Sunday, April 16, 2017

Week of April 10 - 16 (Easter)

This Easter week our mission  president asked the missionaries to study and reflect on the Savior's last week of his earthly ministry, so we did. Jesus Christ taught the people so many great parables and lessons that last week. He instituted the sacrament. He suffered so much for each one of us by taking upon himself our sins, heartaches, trials, sicknesses, etc. Then he was resurrected so each one of us can be resurrected one day and live with him and our Heavenly Father! That was the most momentous weekend in the history of the world. One of our missionaries who came into the office on Friday asked why it was called "Good Friday". He thought it should be called "Bad Friday" because Jesus was crucified. Good Friday is good because as terrible as that day was, it had to happen for us to receive the joy of Easter. Good Friday marks the day when wrath and mercy met at the cross. That is why Good Friday is so dark and so Good at the same time.

Here is an interesting little tidbit:  Mary lives next door to us and Martha lives next door to her. They are both widows and both of them have moved here in just the last few months.

Thursday afternoon we picked up Grace and Jayline (they were on Spring Break) and drove to the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve near Lancaster. The California Poppy was named the State Flower in l903. Poppies close up at night, when it is cloudy, or when the cold wind blows. It was cloudy, kind of chilly, and very windy so the poppies were mostly closed. It would have looked more like a sea of orange if they had been open.
We drove the girls down the Musical Road in Lancaster to hear "The Lone Ranger" theme song. Then we ate dinner at Sizzler before we drove home. Sizzler has a nice salad bar which I love and was good for Jayline and Grace since they are both vegetarians. James enjoyed steak and shrimp.

Friday Elder Pyfer from Castle Rock was released and returned home to get better. He said he has bad headaches and anxiety that make him unable to function. He hopes to be able to get it under control and return back to his mission in a couple of months. He has been out on his mission for about nine months and has been a very good missionary.

We saw a movie, "The Zookeeper's Wife", Friday night. It was a true story of a couple in Warsaw, Poland during World War II. He was director of the Warsaw Zoo and she loved animals. The Germans came in and killed many of the animals and took the best ones. They hid one of their Jewish friends in their home and then were able to save 300 others from the Warsaw Ghetto. It was really moving!

On Saturday we made some drop by visits to an investigator and two recently baptized members, visited, and took them some pumpkin fruit muffins.

Then we went to Jayden Harlow's baptism. He is a 19 year old who will be going to the Young Single Adult Ward. His grandfather baptized him. The baptismal font's plug was not working well, so the water was draining almost as fast as it was filling. Jayden had to sit down and then lean back to get completely immersed. His parents were not active, so he did not grow up with the church. He said maybe they will get reactivated now that he is baptized.

Sister Harmon and Sister Hayes are the sweet missionaries who taught him.                                                                

Later, we met Elder Rowley and Hulet at the church along with Mike who they are teaching. We all gave him a tour of the church building to help him get familiar with what it looks like and what takes place on Sundays and other days of the week. We answered the questions he had. He has to work tomorrow, so it will be the next Sunday before he can attend.

Sunday morning we went to the Brimhall Ward to hear Jane Morris report on her mission to Chili. She is the daughter of Matt & Patti Morris who are Church Service Missionaries (vehicles, newspaper & referrals) in our mission. We saw the Gray's (where we had dinner later) there also. He told me that another one of our high school classmates, Philip Lewis, was in the 5th Ward. The 5th Ward shares the building with our ward, Bakersfield 2nd Ward. So, when we got to our church building we asked around and found him. We had a nice reunion. His wife's brother, Eric Clyde, was also one of our classmates. Then, just before the Spanish Sacrament Meeting we were talking to the father-in-law of our group leader and found out that his wife, Sandra Page, was also one of my classmates. They are here from Simi Valley visiting their daughter and family. Sandra stayed home because she wasn't feeling well, so we didn't get to see her.  Sandra's husband graduated in 1969 like we did, but from Sky View High. He also graduated from Utah State in l974 like James did.
The music on Easter Sunday is always beautiful and taking the sacrament is extra meaningful!
We had Easter dinner at Maile & Waylon Gray's house. I graduated from high school with her. A couple months ago I saw her at the Los Angeles Temple and recognized her. They live in Bakersfield, but have their house up for sale and will soon be moving to Iowa where one of their sons live.
                               (Sunday certainly seemed to be a high school reunion day!)
Alecia and classmate, Philip Lewis and Alecia and classmate, Maile Roberts Gray
We talked to Janel and her boys on Easter. They are all in Prague. Yesterday, they had dinner at Martin's parents house. They ate rabbit. James teased the boys that they ate the Easter bunny.
We certainly missed the holiday with our family, but were so happy they carried on without us. They had Easter dinner at our house and even had the annual Easter egg hunt in the yard.