Monday, August 21, 2017

News from CAM                                                                                                         August 21, 2017
Dear Loved Ones All,
On P-Day other than light cleaning I opted to go get a haircut since my hair was flopping all over the place.  If I can’t do the “wash and wear” I am not happy.  It is amazing what a good hair cut will do.  Then we came home for breakfast and I worked on Relief Society things that needed my attention for our upcoming Enrichment night while Elder Macbeth did his reports until lunch time.  After lunch we took a break and stopped off to see Maria on our way to the Mission Office.  She really doesn’t belong in the care center and is quite unhappy because other than a few who like her are there for recovery, most of the people are hardly responsive if you talk to them.  They told her she will be recovered enough to go home next week.  I had cookies left over from district meeting so I took them into the Office people.  Two of the senior couple are dieting, but the rest are delighted to see us arrive with cookies.  I think Elder and I should follow the example and try to shed a few pounds before going home.
I had birthday cards from the R.S. presidency to mail out so we stopped off at the post office.  We also went to the church to run off some lists so that we didn’t have to use our printer.  Ink replacement is the pits!  We also tried to make a visit but the member was not home.  So far none of the times we have tried to catch her have been successful.  I am starting to think she must work an odd night shift or something.  We hadn’t heard from Keith so we texted him and he didn’t respond either.  I’m sure we will hear from him when he needs something. 
On our way back home we stopped at the Scanlans.  Sister Scanlan is doing much better although she hasn’t recovered enough from her abscessed tooth and her fall that her doctor will ok her knee surgery.  We did get to the grocery store.  We have found that Food 4 Less has good prices on some of the groceries that we use consistently, so we frequent there and Costco. 
The Samoan Sisters who live in our complex like to stop by whenever they can, because they know that I save them cookies from our district meetings, and I also usually keep some in the freezer.  Besides they like to sit on our couch and pet the minki quilts that are over the arms of the couch.  They are such a delight.
I seem to be getting the hang of the Bishops Storehouse food orders, but sometimes I send them in and they don’t get approved right away.  I have discovered I need to give a heads up to either the Bishop or his first counselor if he is away.  I have also about figured out how much time is required to pick up an order because many of the recipients don’t have transportation so we get to do it.  The other tricky part is being able to deliver it in a timely manner after we get it. 
In between visits (successful or not), phone calls, and texting, and the other things that come up that we get to do Elder Macbeth has given several priesthood blessings.  What a gift the Lord has given us to be able to get such blessings.  Those receiving them are always so appreciative and they always report that it helps so much.
While Elder Macbeth was fulfilling his Executive Duties I was doing some Visiting Teacher interviews.  So far none of the sisters can remember when they last had one.  I finished before Elder Macbeth, but the Family History Center has been moved to a different part of the building, and the keys are not available so I guess occupancy is not ok yet.  Anyway, I didn’t have that option to fill my time, but a non-member sister and her fiancĂ© came in for an interview with the Bishop so I was there to visit with her while her fiancĂ© was doing his interview. 
Wednesday I got up and chopped veggies, browned the hamburger, and fixed the spaghetti sauce that was to cook in the crockpot until supper time when the Sisters were coming to dinner before we went to Enrichment night.  One of the sisters can’t have sugar or flour so I made her a separate batch of sauce that didn’t have bottled spaghetti sauce because that has sugar.  I decided to cook a spaghetti squash for the noodles.  I also fixed everything that was needed for bruschetta except for putting it together.
Since I was doing a Card Making presentation I had to organize and pack up my stuff as well as finish the kits that I put together for the sisters to make a card.  We were about ready to leave for Mary’s Kitchen when we got a call from Karly.  Her baby was sleeping and her 3 year old was playing happily, but she needed someone to come watch her kids while she went to emergency care because she was so dizzy she couldn’t even stand.  She had called everyone she could think of.  I also tried everyone I could think of but our ward has so few people who are able who don’t work curing the day.  I texted her back because her phone was having audio problems and let her know that I couldn’t find anyone but we would let them know at Mary’s Kitchen that we had and emergency so we would be there, and we would come ourselves.  In the meantime she called her husband who said he would come home for work and watch the kids.  I texted her back and wanted to know how she was getting to emergency care…she was going to drive herself.  NOT!  Anyway, we dropped her off at emergency care as soon as her husband got home instead of going to Mary’s Kitchen.  He said he would pick her up.  Then we stopped at the grocery store to pick up some shaved parmesan for the bruschetta.
The sisters were to arrive early because we needed to be at the church by 6:00 pm to set up for enrichment.  I put the bruschetta together and finished the last touches for the meal while Elder Macbeth vacuumed and set the table.  They were a little late but they arrived and we enjoyed an Italian feast.  I told Sister Brooks that she could just lift the top off of the bruschetta since she couldn’t eat the bread which she was quite happy to do.
The Enrichment went well, except for one little glitch...I forgot to bring the instruction sheet I had made for the card kits.  They loved all my show and tell of cards, and tools, and “how to’s”, and then we went into the cultural hall and I walked them through the process of making their cards.  When the sign up sheet was passed around in R.S. it was on the day that we had combined R.S. and Priesthood, so one brother had signed up so he came.  Nobody seemed to even notice.  The 3rd Ward Sisters joined us and since their ward and ours used to be the same many of them knew each other and had a good visit.  There were at least 40 sisters there.  The 3rd Ward provided root beer floats so it was a fun ending to the evening.  It seemed to take me the rest of the week to get all my stuff sorted and put away.
Thursday we had an afternoon only Zone Conference.  It was a wonderful training on diligence I was asked to lead the music, but the young missionaries were sad that they didn’t get the usual lunch.  At least they got to have some of Sister Heathcoat’s famous chocolate chip cookies.  I think we have one more Zone Conference before we head home.  That night we had B.O.M. class.  It was the last time for Elder Peden since he is going home, and Kelsey and Janet are both starting school and will have night classes.  Janet is a recent convert of 2 weeks, and she brought gifts to us and the young missionaries as a thank you for being there.  She said that she would continue reading the Book of Mormon every day.
We have made several attempts at visits only to discover the members have moved.  That points out that the Home Teaching and the Visiting Teaching is not up and running as it should be.  Of course it is much harder to keep track of in-active members, but still . . ., so I am trying to get at least the V.T. organized before we leave.  My goal is before next month so that we can start the month with all the sisters assigned.  We were successful one evening in catching up to a couple of members who both live on the same street where the only parking is stopping in the street with your emergency lights blinking usually with several other cars doing the same thing, and pray that your car will still be there when you come back.  We dropped off cookies and had good visits.  Julio keeps saying he wants to become active again but so far it hasn’t happened, but he says that the letters that Elder Macbeth sends him each month arrive just when he needs encouragement.  He also reported that his sister that we were able to visit months ago is active and even her non-member husband attends. 
This week I got a broken shirt, a distressed dress, and a couple of severed skirts to repair.  Several people have said, “Sister Macbeth, I have, something that needs to be fixed. . .. can you??????????”  I don’t think they realize that time is running out because some of them told me that a month ago.  Elder Macbeth got to be in charge of fixing a burned out headlight this week.  That seems to be the only thing that the car has needed besides oil changes and gas.  Hopefully that blessing will continue at least until we get home
We’ve got to visit by phone with a couple of our kids.  That is always a bright spot.  Two of our daughters celebrated their anniversaries this month.  And all the families and grandkids seem to be doing fine.  Can’t believe that school has already started for some.  Sunday was sort of a relaxing day despite having to get up at 4:45 am so I would be ready on time to get to the church for Elder Macbeth’s first meetings.  And I am happy to report that I am catching on to having a smoothly running Relief Society Meeting.
We finished reading the Book of Mormon again, so we decided we should see if we can get through the Pearl of Great Price also.  I am completely out of time and so I’ll close this epistle.  Hope you have a wonderful week and that those starting school are loving it, and those at home can happily fill in the time, and that the rest of you are grateful for all your numerous blessings. 
Love, Sister and Elder Macbeth          Go!      Fight!!        WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    Smile

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

News from CAM                                                                                                  August 15, 2017
Dear Loved Ones All,
It feels like another week has sped by probably because I think we are busier than ever.  Although there have been some moments that I am clueless what we should be doing at that minute.  Monday we did the normal P-Day activities, laundry, cleaning, and the email.  I was going to make pot roast last week, but since I didn’t, I got busy and put the meat and veggies into the crock pot.  I also washed and cut up the lettuce for a salad.   I made a few more birthday cards and did one for our grandson Eli for his first birthday.  As I was busy doing that Elder Macbeth pulled up and printed a cute photo of Eli for his card, printed a R.S. roll for me to use on Sundays, and wrote his two reports.  We made a Costco run, (gas and groceries and a couple of children’s books).  Then we delivered a card and a book to one of the little kids we see regularly.
I called the Westergards to see how their day was faring since it was transfer day.  They were maxed so I invited them over for dinner and they gratefully accepted.  That meant that we had to go clean off the table that I hadn’t done when we cleaned in the morning and to finish getting supper ready.  The food turned out great and they even brought angel food cake, strawberries, vanilla and tapioca pudding, and whipped cream.  It was delicious.
Tuesday was Eli’s birthday and we thought about trying to go down to Laguna Niguel but we had way too many things that seemed to interfere, mostly my R.S. stuff.  The most wonderful thing that happened that day was Kristina and Bryce’s baby son was born.  His name is Robert Naokichi Ito.  Mother and baby are doing fine.  Now we have two grandsons who have the same birthday, and we got to see pictures of both Baby Robbie and our Birthday Boy Eli.  Happy Day!  We then delivered one of my cards to a sister in our ward.  That evening Elder Macbeth went to the church to fulfill his Exec. Sec. duties, and I stayed home to start the greeting card kits for Enrichment next week.  When Elder Macbeth got home he instructed me on how to fill out orders for the Bishop’s Storehouse.  So, I initiated my first order. 
First thing Wednesday Elder Macbeth went to get a much needed haircut.  I spent that time creating an instruction page for the card kits.  I also called another ward member to fill out an order for food.  At least I was able to do it over the phone.  Sometimes it is necessary to go to their house to make sure that they are getting the right amount.
We got to go to Mary’s Kitchen since it was Wednesday to serve food for the less fortunate.   They are always so happy to see us.  When we were finished serving the food I went to the kitchen and there was nobody working on the dishes yet and they were stacked high on the counters.  I organized the young Elders and Sisters and had them do it “the Macbeth” way as Z calls it.  We had the dishes done in about a half hour, rinsed, washed, dried, and put away.  Elder Macbeth and I left the rest of the cleaning up to the young missionaries and went home so I could bake cookies since I couldn’t do it in the evening because I have presidency meetings now on Wednesdays.
We were just finishing presidency meeting when Elder Macbeth texted that one of our elderly sisters had called and wanted a blessing.  Since I have him drop me off to my meeting, he came and picked me up and we went to Sister Scanlan’s home.  She is one of my favorite people.  She was in pain not only from a back injury, but also she had an abscessed tooth that she had gone to the dentists for that day, but her face was still swollen and hurting.  It was rather late when we got home and all I wanted was some watermelon and cheese slices before scriptures and prayers and bed.  Meals have become somewhat weird to say the least. 
Thursday the Sisters let us know that we were going to have a “bring your own lunch picnic” after district meeting, so I made BLTs, and put grapes and Pringles into a bag along with the sandwiches, and we took it along with the cookies to the church.  We have a sister who can’t have refined sugar or refined grains so I always take her fresh fruit instead of cookies.  It was Elder Christiansen’s first time as the District Leader.  He didn’t pay attention to the time factor so all the other districts in our zone were waiting for us out in the foyer for their cookie.  They were so funny. 
That afternoon we went to see Keith later in the day than we would have liked but the Bishop’s Storehouse didn’t open until 4:00 pm and it was down that way.  The traffic was horrific since it was rush hour.  I think we will make a point to do food/supplies from there on Tuesdays or Saturdays in the morning.  On our way home we also stopped to visit Maria. 
That evening was the Stake R.S. Social.  The theme was “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  It was a very relaxing evening.  They had a demonstration on what to make with lemons besides lemonade, a talk on finding joy despite your challenges, and then multiple lemon based desserts.  They also had a tray of fresh veggies, so that is what I ate.
Friday we got to talk with Michelle (our youngest) who called to let us know when they are coming down to California for a visit.  That is something we are looking forward to.  I was fixing crock pot pork chops as we talked on the phone because I had invited my first counselor to dinner so we could work on Enrichment Night and Visiting Teaching routes.  Her husband is away during the week so I thought it a good opportunity to get her input.
We stopped at the Mission Office on our way to Goodwill to find some sweat bottoms for Keith because somehow his were lost in the wash at the care center and he thought it would be nice to have something to wear when he went to dialysis.  Elder Macbeth also clipped his nails when we dropped them off.  On or way back home for lunch we stopped at Ralphs Grocery Store to pick up something for supper.  After lunch we went to the post office to mail some birthday cards from the R.S. presidency.  I think I am going to give that responsibility to one of my counselors since I keep forgetting to put them in the mailbox by the exit that we seldom go out of.  We stopped to see Maria and were almost late to WMCM.  J. called to say she had made the bus connection so she could be home by 5:30 for us to deliver her things from the Bishop’s Storehouse.  Unfortunately we had to dash home to get them.  Rush hour is not a good time to rush anywhere, but we made the delivery and were back home in time to set the table and finish fixing the meal before Jenn arrived.  Whew!  She is the most awesome person ever!  We were busy working on R.S until a little after 10:00 pm. 
Bishop asked me to wash the Sacrament Tablecloths, so Saturday morning I did that.  While they were drying I mended another pair of problem pants and made another order for the Bishop’s Storehouse.  As soon as the tablecloths were dry we went to deliver Baby Waverly’s blessing certificate.  She is such a cute baby.  We stopped at Costco for gas and groceries before heading to a baptism of a young 10 year old that the missionaries in our zone had been teaching.  It was awesome, and the father of the boy bore his testimony.  He was very humble and even though his English was broken, it was powerful and the Spirit was very strong.
We finished out the day with the Westergards walking the grounds of the Crystal Cathedral.  It now belongs to the Catholic Church.  It was beautiful, the statues were awesome, but somehow the spirit was not the same.  Sister Westergard had made an enchilada supper for us so it was a nice relaxing evening to end the week.
Sunday the Bishop canceled Ward Council so he could meet with the Elders Quorum President and the High Priest Group Leader after Bishopric Meeting, so I stayed home and took my time getting ready and organizing more R.S. stuff.  As it turns out Bishop just assumed I would be there to attend the meeting with the others.  Surprise, I was not. 
We had a wonderful sacrament meeting.  My first counselor gave a very inspired talk about friendshipping and fellowshipping, as did the 2nd counselor in the bishopric.  There was a good number of ward members in Gospel Essentials as well as the missionaries and their investigators, and R.S. ran smoothly.  Our new R.S. teacher did an excellent job.  Afterward Elder Macbeth stayed to fulfill his duties and one of my counselors and I started V.T. interviews.  We had time to come home and grab a snack before heading down to Laguna Niguel for dinner and to take Eli his birthday gift.  Becky had made a delicious tamale casserole, and it was so fun to visit with them and the grandkids as well as extended family and friends.  Eli liked his book and his truck when the other kids let him play with it, and the rest liked his card.  Score.  After dinner they took us to see the Fairy Trail.  The fog was already starting to roll in and was getting dark.  The kids were excited to show us the little fairy houses and sites along the trail.  The houses were rocks and little doors outside of trees and stumps.  We only got about half way when we met the creator who had come to collect the little houses, because it was time for the fairies to head back to Ireland, and he was going to ”overnight” the fairies’  stuff to them.  He gave the kids each a little door or one of the mail posts.  They were very excited and I thought it was so nice of him.  Of course they were sad that the fairies were leaving but were thrilled with their gifts.
There you have it…another week.  I hope this will be a very happy productive week and don’t forget to be grateful.
Love, Sister and Elder Macbeth             Go!     Fight!!     WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    Smile

Letter from Colin:
This morning I drove Elders Davis, Beach, and Morris to the Cape Henry Lighthouses. Elder Beach is one of the District Leaders in our zone. Elder Davis is terrified of heights, so while the rest of us were excited to go up the lighthouse, Elder Davis was less-than-enthused about the concept. Nevertheless, like a good companion, I made Elder Davis go up with us anyway! I have never in my life seen someone grip the hand rail tighter than he, but don't worry, I assured him despite the fact that the cast iron staircase is almost 200 years old, it wasn't going to fall out from beneath us. The cast iron staircase is the “new” staircase, too, (well, not very new). In 1792, when they built the lighthouse, they had a wooden staircase, which I imagine was a pain to build. 
         A lighthouse is the symbol of the Virginia Chesapeake Mission, (the Cape Lookout Light, to be exact). It is the symbol of the mission not just because of our significant coastal location, but because the purpose a lighthouse has is guiding and warning ships in the various waterways. Just as a lighthouse guides a ship by its beacon of light in the darkness, we as missionaries are doing our best to be guides for God's children in the ever-increasing darkness of this world. We have been called by a prophet of God and set apart to labor with the Lord in his work here in this part of the world. I know that this is true, and I know that only true and lasting happiness comes through living the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or to put it in the words of James Jones, of North Carolina, "You can be miserable if you want to, but if you want to be happy, like good ol’ James Jones—then you have to live the Gospel!"  That is just the dang truth and I cannot deny that. It saddens me to see the way many people live their lives. There is so much potential for happiness in life that too many people completely miss because of the choices they make. We will only maximize our potential as human beings if we are fully committed to living the Gospel, the “Gospel” being (in the words of “True to the Faith”), "Our Heavenly Father’s Plan of Happiness."
      This week we learned that one of the less-active members of the church we’re teaching was a CIA assassin--so that's pretty cool. The member we took with us to the lesson, much to our surprise, has a practically identical past--in almost every way. I am going to say it was the Spirit prompting us to bring that person with us. We had no idea about his life details and he is in every way a perfect friend for the man that we teach. Don't expect to read any books written from either of them anytime soon. Almost everything they've done is still classified. Those two people are some of my favorite people. They are both so kind, even though they were assassins.  I have learned from the very vast variety of people I have met and taught on my mission, you can pretty much learn to love people no matter who they are, or at least see the potential they have as children of God. I have talked with the smartest people, and I have talked to some of the most holy people that I've ever met, however, I have also spoken to the vilest, and most evil people that I have ever met. The thing is, that Heavenly Father loves both groups of people the same. No one that I have met is beyond the reaches of Christ's Atonement for us-- after all, He suffered for all mankind, not just a few of us. 
         In the last 15 weeks I have come to love the people here in the Cape Henry Ward so much I desire for them to have true happiness. If I can, in my last 9 weeks on my mission, just lift the culture of this ward and this mission I will be happy with my efforts. Hopefully I will keep a better journal this week so I have more details to write about next time, but until then, I hope y'all have a blessed week!

-- Elder White

Monday, August 07, 2017

News from CAM                                                                                                         August 7, 2017

Dear Loved ones All,
Monday was P-day and there were all the normal chores to be done along with a long list of Relief Society tasks that I needed to do.  As all Relief Society Presidents know, the Visiting Teaching Route updates seem never ending.  I spent from 1:00 to 6:00 pm with the V.T. coordinator at her home Monday afternoon.  Elder Macbeth called reminding me that it was probably long enough, and I told him a little while longer.  With about 41 active sisters to 120 in-active sisters we finally thought we had things fairly well organized. While I was thus occupied Elder Macbeth had the oil changed in the car and gassed it up, fixed the tire sensor, done some grocery shopping, and a multiple of other things that I have discovered during the week.
It was our granddaughter Lily’s birthday so we gave her a birthday call.  She is getting so grown up.  Of course her younger brother and 2 year old sister had to have their turns talking with us as well.  Little kids in general are so fun to listen to, but grandkids are the greatest.
Back at our place I had more laundry to do, and the thought of trying to figure out what to fix for dinner seemed overwhelming.  Anyone who knows me knows that I hate trying to decide what to fix to eat.  For that matter, I hate trying to decide what to eat, I usually only know what I don’t want.  Poor Elder Macbeth…can you imagine having to put up with that for almost 50 years?  I was so-o-o-o-o-o happy that he took me to a restaurant called Grasslands Meat Co. located in the Garden Walk down by Disneyland.  Their menu was divided into small plates for $5, normal for $10, an upgrade for $15, and a hungry for more.  We enjoyed multiple small plates and were totally satisfied, besides it was quite delicious.  Elder Macbeth wrote his reports when we returned home.
Tuesday I wrote my email before we went down to the Bishop’s Storehouse to familiarize myself with what is available when I fill out the food orders.  It was a fairly spacious place, clean, and all the paperwork is actually done electronically.  Guess I need a little training on doing that on Elder Macbeth’s laptop since I don’t think it is feasible to lug a regular computer around with me, and then there would be the problem of connecting to the internet.  Since we didn’t get to Costco on Monday, and it was near where we were coming from, we stopped for a watermelon.  Then we visited 4 of our elderly sisters in various care centers, and one at her home. 
Some of the missionaries were so excited with the Funfetti cookies that I decided since it was the last district meeting before transfers that I would make them again.  We went to Ralph’s  to get a couple of cake mixes and it was right next to the Dollar Tree so we ran in there to see if there were any more butterfly stickers for making cards for our R.S. Enrichment night.  Score!  Then back to make cookies.  For some reason it doesn’t seem to take as long to make cake mix cookies.  Must be the 6 minute baking time. Anyway, I made 77 cookies in just under 2 hours.  Just as I was finishing, the Samoan Sisters who live in one of the buildings next to us called to ask if we had an ice pick.  One of them had injured her foot and was told to ice it.  We didn’t have an ice pick, but we did have some icepacks.  We delivered them to the Sisters along with some cookies, and then took some cookies to the Westergards and to pick up the package of prints Lynette sent from my awesome brother Del.  By then it was late so we settled for nachos and guacamole for supper.
Because of transfers and some missionaries leaving for home, we had District Meeting on Wednesday.  That was a little tricky because they wanted to do pictures afterward and that usually takes a long time and Elder Macbeth and I needed to be at Mary’s Kitchen in less than a half hour.  So I told the missionaries that I wasn’t passing out cookies until after the photo shoot, and if there wasn’t time to hand out the Funfetti cookies that might be too bad.  They were all there lining up when our district got out.  Fastest picture taking time ever.  We were a couple of minutes late to Mary’s but still in time to help serve lunch.  The Elders have picked up on “Sister Macbeth’s” way of doing the dishes…rinse at one sink, soap wash at the other, and someone dries and puts away.  It went really slick that day and we had the food served, dishes washed and put away by 1:35 pm.  Unheard of…Zee was impressed.  We took some cookies to the Mission Office and then came home where I made fruit smoothies with some left over fruit salad from Mary’s.  Wonderful on a hot day.   Then I worked on making card kits for Enrichment night and listened to Linda K. Burton’s talk, “Certain Women.” 
That evening I had my R.S. presidency meeting.  It went much better this time, and I was able to make assignments for Sundays so that things can run more smoothly that they had last Sunday.  We also organized our rotation schedule for conducting, giving lessons if the sisters we want for teachers have not been called and sustained in time for their lessons as well as discussing the needs of various sisters in the ward.  While I was at my meeting, Elder Macbeth was at the Church fulfilling his Executive Secretary duties and getting to meet the Nagamatsu’s.  The husband is inactive, the wife is a non-member, and they have a 4 week old baby girl.  They were making arrangements to bless their baby in their home on Saturday at 2:00 pm.  Sister Brandt took me home from my meeting and when we walked in the door Elder Macbeth was just finishing fixing supper.  It was really good and I was very grateful because I was extremely hungry by then. 
Thursday I listened to Elder Russell M. Nelson’s conference talk, “Joy and Spiritual Survival.”  I decided to use that talk for my Presidency Message on Sunday.  Sister Mattson called and we spent another 2 hours over the phone trying to work out some kinks in the V.T. routes.  Sigh.  Then we went to visit our Hungarian Maria.  She is always so happy to see us.  She doesn’t like being in a care facility one little bit.  We are realizing that it is definitely not like being home.  On the way home, Elder Macbeth stopped at Joe’s Italian Ice and I got my usual Mango Tango and Elder Macbeth his usual Badda Bing Cherry icees. Scrumptious!
We didn’t need to pick up anyone to take to Book of Mormon Class.  There were 22 people in attendance!  It was quite gratifying.  There was another investigator there as well as some of the usual investigators.  We took one of them home since he lived quite a ways away and he was walking with a cane.  Not a good thing to do after dark.  I don’t know what is with our schedule these days, but we didn’t eat until we got home…chips and salsa.  My kids will really chide me when they read this.
Friday we did planning and we wrote a letter for one of our sister missionaries who is going home this transfer.  She was sad that there wasn’t enough time to get us her journal before she left, hence the letters.  We made multiple stops at various stores looking for a tablecloth large enough for the table in the R.S. room, and ended up at Costco for gas and groceries.  I tried to finalize my lesson for Sunday, talked again for another hour with Sister Mattson regarding V.T., and was horrified that the time had sped by and we were late for WMCM.  They were just getting started when we walked in.
Back home I barely had time to make us BLTs that we gulped down because we needed to meet my 1st Counselor at the church to bail out and try to organize the R.S. closet.  We pulled everything out just so we could see what was even in there.  Then we sorted, chucked, and organized into the many tubs which she brought.  Elder Macbeth was a super help, washing out some of the dishes that were dirty, hauling things back and forth, taking out trash, and he even vacuumed the closet, before helping up put back stuff in in an organized way.  We got everything in with space to actually go inside, and we could see what was where!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Of course by then it was 10:00 pm and our “Priesthood” person said it was past time to stop.
Saturday we prepared the watermelon to take to the Stake Picnic.  We stopped at the Bishop’s house on the way to the picnic to finalize arrangements for the baby blessing that afternoon. The Samoans did rotisserie chickens on their large mobile spit that they have for such occasions.  There must have been 20 chickens cooking at a time.  Impressive!  We left the picnic in time to be at the Nagamatsu’s a little before 2:00pm.  The baby was an absolute doll, and her parents were a delight.  His mother had come from Seattle and brought a blessing dress that one of the aunts had sewn.  Bishop’s counselors arrived and then the Bishop came hustling in.  He had to hurry because he was in the middle of last minute preparations for a birthday party for his neighbor next door.  Oh the life of a Bishop.  I have to say that by the time we went home I was ready for a nap. 
Sunday morning always comes early.  Elder Macbeth’s pre-church meetings are a killer.  At least I usually get to go run off agendas and the bulletin so there is something for me to do before Ward Council.  Fast and Testimony meet was great, no waiting time in-between testimonies which always makes the Bishop happy, and they called two teachers for R.S.  I didn’t make it into Gospel Essentials because I was getting some pictures from the library and I was waylaid by various people who need to give me information or get some from me.  I was gratified that R.S. ran smoothly like it should, and my lesson went well with lots of participation.  Can’t say how happy it makes me when the class practically gives my whole lesson. 
Sister Mattson called and we spent more time trying to get the V.T. routes completed.  She is leaving near the end of the week for Kennewick, Washington, and will be gone for 2 weeks.  Her family lives in the East Stake so we don’t know them.   I guess we will have to change that when we get home.  I was asked by one of the stake R.S. presidency to let all my sisters know that the time on their flier for the social on Thursday night was wrong and to let them know the correct time.  So, I spent the next while texting and phoning the primary and young women sisters the change.  Then we got to call our daughter Kristina to wish her a happy birthday.  Her husband made her a red velvet cake (her favorite) but she had made the special frosting to go on top.  Maybe she’ll have time to catch her breath before their new baby boy arrives on Tuesday. 
So that is our week minus all the visiting, texting, and phoning various members.  I thought I was a little busy before, but now I don’t have to think it, it is a little more apparent lately.  Here’s wishing you all a fabulous week with family, friends, and that you can accomplish at least some of the things on your to-do list.  

Love, Sister and Elder Macbeth     Go!  Fight!!    WiIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!        Smile
Letter from Colin:
Today we learned a bit about duck decoys and their history. Did you know there are some duck decoys worth over 100,000 dollars? Probably the most famous being the Dudley Duck Decoy? Either way, today Brother John Waterfield, who is a member of this ward, from a line of decoy-makers and waterfowl hunters that reaches back to the start of this country, showed how decoys are carved and painted. He also told us about the different varieties of ducks: Pintails, Wood Ducks, Black Ducks, Mallards, Canvas Backs, and a host of others. I didn't even know there were so many kinds of ducks, and that back-in-the-day, the whole coastal area of our mission was the world’s capital of waterfowl hunting. There is even a guild just for decoy carvers out in our mission; they have a big decoy festival every year down on Harkers Island, NC.  
         So ultimately, the area our mission covers is famous for:
         1. The birth of this nation (Yorktown, Jamestown, etc.),
         2. The best lighthouses in the world,
         3. The largest naval base in the world,
         4. The best Eastern-Carolina BBQ in the world (the Virginia Chesapeake Mission covers almost all of eastern NC, so that one isn't much of a surprise!),
         5. ‘Graveyard of the Atlantic’ where BlackBeard mostly operated.
   And 6. Well, it's where I am serving my mission, so I think it's a pretty great place, personally, because it is home to some of the greatest people that I've ever met, for whom I will always have a deep-rooted love.
         Number six is the only one that really matters, though (okay, number one is important, too)!
         This last week with Elder Talbot (who I already miss a lot), and with Elder Davis, my new companion, we have focused hard on using the phone well (i.e., calling everyone to set up appointments, setting up members to come with us, and helping people keep commitments and such).  The result so far, of all that, is: we have 2-4 appointments already set for every day this week and we already have 6 members set to come out with us this week, and a good handful of those lessons will be new investigators.
         In other news, a Jehovah's Witness, who was selling meat, knocked on the door of our apartment yesterday. He had an interesting reaction when we opened the door--we seemed to be the last people in the world he was expecting. The man didn't try to sell us meat from his company or proselyte to us, although he seemed extremely interested in and surprised by the success that the Church's missionary efforts have worldwide (it's ‘almost’ as if it's successful because it's true and we have the supreme Governor of all the universe on our side), but the man was certainly nice enough.
         Our vision and goal for the next 12 weeks (the last 12 weeks of my mission) is to lift the culture of this Ward and of our whole mission. We plan to do so by helping others see Heavenly Father's vision for the Church
and this area. This is explained well in Moses 7:18, "And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them." We believe we need to start where the leadership of the Church has been focusing: Sabbath day observance. We want to help the Ward have spiritually edifying Sacrament services, and other church meetings that are to a level where every member will have a desire to invite their friends and acquaintances to come and see why we do what we do. We want our meetings to be so focused on the Savior and His teachings, that because of the presence of the Spirit, you will know this is true and real, even just from being there and listening.  Clearly we understand that to accomplish this goal will take more time than I probably have left on my mission, but most anything worth doing will take some time to accomplish. I love the people here in this Ward and especially down in North Carolina, but really, the people in this whole mission, and I want them to be successful, happy, and find joy in truly living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If I can just be an instrument in the Lord's hands to even accomplish that, even in small measure, I will be happy with the two years I will have spent here in Virginia and North Carolina. Until I write next, I hope y'all have a blessed week.
-- Elder White

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

News from CAM                                                                                                                     July 31, 2017
Dear Loved Ones All
Monday P-Day arrived and we cleaned and Elder Macbeth wrote the reports while I composed my e-mail.  It was our two oldest children’s birthdays this week so we got to visit with them and their families over the air waves.  I’m glad all our children and grandchildren seem happy, which makes their parents and us grandparents happy.  We got to talk with our other daughters, one of them, Mindy, had recently got her Masters.  Now there are 3 Masters in our Family.  Elder Macbeth, Kristina, and Mindy.  I am so proud of them all.  I’m sure that Heavenly Father loves it when he sees happy families. Sorry about bragging but I am so proud of them all. 
I finished making some cards and then we delivered them to the birthday members here.  We also visited our Hungarian Maria.  She is slowly healing, but she definitely does not like being in a rehab center.  We have certainly been exposed to the un-pleasantries of having poor health or getting old.  It is amazing to me, however, that some people can be happy and can cheer everyone around them and then there are others that are totally negative.  It has been corn-on-the-cob season and we have definitely taken advantage when we see a good deal advertised in the grocery adds.  It makes one really appreciate the bounty that we have in this country.
We usually helped serve lunch to the missionaries at the zone conferences, but the stake relief societies were in charge of them this time around so we only helped serve at two instead of all three.  Since ours was on Wednesday we didn’t serve at Mary’s Kitchen.  That is usually one of the high lights of our week.  I did help the Activities Day leader with the magic tube pillow case project.  I took my sewing machines and since there were only 4 girls it was adequate.
Looking at my planner, I have spent a ton of time this week with getting acquainted with my duties as Relief Society president.  I read everything in handbook 2 that had to do with my duties and those of my presidency.  I wished there had been more, but I guess mostly you just have to rely on the spirit.  I decided that since I only have 2 months, that I am trying to get the visiting teaching organized.  That is a huge, ongoing task, but with our former R.S. president being in the hospital and recovering for months at a time, it needs a lot of attention.  The other thing I want to tackle is our R.S. closet.  There are things buried in there that I’m sure might be useful if they could be located.  I discovered there packages and packages of paper napkins and boxes and boxes of plastic service ware that I had no idea was in there so we have purchased napkins as recently as last Saturday for our Pioneer Day Celebration.  Anyway, we had our first presidency meeting and didn’t have time to cover nearly everything that I wanted to go over before we were out of time.  Sigh!
We continue to try to make visits with less active members.  It sometimes seems that we make 10 – 15 phone calls to one or two successes.  But when we are successful it really makes our day.  I can only imagine that is how the Lord feels with us.  We picked up Janet N. and Angel S., a couple of investigators of some of the young missionaries, and took them to Book of Mormon reading class since the young missionaries are not supposed to have non-missionaries as passengers and they couldn’t find rides for them with members.  That has been a real challenge here…transportation and parking are the pits.  We did catch up to a sister who apparently was visiting in with her mother in Utah.  She and her girls had just barely returned and said her apartment was in total disarray.  But she invited us to come have dinner with them the next Tuesday.  Woot!
Saturday we attended the baptism of Janet N.  She was just glowing, and the spirit was so strong.  After that I went with my 1st counselor to get some supplies for the upcoming R.S. enrichment night while Elder Macbeth attended another baptism.  That made it and awesome ending to our week.
Sunday morning seemed to arrive too early.  When I shower I need an hour to get my hair dry and to get ready, and since Elder Macbeth needs to be there just before 6:00 am, we have to leave here by 5:45 am.  Hmmmmm.  You do the math.  The meetings were really good so that made me feel blessed.  However, as it was my first time conducting Relief Society, and it was a combined meeting with the priesthood, I felt totally unprepared (example, I didn’t get the tablecloth or any decorations out of the closet because I simply didn’t have time and my counselors were only sustained at Sacrament Meeting a couple of hours before so I hadn’t delegated any of those responsibilities.)  Hopefully none of the brethren and the visitors were too shocked.  Elder Macbeth taught the lesson for the Bishopric because the Bishop was out of town, the 1st counselor was at the hospital with his wife, and the 2nd counselor was at another ward at a missionary farewell.  At least I was happy that the 2nd counselor returned in time to set apart my counselors after the block.
We got to finish out the day down at Brad and Becky’s for a fabulous meal and best of all a visit with family and of course grandchildren.
On that happy note I must end because this R. S. president is supposed to be down at the Bishop’s storehouse for some training.  Hope it is a productive and wonderful week for all.
Love, Sister and Elder Macbeth.                    Go!     Fight!!       WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    Smile

Monday, July 31, 2017

      Letter from Colin:
This week is a fairly historic week in this, the Virginia Chesapeake Mission. I say that because tomorrow 31 missionaries finish their missions and fly home, and 30 new missionaries will fly in. Not only that but in six weeks another 30 missionaries are coming into the mission, which means that in the next 12 weeks there will be 60 new missionaries and 60 experienced missionaries to train them, which means that 120 out of the 190 missionaries in this mission will either be training or be in training. To facilitate all of the new missionaries the mission had to rent eight 10-person vans to transport all the missionaries and all their luggage because this is all happening on top of normal transfers as well. Transfers are this Wednesday and my companion, Elder Talbot, has found mercy in the sight of the Lord and is being blessed by going back to North Carolina (in New Bern the birthplace of Pepsi) to finish his last 3 transfers of his mission, and I am getting Elder Jack Davis who is coming here from Smithfield, VA.
         In other news, this week an investigator from Hampton that Elder Beeston and I worked hard to start teaching got baptized this Saturday!
--which is really exciting. He is the 13 year-old son of the investigator we taught who died. He had tons of help because of Brother Humphries, who is the Hampton Young Men's President, who put forth the effort to invite him to church and take him to Young Men's on Wednesdays. The other bit of interesting information is an investigator who I found with Elder Grow in Albertson, NC got baptized last week, too, which must be a miracle. Although their family liked me a lot, I was certain he would never get baptized. Every time we met with them and taught them he was always so adamant that he didn't have to go to some building because, "Church is in your heart" (which doesn't really make that much sense). He was certain that tithing wasn't a commandment (although it is in the Bible after all), and that he didn't need to read the scriptures (which would explain his first two concerns). But fortunately in this case I was wrong--he totally got baptized and joined the church.
         However, here in Virginia Beach, this last week was very slow. All of our appointments, except for one, fell through. And every member that was set to go out with us to those lessons fell through, except for one as well, and the lesson they were going to with us fell through, too! Everything didn't work out exactly how we would've liked, but we tried very hard all week, so it's really not our fault, so I can't really justly be mad about it. The best thing that happened this week was our coordination meeting with the Ward Mission Leader and our Bishop, and then Ward Council. We overcame a lot of misunderstanding about how they think missionary work is supposed to be done, and how we have been instructed on missionary work by Prophets and Apostles. So plans are underway with the Ward Council to develop a Ward Mission Plan that is simple and actionable, which if carried out will yield real results on account of members of the ward actually reaching out to those they know who need the gospel in their life (which is everyone honestly). Great things will come from this. It may take some time, but the Ward is now much more informed and supportive of missionary work, which is one of the greatest responsibilities that we have in life.
         Besides that, we presented training in the Stake's Bishopric Training Meeting, which is the first time missionaries have ever done that in this Stake.  Welllllllll,  Until next time, I hope y'all have a blessed week, and I pray that it's a cooler temperature where you are than it is here!

--Elder White

Monday, July 24, 2017

Letter from our beloved Colin:
This Week we worked very hard and it was over all not too shabby. on Wednesday we were feeling so frustrated because, First of all no one in this ward actually fulfills their missionary responsibilities, but mostly because every person that we find to teach seems so promising, but then they never keep their return appointments. this has happened with the last 8 people we have found to teach (which by the way is the very reason the church emphasizes member missionary work) this all is very frustrating because, what we share and teach as missionaries is THE happiest and most important thing that any human being can learn, yet people can't seem to be home when they say they would, which is a shame they are missing out on so much. Thus you can see that we are frustrated (there must be some lesson we are suppose to be learning) and we were at one such person's house and they, like usual weren't there even though they said they would. We were just praying at that moment that we would be able to find someone who would be at least willing to learn and meet with us and just then this lady about 27 walked passed us and we like usual try to talk to everyone so we said hello, and she curiously asked us why we were out in 100 degree heat in white shirts and ties (I assume everyone who sees us wonders that) so we explained what we do ask missionaries. She expressed to us that not only is she looking for a church to go to and raise her daughter in, but that she would really like to meet with us. SHE asked us if we could come back the next day to teach her, and guess what!? she was actually there, she understood and accepted everything we taught, which was strange but she was honest and really did agree with what we taught, most likely because it's true, just most people don't recognize truth so easily as she did. Some people would say that the whole experience was just coincidence, but to us it was most definitely a direct and immediate answer to prayer.
  Other than that we successfully helped a less active member who we work with quit smoking, so that was exciting we even got to take all of his smoking stuff (lighters ashtrays and ect) and throw them all away. We also got the same family as last week to come to church again this Sunday which was so good. they are in an interesting situation because they are living together but can't get married, because they are still technically married to their prior spouses so we are helping them get a divorce.... so that they can, well get married.... it's odd to say the least we usually don't help people get divorces, but this is an extremely unique and random case, especially because they have no way to contact the people that they are technically married to. it's been 10 years since they have even seen their actual spouses. All in all I will just say that we teach interesting people, and we have interesting people who come and teach with us. Well Until next time I hope y'all have a blessed week!
-Elder White
News from CAM                                                                                                                     July 24, 2017
Dear Loved Ones All,
Well, for such a crazy week, it started out innocently enough.  Monday we did our usual cleaning and laundry, planning, gas and groceries, reports and my email.  I have been wanting to go to the Museo in Downtown Anaheim because they have huge pictures of some of the Downton Abby characters plastered on the outside of the building.  So we found a place to park and wouldn’t you know it???? It seems that it is closed on Mondays.  However, in the smaller building they were having an art class for kids, so the proprietor allowed us to go upstairs in that building to see the Asian art/writings/carved stamps made out of rock, and an historic display of photos and memorabilia from the early days of Anaheim and surrounding area.  It was quite interesting and we got our own private showing since we were totally by ourselves.
On Tuesday, since Saturday was our Ward Pioneer Day Celebration, we texted invites and reminders of assignments to ward members.  We visited one of the oldest members who is still physically active, but just doesn’t think it is a priority to be church active.  He is such an awesome gentleman it is sad he doesn’t wish to participate.   That evening Elder Macbeth fulfilled his usual responsibilities at Bishopric Meeting, and for interviews while I went to the Family History Center.  I spent the whole time entering Elder Macbeth’s genealogy into my personal file.  Amazing how much time that takes.  Afterwards we stopped at Smart & Final to check prices on the food and supplies we need for the Saturday Social so we could compare to Costco.  They had the hamburger patties and beef hot dogs, and their bun on sale making it the most economical place to purchase everything in one stop.  On the way home Elder Macbeth told me that the Bishop wanted to extend another calling…one that I surely did not ask for…and could I come in on Wednesday evening to give him my response.
In addition to giving to giving a small Del Parson print to those whose baptisms we have attended, I have been giving one to the young missionaries with whom we have served for their birthday.  Or if I have missed their birthday, as they depart to go home.  They are ecstatic!  Some of them hop around or whoop.  It is really fun to watch.  Anyway, in these last couple of transfers, we have had almost 50 missionaries going home if you combine the two, and not as many arriving.
On Wednesday before going to Mary’s Kitchen to serve the homeless lunch, we also had another interview with President Golden.  I explained my new dilemma as to an additional calling.  He was surprised to say the least, but he said that as an MLS missionary that he couldn’t find fault with the Bishop’s logic for extending the call as long as he understood that Elder Macbeth and I are finished with our missions on September 28.  By now I’m sure you suspect what the Bishop wanted.  So that night I told him that I would do my best to be a good Relief Society president and to hopefully accomplish what he thinks I can accomplish in that short time.  I can’t help think that it is going to be one of the shortest times for a Relief Society presidency ever.  Then I got to go to Enrichment night and not say a word!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Not fair!  Our outgoing R.S. president is finally getting to come home after nearly 2 months so they passed around a sign up meals for at least the next 2 weeks, so I signed up for Sunday evening.  Before we left to go home the First Counselor in the bishopric called and said in light that I was in charge of the Pioneer celebration I might be an excellent candidate to speak on that topic in sacrament meeting on Sunday.  It didn’t sound like the Bishop had confided in him my new responsibility so I didn’t know how I could gracefully tell him I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed, so I agreed.  I was so glad that I had baked my snickerdoodles earlier in the day.
Thursday we had a great lesson on the use of the Holy Ghost in missionary work.  Thank goodness it also helps us in all the other aspects of our lives.  I only doubled my cookie recipe so when I counted the cookies, I only had 6 left over by the time the missionaries got their 2, we dropped a few off at the Mission Office, and we bagged up a few for the Samoan Sisters who live in our complex.  We also took the time to visit Maria and Keith before coming home to fix and eat supper so we would have enough time to pick up Angel on our way to Book of Mormon Class.  Elder Macbeth set up the chairs in a circle, and he kept making it bigger and bigger and so we kind of teased him about being so optimistic.  Well, there were enough people that came to fill up the chairs.   Way to go Elder Macbeth!
Our Daughter Kristina called and we got to visit with her before breakfast.  Kids are so awesome, especially if they are your own (well grandkids are way up there too.)  I spent the rest of the morning organizing a binder for the things I figured I would need as the R.S. president.  I needed some tabs, and a pencil holder that could fit into the binder, and since I seem to have used up all the erasers on the ends of my mechanical pencils I also need replacement erasers or new pencils.  Would you believe you can get new pencils are cheaper.  It was past noon so Elder Macbeth took me to try out a little food court in downtown Anaheim called Good Food.  We ended up having salads and sharing a chicken sandwich. 
We went to Costco and bought some watermelons for Saturday.  Then we went to WMCM at Brother Pruitt’s house with the rest of the missionaries in our ward.  Elder Christiansen has discovered that Brother Pruitt likes chocolate licorice vines so he asked if there was still some in the house.  Only some of us ate a piece.  Before going home we stopped at the post office to mail a couple of birthday card, and went to the church to put the watermelon in the fridge for the next day.  We barely had time to get me home before Elder Macbeth was to meet the Bishop to go give an elderly sister a blessing prior to surgery.  While he was gone I surged Elder Fifitia’s pants so I can hem them when I get enough time.
By 8:30 we both were ready to have some supper.  Good thing the Book of Mormon makes my challenges look fairly insignificant or I might have started to feel overwhelmed.
Saturday up early enough to go to the church to help set up tables and chairs.  Brother Ferreiria was the only other person there, but it didn’t take too long for 9 tables and their chairs.  Then off to Smart & Final to get the rest of the supplies.  Back to the church to cut up the watermelon and help finish with table cloths and decorations.  Brother Brandt arrived with his grill so they could start grilling the hamburgers.  Because of limited space, I heated the hotdogs in a pan of water on the stove before taking them out to get their sear marks on the grill.  The primary was in charge of pre-lunch games so after an opening prayer while the food was being prepared, they played some of the pioneer games.  By then the potato and macaroni salads had arrived and enough burgers and hot dogs were cooked so we could start.  Not as many people were there that we had hoped, but the food was good and we had plenty, everyone enjoyed visiting, and the final two games were the final touch.  Sister Tafua brought some gunny sacks and Elder Christiansen was the undisputed winner in all the heats that he participated in, and the Sister Missionaries were not far behind him.  The tug of war was clearly one of the best of the best.  (I got to be on the winning team.  :)  Cleaning up didn’t take too long because everybody was willing to help.  We dropped the remaining frozen burger patties and extra buns off at the Bishop’s and then took the young Elders home since they were walking to save on miles so they didn’t run over their allotment.
Back home to collapse for a few minutes while I tried to pull my thoughts together to come up with a decent talk.  As Kristina pointed out, good talks just need good stories, so I told about our ancestors who came from the Piedmont Valley in Italy and a few other pioneer stories, and figured how to relate it to us in modern times.  Next I cooked the chicken and made the salad for the dinner for the Kidwells.  It was rather late when I finished so I was grateful that we only had ward council in the morning and not the other two earlier meetings.
I slept until 5:15 am Sunday morning so I was grateful for a nice invigorating shower to start the day.  At ward council I wondered if anybody else thought it odd that none of the Relief Society presidency were in attendance.  I was hoping for a few minutes to go over my talk, but after Ward Council we had choir practice since we were singing during Sacrament Meeting.  We sang “Faith In Every Footstep.”  I think that is one of my favorites. My talk went reasonably well despite my lack of preparation. Sister Kidwell was well enough to come to church so she was there as the outgoing presidency was thanked and released, and I was sustained.  Now I just get to wait for my counselors.  I didn’t get set apart until after the block so for a few hours there was no R.S. presidency.  I think Sister Brewer, 2nd counselor, was glad conducting the meeting was her last official duty. 
I still had to come home and finish fixing dinner.  To our delight, the Kidwells asked if we would come eat the dinner with them.  I must say that was quite fun, although she was easily tired and needed to go lay down on the couch for a while after dinner.  She made sure that I took her R.S. stuff with me when we left. 
So there is our week to the max.  Now I guess it is the lull before the storm before my responsibilities really kick in.  But that I’m sure is a story for another day.  Hope you have a wonderful week.  Hope my two oldest have awesome birthdays this week, and that the rest of you enjoy what life has to offer.
Love, Sister and Elder Macbeth          Go!     Fight!!      WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Smile