Saturday, February 22, 2014


"The trials and tribulation that we experience may be the very things that guide us to come unto Him and cling to our covenants so that we might return to His presence and receive all that the Father hath." Linda S. Reeves, "Claim the Blessings of Your Covenants"

       This week was transfers.  It is a busy time with the Elders and Sisters moving, sometimes changing companions, sometimes moving apartments.  It can be quite stressful!!!!  Change is stressful!  On a Mission we count not in months or weeks, but in transfers. There is a transfer every 6 weeks.   There seems to be quite a bit of sickness during the week before and after transfers.  I feel this is because of the stress that the missionaries feel.  Stress can do strange things to our bodies!  We had a Specialized Training last week on that very subject.  Stress is a part of all of our lives, these young people are learning how to handle stress and change in their lives.  Sometimes it is painful.
The difficulties which come to us present us with the real test of our ability to endure. A fundamental question remains to be answered by each of us: Shall I falter, or shall I finish?"  Thomas S. Monson, ""I Will Not Fail Thee, nor Forsake Thee""

      This is the last transfer time for Elder McOmber and myself.  We go home to Idaho in less that 6 weeks.  We are starting to feel the stress and excitement, just as our Elders and Sister do.  We are very anxious to go home to our family, friends  and ward, but we now have friends and a ward that we love down here.  Coming on a mission was hard, I cried the first month, I was so homesick, but now I am going to miss these wonderful people and our "home" down here.  Saying good bye is always so hard. 
      We had to say goodbye to a good friend a little early.  Russ and JoAnn Baker have become good friends.  Russ Baker a native of the area, died February 12, 2014.  There was a memorial service for him this Friday.  He was a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on November 4, 2013 (while we were here).  He loved going to church and handed out programs each Sunday, greeting everyone with a big smile.  He loved jokes and played them on everyone.   He loved the departure firesides with the testimonies and music. We missed him this week at the departure fireside.  JoAnn had the missionaries sing at the memorial service.  He had been a "fixture" at the bars before he joined the church.  Many of his dear "bar" friends came to the memorial service.  I hope they could feel the spirit in the talks the young men gave.  Russ set a great example of how lives can change!

Hard to say "good bye-see ya later"  to Russ Baker.
These are wonderful young men that we respect a lot!!  Elder Walker(who goes home from his mission in 1 week), Cole Carter, Kenny Williams, and Wade Toleman, all previous missionaries for California Long Beach Mission. (and all AP's)   They are giants in our eyes.  This is JoAnn Baker.  She has a heart as big as all outdoors.  She and Russ have loved all of our missionaries and taken good care of them. The 3 elders that have already gone home, flew back to speak at Russ' memorial  service.  It was so great to see them all.  They were all here at the beginning of our mission and have been a great example to us. (and teased with Elder McOmber a bunch).   They bring tears to my eyes, it has been our privilege to serve the Lord along side of them!!!
Elder McOmber does sometimes wear a suit.  With Cole Carter, Elder Bledsoe and Elder Walker.  Those two elders were suppose to go home last Tuesday, but they wanted to stay 2 extra weeks to help with training.  They are awesome!
This transfer was much different than those in the past.  We got one sister and 2 Visa Waiters.  (Different than the 30-40 that we got last spring!)  This cute sister that smiles all the time is from Mongolia.  We had 22 missionaries go home in the last 2 weeks for the end of their mission or medical reasons.  Our numbers are going down now--we have 221 missionaries now.
To take care of their stress, some of the elders write in their journals or study.  We talk about having fun on our P day, not just doing the necessary clothes washing and shopping. 
      Elder McOmber was extremely busy this week.  He has gone into work at 0630 most days and some evenings worked until 10:50 PM.  He is helping to close 10 apartments.  He transports the "stuff" and teaches the elders how to  terminally clean an apartment so to get the deposit back.  He still has some more "stuff" to take care of this week.

This is what Elder McOmber does to "unwind" on his P day.  He is working on his 1950 Chevy.  He is actually doing things to get it ready for transport back to Idaho, but he loves working with mechanical stuff.
Dave Boodry, our son-in-law was here for 2 days for his work.  He drove down to take us out to dinner--it was wonderful.  We went to Joe's Crab Shack.  We enjoyed the visiting and the food!  Thanks Dave.
 As President Joseph Fielding Smith said, "We came here to be tested and proved by coming in contact with evil as well as the good. … The Father has permitted Satan and his hosts to tempt us, but by the guidance of the Spirit of the Lord and the commandments given through revelation, we are prepared to make our choice." 
… choose you this day whom ye will serve; … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:2, 15).

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The World Needs Your Help

I love Nature and the Beautiful earth that we have been given to live on.  I am also impressed with how much our Heavenly Father loves us individually.  I think that Heavenly Father knew I could not live in a big city, but our mission call was to......a BIG, crowded city, Long Beach, CA.  I have been impressed with all of nature that we have seen around us.  We live \next to a wet land reserve with all sorts of critters (coyote, hawks, ground squirrels, rabbits, blue heron, white heron, etc.)  I go in for radiation every day at the VA Hospital and Clinics.  There is usually a volunteer feeding a friendly squirrel there, but one day this week, a possum was in a tree by the walk way by heavy car and personal traffic.  Heavenly Father knows I need the occasional view of wildlife.  This guy must have gotten stuck where he wasn't suppose to be when the sun came up.

         14 And I will also ease the aburdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs,... and this will I do that ye may stand as bwitnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their cafflictions.
 15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon ...were made light; yea, the Lord did astrengthen them that they could bear up their bburdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with cpatience to all the will of the Lord.     Mosiah 24:14-15      

On the left of Elder McOmber is "Elder" Hjorth and on the right is Elder Rogers.  Dustin Hjorth lives and works in Hawaii, he went home from his mission this last year.  Elder Rogers goes home on Tuesday.  They are both very tall.
Some of our sill missionaries at the office.

Elder McOmber finished this headboard and footboard for the Mission home.  It came out real nice.  This is the "General Authority" bedroom.

Senior Couples.  We had dinner at the President and Sister Tew's home tonight.  Elder and Sister Butler are going home in a week.  (3rd couple from left).  They do not want to go.  They have served in the only Cambodian Ward in the world and in an English speaking ward.  We loved listening to them tell stories of their mission!
The Devereauxs, the Barlows, the Butlers, Pres. and Sister Tew, the McOmbers, the Bradshws and Sister Alley.
One of the many blessings of serving a mission is making so many wonderful friends!!!!! 

These Sisters showed up at the Presidents home just as we wanted to get a picture of everyone there,  We told them they must have been inspired to come at that time.  Elder McOmber wanted to be the picture "bomb".

"... the world is in need of your help. There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save."    Thomas S. Monson To the Rescue, April 2001

Saturday, February 8, 2014

What makes us feel good?

Houses along Seal Beach.  Elder McOmber has been awesome, exercising with me every morning.  It feels so good to exercise every day. It helps us feel better physically, mentally, and emotional  I really missed it when I was doing chemo(no energy). 
"Our Heavenly Father, who gives us so much to delight in, also knows that we learn and grow and become stronger as we face and survive the trials through which we must pass."
                                                                Thomas S. Monson, ""I Will Not Fail Thee, nor Forsake Thee""
There is a Doctor here that is on a mission, I use her as a resource.   We talk on the phone, send texts, and e mail all the time.  She covers all 11 missions in Southern California.  I am probably her most frequent "pain in the neck"!  Since being on our mission(almost 2 years) there have been three wonderful doctors that have helped me and all the missionaries of Southern California.  Finally this week, I met Sister Dr Nancy Alston and her husband, Elder Alston.  (They have been here since October.)  We went out to dinner and had a wonderful time.  I forgot to get a picture, but here is their picture. 
The Alston's are from Pocatello, not far from our home. 
One of our elders had a bike accident, he had stitches in his chin.  He did not want to go to a doctor to have them removed, so I kept an eye on them and then Thursday, I took them out with the help of a few assistants.  They all loved watching.
We had him lie on the couch, his companion held the flashlight.  Luckily I happened to have a set of suture removal scissors with me. 

The sister taking pictures wanted us to all smile.
The Elder survived and kept smiling!
Then it was time for district meetings.  Three wonderful sisters.
More wonderful sisters and elders.
I have had radiation all week.  I also had a doctor appointment with my oncologist.  Everything is going good.  I needed my port flushed.  This is Sam who works in the Infusion Center.  He is the best at accessing my port.
This is Lam and Sam.  They are the nurses that gave me chemo.  I am so glad to see them without needing chemo anymore!!!!!
At radiation, it is so much fun to get to know the technicians and the other patients.  Going everyday, we see each other alot.  One gentleman was smiling like a Cheshire cat, he had received his diploma, finishing his radiation.  I have been able to share my testimony and give uplifting words to others.  We all have something in common and it is easy to start a conversation that evolves into Trusting in the Lord.

"Our destiny is not determined by the number of times we stumble but by the number of times we rise up, dust ourselves off, and move forward."
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "You Can Do It Now!"

Saturday, February 1, 2014

There is room for all!

Sunday, my brother, sister, Lonnie and I took a more relaxed day.  We walked the beach on the Navy Reserve.  We found lots of pretty shells. 
We visited our friends the Edgars.  Dave took Bill, Cindy and Lonnie for a ride in his 1930 Model A.
They left Monday Morning to go back to Upstate New York(Lyons, New York) and Nephi Utah. It was a very nice visit!   I had a Dr appointment that morning that said everything is progressing as it should.   
Monday night we received a call from a missionary asking for a ride to the Temple on Tuesday AM.  We said yes, that we would be at the office at 4 AM to take them to the first session. When we got to the office, there were four (Big)missionaries.  We have a small Honda CRV that only holds 5 people.  I offered to stay at the office, but they said they could all fit...the elder was from Mexico and said he was used to squeezing people in. He sad "If there is room for 3 elders, there is room for 4."
On the way to the Temple.
On the way home, Elder Torres tried laying on the other's laps--it did not work!
Luckily the traffic moved along at a steady rate!
"The Lord made it very clear at the start of this last dispensation that we were to take the gospel to all the world. ... Whatever our age, capacity, Church calling, or location, we are as one called to the work to help Him in His harvest of souls."
Henry B. Eyring, "We Are One"
Please remember all missionaries in your prayers.  We have one very sick in the hospital.  Also our Friend, Russ Baler Is home on hospice.  We visited him and he blinked his eye when I talked to him, but we just received word that he has taken a turn for the worse.  We felt his time was near when we visited this AM.

I started Radiations Treatments  this Friday--YAAA!  They had fun drawing on me.  I looked like a beef chart.  They will not have to do this every time.  I now go everyday except weekends and holidays for 28 treatments.  (I guess the cancer does not grow on holidays or weekends)  I was very impressed with the staff.  They were excellent.  Another chance to share the gospel, if they ask(I can't start the questioning because it is a military hospital.  (VA).

"It is impossible for us to fail when we do our best when we are on the Lord's errand."         M. Russell Ballard, "Put Your Trust in the Lord"