Monday, October 16, 2017

Colin's last letter!

Well, Elder Morris’ bike is now totally fixed, but then I got really sick, and then Elder Norwood got pink eye, but now we are healed.  .  . Well, kinda. Elder Morris might have the flu. We decided it sounds more serious when we call it “influenza,” but that makes it sound like he's going to die. Really, we are fine now. Being sick did, however, put a bit of a dampener on our week.
         On Tuesday Elder Norwood woke up and his eye was pink. We kind of jokingly made him call the mission nurse and she said it probably wasn't pink eye, but in the morning the next day, he woke up and it was most definitely pink eye. We made him call the mission nurse again, and we were stuck inside all day. I am proud to say that neither Elder Morris, nor I, contracted pink eye because we followed the Lord's instruction to Moses. In Leviticus chapter 15 in the Bible, they are taught how to treat sick people. Here are a few selected verses from that:
         “2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them,   When any man hath a running issue out of his flesh, because of his issue he is unclean.

         3 And this shall be his uncleanness in his issue: whether his flesh run with his issue, or his flesh be stopped from his issue, it is his uncleanness.

         4 Every bed, whereon he lieth that hath the issue, is unclean: and every thing, whereon he sitteth, shall be unclean.

         5 And whosoever toucheth his bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
 
         11 And whomsoever he toucheth that hath the issue, and hath   not rinsed his hands in water, he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.”
 Pretty incredible how it took science over 2,000 years to catch up with God's direction. God told the children of Israel thousands of years ago how to treat sick people, and the World didn't figure out this simple information until almost 1900!
         So we sanitized everything Elder Norwood touched, which I think he got tired of really fast, but we just followed him around and wiped down all surfaces that he came in contact with, even the wall map that he touched. You may say that is ‘over-the-top,’ but neither of us got pink eye--so hey, it worked!
         On Thursday Elder Norwood had a doctor's appointment, but his eye was healed, so the doctor didn't do anything, but then Friday morning he woke up and his eye was infected again!! --and it was way worse.  While I stayed inside, quarantined with Elder Norwood, Elder Morris went on splits with the 1st counselor in the stake presidency  to go teach people, and they had much success, including a less-active sister we teach has decided to come back to church this week!
         After the whole being-sick-fiasco we got back hard to work, and it rained, and rained, and rained a little more, and so for three days we rode around soaking wet on our bikes. No matter what you do, you get drenched when you ride bikes in the rain out here. The water finds its way through all of the clothing you have on. 
         While riding around, Elder Norwood saw a man throw his phone at the ground so he stopped and asked if everything was alright. The man said, "You always show up at the right time. How did you know?" Turns out he was a less-active member from a different ward who was in a really bad spot. You would be amazed how many times we hear that, though. So often people tell us things like, "How did you know to come right now?  How did you know I need y'all?" or "How did you know to say that?" We had an investigator ask us, "Do y'all have a gps tracker on me? Cuz y'all always show up exactly when I need you." And I would respond to all of those people, "The Holy Ghost: it will show unto you all things what ye should do." If we are obedient to the commandments of God, are baptized, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, we can say what God needs us to say, and be where God needs us to be, and that is why so often we just, "Happen to say the right thing," and just "Happen to be in the right place at the right time."  Certainly God will place people in our path each day that need our help, and we must not overlook each opportunity to serve one another.
         There are birds all over the place here in Virginia Beach. Last week we saw several Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Canvas Back Ducks, Black Ring Neck Ducks, Mallards, and even a Muscovy Duck, which happily took a pass-a-long card we handed to it.  I assume the duck thought we were giving it food, but who knows where that card will end up! All the time we have to avoid hitting geese on our bikes. Last week on P-day we went down to the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge and saw Virginia Rails, and Glossy Ibis, and beautiful Ospreys and I think a Northern Hairier. With all the birds come a problem: it means we are dodging bird poop all the time as we ride our bikes, but we like the birds.
         Last night as we were riding our bikes home from an appointment, we saw this 20 year-old kid riding his BMX bike all over the road (he was obviously high on something). He was singing a Lady Gaga song at the top of his lungs and when he pulled up alongside of us he pointed to us and yelled, "GOOD EVENING MORMON DUDES!!!  and then continued singing and riding past us in the other direction.
         In that same neighborhood we passed a young black guy sitting on his porch who yelled when we passed with his fist to the air, "These my Nig*#@S!! They out day and night!!" Every time we pass him which is pretty frequently actually he puts his fist in the air and yells, "my NIG$#@S!" he's the only black man out here who has ever called us the N word. He doesn't say it offensively, but he seems excited, and thinks it's cool that we are missionaries out here serving the Lord. Maybe we will try to teach him one of these days.
         On my mission I have met the wealthiest of people (like millionaires) and the poorest of the poor (homeless people with no money to their name). I have met people in both situations, who are miserable--absolutely miserable. I have also met people in both of those circumstances who are as happy as could be. Your situation in life does not determine your happiness. It is your attitude, which is mostly the result of the way you live (mind you, things like clinical depression are another story, but a lady in this ward who suffers from that, told me that studying the Book of Mormon is the only thing that makes her feel happy--so just a thought). True happiness only comes through living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I only have one more week, so I will see you all soon. I hope that Y'all have a blessed week, my friends.
        
--Elder White

Saturday, October 14, 2017

I thought our non facebook family might like to see this:

1927 ~ 2017
DeWayne Larsen Harding passed away peacefully with his loving family at his bedside October 10, 2017. Born December 1, 1927 to Alonzo Hazelton Harding and Margaret Rue Larsen in Fairview Idaho. Oldest son of seven and dear brother to Anna, Norma, Carol, Margaret, Blake and Spencer, who lovingly refer to him as Dee.
DeWayne married his sweetheart, Clara Louise McNeely, November 26, 1947 when he returned from WWII. They were later sealed in the LDS Logan Temple and were blessed with four children. Twin boys, David Cecil and Daniel Lon who were born in Alaska as they were stationed at Big Delta during the Korean War. Two daughters Sue Ann and Christy Lynne joined the family thereafter. It was DeWayne's daughters who both so lovingly cared for him during his last few years with us. DeWayne's greatest treasure is his family and that was evident in everything he did and said.
After returning from his service in the Korean War, DeWayne attended the University of Utah utilizing the G.I. Bill and earning his Bachelors of Science in Accounting, "A Utah Man Am I" and a true Utah fan until the end. His career path took him to Montana where he worked for Allstate Insurance. He was known for being more than an insurance salesman but someone his clients could count on for help whenever needed and a friend to all. He truly loved the "Big Sky Country" of Montana.
Upon retirement DeWayne and Clara settled in Sandy Utah where many choice relationships were established. He became known for his many selfless acts of service and countless hours of caring for the wellbeing of others. He truly enjoyed blessing the lives of others with his many talents.
As a devoted member of the LDS faith, DeWayne served in many capacities. In particular, he valued serving in the Scouting program and especially enjoyed the adventures he shared with his sons. He was awarded the honor of Silver Beaver for his decades of service within this program. He also cherished the opportunity to serve as a missionary. Whether by formal call or daily life he was passionate about sharing his love of Jesus Christ with anyone who would listen
DeWayne is survived by his son Daniel (Elaine), daughters Sue George (Samuel), Christy Andrews (Bruce), 14 grandchildren and 24 great grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his beloved wife Clara, and dear son David (Doreen). He leaves behind a legacy of love and service to all mankind that will never be forgotten.
Friends and family are invited to attend the funeral to be held Monday, October 16, 2017 at 11am at the East Dell LDS Chapel 2300 E. 9800 S. Sandy, Utah. A viewing will be held prior to the service starting at 10:00-10:45 am. Also, Sunday evening from 6:00-7:30 pm at Larkin Sunset Gardens 1950 E. Dimple Dell Road (10600 S.) Sandy, Utah. We are thankful for the loving care he received at the Veterans Administration Hospital with countless team of Doctors and Nurses who cared for him over the years. Online condolences: www.larkincares.com
Published in Deseret News from Oct. 13 to Oct. 15, 2017

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Final Report for Elder and Sister Macbeth – NEWS FROM CAM - September 28 – October 11, 2017

This is a little report to update you on our whereabouts and activities since we concluded our mission in Anaheim. On Thursday, September 28, we cleaned and packed and bid farewell to some of the great people we’ve come to know and love in what was then the Anaheim 4th Ward. We had planned on visiting our friends from the Tri-Cities area, the Risenmays, who have been serving for the past nearly 2 years at the Temple in Tijuana before we headed north to our home, so after a short visit with our family in Laguna Niguel we drove down to the border and spent the night.  Friday morning we got up and walked across the border into Mexico, and caught a cab to the Temple. We were early for the 11:00 am session, so we did some initiatory work before the session that the Risenmays officiated. One of their sons and a daughter with their spouses were also there (Allison Cornia Risenmay). After the session, we all went to lunch with them and another missionary couple, the Hales from Las Vegas, in downtown Tijuana.  Then they drove us back across the border. We stopped to visit an old friend from Ricks College (Ahmad Paksima) in San Diego, who gave us a box of his famous rugulach, and took us out to dinner across from the Temple there. Afterwards we drove back to Anaheim to spend our last night there, Saturday morning we did final cleaning, packed up the car and turned in the keys to our apartment. The car was stuffed full worse than when we came down on our mission.

We spent Saturday evening with our son Brad and kids in Laguna Niguel, and listened to a little of the priesthood session of General Conference. On Sunday we enjoyed Conference at Brad’s (Becky was in Nashville) and had a wonderful meal with Becky’s parents and family. On Monday morning we headed north.  Diann noticed that we still had the remote fob that opened the gates at our apartment, so we stopped at the Mission Office and turned it in, and bid farewell to our friends there. Then we headed for Las Vegas and where we went to dinner with Steve and Sherma Heaton (Diann’s sister). Later we drove on to St George and spent the night with Del and Lynette Parson (Diann’s brother). Tuesday morning we stopped in Washington, Utah and visited with Diann’s uncle and aunt, Owen and Jerrie Barker, then on to Hurricane for lunch with my brother Dave and Brenda. There were no more stops required, except for gas, before we got to our daughter’s (Kristina Ito’s) home in Clinton, Utah. We finally got to meet our youngest grandson, Robby. Diann had promised we would spend a week there, so we settled in and had fun visiting with them, playing catch and picking apples from their tree, plus helping with a few little projects around the house. On Saturday morning we all went to the pumpkin patch and corn maze in Ogden, and loaded up a bunch of pumpkins to turn into jack-o-lanterns. We went to Church Sunday morning and left after Sacrament Meeting to meet Brad and Becky and their kids at Temple Square. We had the tour of the Conference Center and walked quickly through Temple Square because Brad’s family was headed back home to California. We all went to Wendy’s for lunch and transferred some our stuff they had brought up in their car for us. Kristina and Bryce headed for home and Diann and I stopped in Layton to visit her cousin Ardella and Terry McMullen. We anxiously awaited news from Anaheim about the Stake and Ward boundary realignment that was finally announced today. Our old 4th Ward contributed members to each of the four new wards. We hope that everyone there will be happy and successful with the quite radical changes.

Monday was Columbus Day, a federal holiday, so I helped Bryce put shelves into a large closet and stain some of their kitchen chairs. That evening we all had dinner at my sister Carla and Barry Nelson’s in West Jordan, and my other Salt Lake sister Linda and Bob Westover also came over. They had just returned from their trip to Hawaii and told of their adventures there.

Well, that brings us to today, Tuesday. Our plans are to visit with Diann’s cousin Roxanna and Desmond Dickey in Brigham City tomorrow and spend the night with Diann’s sister Jodell and Bob Faris in Nampa. Then finally we’ll be home on Thursday. Our Ward there has already asked us to speak in Sacrament Meeting on October 22, so we’ll be back into the routine of our lives in Washington, but we won’t forget our new friends and experiences of the past 18 months.

With our love to all,

Paul and Diann (Elder and Sister Macbeth, we’re not released until we report to our Stake President)

Monday, October 09, 2017

Colin's letter:
Well, sadly, I only have two weeks left (although I am certain my mother isn't sad about that), nevertheless, I know that every moment spent here in Virginia and North Carolina was more than worth it. This week was eventful as well. Elder Morris' bike's seat post is fixed, but the back axle snapped in half.... but it is fixed now, luckily. The day we got his wheel fixed I got sick, though, and I am still sick with a nasty cough. I'm sure riding bikes everywhere is helping, though--actually it isn't. I feel like I'm going to die, but don't worry, I'll be okay.
         This week we had interviews with President, and Sister Weed. President Weed gave me my departing interview, and told me that if I ever need a letter of recommendation or anything like that, he would do it for me, which will actually be very beneficial considering his work experience and status. I got sick on my birthday but Elders Morris and Norwood threw me a surprise birthday party anyways! I didn't seem very excited to them because I was sick but I really did appreciate it.
         We had some really good experiences this week because we felt very led by the Spirit. Although sometimes I feel we, as church members, desire so badly to be led by the Spirit that we think the Holy Ghost is some kind of pathfinder way out in front of us, when in reality, the Gift of the Holy Ghost is to have the companionship of the Spirit. He is right there with us. God expects us to learn to make choices ourselves, and the Spirit will rescue us when our honest, best efforts are not enough, or when there is something very specific God needs us to do. 
         This week our experiences were mostly the kind where our own best efforts were not enough and the Spirit was there to help us know what to do. On Wednesday night all of our appointments cancelled on us and the member who was going to go with us fell through too. We had absolutely nothing to do and it was 8:30pm which is the hardest time to fill, but we wanted to work till 9 and not go in early, so we stopped and prayed. We felt distinctly like we should go to a certain apartment complex close by, so we went. When we were locking our bikes to a lamppost (Think we broke the light... when we bumped the post, the light burnt out, I think) before we could even finish locking our bikes, this girl came up to us and asked if we could help take some stuff up to her apartment.  It turns out she is the daughter of a less-active family who we teach! We not only got to help her move stuff, but we cleaned the whole place, which was a serious mess. It was a mess because the night before Emily moved in the people who she was moving in with got in a drunken brawl and threw a tequila bottle through the wall! When we went through everything that was left I threw away at least $100 or more of whiskey, tequila, and other hard alcohol, and probably $50 in tobacco. At the beginning of my mission I was worried and nervous about inviting people to keep hard commitments or do things like throw away someone’s alcohol, but now I just feel so confident and bold in doing any of those things. I have no fear of them because I know how happy people can be when they really repent. When we left Emily's, she even asked us to come back, and told us that she wants to come back to church, she knew that is what she is missing in her life.
         I look forward to teaching people about things like Tithing, the Word of Wisdom, or the Law of Chastity, because keeping those commandments cuts out the very problems most people we teach are facing in life. Those three commandments bring countless blessings for us now and in eternity.    This week we taught  Alec the Word of Wisdom, which I was really excited to teach, because he's been smoking for 45 years! Alec is a huge Harley Davidson fan, and we used the greatest motorcycle analogy for the living the Word of Wisdom. I opened the photographic history book of the Harley Davidson Company he had on his coffee table and pointed to the nicest pre-WWII bike in the book and asked Alec, "If someone gave this incredibly valuable bike to you, how would you treat it?" and he exclaimed "Oh man, I would keep it so clean and drive it so carefully-- I would keep it so safe, so no one could scratch it, and I'd make sure it was running in tip -top condition!" Then we asked him, "Alec would you ever fill it up with diesel fuel?" he  told us, "NO, that would RUIN... Oh I get it, yeah.. that makes a lot of sense." Then we testified of the importance of our bodies. We explained to him that our bodies are a gift from God, who loves us, and our bodies are of an infinitely higher value than any Harley Davidson. They are a necessary part of God's plan for us to become like Him, and we should treat our bodies even better than we would a rare motorcycle.
         Elder Morris, Elder Norwood, and I have been having so much fun riding around on our bikes everywhere and talking to everyone. We wave, smile, and say ‘hello’ to everyone. This week we passed a little kindergartner on her bike with her older brother, and as we rode past we told her that we liked her bike. In the cutest voice she yelled back, "THANKS!! I like your matching outfits!!!" We laughed and laughed! That was the best compliment we have gotten in a long time. It's true, though, we are always wearing matching outfits: a white shirt and a tie, riding on bikes. . . who else could that be, but the Mormon missionaries?! My next email will be my last full email. Look forward to that. So until next time,  I hope y'all have a blessed week!  
 
---Elder White

Thursday, October 05, 2017

LAST week's letter from Colin:
This week was phenomenal, 8 of our 12 set appointments fell through, but it was still a great week! Three days ago we were riding our bikes out of our apartment complex and Elder Morris was riding with no hands.... and then... the bolt that holds his seat to the seat post sheared in half and his seat fell off the bike while his was sitting on it.... you can just imagine what pain then ensued! For about 10 minutes he was genuinely worried if he would ever have children. After throwing his bike seat at a tree in a rage of pain, we walked back to the apartment where he laid down for an hour while Elder Norwood and I made phone calls, but don't worry, he is safe and no longer in pain.
         The only other bad thing that happened this week was as we had an appointment last night with two of our investigators. When we rode up to their house, out on the skreet, right in front of their home, there was a group of 15-20 hoodlums (I mean that 100% seriously, they were ‘hoodlums,’ to say the least). As we parked our bikes and knocked on the door they stood there in the street cussing and taunting at us. When the people we were there to teach looked out the window all they saw was the huge group of people on the street yelling and shouting, so they didn't answer the door. We rode away as they continued to yell and shout all manner of obscenities at us. We weren't really mad because that kind of stuff happens all the time, but we laughed. Anyone who has read 1st Nephi chapter 8 knows why we laughed. Here, I won't make you look it up, this is the verse:
         "And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of         the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it   were in the air, high above the earth.  And it was filled with people,   both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress       was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and     pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were     partaking of the fruit."
The truth is, though, that it doesn't matter what anyone thinks or says about what we believe. My belief in the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is independent of anyone's opinion or point of view.  I have read the Book of Mormon and I have Prayed to know of it's truth, and the truth of this church, and my prayer was answered. I know from God through the power of the Holy Ghost that this is true. So it honestly, does not matter to me what anyone else might think about it, because why would it when I know from God, The All Knowing Supreme Governor of the Universe, that it is the truth. That knowledge can only come from God. He is the source of all truth.
         I have never been happier to be a missionary for God's true church. I have found so much Peace, Joy, and Happiness, and I believe that those feelings come when we pray for, and have, Faith, Hope, and Charity.
         One of the investigators we found last week was the stepsister of a different lady that we teach. She's 14 years-old and when she went home after the lesson we taught she read and prayed about the Restoration and asked her dad 5 times if she could be baptized. Her family told us that she had been suffering some fairly severe clinical depression and that this is the happiest they've seen her in months! Unfortunately, she lives in a different ward's boundaries so we probably won't be the Elders who teach her. 
         It is always a good week when you are preaching the Gospel. I hope y'all have a blessed week!  
  

--Elder White

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Letter from Colin:
Our elite District-leader, bike-trio taskforce has being working together this week extremely proficiently, like a finely-crafted precision watch, or any other mechanical device known for running smoothly, like a John Deere tractor--okay, maybe that's not the best comparison, let’s stick with the watch idea. We have just about gotten down teaching as a trio. I have spent my whole mission with just the two of us, so now having a third person makes it very different to teach, but nevertheless, and notwithstanding, we have figured it out. We have had so much fun. We get up every morning at 6:30 am and we work hard all day, talking to as many people as we can, and we try to work with the members of the ward daily. 
         This week we went to COURT!!!  Last transfer Elder Morris got T-boned in the Sandbridge Elders’ car because he drove through an intersection where the stop sign was completely not visible and had no stop line. The city of Virginia Beach tried to charge him and say he was at fault. When we walked into traffic court, the three of us with two lawyers (somehow two got hired) we were surprisingly over dressed, the five of us were all in suits with white shirts and ties, while everyone else in the courtroom, getting fined, were all wearing ratty jeans, shorts and T-shirts. The Police officer who issued the citation to Elder Morris saw five people all walk in looking real serious in suits, and just asked the judge to drop the charges, so Elder Morris has won 100% of his court cases (mind you this was his only court case, but it was a fun experience for us)!
         This week was my last zone conference since I only have 3 whole weeks left. I was part of a panel of "experienced missionaries" that was questioned by the group on our experiences as missionaries serving here in this mission. It made me cry, but that's okay. I was sitting next to my MTC companion, Elder Cooper, so that was really fun to hear about his experiences as well. We did the math (on Elder Norwood's calculator watch) and by the end of 2 years we will have spent about  8,700  hours  doing missionary work, so we aren't quite ‘masters’ of missionary work yet, but we are approaching the 10,000 hour mark.
         There is a man whom we teach named Alec, and he is phenomenal. He's in his 60's and has gotten to the point in his life where he knows he needs to change and he has a strong desire to change as well. He was found last transfer when he saw us and asked, "Hey, can I get one of y'alls Mormon Bibles?"  He asked if we could teach him about our church. We, of course, were happy to teach him, even though a "Mormon Bible" doesn't exist. (We obviously inferred he was speaking about the Book of Mormon.) We were teaching him about family and how even though his wife had passed away it is possible for him to be sealed to her for all time and eternity. There is nothing that could have made him happier than the thought of seeing and living with his wife again. The doctrine of eternal families, is true and unique to our religion, and is central to our purpose here and in eternity to be heirs of God. Only in the temple of God can man and wife be sealed together forever not just “ ‘til death,” and only The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has the Priesthood Authority to do so. Thus temples are literally the House of the Lord. When Alec learned about these things he asked us so sincerely if he could come to church with us next week--so of course we are excited to work with him.
         Besides that, I saw a family from my first area that I haven't seen in 19 months. They recognized me and knew my name (yeah, I know we have name tags, but I will just say that they remembered my name)! That family has a book with photos of the last 15-years of missionaries who served in the Franklin Ward, so they are pretty good at remembering missionaries who served there.
         We also taught someone we care a lot about. He and his wife are great. She's a member, he isn't, but he's read the whole Book of Mormon, and gone to church so many times, and is a great person, but hasn't gotten an answer whether it is true or not. We have no idea how to help him. I think he hasn't received an answer probably because he prays through a sword he made...but we are working on helping him. His beliefs in God are skewed because of the excessive amounts of anime and manga they watch and read. However, we love them, and think they are great. We love everyone, even those who hate us, we just don't care, and we love them anyways. Until next time though, I hope that y'all have a blessed week!
 
--Elder White

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

News from CAM                                                                                             September 26, 2017
Dear Loved Ones All,
Well we have begun the week of many “lasts,” as well as doing our usual.  Monday we did our usual cleaning and laundry.  Elder Macbeth wrote inserts for the Books of Mormon that we plan to give to some of the special people we associate with.  I fixed cookies for the departing missionaries and we took them to the office.  (I found out later that in the hustle to get everyone loaded and to the airport that they were forgotten, but all the young missionaries that had a leadership training later that day at the Mission Office sure loved them.  LOL)  I did some visiting teaching.  That evening we were invited to supper with the Sandocals.  They are a young couple who live in our apartment complex and we have exchanged greetings, given them cookies from time to time, and they asked if we would be willing to make sure their baby sitter was ok when they first hired her to watch their son when they had meetings.  We talked about what we believed and he expressed an interest.  His wife is Buddhist and wasn’t interested, but they are a darling family.  We also got to Facetime with a couple of our daughters and grandkids back home which is always a treat.
On Tuesday we finally got to go with one of the members whom we found when we first arrived here but hasn’t been to church in at least 5 years  .We have visited her and the girls and taken them cookies as often as we can catch them home.  Her children all have serious health issues, but her youngest is so fragile that he has spent his life of 4 or 5 years in the hospital.  She wanted us to meet him before we left.  We read him some books and he seemed quite happy for the visit.  We felt honored to be included in the small circle of people invited to visit him.  We met our son Brad for lunch at Dickey’s BBQ.  Of course that is a treat but of course the best part was to get to visit with our son.  After that we went to Karly’s and picked up a box of mending she has been wanting help with but has cancelled many times because she didn’t feel well enough to do them.  I told her I would just bring them home and look at them.  It took a few hours but I finished them by supper time.  Bishop was out of town so Elder Macbeth wasn’t needed at the church for Bishop’s interviews.  Seemed strange to have extra time in the evening.
Wednesday I made Devil’s Food Cake mix cookies with mint and chocolate chips added for District meeting.  I also made a casserole for that night for R.S. Enrichment.  We went to Mary’s Kitchen for the last time and handed out 8 Book of Mormons to some of those we have served with for the past year and a half.  They all said they would read it.  Stopped at Karly’s to return her box of repaired items, then went to the Dollar Tree to get $1.00 favorite items for my last 4th Ward R.S. enrichment night.  We decided it would be great to do a “My Favorite Things” evening.  So everyone was asked to bring a favorite dish to share, and 3 items that cost a dollar or less to exchange.  I picked up some extras just in case somebody didn’t know to bring some.  Amazingly even though it was pure pot luck, there was a good variety of main course foods, salads, and deserts, although I had to pray mighty hard that my casserole was heated enough to serve since I didn’t have much time when we got home in-between everything else we had to do that day.  I also made the Rollo pretzel turtles.  Wonderful evening and everyone had a great time.  We stopped at Fingers (he was the Bishop’s 2nd counselor and she was the YW president) to give them their Del Parson print.  For some reason we had not made it to their house before.  They loved it.  Thanks again, Del.
Thursday I made some chicken soup with homemade noodles that I promised I would make for Maria.  Then we went to our last District Meeting.  Of course the young missionaries were happy with the cookies and sad that we would no longer be bringing treats.  We took some to the Mission Office and picked up another pair of problem pants that needed to be repaired.  We found out that there is another senior couple from Montana coming next month to replace the Westergards because they go home at the end of October.  They called and asked all kinds of questions about our apartment and what is included.  Elder Macbeth sent them some photos and we explained that most everything they need is already here.  They texted does that include “a soft serve ice cream maker and a donut maker?”  They sound like they are going to be a really fun couple.  I told them I brought my Bosch and she got really excited because on their last missions they weren’t able to take theirs.  That evening we went to the Book of Mormon class for the last time.  Elder and Sister Thomlinson from the Mission Office came to see how we ran the class.  They said they liked it.  Of course the people were sad to see us leave and of course we will miss them.
On Friday we went to visit Keith.  He has a friend that has been coming in to help him, so he is eating better, and Eric has cleaned the apartment so that this time we didn’t see any bugs and the smell didn’t knock you over when you went in.  I would say that Eric is his angel of mercy and a true friend. 
We had lunch with the Bodilys since our available evenings have become nonexistent.  Unbelievable that we are all of a sudden being invited out almost every day.  That evening we had dinner at the Scanlan’s.  Sister Scanlan’s son is very good on the smoker grill and he made grilled salmon, bacon wrapped cheese filled jalapenos, which I ate without dying  as well as other tempting sides.  We stopped at Von’s on the way home to get some supplies for making chocolate tortes.  When we got home we had just gotten out of our car and was heading to our apartment when a lady came running across the parking garage.  She said she had seen us and we were always dressed up like we were ready to go to church, and she wanted to know what religion we were because she said she and her husband needed to find a church that they both could go to (he is Catholic and she was raised JW) because they need to take their girls to church.  She said that all the natural disasters happening is a sign that the last days are coming and they need to find a church where they can all worship together that they can agree upon.  We got her name, phone and apartment number and will somehow manage to take her some pamphlets and a Book of Mormon, as well as turn her information in as a referral so that the missionaries can go visit them.
Saturday we went to help clean the church for the last time.  We usually are in charge of doing all the glass doors.  That usually takes us both working together a full hour.  Then we went down to Fountain Valley to pick up some orders from the Bishop’s Storehouse and delivered them.  Since Elder Macbeth and I were the speakers for Sacrament Meeting on Sunday I decided that I had better get busy and study what I wanted to speak on.  Elder Macbeth also took time out to get a haircut.  I finished making one of the tortes because it was Sister Hutchinson’s birthday and she doesn’t like cake so she was the last young missionary to get a birthday treat from me.  I took it with me to give to her at the Women’s General Broadcast.  I invited Sister Westergard to come go with me, but she picked me up and I road with her.  What a feast of the word the broadcast was.  I can hardly wait to listen/read the talks again, and I decided to use President Uchtdorf’s idea in my talk.  A fitting ending to our evening were the fireworks display in the parking lot next to Angel’s Stadium. 
Sunday we went to our last set of meetings at the Loara Building.  Of course I would have been happier not to be speaking, but it went well.  Since the stake is reorganizing all ward boundaries the week after General Conference, I spoke on “Change and following the council and direction of our leaders.”  The feedback was positive so I guess I didn’t do too badly.  Then we went to our last Sunday School and our last R.S./Priesthood meetings.  I didn’t even have to conduct, give the lesson, or anything.  Sister Guzman did an awesome job.  She is a convert that thinks she doesn’t know the gospel very well, but let me tell you she lets the Holy Spirit guide and has blossomed as a teacher.  I was amazed how quickly the sisters left after Relief Society. We came home and I made BLTs for lunch.  Elder Macbeth got a text from Francisco Sandocal asking about the book that we talked about when we went out to dinner.  So we took a Book of Mormon and some pamphlets down to him.
We had a dinner appointment to have dinner with the Brandts at 4:30 pm.  She is my first counselor and he is the Elder’s Quorum President.  When we got there, we noticed a lot of cars parked along the street, but since Disneyland is practically across the street, many park there to avoid the $20 parking fee.  Well……..When she opened the door there was a whole room of people yelling “Surprise!”  What a surprise.  They have been planning a farewell party for us for more than a month and everyone was sworn to secrecy.  There were at least 63 people there.  They had Asian food, salads, and multiple desserts.  We definitely felt loved.  Yes, we will miss our many new friends.
Since we won’t be getting another letter off from here I will give some highlights for this week.  Monday Elder Macbeth helped me make thank you cards for the many gifts received.  He momentarily questioned taking the time to do that but I explained that the “card making lady” could not go and buy cards for her friends.  He agreed.  It took most of the day to make, sign, and address them.  Then I finished a couple more of the tortes to take to the Mission Office when we went for our final interview with President Golden.  LOL.  What a relief to find out that there were no bad reports about our missionary service.  Anyway we didn’t get the usual missionary “My Plan,” but he said basically to keep up the good work.  Afterwards we joined Sister Golden and the Office Senior Missionaries for a scrumptious meal.  I must have stressed that one of my favorite food is Chinese, because they had gone to Panda Express for a feast, and there was a lot of it.  We had my chocolate torte for dessert.  Good food, and best of all, awesome company.  We are so blessed.
For the rest of the week we will be packing, cleaning, and making a few more last minute visits.  Until we get home in a few weeks (we have many stops to visit relatives on our way home) have a wonderful time, be grateful, and keep smiling.
Love, Sister and Elder Macbeth         G0!        Love (sounds better than fighting)!!         WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!