Old Ornaments, Wind, Dixon Turns 7, Kindling and Nana’s Birthday!

THINGS THAT DIDN’T WORK:

Royce:  “Some people have trees that have three kinds of ornaments that all match, that’s boring.  Our tree has meaning with all the ooooold ornaments that don’t match.”;)

Huge wind storms for the last week.  I love the wind on the same level that I love rivers.  None the less, I found our recycling and trash in the bushes, thankfully in time to be dumped still.  Then our new trampoline scooted across the grass toward the house.  We laughed when we woke up with it in a different spot.  We have successfully tied it down to the lawnmower.  😉

Post Office leaving packages on our deck in the yard.  The wind blew them all over and an animal even got into one.  I think the front porch (I’ll give them that it’s on the back of the house) or by the garage would probably be a better choice.

Dixon moping around because he couldn’t open one of his presents early.  He tried really hard to convince me, but I held my ground (for once).

THINGS THAT WORKED:

Merritt getting swimming awards and a varsity letter!  We weren’t expecting that, so it was fun.  🙂

Hadley’s fun basketball games!  It’s so enchanting to watch her quick feet and hands this season.  It’s her first year and she did really well figuring out all the rules.  During Thanksgiving Break, our entire family (little kids), Nana, Boppa, Dihana, Bryson, Addisen and David went to her game.  We were obnoxiously loud while we cheered her on.  Anytime she did something good, we cheered so loudly that the entire gym would turn and look at us (I think they were scared).  It wasn’t planned, we just couldn’t help ourselves. I’m sad to see the season end.

Merritt and Dihana braiding their hair together! 🙂

An empty house while the kids were randomly all at friends houses or working.  Wow, I love silence (not permanently) and I got so much done.

Ainsworth Christmas Home Tours.  Hadley and I met up with my Mom for it.  It was so beautiful in each home and we had a great time.  Hadley now knows what kind of house she plans on having, the one with a huge swing set in the attic!

Dixon turning 7!!!  He and Royce got to go on a special outing and get their first haircuts at a real barber (Kevin usually cuts their hair but he was going to be gone for two weeks, only home on Sunday).  They were so cute sitting up high on the barber’s chair.  We did all our traditions and had dinner at Red Robin with my parents.  Dixon fell into bed and let out a big sigh saying “That was a really good day!”.  Mission accomplished!  🙂 We are all having a hard time watching our baby turn seven (and we are probably messing him up a lot by babying him), but we love his fun personality and love.  He can almost always work a room and get what he wants.  We also did birthday animal masks (facila cream masks).

Getting to go to the temple alone.  It was a beautiful, sunny day and the drive was simple and fast.  My time at the temple brought so much clarity, peace and joy.  I’m truly thankful for the House of the Lord.  

My Mom’s birthday!  I love celebrating my Mom.  She is such a blessing in my life and I’m thankful for all her love and support.   The years I get to live this life with her fill my heart.  Happy Birthday Mom!

Hadley chopping kindling for me.  When Momma needs to start the wood stove to heat the freezing house up, Hadley is the girl to call.

My not so little boy’s crossed feet while eating their breakfast.

Christmas Hallmark movies.  Merritt and I have a real weakness… We don’t seem to be able to overcome watching multiple movies, despite the waste of time.  It does fill us up and make us smile though….. 🙂

Kevin getting the great Dad award!  The kids woke up to this vinyl saying on their mirror.  So funny!

Dixon making his own arrows.  He randomly got the hairdryer to dry the glue faster.  Later that day, he was so sad because the arrow disappeared before he could use it on the bow.

 

 

 

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Week 70 – Elder Jones

Elder Dube, Zone Conference and the Trio

Monday was so crazy. I can’t even describe. Just trying to get all my stuff and a bed and everything in a small apartment. Crazy.

Tuesday:
It was a good day. I’m homesick for Gridley again. Oroville is cool but I just want to be back again. Back in Gridley with my members and my missionaries. The Zone Leaders are in the other district so I’m separated from my wonderful district.
It was a good day. Lots of good lessons. Having a car again is great. So far being in a trio is fun. Even with the zone leader that I went on Exchanges with and didn’t go so well, it’s been good so far.
We had an awesome lesson tonight with ***. He is in Oroville, but I’ve met him a few times. He got baptized a week ago and we went to share the Christmas initiative with him. We wanted his granddaughter to watch it too. But we got three other family members to watch it! And two of them said that they would sit in for the next few discussions at least! It was awesome. The Spirit was really strong.
Wednesday: Oh sweet relief! It felt so good to be back in Gridley most of the day. Even if I was inside. We went to district meeting and I was able to see everyone. All the missionaries. Felt so good to be back. But we had to leave half way through. We had to set up tables and chairs for MLC. That’s the monthly meeting for Zone leaders and Sister training leaders. I had to go to it because of my temporary companions being ZL’s.  The meeting was good. A member of the 70 is going through the mission and he led the meeting. It’s Elder Dube. He is from Zimbabwe and it’s hard to understand him. But he is really cool and likes to laugh at everything. So much energy. I loved it! Such a cool guy.
There was a lot happening in my ward tonight that I had to miss because we had a lesson up in Oroville. I’m trying to handle this and it’s really, really hard. I just want things to be normal again. So much stress.

Thursday:

Today was much better. I think I can do this. We got up really early this morning so we could be in Yuba City for zone conference.

Hey look! It’s Sister Thorum! Kylie Thorum from Alabama. She is friends with Addy.

It was half of the mission, twice as many as normal. Because if Christmas and Elder Dube. He taught a lot of awesome things and I got to see a lot of people. Cool quote: “Never give away a closed Book of Mormon.”  He said to always share a scripture or personal experience or give them an assignment as you even give away a Book of Mormon. He is very smart and very funny. What a cool guy. It was kinda cool being in Yuba again as usual. Felt more normal now that I end up there more often.

Then we went to dinner in my ward. Felt so good to see my members. Felt like home. Then we had a few minutes to see **** and the kids. They are doing well. Her daughter went back to her home for a while which is good and they seemed like they had been doing better. But the daughter comes back on Saturday😬
Then we had an awesome lesson with *****. We taught the word of wisdom. Everyone there taught by the spirit. The spirit led and guided a lot. **** loves his coffee and is definitely going to miss it. He knows it’s going to be hard. He is having a lot of faith though and he knows the Book of Mormon is true and is holding to that. He knows it’s a commandment of God even though he doesn’t see why it’s bad. Especially decaf coffee. But he has a testimony and sticks to it. Out of everyone I’ve ever met that is not a member, even within members, I’ve never seen anyone that acts so immediately and wholeheartedly upon promptings of the Holy Ghost. He is amazing.
So that was great. And spending the night in Gridley with people I love really got me re-centered. I went back to Oroville smiling and with a happy heart. It gave me hope.  We will be there tomorrow.  The Zone Leaders are making it so when they do their exchanges, I end up in Gridley for my district stuff and for my ward to be accessible to me. It’s been a lot harder than I thought it would be but I think I’ll make it now. As of right now, I’m happy because I’m starting to get some of it back. So I can do it.
Friday:
Not much today. Got to go down and do service at ****’s. That was great. All the district was there, at least most.  Some were sick. But it was great. Then weekly planning, which was great with three wards and dinners and all. Then contacting. Then dinner with the Wagner’s. Then ******* cancelled on us, we tracted then went home. Pretty uneventful day. But good because it was in Gridley.
Saturday:
Great day today! We had a lesson in the morning with some guy in Oroville that they’ve met with a few times. In the beginning if the lesson he told us he appreciated us but didn’t think he wanted to continue. By the end of it, he had tears in his eyes and said he would study the Book of Mormon and pray about it because he wanted to know if it’s true. He also said he would get baptized in he got a positive answer to that question. The Spirit was so strong and we were on the same page for all of it.
We had several other appointments and the rest of the day was good. Lots of fun. Tiring.
We also did today’s #lighttheworld advent day. I’m sure you saw it on Facebook.  The Zone elders said that President Ward overruled a little bit of what the Salt Lake City guy said and said we can post a little bit more than that. So I posted the Light the World video (which I was going to do anyways) and Elder Chatwin posted the water bottle thing. So that was fun.
Sunday:
Today was packed. We went to Oroville Sacrament Meeting at 9 am then went straight to my sacrament, then to YSA sacrament, then stake missionary correlation meeting, then to a YSA break the fast and the Christmas Devotional.  We talked to an investigator there. So we didn’t get out if church till 7:00 pm. Crazy.
The Christmas devotional was awesome! Loved the music so much. The talks were so good. I finally realized Christmas. I’ve always wondered why we celebrate Christmas more than Easter. Because Easter is when the Atonement happened which is the best part. Today I realized Christmas isn’t about the Atonement, it’s about God giving us the gift of the Atonement, and Christmas was when it was made possible and official. So that was a cool realization. Especially when you love Christmas as much as I do.
That awkward moment when a member asks you to have the missionaries live with him because his super less active 19 year old niece, that is super immoral is going to be living there and he wants you to turn her life around. 😬

 

Week 69 – Elder Jones

Tuesday Morning: President ward rocks! Alright, so he gave us this massive list of stuff to study. A part of it was on revelation, but about half of it was on church organization. I thought it was weird and had nothing to do with our situation. But I was reading some of it and one of the things was President Eyring’s talk from this last Conference called “The Lord Leads His Church”. That was a good talk but I didn’t see much of a connection. Then I read pages 96-99 of PMG like he asked us to. It is in re-evaluation. Then I read the scriptures he asked us, Doctrine and Covenants 28:2-8 and it connected all the dots. It was talking about how Joseph Smith was called of God, he had the keys of revelation and that a Oliver Cowdery should do what he says. Then it tells him to go preach the gospel. Then I thought back to the PMG pages. At the end it talked about a word of caution and part of that was about how you can only receive revelation for your stewardship. Then I thought, back to President Eyring’s talk about church organization and how it talks a lot about respecting your leaders and how people receive revelation for their stewardship and such.
Besides that, today was great. We finally made it up to Biggs for several hours and did some work and it was great! So great to finally be where the work is again. We had a lesson with **** that was cut short. His schedule changed to graveyard which sucks but he might be able to make it to church.
We had an awesome lesson with *****. Elder Farley is a really, really good teacher.  The lesson we well. He brought up coffee at the end which he drinks a lot of and he knows we don’t believe in drinking that. So he is praying about being able to give it up. We will teach the Word of Wisdom next time. It was a great day all together and I love my mission. Even when it’s tough.
Wednesday:  We love to share the Gospel and feeling the spirit.
Today was an awesome day! Awesome District Meeting in the morning. It was a lot of fun and we all learned a lot. Elder Farley is such a great teacher. After that, we did some studies, we went on Facebook and messaged people. But on the way to the church Elder Farley’s pedal just up and fell off his bike. So I fixed that after we walked home. And I had to fix other stuff. Then we went and contacted people. One of the people in the middle of us talking just suddenly said “I have to go, I have a headache” and shut the door🤣🤔ok?
Then we did some studies. We got a call from Sister Ward and she was trying to meet up with us for interviews with President and kept trying to arrange that for tonight. I was so confused because I thought it was on Saturday. She kept asking how long it takes to get to the building in O street and I kept saying an hour and she was confused and so was I.  She called back and we kept trying to work it out.  She was all the way down in Lincoln and eventually we found out she thought I was the other Elder Jones down there in Lincoln. Hahahaha it was funny and confusing. Love her!
Then we had dinner and Book of Mormon class. I had treat duty. I made those rollo/pretzel/peacan things, but made it with Mint m&ms. They were a bit hit. Thanks Sarah Worthington! We had our ward mission leader come. He had a good talk with *****.  ***** had a little talk with all of us and after that  said he decided it’s time to be baptized! He said he will pray about a date and we will all do the same! That’s so great. He let the spirit in and now is following its promptings and knows what he needs to do. He made the choice all on his own and that’s the way he works. And it’s working! Man I love the Gospel so much. I’ve been realizing that a lot this week. I love my mission so much.  Man it was a good day. It was one of those days. I love my mission so much! I love the gospel and I love Jesus! I’m wish everyone could feel this way! Well, they can, they just don’t. That’s what I’m here for!
Thanksgiving🦃🦖: Ok, so I just did a really stupid thing. When I got home tonight, I found a nearly empty can of spray-on Biofreeze. I had an idea. A really dumb one. So I took a shower as hot as I could and dried off quickly and sprayed my body down.  There commenced the most painful 15 minutes if my life. I thought it would feel cool, like icy hot. But no. This hurt. I couldn’t get warm. I sat under my covers convulsing trying to stay warm. I tried standing in front of the space heater. I couldn’t even feel it. I was so cold.  I ended up just jumping up and down in place to try and stay warm. I was horrible. I was an idiot!
Besides that, Thanksgiving was great! We had a breakfast with some members with our ward that all the missionaries in the district got invited to individually. Then we all went to the church to clean it. One of the sets of sisters got clean up duty, so we all helped. We had Christmas music playing the whole time. It was great. Then we went with the Spanish Elders went out to Butte City for dinner with the Readers, at 1:00. We stuffed ourselves. So much turkey, mashed potatoes and rolls, I’m a massive heap. It was so good. It was all really good. Then we ate pumpkin pie and went and tried not to explode in the carpet.  Sister Reamer said she had ping pong. And I jumped to my feet (too quickly) and my stomach gave a lurch as I ran up the stairs. I kept it all in though. We went and everybody played ping pong all afternoon. Then we went home and called our ward mission leader, he took us to his family’s dinner for dessert. Then we came back and did comp studies. Elder Farley seemed really happy today. I think a break from proselytizing was good for him. He was smiling a lot and joking more and seemed himself without all the stress. It was great to see him that way.
I also watched the Light the World videos. I’m not one to cry, but I got a little teary eyed during some of them. Man, I love Christmas. It put me in such a good mood for the whole day. And I was just happy. So yeah, just like last year, go light the world.  And love it. Share love.
Friday:
Today was a good one. We had service with Mary. She gave me a hug from you and then told me about how she called y’all. She is so nice. I love her. She is so full of love.
Then we did weekly planning. It started later than I thought it would and ended up going longer than I thought it would. Nothing ever goes as planned. But it was important to take a little extra time. Then we ate dinner and went to see ******, etc. but only the kids were there and ****** was taking a shower.  So we shared the #lighttheworld video with them. They weren’t that well behaved this time and distracted so it was hard. But it was good they saw it and they said they would do the event calendar.
Saturday:
Rough day.
Sunday:
Kinda weird day.
But something cool happened tonight. One if the members of our ward (super awesome, go get em’ members, helps the missionaries a lot) texted and asked if they could bring over cookies. We said yeah, and they showed up at our front door 15 minutes later with cookies. But what he said was really cool. He brought his son too, who just got home from his mission a month ago. He started out taking about how he is a master brownie maker and then he started talking more. He said something like this (this is shortened) “I am trying to be better about listening to the spirit. I’ve been getting a prompting that I should talk to you.”  Then he started talking a lot about taking time to make decisions and that the ward really appreciates him and loves him and talking about how much good we do. His son talked about his mission too and it was perfect.  They just acted on the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Man, what a witness of the power of the Holy Ghost.
 Luva!

Talent Show, Wood/Mud, Halloween,Thanksgiving, Animal Languages and Paper Airplanes!

Off to get wood!

OCTOBER 8TH!  UGGGH!  I meant to write every week, but I kept choosing fun things instead.  So now, almost two months later, I will try to catch up.

THINGS THAT DIDN’T WORK:

Hadley whining about how hard her geography is.  Bryson found out about it and said:  “Hadley, you need to be smart so boys won’t only want you for your body.”  Since Hadley is only 12, I had to laugh at this.  Hadley just smirked and wasn’t quite sure what to do with his comment.

Crazy weekends!  Our kids had so many places to go that I had to plot out each hour on sticky notes so that everyone could be dropped off at the right time.  Fun weekends!

Fighting about whether to listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving.  Kevin and the little boys think it’s bad and the girls and I love it.  So, when Kevin is traveling, we play the music.  The boys try to sneak and turn it off or tattle on us.  Then when he gets back in town, we get sad that he doesn’t want to join us in our joy.  I think this will be an ongoing issue in our home…..

Charlotte’s due date, October 18th.  Autumn has been hard for Addisen and David and their hearts are hurting, but they are settled and doing well in Provo.

Dixon:  “I’m going to be a MX rider when I grow up.”  Me having a dream crusher moment:  “You can’t pay for a family with that job.”  DJ:  “Hmmm, I guess I’ll be an orthodontist then.”  😉

Dixon:  “Guess what, Santa is not real!!!  My friend told me so.”  Royce:  “He lies.”  Hmmmm…..  Considering Royce is in the know, that might be an oxymoron.

Accidentally leaving my keys in my car with the battery turned on (long story).  I needed to hurry to take kids somewhere, so Tess grabbed our battery charger and hooked it up to my car.  One minute later I was driving away.  BAM!!!  She is amazing!

I’ve decided I’m a distraction to our home schooling.  The kids will be working and then I want to show them other things or just have fun.  I’m trying to be good and diligent though.

Finding paper airplanes all over the yard.  Every time I drive in our driveway I see white things all over.  The boys are making airplanes by the thousands…..  When I wander around and pick them up I smile, knowing I’ll miss these days and just wish there were airplanes everywhere. 🙂

Witnessing real life “Mean Girls”, just like in the movie (not that I’ve actually seen it, but I saw the preview).  I told the girls that when they witness it, they should say “Thank you so much for the Mean Girl experience, I’ve always wanted to have it be just like the movies, good job!”  They won’t even know what to do with it.

THINGS THAT WORKED:

Dixon speaking animal languages.  We let Bentley hop in the car for a short trip.  She was whimpering on the way home, so Dixon started saying “Woof, woof, woof.”  He then said to me:  “I can speak dog language, like I just did, and cat language too.  I’m not very good at snake language though.”  He was serious.

Trying hard to simplify our life by choosing things that really matter.  If we walk away feeling down or like it was a waste of time, we’re trying to not repeat that activity.  It’s been wonderful!  We are all feeling happy and like life is wonderful.  I know hard things will come, but we are enjoying the stage we’re at for the moment.  It’s kind of fascinating to watch how hard it is to say no to things.  For all of us.  It’s really hard to see from the front end what something is going to turn out like.  We’re trying to choose things that help us feel the Spirit and love genuinely. Life is too short to not be real.

Getting to go to the temple with the three girls!  Kevin got to go with us too! We were trying to prepare for Stake Conference and take our own names.  It was so hard to make it all happen, but very worth it.  It was a fabulous night!  We got to go to Cracker Barrel afterwards and laugh and have fun with our great girls.  Merritt loved the cake so much that she had it on her face and didn’t even know it.

Lunch with great long-time friends.  It feels so good to meet up with them.  It’s as if time hasn’t passed and the hours fly by.  I’m so thankful for incredible people.  They truly fill my cup up with love and humor.

Reading General Conference talks or listening to them.  I’ve been putting up quotes that I love around the house.

Sending college kids Halloween packages.

Last days of beautiful sunny days!  We love the river when it sparkles.

Halloween!  We had a great time Trick-or-Treating in Washougal.  It was a beautiful weather and a perfect family night.

Elder Jones (Corbin) is on Facebook!  He told us it was going to happen, but it was so awesome to see him pop up on my newsfeed.  Warms my heart!  I’m so proud of my boy!

Getting to go to a meeting where the area general authority, Elder Blunk was presiding.  At the end of the meeting he shared some great things about his family that really affected me for good.  Loved my time there.

Royce:  “Mom, why does it feel like when you run through your house that you’re super fast, but then on the courts and fields you aren’t as fast?”

Getting to go to the Camas Boo Bash.  It was a perfect day and we got to be with great friends.  So fun and thankful!

Aunt Bronwyn coming to visit from Vermont.  My cousin Caitlin, my parents and Bronwyn came over to Washougal.  We had a delightful afternoon.  The sun was shining and we loved our time with family!  We couldn’t believe that Caitlin and Bronwyn both did the zip line.  We are so thankful for their visit and getting genuine time with them.

Getting to go see “Goodbye Christopher Robin” with my parents.  It was a fabulous evening.  The movie was really good, but kind of sad.

Merritt qualifying for districts in swimming.  We got to spend the night in Olympia, Washington together!  It was such a great girls weekend.  She PR’d and made it to the second round.  Go Merritt Go!

Soccer ending and my parents coming to the kids games.  Kevin and I still can’t get over how blessed we are by my parents coming for so many things.  We love having them with us and the kids are in heaven.

Royce getting new b-ball shoes.  This is a big deal for child #7.  He was running all over the place and so excited to start basketball.

Dixon writing an “I love you more” note to Kevin and waking up at 3:38 am to sneak it onto Kevin’s pillow.  We woke up when he ran out of the room.  It was so funny!  The kids all try to get Kevin (say it first) or each other first in the morning with “I love you more”.  It’s great when Kevin’s traveling, because they come up with other ways to get each other.

Kevin and I going to the temple and randomly ending up with a portion of our previous ward from Aloha (part of the ward was split off).  It was so wonderful to do a session with people we love to see.

The cake we had to buy for our first dinner with everyone. 🙂

Kids coming home for Thanksgiving!  It’s like having an early Christmas present to open.  I had giddy feelings all morning as I thought about how they were all driving home together.  Bryson brought his girlfriend Dihana, it was great to get to know her.  She was a trooper as we exposed her to a lot of firsts (ziplines, shooting guns, mud, wood, crazy family, some inappropriate comments, etc.)  The week was over quickly, but full of lots of laughs, love, games, basketball and food.

Lots of Ultimate Frisbee going on each week.

Kevin taking the kids to gather wood, so he can chop it up (Kevin’s therapy, that also heats the house).  We are so thankful for everyone’s help!  It was super muddy and they had to carry the water logged wood up a huge hill.  I’m amazed by them all!  Dihana said she had never gotten dirty like that. 🙂  Merritt stayed home with me and made Cinnamon Rolls for everyone.  After she ate them, she fell asleep in “Cinnamon Roll Coma”!

Taking the kids to see “Wonder”.  We loved it!  Of course I cried as I watched it.  I loved that there were nice kids that eventually befriended Auggie.  Sometimes we just need to wait alone until the nice people surface.  Also, we can be those nice people and befriend others.

Eyes are everywhere.  Whenever our kids go out, they seem to run into someone we know.  We love it when they send pictures.  It even happened to Bryson and Dihana while they were out on a date.

Thanksgiving!  We had Kevin’s Beautiful Aunt Vicki, cousin Elsa, Tony and their kids.  It was so much fun to cook with them, visit and play games.  Their sweet little kids were so well behaved, cute, affectionate and fun.  We feel blessed to get to spend time with them.  As we went around the circle and said what we were thankful for, we ended up gushing with too many things to say.

Getting a phone call from someone in Elder Jones’ mission!  It was Thankgiving and they just wanted to tell us how much they loved Corbin and that he’s doing an outstanding job.  I cried of course.  We had the lady on speaker phone for the entire Thankgiving family to hear.  Doesn’t get much better than that!  🙂  My heart has been super happy ever since.  We got a text from someone too, with pictures!  It was a fantastic week.

Watching “Back to the Future” on VidAngel with the little boys.  We were having so much fun with them as we remembered how fun this movie was.  During the part when Marty’s Mom was unknowingly jumping his bones, Royce was moaning and getting really uncomfortable, then Dixon yelled “I would just tell her NO!!!” Ha!  That’s right Dixon!

The kids keep wrapping Bentley up in blankets and she stays in them!  She takes long naps like this now.

 

Week 68 – Elder Jones

Ghetto burgers, Citrus Heights and Elder Farley

This is Elder Jones with Elder Tumanuvao. JT is from our stake and helped us with Trek last year. He got called to the California, Roseville mission a year after Corbin. So cool! But the cooler part is that transfers happened and JT now has Corbin’s last companion. So great! So they got to see each other, (not that Corbin knew JT that well, but we do!) when they switched companions. 🙂

Monday:
We had Ghetto burgers tonight. ****** and **** made them for Elder Niederhauser’s goodbye. It’s what they called it. It was two patties with veggies in it. Very good.  
Tuesday:
Had another cat allergy reaction. That wasn’t fun. Really itchy. All over.
It was not that bad saying goodbye to Elder Niederhauser today. That’s because I’ll see him tomorrow. Today we went to Yuba City and switched cars with some missionaries there. Stopped by and said hi to Sister Chilson. Left my name badge and stuff there. Will grab it tomorrow. Then we saw ****.  Then we went to Oroville to switch cars with them. Tomorrow we will go get a new car and take it back to Oroville on Friday and get our car back.  I mean the Spanish car. I’ve been with Elder Stevens all day and will be with him until I get the new guy.
We had an awesome lesson with **** tonight. He is still not feeling well.  I ended up ditching the lesson plan and reading Mosish 24 with everyone. For the first half of the lesson I was like ‘are you sure Spirit?’ And the Spirit was all like ‘yes’ so I said ‘ok then’ and kept going with it. By the end, it’s exactly what **** needed. He hadn’t been reading scriptures much lately and this lesson ended up helping him to realize that and commit to do it. Always listen to the spirit!
Wednesday:
We had to exchange more cars today. Elder Stevenson and I raided some apartments and took stuff and then started our road trip. We got lost and had to go drop things off and we even broke into the sisters house. Ok, not really. They were supposed to give us Sister Taysom’s wallet because she left it.  They weren’t home and we found one if the doors unlocked so we went in and grabbed it.
Our road trip was fun. We got to Citrus Heights around 4:00. We went and did service at the ******’s house and had dinner and it was so good to see them.  One if my favorite families. Then we talked to someone in the rain. Then did some lesson reports. 
It is really cool being here. I’m really comfortable here. It’s so weird that I was here a year ago. I’ve been out far too long.  But it’s like I’ve just gone back home. Same shower, same apartment and same everything. Just different people. It’s really cool. Not really weird though. It’s just like I am on Exchanges in my area. It’s amazing.
Thursday:
I said goodbye to Elder Niederhauser and dropped him off at service at the bishop’s house in the rain. I’m going to miss him. Then we went and had lunch at the church and got to meet the new missionaries and ate with them. All the new missionaries that came in are really cool. I also saw my trainer for the last time. I won’t see him again till after the mission. That was sad but it’s also good. I’ll miss him too. Then we had a meeting for the trainers and that was great. Learned a lot and prepared me. Then the moment of truth. We all got our new missionaries. I am training Elder Farley. He is from Huntsville, Utah. He lived in Texas in his younger years and is a total redneck. We will get along great. He’s awesome. When they called his name to be my companion, he stood up and the Spirit just filled me with so much love that I wanted to cry. Then he walked up and we begged and I announced where we were serving. We continued with the meeting and took pictures and such. We got all the stuff packed in the car with Elders Stevens and his new missionary, Elder Kite, we all went all the way back up to Gridley, almost two hours. I talked with Elder Farley and he is a really good guy and has a great heart.
Friday:
Elder Farley is awesome. He is very confident and does everything really well. There’s a lot to talk about today, but I’ll try to shorten it. We had service and lunch and we had to pick up the rest of his stuff from a senior couple that had his last suitcase. Then we spent a couple hours assembling the bike he is borrowing. Elder Kite, who is also being trained, had a bike sent to him, and we had to put it back together so that Elder Farley can use it. That took forever. Then we got them some food. The day was so mixed up that we once again, couldn’t do weekly planning. I feel like a horrible trainer but there’s nothing that I could do so I’ll have to get over it. We had companionship study late. Dinner was good, and once I whispered to Elder Farley to ask them questions to get to know them, he did it confidently and very naturally. I wish I was that way as a new missionary. He did a great job.
Saturday:
It’s cold out. Very cold. And we are on bikes now. It’s harder to get around.
Elder Farley is struggling. It’s really hard being brand new and adjusting. He’s having some second thoughts and I’m doing all I can to help him. Keep him in your prayers that he will be happier and that he will adjust easier please.
Sunday:
It’s so hard to see people on bikes. Almost all our work is in Biggs and it takes like a half hour to bike up there. So if we have an open hour to work, then we can’t go to where the work is because it takes a half hour there and the same back, leaving zero room to work. Members will take us to appointments but those get switched around and our schedule is always changing. So we can’t do everything we need to.
All is well.  Luva!

Week 66 and 67 – Elder Jones

Week 66 – Halloween, Rain and Interviews

Tuesday:
Happy Halloween!
Halloween was pretty good. The Trunk or Treat went well. All the missionaries dressed up in one way or another but it cool to see how they still had it mission appropriate. I got in the back of the trunk and used the skeleton hands to scare little kids. They all loved it.

Sisyer Taysom and Sister Hrivnak dressed up as Elder Stevens and Mooney for Halloween. Nailed it!
Then we came back. We had a ton of candy we have gathered through the month and we gave that to people that came to our house.
Wednesday:
We were able to drop a large print Book of Mormon off at *******’s and she was very very excited about it. That’s awesome. Now she can read it.
Then we had interviews with the mission president. It was….. rough. But it was good. I’ll explain. At first we talked about ******* and how to do stuff with that. Then I asked him about if I could post my weekly on Facebook. In the end, he said you can post it on your page but I shouldn’t have it on my page. And I should take the past ones off of my page. So I’m thinking that if you could fix my email up and send it back before pday is over and I could send it out in an email. It would require some work on your part but I’d rather be obedient. If not, then I’ll just direct them to your page.
Then we got to the “rough” part. It was actually fantastic. Just rough. President Ward said that several people said that they think I should train. He asked me about it and we had some conversation about it. For some reason I was kinda awkward in how I responded. Yes, I really want to train but it all came out weird. But we talked for a few minutes. Then he paused and looked at me and said: “Can I be frank with you?” I said yes and he proceeded to chastise me. Not on stuff that I was being disobedient in, but more of what I need to change as a person and a missionary to be a good example for the new missionary (if that happens, he pretty much said that was the plan, but he might change his mind). The main thing was that I say a lot of small funny comments that attract attention to me and make too much lightness of missionary work. And he didn’t sugar coat it at all. He just laid it all out for me what I needed to fix. Chastisement. It was good. I definitely needed to hear it. It was very humbling and I know he is right. I do need to change that. When he was through, he asked if what he said was too much. I said no. Then he asked if I was offended. I said no. He asked if I wanted him to stop. I told him to keep going. Then he went of to correct me on some other things. Again, nothing bad like disobedience. But things I needed to improve on. And he asked the same questions at the end. I had the same response. I need his correction. Eventually he said he was going to  stop correcting me I’m told him to keep going, but he wouldn’t. I can tell that before he started, that pause was the Holy Ghost talking to him saying ‘just he blunt with him, it will be the most effective and he will learn the most’. I’m glad he listened. Yeah, it stung, but it’s what I needed. And I hate it when people sugar coat things. He said it in the way I needed to hear it. I had some awesome conversations with Elder Niederhauser afterwards. He is such an awesome companion. He just supports me a lot. In the end, it was actually a really really good interview because it is helping me change. Yea it stung quite a bit. But it was really, really good. I trust him. So it went well, even if I felt a little sick after. But that’s the regret that helps us complete the repentance process.
Thursday:
I’ve never been so stressed in my mission. After yesterday, carrying intoto today, trying to get ahold of *****, it’s been so stressful. We had an awesome dinner with a ton of Zone Leaders that had served here, so that was awesome to see them.  We met with **** again.  The whole time I was stressing about ******. She texted us in the middle of the day through her daughter saying that she doesn’t want to be baptized. 1 day away!  We were going to go over there with an awesome member but she wasn’t  home. We stopped by the church and she happened to be there, trying to take *******  to urgent care because she was having some problems. We briefly talked about it. She said she is going to wait for her kids but if ****** isn’t going to get baptized in two months, she and **** are going to go ahead and do it. So it’s good she is still planning on it herself, but not yet. She will be there to see her daughter get baptized and that will be a great example. So we will still be having a baptism tomorrow, ****** just won’t be making the covenant. It’s sad, but it feels like she shouldn’t be pushed at this point. We have done all that is humanly possible to make it. It is just her choice. 🙂 But there are bright plans for the future. So, a lot of the stress is gone. We met with the sisters to discuss and set up for the baptism, and we are all under so much stress. We all just sat there defeated and some of us felt paralyzed (I was one of them). I just felt paralyzed. It’s been a little too much.
Friday:
Rain! It’s raining! It’s beautiful. It’s finally fall! It’s the first time it’s rained since like April. So awesome.
Alright, so after service this morning and lunch, we started weekly planning and getting the baptism ready. We were at the church all day. We had to kind of jump back and forth between getting the baptism ready and planning but that was ok. We cleaned out the font and practiced our songs that we were doing for it. We got jumpsuits ready and set chairs up. And planned. We finally got a full planning session in. A short one but a real one.
Then the baptism came.   ****** was so excited! She was skipping down the halls and had the biggest smile on her face. I’ve never seen anyone so exited before.  ***** (*****’s daughter) was excited too, even though she had to go to the hospital last night.  They made it. Five minutes before the baptism started there were only a few people there. But in those 5 minutes, the room filled. ****** was there and brought her son and another one if her daughters and both of their families. And a ton of random non-members showed up. There might have been more non-members there than members. ******’s son’s family was saying they want to be baptized. We told them we would send missionaries to them. They are moving to Gridley though so we might see them more. Our songs went very well. The Holy Ghost helped me a lot, because I played a lot of piano during the baptism. Prelude, mid baptism prelude while they were getting dressed, opening and closing songs and both of our musical numbers. It was a lot. But it all went well. Afterwards I was so exhausted. So tired. Then we went to dinner with the Spanish Elders for enchiladas because we didn’t have dinner. It was amazing. I got home, got dressed and fell asleep in an instant. I’m actually writing this on Saturday morning. But it was great. A very successful baptism. I’m so proud of those two for making such a great covenant.
Also, yes, all we have been listening to is Christmas music 🎄
Saturday:
Nothing too abnormal for today. We visited a less actives, then we stopped by ******’s. she wasn’t home. We had a good discussion with **** though. About the Book of Mormon. He hasn’t read it yet. We shared a video and commented it to the Book of Mormon. We finally had time this afternoon to go contacting. It was amazing. It was the only time in my mission that I wanted to contact rather than do companionship study. Usually you can’t wait for studies just to have a break. But not now. We haven’t done much contacting so we loved it. But none the less, we had to study. We had an awesome dinner. Slower day but a good one.
Sunday:
Man, that was nice. There are only two times a missionary gets to sleep in. If he is sick, or daylight savings time. It was perfect. I woke up at 6:10 and was awake and ready because I got my extra 40 minutes. So I waited for the alarm then got up. So nice. Church was great. We walked into Gospel Doctrine and in the projector they were playing a missionary parody to “Hello” by Adele. I’ve seen this a million times but it was funny to see it in class. The class was on member missionary work.
We had an awesome lesson with ****** and everyone in that house. They really felt the spirit as we talked about the Book of Mormon and broke it down. The funny part was that in a chair behind us was some guy that was either passed out drunk or passed out stoned. We mainly just ignored him. So it was a fun lesson.
Week 67-  Exchanges, Elder Kerby and Transfers
Monday:
I’m on Exchanges right now in Oroville. But I read your e-mail Dad. I really appreciated it. It meant a lot to me. Thank you for your support. I slightly remember that story but I’m glad you retold it. And the words you had to accompany it helped guide and direct me a little bit more. Your summed it up right. Thank you.
At the end of it you said listen, act, love. When you think of little phrases like that, usually you might end it with a word like change or do or something. But you put love in there. I’m really realizing that the most important thing on a mission (and in life) is to love. If you love, all else falls into place, because that is the greatest motivator.
We went on a “hike” today above oroville. It wasn’t much of a hike. In a good way though! It was only a couple hundred yards to get to the cool stuff. Then it was like a half mile of Rocky Mountain face and you could see for miles and miles. It wasn’t a rock pile, it was more like the mountain side was all rock and had a time of massive boulders and a couple scraggly trees. I’ll send pictures. So we walked all around that and climbed stuff and took pictures. It was the coolest thing ever! So beautiful. When I come back to the mission, I’m going to camp overnight there. It was amazing. We stayed for several hours. I want to take the whole family here.
Tuesday:
Two day exchanges started last night. I’ll get back tomorrow. I was with Elder Owen, one of the Zone Leaders and he’s awesome. We did some finding and stuff in the morning, visited with their investigator this afternoon that is going to be baptized this week, had some really cool lessons with people. We ran into some really weird people up here, but such is Oroville. Our dinner was way out in the middle of nowhere, took almost an hour to get there.
Wednesday:
Today was not so great. I have still been in Oroville all day and the zone leader I was with all day….. I did learn one thing that I’ve been thinking about for several weeks now and this experience solidified it: The most important thing in the mission is to love people. I’m going to do an in depth studies on Love now.
Thursday:
Oh, it’s so good to be home. I love my companion and home and district and area and my investigators.
Ok, I’ll make this super short because we need sleep. Today we went to get a new tire because last Night, right outside of our house, something put a huge hole in our tire. That was an adventure.
We had a lesson with **** and he said that he has to work on Sunday now because they changed things. That really sucks.
We walked over to ******”s to do service and she wasn’t home. But as we walked back we saw a car pull up in front of our house that was obviously a missionary car and had people in white shirts in it. One of the missionaries got out and immediately recognized him as Elder Kerby! I sprinted down the street at him, kinda scared him because he didn’t see me, and have him a huge hug. He was in town for a trainer meeting and had something he needed to get to me. He wanted to sneak it into my porch but I saw him. We only had time to say hi and bye, but it was awesome to see him.
Friday:
Saturday:
Sunday:
I’m sorry. I missed two days. It’s been stressful.  I’ll sum up. We helped ******* move her stuff to storage on Friday so they can fumigate her house. Then weekly planning. We had a short lesson with *******’s kids and some other Investigators there.
Yesterday was crazy. I’m the morning President Ward sent out an email that basically said that transfers are going to be really big and that a lot of people are going to be moved around. It was several paragraphs long and it set everyone on edge. I was starting to get worried. Was I going to leave? What craziness was going to happen. I was told I was going to train but I had no idea what would happen. Then at night, that’s when the calls for trainers go out. President calls all the trainers. We got a text from Elder Stevens saying that president called him and said he would train. Then the sisters called and asked if we had gotten a call. We said no and they said they did.  Me, I had been told I would, but I never got a call. And I went to bed. No call ever came. So that was sad. I couldn’t sleep at all because I would wake up every 15 minutes and stress about transfers. I was so worried that I would leave. I was worried that I would stay and have a new companion, I didn’t like. I would be fine staying with Elder Niederhauser. But what if we both left?  The transfer board email came around 6:40 this morning. I looked and I am training! I’m happy about that. It says we don’t have a car so looks like they are taking that from us. I have no idea how we are going to do this. I am not going to worry about that right now. But Elder Niederhauser is going to my ward in Citrus Heights with JT (JT is a missionary from here that we all know and love!)! So that’s super cool. I’m sure they’ll like each other. It’s cool that both of those fell into place. My entire district is training except for one companionship. So I’m a little releived now after no sleep last night.
Today Niederhauser said goodbye to a lot of people. Made me appreciate them. We had a district transfer devotional. This has been my favorite district my entire mission. I have no idea how to describe it. I can’t. I love them all. So sad to see some leave.

Week 65 – Elder Jones

Birthdays, Interviews and Domestic Violence

Tuesday:
We went over to ******’s place and eventually went over the law of chastity. It went well. We taught it all thoroughly and as far as we can tell, she is good. She understands it and we did all we could. If there’s something that she is doing that’s wrong, we can’t tell. So she it set. She was supposed to have her interview today, but she had to reschedule for tomorrow because things come up. So we will be doing that tomorrow afternoon. So excited!
It cool being on bikes here because everything is flat again. It’s good. We had a lesson with **** again. It was awesome! We went over the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is really smart. Not that his mind is open, as opposed to the last 20 years of him viewing the church as a cult and having a very anti view with anti material, everything is clicking in his mind. It all is just fitting together in his mind and you can see him ask where a puzzle piece of the gospel is, and we give it to him and it all makes sense. And the experiences that he has are truly amazing. We asked him now he felt about baptism. He says he knows that’s what he needs to do, but he is thinking about it. Sincerely. He wants to know more and have all the puzzle come together more. We asked him if he wants to aim for a date in the future and he said he’s not there yet. It was good to see where he is at. From being anti-Mormon, he is progressing very fast. He has been able to change from having a very hard heart of stone into a very soft and open one. I’m amazed.
Wednesday:
Holy cow. Super crazy. ****** has been really nervous and scared about her baptism. I think that’s part of why he pushed her interview back to today. We were planning on going over to her house before the interview and going over some stuff and making sure she made it. We got there and there was nobody home. We had it scheduled. They had even called us to make sure we were coming. Eventually we got ahold of them. They had to get some meds for ***** and they wanted to push it to tomorrow. We wouldn’t let that happen. It might keep getting pushed back. So we asked if they could do it tonight. We left the time open and made it so they didn’t have an excuse. The Book of Mormon class was right before and her daughter goes to that. We go to it because **** is there. But *******, her daughter, was saying that ******* had been talking to a less active Sister that she is really close with. And the Sister was telling her not to rush into anything because she had taken many years to get baptized and that’s ******* shouldn’t rush into it. Elder Niederhauser and I were kinda mad about that. So we honestly though that ******* was backing out again. After the Book of Mormon class we put all of our faith in the table. We had ****** and the 3rd ward Sister stay, we had Elder Stevens and Mooney come to interview here and all waited. But she wasn’t showing up. Man my stress levels were high. We were all there waiting in faith, knowing that chances were that she was too scared to come. Eventually ****** called ******* and talked to her and from my end I heard ****** say this: “where are you? We are all waiting for you. …….. well why don’t you come here and tell them that?  ……..  no, you just come down to the church and tell them that yourself.” At this point obviously ***** was coming to tell us that she wouldn’t go through with it. ****** called us and said she was running late but would be here. Eventually she got to the church and she went into the interview! I have no idea how this miracle was happening because she has been so nervous and has backed out of baptism so many times before. But it happened. My stress levels were so high because there were a ton of crazy kids running around and we were so worried and it was almost curfew and we were showing the kids the font and they were being crazy. But ***** came out and passed the interview. After they all left, Elder Niederhauser, Elder Stevens, Elder Mooney and I all just kinda had a group hug. ***** has been worked on for years. Like 5 years. She has never made it this far. She’s just over a week away from baptism. But we were all so grateful and amazed at the miracle that happened. I’m so grateful for all the other missionaries that have helped her throughout all the years, preparing her for now. Please pray for ****** that she will make it all the way to baptism and that she will grow to be an amazing member if the church.
Friday:
Too tired yesterday. We met with **** and ***** yesterday. Those lessons were good. With ****, we scheduled to fast for him to get work off I’m the 31st and then we will go eat dinner at his house. So that will be good.
Today we did service at ****’s. She is awesome. Very good at gardening. Work is so much easier with jeans that aren’t falling apart. Then we threw a surprise party for Sister *******. Her birthday is tomorrow. That’s was great. We had cake and pie and brownies. Then we had to clean all the confetti up. It was fun though.
We are still so busy. We hardly have time for anything. We haven’t been able to go contacting in over a week. We just haven’t had time. It’s awesome.
Saturday:
We had some service today. We helped ****** out with some stuff. I practiced for the piano songs that I’m doing for the baptism. But tonight there was a religious freedom conference at the Mormon center in Sac and Elder Raw and was there and we got special permission from him to have our mission watch the broadcast. It was really good. Overall what I learned from it was to love others, and lift where you stand. Wherever the fire if opposition is burning against our freedom of worship, stand where we are and hit that fire. You don’t have to be an expert that goes to court and to D.C., just stand up for other people’s right to believe, and your own. It was such a cool conference. Go watch the religious freedom videos if you haven’t.
Sunday:
So last night at 3 in the morning, we heard something that sounded like someone half crying half screaming. From where my bed was, I couldn’t see it yet, but Elder Niederhauser saw a guy attacking a girl outside. He smacked her in the face and stole her phone and demanded for the passcode. She was yelling please don’t hurt me. She was able to smash her phone on the road. Elder Niederhauser called the cops and I was still watching and she ended up on her knees in the middle of the road and he was above her with something in his hand. I thought she was about to die. He ended up forcing her to her feet and the were headed down the road when a cop pulled up. By the end, they both ended up in the cop car and were driven off. We watched it all from our house. It happened on our sidewalk. Elder Niederhauser didn’t sleep after that. It took me a few hours to get back to sleep. So that was crazy.
Besides that, we had an awesome Stake Conference today and I learned a lot. Some cool stories were told and inspiration given. I love this quote: “Your pen or keyboard is the antenna to the receipt of revelation.”
Tonight we went over to ******’s. She is struggling and very nervous so we just went and hung out with them and it really put them at ease. She was laughing and it took a load of stress off of her. We tried to give Elder Niederhauser a black hairdo but he didn’t have long enough hair. We ended up putting Noah’s extensions in. It was awesome. You’ll get a picture.
Quote of the week: “******, how do you know how to do all these cool things?” Her response: “Because I’m black!”
We’ve been so busy this week. We had no time to contact people because none of our lessons cancelled. That’s an amazing feeling. I love being busy.
I’m actually really glad that you have been taking good of my guitar. I wasn’t sure if y’all were going to just have the kids use it or not. I didn’t want that because I am really scared after Bryson’s Guitar going mission. So thank you. But yeah, I’m glad you brought it out for her. I’m sure she enjoyed it. And don’t worry, I’ll get that guitar I have in the mission office to y’all when I get home.
Luva!