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