We thought we would tell you a little about Bakersfield. It is the capitol of Kern County which is one of the richest agricultural regions in the world, as well as the most prolific oil producing county in the country. The population is about 370,000 and about half the population is Hispanic. The elevation is only 492 feet. It is 90 miles north of Los Angeles, 90 miles south of Fresno, and 90 miles east of the Pacific Ocean. Bakersfield has 270 days of sunshine per year and it only snows about once every thirty years. There has been a blue sky and sunshine everyday since we have been here, so when you look outside and see the trees gently swaying in the breeze it looks nice. Then you go outside and feel a wave of heat! It had been 105-110 everyday, but today we had a break because it was only 95. The trees here remind me of Texas. There are a lot of pretty blooming crepe myrtle trees, magnolia trees, and oleander trees. There are some palm trees, but mostly near the nice shopping centers and housing areas. Bakersfield has lots of almond tree farms. Apparently, there is a huge church almond farm here also. There are huge power line towers everywhere. I guess they don't know about underground lines or they think of them as mini Eiffel Towers beautifying the landscape. Someone told us there are 10,000 oil wells in Bakersfield. Some are spread around, but they are mostly in oil fields where you can see oil pumps forever. So there is a big oil industry and those areas look like Pasadena, Texas where we used to live.
We have been adjusting to a 9 to 5 work week. Really it is more like 8:30 to 4:30, but varies a little everyday. We have a staff meeting in the office on Tuesday mornings with the mission president, his wife, the AP's, the housing couple, the vehicle coordinator, etc. James is really getting a handle on all the vehicle paperwork, what to do with it, calling the missionaries to get info they forgot on their forms, and entering it in the computer. Alecia is getting used to all that goes on in the office, answering the phone sometimes, dealing with the mail, assembling the orientation books, entering the baptism records, and so on. One of our missionaries went home for three days to attend his mother's funeral. Another missionary's family came from Cancun, Mexico to pick him up from his mission about a week early so they could all visit Salt Lake City before returning home. That was very exciting! The elder was at the office waiting when his family arrived. It was a tearful, happy reunion.
Friday night we went on a triple date with President Layton and his wife and the Ball's, the other office couple, to Buck Owens Crystal Palace. We had dinner and listened to live music from the Stampedes and another group. It was fun watching people dance and line dance. They looked pretty professional like they knew what they were doing, so we did not join them. Buck Owens and Merle Haggard are big here and each have a road named after them.
James has gone out with the missionaries several times visiting people. James and I went to visit Victor Romero who got baptized about a month ago. He owned two Ihops and has a '57 Chevy in his garage. We talked about families and doing family history. Today during Sunday School we helped him get an LDS account and log into familysearch and enter a few things. He was excited and we were excited! His wife who has been a member about two and a half years was really excited too and wants us to help her. They are about ten years older than us and from Peru. They speak English as well as Spanish. After church today we were invited to attend as Victor was ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood. It is exciting to see his progression!
We usually just check our mail once or twice a week. On Tuesday it is very exciting because there is a lot of junk mail and food ads!
We have been dealing with red fuzz balls and fluff from our new red/burgundy bath towels. The towels are huge and fluffy, but maybe not worth it. Even after several washings we are still finding red stuff everywhere. Problems, problems!
Tender Mercy - I have noticed that my hands don't get numb anymore like they did. At home I would usually wake up with numb hands and often have trouble trying to write or type on the computer especially in the mornings. I was worried that I might have problems here working in an office with the numbness. The Lord has blessed me!