Tuesday morning we joined some other members of our ward at the Bakersfield airport to send off Wesley Schmidt with well wishes. He is flying to the Provo MTC to start his mission, and has been called to the Tacoma Washington Mission. Wesley is a well prepared, twenty year old young man who has been diligently working hard toward this day for over two years. He was told he couldn't go on a mission because he weighed too much, so he worked hard to loose the weight. His mom and dad are divorced and his dad has cancer and probably won't live too much longer. His dad lives in Utah and Wesley recently went to visit him and say his goodbyes. Last Saturday, I hemmed six pairs of slacks and a pair of workout pants for him. He is quite short and can't buy pants the right length to fit him. This is his first time flying also, so he was kind of nervous and excited about that. Both Wesley and his mom were overwhelmed and got tears in their eyes when we told them we were going to put money into his mission account each month to help him.
Another sweet missionary, Elder Beckstead, was released to go home to get better. He has been sick for weeks and not able to keep food down. He was trying to tough it out and not let anyone know. He has been on his mission since September. He left most of his belongings here and is planning to come back soon. Even though he doesn't feel well, he always has a smile on his face.
James finally received his new glasses in the mail the other day from the VA. He has been anxiously waiting for about three and a half months. Can you tell which pair of glasses are the new ones? *
I finished the 30 day challenge again! I swore I would never do it a second time, but for some reason I did. The last day was 50 dips, 150 squats, 120 sec plank, 150 crunches, 50 pushups, 50 burgees, and I finished in 21 minutes, 2 minutes faster than the first time. Hallelujah!
Thursday we went to BYU vs CSU baseball game in Bakersfield. BYU lost 4 to 5. Elder Larsen called James during the game because that was about as close as he could get to the game. He played for BYU before his mission and hopes to again when he is released. He asked President Layton if they could attend, but the answer was no.
Friday night we had another potluck dinner at the mission home with President and Sister Layton and the mission staff. President Layton shared three wonderful experiences some missionaries shared in their weekly letter to him. He reads each of the letters from the missionaries every week and responds to them all. That is quite a feat! We learned that Sister Layton is usually the driver as they go to Zone Conferences, meetings, and interviews all over the mission. President Layton has a laptop desk that he puts his computer on and works while his wife drives. We also learned that while her husband is having interviews, Sister Layton teaches their companions and the other missionaries that are waiting how to polish and shine their shoes (elders) and how to apply makeup (sisters). Also, President Layton told us the sad and interesting fact that probably five missionaries in his eight months as president have gotten the news that their parents are divorcing. It is rough on them.
Our stake center was a busy place Saturday afternoon and evening. There were nine baptisms one after the other; four converts and five 8 year old Primary children. We attended the baptisms of three different teenagers. This is Emma Gillian (18). She was first on the program and told a little about her conversion and bore her testimony. She first went to church with a friend when she was 14. A couple years later she had some kind of accident that put her in a wheelchair and the Relief Society came to the aid of her family. She said over the years she has had the help and support of many members and missionaries.
Sister Seiuli and Sister Isom are in the photo with Emma.
Then Chris Ocegueda (18) from our ward was baptized. He wanted to be baptized over a year ago, but his dad wouldn't allow it and his baptism was cancelled. Other than his dad (who is not around much) his family is happy about his decision, but they did not attend his baptism. We picked him up and took him home after. Some of the young men from the ward gave the prayers and talks and the young women participated in a musical number, "A Child's Prayer". Chris is a senior in high school and a great guy. He is going to study culinary arts in college, and serve a mission in about a year.
Elder Rowley, Chris, and Elder Crane make a handsome trio.
Chris said he wanted to stay for the next baptism, so we did. Megan Posada (17) was baptized. She has been living with her uncle and aunt, who are members of the church. The missionaries told us that at first she told them she was an atheist and didn't want to listen to their message. Over time, her heart softened and she came to know that there is a God, our Heavenly Father, and His son, Jesus Christ, sacrificed His life for her. She was so excited to be baptized!
Here Megan is with Sister Newhouse and Sister Kuang.
Guess where those "Wonderful Pistachios" that we all love come from? Yep, you are right - good, old Bakersfield is the place. It was back in 2007 when they first arrived in Safeway stores. Now they are everywhere. We even have some in our pantry.
THE LORD LOVES YOU AND SO DO WE!
(*on the right)