June was the month for graduations. The first one we went to was Jared's high school graduation. He is planning to go to college in Monterrey in the fall.
Angela and Robert came down to see it too. We got to the school in plenty of time to see the graduation and save seats.
Jared going across the stage.
Afterwards we went to Korean Barbeque to celebrate.
Right after school got out we had a beach day with a van full of teens and me. I got to be the chauffeur and they got to enjoy the beach.
It was one of the only times I even went to the beach this summer since Ashley has enough friends that drive she went on her own with other people the rest of the summer.
The beach ended up being a little cool still so we ended up coming back home and they went into the hot tub and watched a couple of movies.
On the first Sunday in June we hosted a teen break the fast and a fireside viewing party.
One of my projects this month was figuring out how to make money leis. I made a couple for Taylor. I'll have to remember this for future graduations.
The night before Taylor's graduation we did another beach day to visit my cousin Shavonne and her family. We had a great day at Huntington beach and let them borrow our boogie boards, showed them how to catch sand crabs and enjoyed a great day.
Taylor Rose, Taylor and Ashley playing smashball...
After the beach we went to Spaghetti Factory for dinner.
Ashley with her cotton candy drink.
After dinner we walked on the pier.
Ashley getting in on the photos.
Taylor and Taylor did their own photo shoot.
We enjoyed the sunset and then drove home to prepare for Taylor's graduation the next day.
We woke up bright and early to go to Taylor's graduation at UCR the next day. He had to be there even earlier.
Waiting for the graduation to start. Out of all the hundreds of people we ended up sitting behind Taylor's buddy and his family (Brandon photo bombing).
Parker and Taylor both graduated from the physics department.
Taylor and the "guys" have been friends from high school.
Taylor has known the Brandon and Parker way back from his AYSO soccer days.
So proud of Taylor! He even graduated Magna cum lade and got a medal. Way to go!
Since we only had 6 tickets for the graduation (and it was early in the morning) we had everyone over to the house to swim and eat to celebrate Taylor.
Shavonne and her family came up for the party too which was nice because Angela did get to come to the beach. Shavonne was a favorite cousin growing up.
Since this all happened the day before Father's Day we handed out goodies for the dads too to honor them.
Update from Jacob
June 3rd 2018
This transfer Is going by really fast! We've been very busy lately, especially with a lot of exchanges. This past Tuesday I was able to go to Wilkesboro with an Elder that I was his first district leader. It was great to see him again and see how much he has changed. The area we went to was in the hills of western North Carolina, and it was beautiful! That's one thing about this zone, is that it is the most mountainous zone in the mission, and I love it! I've just been seeing flat my whole mission haha.
We also went on another exchange this last Friday, and I was able have an Elder come here. It was weird having to plan, since I haven't been here very long, but I'm getting the hang of things! There's definitely a lot of work to do here, so it's nice to keep me busy.
The rest of the transfer before President Alexander leaves is booked crazy. This upcoming week we have MLC on Tuesday, exchanges with the assistants on Wednesday, and then 2 district meetings and interviews with President on Friday. It's fun to be busy! However i am always super exhausted. I have fallen asleep in the car a lot lately haha.
Something I've been really trying to focus on is focusing on the positives to everything, and the solutions to problems. It's been easy to see problems in the zone and worry about what we can do to fix it. But now I just want to see the bright side of everything and help the zone see that as well!
I love you family! And have a wonderful week!
June 19th 2018
Great week! Very busy with lots of meetings! It was also very hot, but not too humid. In coming to North Carolina I thought California gets much hotter, and it would be a breeze coming here. That's not really the case 😅. Without the humidity it's fine, but ass soon as it gets humid... no bueno. The nice thing is that everyone is out in the summer! Everyone just finished school here, and is out and about. It makes missionary work much easier.
There is a lot of work here to do in the hickory ward. There's enough to do where we can always be doing something productive, but the challenge is deciding what is the most effective use of time. Almost the whole ward here just changed callings this past Sunday. There are a lot of new people in certain positions, so we're excited to be able to meet with them and get to discuss the work. The Bishop here is really wonderful, very missionary work oriented. We have also been meeting a lot of inactive members who love the missionaries more than the regular member! One we met offered to give us free haircuts, another gave us a few bags full of food. Southern hospitality has been the realest here in Hickory. Haven't met a mean person yet.
We had MLC (Mission Leadership Council) this past Tuesday, and it was kind of sad, because a lot of what we talked about was how we can help the new mission president adjust. This was the Alexanders last MLC before they left and it was a very special one to be at. President Alexander wanted to make this one fun though, so as part of one of the trainings, he had us build rockets and we launched them. Definitely a meeting to remember! Last Friday we had our last interviews with President Alexander, and that was also a special moment. That day was exhausting though, because right after that we went to 2 district meetings. Luckily though, we got to take a nice nap today.
Elder Gurney and Elder Bibo are both wonderful Elders. Sadly Elder Gurney goes home in a couple of weeks, so I need to learn the zone really well before he goes. It is very fun being in a trio, and you just feel unstoppable walking down the streets. The funny thing is, we're all very interesting looking people, so putting us all together fulfills the scripture saying we are a peculiar people. We have me standing at 4'6'', another Elder at 6'5'', and the other is half Cambodian. It's been a wonderful time serving with these Elders.
It's sad to think that my time here is waning, I'm doing my best to sprint to the end. I've had some worries about coming home and losing the light I've gained on the mission, however, through a recent read-through from the Book of Mormon I've gained some hope. We just finished a Doctrine of Christ read, and it was life-changing. I've realized an understanding of, and commitment to live the doctrine of Christ is the most important thing I can do to keep this light. As I've read, I've understood so much more what the Gospel that Christ taught entails, and I start to see it in everything. I know that Christ lives today, and leads his church. I know that the end goal of this life is to live with Him and our Heavenly Father, and the only way to do that is through living the Doctrine of Christ. I love you all, and wish you the best in all your summer endeavors!
June 26th 2018
Wonderful week! Just wonderful. We've been having a lot of fun trying to send Elder Gurney off right. Being in a tripanionship is crazy, but it gets a lot of work done! We have been very busy this whole transfer, there's a lot to do here in Hickory. The people here are the nicest of any area that I've served on my mission. Even when people aren't interested their never rude here. We actually got a call a few days ago with someone looking for Charles. apparently she was looking for a missionary that had given her his card 2 years ago, and she kept it all this time. She needed help moving some thing, so we gladly accepted. We quickly found out that we were moving this ladies' daughter out of her house without the daughter knowing. Apparently they got in an argument and the missionaries got caught in the middle of it. But! Nevertheless, we helped anyways, and she actually knows a lot of the members of the ward! We're planning on seeing her again soon as well!
Crazy thing is that we only have about a week left in the transfer! The trio will probably be getting split up, because a lot more missionaries are going home this transfer than coming in. I'll have to be the one who knows what he's doing pretty quickly, which as a missionary, I never feel like I know what i'm doing. I am excited for the new mission president to come in! We will be meeting him next Friday with a meet and greet, and the following Tuesday there will be an MLC. Going to be a big change but super exciting!
Something I really love about the south, is their reaction to seeing little people. They are just the sweetest people, but they aren't afraid to say anything. Some people scream, some get a really big smile, and some run up and hug me. It's been wonderful though, because I've been able to use it to further the Lord's work here! We may not be able to share any spiritual message to these people, but they have seen the missionaries, and it's a lot easier to remember them when there's a little person haha. That's something I've been learning as a missionary, is that each of us have different talents and abilities. God doesn't ask you to use what you don't have. He requires you to get out of your comfort zone, but he doesn't expect you do to more than you can. I've seen some of the most awkward missionaries teach, and at some points of their teaching I stop and stare at them thinking "why did you just say that?" However, I would then look at the person we're teaching looks like we just answered all of her greatest questions. I've seen the Lord just asks for your heart, the skills will come through time, but he needs your heart. Once he has that, the spirit is able to work through you to help His children.
We were teaching this miracle family we found, who is the friend of a recent convert family. There was many miracle in us being able to find them, but that's another story. What I saw was one of the boys wearing a shirt from a youth camp. On it, it said "born to change the world." I pondered on that and thought how true that really is. We are literal children of God, and we are here to live the gospel of Jesus Christ so we can make it back to God one day. For us who have the gospel, and bring others to Christ, are changing the world, sometimes one person at a time. God wants you back, but he also wants you to be a part of his bringing his other children back. I love this gospel, I know it's true.