Friday, December 11, 2015

Elder Ruby's 20th Birthday

Elder Ruby's 20th birthday was December 7.  Thanks to wonderful people in his ward, he had a great dinner.  I can't believe that I am 20 years old.  People still guess that I am 18, but that's okay.  I think it's the smile.  The older people get the less they smile? . . .

Happy 20th Birthday, Elder Ruby!

We saw a lot of miracles this past week. One of our returning less-actives invited two friends over for dinner and one of them is interested in coming to church! Also, we received a referral from two of our Elders. We called the number, expecting to talk to Dennis. Instead, a girl named Aliyah answered and she was willing to meet right that moment. We taught her about prophets and a brief overview of the Book of Mormon. She wouldn't take a copy, but she will be meeting with us on Tuesday and she said she would bring a friend!

As I have served with Elder Young, I feel like I have grown in my understanding of the nature of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  Heavenly Father always has his hand stretched out to us. He doesn't want me, or anyone, to feel discouraged, hatred, or despair.  I had been listening to the wrong voices telling me that I failed.  As I have prayed and studied, I feel the Savior's love for me and for others. And though I make mistakes, and may be chastened by the Lord, He will always look upon me with love and hope. I testify that God answers our humble prayers and loves us more than we understand.
Elders Ruby and Young at a training meeting

Thanksgiving Rolls

View from Ventura
This week has been really happy.  So I went on two exchanges this week.   One with Elder Gibb (who I came out on my mission with) and Elder Dorius, my MTC companion!  On our exchange we met with a girl named Shannon and her member friends Kimmy and Justin.  We gave her a church tour.  We finished the tour by singing Nearer, My God, to Thee in the chapel together.  Shannon said that she had heard that song before.  We sounded good too.  Elder Dorius is good at harmonizing, so he did and it was great!  We also helped her recognize the spirit.  Kimmy, her friend, reminded Shannon of a spiritual experience that Shannon had had a year ago, which she shared.  Shannon said that the feeling was overwhelming.  She started to cry.  We pointed out to her that those feelings were the Holy Ghost testifying to her of the truth.  That moment was special for all of us.

MLC went alright.  Well, all that was taught and discussed was great.  I just forgot some papers that I shouldn't have which caused President Felix a little more hastle than needed.  I felt pretty bad, but it's all over now.  MLC was on Laws and Ordinances,  The Family: A Proclamation to the World, and being on FIRE!  Missionaries who are on fire have good attitudes, they are obedient, they have gospel knowledge and they have good work ethic.

Also, last Sunday we had a Stake Conference in Camarrillo.  We are a part of the Camarrillo Stake even though we serve in Ventura.  At this conference I was able to see many of the members from the Camarrillo 6th Ward, where I had served, who I hadn't seen for 6 months.   Most of them remembered me and were so happy to see me again.  Thankfully, I remembered almost every one's names. :)

Thanksgiving was great.  Sister Felix is a great cook.  She made a yam and apple side dish that was actually good, and the stuffing was probably the best I've had.  One neat thing she did was type up questions/statements like "What worldly possession are you most grateful for?" "Name three things you are grateful for", and "Over the past year, what changes are you most grateful for?".  She then cut them in strips, wrapped them in foil, put them in the middle of the rolls and baked them.  We then took a roll, opened it, read our questions, and answered it one by one.  I really thought that was a fun idea and I wanted to suggest it to you to try.

Our Truck
Being an Assistant is not a "bed of roses".  We do get a two bedroom/two bathroom apartment, so that's nice.  We do get to learn so much from President and we get to know a lot of people.  However, we have to deal with disobedience.  We act as the middle man to President.  Often we get requests from missionaries to leave their areas, or to do service at times when President Felix has said no (like on Saturdays, Sundays and before 10am or after 4pm), or to attend a baptism outside their zone.  These things we often don't need to bother President with, so we have to say no.  Sometimes missionaries don't like that.  Thankfully, it hasn't been too bad.  I am really happy serving where I do.  Some things do cause me some stress.  I worry too much about setting a good example and not being hypocritical.  I am learning to be patient with myself.

If you haven't already, be sure to watch A Savior is Born and share it with your friends.  This is a short video (2min) about the birth of the Savior from youth around the world.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Life as an Assistant

So, I read a lot from you that you want to know what things I do as an assistant.  Well, we have to do some work on the computer and make sure all the information that we have on the missionaries is correct (Area, companions, cars, . . .)  It's not the most exciting part, but I like to do that kind of stuff.  We do some training at MLC (usually an EDPEP: Explain, Demonstrate, Practice, Evaluate, Re-practice).  We help President and Sister Felix plan it out, type up the agendas, and help the office staff with whatever they need.  They are a lot of fun and I have really liked getting to know them better. 

I will be going on an exchange with Elder Gibb starting tomorrow.  He is a Zone Leader up in SLO ( he replaced me).  They, Elder Haines and Elder Gibb, will be coming down for MLC tomorrow, so we just do the exchange after that.  I will be staying in Ventura.  I am going to have to know this area and the people!  It is usually moments like this, when you have to put more trust/faith in God, that you see miracles.  Yeah, we go on exchanges with all the Zone Leaders.

We don't have a free day this whole transfer.  Each day we have a training, exchange, district meeting, Zone meeting, or weekly planning or devotional!  We are packed!  This month I should be able to go to the temple because it is the month of my birthday, but we'll see if I make it. . .

The weather here is perfect every day.  70 degrees with a 5 mph breeze and a few clouds.  They say that this year will be El Nino.  As far as I know, that means we are supposed to have a lot of rain and storms/flooding, but lately it's been pretty dry.

I want to share something that Sister Bramwell (Bishop's wife) said in her talk at Stake Conference.  She asked us if we had noticed that all the parts of the "armor of God" are defensive except for the Sword of the Spirit. Ephesians 6:11-17  In essence, our words are our only weapon (Alma 31:5Helaman 3:29-30)

I knew that my 20th birthday was coming up, but I hadn't really counted the weeks/days.  Wow!  Elder Ruby will be 20 on December 7th!  I can't believe it!  I realized that if all my children go on missions, they will turn 20 while serving their Heavenly Father.  December 7th is a Monday, so I will get to email him on his birthday!  One of the tender mercies of the Lord.

I love all of you and look forward to Christmas call-ins! 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Happy Thankgiving!

With all the hustle to get ready for Thanksgiving, I didn't have time to post Elder Ruby's letter last week.  Being an AP has it's challenges.  Instead of having to know 20 missionaries in his zone, he now has to know all of the missionaries in his entire mission 170+ missionaries!  I know he's up to the challenge.  Here are a few things he wrote to us last week:

Well, this is a big change from what I am used to up north. There are definitely less YSA-age kids (Young Single Adult) walking around. This means we really have to rely on the members and help them share the gospel with their friends. Elder Young and I have already seen miracles!

My faith has grown in daily earnest prayer and scripture study. I have never seen anyone fall away, or stop investigating the church, who was consistently studying the scriptures and praying. It just doesn't happen. The same goes for missionaries. I believe that we must do these things in order to be converted and I believe that conversion happens naturally when we hold fast to the iron rod by diligently seeking (1 Nephi 10:17-19). It is the Spirit who converts, and the way that I know best to invite the Spirit is by prayer, scripture study, and testimony.

We had an amazing experience with a lady named Nancy. We had finished teaching a less-active member the Restoration lesson. On the way out of his apartment complex we noticed a lady unloading things from her car. We offered help. She accepted. She told us that her favorite movie was "The Other Side of Heaven" and she really liked "17 Miracles." We offered her a Book of Mormon and taught her the Restoration in short. We committed her to read the introduction before next Saturday. We said a prayer with her. By the end of our lesson she was crying and couldn't even say goodbye! Two other elders should be teaching her on Saturday. It all came about through service.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Transfer and New Responsibility

Before I share with all of you where Hyrum is, I wanted to write some of his last letter in the blog.  Then, I will give you the update:)

Our district just finished a session of yoga with Patience.  She is a personal trainer and yoga teacher.  I learned why the yoga people hold their hands out and say ommmm. . . It's called the hummingbird breath or something:)  You focus on the vibration and breathing to tune out the world and focus.  I got a kick out of it.  We will have to push her baptism date back because she has to attend church 3 times before being baptized, and it won't happen before Nov 27. 

Transfers are next week, so we get a call Saturday from the Assistants about who is going where and our new companions.  Then we call everyone in the Zone with those new assignments.  Anyone who is going to be a trainer gets a call from the assistants on Friday evening.  New District Leaders and Zone Leaders get a call on Friday from President Felix and we get a call if we will no longer be Zone Leaders or District Leaders that night.  I would love to stay here, but I think I have been here long enough.  I would love to "white-wash train" again.
A symbol the Calif. Ventura missionaries use for baptsim

We had a MLC this past Tuesday.  They fed us breatkfast beforehand too, which was great.  I love the Felix's.  We discussed the culture of the mission and how we can elevate it.  President wrote the quote "A rising tide lifts all boats" on the board.  As leaders, we are the tide.  In that sense, we all lift the mission culture (not just the Zone Leaders and District Leaders).  BTW, "mission culture" is our personal conversion, how we interact with other missionaries, and how we interact with members and non-members.  We concluded that we, the mission, can improve by keeping the daily schedule more exactly; improving our morning hours through sincere prayer/scripture study and sweating during work-outs; being more accountable; correcting bad behavior and by keeping our living areas clean.  The message from President was "We can all do better."  So, we had to bring those things back from
Sister missionaries at Zone Activity
MLC in a Zone meeting on Friday.  Yep, we called the Zone to repentance (and ourselves).  As we spoke to the zone, thoughts came to me of how I can do better.  I think it was received well. . .

Here are some things we took back to our zone.  One thing that is an incorrect rule the missionaries go by is that workouts end at 7:00am.  No where does the schedule say this, but it's been taught to all the missionaries.  No.  We wake up at 6:30am.  Pray, then exercise for 30 min. If you take ten minutes to get ready/say your prayers, then your workout should end at 7:10.  Also, it's been taught that on Mondays for workouts you can clean instead.  No!  P-day begins at 10:00am.  And another thing, we are supposed to begin proselyting at 10am which means that we should be ready to go before studies so that we can leave at 10am, instead of taking another 10 minutes to put on socks, a tie, shoes, and brush teeth.
Happy Halloween 2015 from CA!

Well, that's enough of that!  Don't be afraid to defend the family!

So now for Hyrum's new area and assignment. . .

I am leaving. . .to Ventura. . . to be an assistant to President Felix. . .!  I got a call from President Felix on Friday night telling me that my assignment has changed and that I will be serving with him and the office staff as an assistant! The assistants do sooooo much. In addition to setting a strong example in their proselyting area, they do district leader training, MLC, trainers/new missionary training, and this transfer will be two Christmas devotionals (north mission and south mission) plus 8 exchanges. Wow. I look forward to talking to you all in a few weeks.

Please email me if you would like Hyrum's new address.  He didn't actually give me his apartment address, but he said for now we can send letters/packages to the Mission Home address, since he will spend a lot of time there.   We are excited for all he will learn by being an assistant to President Felix.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Morro Bay and Halloween and Chickens

We have had a really great week, but it was also sometimes slow.  On Tuesday we had five appointments which all went through (those people met with us).  That day was just full of teaching and it was awesome. 

On Wednesday I went to Morro Bay on an exchange with Elder Peart. He's from Sandy, UT and has been out a transfer and a half.  Morro Bay and Cayucas and Cambria are beautiful, quiet, ocean-view towns.  There were big waves crashing on the shore as we drove up the highway.  No one was surfing.  Apparently, those waters have a lot of sharks.  About a month ago there was a shark attack, but no one died.

On the exchange we taught a young girl named Ruby!  Her baptism is scheduled for November 14th.  Elder Peart and I taught the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom to her and her 9 yr old brother and her 7 yr old sister.  Yeah . . . it was a bit awkward.  We didn't go into real depth, just enough that they knew to treat their bodies and other people's bodies as temples.

Oh, on Monday we carved pumpkins as a Zone.  It wasn't as fun as I thought it would be.  Maybe because we are all 19-20 year olds?  On Halloween some people asked us if we were the real deal (they thought we might be dressed-up for Halloween.  Seriously?  Who would fake being a missionary at 2pm on a HOT Friday/Saturday by walking around trying to share the gospel?  It was funny at first, but no one would talk with us). We had to be in early on Halloween (7pm) and do Weekly Planning then. 

The last part of the week was incredibly slow.  I was really stressed.  We could fill the day with names from our ward list of people who we have never met, but it isn't effective and we felt like chickens running around with their heads cut off.  (There were actually some sisters a few transfers back who went to a member's home on P-day to do that to chickens . . .)  So we tried to listen to the spirit and pray, but I just got more upset as the days went on.  I know that Heavenly Father was/is still aware of us - we were supposed to learn something. I think we were supposed to learn to use the members.  On Sunday we set aside the evening to visit members and we found out that they are working with a lot of their friends.

So here's something funny that happened to me.  On one of our days, we were walking by a park. There were three people (a man, a woman, and their collage-age kid) and their four chickens (two white and two red/orange).  I started talking to them.  The lady said I could hold one of the chickens, so I did.  I knelt down and took a red chicken from her hands.  The chicken was less than pleased to be held by me, so I let her go.  As we were preparing to leave, they warned us that the chickens had pooped and to watch out.  I got up from my knee and spotted a big you-know-what on my pant leg.  Ewwww!   I'd been kneeling in that for probably 5-10 minutes.  Thankfully, it came out in the wash.

My faith has grown.  Recently I have been studying faith as a principle and an attribute.  In conjunction with this study I have also focused on the Atonement of Jesus Christ because it is Christ who we must put our faith/trust in.  I have come to understand that one reason why I was so hard on myself is because I didn't understand the Atonement.  I relied on my own strength and then blamed myself when I failed.  Having faith in Christ means that I trust Him and know that I must rely on Him for strength.  After all, this is His work.  Not only will I be given more grace to accomplish the work I am sent to do, I will be fortified spiritually for greater tasks and against later temptations. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

2 Months until a phone call!

Blaine informed me this past Sunday that it is 2 months until we get to talk to Elder Ruby again!!  I'm so excited!  The 5 months between Christmas and Mother's Day go by much faster than the 7 months between Mother's Day and Christmas.  Go figure:)

Elder Ruby hasn't said much in his letters lately.  They have been very short and he apologized for not writing us this past week.  I know he is busy and doing well.  That is what matters.  He did tell us that a girl they have been working with, named Patience, has set a date for baptism.  That's exciting!  This past Monday they had a Zone Activity.  All the missionaries in his zone were getting together to carve pumpkins.  That sounds like fun.  He will send us pictures.  

Here is his testimony from this past letter:

The words of the prophets have sunk and are continuing to sink deep into my heart. I am coming to more fully accept Christ into my life. I do my best to do as Elder McConkie suggests and accept the scriptures as the mind and will of God. My studies have focused greatly on the doctrines of grace, mercy, justice, and love. My testimony in the reality of Christ and a loving, just, merciful, gracious God has grown; and my awe, gratitude, and wonder in the Atonement of Christ are expanding.

I'm sorry this is so short and not very informative.  We will try again next week:)

October 2015 Zone Conference

 In a different area than Hyrum, the church building the mission president usually uses for interviews was being fumagated.  This is what it looks like in California.  Wow!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

"Food Fast"

Elder Ruby is enjoying his new companion, Elder Haines.

So, for the first week of the transfer we couldn't accept any food from members, nor could we go restaurants! Apparently, we needed to be more grateful for and feel less entitled to all the help that the members give us. That meant that we had to plan, prepare, and budget the meals for the week. The members thought it was hilarious and they would make comments about us not being able to eat with them. I really enjoyed the "food fast". I found that having to plan, prepare, and budget for our weekly meals together unified our companionship.  Elder Haines and I have really enjoyed making meals together. We even sacrificed some of our food by feeding the District leaders the night that they were coming home from a training in Oxnard earlier this week. This unified the leadership in the zone as we talked and served each other.

I have learned that God answers prayers through the scriptures. Yesterday evening we didn't know who to visit or what to do. Elder Haines had me flip open the Book of Mormon in the dark, point, and read. I read from 2 Nephi 32:8-9 about the words of Christ and the Spirit telling us all things what we should do. Then Nephi exhorts us to pray. We had prayed several times earlier with little success, but we chose to pray again. After a fervent prayer, Elder Haines thought to call an investigator, Cassie, who was also struggling with prayer. We were able to teach her on the phone and discern more of her concerns.

Elder Ruby and Elder Haines

Elder Campbell, Elder Ruby and Elder Campbell's new companion at transfers. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Staying in SLO and Ponderize!

Yep, who knew? Elder King will be leaving to follow-up train and be a district leader.  My new companion is Elder Haines. I don't know much about him. I know what he looks like, but that is about it.  I look forward working with him and the Lord this next transfer.

After hearing Elder Devin G. Durrant, 1st Counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency, speak about a new concept (at least it was new to me), we decided to do this as a family.  He suggested we "Ponderize" the scriptures.  It is a combination of pondering (80%) and memorizing (20%).  The idea is to post a scripture every week and think about its words and key phrases several times during the week.  Here is a link to Elder Durrant's talk from Sunday afternoon.  He explains it the best:) We are ponderizing Moses 6:60.  

I am so happy that you are Ponderizing! I am too. My scripture is 3 Nephi 27:19 "And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end."

I have to tell you about something embarrassing that happened to me this morning. I was driving our truck. (I told you that we drive a truck right? Yeah, it's a red Nissan Frontier. It's as close to driving a truck back home as I can get.) We parked at the church to email. I glanced down and out of my window to check my parking job, however, I had my finger on the window switch and was simultaneously rolling up the window. Yes, you can probably guess what happened next. Elder King laughed as he watched preoccupied Elder Ruby roll the window into his tooth and jerk back in surprise. :)

This week we focused on our less actives and recent converts.  Many of the recent converts are freshman and are having difficulty adjusting to life as a Mormon and in college and away from home for the first time.  We are doing our best to help them make Christ and the Book of Mormon their foundation.  We invited everyone to watch conference, but no one showed up.  We have a lot of work to do up here.  
I gained a testimony of the Prophet and Apostles this past conference and the Christlike love that they emulate. For some reason, I was overwhelmed as I watched the remaining nine Apostles greet/hug the three new.  I feel like this was a witness to me of the validity of their calling and an example of how I should treat others. This was an experience with conference that I will remember. Also, I came to conference with questions and President Uchtdorf (the very first speaker) blew my questions out of the water! It was awesome.

Miracle from using the Book of Mormon: After a doorstep Restoration lesson with a room mate of a less active member, we challenged her to read the Book of Mormon every day. She didn't want to take it and said she didn't have time because she was busy studying. We then challenged her to take the Book of Mormon and open the Book of Mormon with a question in her heart just before she studied for her classes and then read for her answer.  We tried this tactic with her. Her question was "why are people bad?" She flipped open to Mosiah 3:19! After explaining the verse, we again extended the invitation. She took the Book of Mormon.

Here are the last pictures of Elder Ruby and Elder King.  Elder King made party hats for the two of them to celebrate their "one year" mark in the mission.

We had a flyer placed on our door that described the fines for drinking, DUI, disturbing the peace, and other fines associated with parties.  We had this answer. . .

Monday, October 5, 2015

Joy of the Gospel

I'm sorry I haven't update the blog for over a week.  Elder Ruby's letters have been brief.  He is so busy and writes what and when he can on Monday's, but the time just goes by so fast.  He did share a story about a recent convert to the church:

One of the greatest successes as a missionary has been teaching and watching a recent convert named Olivia, come back to full activity in the church and be super excited and active.  Three months ago, she was just a normal 22 year old and she was looking for happiness in worldly things.  As we taught her the lessons again, we began to see her desires change.  She started asking questions like "Why is the Atonement important?" and "How do you repent?"  This turn began when we had her share her conversion story with Mark (a recent convert).  Sharing her testimony helped her see that she really did believe.  Later, a member, Emma, who just lost her brother, befriended Olivia and took her to the Los Angeles Temple.  From that moment on,  Olivia has set her sights on the temple.  She came to church and has been coming for weeks now!  She, too, noticed a change within herself.  She said that she tries to be nice to people even when it's hard.  She has no desire to watch gossipy/crude shows and she is fascinated with forgiveness and charity.  Olivia now spends hours looking up talks and reading the scriptures!  She is so happy.  She has a temple recommend now and is going to General Conference!  I am so happy for her.  There is just as much joy in watching Olivia come back into the fold of God as there is in bringing someone to the waters of baptism!

This past week we had a Zone Activity down in SLO.  Brother Abbott, the institute director was teaching a class called the Foundations of the Restoration.  He is a phenomenal teacher.  This class focused on the doctrines of the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ.  So, the zone came to the class and then we had a birthday party for a sister in the zone who has never had a birthday celebration.  We (Elder King and I) made her a big Funfetti cookie on a cookie sheet.  Then we frosted it with chocolate and wrote in white frosting her name and the church, so it was like a missionary tag!  She loved it.  Then we played sports.  Elder King and I had to leave for dinner in Los Osos.  The member we ate dinner with made bacon wrapped burgers stuffed with pepper jack or cheddar cheese! Yum!!

Monday, September 21, 2015

One Year!

This month marks Elder Ruby's one year in the mission field (Sept 10, 2014).  I can't believe a year has gone by!  At times it has been fast and other times not so much.  I still find myself shedding a tear here and there as I miss him so very much.  I love getting his emails and hand written letters every week.  The pictures help too.  I love it when someone asks how he is doing.  Although I don't always have a lot to tell that person, it makes me feel good that he is thought of and missed by others.  If you are reading the blog, you know he is doing really well and loving what he is learning and loving all of his teaching opportunities.  He loves to serve and help other people, which is 100% of what he is doing, both temporally and spiritually.

I look forward to start counting down the months, weeks and eventually the days until he comes home.  But I also know that he has a lot of work to do in the next year.  He wonders if he has time to do and learn all that is required of him in that short amount of time.  Bless his heart!

I want to share my testimony of our Heavenly Father's work.   I leave this blog for Hyrum's testimony, but mine is no different than his. (I did get his permission to share my testimony)  I know that the Book of Mormon was written by ancient prophets that lived in the Americas who kept records of the dealings of their people and looked forward to the coming of the Savior.  It was translated by the gift and power of God by a young man, Joseph Smith, with little formal education.  I feast on its pages every day and continually discover teachings that apply to my life.  If I would read any other novel over 15 times, I would likely know the story inside and out and could probably quote most of it.  The Book of Mormon is different.  Although I know the stories quite well, I continually learn and grow from its teachings and never tire of reading it.  There is no other book like it!  For those of you who have never read it, please don't be afraid to ask me about it.  I would love to tell you about the people of the Book of Mormon!

I am also so grateful for the Plan of Salvation that Hyrum so often refers to in his letters.  It is our Heavenly Father's plan for His children to be able to return to live with Him.  We are His spirit sons and daughters and He loves us so very much - just as you love your children with all your hearts and want to see them live happy, joyful lives.  The family is central to His plan and He has made it possible for parents and children to be sealed together forever, not just until "death due you part".  Death is not the end and through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, all people will have their spirits and bodies reunited.  It is part of His plan because He loves us.  I love talking about the gospel of Jesus Christ because it makes me so happy.  I am grateful for God's standards that give me guidance in raising my children in this immoral world.  They have confidence in His commandments and are blessed for living in accordance with His teachings.

I hope you will continue to follow Elder Ruby during his last year of his mission.  I will continue to do my best to keep you informed through the blog.  I will definitely forward any comments to him that you leave.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

One Year Mark!

Yep, this letter marks my year mark. Elder Ruby entered the MTC on September 10, 2014.

On Tuesday we had MLC (Missionary Leadership Council) in Oxnard.  Before MLC we had a breakfast at the mission home.  They made us super good waffle treat things (Eggo waffle, carmel, Eggo waffle, dulce de leche, peaches, strawberries, whipped cream) Yum!  That morning was crazy though.  We had a lot to do and we actually had to drive one of Santa Barbara's cars to the meeting so that it could get some work done on it.  Needless to say, we planned on getting up at 4:50am so that everything would run smoothly and we could get to Ventura on time.  We woke up that morning to our usual 6:17am alarm! No shower, no prayer even :( (first time in a long time that I hadn't prayed before I left the apartment or home).  We ended up making it to the breakfast right on time.  Traffic was pretty good.  I realized later that day that something was off.  Then I remembered that I forgot to pray formally.  I had some silent prayers on the way down but nothing formal.  At that moment I repented and prayed.  The day/meeting went much better after that point.  Elder King and I led a discussion on teaching the Plan of Salvation simply.  One big thing that we emphasized was teaching the doctrines found in Preach My Gospel instead of telling the story of the Plan of Salvation.  I thought it went really well.

After MLC we had exchanges with the Assistants.  I stayed in Ventura with Elder Young.  I really needed that.  We were led by the spirit to be at the right place at the right time to help a less-active lady from one of the the Ventura family wards move.  We had no idea she lived there and had we not been there, the ward/missionaries wouldn't not have been able to contact her at her new address.  She was throwing away a bunch of Mormon books.  I grabbed 2 copies of "A Marvelous Work and a Wonder" which I will be keeping in my luggage or sending home.  I forgot them in Ventura, so I will get them in a couple of weeks at Zone Conference!  I know Mom really likes that book.  I do.  It is one of my favorite books!  

This week has been really good.  We have a couple of new investigators:  Phillip, who likes comic books, video games and FRIENDS.  His mother was a member of the church.  She died a month ago.  Phillip has a slight mental disability because of an accident when he was young.  He is really searching for something (the gospel) in his life.  We gave him the Children's Book of Mormon.   (We told him that it was the comic book version of the Book of Mormon) and he was already almost 100 pages into the Children's BOM when we saw him again on Sunday!  Also, a guy named Justin walked up to us on Sunday after sacrament meeting and told us he is just checking the church out.  He stayed the full 3 hours.  He told us afterwards that he used to go to the Calvary SLO, but he feels there is something missing in his life.  He said he is almost thirty and he still feels "off" or he feels like life is short and he needs to put God as a priority.  Also a friend of his recently passed away and he wants to know what happens after this life.  Justin is someone we would call. . . PREPARED!  We also learned of an investigator moving to SLO from Fresno on Wednesday.  She sounds super solid.

All in all, things are pretty good!

As for my 1st year reflection . . . I have learned so much this last year.  Like I mentioned in my first call home, the first thing I learned was how much I don't know.  I thought I knew the scriptures.  I thought I understood the Atonement.  I thought I knew how to repent.  I thought I knew how to listen to the spirit.  I thought I knew how to help people with their problems.  Well, I did know how, but I relearned those things and it humbled me.

I've run out of time to write you, but there will be more next week.  I love you all.  May the spirit be with you.

The number of missionaries now serving in the California Ventura Mission:
27 English Sisters and 26 Spanish Sisters
81 English Elders and 17 Spanish Elders
Total of 151 Missionaries

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

More Wyoming Missionaries and Gum Wall

I know of at least four missionaries from Wyoming in the mission (including me). Two of them are new missionaries in my Zone! Elder Crook from Lyman and Elder Gilpin from Evanston. The other Wyo missionary is Elder Degraw (however you spell it) from Evanston too. Pretty cool.

The area is picking up. A man named Justin came to church to "check it out!" He has many friends that he recently found who are members of the church, a friend recently passed away, and Justin is feeling like he is missing something in in his life! Does he sound prepared or what? This week when Elder King and I have just taken the time to street contact with the intent of helping people move and then teach them, we have been led by the Spirit to those who have been receptive to the gospel. I also got condemned to hell twice, but that is just part of being a missionary. :)
Yeah, last p-day, we (the District) went to the Gum Wall. It's in the middle of downtown between two buildings. It was gross! Once I got a few feet in, the gum smelled horrible.  People had written letters with the gum up high, or stuck pennies or wrappers into their piece of gum.  I accidentally stepped on a piece and it stuck to the bottom of my foot.  The wall was interesting, but one visit is enough for me. :)

I am coming to feel more each day whose work this really is. The more that I put my trust in God and humbly accept my role, the more miracles I see. I find that God leads us to people and places that we need to be for the blessing of His children. Some of the more powerful prayers that I have had involve the words " I know that this is Thy work" and then I ask how may I help instead of "give me" or "bless me." After humbling experiences, God shows us a miracle like people coming to church that we've never met, or seeing people at the gas station that we had met once before and remembering their name, or putting us in the right place at the right time to help serve someone in need. I know that God knows us.  He knows everyone.  I know that he loves us all and is working so hard for the salvation of His children.

Update on Baptisms

I thought I should give you an update on Mark and Stephanie, two young people we have taught and baptized.  Mark emailed me today and sent me pictures of him at the Oakland Temple and his view from his dorm.  He can see the Golden Gate Bridge from his place at Berkley!  Mark told me that the Young Single Adult ward up there has 130 people and 13 freshman who he is already great friends with.  He did baptisms for the dead at the temple and said he "really, really felt the spirit!"  Mark thanked us so much for teaching him.  He is recognizing the blessings of baptism and the priesthood!

Stephanie said she, too, had been to the temple many times.  She is doing well.  Her mom is actually really interested.  Before I left, we wrote some scriptures on a note card about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost from the Bible and Book of Mormon.  Stephanie's mom was really moved by those scriptures and has been asking Stephanie a lot of questions.  One Sunday Stephanie was in church and her mom called her and asked for Stephanie to come get her and bring her inside.  So cool for them to be learning and growing together!  Stephanie has had lots of opportunities to teach her mom.

That's all for the old updates.  Now for some new ones.  A girl named Courtney moved into our apartment complex a few weeks ago and we talked to her more this past Saturday.  She told us that her parnets came into town to visit and Courtney had told them that there were Mormon Missionaries in her complex.  Her mom said, "MORMONS!  You should hang out with them.  They are the best people!"  That was good to hear.  We taught her a little about the Plan of Salvation.  She told us that she had met lots of people who are trying to find their faith.  We forgot to invite her to church then, but we put a sticky note on her car window inviting her.  (By the way, we live across the street from the church.) 

On that same Sunday, we were inviting everyone we could to church: people on the street, people we knew. . . We walked over to an open door.  Inside were some college kids (3 girls and a guy).  They weren't wearing a lot of clothes. . . They offered us cake.  I passed on that one (college-age kids. . . hanging out. . . immodest. . . baking. . .) yeah, but we had a member with us who said sure.  That allowed us to talk longer.  We invited them to church, but they declined.  They said they were headed to Pirate's Cove: the nude beach down south between Santa Maria and Nipano.  We left our number and wished them well. 

It was after all these attempts to find someone to come to church that we were walking back to our apartment.  I received a propmting to go invite Courtney.  We knocked on her door 30 minutes before church started and invited her to come.  She said yes and thought she had missed church.  She got ready in 15 minutes and we walked her to church.  It went well.

Also, this evening we ran into a guy our age who came down here from San Fran to check out Cal Poly.  His car broke down in Morro Bay.  His friend ditched him.  He walked to SLO (12 miles!) and only had a bag that he packed for the trip.  He had no shirt, hadn't eaten in 3 days and was trying to find a place to stay the night and to find a job so that he can work enough to pay a taxi to get him home.  He knew very little about where he was and had been praying for help.  We got him some nuts, granola bars, water, socks (he had none), shirts (he had none), a jacket, jeans, and a Book of Mormon.  We gave him directions to the Salvation Army, said a prayer, and sent him on his way.  He told us that he's been searching his soul for answers and that he would come to church this next Sunday.  That's all the updates I have.  I'll send you some pictures soon!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Shout Out to My Teachers

So, a guy named Zach Powell just moved back to the ward. He just got back from a mission from Gillette, WY! He said he knew President Breinholt.  Small world.

Also, I want to give a shout out to my teachers on the blog. They prepared me for many of the experiences that I have had on the mission.  All that homework, makes the paperwork and planning that I have to do as a missionary seem like a breeze.  The diligent study habits I learned while in school have served me well as I study the words of prophets daily. The speaking skills and leadership opportunities that I was given through school activities prepared me to lead, love, and serve the missionaries in my zone. And lastly, the introspection, one-on-one conversations, and quality time strengthened my mental and emotional self and that has made a big difference.
We will be picking up two new investigators this week! We knocked on a girl's door Sunday morning about half an hour before church. She, Courtney, was so happy to see us and she met us out in front of her apartment complex about fifteen minutes later to walk to church with us.  Our Relief Society President got her number and will be inviting her to FHE tonight! Another young man, Phillip, just lost his mother. Much of his family are members, but he is not. He came to church yesterday and we have a lesson with him tonight before FHE! Cuesta College is in, and CalPoly starts on the 22nd of September. The work is beginning to pick up and I don't think it will slow down for some time.
In my studies lately the Spirit has brought to my remembrance the doctrines of our earth life. Let me explain. I have regained a testimony of the Atonement and the things we need to do to access that Atonement, namely: Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. I relearned today that this day is a day of repentance. We are on this earth for the purpose of repenting and making covenants that prepare us for Eternal Life. By "we" I mean myself and every other person on this planet. God has sent missionaries and scriptures to call all to repentance. We "call men to repentance" by helping them receive the restored gospel!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

California Screen Writers

Elder Ruby is doing really great.  He didn't give us much to write about this week for the blog.  He did not get transferred, so he will be in San Louis Obispo for at least 6 more weeks.  He will continue in SLO as a Zone Leader.  He arrived in SLO when college was just getting out, so he's excited to still be there when the colleges start up again.  For those of you that don't know, SLO is where Cal Poly is located.

Sister Felix wrote on their mission blog about a fireside in a different area of the mission.  From what I can tell, Elder Ruby did not attend this fireside, but it sounds like the speakers were great.  Here is what she wrote:

Just a FYI:
A couple of weeks ago two screen writers for Despicable Me 1 and 2, The Lorax, Horton Hears a Who and other movies spoke at a fireside in Simi Valley.  Cinco Paul and Ken Dario are members of the Church.  They related those movies to the Gospel and our own lives.  Horton, from Horton Hears a Who, is Joseph Smith. Someone who knows they have heard (seen) something and is persecuted for it and eventually changes the lives of millions.
In Despicable 1 Gru is a villain and Baxter is a super villain.  They are opposites.  There is opposition in all things.  Gru changed from evil to good due to the influence of the girls.

These men have stayed true to their values in their profession.

Zone Leader Conference (Hyrum is right in the middle)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Setting Goals and Mark's baptism

Life in SLO (San Louis Obispo) is beautiful.  I would like to have a stormy or cold or windy day every once in a while:)

Now that I have been out on the mission for almost a year, my thoughts have turned more toward a reflection.  I am evaluating my progress as a person and as a missionary since last September.  My testimony of my calling grows daily as I realize what little time I have to magnify it.

I have finally discovered/understood the principles of goal setting and planning.  These princples apply to all aspects of life.  We have a desire, we set a goal, we plan specifically how we will achieve that goal, and then we do all we can to follow through and follow-up with those plans.  This week we desired to teach all of our investigators two lessons each this week, we wanted to have daily contact with Mark, who got baptized on August 8, and we wanted to set up/teach at least one lesson to the referrals that the sisters gave us.  This turned out to be 14 lessons.  We wanted a member at every lesson.  That is quite a few lessons for us in one week.  Then we went to our daily plans, set up times and called people.  We were able to fit all 14 lessons in despite being gone one day for Missionary Leadership Council.  I know it sounds a bit nerdy and obvious, but all it takes is some time, a desire, a plan, and staying faithful to the plans.

Mark is the tallest one.
Mark's baptism went well.  His mom came, which was an answer to his prayers and our prayers.  While he was getting dressed, we handed out note cards to everyone for them to write something meaningful to Mark.  Then we collected them and now Mark has them.  The talks were good.   Richard, Mark's friend, compared getting baptized to washing off after playing in the mud before entering your home/Heavenly home.

I wanted to share something I learned in my studies.  I noticed that Alma chapter 7 gives 6 reasons for Christ's Atonement:
  1. That the word might be fulfilled
  2. That He may loose the bands of death
  3. That His bowels may be filled with mercy
  4. That He may know how to succor His people
  5. That He may take upon Him the sins of His people
  6. That He might blot out our transgressions
 I hope you enjoy reading Alma chapter 7!  Transfer calls are this Saturday.  Wow how the weeks fly!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Bad Smell!

I can't believe the fair is already here!  One year ago I was washing and blowing the steers and preparing for that crazy, busy week.  Don't worry, we will all be having crazy, busy weeks.

I have to tell you a story.  So, for the last month or so I have smelled something kind of bad in the kitchen.  But I haven't been able to put my finger, or rather my nose, on it.  We thought it could be the top of the microwave.  Well, the other night the smell was the worst it had ever been.  Oh, it was Sunday because I had my black suit on.  I was in the kitchen smelling around when Elder King suggested that it may be the sack of potatoes on the counter.  I thought this idea was silly because potatoes never smell like that in Wyoming.  I quickly picked up the sack of potatoes and a brown liquid splashed onto my suit jacket, my shoes, and the floor.  Then came the most disgusting smell!  We did some cleaning and put on the fans, opened the windows and held our breath.

Elder Ruby sent us a short letter this week.  He is doing really well and will hopefully have more to share in his next letter.  From this letter, you can see that he is having all kinds of life experiences:)

Ocean View

This week we went on a hike at Montana de Oro.  To my right was the ocean.  The water was blue and the waves were a beautiful, frothy white.  We stood at a cliff that overlooked the Big Blue.  I could sit there for hours just watching the waves, reading a book, and writing my thoughts.  Don't worry, I love our mountains, but there is something of beauty and awe that the ocean holds.

This week has been busy, stressful, exciting, miraculous and relieving.  The most stressful part was transfers.  We got a call from the Assistants to President Felix on Saturday with all the transfer information.  We then called everyone in the Zone with their new assignments.  We had a lot of changes.  We had to combine a ward, close an apartment, move around a companionship, and figure out rides down to transfers for everyone.  Up here in SLO the missionaries drive themselves down to transfer meetings.  So we as Zone Leaders, have to figure out luggage and carpooling.  It's a lot to think about.  We made sticky notes to represent cars and luggage and people.  (He is my son)

The best part was teaching Jose.  We taught him about the Plan of Salvation.  We felt really good about it.  At the end Jose prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true!  He also told us that during the week at work (a fast food place), he pretty much bore his testimony to some of his co-workers that God is real and loves them.  Jose has a baptism date for Aug 2, but that will have to be pushed back because he hasn't been able to attend church yet.

I was so happy to attend the Fresno temple on Tuesday.  We get to go to the temple in the month of our birthday.  Elder King's birthday is in July.  Our Relief Society President and another guy drove us there.  The temple was really small, even smaller than the Billings, MT temple. We were there for a couple hours and felt that sweet peace that can only be found in a the temple of God.

That same day we had interviews with our Mission President, President Felix.  He and Sister Felix are AWESOME! They love the missionaries SO much and they love the Lord even more.  Sister Felix looked through our Area Book and talked with one of us while the other was in an interview with President Felix.  

All week the SLO wards were feeding the Special Olympians from Dubai who will be competing this

week in LA. They were awesome.  If only I knew Arabic.

I am really enjoying my mission.  I like to work hard.  I like responsibility.  I love to serve.  I want to work harder, love more, and fear less.

Elder King and Elder Ruby (Zone Leaders) with Elder Dorius (Elder Ruby's MTC companion) in the background.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

New Investigator

Elder Ruby's letter from last week:

On Tuesday we met with Mark.  Mark is a really interesting kid.  He just graduated from high school.  He's gone to church before in Paso Robles with his member friend, Richard, who brought him to church two Sunday's ago.  Mark lives in Los Osos (close by) and Richard drove 35 minutes to the lesson from Paso!  Mark is 6'5" (I know because Elder Willis asked him), blonde, very professional looking, wears rad socks, plays tennis, loves math and is super smart.  Mark had already read the Book of Mormon (it took him 6 weeks) and he wanted to take the discussions!  He was there to learn.  We started with teaching about the Restoration.  We went into depth.  We drew diagrams on the chalkboard at the church, we asked him a lot of questions, we testified often and we really hit the apostasy hard.  Mark was just a sponge.  He would soak up what we said, and then answer our questions better than we could!  We asked him if he would be baptized if he found the Book of Mormon to be true.  He said yes!  Boy, I felt so good during and after the lesson!  I couldn't stop smiling (hard to believe, I know).  I was so grateful that God gave us the words to say in that lesson.  Thoughts just flowed, and my memory was good.

Wednesday, we had an exchange.  I, again, went into a Spanish Elder's area, so I got to learn some more Spanish.  Here is goes:  Yo se que El Libro de Mormon es verdadero.  Este conocimiento me ayuda a vivir feliz.  Yo se que Jesu Christo es el Salvador y el redemtor.  Este creencia me ayuda a tener esperanza.

I am so blessed to be a missionary now, here in California.  I know the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth and to the people.  Joseph Smith was a prophet.  The Book of Mormon is evidence that God loves us.  Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, and God knows and speaks to all people.  I know we came to earth to become like our Heavenly Father.  We do this by making choices.

When people ask me how I am doing, tell them I am loving the experience, the weather and the people, but what I love most of all is watching how seeking and learning truth and then acting on it changes hearts and minds for the better (and ultimately perfection) including, and especially, my own.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

No Post This Week:(

I'm sorry.  I won't be posting a letter from Elder Ruby this week:(  He did send us one and he is doing really good.  I have spent the last few days getting ready for Girls Camp and didn't have time to retype his letter.  I apologize.  Please don't give up on me!  I will be at camp Wednesday through Saturday.  I will be sure to get a post done for next week.  Summer has been super busy.  I'm sure you all know what that is like.  Keep him in your prayers.  He really appreciates them and notices a difference.  Thank you for your support and love.  Look for a letter and an Elder Ruby "selfie" next week.  Adri

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

New Investigators!

We went on exchanges with Elder Pace and Elder Peterson this Saturday and it was awesome. We gave out 7 copies of the Book of Mormon and we found 3 super prepared people!  During planning the night before, we were looking through our potential investigator sheets.  We saw a name that I didn't recognize and a street I have never heard of before, so we decided to put him (Scott) in our plans.  Like usual, our day didn't go as planned. The afternoon was a bunch of doors that didn't open to us.  We got to a point where we took a step back and thought about where to go next.  We chose to go by Scott's because we hadn't gone by when we had planned to earlier.  We took the long way to get there.  We were using E. Willis' GPS (really handy), but I felt like turning the wheel a different direction. Eventually we arrived, and as we pulled up, I recognized the place.  Elder Willis and I had been there before and the whole house had been empty.  I wondered why we hadn't updated our records.

However, we looked twice and saw a couple of girls moving into the house.  We offered to help and then helped anyway.  When we finished, they started asking questions.  Their names are Caroline, Katie, and Lindsay.  They were super interested.  We taught about the Book of Mormon.  Luckily, we had three copies handy and we gave them all their own copy.  We shared Helaman 5:12.  As I helped Caroline turn to it, Katie opened right up to the page!  Then we had them read Moroni 10:3-5. We asked them about how they thought/felt about it.  We mentioned "real intent" and they said that just the other day they had been talking about that!  They said that if they found the book to be true, they would do what it said.  I read to them Mosiah 18:8-11, and spoke to them about baptism.  Caroline had just gotten baptized last week into the Catholic church.  She said that she didn't want to be confirmed but she had to to be baptized.  Obviously, she has been searching for God in her life.  They all want to learn more.  Caroline and Lindsay live at another place.  We got their contact info and we should have already met with them again by the time that you read this!

This week has been another whirlwind, if you haven't noticed.  Mark (a non-member) came to church last week with a member friend.  They told us last week that Mark wanted to take the missionary discussions.  We had lessons with him on Tuesday and Friday.  I was the happiest I've been for a while after teaching Mark the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He said he would be baptized if he found the Book of Mormon to be true!  Mark is an incredibly intelligent young man.  He can listen and the spit out gospel concepts and principles better than we explained them.  We asked why it was important to have a prophet on the earth and what would happen if there was no prophet.  He told us that it would be like the game of "Telephone!"  He has a lot of friends in the church in Paso 2nd Ward too.  He has already read the Book of Mormon.  He read our reading assignment, read the additional study suggestions, and brought another friend to the next lesson!  He has a soft date for his baptism of July 25th.  People who God has prepared are "coming out of the woodwork."

We had the opportunity to give a member a blessing for anxiety and depression.  She had been suffering for years and after much prayer and fasting, she felt like she needed to receive a blessing.  She asked me to give the blessing.  The first words that the Spirit would let me say were "be healed."  The blessing following was relatively short and unexciting.  Just yesterday, this member followed-up in a text stating the miracle that happened to her.  I don't have time for the details, but because of the incredible faith she had, she was healed and no longer suffers from those ills!  I felt a witness that the priesthood power we hold is real and God works according to our faith.

Here are some pictures of Elder Ruby's apartment in SLO.  Unfortunately, they aren't "selfies", so we don't get to see Him, just his neat and tidy apartment.  He seems to be doing so well.  He has been out just over 10 mo.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

9 Months!

Long time, no see, (9 months) and no write...that's my fault.  So here's the update for the week.  We started out with MLC (Mission Leader Conference) on Tuesday.  That meeting is conducted by the assistants under the direction of President Felix.  I'm not sure if you remember the 5 areas of Focus for the mission.  We recite them every morning or so...they are :
1) We begin with the end in mind
2) We are consecrated servants of Jesus Christ
3) We strive to serve the Lord through our obedience
4) We are led by the spirit as we find and teach
5) We desire the salvation of souls. 

Last month, President Felix had the mission focus on #4.  This transfer we are focusing on being consecrated servants of Jesus Christ.  During this MLC, President had a training on this area of focus. He had us give him synonyms for "consecrated" and "servant."  He shared some really good quotes about these two words.  They fed us chicken and waffles for lunch.  That was a new combo for me.

Another part of that meeting is reporting on zone goals.  We report on how last transfer's goals were accepted and met, then we explain our goals for this transfer.  Elder Willis and I came up with our zone goal this month as inspired from Elder Tad R. Callister's talk "Becoming a Consecrated Missionary" (I encourage you all to read it.  The talk may be harder to find because it is a talk T. R. Callister gave when he was a mission president in Toronto, Canada.)  One of the last sections talks about going the "extra mile" meaning, the consecrated missionary gives every ounce of energy to the work.  He/she is exhausted at the end of the day because everything was left outside.  Our zone goal is that every day, each companionship will go the extra mile (do something out of the ordinary, something that makes them stretch or a random act of kindness) and they will send that extra mile in a text.  It's been working out all right so far.  We have some really good missionaries in our zone!

The assistants go on exchanges with all the zone leaders each transfer.  Since we live furthest away, we got to do exchanges the night of MLC and Wednesday.  I went with Elder Yager.  He and I have a lot in common.  We are both the oldest of four, we grew up in small towns, our grandparents own a farm, our dads are in the medical field, and we have very similar "conversion stories."  We both worked hard.  I went with E. Yager to Ventura for the day. We spent the whole day going to appointments with return missionaries.  It was awesome hearing their mission stories.  E. Yager set a really good example for me.

So, I'm working on becoming consecrated.  Being lead by the spirit (last transfer's focus) will help me do that, but if you have any suggestions feel free to send them to me :) Here's a story:  So, a pig and a chicken were debating about which made the greater contribution to the breakfast industry.  The chicken said, "Boy, I give eggs every day to that poor farmer.  I'd have to say that's a pretty big contribution/sacrifice." Then the pig said, "Sure, but I give it my all." Here's another one: A man walks up to a worker in a rock quarry and asks "What are you doing?" The worker said, "I'm cutting out this stone from the mountain." The man asks a second worker the same question and the worker replies, "I'm working to provide for my family." The man asks a third worker and this worker says ," I'm helping to build a temple of God." The third man was consecrated because he knew the divine purpose to his work.

"The church is true, the book is blue, and Moroni's always on the ball"
-Elder DuPlessis

I hope everyone has a great week!

I may have to skip a week with the blog.  We are going on vacation and I'm not sure we will have internet.  But, never fear, I will be back online as soon as we get back!  Thank you for all your support and interest in Hyrum's mission.  He is doing really good!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Zone Leader Lifestyle

Life has been crazy here in SLO (San Louis Obispo).  So, I'll explain mission leadership as far as I know.  (it's only been 6 days since I've been a zone leader).  The mission is divided into 8 zones and each zone is divided into 2 or 3 districts.  Each district has 6-12 missionaries (3-6 companionships).   District Leaders are responsible for the missionaries in their district.  They plan and conduct district meetings on Thursdays and they help solve conflicts (if there are any) in their district.  District Leaders collect "key indicator" numbers every week and report them to the Zone Leaders.  Zone Leaders authorize travel within the zone (outside of the missionaries' districts); we collect numbers from the district leaders every Saturday; we hold District Leader Councils; we solve bigger conflicts (there haven't been any); we go on exchanges (24-hour companion changes for training purposes) with the District Leaders and companions, we come up with zone goals; we got to MLC (Missionary Leadership Council) once a month; and we go on exchanges with the Assistants to the President!  Wow!  That was a handful of responsibilities in addition to being a good leader, example and missionary.  It's been exciting.  My follow-up trainer, Elder Walker, is a District Leader in "my" zone.

My first time in a YSA (Young Single Adult) ward was a new experience.  It's a bit odd being a missionary to people my age and return missionaries, but they really like us.  The ward isn't very big - probably 20 people there this week.  Lots of them are moving for the summer too, so our member resources are going to be low.

We did one hour of service this week.  There were lots of people moving because college is out, but not many people let us help.  That's okay.  We have some planned service next week.

FYI: the weather is beautiful.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

College is Out!

Elder Ruby didn't write much in his email this week.  He told me to expect a letter with more detail about what it is like to be a Zone Leader later in the week.  When I get the letter, I will share it with you:)

Here's what he wrote in his email:

There are a lot of prepared college kids out here.  The members are really good at sharing the gospel too.  Sadly, these past few weeks have been tough because of finals.  Also, probably 90% of the students here will be heading home or vacation for the summer.  We're not worried about finding people though.  Surely God has prepared/is preparing people who will stay.  He will lead us to htem or them to us.  We expect one of our investigators, who is leaving, to get baptized while he is back in Utah with his Mormon girlfriend. :)

 Elder Willis is a good missionary.  He is from Arizona.  I am going to kill him!  Haha.  In mission lingo, that means that I am his last companion before he finishes his mission (dies).  In some ways we are a lot alike: how we take a long time to make decisions (I swear I am getting better), and how we usually do what we are told, and we are polite to everyone.

I did 3 hours of service this week.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Zone Leader

I got a call from President Felix at 9:30 on Friday night telling me that I was being assigned to be a zone leader in San Louis Obispo! He told me that this assignment was definitely inspired.  Usually an Elder serves as a district leader before becoming a zone leader, but I trust this was God's will.  I am a bit nervous. Actually just unsure, but not worried or scared.  My new companion will be Elder Christopher Willis.  What is neat is 1) we are the only zone leaders who get a truck, 2) I will be in the same stake/zone as I was in Paso Robles, 3) I may get to go back to my old area when we do exchanges with the district leader there, and 4) I will be serving in the YSA (Young Single Adult) ward.  The only down-side is that I won't get fed very often because college kids don't have much money.  Here in Camarillo, the dinner calendar is already full for June!  I feel unqualified/inexperienced, but I trust that God wants me there and He will give me strength.  Surely, he has been preparing me.  I look forward to learning and growing  from Elder Willis in this new assignment.   Anyway, I am really excited.

There is so much about to happen here in Camarillo. I know I said this at the beginning of the transfer, but there is even more.  We have shared miracles that we have seen as we have followed the Spirit and now several members have shared amazing stories about being led by the Spirit to invite a friend to church or learn about what we believe!  Stephanie's baptism has started the ball rolling and we expect a lot of member missionary work to come. 

Stephanie and her family.

 Stephanie at her baptism.  An Elder who had taught her previously baptized her.

 Elder Ruby in Stephanie's "pool".

A church family who has connections to the Gillette area.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Zone Hike/Activity

The Camarillo and Newbury Park Zones met for a hike and training.

Their focus for the activities was that they need to be lead by the spirit as they find and teach.  They spent some time with partners on a trail and one being blindfolded.  They also tied their legs together and had one partner blindfolded to learn that listening and working together in unity is a must.   It looks like Elder Ruby got a new "California" shirt.  I'm positive he didn't have that shirt when he left Wyoming:)

They were each giving a bandana for their blindfold.  Sister Felix said that it was quite funny that they had lots of BYU fans and they thought they were being handed a University of Utah bandana.  It actually says Salvation University and Wise Men Still Seek Him.

After their hike, they drove to the Stake Center where their cars were inspected, they had lunch and finished their activities. 

Elder Ruby is standing with Sister Felix and humming for an activity.

Stephanie's baptism

I apologize for the late blog post.  I have been sick a few days this week, so I didn't get to post Elder Ruby's letter until today.  He gets transfer calls on Saturday.  He is pretty sure he will not be in a tri-pan any more, but he doesn't know if he will get transferred or not.  I will know more on Monday.  Here is his email:

Stephanie's baptism was really special for everyone. The ward and her family was so supportive. Her mother, Tonya, continues to "progress."  She is more open and curious every day.  We are working with a really awesome part-member family, the Bakers.  Laura (member) has already told us that she knows that this church is true.  Her husband, Todd, is so humble and kind.  They have two boys, ages 8 and 9, who live with them half the time.  Laura and Todd told us that the boys kept asking when we were coming back! 

Having three opinions has been something to get used to, and is difficult sometimes, but I have really enjoyed being Elder Agle's and Elder Du Plessis's companion this transfer.  This assignment was definitely inspired because each of us played very critical roles in helping Stephanie.  She needed these two. 

My testimony in being lead by the spirit as we find and teach has grown.  This week we had two neat experiences.  One day we stopped by a part-member's home, but they didn't answer.  We felt impressed to visit an active family down the street.  We invited them to the baptism. They had just gone to a Strawberry stand and picked up the best strawberries in the world! They gave us some to take home.  Before we went home for lunch, we drove to a member, Sister Burns, who has a less-active teenager.  Long story short, we felt impressed to give her those delicious strawberries for the picnic they were having.  We felt good to be the means of answering a prayer and sacrificing something good (strawberries) for something better (charity).

The second experience deals with Stephanie's mother.  I fasted for Stephanie's parents on Sunday, that they would feel the power of the Holy Ghost and would know that what Stephanie was doing was good.  That morning I was impressed to study the Holy Ghost.  I made a list of scriptures from the Bible and Book of Mormon about the baptism of the Holy Ghost.  I had the idea to write, on a note card, scriptures that may help answer Tonya's questions about the Holy Ghost.  I did, and after sacrament meeting, which both parents came to, I handed Tonya the card.  I told her that there were some scriptures from the Book of Mormon on there and that she might have Stephanie read them to her.  We got a text from Stephanie this morning which said she had read the scriptures with her mother and her mother was "very moved" by them, especially Acts 8:12-17.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Life is Good!

Life in Camarillo is great, as usual.  I have two really good companions.  They are both pretty funny and they like to make me the center of their humor.  I like it because the humor helps me laugh at the silly mistakes I make or things I say.  Elder DuPlessis wants to come work on the farm, seriously.  Granny and Papa will/would love him!

I am doing well.  Life is so good.  I am in sunny California, being fed by members, with only the magnification and fulfillment of my calling and commission to worry about.  I'm not saying it's easy, because it's not.  The mission is probably the hardest thing I've ever chose to do.  There is so much to think about and work on and decide and discern.  It's easy to read our purpose: "Inviting others to come unto Christ and helping them receive the restored gospel", but it is much more challenging to put that into action and to be who God needs/wants me to be.  I'm working on it, and I'm still trying to get over my fears of talking to people. 

Sorry the picture is so small.  It turned out really fuzzy when I made it bigger:(  Hyrum is the elder on the top right, behind the elder with the green tie.  This is his Camarillo District of missionaries.

The work was really slow in the beginning of the week.  We adjusted our attitudes, humbled ourselves, and planned more purposefully.  The talks in our district meeting about consecration and forgetting ourselves were just what we needed.  Stephanie is so excited to get baptized! From the moment she tried on her jumpsuit, she has just been a ball of anticipation. Her family is supporting her too.  We know they will feel the Spirit at her baptism.

 We need faith in Jesus Christ, and faith requires humility (Moroni 7:43-44).  I have been learning about Christ and then doing my best to exercise faith in Him.  Studying the Atonement has helped me feel of Christ's and Heavenly Father's love for me.  That is the most pleasing feeling to the soul. I want others to feel that love, so I pray for charity.  I need the charity so that I care enough about the people around me to share this love with them.  It's been working.

God continues to work miracles.  I have seen how God has been preparing and softening Stephanie's parents' hearts after all the prayers that have been offered in their behalf.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mother's Day!

I had such a wonderful Mother's Day!  Blaine cooked me a tenderloin steak omlette, the talks and lessons in church were sweet, our extended family gathered for a meal and great conversation and our missionary called home!  Elder Ruby doesn't get out of church until 5pm our time.  Then he let his other two companions call their mothers first.  That is so like him, to put others first.  He called us at about 8:20pm and we talked until a little after 9pm.  We put the phone on speaker and the five of us sat around the table and talked and laughed with him.  He asked us to share any miracles we have seen, no matter how small.   We shared a few stories and spoke of times where we were in the right place at the right time.  Those experiences are seldom just a coincidence.  They are miracles.

After a visit with the family, he was counseled to spend some time talking just to his mom.  That was so precious for me.  He shared all kinds of things he has learned from me over the years and many of my personality traits.  I had no idea he knew me so well!  Speaking to him was a special treasure. 

Then he asked if he could have family prayer with us.  We all knelt on the floor and he said family prayer on the speaker phone.  His prayer was so humble and genuine.  I know he prays many times a day, but that was the first prayer I have heard from him for eight months.  It was a most wonderful Mother's Day!  

I am so grateful we get to speak to him twice a year.  I am also so grateful for technology that allows us to communicate with him every week.  The early missionaries that traveled to England in the 1800's didn't have the means of speaking to their families like we do.  As a mother of a missionary, I think of technology as a precious gift to families of missionaries.  I love Hyrum and I love what he is doing - teaching people about Jesus Christ, the Plan of Salvation, Christ's Atonement for us and how families can be forever.  If you are interested in knowing about these topics and what we believe, let me know. 

Happy Mother's Day!