Monday, June 30, 2014

June 29, 2014

Well, last Sunday was so much fun!  My sister Kim and her husband Tom surprised us with a visit!  Oh I just wish we could have played at the beach with them a few days too!  It was fun to catch up and to play some cards with them.  We went to our Stake Conference and came home to eat dinner before heading off to the Single Young Adults Conference.  But just before we were leaving Kim and Tom said they could come by so we stayed here and got to see them.  It was just like a "day of rest" and was really fun to be able to relax a bit.  Yay!

 It was a great stake conference.  There was a beautiful lady who is a convert that spoke.  She told about how she was acquainted with members when she was in high school and respected them.  She asked them many questions about the church and they were always kind and answered.  Then when she went to college she worked with several members.  Again she asked questions and they were kind and answered.  But no one along the line ever invited her to anything!  She said that she didn't look like a typical member of the church and maybe they didn't believe in her.  She finally went to the church to see if she could find someone to teach her and no one was there.  She was driving away and felt so sad that she couldn't find anyone there when she saw about 35 missionaries come walking out of the church.  She turned around excitedly and ran up to them excitedly asking if someone would teach her! They all were pretty excited and just hoped that she lived in their area!  She wished so badly that someone along the way had invited her to be taught - she would have done it and it would have saved her many years of pain and sorrow.   It was a real testament to me that we need to make sure that we don't miss the opportunity to invite someone.  They might say no but we won't know if we don't ask.

The Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park
Monday was P day and I was able to get a swim in while Roger went to the beach to exercise.  I got a few things done around the apartment, we studied for our classes that are Tuesday and Thursday with the Mesa College kids and our class Wednesday night with the ward, got some bills paid, bought a washer for the house in Orem, got some groceries etc.  That night for Family Home Evening with the YSA ward was at the Spreckles Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park.  It has one of the largest outdoor organs in the world and every Monday through the summer they have FREE concerts - just the right price for struggling missionaries and students.  It was fun to be there with the kids, on a perfect San Diego evening, hearing beautiful music outdoors!

Some of our wonderful institute kids!
We have to be at the mission office for our class on Tuesday by 10:00 am and that is just enough time to get a bit of exercise in before the class if we get up and get going in the morning.  Class was good with the three regular kids.  One of the girls is a leader at Young Women Camp this week so she won't be there till next week.  We have just enough time after class to talk with the kids a bit before taking off to the Temple Visitor's Center for our 12-3 shift.  It was another beautiful, perfect day at the temple and it was fun to walk around and visit with those who come to see the temple and the grounds.  I talked with three different couples on their honeymoons who came to do a session.  Lots of families come by who are here visiting from Utah and Arizona. I also talked with three different missionaries who have their calls and are visiting temples while waiting to leave.  I was able to talk with one couple who had lots of questions about the temple and what we do in there and why they can't go in and walk around.  People just don't understand that - and also why it is closed on Sundays.   We were trying to decide if we should go to a different place this Tuesday for dinner than the regular but why mess with WONDERFUL!  So we stopped off at Rubios for our $1.50 fish tacos!  Yummmmm!  Every other Tuesday at the 12th ward we have a Missionary Correlation Meeting with the elders, mission leader and leaders in the ward at 6:30.  The 12th ward has a good handle on helping the missionaries.  It is cool how when the missionaries mention someone they are teaching, the leaders come up with someone in the ward to pair them up with - to go visit them with the elders etc.  That makes such a difference with how the investigators feel about things.  Good job 12th ward!  We went home tired and fulfilled.
San Diego Fair

The food offerings were unending and unbelievable - artichoke sandwich?
garlic battered mushrooms? shrimp chips?
Wednesday was a treat for us.  One of the members in the 10th ward invited us to go to the San Diego County Fair with them.  They had some free tickets and wanted to treat us!  What a fair!  It was huge.  It was amazing all of the things there were to eat, all of the rides that they had brought in just for the fair, the entertainment and all of the talents they showcased there.  It was a beautiful day and so much fun.  We always feel so humbled when others want to show their appreciation to the missionary force by doing something nice for us.  Wow.  We got home and had a quick nap, did some finishing touches on our lesson for Scripture night and took off again.  We had a good class.  We have decided to study the Pearl of Great Price since that is what we are already teaching the Institute class on.  Everyone was excited to study it and we had great participation and good people there.  We love these people.

Thursday was Institute for Mesa college kids and we had several of the kids brought others and we had 5 kids there.  It was fun to have a few more and to have their insights on what we were studying.  After class we stayed and helped out at the office.  I was so excited because I took such a great video that I was going to share with you all.  But then when I went to look at it I didn't really get it.  I just have a still photo.  Our 12th ward elders were in the office and Elder Soffe (the senior elder in charge of cars) Elder Goeringer and one of our students gave a rousing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner with waxed papers and forks.  I think there are times when it is necessary to be a little foolish and laugh!  We love these people!
Oh this doesn't do it justice.  If only I had the video!
Friday we were able to exercise and get to the office for our afternoon there.  Everyone is getting ready for the new mission president.  He is arriving on Saturday.  He will meet with the outgoing president for two hours Saturday morning and then meet the mission office people  and the assistants and then he had them plan visits so that he can spend his first day in the mission teaching.  His name is John Schmitt and he is a lawyer from Texas.  His wife is a medical doctor and they have four kids that will be coming along with them!  Should be different than what we have had.  We know that he will make changes but no one knows in what way so everyone is just waiting to be surprised.  Should be busy in the next few weeks figuring things out.

We went to the temple today - on Saturday and did a session, visited some people and came home to plan for next week's lessons and get organized.  Sunday was our usual marathon.  Lots of church and meetings preparing for next week's visits etc.  Our stake has been chosen to be a pilot stake for the new teaching program for adult curriculum.  It is basically the same program that the youth have been doing and we are to start that program next week.  We have been given a website to go to and teachers and students are to go there regularly and report how they fell about the difference.  Should be interesting.  I have been asked to teach Relief Society on the 13th so I will have to figure it out fast.  We put a roast on before we left to church and decided that we should try to share it with someone so we invited our 12th ward elders over to eat with us.  They came willingly and were pleased to have a Utah Sunday meal.  Roast, mashed potatoes, gravy, salad, vegetables etc.

It has been a good week.  We are feeling good about the classes we are teaching.  We love so many people here and see why we are here often.  There are people with situations that we have been through and understand better than others so we can be helpful.  We are doing so many things that we enjoy and that help us feel needed here.  Thanks so much for prayers on our behalf.  We love you all and miss you so very much!

Walking Abby Road - you have to be a Beatles fan
to understand this.

Chocolate covered Bacon!  No

More food!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

June 22, 2014

Monday was my birthday and it was a bit strange to be here  on a mission for that.  I was excited to actually get time to swim and get some exercise.  Last week was impossible to do that with all of the early breakfasts.  I also went on a short walk and enjoyed the amazing weather and beautiful flowers.  California has so many wonderful flowering trees and bushes that Utah does not.  I got lots of Facebook Happy Birthday posts and some phone calls and that was nice.  Roger bought me some flowers and some chocolate covered raisins.  We had a chance to get a bit of cleaning in the apartment and some planning and preparing for the week.

 Then we went off to Hodads for my birthday dinner.  Hodads is a little hamburger joint in Ocean Beach that has been on Diners and Dives and is quite famous.  Every time we drive by there is a line waiting to be seated.  I guess it isn't necessarily my favorite place to eat but it is a great hamburger and an experience.  It was fun to go there and do something a bit different than the norm.  We then came back and changed into missionary clothing and went to the La Jolla Single's Family Home Evening.  It was held at the bishop's home!  What a great place to have singles meet.  They have a lovely swimming pool and a nice flat screen TV.  They had taped the World Cup Soccer game and watched that together, ate pizza and wings and swam.  It was fun to meet more of the singles and talk to them.  What a great group of kids.  Many of them are in to post grad degrees or working decent jobs.  There are even some of them matching up!  It was a nice evening.

Tuesday was our Institute class for Mesa College kids.  Three of them showed up and it was a nice discussion.  We are enjoying studying the Pearl of Great Price with them.  It is a great little gem!  Then on to the Visitor's Center at the temple.  It was a beautiful day.  The first half of our shift was busy but it really slowed down and we got some time to study while sitting there.  Then off to our regular Tuesday dinner place - Rubios.  Love those fish tacos!  Tuesday night was visiting.

We were asked to come into the office on Wednesday this week.  Roger needed to help the guy in charge of apartment get an apartment ready for new missionaries coming in this next week.  Roger did that and I helped doing office stuff.  We are trying to come up with an idea to inspire the elders and sisters to keep their cars clean.  We are going to give a certificate for the companionship that has the cleanest car and have a shiny hubcap that is their trophy to have in their apartment until the next zone meeting.  They have asked me to design the certificate and make it fun and cute.  See - its not all drudgery to serve a mission!  We have fun there.  Any good ideas on what you did in your mission or that you have heard of?  As we got home here our tour guide friend Vera was here with a little orchid plant to say Happy Birthday and we stayed and talked.  We had a great talk and I really enjoy her.  She is a positive happy person and I love her as a sister.  She asked a lot of questions about the church, temples, missionaries etc.  She told me all about her life growing up in Europe during the end of the war, the bombings, etc.  Very interesting and I found myself being so grateful for the country I was raised in.  We were able to make some really good visits this week.  Many people who no one has been able to catch previously, we were able to make contact with.  It felt so good to knock on door and have people actually answer and be friendly.  We have invited them to the RS meeting Thursday and the BBQ on Friday.

10:00 Institute class started our day Thursday.  We have the class at the mission office and use the Mission President's office for our class room.  The Mission President is never there - well hardly ever - he usually uses the office in his home.  So after the class we stayed and about 4 hours and helped out there.  It feels good that we are beginning to know things well enough that we can just get in an do things.  I think that the office couples really are feeling relieved because of the things we do to help.  That feels good too.  We got home with enough time to relax a bit before I took off to the Relief Society evening meeting.  We learned about healthy eating and had a Zumba class!  Oh - I am not in great shape these days!  I was able to take a sister from the ward with me.  Then home to cut Roger's hair, and relax a few minutes before bed.

Our friends Vera and Charles
We were able to go on a FAM tour with the tour guide association.  The south part of San Diego has been run down for a very long time and there is a group trying clean it up and make it a great place to live and visit.  They hosted the tour guides to come to the area and see what is there that tours might be interested in.  It was a fun day being with our tour guide friends.  We toured Aquatica - a great water park down there!  It is affiliated with Sea World and is a quality place.  Krista would have loved seeing it.  We also toured an estuary.  What is an estuary you ask?  It is where fresh and sea water meet.  We were told all of the reasons why we need to preserve estuaries and walked through it and saw birds and lots of swamp lands.  I guess to some that would be really interesting.  We then were treated to lunch in a wonderful new restaurant that sits right on the beach and were able to tour the rooms and see the views.  We drove with Vera and Charles and had a great time with them.  We ended the tour with checking out the farmer's market there and bought some bread.  We asked them to come to our BBQ for the ward that night but they declined. :(  The BBQ was well attended.  One of the three that we invited came and we were a bit sad but the one that came was wonderful.  She is a new Philippine member with a daughter who is 12 and not a member.  The father isn't really thrilled with his wife joining the church and didn't want his daughter to join when mom did.  But Elsie and her daughter Danel showed up at the BBQ.  We were able to get some of the young women to come and make friends and the young women president - an amazing lady - came and got her excited about going to young women camp which starts Tuesday.  The only trick with that was we needed to get the dad now to say yes and let her go.  I got a text the next day from the young women's president and she said that Danel called and her dad said yes.  She said that one of the young women wanted her to go really badly so she said that she prayed all night for the dad to say yes!  When she found out she cried and cried.  Prayers are answered.  I think that it will be a wonderful experience for Danel to make new friends and feel the Spirit.  Success feels good and we are really excited!
Aquatica Water Park

Not a good picture but you get the point.  It was a lovely
place to have lunch!
We took off early Saturday to do apartment inspections.  Its always fun to meet with the elders and the sisters in their apartments and try to help them out with problems there.  One the whole they do quite well in keeping things clean. We went visiting in the afternoon to a lady in a rehab center.  Then on to Hometown Buffet - one of our regular places when we have a coupon, of course.  We were asked to see if we could take a Muslim foreign exchange student to a bonfire that the YSA was having last night.  We felt it would be better for him to go with some of the kids so we worked out a ride for him.  It is our Stake Conference this weekend so we had our adult meeting that night.  What a great meeting!  It was all about hastening the work and family history.  All of the speakers were converts and told about their missionary story and some of the things that people did right and some of the things that they did wrong.  It was very informative.  Just what I needed.

Well, today is Stake Conference so we aren't starting at 5:30!  Yay!  We have our Stake Conference at 10:00 and then we will go to the YSA conference meeting at 2:00 this afternoon.  That will be a very different Sunday for us.  We might even get a bit of a nap in!

We love being here in beautiful San Diego and having good things to do each day.  Being a missionary and wearing that tag is a humbling and empowering thing all at the same time.  I have decided that I need to be braver and open my mouth more.  Why not?  There was a lady who spoke last night who had known people in the church for years and that non of them had invited her to come to anything or to be taught the gospel by missionaries.  She had asked questions from all of them and no one invited her!  She wished that they had earlier.  She finally had to beg to be taught!  We have such a wonderful truth!  Let's share it boldly and bravely.  Why not?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

June 15, 2014

What a fun week this has been!  Busy but fun!

Waffle day

This week is finals week at UCSD and that is where the kids at the La Jolla Institute go to school.  So each morning the Institute serves a yummy breakfast and encourages the kids to come get a good meal before taking their tests.  The secretary arrives at 6:00 am but told us to come at 9:00 to help her out when the rush comes.  So each morning we arrived then and washed dishes and tried to keep up with her.  She is an amazing lady who has endless energy it seems.  Monday was waffle day.  We also had all kinds of fruit to put on the waffles, famous buttermilk syrup and juice.  After the rush left, several of the boys at the Institute and the director decided to check out the waves.  The Institute is in a beautiful exclusive La Jolla neighborhood and there is a private beach access that the Institute kids can use.  Of course, Roger had to check the area out too.  They took off for several hours and bonded at the beach.  That's what you do at the Institute - bond with kids - it is hard work!  We went home, got ready to have a part member couple over for hot dogs and games.  It was a good night with them.

 Tuesday was Crepes and Blintz day.  I got Roger involved in making the crepes for awhile and Sister Watts was amazed at what a pro he is.  He had to leave to go teach our other Institute class at Mesa College and I did lots and lots of dishes and tried my hand at the blintzes - crepes with a cheese sauce rolled inside and then friend in butter!  It was a work intensive morning and we were glad to leave to our shift at the Temple Visitor's Center.  And then on to Rubios!  About every other Tuesday you will find us at Rubios for dinner because the fish tacos are THE BEST!  And they are only $1.50 on Tuesdays!

Tuesday night was our new ward's Missionary Correlation Meeting.  Also the new ward's temple sealing assignment, our old ward's temple endowment assignment and a few other things.  We went to the missionary meeting which went on too long to go to any other things and we went home tired and glad to be home.  I had to finish up the write-ups on the Marines that we interviewed by Tuesday night so I spent that evening typing and retyping them.  The Flag Day Celebration was Saturday and I had to get it all in so they could put together the program for that day.  I think that after all of the blood, sweat and tears they turned out good.  I really enjoyed that assignment and loved learning about the Marines and their sacrifices for our county.  Bless them.

Wednesday - Cinnamon and Orange Rolls with Tropical
and Strawberry Smoothies
Wednesday was Sweet Rolls and Smoothie day.  Sister Watts made the dough and rolled out the rolls the night before - put them in the refrigerator and they finished rising in the fridge.  She just pulled them out of the fridge a half hour before cooking the next day  - beautiful sweet rolls!  Good trick.

I dropped off Roger at the mission office after the Institute and went to visit a lady in our new ward.  She had hip surgery a while ago and was doing physical therapy after and broke her leg.  I took her several books and some yarn and patterns and refreshed her memory on how to crochet.  She just kept saying - "Oh this is just what I needed to do!"  I know how she feels.  Crocheting is my therapy too.  We had a great chat and she had such a great attitude.  It was a nice visit for me and for her and we made fast friends.  She was so grateful for everything.  I was blessed by her and the opportunity to visit with her!

 I went back and picked up Roger and we went to visit another man from our new ward.  He is an African American and is about 60 years old.  He told us his life story and how he was raised by his mom for a year and then she decided she didn't want to raise him anymore so she called his grandma and told her to come get him.  He was raised by his grandma until he was 9 and then his mom wanted him back so that she could get money from the government.  She didn't take care of him at all and he was hungry most of the time.  By the time he was 14 he was pretty much on his own and then he ended up joining the Navy and lying about his age so that he could be fed and paid.  His life just went on with challenges over and over again.  Wow, I was amazed at the kind of life he had.  It made me appreciate the good life I have had.  We are all so blessed.  Sister missionaries stopped him on the street several years ago and were persistent.  He is now a member of the church and loves it.  It has changed his life and he is so much happier now.  Again I was blessed to be able to talk to this man.
Thursday - Omlet day with fruit
and juices!  Brother Mackay does the
cooking and the kids love it!

Thursday is Omlet day!  The favorite day if you poll the students.  Brother Mackay - the director of the Institute cooks the omelets made to order.  There is everything you could imagine that could go on an omelet in little dishes and the kids choose what they want, he sautés it up, dumps it on a plate, cooks the eggs, puts the sautéd stuff back on the omelet and folds it.  All the while it gives him an opportunity to talk individually with each student as he cooks.  It kept us busy cutting, cooking bacon and sausage, making hash browns, washing dishes etc.  Roger had to go to the Mesa College Institute Class and I stayed until we were done.  Omlet day went on and on.  Kids kept coming and we kept cooking but finally about 1:00 we called it quits.  Our little Institute class has had 4 kids in it the last two times and Roger feels it is going good.  He loves teaching it.  We are teaching the Pearl of Great Price.  What a great bunch of scriptures!  Try it - you'll like it!

Cheddar, Pepper Jack Cheeses, a
mild Jalapeño pepper,
ham, sausage.....
Bacon, green onions, zucchini, sour
cream, colored peppers.....
Green peppers, onions, tomatoes, salsa, cilantro
broccoli, mushrooms, cucumbers, squash......
The Finished Product!
We worked at the mission office on Thursday and got lots accomplished there.  I have been retyping into a computer program all of the cell phones and giving them new codes.  There has to be monitoring of the cell phones and when and how much the missionary use them.  If they talk after 10:30 there is a report - if they talk longer than normal there is a report.  It really is amazing all that has to be done and monitored!  I helped with getting the mail and boxes into the proper zone's bins so that they can go out to missionaries on P days.  Roger helped with cars and shopping for the needs of the missionaries.

Here is Roger - bonding again with the kids.  Hard work!
 Friday at the Institute was Frittatas and Leftovers.  Many of the kids had already finished finals and left for home but there still were some stragglers hanging around.  The Frittatas are kinda like a quiche but without a crust.  It was made by putting a bunch of whipped up eggs and all of the leftovers from the omelets into a pan and cooking it like a casserole.  It was really good and quite easy.  We had left over bacon, sausage, made some applesauce bread with leftover applesauce and leftover chocolate chips and nuts, left over fruit and juices and anything else that was hanging out in the fridge.  The Institute is basically closed for the next week or so so everything had to be eaten up.  It was!  The afternoon was spent at the office helping out there.  We stopped on the way home and picked up a pizza.

Ward ladies at the shower.  Love them.
 Saturday started with doing a bit of house cleaning and laundry - we kinda missed our P-day on Monday.  I took off to a shower for one of the ladies in our ward and rushed home.  I have been making a quick and easy crocheted blanket for those who have babies in the ward and everyone really loves them.

Then Stacia and Jeneca came!!!  It was so much fun to hug them.  It felt so good.  We talked for a bit and then went over to La Jolla beach to relax a bit.  I think we all got a nap.  Sadly, the only picture I took of them was this one napping on the beach.  I can't believe I didn't get one of us together!  We drove them over to check on the Institute and show it to them and then we had to run home, change and get to the Flag Day Celebration at the Mormon Battalion.

We were able to greet the Marines that we had interviewed the last few weeks.  What great men they are and it was so fun to see them and interact with them again.  They were so impressed with the whole Flag Day Celebration and were in tears with being honored.  They had a program with entertainment, a wonderful speech, more entertainments and then honoring the Marines and telling a bit about them.  We feel blessed to have been able to be a part of this event.

Our Marines that we interviewed.  We were able to sit in their homes and interview them and learn their stories, feel
their pride at their service and understand their service.  God bless them!
Presenting the colors
Stacia and Jeneca came toward the end of it and then we were able to go out to dinner with them before they took off for home.  It was good to be able to spend a bit of time with them.

It is now Sunday.  Nothing new this Sunday.  Church then home for a great meal of leftovers from last nights dinner with Stacia and Jeneca.  We just got to FaceTime with Quinn, Kayley and darling little Mila!  The highlight of the day for sure!  Thanks for Father's day cards Quinn and Heather's family!  We love you all!

Monday, June 9, 2014

June 8, 2014

Hi everyone!
It really can't be a whole week later than last time I wrote.  I can tell when we are keeping busy.  Time flies by faster.  Let's see if I can remember what we did this week...

Monday was DUP.  I have joined the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.  Monday was a regional meeting so I got to meet a lot of new people.  I am really enjoying being a part of this group and learning more about my ancestors and others who crossed the plains.  Monday night was the Senior Couple's Family Home Evening.  It was the last one for President and Sister Clayton so they spoke.  It was a nice evening with all of the senior couples - over 20 couples - and we really enjoy each other.  We feel blessed to be associated with such a great group and hope that we will keep in touch as we return home.

Helping out in the office
Tuesday was our first Institute class.  We prepared and worried a bit and then went to the class and only one student came.  Kind of a let down.  But we had a nice visit with Wes.  He left on a mission about a year and a half ago and when he was in the MTC he suddenly had miserable pains in his hips.  He had an acute attack of arthritis and they eventually ended up sending him home.  He is going to school now and has been hired by a family to drive their son around.  Their son is a disabled service missionary and can't drive.  So Wes drives him from Institute classes to the Bishop's Storehouse to do other service etc.  He was sick that day so it was just Wes.  So we decided to not really get into the lesson and wait to start until Thursday when more come.  We have our regular Visitor's Center assignment each Tuesday so we went there and had a good time speaking with people who come to the temple.  We mostly talk to members but about 10% are non-members.  The members are wonderful.  Cute families, missionaries (they can only go once each 90 days of their mission), youth groups etc.  The non members are usually interested and don't mind us teaching them things.  Only a few are argumentative.  My cousin Gale Tenney's wife works in the Distribution Center there on the temple grounds so I have made it a part of our day there to go in and get a hug from Barbara.  She is so sweet and always reminds me of how good my mom and dad were to her and Gale as they were younger.  It is nice to have them there.  A touch of family feels good.

Manning the phones in the office
We usually try to do a session after our shift and then it is becoming tradition to go to Golden Spoon to get a frozen yogurt.  The owner is a member and gives missionaries a free cup!  And then on to Rubio's for fish tacos!  On Tuesdays they are only $1.50 and we love them.  That night was a new member lesson in our new ward.  The ward mission leader has the priests give the lesson and we sit in to help with making sure things are taught right.  What a great idea.  Those young men did such a good job and were so darling.  The lady is a real challenge to teach because she likes to talk so much but they did great.

Wednesday was a day for visiting people in our wards.  We caught a lady home who has not been an active member since she was a teenager.  She married a non member and quit coming.  She was very friendly and still lets visiting teachers come by but seemed totally not interested in any activity.  We visited with a lady in a care center also.  She had a hip surgery and when she was doing physical therapy to get better after the surgery, she broke her leg!  So now she has to stay in the care center for 2 months or more until everything heals - no pressure on her leg or hip for that long - none.  No getting up to the bathroom either.  Just lay in bed.  She had a great attitude and a big smile.  I am going to go back and teach her how to crochet and see if we can't help her stay smiling.

Zone conferences were Thursday and Friday.  That is they day that car inspections go on and Grandpa is working closely in the office with the senior missionary who is in charge of cars. The missionaries drive their cars to the Zone conference and leave the keys in the car and then we go around and inspect the cars to see if they are clean, fluid levels are OK, no new dents etc.  I couldn't go on Thursday because I needed to stay behind and teach our Institute class but Grandpa went and helped out.  I taught our class at 10:00. Again, only one person came.  But the Institute director told us that "teaching the one" is an important thing.   We then went on to lunch at one of the ladies home in our ward.  She invited her non-member friend and we had a wonderful lunch of cauliflower soup, bread, fruit and strawberry short cake.  (And I wonder why my clothes are fitting differently than when I left!)  We went from there to an interview with a marine.  We are interviewing them so that we can honor them on Flag Day at the Mormon Battalion.  This has been a fun assignment.  We have been able to sit with these retired marines and hear their life story and how being a marine has helped shaped their lives.  This marine had been in the marines for over 20 years and then decided to retire so that he could spend more time with his family.  We hear of those who are deployed now and they are gone for 6 months or so but he told of being gone for over a year at a time and missing so much of his family life.  He told us of his struggles to keep his marriage together and many more sacrifices he made for his country.  I guess I used to feel a little miffed when I heard all of the perks that retired marines get but after hearing their sacrifices I am glad that the nations gives back to those who serve us.  We hurried home from that interview so that I could get ready to go to Relief Society.  I had called several sisters in the ward and told them I would pick them up.  So we got to the church building and no one was there!  Oh dear.  After much thinking and pondering I realized that I had put down on my calendar that there was RS but hadn't put down anything else and I had forgotten that we have TWO wards stuff on my calendar and the meeting was at the other ward.  The women I had in the car with me didn't much want to go to a ward they didn't know and crash it so we went to have some ice cream and had a fun talk and went home.  I am not sure if my poor brain can handle all the different things we are doing?!!

Friday Forum at the Institute
Friday was zone conferences again and we both went and inspected cars for a couple of hours.  It was fun to be there with other senior couples.  We took off from there to go to the Institute and help with the last Friday Forum and lunch for the year.  The secretary works hard to feed over 30 people each Friday and we help out.  We made taco salad with fresh fruit salad, a yummy avocado bean salsa, and cherry cobbler.  About 35 people came and we were able to meet many more of the students there.  We helped clean up and then took off to see if we could catch some people in their homes and visit them.

Bethany and cute Ripkin!
We set up Saturday to interview with the last of the marines.  It was up in Oceanside.  He actually lives right on the beach in a little 300 square foot bungalow.  We sat and talked with him for a couple of hours and again heard stories that brought tears to our eyes.  Bethany and her family were up at Newport Beach and had just told us that they weren't going to be able to make it down to San Diego to see us so we drove up to see them.  We only got about an hour and a half until we had to get back but it was so much fun to hug the grandkids and meet little Ripkin!  I wanted more and was really sad when we had to go back.  Taylor was there with Bethany's family so we got to see her too.  Oh I miss the kids and it is so strange to see how much they have changed when we see them!

Sunday was our new routine of starting at 6:45 for Ward council and then meetings all day long.  Layne and Chris came down to see us so we decided that after two Ward Council meetings, two Sacrament meetings and one Mission Correlation meeting that we could leave.  We had thought that Bethany's family were coming down so we planned to BBQ hot dogs and stuff and play at the Institute building.  When it was just Layne and Chris coming we decided to eat here and then go to the Battalion if they wanted to.  We totally loved meeting Chris and enjoying them here in our little home away from home.  We introduced them at the Mormon Battalion and went through a tour with them.  It is always fun to go "home" to the Battalion and hug our girls!

It was a busy week and was a good one.  More good stuff coming up this week!  I am tired all of the time and even end up getting a little nap in some days just to get through to the end of the day.  But it is a good tired and we are happy.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

June 1, 2014

Kinley and Daddy playing in the sand
We had a good time with Mike, Megan and Kinley until Wednesday when they and to get home and we had to get back to being missionaries. Sunday was not as long as last Sunday because we left after only 6 hours. Mike and family came to our second ward with us for Sacrament meeting and then we left to go to the Mormon Battalion and took them back home to play cards with us and enjoy being together. Monday we took off and went to the beach. Boy it was packed! I guess that is what you would expect for Memorial Day. We had a hard time finding a parking space but it was a wonderful day once we got there! Kinley loved the sand and played happily all day long. Mike spent some time in the water with Grandpa and they had a great time. We were going to try to get to Hodads but that didn't happen. We spent too much time at the beach and had to take off. We had been invited to a BBQ with a part member family who had invited a bunch of their non member friends over. We were thrilled to be able to meet so many good people and have opportunity to share what we believe and make friends. Mike and family went to have a quick nap and dinner and then came over for more card games. It was such a fun day of play and relaxing.
I was planning on going to Disneyland with them on Tuesday and Grandpa was going to go to his favorite San Clemente beach but during the night I remembered that we had committed to usher at the Old Globe Theatre on Tuesday night! Oops! So we had to change our plans for Disneyland for Wednesday. Mike, Megan and Kinley went on without us and we worked at the Visitor's center at the temple that afternoon and did our ushering that night. It is alway nice to usher. We get lots of opportunity to be with some of the people we are working with.
Kinley LOVES the carousel! 
Ice cream with Grandma!
Wednesday then was Disneyland and San Clemente. It was fun to be able to go to the park with them and do it on a little slower scale than with the bigger kids. We were able to go back to their hotel in the middle of the day and have a nap and go back to the park later when it was cooler. They only problem with that was that there were more people there when we got back. I think there were lots of kids from California doing school trips. Oh well, Disneyland is ALWAYS busy it seems. Grandpa came and picked me up and we took off feeling relaxed and ready to be missionaries again.
Chef Roger - that's not even half of them!
 Thursday and Friday were busy and we got back into the swing of things. We spent time at the office helping there both days and cleaned out another senior couple's apartment. They had to leave earlier than planned and no one else is coming to stay in their place so it had to have all of the furniture etc. moved out. We went to the Institute at La Jolla and helped prepare the Forum luncheon there. It was the last day for the missionaries who we are replacing for the summer so there were lots of kids that came to say goodbye. The secretary fixes a huge, wonderful meal on Fridays and the kids come and pay a whopping $3 for it! They had shish kabobs, rice, rolls, fruit salad and a wonderful cabbage salad. For dessert they had brownies, ice cream and some yummy toppings. Some of the kids come and help chop and cook and we did our share of washing dishes and cooking. Grandpa was the chef and cooked and cooked an cooked. It was a nice event for the Coombs and it was fun to help out and be with the kids there. What a nice assignment the Institute is? We will enjoy our limited time there and I am sure we will be sad when it is over! We have been asked to teach a Pearl of Great Price class on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the Mesa College Institute and then other classes at La Jolla as needed. We will be hanging out there with the kids and allowing them to be there when the director can't be here. They love playing Grandpa in ping pong!

The Coombs and their feast at the Institute

Saturday was cleaning the church in the morning and then we went with Vera (our tour guide friend) and then picked up her husband Charles and grand daughter and went over to our high councilman's home to see his paintings. Charles and Bro. Fisher both have an interest in painting. We wanted them to be able to meet and spend time with the Fishers so we invited them to talk painting. It was a nice afternoon with good people. We are going to invite Charles and Vera to church this Sunday. Once a quarter our ward has a special Sacrament meeting that they call a "Preach My Gospel Sacrament Meeting" where all of the talks are specially designed to be good for visitors and investigators to come to. Wish us luck and maybe say a prayer or two that they will come. Saturday night we did our first interview with a former marine who they are honoring on Flag Day on June 14th at the Mormon Battalion. They have asked us to interview five former marines and find out about their service and what it has done to bless their lives and the lives of others. They I have the great honor of introducing them before they receive their awards. It was fun to hear this sweet man tell of his service to his country and how he felt the marine corp had made them the man he is today.
Today was a marathon church day again. Our new ward has just change their Sacrament time from 9:00 to 8:30 AM! That means that ward council begins at 6:45 AM! Church from 8:30 - 11:30. Our other ward's ward council is at 11:00, Missionary correlation at 12:00 and church from 1:00 to 4:00. Boy we were hungry and tired when we got home! But it was a good day! We came home to a quick spaghetti meal. Only we didn't have any hamburger so Grandpa fried up some weird smelling meat to go with his and I had mine with just pain sauce. We didn't plan very well for our great Sunday meal but it was quick and we were very hungry!
A new week starts tomorrow. It should be an interesting one. There will be lots of interviews with marines - they love to talk! We will start with our new group of kids at Mesa College. And lots of stuff with members of our wards. I keep thinking about a quote from Boyd K. Packer about what Grandfather told him one time. He was struggling with doing something that Pres. MacKay had asked him to do. He didn't see how it would really work out. Grandfather told him, “The trouble with you is you want to see the end from the beginning.” Elder Packer replied that he would like to see at least a step or two ahead. Then came the lesson of a lifetime: “You must learn to walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness; then the light will appear and show the way before you."
I feel that we are constantly living this here on our mission and learning from it. We don't really know where we are going with all that we are asked to do but we are seeing that good things will happen when we have faith - and step a few steps into the darkness....
We love you all and hope all is well with you. We miss you. Hope the move went well Adam. Pray for Cameron - he is talking his DAT test on the 11th. Also please put Mike and Megan in your prayers. Their condo sold but then the guy is now trying to back out. We can't wait to see those of you who will be coming out in a week or so!!! Drive carefully and let us know when exactly we can play with you! Oh I can't wait to hold little Ripkin and get to know him a bit! Hope Cory and Mandy are enjoying their new place. I am looking forward to videos of Emmie and Kilee's program. Thanks again Ryan for being amazing at handling the apartments! And all those who helped him out! You guys are wonderful and we appreciate it more than you can imagine!

Our May Calendar - not all there but you get the gist.