Saturday, December 27, 2014

Mission Christmas Devotional

On December 23, President and Sister Felix celebrated Christmas with the missionaries.  They divided the area into north and south regions and had a lunch and music with each group of missionaries.

One activity they did for the missionaries was to have the words "I am a child of God" on the wall.  Underneath the wall was a baby picture of all the missionaries.  They had a great time trying to figure out who each baby picture belonged to.  It looks like everyone had a wonderful time.  Thank you President and Sister Felix for making Christmas special and fun for Elder Ruby and all the other missionaries away from home.

They must have done a little talent show also, as Hermana Hurley tied balloon crowns for both Pres. and Sister Felix.


Just before Christmas Hyrum wrote:

Boy, has this past week been a roller coaster!

This first week of "white-washing" in Santa Maria started out a bit rough.  I was sooooo stressed!  It had nothing to do with my companion.  He is amazing.  I had to totally rely on Heavenly Father to help me.  The notes that were left (by the previous missionaries) didn't give us too much information, so we just had to do our best.  We are getting more familiar with the streets and names now.  The ward is fantastic.  The bishop is missionary minded.  Our ward missionary leader is invested in us.  We are doing well and praying that we find new investigators.

My new companion, Elder Campbell, is amazing.  He is so humble, soooo ambitious, enthusiastic, and so bold.  He wants to work hard.  He is adjusting well.  Elder Campbell is focused and he studies well. He watches what I do.  He told me the other day that he noticed my prayers are really sincere and so he has begun to be more sincere when he prays.  We balance each other out and are accountable to each other.   Elder Campbell loves to talk, so sometimes the lessons/conversations with others get carried away, but I am just pleased with his excitement for being a missionary.  He is AWESOME. :)  I often think that I don't know if I could have done this without him.

Wednesday was a trial for me. I was stressed out of my mind!  I felt so hopeless, helpless, uninformed, and alone.  I felt so much pressure and responsibility as a trainer, and unsure of what to do and where to start.  I didn't want to do the wrong thing.  I felt like I needed to be perfect for Elder Campbell, and that I would be setting a bad example if things didn't go as I expected them to go.  Of course, none of that helplessness, hopelessness, or feelings of worry were coming from God.  As I knelt crying, the words came to me, "I am confident that you will do the right thing!"  That was when I knew all of this was going to be okay.  I didn't feel bad like I did before.  It was like a burden was taken from my back and a wall was taken from my mind.  I know this was the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  I know He lives and knows me!  I know this is His work, not mine.  And I know that He wants to help us and loves us.

We did 3 1/2 hours of service this week.  We helped a less active member do his yard work and also helped another less active lady organize.

Good Bye Paso Robles

Here are some pictures Elder Ruby sent us from his last few days in Paso Robles.
Gale and her husband, "Santa"
Gale's lighted Christmas village

Advent calendar Lily and Mom made Hyrum
Members who Hyrum enjoyed visiting with about the doctrines of the church 
Elder Walker, Brother Vogel (Ward Mission Leader) and Elder Ruby
Elder Ruby stayed in these members' downstairs apartment

Friday, December 19, 2014

Santa Maria Here I Come!

Here is Hyrum's letter after the notification of being transferred:

You will never guess what my new assignment is.  I am white-wash training in Santa Maria!!!  I am sooooo nervous.  So, not only did I just get done being trained, I am leaving Paso and going to Santa Maria for the holidays while training a brand new missionary who hasn't even arrived from the MTC yet!  We are starting from scratch, and I am training!  AHHHHHHH:)  Don't get me wrong, I am really excited, just nervous and stressed.

So, three weeks ago, I felt like I would really like to train.  I felt like I was qualified enough, I felt like I knew what I was doing and felt confident what I would be just what the new missionaries needed.  How proud and selfish that was.  As the last three weeks of the transfer progressed, I considered the two hundred some missionaries and knew that  there were sooooooo many more experienced, "deserving", solid missionaries than me.  I began to honestly consider how silly of me to think that I would train and be qualified for such a thing.  I realized the incredible amount of trust that President Felix and Heavenly Father have in trainers.  By last week I was convinced that training is not something I was ready for.  When I received the call on Friday, and learned my new assignment, I was almost terrified!  I remember a quote that I had thought of earlier in the transfer "Whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies."  That gave a little comfort.  On Saturday I learned that not only will I be training, I am "white-washing" into Santa Maria.  I am soooo nervous.  I prayed hard.  I know that this assignment is something that I need.  I trust that it came from God.  I look forward to fulfilling this assignment, but do so with a humble heart and trust in God.  I don't know what to expect, but I know that Heavenly Father is (and will be) with me as I do my best to train and help in the Vineyard.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Happy19th Birthday, Elder Ruby

Hyrum's 19th birthday was December 7.  Our family went to my mom's that day for a little visit.  We sang "Happy Birthday" to Hyrum in her living room.  I'm pretty sure he didn't hear us, but we wanted to celebrate anyway.

Thanksgiving was good.  We ate a late lunch with a recent convert, single sister outside her home on the porch.  She talked our ears off, but she is pretty lonely and our visit meant a lot to her.  She fed us some Spanish rice, chicken, stuffing and a marshmallow/sour cream/pineapple/whipped cream salad.

Then we walked to our next appointment, which was dinner at the Tongan family's home.  They are the grandparents of the little boy who roasted the pig for his birthday.   We weren't sure what to expect for them to feed us because they are Tongan, but they fed us a traditional turkey feast.  The stuffing was a bit more sweet than usual, and they also had some sweet potatoes (not yams) and pumpkin pie after.  I'm not a fan of pumpkin pie, but I ate it anyway:)  They are a less-active family and asked if they could take the missionary lessons again.  We are happy to do that:)

Thank you for the package!  I loved it.  I am always amazed with how God works.  I had been wanting cranberries and had been running out of food in my cupboards.  I didn't ask for a package or anything.  God new my desires and prompted you to send the package.  I already made those pudding pies.  Yum!  Thank you for that idea.  I sent Hyrum a" Thanksgiving Feast package".  I don't remember exactly what I put in it, but there was instant mashed potatoes, gravy package, mini graham cracker pie crusts, chocolate pudding, can of cranberry jelly, and homemade jerky.  Lily made Hyrum and "Elder Ruby out of a toilet paper roll, felt, and a bouncy ball and sent it to him also.

Hyrum loved it!

The day after Thanksgiving half the town had their Christmas lights up! Yep.  Christmas is a big deal out here too.  No snow, but still Christmas cheer.  One family started decorating shortly after Halloween!

Elder Walker is AWESOME.  He always has something new he wants to share with me/teach me.  He strives to serve the Lord through his obedience.  He is very good at complimenting others and having good things to say.  He and I balance each other out very well.  When I am feeling a bit impatient with someone or a situation, he is usually very patient, and vice versa.

One way I am trying to become a better missionary is by reading a column in the Book of Mormon for every time I make a sarcastic comment or pick my fingernails.  Boy has this helped!  The first ay I counted 20 "mess-ups"!  Yes there went 20 columns.  The next day I cut it down to 9.  Now I am at 3! Amazing.  The Book of Mormon has more converting/consecrating power than I thought.

I love you guys.  Keep shining the light and coming unto Christ.

Service is so fun!  Take a close look.  He is caught in mid-air!

Hyrum has a necklace of candy made for all the missionaries that had a birthday from September - December from President and Sister Felix

First Transfer!

Before I write from Hyrum's last letter, I need to let everyone know that he was transferred this past Tues.  So he has a new address.  Please email/call me for his new address (  He is now in Santa Maria.  He will be a "trainer" and his new companion is brand new out of the MTC this week.  When they take out the old missionaries and put in two new ones that have never been there before, the missionaries call that "white-wash".  

I'm sorry for not writing much lately.  I blame it on the Christmas season.  I'm having a hard time "keeping my head above water".  I know lots of people feel the same way, but the blog hasn't gotten the attention it deserves lately.  I'll try to make up for it today:)

Here is Hyrum's letter before he knew he was getting transferred:

Elder Walker has been talking me up in his letters to President Felix.  At first, I really thought training sounded like something I wanted and felt qualified for.  Slowly, that pride has wore off and I feel inadequate about training.  I don't know all the rules really well yet.  There are just little rules that Elder Walker reminds me of.  Being assigned to train is a great expression of trust from President Felix and God.  However, whenever I start to think of my inadequacies in training, the thought comes to me "Whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies" (President Thomas S. Monson).  I do admit that I need a bit of a change to grow more, but we will soon see what God thinks.

One of the assistants to the President (a missionary) came to spend Tuesday night and Wednesday with Elder Walker and I.  His name is Elder Lee ("Elderly" haha).  Elder Lee is awesome!  He was so humble and taught by example.  When people would say they had talked with missionaries before, or they knew what Mormons were all about, Elder Lee would invite them to pray to know if what they (the missionaries) had taught was true.  He would invite people to come to church off the street!  I don't know why I hadn't thought of that before.

We did a "power hour" with Elder Lee.  We all pointed to one house at the very beginning.  The person who answered the door was probably 17 and he stepped out of his house and closed the door behind him.  His name is DJ, but he reminds me of Matt S.  DJ plays all the "popular sports", but he really likes art.  He took a Restoration pamphlet and said he would read and pray about it.  He thought he would do that by that evening!  We have an appointment with him tomorrow (Tues), so I hope it goes well.  At the end of the "power hour", we said "one more door".  The girl who opened it is a freshman.  Her name was Hanna.  We gave her a Book of Mormon and she said she'd read it.  We have an appointment with her on Thursday.  Hmmmm. What do you know?  Two new investigators in one "power hour" and one of them looks like my best friend, Matt, and the other is named Hanna!  Coincidence??

Elder Lee told Elder Walker and I who he had imagined us to be as he had spent the day with us.  He told me that I would have a "deep and wide" impact on the missionaries in the mission.  "Deep", he said, "as in a lasting, loving impression on each individual missionary", and "wide", he said, "as in many missionaries throughout the mission."  That meant a lot to me.  He said that I have a quiet confidence that is really genuine, kind and loving.

I am sure learning a lot.  This mission has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me.  I am learning/ experiencing the Atonement.  I am learning more about myself and I am learning how much I don't know!

Thank you for all your prayers.  You know, missionaries are the most prayed for group in the entire world.  We are bound to receive so many blessings, as we do.

Charity - The Pure Love of Christ

On Thanksgiving evening, Elder Walker and I saw a man walking on his way to his parent's home.  He said they had kicked him out.  His name was Ronnie and he was probably in his 50's.  His parents didn't want him to come back, but he had nowhere to sleep and it was a chilly night.  He had no job, no nothing.  He asked if we knew anyone that would take him in for the night.  We told him no.  We didn't know what to do, but we couldn't leave him.  We walked with him towards his parent's home at his pace, which was extremely slow and unstable.  After a few near falls, I gave Elder Walker my shoulder bag and gave Ronnie a piggy-back ride to his home.  The whole time I was thinking of the song "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" and I thought about how Christ ministered unto the homeless and the lowly.  We prayed so hard as we approached the door so that his parents would let him in.  A southern Baptist preacher's wife answered and asked if we were Christians.  We said "yes" and she let him in only because "the Lord keeps bringing him back to her".  That night I learned a lot of what charity feels like.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Power Hour!

Wow! We are already almost through the transfer.   We get calls on the 13th of December. Transfers happen about every 6 weeks.  Not every missionary gets transferred that often, but every missionary wonders whether or not he/she will get that transfer phone call.  I'm ready to start singing Christmas songs,  but my companion refuses until after Thanksgiving.  Some people already have lights put up!  This time of year isn't quite the same without the snow, but I am okay without all the bad weather you have been getting.

So, I have to tell you about the "power hour" thing.  They are so cool!  We first did one Saturday with an active family in our ward.  They have two sons on missions right now.  We explained the "procedure" and said a prayer with the father who couldn't gather all the kids at the moment, but said he would explain it to them (they have 9? kids).  After leaving their home, we said a prayer of our own for miracles that we could report so that the members could see their prayers answered and so that their faith could grow.  The first door we knocked answered and we talked to a girl (15-17 years old) about what she believed.  She said she believed in God, but that was all.  I asked her what she knew about God, if she knew she was a daughter of God.  She didn't know anything.  Her name was Cassie and we have a return appointment for Saturday at 11am!  New investigator!  All but three doors on the family's street answered.  We gave out a bunch of Joy to the World cards.  Joy to the World is a video from our church about the Savior's birth.  It is really good.  Let me know if you want one.  There was one door that told us not to come back (no, the people who answered the door -haha) and never set foot on their property again!  We needed some bitter to appreciate the sweet!  We came back and reported to the family.  They loved it!

After lunch we did the "power hour" again with another family.  They have 7? kids - all boys and one 2 yr old daughter.  (No, not all of the families in the ward are like that.  We just chose the two biggest to do "power hour" with.)  Similar results came from this second "power hour".  This family said they wanted to do it again.

Last Sunday Elder Walker and I were asked to teach the 13-14 year old class durning Sunday School about setting goals and planning because we do it every day.  So we did and had a good discussion with them.

Whew!  This week really has been fantastic!  We taught 17 "other" lessons!  (Our usual "other" lessons is close to 8!  "Other" lessons are lessons that are not with a member present or with a less-active member.  This type of lesson basically means that we said a prayer with those people.  They can be on the doorstep, on the street, any where and can be 10 minutes or less.)

I love you.  Remember, all you can do is all you can do.  Do your best and God will do the rest!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Lord's Humor and Thanksgiving With President Felix

This week I tried to be bold and open my mouth so that God could fill it.  I surprised myself, or God surprised me with how he can work through me.

We did two power hours (where we pray with members, proselyte for an hour, and then return and report miracles).  They were something that Elder Walker brought back from MLC and we called them "power hours!"  The members LOVED them and wanted to do it again sometime.  Our numbers skyrocketed during that hour with the specific prayers and faith exercised in our behalf!  Our first door we got a new investigator.  We taught several lessons, gave out a dozen "Joy to the World" (a church video about the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ) cards, and most of all, strengthened everyone (including ourselves and the members).  We also gave a church tour this week.  The person we really wanted to come (and who needed it the most) didn't come because she forgot about it (even though we spoke with her the day before).  But, we plan on trying again this week with her.

Elder Walker is great.  He is super good at being bold and unafraid to speak.  We are getting along just fine.  He has good insight to missionary work and doctrines.  We are doing well.

My testimony of prayer was strengthened.  More specifically for asking for opportunities/experiences for growth.  I'll explain.  I had been feeling like I was not improving.  I knew I needed to be strengthened and I knew that God could do it.  (He has a sense of humor, let me tell you).  Yesterday, I prayed that I would be given an experience that would be tough and stretch me, but that I would come out of it a stronger and more consecrated missionary.  Well, that morning we went with the Ward Mission Leader to pick up one of our investigators.  When we arrived, she was not dressed because she couldn't find her skirt.  Eventually she found it and came to church.  Right before sacrament meeting, she took a handful (not joking) of pills.  She said they were for her seizures and other health problems.  During the meeting she had to use the restroom; put lotion on her hands, arms, and legs; talk to me about what people were wearing; ask for a mint, which I gave her; get a drink; and complain about how fast the speakers were talking.  She humiliated us.  I'm not upset with her.  Just sad that we thought she was progressing and she wasn't.  We will have to change her baptism date:(

Early Thanksgiving Feast in San Luis Obispo

Missionaries in San Louis Obisbo area

Monday, November 24, 2014

Exchanges and Telemarketers

This week has been crazy too.  We just haven't been able to get into a regular routine.  On Wednesday I slept at the Paso 1st Ward Elder's apartment (Elders Elkington and Parkinson) because Elder Walker was invited to MLC (Missionary Leadership Council) in Oxnard that would be all day on Thursday.  I had a good day with those two.  One of the members in the 1st ward asked if we could come help him build 750 foot of fence on his little farm!  I felt right at home.  There were dogs and horses and the house they lived in reminded me of many of the small houses that I'd been to after brandings in Wyoming.

Then on Saturday, I went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders.  I went to SLO (San Louis Obisibo) with Elder Jackson while Elder Walker stayed here with 7'3" Elder Hamson.  (I've always thought that being tall has a lot of advantages, but poor Elder Hamson.  He had a custom bike for his height, he has to duck down to shower, everyone askes how tall he is and it's awkward to give him hugs because my face is at his belly button.  No Joke!) haha  The exchange went well.  The Zone Leaders cover the YSA (Young Single Adult) ward in the college town (the college is Cal Poly)  We saw a lot younger faces than I am used to in Paso.  It was good.  A recent convert named Isabell had gone to the temple that day for the first time to do baptisms for the dead.  She loved it!  We had a lesson with her and talked about the temple and then patriarchial blessings.  We helped her understand what a patriarchial blessing was and she is excited to get hers.  She told us that she can't understand how she got through life without the gospel before.  She is awesome, solid.  So, the exchange went well.  

The experience I wrote about crossing the street was pretty funny.  I was almost sarcastic about meeting someone, but God was going to teach us a lesson.  I had to laugh and be in awe at God's myserious ways.

The two investigators that we had baptism dates for (Tiana and Teresa) are not going to happen on those dates :(  Tiana (who we are teaching with her dad) isn't making her date because of her dad's work schedule.  The next day we could meet with them is the 22nd, so we will just have to wait.  Maybe her baptism could be my birthday present? Hyrum's birthday is December 7th.  Teresa still has the shingles (or so she claims) and has not been able to attend church.  We are still trying to recognize and address her real concern.  She has met with missionaries for two years and has never gotten baptized.  We are working on finding that need and getting her to church.

Elder Walker and I are getting along fine.  We are both waiting for everything to get back to normal (schedule-wise) so that we can really focus on Paso Robles 2nd Ward.  The members are good.  I love coming to church and going to their homes for dinner.  

The weather sounds crazy! It's so nice here.  Sometime I might need some gloves so that I don't shake people's hands with a cold hand.

Oh! Just now we got a call by someone in Florida that told us we were randomly selected to get $800,000 and we didn't need to pay taxes on it!  Woohoo!  Guess what I said?  I said, "You know, we have something more valuable than that and that is the Book Of Mormon.  Have you heard of the Book of Mormon?"  He hung up, but I felt pretty good about it, and I didn't have to hang up on the guy.  Score! :) haha

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Obedience, Missionary Lingo and City Nicknames

From an email this week:  Our investigators have not been coming to church, but with the MLC (Missionary Leadership Council) report on that subject, we are making a change in our approach and are confident that we will be getting investigators to church!  We have had to postpone the dates for their baptisms due to work schedule and illness, but we are getting there.  Elder Walker and I continue to be persistent and are not giving up on anyone!  By the way, I loved Thursday when I got to serve with the Paso 1st Elders while Elder Walker was at the MLC.  We did a lot of service that day at a farm that made me feel right at home building fence.

Elder Walker and I are getting along.  We plan our days very well.  We do our best to be exactly obedient.  We get up at 6:15am and are exercising at 6:30.  We do our  best to make appointments last no longer than an hour, but sometimes that is hard with members and people who have a lot to say.  I admire Elder Walker's ability to recite scripture and say good things when we talk to people.  We do a good job of balancing each other out when speaking to people on the street and in lessons.

Something that strengthened my testimony of obedience to the laws of the land this week was when I was on exchanges with Elder Jackson in SLO (San Louis Obisbo).  We thought about crossing the street to get to where we needed to go, but it was not at a crosswalk.  I told Elder Jackson, almost grudgingly, that we needed to follow the laws of the land and use the stoplight because there will be someone that we need to see and we wouldn't run into them if we crossed right then.  About ten steps later, we saw a man who we had tried to contact earlier (Jonathan) who is making some big changes in his life and could really use the missionaries.  That was a testimony to me of receiving blessings because of obedience to the laws of the land.

We got 5 hours of service in our area this week.

On a P-Day the district went to a Catholic Mission.  One of Elder Parkinson's and Elder Newmyer's investigators took us on a tour and answered questions about the mission and the Catholic beliefs.

Here is a picture of a sandwich I made for lunch.  It was ginormous!
I am getting fed about 5 times a week now and that is just the right balance.  Sometimes it's nice to just be free and make my own dinner.  My cupboards are still pretty full.  It's fantastic.  I have been managing my money and I have a lot on my LDS card.  I am making a list for Christmas and birthday.  Is that bad?  haha

We have a lot of missionary lingo and city nicknames: A-town = Atascadero, AG = Arroyo Grande, Santa Babylon = Santa Barbara, TO = Thousand Oaks.  Kind of funny huh?

Here is a picture of the sunset on our way back from Oxnard (the Nard haha) last week.

This picture is when I was in the tripan (triple companion) with Elders Parkinson and Elkington.  Elder Parkinson and I are on the teeter-totter.

Spiritual Protection

 I hope you are staying warm.  I love to hear things about the family no matter what it is.

This week has been crazy.  We haven't had a lot of time to proselyte.  Monday was P-day (preparation day), then Tuesday was exchanges in Ventura (2 1/2 hours away), Wednesday was normal, Thursday we had District Meeting, Friday we had the District Leader Training (DLT) meeting in Oxnard (which took all day) and weekly planning (3 hours) on Saturday with a flat tire.  Busy, busy, busy.

The DLT meeting in Oxnard was really good.  The focus was on becoming a consecrated missionary (consecrated missionary comes from an amazing talk by Tad R. Callister). (I couldn't find the talk Hyrum mentioned, but I found another great talk by Elder D. Todd Christofferson)  A consecrated missionary lays everything he or she has on the sacrificial altar.  Elder Walker and I accepted the challenge to become one.  The assistants to the Mission President (the assistants are other missionaries) actually are going to come up to Paso Robles and go on exchanges with us! It won't be easy (to be a consecrated missionary); that's for sure, but that is what God asks of me and He gives no commandment that I can't obey 1 Nephi 3:7.  So that's my goal.

So, I want to tell you of an experience that happened on a Monday (not this Monday, but a Monday ago).  It was the day before transfers, so the whole district was together behind the church in the church courtyard slack lining (walking on a strap that is tied between two trees).  A creepy guy who was about  5'4'' tall in his 50s/60s came by and was mocking those who were trying to balance.  He had a set of scriptures in his right hand.  The Hermanas (Spanish-speaking sisters) said that they had talked with this man before and he wasn't like this.  The Elders in the district (me included) decided to escort him out.  He was saying some personal/philosophical things that were rhetorical fallacies (thank you Mrs. Blaney) that made everyone uncomfortable.  His name was Steve and he was bipolar.  He would laugh one moment and the next he was in someone's face throwing every bad word in the book.  At one point he claimed to be Joseph Smith's scribe.  We walked him slowly to his white creeper van and he wouldn't get in for the longest time.  We threatened to call the police.  He talked about demons and that tomorrow he would die of the brain tumor he had.  Finally, we got him to go in this car and drive away (very slowly).  I think any one of us Elders were about ready to put our arms to the square and command the evil spirits to leave him and command to leave the church property.  Never did I feel in danger.  I was ready to defend myself and the other Elders, but I was not afraid.  Elder Parkinson said that when Steve got right up in his face that he felt there was an angelic barrier between them.  All is well, but I thought you might want to know.  Maybe your prayer that day helped soften Steve's heart so that he wouldn't hurt us.  Anyway, that is what is new for me.

 Let me know how the Buffalo Elders are doing.  I was happy to hear that they came and did service with you.  Elders are always looking for opportunities to do service.

It's not snowy here, but people are already decorating and listening to Christmasy things.  Don't worry, I'm not homesick yet (or ever).  I love you and pray for you.  Have a good week and may the spirit be with you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hyrum's Help

Last week the missionaries were looking for opportunities for service.  So I asked if they would like to come out to my house and rake leaves and help with my landscaping.  All 4 of them (we have two sets of elders in our area) came out and did a wonderful job.  I also planned on feeding them some lunch in appreciation for their help.

You may not know, but I get very stressed when I have people over to my house for a meal.  It is very difficult for me to do that and not an easy task.  It's probably because I feel my house is never tidy enough for company and I worry about having enough food.  So, as I was frantically making a treat before the missionaries arrived that morning, I splattered brown sugar all over the counter as I was trying to get it out of the package.  It was a big mess and I wanted to cry.  Then I heard Hyrum say in my mind, "It's okay, Mom".  I almost looked around to see if he was there.  I know it was the Holy Ghost comforting me in my time of need.  I smiled and knew my Heavenly Father loved me and that everything was going to be okay.  Spilled sugar isn't the end of the world :)

I am so grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who knows each of us personally and who cares about the things we care about.  Jesus Christ is our Savior and He has not left us comfortless.  The Holy Ghost is there to lead us to truth, answer our prayers, comfort our hearts, protect us and help us to return to live with God.  My experience that day was a tender mercy of the Lord.

Psalms 145:9 "The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works."

Monday, November 10, 2014

Doing Good!

Thank you for all the wonderful packages lately.  My cupboards are almost full and my candy drawer is overflowing!  The Morris family sent a really fun package.  It was  a "greenie" package.  It was taped up in green paper and everything inside it was green.  I loved it!  I love all mail of any kind!

There are two English speaking wards in Paso and one Spanish Branch.  A "ward" is a geographical area and all the members of the church in that area go to church at the same time.  A "branch" is the same only smaller than a ward.  Elder Peterson and I cover the 2nd Ward and Elder Newmyer and Elder Parkinson (who was in the same zone at the MTC with me) cover the 1st Ward.  We don't go on splits with anyone.   Splits are when the missionaries split up and take a member of the ward with them to appointments.  That way they can cover two appointments that might happen to be at the same time.  We don't have enough appointments to invite members to go with us.  We do a lot of finding.  We do have a lesson planned with a family for Thurs at 4:30pm. There was a youth that asked for 2 Books of Mormon for some friends who had talked to him about the church and wanted to read it.  Nothing has happened there yet.

Right now I am in the process of creating a Restoration puzzle that shows the elements of Christ's church with multiple scriptures to back it up from the New Testament.  Then on the back of the "pieces" are scriptures of these elements in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants showing these things exist in the restored church.  My vision with this is to go to member's homes and share this with them.  It should strengthen their faith in the restoration, give them confidence in the missionaries, and get them excited to share the gospel.  We'll see.

I had an interview with President Felix.  It went well.  He just wanted to know how we are doing.  We had our interviews when we saw Meet the Mormons movie.

Elder Peterson and I have given sooooo many blessings in the last 2 weeks.  Seven to be exact.  That is one every other day!  Five of them were for healing!  Also, I counted six different times when we moved someone this transfer.  It's all good stuff.  I need a break from trying doors and walking the streets.

Nothing much new, but by the time you get this letter, I will be with my follow-up trainer.  I was just getting to know Elder Peterson :(  This transfer will be good though because I am the one who knows the area the best.  I can take the lead more confidently.  I'll let you know more about Elder Walker soon.

Let me know what's rockin' in Buffalo.  I love you all!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Big Transfer!

The transfer this week was really big.  About 2/3 of the missionaries in the mission were being transferred.  Check out the California Ventura Mission blog for pictures of what a transfer looks like and the beautiful place Hyrum is in.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find Elder Ruby in any of the pictures. Super cute sister missionaries though :)

New Trainer

Sorry for the delay of this post.  When I finally got time to post Elder Ruby's letter, our internet was down at the tower.  Then, when it finally got going, Blogger had lots of trouble.  No one using that application could access their dashboard.  So, finally, this morning everything was going really good.  I hope you enjoy the pictures and letter.

We have been given a bunch of blessings to members in the ward and moving a lot of people.  Halloween went well.  We lost contact with one of our investigators because their phone got dropped in the toilet and their car got impounded.  We did stop by and made an appointment for this week on Thursday, so that is good.

Elder Peterson will be transferred to Simi Valley.  (Transfers were on Tuesday).  I am sad to see him
leave, but I look forward to a new trainer.  I have 6 more weeks of training.  I know the area, so I can take the lead in planning better.

Here is a picture of Elder Parkinson (who came out with me as a new missionary) and his trainer Elder Newmyer.  We just wanted a picture at our district meeting on Friday because we had a feeling that some of the district would be leaving. We are losing exactly half of the district members. :(

Elder Peterson, Hermana Brown, Hermana Costilla and Me
This icture also includes Hermana Jeronimo and Hermana Player with Dallin (an amazing kid who always bears his testimony) and his brother, Levi.

Here is how transfers go:  We will head to Ventura at 6am (or earlier).  It will take 3-3 1/2 hours to get there.  Transfer meeting is at 10am.  I guess I will find my new companion there.  The new missionaries will come in and be assigned trainers and the missionaries leaving will give their "dying" testimony.  Then we drive all the way beach up to Paso and get to proselyting (and we go shopping for the new companion).

So far, I am still on a bike 24/7.  I like it though.  I have sooooooooooooo much candy.  Even though I bike every day and work out in the morning, I still don't eat too much.  I am doing well.

We thought about buying super hero t-shirts and wearing them underneath our white shirts for the Halloween party, but we also didn't want to seem immature, so we just went as missionaries.

I learned this week to be myself.  I need to love people as I love myself.  Love doesn't always mean tolerate all behavior.  It means that I say things and invite others to do things for their benefit.  I am pretty hard on myself, and take it too easy on others.  That is something that I learned that I need and have seen the fruits of my doing so this past week.  I have grown closer to all those that I have been a bit more bold with and we both have grown closer to God because of it.

We got 9 hours of service this week.  We spent it at the Food Bank, moving people and setting up and taking down at the Halloween party.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Baptism Dates!

Excerpts from Elder Ruby's letter to President Felix, his Mission President: 

We have two people on for baptism dates!  Much of our success lately has been with part member families, so we have made them a priority. The district exchange we had this past week was really good for me.  I got to see what it was like to do missionary work with someone different.  Not bad, just different.  I am really growing and loving the people.

One art project I started this week (I haven't finished the Plan of Salvation thing yet) is a Restoration Puzzle.  It will have all the pieces that Christ had in his Church and scriptures to go along with it. We will teach the apostasy and restoration with it. We will share scriptures from the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants that show all these things have been restored.  I think it will be really effective at dinner lessons to help the members gain confidence in us and an excitement for missionary work and the restored gospel.

I got in 5 hours of service this week.  We do our best to ask people (members, people on the street, at the doorstep) if they need service or know of any one who needs it.  There has not been much success in getting ideas for service, but we are working on it.

I did workouts 6 days this week.

From an email to us:

I am doing fine. Food has been a lot better this week. All I need to buy at the store today is a box of cereal!

Elder Peterson and I were invited to a 1 year old's birthday.  He is the son of Matt and Isalei F. and the little brother of Tiana. (who we just set with a date for Nov 21st!).

Matt is a non-member and Isalei is not active.  She is Tongan and the first birthday in their culture is a big deal. 

They roasted a huge pig and cooked three tri-tips ( I've had a lot of that lately) some chicken, and ribs.  They sent us home with probably 10 lbs of food.!

 Matt F. and Elder Peterson can't wait to dive in.  Just look at that pork!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Great Week!

On Saturday we decided to lock our bikes at the library on 12th Street and walk to an investigator's place to either teach a lesson or set up an appointment for a lesson another day.  We got out our pamphlets and Book of Mormon copies and started to walk and talk to people.  We met some Born Again Christians and talked to them about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Our investigator said she was about to get in the shower.  (Some of the excuses people have: they never run out of them and I haven't heard the same one yet.  These people are creative!)

We kept walking to another potential investigator.  On our way, this guy in the lane across the street pulled us over and asked for some help connecting/replacing a computer.  Michael was his name and he has Mormon relations.  He knew we would help him because "Mormons always get the job done".  We helped him out and then he fed us.  We had a good conversation with him and he invited us back for any time!

After Michael, we kept walking :) (it was working for us).  We met Jose, who was sanding a 1971 GMC pick-up that looked just like Pepe'.  Pepe' is one of our ranch trucks that we think looks cool, but he's definitely a "gas-guzzler", so he doesn't get out much.  Another lady pulled us over and talked about her Mormon family.  Finally, we got back to our bikes and headed to another investigator's house.  On the way we were stopped by a guy named Greg R.  We talked for probably 15 minutes and gave him a Plan of Salvation pamphlet.  He was fine with us coming back another time.  All day people were honking and waving at us.   Amazing "finding" day!  I had prayed that morning that we would be answers to other people's prayers and that others would be led to us.  My prayer was answered for sure.

Here are excerpts from Hyrum's messages to Haven, Rowen and Lily:

How are you, Haven?  How's my Blue Magoo?  Blue Magoo is their (well Haven's) car.  Are you hanging out with anyone new?  Any boys. . . ? :)  I have to approve of any dates you go on, so plan them a couple of weeks in advance and send me his info and driving record :)  haha  I just got done with a game called sit-down.  It's like dodgeball only every man for himself and you get back in by hitting someone from where you got out or if the person who got you out gets out.  It's pretty fun.  You'd like it.  I love you, Haven.  Be an example to the school.  They need one:)

Great work Rowen!  I love to hear that you stand firm and you do your best to help your friends choose the right (Read Romans 1:16)  Rowen stood up to some friends that said that he wasn't a Christian.  We are definitely Christian and believe that Christ is our Savior.  My companion is a Dallas Cowboys fan.  He was a really good running back in high school.  He got scholarships to play at a D1 school for college.  Elder Peterson is sooooo much like you!  He listens to the same song over and over, tells stories (I mean acts them out with sound effects like Rowen), does things because he wants to, stands up for what is right, and loves to hit!  You keep it up. :)  Love you

Lily, are you taking care of the family for me?  I miss holding your hand and playing games with you.  How is Mrs. Cox?  How are the cousins?  You sound like you have been a good helper for mom.  What are you going to be for Halloween?  I love you and I love getting your pictures and letters.  Love, Big Bro

Monday, October 27, 2014

How to Comment on the Blog

I have had many people ask me how to leave a comment on the blog.  I'm sorry I can't remember all the individuals who have asked me over the past few weeks, so I thought I would post it here.  

First, click on "no comment".  Then you can type a message.  Before you "publish" the comment, you have to "select  profile".  In that drop down menu choose "name/url" or "Google plus" if you have a Google account.  (Even if you have a google account, you don't have to choose it.  You can still choose "name")  Under "name" type your name (first name is fine) and you can leave the "url" blank.  Then click the blue "publish" button.

That will send me an email with your comment.  Then I go into the blog and can choose to put it on the blog or not.  Of course I will publish all comments from our friends and family.  This feature protects me from people posting negative comments.   After it is posted by me, everyone can see your comment. 

I hope this helps you to understand how to leave a comment if you choose to.  I hope you enjoy Hyrum's next post!

Testimony and Service

 I have been studying the plan of salvation this past week. I have a bit of a talent in art, and so I am creating a three section visual for where we came from, why we are here, and where we go after we die. I have really liked the study and have gained a testimony of the inspired nature of Preach My Gospel.

Service: We got in 8 hours of service this week. I think we would have done more, but a lady who we had planned service for got sick, so she wasn't up for the project that day. I love service and I love to serve Elder Peterson. It helps the relationship strengthen and invites the spirit.  We try to get 10 hours of service each week.  We go to the food bank and put orders in plastic bags.  Sometimes we get to take some food home!  We have worked at a winery, and at members' homes doing yard work, moving people, sanding walls, and planting.  I love service!

We got 6 1/2  hours of service last week.  We actually worked in a vineyard for an hour and a half.  I thought it interesting that we were working in an investigator's vineyard while also being servants in the Lord's vineyard!  We look for every opportunity to serve and love to do so!

If anyone ever needs help with yard work, moving, doing stuff around your home, get in touch with the missionaries.  They are always looking for opportunities to serve.  They love to serve!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Some Interesting Things and Observations

So, I don't' feel like my letters have been very specific or descriptive of the area, how I am and the people we are teaching.  I'll try to do better with this letter.

Some interesting things and what I have noticed:

1.  I have had several people (men and women) say that my handshake is too hard :)  oops!  I have dialed it down.  I just shook hands like I do in Buffalo, but I guess these people are a bit softer than I'm used to :)

2.   Despite what you may think, it is the older guys (50s) who do most of the surfing.  Crazy right?  But they love it.

3.  This past week Elder Peterson and I have been biking in 100 (95-105) degree weather.  We are always taken care of though.  People we visit will offer us a bottle of water and we gladly take it.  "Consider the missionaries in the field, how they grow" D&C 84:81-85)

4.  Zone Leaders go on exchanges with all the new missionaries.  Elder Atkin, one of the Zone Leaders, came to Paso, while Elder Peterson left to San Louis Obispo (SLO) for a day.  I lead the planning and the teaching with Elder Atkin.  He taught me a lot.  It was funny watching him ride a bike because he is used to being in a truck.  We taught some good lessons on the street.

5.  We don't have very many lessons a week (maybe 4) that are planned/set-up.  We spend a lot of our time finding people to teach by knocking on the doors of potential investigators, less-actives, and part-member families.  When they answer the door (more like "if" they answer), then we share a message and try to set-up a formal lesson.

6.  We call Less-Active/Recent Convert lessons LARCs.

7.  Each week we keep track of the declarations we make.  A declaration is when we testify of a gospel principle and invite someone to do something.  This usually happens on the street when we hand out pass-along cards or cards and invite them to visit the website.  Feel free to visit the website!

8.  Elder Peterson and I have killed 3 HUGE black widow spiders since I've been here.  They were not in our apartment (thank goodness), but they were big and creepy.  Apparently, there are also tarantulas, but I have yet to see one.

9.  I'm not homesick, but I still love you :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

"Official" Missionary Photo

I have tried and tried to add Hyrum's new photo with his missionary tag on to the permanent side of the blog, but I think the blog doesn't like the size of the file.  I'm not able to upload it there, so here is the picture he took at the MTC with his Elder Ruby name tag.  He is so handsome!

My Apartment and New Bike

Here are a few pictures of my apartment and my new bike.  I got a great deal.  I bought a 2014 model of a Giant brand bike for $350!  It works great and came with a good warranty.  They guy at the bike shop used to live in Washington and gets bikes for elders all the time, so he knows his stuff.

The plaque on his bed says, "Don't count the days.  Make the days count."  

Thank you Bison X-Country for the blanket at last year's banquet.  

Map of Paso Robles

I asked Elder Ruby to put himself in the pictures next time :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


I had a dream last week that Hyrum came home for a while from his mission (then our family got kidnapped.  Blaine asked if it's still called "kidnapped" if we are adults?? But that was just a part of my silly dream.)  When I hugged Hyrum in my dream, he was very thin. He hadn't been fed very many meals by the members of his ward.  I woke up worrying about him and wondering why I dreamt that.  So I asked Elder Ruby if he had been getting very many meals.  

Elder Ruby:  Your dreams are interesting, mom. I am not getting fed very much.  We have plenty of food at the apartment and plenty of money to buy food with, but I would love snacks or any type of food or candy (not gum. I can't have it because it is rude to chew it while talking).  We get fed about three times a week. 

I would encourage any one to please feed the missionaries.  You don't have to be a member of our church to offer a meal, lunch, dinner, snack, drink to a missionary.  Remember they are young men and women far from home and their mothers are praying for their safety and for them to not go hungry:)  Feeding my children is a big way I show my love to my family.  And when I can't feed Elder Ruby, I hope someone else will show him love and kindness.  FYI: If you have the missionaries in your home, they will likely share a wonderful, spiritual message before they leave.  It's worth it!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Working in the Lord's Vineyard

We got 6 1/2 hours of service this week.  We actually worked in a vineyard for an hour and a half.  I thought it interesting that we were working in an investigator's vineyard while also being servants in the Lord's vineyard!  We look for every opportunity to serve and love to do so!

General Conference was great.  The Holy Ghost witnessed again to me of the Savior's earthly ministry and Atonement.  I learned to humble myself more.  I also liked the comment from Tad R. Callister about praying every day about the decision of who to marry and that I don't make the wrong choice.  I have started to do that every day now. :) To read/view Elder Tad R. Callister's talk go to: The Prime Gospel Teachers of Their Children

Elder Peterson is training me well.  I have been trying to jump into lessons more often and when declaring.

We did see a miracle this past Tuesday/Wednesday.  We were biking around and didn't really know where to go.  We were in an apartment complex and saw a guy who we had seen come to church in street clothes and who we had seen another time earlier that week.  We walked over to him to ask if he was a member.  He was, and he takes part of his lunch break from Walmart to come to sacrament meeting!  He has a girlfriend/fiancĂ© who came out while we were talking to him who told us she wants to be baptized!  She asked what is the main difference between our church and other religions.  We told her that we believe in living prophets today, that President Thomas S. Monson is like a modern-day Moses and receives revelation from God to govern God's work on the earth.  We gave her a Book of Mormon and set up an appointment for this Tuesday!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Week 3 of My Mission

I'm sorry that I didn't have much time to email.  We email at the library and have to make hour reservations.  I read through all your emails and only had a few minutes to write you and President Felix.  Also, I can only write letters on Mondays.  Weird, right?  Oh well.

President Felix is really nice and so is his wife.  He puts a lot of thought into companionships and other decisions.  He is all about obedience! Which is great.  We have a great mission of obedient missionaries.  Our motto is "In the Great California Ventura Mission we are:

  1. Preach My Gospel Missionaries
  2. We baptize
  3. We obey with exactness
  4. We seek to be trusted more than loved
  5. We teach with power and authority".  
I love this motto.

My companion is about 5'10", 200 lbs and blonde hair.  President Felix told me last Tuesday (when I first got assigned Elder Skyler Peterson) that we would be dynamic.  President knew our differences and has faith that we will be "unstoppable" :).  We do have some things in common.  We both like things tidy.  We both like to have heart-to-hearts.  We can cook, we use the same deodorant, we know the doctrine, we love the people, we like to exercise, we are obedient to the mission rules.

We get fed about as much, maybe a little more, than the Elders in Buffalo do.  I was surprised.  I thought we would get fed more.  There are not very many people who come to church.  Probably 100 members or less at Sacrament meeting.  God is taking care of us though.  Our first night we didn't have dinner planned.  As we were walking to the store, one of the members was eating dinner and invited us in to eat with them.  They had made extra...hmm.  We ate well and they had the best grapes I have ever eaten before!!!  Yum.  Then they gave us a ride to where we needed to go.

We have a really big area!  We probably get 20 or more miles a day on our bikes.  There are some pretty big hills too.  I feel safe though.  Normally the neighborhoods we go to would feel a little uncomfortable, and the traffic is just close, but I have never been afraid or nervous.  I feel protected.  Thank you for your prayers.  The people have lots of problems, mental, financial, social, you name it, but the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Atonement can solve all those problems!

Monday, October 6, 2014

California Ventura Mission Statistics

From :
We thought you may be interested in the number of missionaries in the mission.
243 missionaries
152 elders
91 sisters
of that, there are
118 English speaking elders 
(2 are visa waiters going to Taiwan)
34 Spanish speaking elders
52 English speaking sisters
39 Hermanas
170 English speaking missionaries
73 Spanish speaking missionaries

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Paso Robles, CA

I am in Paso Robles.  My new companion is Elder Peterson.  He only has 18 weeks left on his mission.  
We are on bikes! No car. I borrowed another Elder's bike this past week because I didn't know how much you had put on the card. My rear was soooore the first few days! (Blaine made sure Hyrum had enough money to purchase a bike.)

We stay in the basement of some church members.
I love the weather.  It is a little hot some days while on a bike, but usually really pleasant. 
I'm not quite sure what to think about the people yet.  I love them, but they have lots of problems! haha
My companion is lots of fun.  He likes to boat, play football, choreograph dances, and play basketball.
Here is a picture of my companion and I, and our most recent member: Gale, who got baptized this Saturday!   Our numbers (at church) are very close to what they are like in Buffalo. 

Love you. Got to go. The computer is going to boot me out. Have fun. Listen to the spirit.

Ventura, CA

I just arrived in Ventura yesterday (Monday, Sept 22, 2014).  The mission president and his wife are really nice.  I love the weather! There are palm trees every where and roses too.  I am having a great time.  I have a bit of a sore throat, but I am doing well.

I was asked that all my mail go to my street address where I live, not the mission home.  (Please email me for his address.  It will change several times during his mission.  I'll let you know when those transfers happen.

I love you and it was so great to talk on the phone with mom.  I wish I could have heard everyone.

Love, Elder Hyrum Ruby

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Mission Arrival

Hyrum's mission has a blog  Many pictures of the missionaries' arrival were posted.  Here are the pictures of Elder Ruby.

 Elder Ruby arrived at the airport at 11:55am with 9 other missionaries.

 Elder Ruby with travel companions and his missionary tag :)  The tall one is Elder Dorius - his companion in the MTC.

 Elder and Sister McIntosh had picked up lunch for the new arrivals.  They were waiting at the picnic area for them.  Looks like the ocean in the background and a beautiful day!

Let's play a game: Where's Elder Ruby??

The Mission President, President Felix, gave them an experience to remember.  He talked to them about commitment and having "both feet in".

Each missionary commits by jumping off the step, having "both feet in".

Hyrum never goes anywhere without his bag :)

Look how beautiful it is there!!  What a great day!

Before going to the mission home for dinner, they met Sister Training Leaders and Zone Leaders (other missionaries who have been in the field longer) at the Ventura Stake Center.  Half of the missionaries stayed there to receive more instruction and the other half went proselyting (finding people who want to hear the message of the restored gospel).  Then after and hour, they switched.
They went to the mission home where the Assistants (again, other missionaries) went through the Orientation booklet.  Elder Ruby is watching President Felix give opening remarks.

The missionaries were so tired.  Elder Ruby got up at 2:45am Monday morning to pack and get to the airport.  The sister missionaries stayed that night at the mission home and the elders stayed with other church members in the area.

The next day they met at the Ventura Stake Center for more orientation and a transfer meeting.  This is when the missionaries got to meet their trainers, Zone and Sister Training Leaders were announced and they got to hear from President Felix and the departing missionaries.  Sister Felix said there was a wonderful spirit at that meeting.  (Trainers are more experienced missionaries who are good leaders, keep the mission rules and "train" the next group of missionaries, so they can be great missionaries too.)

I hope this catches all of you up on Elder Ruby's first day in the mission.  I was so curious to hear what he did his first day.  Now I know.  Thank you Sister Felix for posting these pictures on your blog.   I hope to hear from him soon.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


I love the MTC. Yeah it's tough, and extremely exhausting both mentally and physically, but I love the feeling here. There are so many missionaries who are all going out into the world to preach about Jesus Christ! The unity and spirit I feel here is strong.

Elder Ruby and Elder Dorius with one of their "investigators".
As soon as I got settled in at the MTC, I was assigned a companion.  My companion's name is Elder Justin Dorius and is from Heber City, UT.  His dad is a dentist, his mom likes to workout and raise her kids, he has two 8 yr old twin brothers, and a 16 yr old brother. This guy is now one of my best friends.  He is 6'6", he likes to hike, fish, play basketball, sing, read, and play the piano.  I love listening to him play.  He has a really fantastic talent and can make music up from his head that sounds really good. We get along really well and teach with really great unity.

Elder Ruby and his district with one of his teachers.
Who knew learning to teach would be so challenging! I thought I knew what to say, but I have found that the hardest thing to learn is how to be so personal and observant.  We are told to teach people, not lessons if you know what I mean.  Our goal is not to convince others that we are right and they should hear what we have to say.  In fact, it is almost the opposite.  We are to listen, discern the needs of investigators, and teach them about Christ in a way that helps them come closer to God.  My purpose as a missionary is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through Faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End.
Keep up the good work, everyone.

Elder Hyrum Ruby
By the way, if Mormon Missionaries ever knock on your door, just think it's me knocking and let them in.  They really do have a great message to share whether you want to believe it or not