This month we bought a new couch for the family room. We're already enjoying the fact that a lot more people can sit in this room on it. Taylor had a game night and Ashley had a movie night and friends were all comfortably seated. We'll look forward to have more room for family get togethers.
Ashley and I drove out to visit her newest cousin Tessa this month. She practiced her driving and drove out to Loma Linda through rush hour, freeways and unfamiliar streets (with me by her side).
It was worth it to meet cute Tessa.
This is a couple of the creations we brought over for her. Thanks to Pinterest I learned how to make a dress out of onsie (which she wore to her baby shower)
I also learned how to make pacifier clips. Jenise was happy with them too.
This month Ashley got to attend Youth Conference.
As part of the conference they got to go to the San Diego temple and the Mormon Battalion visitor's center.
Ashley said she had fund with her family and enjoyed her time at Youth Conference.
As soon as Ashley got back she went with the Thompson family to their beach house that they rented before their son left on his mission. It was cold at the beach but she still enjoyed her time there. She had quite a busy weekend.
As for me I've been doing a lot of sewing projects as I'm at home pretty much waiting for my surgery to happen. I've made bereavement diapers, buntings and blankets for Kaiser.
This month I've made blankets and lovey dolls for Riverside Community Hospital.
I've also worked through my stash of fleece to make 10 blankets for the beds and blessing program.
I also helped work at our stake Days for Girls sewing day.
Our ward had a Valentine's Dinner and since the kids were off doing their own thing that night Jeff and I went to it on our own.
I also got into the spirit of Valentine's day by making and sending a few cards out.
Jeff bought me flowers and a giant balloon for Valentine's day but since it was a weekday we waited until the weekend to go out together.
Ashley and her dog...
Maddie had to get her rabies shots this month. She wasn't very excited and she kept acting like she wanted to crawl up on my lap while we were at the vet.
I helped a friend from the ward wire wrap these sunrise shells from Hawaii so she could make necklaces with them. That was something new for me.
Since I wasn't student teaching I got to go with Jeff New York Life's make up kick of meeting (since Spain got cancelled). They held the meeting at the Venetian in Las Vegas instead.
I know a lot of the agents were dissapointed that instead of Spain we were in Vegas (there are a lot of conservative type folks that were not "sin city" fans, ha ha).
I know that part of the reason it was in Vegas because it was a place that could hold all of us and be planned fairly last minute.
I have to admit the Venetian was a nice place to stay!
All the rooms were suites so we had a nice and comfortable room.
At the opening dinner we posed with some Vegas type show girls. I sent the picture to the kids and their comment was "where is Dad's hand" his reply was "As high as I could reach!" They were tall!
The first night we were there was the only free night we had so we bought last minute tickets to see David Copperfield.
David Copperfield has been doing his show for a lot of years. It was entertaining and he got the whole audience involved.
Daren's meetings overlapped one day with ours so we got to treat him to the show too.
When we got back to the room we found a chocolate dessert plate given to Jeff as a congratulations for making it to Chairman's Council.
The next morning I went with Jeff to his meeting bright and early. We left the room just as the sun was coming up.
Some of the things I've heard before but some I hadn't. One slide was an illustration of the fact that if you aren't constantly changing and growing as a company you will become obsolete. Think of brick and mortar stores being overtaken by on-line retailers, film cameras being replaced by digital and so on.
We heard Kyle Maynard speak. Kyle was born with no arms and no legs. He told some pretty inspirational stories including his climb to the summit of a mountain. At the end he was almost kept from being able to reach the summit because he was taking too long and he powered through repeating the mantra "not dead, can't quit".
As we explored around the hotel we kept seeing decorations for the Chinese New Year. It was the year of the dog this year.
Jeff's birth year was also the year of the dog.
On the second night it was the honor dinner where we got to get dressed up and honor all the people that did really well last year.
The next day I let Jeff go to his meetings on his own and I slept in and read until he was done. When he was done we went to lunch at a burger place in the hotel.
We shared a $20 burger that was OK but the thing the place was known for were their shakes. We shared a peanut butter chocolate one but we had to take a picture of our neighbor's shake.
This cotton candy, rock candy, sucker creation was a $15 bohemith of a shake and our neighbors drank the whole thing.
That night we got to have the going away dinner and listen to a private concert with Sheryl Crow. She did a great job and I was amazed that she was as old as she was because she looked amazing.
The highlight of our trip was connecting with Doug and Jamie Rasmussen. We used to hang out with them at New York Life events until Doug had a stroke 6 years ago.
We were happy to reconnect and plan to see each other again.
Updates from Jacob
February 5th 2017
This week has been pretty amazing! We have come in contact with a lot of people that seem to have a lot of potential. It's interesting to see how the Lord works, last year (2016) there was a huge push on finding, and we talked to a lot of people. There were a lot of no's but we were able to find people who were interested. This year, we've been pushing a lot on planning. It makes things a lot more effective when you can plan it out, but it leaves less time throughout the day to talk to people. However, the Lord sees your still working hard, and he leads you to these people who are ready. I just love missionary work.
Things have been getting pretty cold lately. Church was even canceled yesterday :( It was raining, and supposedly it was supposed to freeze over, but never did. So yesterday was a sad day.
Last Tuesday we interviewed with our mission president. It's sad to think that he's leaving in a few months. He talked with me about really doing things to try and increase the faith of our missionaries. The mission has been moving a little slower lately, and he knows things need to change. He's been a bit bolder lately to the mission, trying to prepare everything for the new mission president. This next zone conference he his putting out a distraction box, where we put anything that’s a distraction in it, and we get it back at the end of the mission. Luckily, I have removed my distractions, but if I was at the beginning of the mission that's a different story ha-ha. At one-point I had 5 nerf guns, and some hot wheel cars. Luckily, repentance is real, and i left those in my past areas. (To my defense, one of my apartments I used the nerf guns to kill the bugs)
We've been going on lots of exchanges lately, which is fun! I got to go with a new missionary, and it just reminded me how much patience it takes to train! Nothing big, just sometimes you have to bite your tongue.
Noor is great though! She is on date for baptism on March 3rd, and she is super excited! It will be good for the ward though, because they haven’t had a baptism since May. She is probably the most elect person ever!
It's good to hear from y'all though! Crazy to think i hit 17 months next week! Also! about that, i heard from other missionaries that if you want to apply for college on your mission, then you have someone at home do the application until it gets to the personal things, and then i apply. So Favor! Would y'all be willing to start the application process for me for a couple schools? BYUI would be fun, but I want to apply to a couple other places to get some choices. So! If you could apply to Utah Valley University and Utah State University, and then I’ll do the personal things, that would be wonderful!
Also! Sorry Brother! I am terrible at emailing, but today i will email you!
That's crazy with the change in bishopric! It will be fun having Brother Cowden and Williamson there, they are good people. The weather has gotten really cold lately. The humid cold really cuts right through you.
The work has been decreasing mission-wide, but our area is doing great! When I first got here, the ward was very distant from the missionaries, and we had no investigators, and no one really came to church my first two transfers. Now the ward is progressing in their missionary efforts, and we've been having 4 people at church each week with some progressing closely to baptism! I can’t say I’ve done any of that, I’ve really seen the hand of the Lord the past couple transfers
February 13th 2018
Hello Family! This has been a very wet week. We discovered that there will only be 4-5 days left in the month with no rain. I love it! It makes it real humid, but when it's 60 outside with humidity it feels nice. People in the south do not know how to drive when it rains... or snow... or in any weather. Whenever it gets a slight rain, then people start driving 15 below the speed limit.
This past week i was able to go on exchanges with one of the assistants in Charlotte. It was fun, but it was basically all driving. We had to drive an hour and a half from here to Charlotte, then had a surprise baptismal interview in my last area, which took another hour to get there, and another hour back. It was great though because we talked a lot about the zone and came up with some great ways to help them.
That's crazy that Ash is driving already! It's crazy to see how fast time has been going on the mission. The sad thing is, is its only accelerating. The longer i've been out the faster it seems to go. It does make it easier when you are with a companion you like. Transfers are in 2 weeks, so we'll see if one of us get changed. (odds are i'm getting the boot)
Something amazing that we started in the mission, is a doctrine of Christ read through of the Book of Mormon. It's been amazing to see how the Gospel of Jesus Christ is embedded all throughout the book. It really testified to me how much the Book of Mormon really is another testament of Jesus Christ. It's also been amazing to see how much you can learn from the Book of Mormon each time you read it. This is my 4th time reading it through, and everyday i read something new sticks out to me. It's been great to work with great men in the gospel, who are so strong in the testimony of Christ, it really builds me up. We've been working with the Stake President a lot to help the missionary work in the stake, and it's been a special experience being able to work with him. President Alexander is another prime example of that, and it's sad that he is leaving us soon. I love you family and i hope you have a great Valentines day!
February 19th 2018
Crazy week this week!
We had zone conference last Wednesday which was amazing! We learned a lot of doctrine (some pretty deep) about the plan if salvation, which really helped us understand better the Fathers plan for us. Afterwards, we were able to go to dinner with some other Zone Leaders and discuss the work! We don't usually get to do that, but it just happened that way. It was nice to be able to talk to other people who understand a little better than others.
We were also able to have a wonderful zone activity today! We went to hike the 2 tallest mountains in the mission! (There's only 3) At the top we had a little devotional with singing and spiritual thoughts and everything! It was nice, and Noor came as well! She has been growing so much, and her faith has grown so much stronger!
There was a meeting yesterday that the Sister Training Leaders and us were invited to. It was with President Alexander, the Stake President, and all of the ward mission leaders and bishops in the stake. It was great being able to help President Alexander train the stake on the new things that we've been doing. We were actually told it started an hour earlier than it did. However, it was nice, because we got to talk with President for a while. It's going to be sad when he leaves, but I know I will love this new mission president as well!
Sadly, transfers are next Thursday, and we find out next Tuesday. I have been here for about 6 months now, which is average for a zone leader. So it could go either way, I don’t know? But I’m excited for anything that will happen! I love you everybody, and sorry Bro! I'm running out of time and I will write you next week! Love you!
February 26th 2018
That's exciting to hear that Ethan's going to be leaving soon! He's going to love it. It's crazy to think that when I get back the whole ward will be different. Time has been flying though. Transfers are this week and we find our tomorrow! I'm anxious to see whether I stay or go, it's 50/50 right now. I would love it either way.
But hey! The weather has been getting a lot warmer! It's been constantly raining, but the trees have been blooming which is very beautiful! There are lots of cherry blossoms out here, just like in DC when we went that one spring.
Noor is doing so great right now! She's almost been taught everything and is just waiting for her friend to come baptize her, from Arizona. Sadly, he can't come until April, but we are going to try and convince her to tell him to have someone else baptize her, because if she's ready now there's no use in waiting. So, idk.. that's something we'll pray about. Other than that we've been seeing many other miracles! People are just popping up out of nowhere who seem to have a big interest in learning!
Let me tell you a secret I've been learning lately. Our mission has been doing another Book of Mormon read looking for the Doctrine of Christ in it all. I've seen that they are all interconnected, but especially faith. With everything in the gospel of Jesus Christ, you must act first, and then see the promised blessings. Whether it be repenting first, then being forgiven, or living worthy, then feeling the spirit, that principle is in everything.
Back to my main point... in missionary work, we work hard. We knock doors, visit members, use technology, and many other things throughout the day. We try our hardest, but in many things our labors do not directly bring forth fruit. It is only after a consistent, diligent effort that we will find people who are ready. For example, we've been doing everything we can to find people who are ready, and through our own efforts we haven't found too much. But because of our effort we've been blessed with many people being led to us or us led to them. It's a great testimony of seeing that this is the Lord's work and can only be done through Him. It's very humbling \uD83D\uDE0A.
Another exciting thing is Gladys knight is coming to the mission! She is going to be performing with her choir in a couple of the stake centers for our mission. Apparently, she does it as a missionary opportunity to up ease people into feeling the spirit and coming into a church building. That Will be in April, so we are excited to see that happen!
I will be praying for you mom as you go in! And don't think I forgot about emailing you brother! I love you all and have a great week!