Sunday, December 18, 2016

Week of December 12-18

Monday we welcomed ten new missionaries to the California Bakersfield Mission. James and I are the ones that usually set up the cultural hall for their arrival. We set up tables for the lunch and tables for the orientation stations area. We are in charge of the lunch also. We order and pick up the pizzas. I make salad, and this time we also had cantaloupe, grapes, and cuties. The missionaries arrive at the airport about noon. President and Sister Layton and the Assistants are there to greet them. Elder Morris is also there with his truck and trailer to transport all of their luggage. They usually get to the church about 12:30. We eat lunch and visit. Then we man our stations (contact info, housing, health, vehicles, finances, photos/emails, and picture with President and Sister Layton), and the missionaries fan out to get information, sign papers, etc. After they have gone to each of the stations, they get their mission binder (full of more important info) and a treat! This month it was the sugar cookies I made and a candy cane in a little bag for each one. Then the missionaries go to the Relief Society room for some training. We clean up.       
That evening we all have dinner at the mission home. Sister Morris takes care of that dinner. She did ask me to make salad this time.             
Here we are with Sister Arceo from the Houston Spanish Stake. Her stake president is President Call, who served with James in the first Spanish Stake when we lived in Pasadena, Texas.

On Tuesday the new missionaries are assigned companions and transfers take place. Early Wed.
morning the Assistants and President and Sister Layton take the departing missionaries to the airport. We had twelve go home this time.

This is a picture of some of the Christmas Morningside treat bags I assembled. I felt like one of Santa's elves filling 149 Christmas stockings. Our mission had two Christmas Morningsides on Thursday for the missionaries in the Lancaster/Palmdale and the Ridgecrest/Bishop areas. This coming Friday will be the one for the Bakersfield area. We have also been getting lots of Christmas gifts in the office that we have had to organize and wrap to be given out at the Morningsides.

Saturday we drove to the twin cities of Lancaster and Palmdale in the Antelope Valley. They are about 95 miles to the south-east. We had not been to that part of the mission yet, so we decided to go. We also had some packages and a license plate tag to deliver to some of the missionaries serving in those cities. As we were driving we were surprised to see a light dusting of snow on the mountains. There are huge solar farms outside of Lancaster. Lancaster became the first US city to require solar panels on all new homes effective January 2014. Lancaster is also home to the first "musical road" in the US. We rolled our windows down and listened to the theme of "The Lone Ranger" (1950's TV show) as we drove 55 mph down the grooved road. The music is probably only about a quarter mile, but it was pretty cool!
Palmdale is called the "Aerospace Capital of America" and is home to Edwards Air Force Base. There is also the California Poppy Preserve. The poppies are in bloom mid-February to mid-May, so we will have to visit then.

Guess where America's favorite clementine comes from? If you said Bakersfield, you are right!   They are grown in the San Joaquin Valley which includes all of Kern County where Bakersfield is. They are packaged at Sun Pacific in Bakersfield. Cuties are the original "fruit" snack.