me. What an honor! Elder Ballard told us that one of the most important things he has learned in his 85 years living and 40 years as a church apostle, is that it is important to set aside your personal worries and choose to serve the Lord. He told us to make a resolve today to turn over the rest of our time to God and His Son - completely! He promised us as we do that that our thinking processes will change and we will get acquainted with the Spirit. We will do things that we wouldn't normally do. He told us when we get impressions that are good - do them! Without waiting, without questioning - just do them. The most significant thing about the church is that we have the Holy Ghost. It was wonderful and after we were able to see our Mormon Battalion daughters there. We love them and miss being with them so much.
We then went on to lunch with many of the Senior Couples. Rubios has become one of our favorites!  That night was our Senior Couples FHE that we do monthly. Usually we have a speaker and then refreshments. It is pretty high brow and formal. This time was more casual and we were able to just enjoy each other and get to know everyone better. It was great fun!
We love our fellow missionaries.  These two couples go home soon. :(
Elder Goeringer teaching at
the Visitor's Center
Tuesday is Visitor's Center day for us. It was colder than usual and not a lot of fun to stand outside this week. OK - it was 64 degrees so I shouldn't complain but we are used to perfection around here! The breezes at the temple grounds are always a bit cool. It was slow at first and then picked up and we were able to talk to lots of people from so many walks of life. So interesting. It is a bit different at the temple grounds than at the Mormon Battalion. We are told at the MB to not proselyte unless asked directly since we are an Historic Site and not a Visitor's Center. We don't want to have people afraid that we will push the gospel on them there. But at the Visitor's Center people are coming to find out about the church and are more open to hearing about the gospel. That night we went on spits with our trio of sisters. The actually split in three ways and we were able to help teach a new member about the temple and family history. We then went over to a member's home in the next ward over from ours and participated in their scripture study class. We wanted to see if there is something they do that we might do to make our class better. The main thing they do at theirs that I think we should try to do is have some warm bread coming out of the oven just as the meeting ends! Yummmmmm!
We spent most of the day Wednesday at the office. We are starting to get the hang of the things that they are having us do and we can just go in and get to work. I spent lots of that day and the next shuffling between doing work for the office and making phone calls about Alan and to Alan.
Thursday was more office work and then to one of the best cooks in the mission's home for dinner with the elders. Home made potato salad, baked beans, teriyaki shish kabobs - you get the point. It is so nice to sit and eat a wonderful meal like that! We just don't take time to do that very often so most of our meals are on the run. We love being in their home and feeling their love. It was just what my aching heart needed that day. That night was a service project where we are making blankets, booties, baby hats etc. for a group called "Gently hugged". Lots of women showed up and we put together over 176 blankets among the other things. I was able to have some good talks with several of the sisters and help them with challenges while we worked. Good evening! Lots of phone calls this day organizing Alan's rehab.
Friday was supposed to be a bit of a make up P day from not getting one on Monday. We went to lunch at the LaJolla Institute with our Senior Couple friends there. They were in the MTC with us last August and are leaving soon. They were going to stay until August but decided they might as well leave soon because school will be out and not much goes on in the summer. Because they are leaving there are a few things that we are going to be able to do there this summer. We will be locking up and opening up the place off and on and be able to teach a few classes. There is a class that they do at Mesa College on Wednesdays that the director has asked if we could teach that too. Mesa College is right across the street from the office so we will just go in the office earlier that day and teach the class before working in the office. On Fridays they have a wonderful lunch at the Institute. For $3 the students come and get fed like kings and queens. This Friday they had one of the students who is a returned missionary from Chile come and bring slides of her mission and explain what it was like to be a missionary there. The secretary of the Institute researched with the student for recipes of Chilean food and they served a typical Chilean meal. We might have to make it there more often! get to know the students of course.
Saturday I took off to inspect sister's apartments and was supposed to make it to the church to help clean it but with last minute details and a last phone call with Alan before him going into the rehab center I didn't make it to the church. It was bitter sweet to talk to Alan for the last time for awhile and to feel his apprehension and fear. Oh I hope this helps. After hanging up from talking with Alan I was shaking and sad. I then went to one of the sister's apartments and they could see that I was troubled. As I got a hug from those sweet sisters I felt a peace "pour" into my body from the top of my head and flow to toes! It was at though I was being bathed with peace. My soul was quieted and I relaxed for the first time in a long time concerning Alan. The sister missionaries carry a strength with them that is so sweet and strong. I will always remember that moment. I went on to a baby shower for a sister in the ward. I crocheted a small little blanket for her and was asked to teach several to crochet. That could be fun. We are going to start that next week. We had dinner with friends and actually was able to play cards with them that night. It was hard to know that Mike was graduating from dental school yesterday and I wasn't there! Way to go Mike! It was fun seeing pictures as it was happening thanks to Kenny. I held it together and didn't cry until I saw the video of Mike and Kenny walking the stage together and then Kenny being able to put the (can't remember the name of it) thingy on Mike! So sweet and I am glad I got to see it even if it was on video. I am so glad that Kenny and Cameron were able to support Mike and be there. Thanks Megan. They say that sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven......
I got your packages Cameron, Kami and Aimee's family! yeah!! I love my skirt - got it on today and really enjoy having good lotion again. Haven't taken the time to buy any for a long time. We loved the letters from Aimee's gang! They are classics and are on our wall beautifying our apartment --- and making me happy. Thanks so much. Today has been quiet and I have taken the time to reflect on the mother's in my life. My mom was wonderful, happy, sweet and smiling. She was taken too quickly for me to know her that well but I have felt her with me so many times since then that I feel we have a wonderful relationship that I can't wait to enjoy. Judy was brought into our life by my very smart father choosing the best! I love you Judy and feel blessed to have you. You are the example that I am following so often and I can't say enough good about you. Thank you. You are perfect!
Being a mom is a scary thing. It takes guts. Elder Ballard said that being a parent "is not for sissies!" Boy is that ever true. As I look back on my time as a mom I smile with memories of joy and I cry with memories of great sorrow. I have made lots of mistakes and will continue to make more I am sure. But know - my family and my extended family that I love you all! You are my joy and my life. You are my blessing. I love you with all my heart. Mostly I feel so blessed to be associated with such wonderful people!

Monday, May 5, 2014

May 4, 2014

We keep adding things to what we do and it gets pretty confusing at times how we should dress, what name tag to wear and where we are to go.  We have name tags for missionary work, for ushering at the Old Globe Theatre, for being the Recording Secretary at the SD Professional Tour Guides, and should be getting another one for temple ordinance workers.  Plus there are lot of different things we don't have badges for.  The long and short of it is we are getting busier and happier.

I have been able to go on splits with our sister missionaries several times this last week.  What fun that is!  One of the sister missionaries went home a week into the transfer so that left her companion without one.  She had to move in to another couple of sisters' apartment and they have to go everywhere together.  They have two areas to cover and lots going on in their areas so I have been able to save them a couple of times.  I will be able to go with them many times in the next few weeks until the transfer.  It has been fun to go into the homes of people who are being taught the gospel - who are excited about the gospel and to teach them and feel the Spirit.  It is great to be with these wonderful sisters and see how good they are at what they do.  I have been humbled and been taught myself.  What a joy!

We were able to have our friends Cheri and Bart over for dinner this week and then played some games with them.  Cheri and Bart were less active when we came.  Cheri has come back and is enjoying the gospel fully.  Bart is having a harder time.  We love them both and are hoping to help them get to the temple and be sealed forever.  We have developed a great friendship with them and hoped it was mutual.  Today they blessed their grand daughter and asked Roger to offer the blessing.  It was a great honor and Roger was really touched.  

Our tour guide friends are starting to ask questions and be interested.  They are great people and we love them.  They will be our friends forever.  She called the other day and asked us to come to a showing of her husband's watercolor picture.  He had won first prize in contest and was being honored.  I wasn't able to go because I was on splits that night but Roger was able to go with them.  We took them a loaf of bread yesterday to say congratulations and they invited us in to talk.  We had a great time and when we went to leave they had many questions about the church.  They had been to one of the ward's parties and had been thinking about what they saw there.  They asked a lot of questions about missionaries and how they fund their missions, what kind of pressure is put on them to go, how they learn the languages etc.  They were really impressed.  They asked about why Mormons have so many kids.  Does the church make us do that and are we bad if we don't have lots of kids?  They were impressed that we had many people in our ward from other countries and that they were so sharp.  They said that they have more questions.  I am inviting her to a service project that we are doing on Thursday and she will be able to interact with all the good people there.

We have many people in the ward who have problems that we are trying to help them with.   Life is hard: divorce, depression, illness, disobedient kids, sick parents, death of friends and family members, old age, loss of testimony.....and the list goes on.  It is really interesting to see the different ways that people handle their challenges and get through them or don't get through them and wallow in them.  The strength of each of their own individual testimonies is what makes a huge difference.  The ability and knowledge that we can call on our Savior, who knows our challenges and how it feels to experience them, seems to be such a huge difference.  The time we really know what we believe deep in our hearts is when challenges come.  Do we really know how to use the Savior and His atonement?  Do we really believe that he understands our hearts?  Do we believe in His power to heal and strengthen?  Those who turn to God during hard times do so much better than those who turn away and curse God during those same challenges.  It is so easy to see the best way as we walk and talk with those people who are hurting.  Look around you and you will see too.

A sweet little lady, not a member, comes to all of the ward parties and events but never comes to church.  We have grown to love her and appreciate her sweet heart.  She heard me say a while ago that I didn't think I would be able to get the three baby blankets crocheted by the time the babies were born and I felt sad about that.  I did get them done - late but done.  But she didn't know that and she came over the other day with fleece for three baby blankets and we sat here and cut and tied them together - and talked for hours.  She also brought over lots of little things to send on with the blankets.  What a sweet lady.  She is single, never married, about 75 years old, retired, and could be sitting around feeling sorry for herself.  But she runs around doing little things like this all of the time.  She wears an angel pin on her shirt which reminds her to be an angel of good.  Then the other day I got a thank you note from her thanking ME for the wonderful afternoon!  I can learn lots from good people like that.  Thank God for the Siela's in the world.

Roger bore his testimony on Sunday and I wish you all could have been there to hear it.  He said some great things and was very tender.  He told about how his renter has left his apartment in bad shape.  He said that he called home to his son and asked for help and how so many of you have come together to do the hard work that is necessary there.  We feel a bit guilty that we can't be there to do it ourselves but we also feel so blessed to have kids that just jump to help and just get it done.  Thanks so much for willingness to help there so we can be here!  We are so blessed.  He expressed his deep love and appreciation for you all.

We love you all and miss you so much!  We feel blessed to be here in such beautiful circumstances.  It would be so much harder to be away from you all if we were not having so many wonderful experiences.  We pray daily for you to be strong and obedient.  We pray for your happiness and health.  We pray that you will choose good friends and good activities.  We pray that we will all be able to be together in the eternities!