Monday, March 28, 2016

Office Staff

This is a picture of us in the office.  
The missionaries, us, the Stewarts (who will be leaving in 3 days) and the Floyds (who will be here another year).
Great bunch of people to work with.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Hi from Sunny California

Monday, March 14, 2016

Mission Blog feature

This was featured on the California Ventura Mission blog.  The link to the blog is at the bottom of this blog page or you can click here!  

The Iversons

Elder and Sister Iverson arrived in the mission on Friday, March 11. They are from Logan, Utah.  Elder Iverson will be the fleet coordinator and Sister Iverson the mission secretary.  They will have over two weeks with the Stewarts to be trained.
We were able to have an enjoyable dinner that night with the office staff so we could get to know each other.

Happy Pi Day

Hi family, 

We arrived here in Ventura, California on Friday after leaving the MTC on Thursday and staying over night in Barstow, ca. Then get here to the mission office and met the people there. The Stewart's who we will replace, and the floyd's, he is in charge of finance and she is the front receptionist and takes referrals. Then a new couple the Hardy's, she is the new mission nurse and he works in the ward with the member leader program. So we found our temporary apt which is a cottage, studio type apt. Really cute and up a few flights so gave us a good exercise while bringing in our things. Since this is only temporary we did not bring everything in. 

Then Friday evening all of us were invited to the mission presidents home for dinner. Really nice place and a nice big table for all of us to sit at. Kind of like our table and chair set... A bench and chairs around the table. Then sat and talked a few more hours. 

It is so pretty here, flowers blooming all over. And of course palm trees and cactus plants.the temperature is pretty mild about 65 during the day and cooler in the morning. 

Saturday we went down to the beach and walked along the shore a bit and watched the huge waves. There is a surfers beach not far so will check that out another day. Then found a grocery store to get some food for the week. They had a St Patrick's  day parade that day so lots of  people and traffic where we were. But nothing bad. Just fun to figure out roads and our way around. 

Sunday we went to a ward and were asked to say prayers right away and dad was asked to teach high priest class next Sunday and were given a list of families to Visit and get to know them. So ready, set, go! 

Today we are getting ready to go to the office and learn our duties. I am sure it will be a good day with lots of learning. Then this week we have three zone conferences in different cities so will be fun to meet all the missionaries. Then the following week we have new missionaries coming in and transfers so another busy week.  But exciting times and sure excited to learn what we need to know! 

Love you all and hope you have a great week.

Happy pi day!  I will add some pi riddles later!
Eat some pie for me!  smile

Friday, March 11, 2016

Temporary Cottage

Short update (from Dad):
Got here to the mission in good order.  We're in our temporary apartment - actually a cottage!  Has a lime, lemon and an orange tree!

Also has a built-in exercise facility; 43 steps up from van to cottage!  

Had dinner with the Mission President tonight.

All is great.  More to follow.

Mom's update:
Whew, walking up all these stairs with all our stuff!

Getting ready to go to the mission president's home for dinner!

The apartment cottage we are staying in for the next 3 weeks is pretty tiny.  It's really cute, I really like it but it's just tiny.  It has one bedroom, one shower, and a teeny kitchen-ish kitchen/sitting room/dining room.  And we can't put more than a half a gallon of milk in the fridge and it's like a small apartment refrigerator.  It's really cute place but we didn't think we could bring all our stuff in here.  So we're storing some of our things back in the van which is fine, we don't need it until we get into their full apartment that we'll have for the next year and a half.

But it's pretty fun to have a view of the ocean.

Hi all, 
We got here to Ventura California on Friday and went to the mission office and met some the the senior couples there. Then Friday night we all went to president Felix home for a dinner and talking. Great people. 
The floyd's will be here another year, and he does the finances. Dad is happy he does that and dad does not have to do it. And sister Floyd does the referral and sends out orders for the office. Then we have a new lady and her husband who came 3 weeks ago and she is the mission nurse. The the Stewart's who will train us these next three weeks and they go home to Idaho then. 
We have three zone conferences this coming week so will be fun to meet all the missionaries. Jumping right in with all the meals for them. Then the following week we have transfers and new missionaries coming out. So I will be preparing packets for them and get all those things ready. 

Still feels so surreal to actually be here in California. We are staying in a small cottage apt. Really cute but small, so did not move all our stuff in. No oven, and a mini frig so when we went grocery shopping today we had to be careful not to get too much. Ha ha 
Fun starting to get groceries and some basics. Prices of food sure are more expensive. 

We went exploring around town a bit today and of course went down to the beach! We can see it from our apt, so only about 10 minutes to get there. The water was cool and there is a surfers beach but did not try it. Smile. there was a St Patrick's day parade today so all of Main Street was full. Lots of fun floats and green all over. 

I am not sure if you would enjoy it Kristin with your allergies but there are flowers blooming all over the place. Our hand rail which is outside is wrapped with lights and then also blooming flowers. And there is a huge bush about 6 feet tall right outside our door blooming with pink flowers and the shrubs with tiny white flowers I think plumeria. But a pretty strong fragrance.. But smells really nice for us. The flower, birds of paradise are blooming also. 

So we have been assigned to a ward and so will go and visit there tomorrow and meet the sister missionaries. We may have assignments from the bishop in that ward also. The mission president said we will be asked to speak to the missionaries sometime soon also. He wants us to tell them our conversion story.  So lots of new adventures ahead. 

Love you all, have a great week. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

We have left for our Mission!

We plan to drive past Vegas and spend the night.  And then the next morning head to Ventura, California.  Dad wanted to drive through the night, but I talked him out of that!

MTC Badge

Sad, but today I have to turn in my MTC badge and key.  It has been a wonderful experience.  We still have classes all day but will leave after those and head to Las Vegas area to stay the night.  Then Friday we'll drive the rest of the way to California.

Love you and thank you for your prayers!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Computer Training

hi family,

Today we started our computer training and I must say it was really good and I was not as lost as I thought I would be.
We learned how to do a lot in excel and merge and how to add sums or how the computer would do it for us.
Then I also learned about all sorts of reports about the missionaries. Birthdays, arrival and departing dates, there is a long list of things and reports.
Dad will have more training on the CARS program on Wednesday but they are teaching us all about the computer and excel and how to gather pictures and make programs, etc.
Lots of things I knew  how to do and others a review and some new stuff. So it is good. We have 3 trainers in the morning and then they leave and go to their college classes, then we have 3 different trainers in the afternoon. They sure are patient with us and help us. Each day is different so we will do other things tomorrow.

Some of you asked about the MTC. I think most of you have been here whether dropping off a brother or going yourself, but I will tell a little more insight.
As senior missionaries we are in really nice rooms - like a nice hotel room. Not real huge just nice size bed and table and chairs for eating or studying. And a full bathroom and shower.
They provide towels and bedding so that is so nice. Then there is an extra supply room close by with extra pillows and blankets and even left over or lost hair dryers and books.
On our floor 3rd floor we have an exercise room - 2 tread mills and 2 bikes, but we can still use the large exercise facilities here on campus.
WE are in a building that has the bookstore and mail room in it on the main floor.
The main building is where there are lots of large rooms for groups of up to about 300, then also smaller classes. Then the main lobby has the world map where we all get our pictures of where we are going. The cafeteria is also in the building.  The flags of the world are outside the main building.

Then there are covered walk ways between the other buildings. I am not sure how many building but at least 12 possible more. They are building three huge building to the south of the MTC. I believe more dorm rooms. At the end of the row of dorm and classrooms is a building 19M where we go for large group devotionals.  I am not sure how many but at least 1000 or more are here. Probably closer to 2000.  Close to the main building we have our classes. Last week we were on the 2nd floor and this week we are moving up to the 4th floor.

If you come into the main building you have to be in a suit for the guys and skirts of the ladies. If it is your prep day then you can go to a different entrance and get a sack lunch for any meal if you do not feel you want to come to the main cafeteria. The cafeteria is huge and has 3 main areas where they serve food. Middle area is mostly some sort of salad - cranberry walnut tonight and was delicious. And it is all you want to eat - you can go to different places  inside and get wraps, salads, soup, burgers and fries, rice and toppings. Quite a big assortment and variety. Milk, chocolate milk, skim milk, sodas, juices, hot chocolate and water. 

The young missionaries are so nice - most usually open the doors for us and hold it open. 
Funny thing I saw one night as we went to do some laundry was 7 bins of lost and found clothing items. One for each day! I thought it was funny until I did our laundry and had to stand on my tip toes to reach inside the dryer to get the clothes out. But I made sure I have each sock before I left!! smile

Our schedule is up about 6:30, get ready for the day. Breakfast 7-8. Then in class by 8 and done by noon. Then lunch, then back in class about 1:00 and go until 5;00.
then dinner 5-6. Most nights we have some homework or stuff we need to read and prepare for the next day, or there is a talk. Each Tuesday is a whole mission talk usually some general authority or someone they know. I think I told you but last week dad and I both volunteered to sing in the choir and that was so fun. Fun to sing in parts and fun to sing with such a huge group. 

One of the talks was a video we saw this week and it was from Elder Bednar. He told some stories about how the Savior turns to help others and not turning inward to worry about himself.
He told the story of a RS lady who called Pres Bednar up one evening saying three girls had been in an accident and wondered if he could go identify the girls. She knew one had died but did not know which one. And all the families were in his ward. As they were on the phone she was also on her cell phone and found out the girl who had died was here daughter. So instead of stopping there she told Pres. Bednar he needed to notify the other families. She was just as concerned about them.
The same mom called pres Bednar later and said he must have a horrible image of her daughter in his mind so now she was cleaned up so wanted to know if he wanted to come to the funeral home and see her daughter looking much better so he would have a better image in his mind. (Again thinking of others)
Then the day of the funeral the lady was going to her daughter's funeral and got a call from a lady who was sick with a cold and was upset that she had not received a meal since she was sick. So this lady made a meal for the sick lady and took it to her before she went to her daughter's funeral. Thinking and helping someone else. Wow what charity!!
I can sure improve in doing service for others and want to be better.

love you all so much and hope you are enjoying the beautiful world we live in. Flowers are poking out here and even tulips are coming up.
I am so thankful for each of you and the blessings we have been blessed with!!
Don't try to do things alone- ask the Lord to help! He is there to help and bless you!


Ps... Who was the first prophet to go through the MTC??

Moses  - he went through the EMPTY SEA.  smile

Sunday, March 6, 2016

MTC Update

From Dad:

I expect Mom has updated most or all of you but just thought I'd add my two cents worth.  I use that phrase because it's one that my Dad used as well.  When Mom would send me a letter, he'd add maybe a few words but say that he was just "adding his two cents worth".

What an incredible week this has been!  Yesterday was particularly fun because we started the day with a session in the Provo temple right across from us and we ended the day by going through the Provo City Center Temple Open House with Jeremy and Kristin!  Well, to get a little worldly, we then actually ended by going to Chuck A Rama for dinner with them!  It was so good to talk with both of them.  I learned that in the deaf culture you seldom actually use name signs and that you don't get one unless you're deaf and it's given to you by a deaf person who is close to you. Mom and I are still just regular name signs = the open palm at the temple (Dad) or by the chin (Mom).  

If you have a telephone conversation with Jeremy through the relay system (which I strongly recommend you do), he will refer to Kristin all the time with the signs for "my wife".

One concept we've learned through and through in teaching is to "Teach the people - not the Lesson".  While we do need to be organized of what to teach we need to really talk with our investigators (I'd like to interject "Home Teaching Family" or "Visiting Teaching Sister" here) to find out what their real concerns are in their lives and then teach the part of Christ;'s gospel plan that addresses that concern.  At least as teaching missionaries, we should also pause every few minutes (Elder Holland really emphasized this) to either ask them if they are getting this, if they have questions, testify of the truthfulness of what you're teaching, or make solemn promises of them getting blessings (be specific) if they follow this teaching.  

If you invite someone to attend church services with you, you can certainly tell them of what to expect socially but make sure you explain to them that it is really a sacrament of taking the bread and water to remember the blood and flesh that Jesus Christ gave of His own that makes Sacrament so special.  We also learned that you can invite them to take the bread and water if they wish but that since they haven't been baptized yet, it's just bread and water but to us who have been baptized, we are renewing covenants made.  This is a change from at least 30 years ago or so when we were told that non-members really should not take the Sacrament since they had not made any covenants yet.

Light side joke): How many tickles can you give to an octopus?
Answer: 10      (think about it - it's good but it takes a little thought - out loud.)  One of our trainers told us this.

When Elder Bednar taught us (by recorded remote video) about what the character of Christ is, and how we should strive to emulate those characteristics, it felt so strong and I felt the love of Christ so intensely, I truly just wanted to continue my life and really never sin again!  One characteristic is that he always thinks so much outwardly, such as thinking of the poor soldier who got his ear cut off when Christ had just gone to through so much disappointment (Judas betraying Him, Peter and the others not staying awake with Him, besides the agony of suffering through the Atonement itself in the Garden. And then Christ, thinking only outwardly, heals the soldier's ear.

It was truly inspiring in one of our practice teaching situations of how well our (student) teachers/missionaries taught us a lesson that is of really high concern to us two.  It really hit home.  Maybe I'll tell you more detail some day!  😁

I am so impressed by my companion as well!  Bring back any memories to you who have been here before (Josh, Kristin, Christian, Seth, Jeni, Bryan, Jon, Jessica, and Marcus)?  She is just so organized when we have to talk about a lesson plan to make up to teach someone.  I fly around with random thoughts and scriptures but she gets down to organizing them all so well and we just seem to naturally shift to who's going to teach what segment.  Then in the actual teaching moment, she adjusts so well if I start to meander or if I get a little choked up.  She knows and remembers the appropriate scriptures so much too - she's amazing.

I look forward so much to the time when each of your children and especially when each of you as couples can go through this sort of experience.  Jon and Summer, I know you're not planning on such a mission but I think that day is going to come for you as well!

End on another joke: It's just about church time and a son is sitting and feeling kind of sad. Mom reminds him he has to get up and go to church.  "I don't want to go to church.  No one there likes me and sometimes I don't like them!", he replies.  She goes over to him, puts her arms around him, and consoles him that lots of the people there really do like him even if some don't but that they don't really know you.  He looks at her and says, "Do you really think they like me?  I'm supposed to give a prayer and I think I'm just a kid so much and I don't know if I can."  Mother, "Yes you can.  You're 42 years old now, Bishop, and you've said lots of prayers before  Now go back to your flock and love them!"

Mom's dental infection is going away.  I've had a calf muscle slight tear but it's getting better.  I may have also added 1.3 inches to my waistline!!  😫

Well, gotta go.  We've got two devotionals tonight.

Answer: say "10 tickles" a few times to get ..............  "tentacles"! 😒



From Mom:

We just got back from a fireside from Elder Bednar and it was so good.
Wow I feel I want to do better and be more Christ  like, and never sin again. 
Even when Christ was tempted he turned to help others and not just feel sorry for himself or fall into the temptation.  Even when Christ was on the cross he was thinking of his mother and for forgiveness for those who crucified him. He talked to the others hanging by him, not just whine in his own pain and problems, but did missionary work. 
He may have been disappointed in his disciples not staying awake while he prayed in Gethsemane, and for judas betraying him and that was after the agony of the atonement. Then when the guard had his ear cut off he did not say ok things happen, but rather he healed the soldier. 
Always looking outward not oh poor me. 
We are as natural man and generally look inward. 

A story he told of a lady who called then stake president Bednar. The lady said 3 girls from their stake were involved in a serious car accident and one was dead and if could go to the hospital and identify the girls. While he was on the phone she was on her cell phone to the nurse at the hospital and found out it was her daughter who had died. 
So instead of her saying oh forget it, she said we have to contact the other mothers right now. Reaching out to others. 
Then later the mom called president Bednar and said the funeral home has done a good job of making my daughter look better so wondered if you would like to come to the funeral home to see her now so you can get that other horrible vision of her out and see what she looks like now. She was thinking of his feelings. 
Then the day of the funeral a lady in the ward called to complain to this lady who was relief society president that no one had brought over food for her since she was sick. So instead of saying I am busy with my own problems, she made a meal and took it to the lady. 
Of course this lady had the character of the savior and reached out to others and not worried about her own problems. 

Well the fireside talk was excellent and wanted me to do better and love others as the savior loves each of us. 
What a powerful message. 

We have a full schedule of classes tomorrow but feel I will be better organized with books, and bags. We had so many papers and cards and such I had to get one of my bags to put  it all in. 
Getting ready to teach lessons tomorrow, so better do some studying before bed. 

Love you and thank you for your prayers and 
support in letting us go on this mission. 
Love you,

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Provo Temple

Yesterday was particularly fun because we started the day with a session in the Provo temple right across from us and we ended the day by going through the Provo City Center Temple Open House with Jeremy and Kristin! 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Busy Day at the MTC

Hi all,

Just wanted to let you know we are staying busy. We taught our first lesson to a lady who joined the church as a youth but was now 80 years old and her husband has passed away and wanted to know if it was too late for her to learn more so she could be with him in heaven. We had prepared last night with lesson plans and scriptures thinking we would be teaching  more but we talked and answered her questions and it was so fun to jump in and try this. I am not sure we followed the lesson plan at all. smile

We talked about eternal families and being together forever and that was one thing that we felt drawn to when we were investigating the church. Then she asked us questions about why we joined the church and she caught our spirit and she was impressed we were also converts.  Of course this was our training lesson so the trainer was listening as we talked and discussed for 45 minutes then he met with the lady and asked what we could do to improve and she said she was touched by our sincerity and willingness to go on a mission and our testimony. 
She gave us a flowing evaluation!!

We do not know if these people are members who just act the part or if they are true non members. And we found out her story is real. She joined the church at 8 and then did not gain a testimony and so did not learn much from primary or young women and became inactive. But is still a member, so she was touched by our lesson and so that made us feel good. The trainer was positive also saying because we are converts we will be able to help others and make that connection with them.

We sure are busy from 6am getting up and breakfast to classes at 8am until about 8pm at night. Tonight we have a bit of a break and so many are going out exploring but dad needed some laundry done so in the laundry room now. We will go back to our room after laundry and study for our lessons tomorrow. We are teaching someone who has already had the first discussion and so will teach them about the plan of salvation.  Then Friday we will teach with different people so that will be interesting. 
But these trainers are so skilled and so fun to work with them. In our district we have all guys teaching us but others have sisters also.

I am sure you will get a chuckle out of this but just the senior missionaries have a class which is optional of how to use the ipad or iphones and how to find pictures and scriptures and how to tag them. Well the funny part is that there were about 12 young missionaries in there running between people who have a hard time figuring out how to do it after the instruction. But good they are patient and helping.

Oh I have a joke for you..
Do you know why you can't find a hippopotamus hiding in a tree?
Because they do it so well.  smile

How many times do you need to tickle an octopus before it laughs?
10  tickles  .... tentacles

New missionaries came in today so the halls and cafeteria are busier than yesterday, but fun to see all these energetic young people.
We have met lots of young adults and going so many different places. Like i said earlier we try to sit by the young missionaries to talk to them at all our meals.
Today we met one young man from Smithfield who is going to California also. A different mission but he is excited to see California.
Then breakfast another young man from Logan, Shrieber is his last name.
We sang in the choir last night and sat by some sisters going to the Philippines. All said the language was a challenge but excited to go.

The fireside talk last night was really good. Elder Brent Nielson spoke. He is over the missionary department for the church. He gave little snippets of what he has learned from some of the General authorities. Sister Nielson also talked and was excellent about preparing for a half marathon race and even though she did not have all the cute running shoes and clothes she could still do it. And we have to just go and do - whether running a race or doing missionary work or teaching a lesson. WE will be blessed as we do.

We have felt the love of the Savior and as we presented our lesson today it was amazing to hear words come out of our mouths that the lady needed to hear.
 Not exactly what the lesson was planned to be but what was needed. So i know the Lord is inspiring us to say and learn and teach others.
WE are so grateful we have been able to learn about the plan of salvation and the atonement over our years of being in the church. 
But also to feel the influence of the Savior in our lives.

love you all so much!!