Sunday, February 5, 2017

week of January 30-February 5

Dustin, an AT&T employee, was at our mission office for nearly half a day doing some work and changing the fax connections so we could move that new printer from one room to another room.
When he was leaving he gave us his card. Almost automatically, I gave him a pass-along card with Christ's picture and said, "Here, we want you to have one of our cards." He kind of hesitated or mumbled. I asked, "Do you believe in Christ?" He said, "Oh yes." He then told us he was actually baptized into our church when he was a youth, but I guess his family was not very active. I told him we could have missionaries stop by to reteach him. He said missionaries have come by before and he asks them questions and they never come back. Just about that time, President Layton walked in and heard the tail end of the conversation. He told Dustin he was not inactive because there was something in there (pointing to his heart) because he was baptized once and believes in Christ. He asked him if he had ten minutes to spare and took him in his office. We had to leave soon after, but the next day we got the rest of the story. President Layton said Dustin had been filled with anti-Mormon stuff, but he gave him a lot to think about. Dustin said he would think about it.

A few days later, a man walked into the office selling chocolate bars for a fund raiser for a men's rehabilitation center. James came out and bought one and then said, "Here, let me give you something." He gave him a pass along card and James told him to read it and act upon it and it would be the best chocolate bar he ever sold.

Then we also found out that Matt, the man who cleans the apartment carpets for the mission, is taking the lessons. We all thought he was a member of the church. He actually came into the office on Friday to bring some receipts and we talked about his visits with the missionaries.

The mission got two very nice new Toyota Tacoma trucks that went to some lucky elders in a more mountain's area. Some sister missionaries were presented with the new Toyota Rav4.

Sister Zambrano and Sister Gillespie brought in a homemade cheesecake for us in the office. It was delicious and so thoughtful.

Tuesday evening we attended the Kern County School District honor band, orchestra, and choir concert "It's A Grand Night For Music" at the Rabobank Convention  Center. Bakersfield's mayor was the master of ceremonies. We were invited by Jayline (cello) and Grace (violin) from our ward. They were very excited that their "grandparents" were there to see them perform.

Friday night we enjoyed a potluck dinner social with the mission staff at the mission home. The Balls brought their daughter, Melanie, who is here from Arkansas visiting for the weekend. We had appetizers, prime rib roast, mashed potatoes, spinach salad, rolls, and desert. I brought "Luscious Lime Squares" for the desert.

Saturday James and I drove to McFarland and Delano for a little adventure. They are only twenty and thirty miles away. McFarland is a city of 19,000 and most famous for the movie, "McFarland, USA". I wanted to run around the high school track but all the gates were locked.
Delano is a city of 62,000 population. Cesar Chavez was born there. It has two state prisons. It has a lot of agriculture and is famous for table grapes and Halos mandarin oranges. It has a large Filipino American community. We have six elders serving in Delano and as we were driving down the old town Main Street we saw them. They had a table set up with signs, Book of Mormons, and pass along cards and were waving and talking to everyone. They said they usually do this a couple times a week and get a lot of good contacts that way. We went into the old fashioned JC Penney store and found a great deal on white shirts and two other shirts for James for only $3.99 each after the discount.

              Elder Parsons, Elder Canul, Elder West, Elder Tolman, Elder Sant, Elder Greenhalgh
                    They told us a member of the church painted the beautiful mural on the wall!

Saturday evening we went to a fiftieth birthday party and dinner for Petra. She is the lady in the Balls ward who has invited us to other dinners and parties at her house. She had everything decorated in leopard print, including herself. (The bottom picture is her family.)
Then we went to a baptism. Both Greg and Michelle Etheridge were baptized. They are the parents of three children who were each baptized one at a time in the past six months. Now the whole family has been baptized, and they are all looking forward to going to the temple together in a year to be sealed as an eternal family. That is what it is all about!

Sunday the Bakersfield 2nd Ward added a Spanish Group. Everything is the same except after the block of meetings there is another Sacrament Meeting just for the Spanish speaking members in their own language. The Spanish Group Leader is Brother Parada. He was born in Chili, but moved to Sweden when he was young. His father was a communist and had to leave Chili. Sweden was the only country that would give them asylum, so that is how they ended up there. His family joined the church in Sweden a few years later. He has lived in the United States for about eight years now. He is married and they have three children. There were about forty people in attendance today at the first meeting, which is pretty good. Two couples were there that had been less active and they bore their testimonies. James also bore his testimony. He told about being called as a branch president in Texas and how the branch grew from twenty-six members to about one hundred forty in less than a year. He told them that the people that were here today are the leaders of the growth of the Spanish Group. He also testified of the importance of families, prayer, scripture reading, and the love the Savior has for us. It was kind of fun to sing the hymns in Spanish and brought back old memories of being in the Spanish branch in Texas.