Oh my goodness, Spring comes early in Bakersfield! Some of the trees already have buds and some are blossoming.
We went to a teaching appointment with Elders Vellver and Thomason again this week. We visited Navidad who is a lady from Guatemala who has three small children and a husband who apparently is not around much. Her baby, Sarah, is only a month old and so cute. She asked if I wanted to hold her. I had to tell her I would love to, but as missionaries we are not allowed. The Missionary Handbook says, "Because of increasing legal complexities, be extremely careful around children. Avoid any behavior that could be misunderstood or could appear to be inappropriate, including tickling, changing diapers, holding children, and allowing children to sit on your lap. Never babysit children."
James did seventy (70) pushups Monday morning to make sure he would be able to do them on Friday. He was bragging about it to whoever he could. Sisters Harmon and Clegg came into the office for something and heard about it. Sister Harmon said she does girl pushups and I "invited" her to do real pushups. I didn't mean right now, but she got down and did ten. So then she "invited" me to do the same and I did. Then we were talking about planks, which she hates. Sister Ball, Sister Harmon, and I got down on the floor right there and then in our office and did planks. Sister Harmon stopped at one minute because she was dying and we went on to two minutes. High five to the old women!
James did seventy (70) pushups again on the morning of February 10th to mark his 70th birthday!
He can do it!
We had a staff meeting Friday morning. I gave a short inspirational thought based on our personal mission scripture, D&C 64:33. All of the small things we do are building the foundation of a greater work. Sister Layton told us about Brother Gonzalez's (a mission president trainer) recent visit and training. He told them they found there are three reasons investigators don't come to church: everything is unfamiliar, they don't know anyone, and they are afraid of what they will be asked to do. He gave the missionaries a lesson on how to give a church building tour to lessen their fears. Sister Layton brought James a mini cake and we all sang "Happy Birthday" to him. The Layton's also gave him a present - a selfie stick.
We took Friday afternoon off instead of Thursday and drove the couple hours to Ventura. The hills and mountains were so pretty and green. We went to the beach to look around, but it was cold, windy, and rainy so we didn't stay long. However, it was cool to see the ocean. Then we drove on to Simi Valley. We had a nice birthday dinner to celebrate James' birthday (grilled shrimp and fish) at a fancy restaurant. We spent the night at the Grand Vista Hotel and enjoyed watching a little TV. We don't have a TV at our apartment.
Saturday night when we got back, we went to dinner at Brother and Sister Godinez's. Our four Spanish elders were also invited. We ate guajolota, which is a special dish that comes from Guanajuato, Mexico where they are from. That is also where James' ancestors on his dad's side lived. It is a big bread roll dipped in a chili sauce and fried in oil. Then they cut them open and spread mashed potatoes and chorizo (sausage). Then you add what you want; avocado pico de gio, fresh cheese, lettuce, sour cream, and hot sauce. It was really good! In other parts of Mexico it is called pambazo. It is kind of odd that in Guanajuato it is called guajolota, which means female turkey, but it has nothing to do with turkey. The Godinez's said they are probably going to return to Guanajuato before long because they are worried about their future since Trump became president. They have been in the United States about thirteen years. Their five children and grandchildren all live here and will stay.
Elder Thomason, Elder Barney, Elder Labrum and Elder Vellver (on the ladder)
The Lord loves you and so do we!