Monday, March 18, 2019

Betcha

I'll just bet that you can't guess who we saw, what we did, or where we've been lately. You'll never understand why we're here like we did this past week. And I'll betcha that you've never experienced a church meeting like we got to. But, you can bet that I'm going to tell you all about it!

We met with a few more Chaplains. One at Miramar, one at the Brig. Interestingly enough, the timing was perfect. We caught Chaplain Biadog as he was just showing up to his office. (we got our directions all messed up on the way there and arrived later than we had intended to) and go figure, if we had been there earlier, we would have missed him. He's a wonderful Catholic man and has invited us to Easter Morning Mass and breakfast. We would love to go...might have scheduling problem, though. Chaplain Klender just happened to be in the lobby counseling someone and had just a few moments to give us to introduce ourselves. Funny how those things work.

Tried our best to keep them here...
Our baby, Abby turned thirty on March 8. She and Matt decided to drive the California Coast to celebrate. They ended up in San Diego, so we got to spend a day with them. We did something I would never even think to do. We went to a CAT Cafe! The food was lousy, but the cats were cute. We also went to the Midway Museum and went out for a nice birthday dinner. It was one of the first warm days we've had, so it was lovely walking around the harbor.
He's a pretty cool cat!
Last week we went to Naval Base Coronado to see what ships were at harbor. We drove to the end of the Silver Strand and could see Tijuana. With binoculars were could see the border and the temple.
Can you find the Tijuana Temple?

This past Saturday, the skies were beautifully blue, so we decided to drive out to the Naval Air Facility el Centro. That made it an official MRM trip. It just so happened that the Blue Angels were flying in an air show that day. Wow! These pilots and crews are incredible!
Amazing!!

This is a cheater photo taken off the internet. No pics allowed!
Today, Mike was set apart as the 1st Counselor in the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Military Branch. We knew, we just knew, that somehow, someway we'd be involved with young Marines. (actually they are recruits, training to become Marines. The chaplain took us around to some "unaccessible to visitors" areas, to find an accessible restroom (called "heads" in Marine lingo). We got to see some brand new recruits trying to march drill. Poor guys! Their drill instructors were pretty much in their faces. The chaplain is an officer, so should be saluted; but, here he was with a guy in a wheelchair and a woman...they weren't sure what to do. It was pretty cute.

The yellow footprints are what the new guys stand on as soon as they are off of the bus. This is where Mike's military experience started many years ago.
What an amazing experience to attend Sacrament Meeting with the recruits. There we were with young men all dressed in their fatigues, rolled up pants, shirts buttoned to the collars, and noggins freshly shaven. Some as young as seventeen, some returned missionaries, some husbands, some fathers--all willing to serve our country. They are in some intense training, and coming to church is a reprieve for them. Watching them bless and pass the sacrament so reverently and respectfully was very touching. Mike bore his testimony beautifully, then had interviews with the newest recruits. I visited with boys who just needed a listening ear. That's why we're here!! We will continue to work with and support the other wards and stakes, we will still visit families at Miramar, we will do whatever we are asked to do, but, this is where we can REALLY help. We are so grateful to know that HE knows better than we think WE know.

https://www.marines.com/becoming-a-marine/enlisted/training.html
Betcha can't watch these clips and not love them like we do! Semper Fi!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Here, there, and everywhere.

Our Marine Pick-up
This has been a busy week with a variety of activities. It started and ended with the same family. He is a chaplain, she is a stay-at-home-mom (and I mean stay-at-home) with four young children. The youngest is a fifteen month old little boy who is a "bubble baby". He has zero immunity so there cannot be any germs brought into the home. The other children are home schooled and can't play with other kids. They are hoping to get a thymus transplant soon, which hopefully will change their lives. It is a very active house!! Made me tired just visiting there and more tired helping with some housework.

We had lunch with another MRM couple. We are both having the same difficulties, and all trying to move forward. Evidently, it takes EVERYONE some time to adjust and get their swagger on. I thought we could jump right in and get to work, but there is so much researching and paperwork and computer stuff to do. I'm not crazy about all of that business.

We went to the USO to find out about volunteering there. There was a hilarious little old man there named Andy. He was a lot like "what about dinner?" Andy. (Only our kids will understand that.) He was adorable, so full of energy and all over the place. We loved him, though. He was excited to have us get signed up to help there. It is stationed at the airport where service men and women and families come to relax between flights or as they're getting ready to go to a new assignment. Full of comings and goings. It's a cool place.

A fun thing that we got to do was to go to a weekend Zone Conference and help man a station of the obstacle course. It was at Camp Wildwood, a church owned girl/scout/youth conference/family camp. We were assigned to "THE WALL" I wish I had taken a photo, darn it. Anyway, it was a 8X12 foot straight up and down wall that the districts had to get each member up and over without talking. The most touching part was when one group hefted a 250-285 pound elder up. They pushed and pulled. He sweated and shook. But, they did it! Afterwards we had a discussion with them on parallels to the gospel or to missionary work, etc. It was wonderful to hear their thoughts. Young missionaries are pretty amazing!
The Rocky Mountains on the way to Wildwood Camp.


Saturday, we went to the baptism of a young Sailor in Chula Vista. There were quite a few young missionaries there. It was at the YSA ward. It was nice to find the chapel that day because the next day, Sunday, we drove down there again and basically knew where we were going. Another chaplain had called us and asked if we could pick up a Marine and take him to church. He is in the Naval hospital in the Wounded Warrior Battalion. He was a very nice young man who hadn't been to church in a while. We went back to the ward in Chula Vista and he seemed to enjoy it and actually fit right in. (Strange though, the newly baptized guy never showed up!)


Yay! Family!!
Highlight of the week was a visit late Sunday night from Spencer! He and his business buddy stopped by after their long drive from Utah to San Diego. It was so great to see Spencer. He loves to listen to our mission experiences.

Last night, we had FHE with the Sr. Missionaries at the Mormon Battalion. (Yes, it IS still called that) One couple talked about their mission in Greece. They had some beautiful pictures and told a lot about the history there. I told them that my parents visited Greece when they were on their mission in Albania, and that Dad had taken a photo of a nudists' beach. They laughed and said, yes, their were many of those-with not such beautiful bodies! Hah!

We are trying to stay healthy and strong. I'm glad we brought Mike's bike. We drive out to a little lake that has a hilly back and forth trail a few times a week. He bikes, I walk. It is nice to see the variety of plants beginning to put on their colorful shows of bloom. I've seen a few hummingbirds and deer. "I'm glad that I live in this beautiful world Heavn'ly Father created for me."

The best thing about apartment living. Trash Valet! You put your trash out at night, and a little fairy comes and empties it!!
It is the next best thing to having Eli around...

Monday, February 25, 2019

Days Become Weeks

If you miss a day writing on a blog, before you know it, you've missed a week! (or two) Quite frankly, by the end of the day, especially if we've been doing computer work, I'm done! So, I'll do my best to get back in the groove and be up and doing.

We've had some interesting experiences as we are trying to get things lined up. This week we went to a training class for volunteering at the brig. One of the wards that we attend is responsible for Sunday meetings and Wednesday night visits. It is a joint services military prison. My naive eyes about popped out of my head seeing some of the information they gave us. but, as soon as the background checks are done on us, we'll be able to attend those meetings. (Probably just on Wednesdays--Sundays are crazy enough.)

Been getting lists of military members from ward clerks. Once we have those, we set up appointments with the bishops and they give us as much information as they can so we can visit the families. It is a challenge to keep up with re-assignments and deployments. We are doing lots of detective work--showing up at doors or facebook stalking. One disaster was on a rainy night. We went out to visit a very high stress home and realized our tire was going flat. So while trying to get AAA to come on base without ID, and helping settle kids down, and being cold and wet, we didn't get much missionary work done. Opposition!

We have found folks who are struggling with all kinds of issues. It is such a sacrifice for all of the members of the families who serve our country. I'm so grateful that the church has seen the need that they have for support and for the gospel. We hope that we can encourage and show love and appreciation for them.

The best thing that has happened recently is that we had family come! Seth's family had a trip to Disneyland and then came and spent a few days with us. It was so good to see them, although it made me homesick all over again. We LOVE our family!

Flat tire
Such Cute Kiddos
Sea anemone at the tide pools
Garden at Cabrillo Lighthouse

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Bas-ics

We have decided that we love being on base. This week we went to the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, which will be our new assignment. We pretty much just hung out there to get a feel for the place. We can hardly get through a conversation without having to pause to watch a jet fly overhead. It literally brings tears to my eyes. We also had the chance to go to a very early training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) to be eligible to talk to recruits. We attended a "cake cutting" that is traditional for Marines, but this one was small and sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for the graduating Marines. We will get to attend a graduation in a few weeks and look forward to that.

Friday, we decided to take a day off while the weather was nice. We went to Mission Bay, walked the boardwalk and stopped for dinner at a brewery for some yummy nachos. We were probably the only ones there drinking water and Mexican Coke.

The best part of the week was today at church. We attended the Paradise Hills Ward, where the bishop had asked us to speak. As we were waiting for the meeting to begin, we watched the people come in. It was beautiful watching all races and ages, families and single souls, church members and investigators come into the chapel. The missionaries were there sitting behind a glass window translating from English to different languages. The closing prayer was given in a language I didn't recognize, yet, we all felt the same spirit. It was wonderful!

We still go to bed exhausted at night and in a bit of a brain fog, but we are understanding the roads and responsibilities better every day. It is a blessing to be here!!


Flag raising at MCRD

Paradise Hills Chapel
Sunset at Mission Bay



Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Can it get any crazier?

Things have not slowed down for us here. We keep waiting for a day to catch up on reading, resting and writing, but it is not to be.  We are still trying to get some contacts with folks. For some reason we cannot get LDS tools to download the information for the stake that we need. We have talked to SLC and mission office and mission president. Blah, blah, blah. So, we have gone the old fashioned route. We have tried to make appointments with bishops and stake presidents and been successful at getting appointments with a few. We've got a few lists now and have tried to contact some of the military families.

As we are trying to get settled and organized, the most experienced MRM's here had an emergency with the sister's back and had to leave the mission to go home for surgery. There are now only three couples here covering 9 military installations and 9 stakes where military members live off base. One couple covers the Marine Corps Recruit Depot single handedly. That leaves us and one other couple who came into the mission with us to cover the rest. President Stubbs asked if we would be the MRM coordinators. Talk about the blind leading the blind. We don't know north from south or up from down, but will try to figure things out and still be able to go out and touch some lives.

We had a chance to go to the temple this week. Wow! The San Diego Temple is amazing! It is like walking into heaven. (Warning: the cafeteria has lousy pizza, but delicious tapioca and coconut cream pie)

There was a multi stake fireside the other night for potential Senior Missionaries. We met some really great people there who gave us some useful tips. The church NEEDS Senior Missionaries badly. so plan ahead everyone.

And lastly, we had an incredible rain storm yesterday. Remember the old song..."it never rains in California...it pours, man it pours"


West half of the mission

Blue skies for a few days


Sunday, January 27, 2019

Settling In

We are still trying to figure out just what it is we should be doing. Everyone tells us..."this is your mission." So we've been making lots of phone calls to stake presidents, bishops, and chaplains. We need to get some ward directories so we can identify the military members and contact them. We went to our "home ward" today. The meeting REALLY made me miss our ward choir (if you catch my drift!)

We had our first few official missionary experiences as well. The guy who hooked up our internet left with a Book of Mormon https://www.mormon.org/free-book-of-mormon, and Mike, er, Elder Johnson got to teach a lesson to a few Marines.

Our balcony view
We have enjoyed getting out in the sunshine each day. We have our own little balcony off of our apartment. You can see that we are living luxuriously. It causes just a smidge of guilt...
Admiral Baker military golf course just beyond the swimming pool







Saturday, January 26, 2019

Cruisin' California


We are constantly trying to get our bearings and have found that our most difficult moments are when we are on the road. Between Siri, Waze, and Google maps we eventually get where we're going. Traffic is horrendous! We found the chapel that is to be our home ward, it is an old Spanish style building. We are finding that it is a good idea to scout out places for accessibility for Mike. That will be a constant challenge.
San Diego 6th Ward Chapel
We had a very nice peaceful stop at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. It is over 70 acres with over 100,000 graves of service men and women. It was a beautiful place, that makes one so grateful for those who have given so much for our country.

Rosecrans National Cemetery