Sunday, November 20, 2016

November 14 - 20

Elder Holmgren came into the mission office to take pictures with us the day before he finished his mission and went home to Iowa. He was one of the Assistants until the last couple of weeks, so we got pretty close to him. (Elder Holmgren is on the left and his companion is Elder Werrett.)
The missionaries all seem to especially really love Elder Porras. He loves to talk and visit with them and vice versa. The gift of gab is definitely one of his gifts.

I had a chance to open my mouth again this week and I did it. A certain Fed-X man always delivers the boxes of Book of Mormons and other stuff we order from Church Distribution. He came last Friday and delivered part of the shipment, so I knew he would be back in a day or two with the rest of it. I had a Book of Mormon ready with my testimony in it. Sure enough he came on Monday. When he was finished bringing in about five loads on his dolly, I asked him if he knew what it was that he was delivering. He said he knew it was books. I said, "Yes, they are the Book of Mormon. I thought you would like to know what you are delivering, and I want to give you this one." He took it and thanked me. He should be back in another week or two with the next order, so I will ask him if he has had a chance to read any of the Book of Mormon and what he thinks about it.

We attended one of the Zone Conference on Thursday. This zone has fourteen sisters and twelve elders. It was unusual to see more sisters than elders at an event. Zone Conferences used to happen four times per year, but starting in January they are going to have them between every transfer which usually happens every six weeks. I had just finished the new calendar for 2017 when President Layton came in from the Mission President's conference they had been at and said they were instructed to have Zone Conferences more often. So he and Sister Layton are trying to squeeze everything in and will give me an updated version, so I can do a new calendar.

Once a month The Villas has a potluck dinner for the residents. There was lots of good food. They have a man who comes with his electric guitar and plays oldies during dinner. You can see him back in the far corner of the picture on the right.

On Saturday we went with Bruce and Ingrid to the Sequoia National Forest. It was a couple hour drive. As we got higher in the mountains, it became smoky and we could smell fire. It was very interesting to see the blackened ground and trees, smoking hot spots, and even flames and burning logs. There were  Forest Service firemen and their trucks along the road every now and then. We came to find out we were in the middle of the Meadows Fire, one of four fires burning in the area. This fire started a few days ago with a lightening strike. When it started it was only a half acre and had spread to 3,000 acres.

James was walking ahead of me and told me to come because he wanted to show me something. I couldn't believe it. Somebody had carved our initials on the bottom of a fallen tree. That was pretty cool!

We stopped at The Trail of 100 Giants and marveled at the giant sequoia trees along the pathway. Look how big the root system of these fallen trees are. It made us dizzy to look up and see how tall the trees were. They were amazing to see, and it was so nice to be out in nature.

We hadn't driven very far when we were stopped on the road. One of the forest service guys told us they were cutting down a tree that was burning and they didn't know which way it would fall. After about fifteen minutes of waiting he came back and told us they had closed the road because the fires had become too dangerous. We had to turn around and take an alternative route back to Bakersfield.

Below is another Bakersfield landmark, Guthrie's Alley Cat. It is a friendly bar (just drinks, no food) that has been there since 1940. It is known for its neon sign. It is on Wall Street, which is actually just a little alley in downtown. Inside there is a large caricature drawing down by Al Hirschfeld of himself. Al Hirschfeld was a famous "characteristic". Harley-Davidson comes to Wall Street every year and does photo shoots because they like the old, rustic look of the alley.                  

The picture on the right is our little pumpkin pincushion I made for a Thanksgiving decoration.