Sunday, February 26, 2017

Week of February 20 - 26

Elder Egbers broke his leg down near his ankle a week ago on P-day playing some kind of game. He just came down on his foot wrong. He will have to be off his foot for six weeks or more, so he was sent home to heal. He is planning on coming back to finish the last part of his mission. We found out something interesting. If he had broken his leg a week later, he would have been sent home honorable released from his mission and not be able to return. Apparently, if you have been out eighteen months or longer and get hurt or become sick and have to go home, you don't come back again. Elder Egbers six weeks at home will be counted as part of his mission time and he will be released on his original release date.

I went to lunch on Tuesday with Ingrid Ball and Lynette Thomas (one of the mission housing inspectors) at the Guild House Restaurant. It is a non-profit, all volunteer operated restaurant that benefits children and families of Kern County through mental health counseling and other services. It was a very, fancy gourmet lunch in a beautiful old house built in 1909.
That evening James went visiting with Bishop Butler. They visited several investigators and their families. One of them is Chris who is a senior in high school and his mother. His mother was investigating the church a couple years ago, but then she got cancer and was going through the treatments and was too weak to continue visiting with the missionaries. She is in remission now and they are both planning to be to church on Sunday. Actually, Chris was going to be baptized but the day before his dad said no. Now Chris is eighteen and has committed to being baptized next Saturday. Another was a newly married couple who just moved into the ward. The Bishop used to teach Gabriela in Seminary, but then she became inactive. Her husband who is a nonmember said they would try to be to church on Sunday. They also had two short visits at the doors because it was getting late and they had to get their kids to bed.

The last few weeks I have been working on organizing the "Secretary's Manual" and writing instruction pages for the different responsibilities the mission secretary does. I wish I had had this information when I came to Bakersfield. I think it will be helpful to the people who come after us. James is also writing a step by step procedure for the vehicle coordinator to follow.
One of my gifts that the Lord has given me is organization and I really like it. I was thinking about what other gifts I have been given and I came up with planning, observant, a listening ear, a discerning eye, and a mind and heart that forgets and forgives and does not hold grudges.
James's gifts are a loving heart for everyone, problem solver, organizer (especially in his mind), kind motivator, good bilingual communicator with anyone and everyone, and has the ability to make concepts and principles understandable.

Friday we went to the Los Angeles Temple to be there with President and Sister Layton and our two departing sisters, Sister Romero and Sister Newhouse. There were a bunch of departing missionaries from the San Fernando Mission attending also. We all enjoyed a late lunch in the temple cafeteria before we left.
One of the temple worker ladies looked so familiar to me, but I couldn't think from where. Then I asked her what her maiden name was and discovered I graduated from high school with her; Maile Roberts. We only had a moment to talk, but I found out she lives in Bakersfield. James was talking to her husband who was at the desk on our way in. He said they used to live in Sedalia, CO. We are looking forward to getting together with them sometime here in Bakersfield. The two houses we own in Logan are next door to the house she lived in. Her brother, Roland, also graduated with us, and her older brother, Brent, was James' friend. Small world!

James and I stopped at The Getty Center which is on a hilltop overlooking Los Angeles just two or three exits from the temple. It is a huge complex that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute. We only had about two and a half hours to explore before it closed at 5:30, but you could spend much longer there. It is all free with a $15.00 charge for parking. You park and get on a tram which takes you up the hill to the center.
Everywhere you look is inspiration and beauty. The architecture of the buildings is amazing in itself. The stone is travertine that comes from Italy.
The views are spectacular.  You can see all of the Los Angeles area and even the ocean.
The gardens and outdoor landscape is beautiful also.
The galleries are full of sculpture, decorative arts, manuscripts, antiquities, drawings, and paintings. Even we, who are not very savvy in the arts, recognized many famous names. The two paintings below are by Von Gogh; "Haystacks" and "Irises". Below those is a portrait painting by Renoir and the sculpture, "The Sleeping Faun" by Bouchardon, who was a royal artist of the enlightenment. Bouchardon's art was a special exhibit on loan from the Louvre Museum.
Saturday evening we went to two baptisms from the same ward; Carl Christopher a 50+year old man and Chase Powers, a 9 year old boy. Chase has severe hydrophobia, a real fear of water. After two attempts, they decided to wait till after the program was over and most of the people had gone. Then we heard he did just fine.

The other day we drove past the almond orchards and it looked like a beautiful field of white as far as you could see. It was sad to see quite a few trees down. The roots are pretty shallow and we had some very windy days recently that took a toll on the trees. Even though "the field is white" it will not be ready to "harvest" until the fall. (D&C 4:4, John 4:35, Alma 26:5)
A couple weeks ago the white blossomed trees (not the almond trees) were blooming and now the pink blossoming trees are so pretty. It seems like there is always some kind of tree, bush, or flower in bloom around Bakersfield year round. It is very nice!