Sunday, March 8, 2015

March 6, 2015

Me and my adopted "Mission Mom!"
Sister Guyman

I am out on our walkway out side of our apartment, sitting on our little borrowed beach chair, typing on my laptop.  It is 81 degrees but here in the shade it is a perfect temperature with a slight breeze.  I am taking in every sight and sound - I hear birds chirping, see the palm trees blowing in the breeze, hear the sounds of kids in the pool....  It seems that is what happens often lately.  I am trying to remember every little detail so that when we go home we won't be like all of the other returned missionaries.  They say that it seems like a dream and that they never really did leave.  We have loved our experience so very much!  We have learned and grown and served and loved.  We have been loved and fed and been given opportunities that we can't imagine might have come to us.  We miss home and family and are getting more and more excited to be there with you all.  But a part of us will  always be here in beautiful San Diego.   

We are with Elder Gerber.  We have served close to him our
whole mission.  He is ASL and has served in the branch that
meets with our ward.  His brother is deaf and he learned  sign
language as a child.  What a blessing he has been here and he
left on Tuesday to go home.  We will miss him.  

One thing that I think we were supposed to learn is how to enjoy where we are when we are there and be ready to move on when things change!  We have had so many different opportunities and challenges and each has been wonderful.  I would hate to have missed any of it and would have if we could have had our way.  We would have stayed at the Mormon Battalion with all those darling sister missionaries for our whole mission but we would have missed so much.  So we are getting ready for a huge change in our lives again and we want to enjoy being here until the last minute and then we will move on to the next chapter with joy!  (We hope!)  
This week has been full of good byes.  People are starting to realize that we are going soon and have been so sweet to "big deal" us.  

Monday was our Senior Couple Family Home Evening - our last.  (I guess we are just starting all of those "lasts" as we spend our last month here.)  First they had the new senior couple speak, the Richardsons.  They are amazing.  They live in Huntington Beach, have 11 children and 52 grandchildren. We are sad that we have lost our notoriety with their arrival.  We only have 40 grandkids.  They are here in San Diego because she is just ending cancer treatments and needs to be where they will accept Kaiser insurance.  So they are only an hour away from home.  Did you get that?  She is here on a mission and is taking cancer therapy while being here!  Amazing.  We have another couple  who serve at the La Jolla Institute that is going through the same thing.  I have talked about the senior couples and how amazing they are.  Nothing is going to stop them from having this opportunity.  So cool.  

We were next and were given the opportunity to bear our testimonies and say our good byes.  It was good that it still is about a month away from us coming home because I was able to keep my composure and not make a fool out of myself.  

Roger had them all smiling and laughing with him and it is a fun memory for us.  We feel honored to be able to serve with such good people.  Most are down to earth people with no extraordinary talents. Just testimonies and a desire to serve the Lord on a mission.

The Lawson's have been here almost as long as we have and they bore their testimonies too.  They will leave on the same day we do.  And then the Schmitt's taught us and shared their wonderful testimonies and strength.  We love them.
Two zone leaders playing a numbers game to
see who gets to open "the envelope."

Tuesday - P day - was a crazy one.  We said good bye to six missionaries and sent them off and received seven new ones.  In the office, lots of excitement was in the air. Tuesday is the day that the zone leaders come in to get "the envelope."  They aren't supposed to come before 10:00 am but many seem to find excuses to come before then.  In the envelope is a list of the missionaries in their zone and tells them who will be staying and who will be moving.  If one is getting a brand new companion to train it says that too.  It doesn't tell them where they are going but just that they are supposed to pack and be at transfer meeting the next day.

The missionaries usually come and go quickly so that they can go call the missionaries that need to pack and get them ready.  Sometimes they are happy and sometimes they are disappointed.  It is usually so hard for them to feel that it will be good to move on.  They get so attached to the people thy are serving and working with.  This picture with the four assistants is kinda cool.  If there is going to be a transfer with the assistants it is hard to keep that one very quiet.  Usually a few days before transfers we begin to see the assistants hanging out with another missionary as a trio.  Pretty obvious what is happening.  This time there were two extras.  
Elder Myler on the left as been as assistant the whole time we have been in the office.  He doesn't go home until August and it was time that he got back out and served in the field.  Elder Cuckow, next to him has been an assistant for 3 months and goes home in 6 weeks.  So the president has called two new assistants to learn the ropes and get up to speed to be able to take over in six weeks.  We love serving with these guys.  Their job is not easy and requires them to work harder than they have ever worked in their lives.  It will be fun to watch them grow.  

Me - sad Elder Cardiff is leaving
Elder Thompson - happy
Elder Cardiff - sad
Wednesday was our scripture class and we have debated as to what to try to do with it.  We have finished the Pearl of Great Price and thought that we would start reading the Book of Mormon together without a lesson given and that maybe they might keep it up after we go.  But the ward has a Family History class on Wednesdays and all of these people have expressed an interest in getting started on their own family history.  So we took them to that class on Wednesday and hope they get involved.  We have loved our little group and will miss them.  It is hard to leave and hope someone will take over with these new members and newly activated members!  

Thursday was dinner with the Towers.  When we first got here and started going to Ward Council we kept hearing that the Towers would be coming home soon from their mission.  When ever there was a particularly hard challenge they would say, "Well, we can have the Towers do that!"   They have lived up to all the ward said about them.  They have many callings and are a huge anchor in the ward.  They have been dear friends and invited us to dinner at Benihana's!  Oh yummmm!  It was fun to be with them and feel their love.  

We were invited to dinner with our friends Bart and Cheri Houck on Friday.  Bart makes the best burritos in town and that is saying a lot here in San Diego.  "Bart's burritos" are fast becoming famous in the ward.   I was too busy eating yummy burritos to get any good pictures of the event but you get the idea.  Bart and Cheri have become active since we have been here and we have loved our association with them.  We are hoping that Bart will be able to go to the temple with us when we come back here in June!  

 Saturday was a full day!  We spent most of it at the beach!  It was perfect and a day to remember with the water getting warmer, the sun getting hotter and our days here getting less and less.  We spent the day there, went home. showered and got ready for a Chinese New Year Celebration at the church.  Oh my!  We were invited and thought we had better go to support those who were planning it.  But there was a whole huge cultural hall full of Chinese people, lots and lots of food and great Chinese entertainment.

We have two companionships of Mandarin Chinese sisters in our mission and they just formed the first Chinese branch in our stake.  Many of the other missionaries from our area came and started the program with welcoming the people and hoping they had a prosperous new year - in Chinese.  Not sure if anyone understood them but it sounded like Chinese to me......

Full house!
Well, another week is on its way and we are trying to hang on to every moment and enjoy it all to the fullest.  Bless you all.
Two of our Chinese missionaries.

Elder Enew and Elder Bird
Our ward missionaries!

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