Sunday, March 12, 2017

Week of March 6 - 12

Our mission increased by 7 new elders (5 of them Spanish speaking) and l new sister on Monday. For lunch when they arrived, I made a big salad and we had a potato bar instead of pizza. I figured that pizza and salad costs about $3.75 per person compared to baked potatoes and salad at only about $1.65 per person. We also enjoyed having dinner with them in the evening at the mission home.

               Elder Cruz has only been in the country about five months from Mexico and does not know English very well, so James was translating for him. Elder Pena is from Columbia and has lived in Texas the last six months and can speak some English. James also showed the vehicle safety video and gave a presentation on driving safely.                       Elder Atkinson and Elder Cruz are assigned to our ward.
                Elder Chamberlain, President and Sister Layton, Elder Atkinson, Elder Cruz
             Elder Stewart, Elder Rindlisbacher, Sister McMinn, Elder Pena, Elder Thomson

On Tuesday the two sisters, Sister Newhouse (or Sister "Old Shack" as some people like to tease her) and Sister Romero who have completed their missions had their departing interviews and instructions.  Then we, the Balls, and the Laytons had a repeat lunch with them like the day before. They flew home early the next morning.

Mario, from our ward, called James crying and upset because the CPS had taken his little seven year old sister and fifteen year old brother from his mother. They live in Oxnard, California and his sister had called him crying pleading with him to save her. What a tear jerker! He had been on the phone all day with other family members who are all fighting among themselves and the case worker trying to see what she can do. Mario called again later and we went over to his house to talk to him and James gave him a blessing.

On our afternoon off on Thursday we bought a new mini fridge for the office since we apparently ruined the other one. Ever since we came, the tiny little freezer compartment was caked in about five inches of solid ice. When we were chipping the ice off, we made a hole that let all the Freon out. So now we have a nice, new fridge.

Then we went on a teaching appointment with Elders Rowley and Hulett to visit Mary Vega. She grew up in McFarland and ran track for a couple years with Coach White (McFarland USA coach).  We also found out that Cesar Chavez was her godfather. She is an older woman that uses a wheel-chair. Her electric wheelchair had been at the shop for repairs for sometime because she could not afford to pay for it. We found out where it was and went and paid for it anonymously. Mary was very surprised that someone would do that. She said she had been praying for an angel to help her. She attended church Sunday and said she really liked it and would be back.

We enjoyed the beautiful day on Saturday sitting outside by a pretty fountain sharing a chocolate banana shake. We also went to the movie, "The Shack". It had a lot of good messages in it about our relationship with God (he was called "Papa" in the movie) and Jesus including; we don't have to do it alone, we can turn to them, forgiveness, and getting rid of guilt. I liked when "Papa" said, "Anything is possible when everything is possible".

The last couple of weeks we have gotten more new Toyota Corollas for the missionaries. President Layton called Salt Lake and told them he did not want them to send us any more Chevy Malibu's.  As a matter of fact, he asked them if they can trade our Malibu's out with some other mission for Corollas. He thinks the Malibu's are too fancy for our missionaries to be driving because there are many poorer areas here and they don't fit in very well.

Scattered around downtown Bakersfield you see these power boxes on some of the corners that have been painted and look so pretty. It is much better than just leaving them in their natural gray metal state.