Saturday, January 31, 2015

January 31, 2015

              Do you want to hear the good stuff or the bad stuff?  

I'll start with the bad stuff.  This week was a real bust because both Roger and I got sick.  The good part about that is that Roger was only sick for a few days.  The bad part about that is that I am still sick.  Each day this week we basically got up, went to work and stuck it out for as long as we could and then came home and tried to rest until we had to start over the next day.  I have been really blessed so far on our mission and have felt better than I have in a very long time.  I guess I was about due to be sick!  This one has been a bugger.  Luckily is was a slow week at the office.  

The best part of the week was Tenille and Ryan.  They got some cheap prices on their flights so they flew in on Wednesday and just flew out tonight (Saturday).  They stayed with us here and slept on our futon.  We made them play games with us in the evenings, went to dinner with them a few times and really enjoyed them.  I was a total poop but they just played on without us.  Sadly it was the first week since we have been here where there was a whole week of cloudy days!  Today, finally sun peaked out a bit to say hit just before they took off.  They packed in a lot in the few days they were here.  They got to the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier, went to the Aquarium,  went to dinner with their friend who works at a fire station, we had a few meals with them at some of our favorites, went whale watching and got to see lots of lots of whales and even slept in until 10 am one morning.  They made an otherwise really awful week a lot more fun for me.  Love you guys!

Today was the Mormon Battalion Commemoration in Old Town.  It is always a great event and lots of fun.  It was so great for me to be able to see all of my Mormon Battalion "daughters"!
All of our missionaries from three zones were invited to dress up and march in
the parade at the starting of the event.  I made them get lined up so we could
get pictures of them.  I love these guys.  We are so
lucky to know them and love them!
 We were supposed to be there at 7 am and help set everything up, hang out all day and be hosts and then help tear everything down at 3pm.  Roger went at 7am but I came later.  We lasted till around 1pm and then we got a ride home.  Just no energy and still achey and bad stomach.  I am getting really tired of being sick.

Sister Dunaway, me and Sister Owens

President Schmitt
and Roger

Sister Baker and Sister Kennedy
 We had a real surprise visit that I was glad I was there to witness.  I was looking around and saw Elder Jeffry R. Holland show up.  His brother Dennis Holland is very involved in California LDS history and works in many different ways to help with Public Affairs in Southern California.  He has helped get a documentary of the Mormon Battalion "More Precious than Gold" produced.  It is used in the MB site to help give more details of the story.  He was given an award today and Elder Holland came to support him.  I snapped a picture of him as soon as I saw him.  I turned to tell the lady I was standing by to look over there and by the time we looked back I couldn't even see him.  He had been swarmed by all of the people there.  He was very gracious but didn't want to make it all about him.  He wanted it to be Dennis's day.
Elder Holland as he arrived

We found out that they have finally called a couple to replace us.  They won't be coming until the end of March though.  At least that is what their papers say.  We will call them and see if that is really when they are coming.  If it is, we will probably not be coming home until a week into April.  It will take us at least a week to train them.

Well, here's to praying that I will feel better soon and be back to doing what I love - being a missionary.  I have been so blessed to feel better than I have in a very long time while being here.  I am being reminded that I should be grateful for feeling good!  Nothing like being sick to help you appreciate feeling good!  I will leave you with a few picture from todays event.
The beginning of
the parade
Elder Holland being

Elder Holland poses
 with missionaries

Elder Holland wanted to
have a picture with
the kids
Elder and Sister Soffe
They leave this
next week. :(
Roger, me, Bart
and Cheri

Cooking biscuits on a stick!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

January 25, 2015

Another amazing week.  I am so glad that we got through it.  It was touch and go at times!  It was transfer week this week and that is always crazy!

First off we got to see Layne play in his basketball game on Saturday.  It was a beautiful day here in Paradise and he played in Balboa Park, a very beautiful area of this beautiful place.  It was nice.  He went with friends after the game and stayed with them that night, played more games on Sunday and then came to our house to hang out with us and sleep here.  It was so nice to have him around.  We love you Layne.

The news of day Saturday was the birth of Cory and Mandy's little girl Atlas.  Words can't describe how it felt to be so far away when she was born.  And to not be able to hold her now!  Missing all of those baby days of her life.  The mission president heard that she was born and I tried to explain the sacrifice I was feeling I was making and had made three other times when other grand babies were born.  He just said, "Bless your heart.  Lay this sacrifice at the feet of the Savior and work hard on your mission.  You will be blessed many fold."  So my aching heart continues as I try to focus on mission work.

 This week was transfer week.  It all starts on Tuesday when the zone leaders come in to get "THE LETTER".  They sit and read the letter that states who will be packing, who will be training and who will be staying put.  The letter can change everything they know so far on their missions.  So it is almost like Christmas on transfer Tuesday.  Also during the day all of the new missionaries arrive and all of the missionaries that are leaving fly home.  The arrivals are easy- they come on two different planes - one from the MTC in Provo and the other from the MTC in Salt Lake.  Not much goes wrong with those.

 But this transfer we had 19 missionaries go home.  The first one left for Taiwan at 6:00 in the morning and we had missionaries leaving off and on all day long. Some actually have to stay in a hotel one night in the middle of their trip because they live so far away.  It was quite a chore to get the flights all figured out so that the missionaries all get to the right place at the right time.  I can only imagine how Salt Lake sorts all of that out and makes all of those arrangements!  It is my job to get the flights ordered to the church and then to make sure that they are fine and what we ordered after they make them.  It is a tedious job and scary at times.

 The president asked me to take the last missionary, Sister Teanoa to the airport.  She was flying to Kiribati and left on a red eye to Nadi at 6:00 pm.  We first took her to lunch to say good bye along with her companion.  We have watched Sister Teanoa grow and become a very confident young lady in the 18 months she has been here and will miss her tons.  The odds are that we might not ever see her again and it was a very hard goodbye.  She says she might come to visit and I have offered her a place to stay when and if she does come.  You will love her.

So I took her to the airport and watched a tearful goodbye from her companion and then we went in to the desk.  When we went to check her in they said that they didn't have a flight for her - she wasn't booked!  I had a copy of her flight plan so I showed it to them and they looked harder but still didn't find it.  The lady behind the desk just happened to be a member of the church.  (There are no coincidences in missionary work!)  Miracle #1.  She really went to work for us but there wasn't a flight scheduled for her.  I had forgotten to charge my phone the night before so my phone was telling me that I only had 10% battery left.  I called Church travel - after hours - waited on the line forever and when they got on they said that they had booked the flight and that is why I have the flight plan but they forgot to pay for it!  So they quickly booked the flight.  They sent me the flight plan in an email which I read to Sister Teanoa as she quickly wrote down.  That is when we realized another problem.

They were getting her to Kiritati but 12 hours later than when she had arranged to have her uncle pick her up.  Her uncle doesn't have a phone and only looks at email on Tuesdays when Sister Teanoa would email.  There was no way to get in touch with him.  I made a few phone calls but no one could help.  I sent her off on the plane promising her that I would find a way to alert her uncle of the change.  There is no way that my phone should have lasted through all of that but the second I didn't need it anymore it shut off!  Miracle #2.  I talked to the member lady behind the desk and we discussed how it was a miracle that Sister Teanoa actually got things put together to leave and I thanked her for being such a help though it all.  She said that she had felt the spirit strongly as we worked though all the challenges and she realized that she wanted to get back to the temple.  She hadn't been going to the temple for the last few years and she realized that the spirit she felt while helping us was the same spirit that she felt in the temple.  I invited her to return and she committed that she would.  Miracle #3.  I still had to get in touch with the uncle and through a series of events and lots of prayer we finally got the word to him at the last moment and all was well.  #4.  God is in the details of this work!

Wednesday morning we still had missionaries to send off.  I got to take the Temple Square Missionaries to the airport so they can fly back to Salt Lake and finish their mission there.  What darling girls these ones are!  Sister Melone is from Italy and is a professional dancer there.  She left her career to serve the Lord.  Sister Spichigar is from Chile and left medical school to come serve.  It was fun spending time with them and kissing them goodbye!

The next day Wednesday is the meeting where all of the missionaries find out exactly where they will be and who will be their companion.  Again, just like Christmas.  It is quite a fun meeting actually.  Then we get to come back with the notes from that meeting and put the mess all back together again. Make new phone lists, apartment lists, zone and district lists and get the mission running again.  It really is at a stand still until all of the lists are done and correct.  So it is a mad dash.

Roger then has the challenge of moving of missionaries out of apartments and closing them down and trying to find new apartments in new areas.  It sounds fairly simple but isn't.  He over and over again feels that he is being guided and helped to find and secure apartment where they need to be etc.  It is a very humbling experience.  We can not do what we need to do without the Lord's help and guidance.  It is so great to be a part of this experience!

Beautiful sunset on our way home from work! 

I love this!  Think about it - you will love it too!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

January 18, 2015

Oh I do love this weather here in San Diego!  This week has been wonderful and I keep wondering how we will ever be able to live a winter in Utah again.  Many things with family keeps pulling at our heart strings to go back there.  But you can bet that we will find a way to be back out this way even more often that we used to be.  We know have wonderful friends and memories here too to bring us back!

Monday was a busy day at work and then we were invited over to Cheri and Bart's house to watch the National Championship Game.
 The Knorr's came over too and we had a good time watching and eating and laying around.  What a nice break from the rigor's of missionary life!
 P day brought lots of missionaries to the mission home and many of them are leaving next Tuesday.  We just might not ever see them again.  It get so hard to let them go!  Many are from Utah and we will see them again I am sure but most are from farther away and we are beginning to realize that this little moment of time will never come back.

Sister Larson, me and Sister Teanoa
 Sister Larson and Sister Teanoa came here after we got here.  We knew them as greenies.  They were at the Mormon Battalion with us and we have watched them grow from shy, unconfident young ladies to amazing wonderful women.  I love both these girls and I hope that all at home will get to know them.  Sister Larson lives in Pleasant Grove and actually dated Richie (my nephew) a couple of times.  I plan on her being a part of the family.  Sister Teanoa comes from Kiribati (look it up - it is a tiny little island in the Gilbert islands).  I hope that she will come to the Y and be a part of the family too.  Some of my very favorites!
Happy Birthday Elder Soffe!
 Wednesday night after work, we took the Soffe's to dinner.  It was Elder Soffe's birthday last week but he kept saying that the best way to have a birthday would be if people would totally forget it was his birthday on that day and then remember a week later and just say "Happy Birthday".  So we waited a week and then took them to a fun lobster dinner special.  Of course, it was a very good deal!  We love the Soffe's and feel so blessed to have served with them.  They only have a few weeks left in the office and we will miss them so very much.  They are a delight and such hard workers.  We hope they will be our friends for a very long time!  They live in Salt Lake - so not so far away.

Not a good picture but...
Cherie and me outside the temple!
We had to hustle to our Scripture class right after dinner.  We were two minutes late and got teased a bit.  It was a great class.  We discussed Abraham 3:18-28.  Go ahead and read it.  I know you want to know what we learned.  Good stuff.

Thursday night was our ward temple night and I went with Cherie, Carol (the lady whose home we have our Scripture class at  and Veronica.  Many of our ward members were there too.  It was a great session.  I have been trying to get Veronica to go back to the temple since she first went four months ago with no avail.  But in a combined effort, we finally got her back and she loved the whole experience.  She really feels the peace of the temple.  It was just what I needed too.  There are so many stressful things and it just calmed me down and helped me see things in a better perspective.

The last two weeks at the office, Roger has been handed a bit of a challenge.  Two of the sisters have been infested with bed bugs.  So at first they took the mattress out and brought another one in.  But the bed bugs persisted.  They moved them into a temporary apartment and they were fine for several days and then they moved them into another place that is closer to the area they work in and low and behold!  More bed bugs.  Moved them out again. Cleaned everything.  Sprayed everything.  More cleaning more spraying.  Everything seemed good and then Friday they woke up with bites again! Oh my!  More cleaning, more spraying and lots of prayers added.  Any good ideas on bed bugs?

 Friday night Layne showed up!!!  It was sooo good to hug him and to see him.  Love you Layne.  We picked him up at the airport, took him to one of our favorite little restaurants and then brought him home for an hour or so and were able to catch up.  Layne is so happy these days and it was so fun to have him close.  We are really starting to feel like our time is almost up and we are letting ourselves get excited to be back home.

Oh Saturday, Saturday!  What a beautiful day!  I just got back from a long walk - oh it is beautiful today.  72 degrees and full sun.  I bet you can guess where Roger is.  One of the students at the Institute texted last night and asked if he would like to "catch some waves" today.  They left at 9:00 am and are still gone at 1 pm.  They must be having a great time.  He is hanging out with the college kids and he loves it.  He will probably go in the Institute after surfing and teach them all a thing or two about ping pong.  It is nice to have a day to regroup and get things in order.  We will most likely try to catch one of Layne's games this afternoon - that is, if Roger ever comes home from the beach!  Layne is playing in Balboa Park so it could be a really nice place to be on a day like today.  Grocery store and maybe a nice dinner tonight!  We have something to celebrate!

It is our 16th anniversary tomorrow.  I love this man I married.  He has been there for me through some really hard times in my life and has been my rock.  He has also been there for me through some really fun times!  The last year and a half has been wonderful for us.  We love being here and serving the Lord together.  Usually we have had callings that have been totally separate and they actually took us away from each other.  This has been so great because we are together all of the time and I get to see Roger in action.  I love his obedience and loyalty to God.  We have learned things about each other and I have grown to respect and admire my sweetheart in ways that never could have happened with our mission.  I love you babe!  Thanks for 16 amazing years - and may there be many more!

One of the main things that I have learned while here is that the Lord is in the details of this work.  The other day  Pres. Schmitt was getting ready to work on transfers for next week and he knelt to pray about it all.  As he was praying he felt impressed to go to Imperial Valley.  Imperial Valley is the farthest point away and is about a 2 to 2.5 hour trip.  He got up and thought, "oh I don't need to go out there.  I am too tired.  It will be too late when I get home.  I need to get transfers done.  I need to spend time with my kids - (he has been interviewing all 250 missionaries the past two weeks and hasn't seen his wife and kids much)"  He really didn't want to go but when we got back to transfer planning he couldn't do it - he felt again that he should drive out to the Valley.  So he did and found things there that needed to be corrected.  He was guided and whispered to as he drove as to what to do and how to do it.  He told us that he again realized that he is not running this mission but that the Lord is and that he is merely an instrument - a very tired instrument in His hands.  It was humbling to him and to us all.  We in the office then talked about those times when we have been guided beyond our own knowledge to do things that we would not have normally done.  How "coincidences" are everywhere we turn.  How we feel the Lord giving us strength beyond what our little old bodies should have.  I love serving the Lord and have a testimony of His goodness and His desire to serve and bless us.  May we all be willing to help him and "go to the Valley" when needed.

This was last week but Tiffany put
it on Facebook and I stole it!  Kirk, Tiffany
and all their little gang.  Elder Barnes and us!
Missing you all!

This was taken many years ago in St. George
on a trip with Quinn, Kayley, Cameron and Kami.
It got uploaded with the other pictures by
mistake but I left it because it was cool!
Love you guys!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

January 11, 2015

What a fun week!  It is always great to see people from home and when those people are people we love it is the best!

We had Kirk, Tiffany and kids here.  Kirk is my brother for those who don't know.  They showed up Tuesday night and we were able to spend some time with them for lunch both Wednesday and Thursday.  I wish we could have spent more time!  I love you guys and it was so much fun to be with you the little bit that we were.

They went to the Mormon Battalion on Wednesday morning and then we drove over to Old Town and went to lunch there with them. We were hoping to be able to go to the beach with them that afternoon but one of the couples in the office was really sick and we had to get back to handle the office.

Thursday, we met them at Phil's BBQ and had a great meal there.  I love you guys and loved every minute we could spend with you.  What a great family.

We also had Kevin and Becky Thayn our dear friends from home, come visit.  They came and joined us at our ward for Sacrament meeting today.  Our Mission President and his wife spoke in our ward and it was a great meeting.  Roger had to teach Gospel Principles class so they went on to the Mormon Battalion without us and we finished church and then had them over for dinner after. Roger made a meatloaf and we were able to catch up a bit, eat and then they took off for Disneyland tomorrow.  It was so fun to see our fun friends and visit!  Love you guys!

We were able to celebrate Elder Soffe's birthday in a different style.  We asked him if he wanted a lunch like we have done for others at the office and he didn't want that.  He wanted to cook spam, egg and pineapple sandwiches for us!  Strange you say?  They were really good and Elder Soffe enjoyed cooking for us.  His birthday was on Tuesday which was Preparation Day so lots of missionaries were in and out of the office that day and many sang to him and ate his special treat.

Tuesday afternoon, Sister Soffe started having kidney stones pain and finally went to the emergency room.  They usually do a shift at the San Diego Temple and play missionaries on the temple grounds.  We took their place and left the Knorr's at the office to cover there.  It was a beautiful day and we really enjoyed being there.  There weren't too many visitors but it was nice to visit with those who did come.  We used to have a shift there before starting at the office so it was nice to be back in our old stomping grounds.

As we sat there I was thinking about all of the different opportunities we have had on our mission.  It has been so full of so many different assignments and challenges.  We have been so blessed.

We have had our ward assignment with the good people there and have been blessed to help many.  We have seen several come back to the church and go to the temple.  We have seen several baptized.  We have seen in so many of their homes and been fed by them and loved by them.

We love our ward and have been so blessed by our association with them.  We were given another ward for awhile and got to love them too.  We loved being at the Mormon Battalion.  The opportunity to serve there brought us lots of joy.  Meeting people from all over the world was great but sometimes the most fun is when we met people from good old Utah.  We loved our association with the Sisters there and have adopted all of them.  It was great! We were able to serve in the Institute program for awhile and taught classes to some of the most amazing students.  We made wonderful friends with those kids there and still go see them.

Roger spent Saturday morning surfing with one of them who is a recent convert from China who is going to school at UCSD.  We have now been at the office for over 5 months now and have had a ball there too.  We have learned things we never thought we even wanted to learn!  We get to interact with the President and his family and also get to know and love the missionaries.  We are called upon to help them in so many different ways and to be there for stability.  Roger loves going with the elders and having them help him move missionaries in and out of apartments etc.  They love him and love to get their prize after helping him - one of his lemonade slushies!  There are always a new wrinkle almost every day and it is a great place to serve and be helpful.  We feel so blessed and have enjoyed our mission so much.  And on top of all of it we are in the most beautiful place with the best weather ever.  Wow!

Wednesday was our scripture class in our ward.  We have made great bonds there and enjoy it a lot.  It was a great thing and I am glad that we started it.  Thursday was a Relief Society activity.  It was a Swap and Shop.  Everyone brought stuff that is in good shape but that they don't want anymore and put it out on tables in the cultural hall and then we could go shopping and take anything that we liked.  I took a new member with me, a lady who has been inactive and another semi active lady.  It was nice to get them there and have them interact with those in the ward.

We had been debating all week if we should invite our tour guide friends to church with us for this Sunday.  We knew the Mission President and his wife were speaking and thought it would be a good meeting to have them to.  We kept putting it off because we weren't sure that having them hear talks about how to do missionary work would be a good thing.  That afternoon Vera emailed me and I emailed her back and told her we missed them.  She called and invited us over to play games with them so we went.  We invited them to church but they had other things going on today but we were able to have a good talk with them about God and how they feel about him.  We had given them some CDs for Christmas and they had questions about some of the things in the CDs. Vera believes in God and knows that he hears and answers prayers.  Charles believes that God is a thing - not male or female.  He doesn't feel that God talks to us.  He feels that when we get thoughts to do things it is our conscience talking to us - not God.  It was an interesting talk and good.  Dear good friends!

We love you all and are grateful for the love and support that we get from you.  The gospel is true.
Elder Knorr getting a haircut by the Assistants

The Assistants "bugging" Roger.  We do have fun!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

January 3, 2015


Amazing.....  It is 2015 and I am barely getting used to it being 2014.

I love the flowers!
This week has flown by and I kept forgetting to take pictures so this will be too many words and not enough pictures.  We are happy and healthy and missing you all back home a little more than usual with the holiday here and gone.  I am looking forward to being home next year and being a little more normal.  But with that said we really had a great holiday and love the mission and the great people here.

We decided that we had better keep the office open all week this week but that we didn't need three couples there each day to handle things.  So we worked a half day on New Years Day and a half day the next day.  The other couples took turns taking a day off and working the other half of our day.  Roger thought that we would get some good surfing in during the morning hours and then go to the office but only one day the waves were good.  Friday he said that the ocean looked like a lake.  It was a little awkward on Thursday.  Roger decided to go do some things in one of the new apartments for a new senior couple which left me in the office by myself.  That was all good and fine until the elders came by to do things in the office.  We then realized that I couldn't be there in the same office with the elders without another man in the office.  So I had to go outside while they came in and did their stuff.  The rules are there for good reasons but sometimes it makes things so hard.  I love these missionaries though.  They are exactly obedient and want to obey all of the rules.
My new cosy socks that Cheri
gave me for Christmas!  Ahhh!

We are planning on taking a day off this week when Kirk and Tiffany come with their kids for a few days.  It will be fun to show them our little home away from home.  They will be staying in Old Town so we can show them around the Mormon Battalion and the little shops.  We may have to eat some good Mexican food.

Our little scripture class is usually on Wednesday and this week Wednesday happened to be on New Year's Eve.  We really thought that no one would want to still come but when we offered to have a short thought and then we would play some games we got some takers.  So we went to Carol's home had a fun time enjoying each other's company playing together.  We played until 10:00 and decided that it was the New Year somewhere and that was good enough.  We had to be at the office the next day so we went home and went to bed.  Kinda boring, I know.  But we had a good time.

The weather this week has been a bit sketchy.  I keep looking at my Utah weather guide on my phone so that I can keep things in perspective.  It has rained and been quite cold for little San Diego.  It has actually gotten below 40 at night two nights in a row and only highs in the high 50's.  We are getting more normal weather for San Diego now - high 40's at night and 60's during the days with mostly sunny days.  But looking at what Utah is doing right now helps me stay warmer!
Good bye Elder Garner

One last hug!
We had 7 of our elders leave home early on January 1st.  They were all supposed to go home on January 20th but were able to go home on the 1st so that they could get into school.  One of them that went home was as Assistant to the President, Elder Garner and we were quite close to him.  It actually was great to see him off and to see his excitement to move on to this new chapter in his life.  I asked him what were the greatest things he learned while on his mission.  He surprised us by telling us that he really hadn't been a great student before his mission.  He really didn't take life seriously.  That amazed us, knowing him only as a very good Assistant!  He was very on top of things and made things happen.  He said that he has realized that God intends for us to be busy and involved in helping others.  He felt that he had learned to REALLY care about others and to empathize with them.  He will never be the same.

None of us who have served ever will be.  It is a life changing experience.  We are so grateful to be able to do this and for your love and support of us.  Bring on the new year!