Friday, June 24, 2016

Happy June from Sister Iverson

Hi from Sunny California,

How are you doing? Enjoying summer already? I heard it is quite hot there already. We have some interesting days here. In May they called is May Grey and it was cloudy skies in the mornings. Then they say June Gloom, and sure enough right on June 1st (wonder how they know the calendar) it was foggy in the mornings. The mists from the ocean come inland and cause a fog. When I go out early in the morning it is like a mist on my face. Free moisturizing my face!! Then by noon or late morning it clears up to sunny. So the temperatures are quite mild here. If you hear of high temperatures in Calif it is not here in Ventura/ Oxnard.  Ventura is where our apt. is and Oxnard is where the mission office is. Like Logan and North Logan. We can go about 20 miles any direction and get the much warmer temperatures. It has gotten up to 80 degrees here! But mostly stays in the high 70's.  But about an hour away it is desert temperatures.

Not sure if you heard on the news but there are large fires around the area  and one is in Santa Barbara which is about 45 minutes from us, in our mission.  It is mostly in the fields and hills but not close to the city and  homes. They finally have it under control and it covered about 7,000 acres and is about 90% contained. There is another fire farther inland and getting to homes. We have missionaries in Santa Barbara but all are safe. I had a few moms call and ask about them. But glad I could tell them everyone was safe.

WE had our busy week this past week. New missionaries come in on Monday. The mission president and his wife pick them up from the airport and then if he needs more space he will take another driver. But this time 2 missionaries missed their flights so Steve and I drove  up to Santa Barbara airport, just a tiny little airport, to meet the other 2. One was coming from Canada and his flight from there was delayed and so missed the other connecting flight. And then the other was a young lady just got the time mixed up so missed the flight. The young man is from Canada and had to wait an extra month to get his visa to come to the USA. So he was serving part of his mission in Canada already and then young lady was serving a mission in Mexico and got sick and then went home to recover and then decided to come back but they had her finish her mission in the US. So she was flying in from her home, so not coming right from the MTC. So that was a fun day to be able to go greet and get to know the  new missionaries. We brought them back to Ventura and had dinner and meet the mission president. We had 9 new missionaries, one from Preston Idaho, so a close neighbor to Logan. smile

Then Tuesday was a super busy day with transfers. Steve and another senior missionary each  took on large van and trailer and picked up missionaries who were being transferred to new areas. Steve started south and the other man started the North route. They Picked up and dropped off missionaries in 4 different cities. They transferred about 60 Elders and Sisters!! It is a huge busy day - keeping track of their own luggage and stuff on and off the trucks. PLUS they all love to see each other and talk and hugs!! Then while that is all being done most of the day, Sister Floyd (senior missionary like me) and I are giving orientation meeting and lunch to the new missionaries who arrived Monday. Plus the missionaries are in and out of the office - excited to tell us where they are going and who their new companion is going to be. Lots of hugs and excitement this day!! 
Of course with changes of missionaries changing apt and companions starts my list of things to do. smile New address lists and phone lists and add new missionaries to the birthday list and up date any parent addresses for the new missionaries, well there is a long list of things to change and update. But I love it and it is fun to work with these smart, bright, enthusiastic young adults!! I sure do not know all 175 missionaries by name yet but learning more and more each week!! It is easier to learn these new ones coming in since I meet them in small groups!

Then Wednesday we have some missionaries  leaving to return home. Sad to see them leave but exciting times for their parents to welcome them home again. I arrange all their flights home so always tense for me to be sure they all get to the airport on time and I send them to the right home cities!! smile. They all have breakfast at the mission home with the Mission president and his wife and then we take them to the airport.  Funny story, we took them to the airport Wednesday and then Wednesday afternoon I received a phone call from one Elder who had just gotten home and he realized he forgot something - some money he had hidden in his apt. smile So the other new missionaries in his apt found the money and sent it to me and I sent it to the young man. I had just gotten back in the office so was not expecting a call so quickly. But glad it all worked out.

Once a month we have a meeting with the zone leaders here at the church. I arrange the lunches for us all, but a fun part is they have flowers blooming and growing all around the church building so I go out and cut flowers for the centerpieces every month. They have some beautiful flowers here also. One flower is a large purple or white flower and is bigger than your out stretched hand. They are called Giant Allium plants. They are all around the church with purple flowers and others have white flowers.  They are also tall about 3 feet tall. 


Right across the street are fields of celery. Well actually they were just harvested and they have new plants already in. Strawberries fields are just around the corner and we love going to the local fruit stands and getting the fresh mango and strawberries and other fruits and veggies. Broccoli and cabbage and lettuce, lemon trees, orange trees and all sorts of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fun to see them all here. Funny, as I telling someone how fun it is to see all this fresh fruits here they asked if Utah grew things. i told them sure and named a dozen or more things and they were just amazed we grew so much also. Just different foods and they have growing season all year long. Oh another plant I see are the sunflower plants - not the tall 10 feet ones but flowers about 3-4 feet tall. They plant those and then harvest them for the large flower arrangements. We actually saw some in a funeral we attended here and they had the huge sunflowers in the arrangement.
i just love to see all the fields full of produce and how quickly they seem to grow and get harvested. What a beautiful world we live in.

We have gone on a bike ride along the coast line about every other Saturday about 20 miles.  So pretty. There are people on the beaches and in the water almost any time of day. We see surfers all the time. Not huge waves but they look fun. Not quite a sport I want to try but fun watching them. They are all wearing wet suits so I know the water is cool to cold still. One day we want to bike to a neighboring town (30 miles from here) along a bike path so will see how far we can get.

Well just wanted to let you know we are doing great and enjoying the mission. We work with the ward less active members in the evenings so that keeps us busy. 
Some are making great progress - finding jobs, getting off drugs and just helping wherever we are needed.  

Have a great week!!
Sister Iverson

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Bike Ride

I had to take a picture of the VW bus for Marcus!  We see a few more around here and even some with surfboards on top!

The big ship is at a beach and the kids can climb on it.  

Had to get in the water!!

This is an elder eating a BALUT - a fertilized egg that has been cooked - beak and feathers included.  Jess ate 2 of these in the Philippines.  

Pretty ocean.

At first I wondered if these were small ponies in the water....but they were just big dogs!  

Had a nice bike ride Saturday along the beach coast.  It was about 18 miles.  It was so pretty.

These are just some pictures of the fields that are getting ready for a new crop.  The white is all plastic they put down in 2 days for weed control.  

This one is the sunflowers growing.  They grow about 3-4 feet tall and then cut them to sell.  Really pretty.  

This one is rows of a new crop.  

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Jake and Mike

Sorry, here's the picture of Jake again with Mom and me.  He is in the white shirt.  The other man is Mike Malean; also a recovering alcoholic in the Ward.  I think we have good news.  I hope tonight was a good night; he was taken to a local bishop who is also a professional addiction counselor.  He has agreed to go to the weekly Church Addiction Recovery Program (ARP) meeting, come to church, and I think to go to AA meetings multiple times per week.  He does recognize that his method, which is just trying to do this in isolation, isn't working so maybe our method will work.  However, he might also be slightly motivated by his mother, who has been funding him, has told him she's tired of his lack of progress and so she'll cut off his funding if he doesn't get on the ball!

I'll find out more tomorrow I hope.  I met with him last Thursday (week ago) and we talked about the priesthood and temple blessings of family.  I think he liked what he heard.

Lots of work ahead for him; also lots of miserable times as he stops with the drugs and cuts back on the alcohol.  You can cut off cold turkey from drugs and be miserable but not die.  But if you go cold turkey from alcoholism, you can die.  So it all has to be carefully managed.  We'll get him through this with professional counseling and hopefully admittance to a professional detox facility.  AND lots of prayer, friendship, and PH blessings.  We want so much to help him get through this and I look forward to the day when he can exercise the Aaronic Priesthood, which he has, gain  true testimony for himself, and go to the temple for baptisms.  


Monday, June 6, 2016

Hi from California

Sunday, 06Jun2016

Hi everybody!

We’re still doing great out here.  However, we are definitely experiencing what the locals call “May-gray” and “June-gloom”! The “recipe” for May-gray and June-gloom requires three ingredients: cold Pacific Ocean water, an ocean current known as the California Current, and a high pressure formation known as the Pacific High.  To dumb it down: we consistently get overcast, sometimes foggy, weather nearly every single day in May (and starting almost precisely on May 1st!) and June.  But it can clear up to sunny skies in the afternoons.  We have also learned that coming up is “Fogust”!  Additionally, we’re learning of the four seasons here – earthquakes, droughts, fire, and floods!  The touristy term “sunny California” just does not apply year-round, at least here along the central/southern California coastline.  Nevertheless, surfers are out!  But they are almost universally dressed in black wetsuits due to cold water!  They, in fact, sort of look like a bunch of seals out there!

Mom and I have been getting out a bit.  On Memorial Day, we participated in a Stake traditional family event called the “Beecroft 5K Family run”.  Stake President Beecroft started this in 1955 and it’s been happening ever since!  There were about 260 people involved and they included serious runners (high-schooler from our ward won it this year in 16 min:47 sec!  Mom took first place in her female age group and I was fourth of 10 in my male age group. There are two trophies: one for overall fastest runner and one for numbers of participants from a ward.   There has been a friendly feud between our ward (Ventura 1st) and 2nd Ward for years for those trophies.  This year our ward won them both and some kind words were said to Mom and me for making that happen since they typically don’t have much participation from senior members! 

We also get out exercising 5 or 6 days per week together or separately.  Saturday we went for a 20-mile bike ride along a path by the coast.  Mom had fun, Dad endured! 

I’m including a picture of what I’ve referred to before as “Tiwi”; the GPS driver monitoring system in each mission vehicle.  The device fastens to the inside of the windshield and the driver waves his Tiwi card over it to log in and to log out.  A missionary has to be here for at least six-weeks before the President approves him/her to drive and get a Tiwi card (from me).  I get Tiwi reports of driving issues (after-hours driving, speeding, seatbelts, or aggressive driving).  I talk to each missionary about it and may require them to take an additional defensive driving DVD course with a test!  President Felix also gets this report and asked me what I was doing out driving a mission vehicle at 4:30 in the morning?!  I told him I had gotten up early that day to go to the office to do some catch-up work.  Next time, I’ll leave the mission car for Mom to drive in and I’ll take our van in – to stay “under the radar”!

I’m selling three Mission vehicles shortly.  We have a sort-of-new vehicle broker sales process now which makes my job easier but I also do have the option to sell privately.  If any of you see a need to buy a Ford Fusion, Chevy Cruze, or Toyota Corolla anytime, let me know.  I’ll have several come up for sale in about 5-6 months.  We also have a Toyota Avalon (Mission President car) which we’ll sell later in 2017 and I don’t think he will want it.  You might want to try contacting any missions near you to ask about it from them as well.  I may be able to find out for you as well.  My priority for private sales are local (Mission) members, non-Mission members, others).  I think they’re a great deal and I will look seriously at buying one when we get close to release.

We’ve been so pleased at how well you all are doing who have been changing jobs.  In this economy where finding work seems to be so difficult, all of you who want to work outside the home are finding good/better/best jobs.  That speaks so well for your past good work ethic.  Kristin found a new appraisal job that’s great for her.  Jeremy found a new custodial job with better hours.  Josh has moved back to Black Box but at better pay.  Seth, of course, isn’t in a new job, but we’re so pleased that his partners are working so well with him with his new schedule concerning Henry. Bryan is still considering offers made to him which are all good.  It’s been awhile now, of course, but Jonathan got a dream job for him as well with his Life Flight work.  Jessica’s photography business is doing great although it’s pretty demanding with kids, Marcus’ schedule, etc.  It looks like Mom and I are the only ones who are working sort of “backwards”.  We went from good paying jobs to retirement but then back to work at 1) 40-50 hours/week, 2) 5 days/week instead of 4, 3) no vacation or sick days, and 4) no paid holidays…… AND us paying to work!  ; - )

If any of you are inclined to come visit us here, the following dates in the next few months are when we have to be in the Office:  June 28-Jul 1st; July 12th; Aug1-3; Aug 9th; Sep12-14; Sep20; Sep27-30; Oct11; Oct 24-26; Nov 8; Dec 5-7; and Dec 13.  We’re not saying you need to come visit, but you’re welcome anytime but these dates are when we would not be able to be with you much.  We can’t take off probably more than a couple days at a time (Mon-Fri) but we have Saturdays and Sundays free all the time. 

Mom and I have been to the LA temple twice and expect to go several more times, especially since our Stake plans a monthly trip.    

I don’t know if the house-sitting work that Anna and Bryan is doing for us is going without any setbacks but we haven’t heard about any.  We truly just do not think about the house hardly at all and that’s such a relief.  We do think of Maggie of course but we’re certainly seen the evidence that she’s doing fine.

We continue our studies of Preach My Gospel as well.  We’ve done some teaching of Jake and a lady named Lindsay – but Lindsay wasn’t really interested.  We participate in our Ward weekly Book of Mormon class to which we typically have 10-14 people or so attend.  Our Ward Mission Leader leads the class and he is super at it.

          We know that every one of you have your own personal concerns, worries, etc. and we pray for all of you and each of you.  Your names go on our temple rolls when we attend.  Of course Henry and the family is on all of our minds and hearts and many people have responded of placing his name on temple rolls around the world, including Japan.  He is mentioned in a congregational prayer every month in your Aunt Cheri’s Alden Lutheran congregation. 

          Mom has done wonders in her assignment in the Mission.  She recently decided to find out and put together the locations of all the Stake Centers in the mission which is needed by President Felix as he plans Zone Conferences throughout the year.  Since she couldn’t get all Stake officers to respond to her, she got authorization to have IMOS (church-wide administrative computer program) world-wide access (CDOL- church directory of organizations and leaders) so she was able to put that info together without having to depend on Stake officers responding. 

          We do love interacting with all of our missionaries.  They are just so dedicated and they really want to be obedient.  They work so hard too.  When Mom and I go home at the end of a working day about 5:00, I think of them still pounding the streets for another 3-4 hours!  I worry about them getting into accidents either through their own errors or someone else’s.  However, and this speaks well of them, of our last nine accidents (all were rather minor), only two of them were preventable by our missionaries – and those were minor.

We had fun at a recent Zone Activity.  The missionaries were assigned to do some of their own family ancestry searching and to come to the Activity with a story they found of one of their ancestors – AND – to dress as much as possible in the period dress of that ancestor.  Their stories were funny and deeply touching.  Mom and I went with stories of our grandmothers and dressed as best we could in dress of the early 1900’s.

Mom’s typically 2-4 months ahead of schedule for all the letters and other documents needed for missionaries coming here in the future months.  She does super at remembering names and faces and relationships of both our ward members and our proselyting missionaries.  She’s certainly a superwoman – can’t keep up with her.

Well, enough for now.

                                                                      Elder and Sister Iverson

I hope we're going to make some major progress with our addict friend, Jake, now.  We met with a "professional" addict recovery guy(LDS) who is now recovered and is a counselor.  Mom and I will now take on a more focused role of teaching him the Gospel while this man - Chase - works on a real program for him of attending meetings, giving up methadone, weaning him off alcohol, etc.  I think Jake's been "sliding" for awhile now but now it's time to be serious about this recovery;  we'll see shortly if he's serious about it.  But I just know we can help him so very much if he'll just let us. Please include him from time to time in your prayers.  He's a good man but has a very violent past with drug dealing, fighting, and other demons.(Photos of us and Jake attached. )

picture attached here of some cars that G-ma and I saw today.  Would it be fun to drive one of them do you think?  We're not sure what they're used for exactly but thought you'd like to see them.