Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Conclusion, but not the end

Hello, this is Hyrum (formerly known as Elder Ruby). Thank you all who have commented and taken the time to read about my experiences as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the California Ventura Mission. The posts written on this blog can hardly touch the surface of the wonderful people I met, the lessons I learned, struggles I endured, and the many miracles that I was blessed to witness.  Still, it represents the service that I gave and expresses my testimony of the great work that I engaged in.

I set out to write a conclusion. Not necessarily a conclusion to my missionary work, but a summary of the things I learned and a statement on my future plans.

I know that we have a loving Father in Heaven who knows and loves us. I have felt His overwhelming love again and again. He expressed this love in a myriad of ways, in small tender mercies throughout my life and in sacred moments of comfort when I needed Him most.

I learned that "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass. . . and by very small means the Lord. . . bringeth about the salvation of many souls" (The Book of Mormon, Alma 37:5-6). The Lord taught me that small things like smiles, services, church and temple attendance, and daily prayer and scripture sturdy build an armor around us that protect us from evil. Salvation comes after consistent exercise of faith. Regularly I would feel an impression to knock on a specific door or walk down a street that I didn't anticipate walking on. Even when I heeded these promptings, we were sometimes led to people who were less than friendly with us. I questioned why Heavenly Father would inspire me to do things that led to unprepared people. Without fail, we would find a person who was ready and searching for the truth later that day. As I looked back on the day, I was reminded of all the small seemingly uninspired decisions we made that day which ultimately placed us in the path of this prepared individual or family. It was the small and simple things.

I learned for myself that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I challenge anyone who reads this to gain or strengthen their own testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon by reading, pondering, and praying with faith in Christ and a sincere heart to know its truth. I have done these things and the Holy Ghost has born witness to me that it truly is God's word, as is the Bible. Each time I study the Book of Mormon my faith in Christ is strengthened, I feel peace, and I receive answers to my questions.

I know that the priesthood authority that Christ gave to His Apostles (Matthew 10:1-15; Matthew 16:19; Luke 9:1-6) and prophets has been restored to the Earth today. I hold that power and I can trace my authority back to Christ in an unbroken chain. This authority is given to me and other worthy male members of the church to bless the loves of others. I have seen this on my mission as those I have blessed, taught, and prayed for have been healed of their infirmities, changed, and blessed.

My mission was an incredible time for self examination. I learned who I am. I developed more Christlike attributes than I had before I left. I learned to communicate with many different kinds of people. I honestly think that serving a mission is also meant to prepare us for marriage. Compromising, serving, and growing as a companionship gave me a glimpse of what life is like with another person. There were companions that I struggled to relate to, but I built lifelong friendships with many of the missionaries that I served with.

Coming home was another challenge.  I feared that all the learning and growing I had done on my mission had changed me so much that there would be an awkwardness as I rebuilt the relationships I forged two years earlier. This concern was immediately dispelled when I embraced my family at the airport and we picked up where we left off. Instead, adjusting to the lack of productivity, making decisions for my future, and finding my standard of technology and pop culture priorities challenged me after I returned home. While on my mission, I used a church provided planner to manage my time and stay productive, but when I came home, I lacked purpose and organization. I had a lot of time with nothing to do. Since my first few weeks home I developed a semi-regular routine and I find joy in helping my mom at the house. I have really enjoyed my time home with my family. After spending two years in the service of other people, I found making decisions for myself difficult. I came home and needed to choose a college to attend along with a career path in addition to finding a social life and trying to date. These choices I refused to think about on my mission because I thought of them as distractions from my purpose as a missionary. So, when I came home, I had a lot of decision making to do. As missionaries we don't engage in worldly entertainment such as the internet, movies, music (except for reverent music that invites the Spirit), smart phones, Facebook, Twitter, the news, magazines, radio, video games, and television. When all these entities began vying for my attention upon my return I sought to find a balance of these things in my life. I came to the conclusion that I need to spend time with things that will be of eternal significance (like my family, building relationships, preparing for college, etc.) rather than vain entertainment or worthless gossip. Still, holding true to that standard is a challenge.

I have been home for 3 months now. Thankfully the Lord gave me a few months to enjoy time with my family before He sent me off to college. I decided, after weeks of himming and hawing, to attend BYU-Idaho starting in January 2017. I will be studying Biochemistry, which is the long way of saying pre-med. The medical field interests me (maybe due to my father's participation in this field), but I am unsure where this interest will take me. Thankfully, I don't have to decide at this very moment, but I personally would like to know my career plan in the near future. I do know, however, that I want to find a wonderful young lady and build a righteous, happy family with her. Who and when, is in the Lord's hands.

While my service as an official full-time missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has concluded, my service to the Lord and my fellow brothers and sisters has not ended. I will continue to look for opportunities to share the light of the gospel with everyone who will let me. I won't be pushy, I won't be overbearing, but I will be persistent. I will do my best to set a Christlike example for those around me and lift the hands that hang low and strengthen the feeble knees (Hebrews 12:12).

I encourage anyone who reads this to strengthen their faith by study and prayer. I hope that you will reach out to those who need strengthened, and if you are one that needs strength, may you find it in Christ's everlasting love and His angels - heavenly and earthly.

I conclude this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Last Post From Mission

Wow!  I can't believe the day has come for Elder Ruby to return home!  I have spent the last two years telling myself that he wasn't coming home.  Now, it's just 2 days away and I still can't believe it.  I'm not sure what to expect.  He says he's still the same Hyrum.  I can't wait to hug him and look at him.  My friend, Kristin, said she stared at her return missionary at the dinner table.  I can see myself doing the same thing.  I have been doing my best to stay busy the past few days, to make the time go by faster and not constantly look at the clock.  So far, it's working.   I know everyone is going to do some adjusting, including me.  I will be patient and understanding.  I am so excited!!

Here's a few words from his very last letter:  I will do my best to constructively learn from my experiences on my mission, and move on.  I want to come home, stay busy, study, exercise, watch Rowen play football, go to institute, play on the trampoline (Lily can't wait), harvest the garden, prepare for college and establish good friendships.  I look forward to beating you at Just Dance again, watching wholesome movies, playing cards as a family, roasting s'mores together, and eating your wonderful food.  I sure miss doing those things (especially the last one) with you, but not for long.

It will take me some time to adjust.  I may feel uncomfortable in situations that you would feel comfortable, like listening to the radio, just hanging out with no purpose, being by myself or swimming.  I may actually call you or others Elder or Sister :)  I will want to study often.  I will want things clean.  I will want to plan out my day, and go to bed at a reasonable time.  Just be patient with me and I'll do my best to be patient with you.

Last, I wanted to share his last words of testimony with you:

I feel like I have always had a testimony of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and all that that implies. The things that I could bear my testimony about before my mission are still the things that I know to be true. In that way, my testimony hasn't changed. However, I know who Christ is more than I ever have before. I know more surely that Joseph Smith was a prophet called to restore Christ's church, priesthood, and teachings to the Earth in their fullness.  I know that the Book of Mormon is God's word because of how I feel and the understanding it gives me.  No man could have written that book unless the words were from God Himself.

I am so thankful for what the mission has taught me.  I am grateful for the person God has helped me become. Don't worry, I'm still Hyrum.  (Being called "Hyrum" will take some getting used to).  I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know and love us.  They are involved in the details of our lives.  Joseph Smith was called by God to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Earth.  I know that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass.  The Book of Mormon is the word of God.  The church is true, the Book is blue, and Moroni is always on the ball.  I know our family is eternal and I want an eternal family of my own.

Love, Elder Hyrum P. Ruby

Here are some pictures from some wonderfully kind people who spent the weekend with Elder Ruby and Elder Huston.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Words of High School Wisdom

This past Sunday was amazing.  Kayla (a youth non-member) came, like usual.  Her very good member friend took care of her.  Patty also came.  She is a lady who stopped meeting with the missionaries right before I got here and has lots of questions.  Patty got a little freaked out when Elder Hunter and I called her one day, because she didn't recognize our names or voices.  She also found a bag of oranges at her front door from her neighbors, who are members, and she was worried about what she had gotten herself into.  After a few months and an invitation from a member family recently, she came to church.  She has come the last three weeks, but we have not been able to nail down a time to meet with her for a lesson.  Fortunately, that family invited us over for dinner with her tonight.  I expect that the dinner and lesson will go well.  Finally, another investigating family came to church.  We taught them the Restoration lesson on Saturday.  The son (11yrs old) listened for almost the entire lesson.  He even ran to his room to get his Bible.  His parents weren't able to stay for all of church, but their son did.  I was grinning from ear to ear, and I think it was a bit obvious, but I couldn't help it:)

Do you want to year a funny story?  This Tuesday we had MLC again.  That is my last MLC (Mission Leadership Conference).  President and Sister Felix fed us all breakfast at the Mission Home before the meeting started.  We had waffles.  The MLC was focused on real intent, focus and teaching repentance.  That was wonderful and much of the content related to my recent studies/thoughts.  After lunch, the Assistants asked if we would pick up supply orders for our zones from the mission office.  Our zone had ordered 3 boxes of Books of Mormon in addition to other materials.  The boxes have 40 copies of the Book of Mormon and each box is about 35 lbs.  I thought I was tough, so I picked up two boxes and let Elder Huston take the other box plus the bin of the other materials.  Well, I did fine picking them up with my legs, not my back.  The problem came when I had to put them down.  We walked out to the car and I squatted down in my suit to set the boxes down, so that I could pop the trunk.  As I did so, I heard a big ripping sound and looked down between my legs to see a 8" tear in the seam of my pants:)  I tried to keep my cool, but Elder Huston decided to announce my ripped pants to the elders around!  We still had 3 hours more of MLC.  Of course I was embarrassed, but there was nothing I could do.  Thankfully, the tear was between my legs and it was hidden by my suit coat, but still.  We had a good laugh.

As we were walking down the street last week, we ran into a member of the ward who is showing sheep in the fair, which happened to be last week.  With this member was a journalist who is fascinated with our church.  She took pictures of us and asked about our missions.   For the paper, she is following this member all fair week and was/is going to make an article about her.  I used my livestock judging skills and taught the member about how to tell if a lamb is too skinny, too fat, or just right by comparing how it's loins feel to her fingers, arm and back of her hands.  The journalist took pictures of us feeling/petting the lamb.  She also said that she had lost her copy of the Book of Mormon when she moved and would like a copy.  We gave her one and got her phone number.  She said she is interested in learning more.  So, we may be in the newspaper.  Good publicity.

Hyrum wrote some advice to Rowen about going to high school.  I wanted to share it with you:
The best advice I can give to Rowen is to do the small and simple things in your life, like daily prayer, scripture study, serving others, smiling, and keeping up with homework assignments.  Don't let them get piled up.  Don't procrastinate.  Consider not doing homework on the Sabbath.  I never did, and Heavenly Father blessed me for that.  Stay away from temptation on the internet, in the locker rooms, and when you are alone, tired, angry, or sad.  Enjoy learning at school even if your friends think the teacher is dumb, or school isn't cool.   Be social, but spend your time in a manner and in a place and with whom is most important.  That may be uplifting a friend, being with family, or counseling with a coach/teacher.  You do a great job of these things already, but just don't forget them and don't get distracted from the things that really matter to you.  That's for you to decide.  Explore and develop your many talents.  Continue to be the spiritual giant that your Heavenly Father wants you to be.

I love this great and marvelous work!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Eating Balut

Kayla, our 16 year old investigator, is progressing very well.  She asks the best questions and says wonderful prayers.  Her prayers are super sincere, engaged and personal.  Kayla is on track to be baptized on August 20.  She moved the date so her sister could attend. 

Madelene has the new member “glow” :)  She looks like she belongs.  She’s happy and understands what is taught more readily.  She took us out to dinner and told us about growing up in Beverly Hills.  She lived near Marilyn Monroe.  They were friends with Frank Sinatra and Madelene had met Shirley Temple’s family.  Madelene said that Shirley was a miserable little girl who just got bossed around by adults.  That was sad to hear because Shirley is such a cute little girl on television. 

Funny story (sort of):  Elder Bronson and I were on exchanges in his area.  We were on bikes and trying to talk with this guy on the sidewalk, when from my left side I heared this super loud train honk.  I turned toward the sound and there’s this guy in his black suburban holding out his iPhone.  He laughed at us and yelled, “In the name of Jesus!” and then drove off.  The guy we were trying to talk with was embarrassed and walked shamefully away.

Another story: We ate dinner with a Filipino family.  The last time we ate with them they joked that next time they would feed us balut.  Well, they didn’t forget.  Thankfully, they fed us a wonderful meal and then they brought in 10 boiled duck eggs with the embryos inside and expected us to try them.  They were still hot when we got them, so as I pealed mine and waited for it to cool down a bit, I did my best to muster the courage to eat it.  The kids were laughing at us and video taping us, but they didn’t want any balut.  This was a bad sign . . . Finally, I was ready.  Although it looked disgusting (veins on the yoke and the mangled, hairy baby duck, gray on the side) and smelled a bit odd, I just closed my eyes and bit in.  I just got part of the yoke in that bite and it didn’t taste too bad.  That gave me a little more courage to finish.  Honestly, I felt the way I did before going down that slide at the Kalahari that drops you and then climbing the stairs to do it again.  I knew I would finish it, but I was not comfortable.  The baby duck was a bit crunchy and kind of stringy.  I finished, but one was enough for me.  Elder Palmer did it too.  His baby duck was a little further along in its development, so his was more crunchy and feathery.  He was a good sport though.

Transfers were last week.  Hyrum stayed in Thousand Oaks, but got a new companion.  Only 7 of 80 companionships stayed together this transfer.  He is now a Zone Leader and had to move into an apartment with another set of elders.  His apartment was going to be given to some sister missionaries.  Twenty-two new elders came in this past transfer!  As of today, Hyrum has 5 weeks!  He will return home September 14!!  We can’t wait :)

This week our ward got to do a training for the entire mission leadership (district leaders, zone leaders, sister training leaders, and YSA missionaries). We were chosen to show what we do to be so successful and to give the missionaries tools to use to help the other missionaries in the mission become more unified with their wards. We received a lot of good feedback from President, the assistants, and the missionaries.

Elder Palmer & Elder Ruby at a picnic

Twins: Elder Ruby & Elder Palmer

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Learning From the Book of Mormon

I look forward to hearing about how fair goes. I wish I could be home to help train and fit the steers. Those skills I learned with the steers have carried into missionary life.  Elder Palmer and I needed hair cuts, so I trimmed him up, and he cut my hair. He did a good job. Also, training and steer is a bit like training a new missionary.  First of all, you are always training when you are with the steers. They observe everything you do and your reactions.  Second, it is best to be consistent in how you tell the steer what to do so they know exactly what you are trying to tell them.  In a similar way, a new missionary pays attention to everything you do.  You have to be consistent in your attitude and the rules that you keep.  If for any reason you need to do something that does not fall in line with all the rules, specifically the minor ones, it is important to explain why and what.  From what I understand, parenting is very similar.  You can’t pick and choose when you are training, or parenting.

This last week and the week before, there have been homecoming talks by missionaries returning to this ward. One of the recently returned missionaries served in La Crosse, Wisconsin and spoke Hmong. He knew the Bakers! That was a fun connection. One missionary got home from Argentina last week.  I have observed who these missionaries become and their testimonies, and how they adjust to “real life.”  Some are super happy, others act like they are still far away, another made everyone feel special. When I get home, I will be super exited to be with you all again.  It may take some time to adjust.  I may feel like it’s not real.  I’ll need to be busy.  I may get stressed as I make decisions about college, but I will love being with you to share experiences, laugh, play, talk, and work. 

What are some of the insights that you have found as you have read the scriptures lately?  I’ve found that the Book of Mormon was written for our day.  Helaman 13: 24-28 describes how corrupt people can be.  They go to pastors who preach smooth things, who say you are saved by grace.  You cannot work your way into heaven, so just be a good person.  Christ has payed the price for your sins.  Well, true it is that Christ’s grace is what saves us, and, on our own, we unworthy creatures cannot merit anything, but it is upon conditions of repentance that we receive Christ’s mercy.  To save us (meaning reward us all Eternal Life) regardless of the choices we made, would not be just.  And god is just. Were it not so, God would cease to be God, and we could never anticipate the results of our choices, therefore making it impossible to choose good verses evil.  (I hope that made sense, if not, you can ask me about it when I get home, or in a letter.)

Another passage in Helaman, Helaman16: 20-22, describes a complaint/argument that unbelievers have.  I hear this today too.  People say that we are brainwashed or controlled by a prophet, a man. They say that they only need their relationship with God, not man.  They think that religion restricts them, telling them what they should or shouldn't do.  They are not willing to humble themselves and seek to do the God’s will.  Why do they not see that living in sin restricts them?  Doing God’s will enables us to be free.  Anarchy is not freedom.  Living within the bounds the Lord has set will grant us Eternal Life someday. What could be more free than inheriting all that the Father has? Romans 8:16-17 Anyway, Helaman wrote for our day.  His days were like our days.  If only we could learn from those accounts.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Madelene's Baptism

Saturday was Madelene's baptism. She came with her white hair looking nice. We took pictures with her. Madelene also brought her care-taker, Rexine, who is not a member (Rexine came to our lesson with Madelene on Thursday and she seemed very interested...). Many members from the ward attended. I gave a talk on baptism that was very brief. I shared two scriptures (2Nephi 31:5-7 and  Romans 6:1-3). We had 4 non-members from our ward who were there, so I hope they understood what was taught. Elder Palmer baptized Madelene with the assistance of a boy who has a mission call to Ecuador.
Madelene was slightly nervous (she has a hard time getting around because of a back injury), but they put her down slowly into the water and only had to do it once. While we waited for Madelene to change, we passed our paper for the members and non-members to write on to Madelene. She told us on Sunday that she had read all the notes, and she thanked us and others for their words.

Sunday was a day full of miracles. A man named Nicolas came into church with shorts and a purple t-shirt on about 30 minutes before church. He's from New York, but he lives here now. He had attended church before with colleagues of his and he is interested in learning more. We got his number. Our Elder's Quorum President and Ward Mission Leader jumped on it. Nicolas sat with one of them and he looked comfortable! Heavenly Father can do His own work. Madelene got confirmed in sacrament meeting and there were a bunch of non-members there because a guy named Dakota was giving his homecoming talk from his mission. Grace, a 93 year old investigator of ours, also came to listen to her dear friend, Sister Greding, speak. (I'm not sure what it is with us teaching old ladies).

After church we went by a potential investigator who said to come by at 4:30. The potential wasn't there, but a guy named Steve answered. He said he'd be interested in learning more, so we set up a return appointment for Tuesday!

For dinner, we ate with the Galeria family. Their youngest daughter just graduated high school and she's preparing for a mission. She has a boyfriend named Tony who also came for dinner. Those two have been reading the Book of Mormon together and right now they are in Mosiah, I think. We asked if we could share a message. The Galeria's asked if we would teach Tony the restoration. Of course, we accepted. We tried to understand what Tony believes and what level of understanding he has by asking questions. Although Tony didn't understand everything we taught, the Spirit was in that home so strong, especially as Brother Galeria shared his testimony. We asked Tony if he would get baptized if he found that the Book of Mormon was true. He said "yes"! We left the Galeria's filled with the Spirit.

The great day didn't end there. The Fauvers had us over for cake because Sister Fauver's birthday is this week. They also had planned on us teaching one of their daughter's friends, named Kayla. Kayla did not grow up in a very religious home. She knew about or believed in God, but was not familiar with much of the Bible or what the Atonement is. However, she'd been asking her friend, Sofia, a bunch of really sincere questions. Kayla recognized that she felt happy and "pure" (that was how she described the Spirit to us) when she talked with us, when she hangs out at the Fauver's, and when she comes to church (she's been to church twice since I've been here). We taught her who Heavenly Father is, who Jesus Christ is, how the spirit speaks to us, and prayer. She loved the lesson. The feeling of peace and truth that the Spirit brings just wrapped the room up like a warm blanket. Both Sofia and another 16 year old kid from the ward sat in on the lesson and had great input. They testified of the Book of Mormon and modern day prophets. I wish you could have watched Kayla's face light up as we told her that we have a prophet on Earth today!

I'm so happy out here. There are struggles and disappointments, but the thoughts and effects of all the challenges are made sweet when God reveals His hand. The Priesthood is real! The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith saw who he said he saw. Jesus Christ is my savior. We are all beloved sons and daughters of Heavenly Parents. The Holy Ghost has confirmed these things to me. Heavenly Father knows each one of us. We are led today by a prophet called of God.

Follow-up Training Meeting

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Training again!

Transfers were this past week.  Hyrum is staying in Thousand Oaks, but will now be a Trainer instead of a District Leader.  So, this past Wednesday, he got a brand new missionary that he will train for the next 6 weeks.  He was super excited to be training again.  He loves his new companion.  He is a hard worker, loves to work out and will go running with Hyrum.  Hyrum says he does about 100-140 pushups and sit-ups each morning.  Wow!  He's going to come home all buff!!

Hyrum's District

Transfer process, but Hyrum isn't in the picture

Next transfer, we will be in a car share with another set of missionaries. That means that half of the time we will be biking. WooHoo! For the last three days the temperature has been near 100! Yesterday was especially bad in suits. Our area is full of hills. This car share will be a great experience for a new missionary. I remember being on full bikes my first two transfers. It was great for me. Plus, being on the bikes will give us more opportunities to meet people as we go.

Madelene, is set for baptism on July 9th! We were able to get into a home with twin 13 year old boys. They sent us off with a carton of fresh eggs from their chickens and as we were leaving, the family said "see you soon!" Although they did not set a return appointment, it sounds like they expect us back. . . They know some members of the ward.  I love this area so much. Even though the area is geographically small, biking is going to be a challenge. There are a lot of hills and we live out of our area. Still, being visible on bikes will be good.

Here's a picture of a dead rat some other elders put on our car.  Not cool!

Hyrum spoke in church on Father's Day.  He spoke about the similarities between his earthly father and his Heavenly Father.  It must have been really good, because one member took notes and then typed them and emailed his talk to us!  Another member sent me a text and let me know how much she enjoyed Hyrum's talk and that he is a wonderful missionary.  Hyrum told them about our family tradition of shooting prairie dogs on July 4th.  I guess that got a laugh from everyone.  He did clarify that we do it because they eat the pasture the cows need and make holes the horses could step in and brake a leg.  I think that was a totally foreign concept for the California people :)  They loved his stories about his dad.

Hyrum at a District Leader Training

Thursday, June 23, 2016

100 Days Left!

Monday, June 6 means Hyrum has 100 days left until he returns home!!  It will feel so good to be in the double digits.  Hyrum's letters continue to be short, but wonderful.  We love hearing from him.  A few weeks ago, on a Preparation Day, Hyrum, his companion and two other missionaries went mountain biking with non-member and had a great time!

Andy, the man who took Hyrum and three other elders mountain biking, let me borrow a mountain bike.  Andy gave us a few tips and we were off.  Long story short, mountain biking is rougher than I thought.  There were lots of rocks which made it difficult to keep traction and balance.  One elder brought a hybrid bike.  The wheels were kind of narrow and not make for trail riding.  This was his first time too.  The other elders had some experience with mountain biking, so they went ahead.  The elder with the hybrid bike struggled to stay up, so I stayed back with him.  For once, I was the kid who everyone waited for and who doesn't get a rest.  Overall, I really liked the experience.  I had no problem physically, strength-wise, but I lacked technique.  Mountain biking is something that I think I could really enjoy.

Elder Ruby's District while he served as District Leader

Here is a poem President Felix sent to the missionaries:

Smiling is infectious, you catch it like the flu.
When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too.

I passed around the corner and someone saw my grin
When he smiled I realized I'd passed it on to him.

I thought about that smile then I realized it's worth,
A single smile, just like mine, could travel round the earth.

So, if you feel a smile begin, don't leave it undetected.
Let's start an epidemic quick, and get the world infected!

At the end of May, Hyrum wrote:
The days are long.  We seem to be walking the streets trying to talk with everyone, but we are yeilding little results.  What keeps me going are the little miracles that come from nowhere.  At 8:50pm we ran into an Asian man waxing his car in his garage.  We bore our testimony of the blessings that have come to us because of the restored gospel.  He really liked what we had to say and gave us his personal phone number and asked about church.  He said he had to talk with his fiance about coming to church first.  Yesterday, we ate dinner with some members who invited some non-member friends over.  We watched the beginning of the Sunday morning session of General Conference and listened to President Monson speak.  Tonight, we called a member up to set up a short visit with their family and they told us that their girls have friends who are interested.  All these moments make the long days worth it.

I know this is God's work.  I know He loves us with all his heart, might, mind and strength.  I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior.  I know that Joseph Smith was the prophet called to restore Christ's church and priesthood authority upon the earth.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Transferred to Thousand Oaks

Boy, these last two weeks have gone by so fast.  That always happens when I am busy.  This time is was Haven's graduation.  Two weeks ago Hyrum was transferred to Thousand Oaks, CA to be a District Leader there.  Here is a little from him on his most recent assignment as a District Leader and some pictures too.

Our ward mission leader brought me to tears, good tears, the second day in the area. After dinner at his home, he shared the ward's vision and mission plan. Brother Whitman had, and has, so much faith. I couldn't help but feel the confidence that God had in this ward and in us as missionaries. I learned that nothing is impossible with Christ. We haven't yet set anyone with a date, but I am confident that we can do miracles if we believe.

We helped out a recent convert family the other day on their yard. As we did, we asked about their conversion story. They told us that their daughter had a member friend who invited them to church. The first time they went to church, they didn't really like it. However, after many invitations and her children wanting to go back, the parents eventually opened their hearts and felt the truth.  We shared this story with many members this week to encourage them to continue inviting.

Being a district leader has been very new to me. I feel inadequate sometimes.  I heard good feedback from the district about district meeting, so I guess I didn't do too bad. :)

I feel like I have been serving in this ward for a long time already. They just feel like family. Of course, they could never replace you, but they make me feel at home.

Today we are going to Mountain bike with a non-member whose wife is a member. Hopefully that will soften his heart a bit. This will be my first time. Don't worry, I will go slow.

It was a tough week. We have four investigators all of whom would not meet this week. We did have wonderful splits with the ward on Thursday. We discovered a few neat connections with the members and investigators/less-actives. #miracles. This week we have done a lot of street contacting, but we haven't found many who would receive us. It has helped me understand that I can't do this all on my own.

I am learning to be even more of myself. I am learning to speak my mind more and trust that the Lord will give me what I need to say.

This past week we had the missionaries over for dinner.  Right after they left, I got a text from a wonderful member in Thousand Oaks who had Hyrum over for dinner that same night.  She sent me two pictures of him.  It was so cool!

Elder Ruby and Elder Hunter

Elder Ruby with smoked pizza

Monday, May 2, 2016

I apologize.  We have been having tons of problems with our internet, so I haven't been able to post anything for Elder Ruby lately.  He has been doing really well, as you all know.  This is his last week as an Assistant to the President.  He will receive a new assignment that will start Tuesday May 10.  I will find out the new assignment when we talk to him on Mother's Day.  I am so excited to talk to him!!  Hyrum asked us to prepare to visit with him about our favorite scripture and why we chose it.  He said he can talk for 30-40 minutes.  I know it won't be near long enough.  I will treasure every minute.  

Here's a little from his email today:

Guess what! Mark (a young man he baptized a while ago) just submitted his mission paperwork to SLC. He put his availability date August 9th, the day of his confirmation! This means that he attend the temple while I am still on a mission. If that is the case, then I will be able to go with him if it's at the LA or Fresno Temple. I am just jumping for joy right now! This is why he said he is going:

"1. I've discovered an overwhelming love for Jesus Christ, and I think that it would be selfish of me not to spread that love to other people.
2. Since I've been a member of the Church, I have received so many unexpected blessings, it's impossible to count them all. I've always been really blessed, but my experience at school with the Church—the people that I've met, the support I've received from them, the opportunities that I've had to grow as an individual, etc.—has been something that I can't take advantage of without giving something back
3. Four of my best friends here are going to serve a mission after this year, and I think that by serving along side them, in all corners of the globe, we have an opportunity to grow closer as friends than we ever could have been without the experience.
4. For the last 14 years of my life, I've been focused entirely on school. It's a noble, but entirely inward focus. I think that by serving a mission will aid me in an effort to become outward focused. and more conscious of the people around me."

I am so happy for him.

We almost achieved all our goals last week! It feels so good to accomplish what we hope for. And achieving those goals gives us more hope. I love it. We really enjoy working in our area. Contacting people on campus has shown to be the most successful. We are also involving the members in missionary work and encouraging them to invite their friends/acquaintances to church or activities. The members love it. We took members contacting on campus and they seemed to know everyone. It was great!

I am learning to trust in God more. For my entire mission I have prayed to be led to those who have been prepared to receive the restored gospel. Despite my prayers, I don't feel like I have been led to as many as I thought I would be. Recently, I my mindset has changed a bit. I have chosen to give everyone a chance to receive the gospel, but if they do not accept it at this time, I just move on to the next. I have learned to clearly state our purpose and invite them to learn more. This has brought more peace to my heart and I expect to find someone eager for the truth sometime soon. Sadly, many people have hardened their hearts against the truth and the Spirit. I often feel like Jeremiah, Lehi, Alma, and many, if not all, the prophets did as they went out preaching to everyone that would hear them.

I tried to copy a few pictures from the California Ventura Mission blog, but the pictures wouldn't copy for me.  So, I will refer you to the blog's post of the Mission Tour to see 4 pictures of Hyrum.  He is in 3 at the beginning of the post and also the group photo of the Ventura Zone. 

Here are some statistics of his mission right now:

Where did they arrive from?

After the two missionaries who will be arriving (mid transfer) on Monday, April 18, we will have 146 single missionaries and 5 senior couple missionaries. This breaks down to:
Spanish Hermanas  22
English Sisters  28
Spanish Elders  21
English Elders  75

Below are the areas the single missionaries are from and how many came from that state or country:

Arizona 3
Brazil 1
California 1
Canada  6
Colorado 5
Georgia 1
Hondorus 1
Florida 2
Iowa 1
Idaho 19
Indiana 3
Kansas 2
Kentucky 1
Mexico 1
Maryland 1
Missouri 1
Montana 2
North Carolina 1
North Dakota 1
New Jersey 1
New Mexico 1
Nevada 3
Ohio 2
Oklahoma 3
Oregon 2
Pennsylvania 1
Tennesee 1
Texas 8
Utah 62
Virginia 3
Washington 3
Wyoming 3

All of the Senior Couples are from Utah.

Saturday, April 16, 2016


Time flies when you are having fun.  Elder Boyce and I are loving the mission, but we don't' want it to end so soon.  Thankfully, I have a long time. . .  Sometimes we struggle and have tough days.  Here's some advice for current and soon-to-be missionaries: If you want the time to go by faster, you should work harder, smile and think about serving others:)

I loved General Conference!  I always do.  I'm not sure if it was just me, or what, but I noticed a theme of marriage and fulfilling our roles and magnifying our callings.  I liked Elder Renlund's talk.  Here is one quote from him, “The greater the distance between the giver and the receiver, the more the receiver develops a sense of entitlement.”  Since then, I have tried even harder to come closer to God. 

Our mission has been focusing on the Christlike attribute of humility since Zone Conference.  That is the same topic Elder Snow spoke about!

Hyrum mentioned that his new vehicle didn't have a Tiwi.  So I asked him what a Tiwi was.  In your last letter you asked what a Tiwi is.  It's a cross between a tangerine and a kiwi.  Just kidding!  He still has a sense of humor:)  Tiwi is a device installed in all mission vehicles that uses GPS to help coach us while driving.  It tells us to "check your speed" and give us violations when we go over speed bumps too fast, accelerate too fast, brake too hard, or go around a curve too fast.  The church records these and sends a weekly and transfer report on each driver's driving.  So far, I have been a green driver (verses a yellow or red)!

Right now we are cooking some halibut in the oven.  Our neighbor, Cindy, gave it and some freshly picked oranges to us.  She is super nice.  We are eating much better now that you sent me some recipes and with our crock pot.  Having prepared meals makes dinner at the apartment something to look forward to.  Some more advice: start learning to cook quick meals and be creative before serving your mission.

If you make the best of your week, it will go by fast! :)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Finished the Book of Mormon in Three Months

Zone meeting went great.  President Felix is so inspired.  We presented a new Christlike attribute: Humility.  Our scripture that missionaries will recite every morning is Doctrine and Covenants 112:10.  It turned out that two elders had been highlighting humility in their Book of Mormon for the last two transfers and another sister had been prompted to study the song "Be Thou Humble" at our last MLC.  These instances just help confirm that the attribute and scripture President Felix chose was right.

Our mission has been highlighting the Doctrine of Christ (faith, repentance baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end) in the Book of Mormon for the last three months.  I finished it by reading about 6 pages a day.  I really loved how engaged I became with the Book of Mormon.  With every page, the people became more real and the Book more true.  I also underlined or highlighted every reference to Christ.  If a person will do this, you will come to understand:
  1. Your purpose
  2. Your Savior
  3. How much the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ
Transfers have been exhausting.  We started on Sunday at 6pm.  We calculated about 32 hours of transfer planning and travel arrangements.  This time I was not so stressed about how the travel was going to happen.  There were only 10 companionships in the mission who stayed together.   We had 73 missionaries moving to a new area!  Everything went pretty smoothly.  We had one set of missionaries who arrived at the transfer location 25 minutes late, so that was frustrating.  But, other than that, it was a smooth transfer.  President Felix let Hyrum know that this is his last transfer as an Assistant to the President. 

A few Sunday's ago, we felt prompted to visit an active member who is preparing to go on a mission to Brazil soon.   We texted her to set up the appointment.  Before the scheduled time with her, we were driving to visit a less-active person who we hadn't seen for a while.  I had the thought to stop by another less-active person on the way there, so we did.  (A thought is inspiration until proven otherwise, right?)  The father, a pretty fit younger, black guy answered the door.  The person we were looking for wasn't home, but the father was willing to talk.  We stood at the door talking with him for about 30 minutes.  He wasn't quite bashing, but he sure liked to debate.  We testified and corrected his misunderstandings.  That was interesting.  It was one of the few times when I didn't bring my Bible with me and he just tore us apart about that.  We invited him to study the Book of Mormon to find out for himself that it is the word of Christ.  We read 2 Nephi 33:10 with him.  After our discussion with him, we drove to the house of the girl about to leave for her mission.  She told us all about the missionary work she had been doing with her friends.  We proposed that she ask her friends if she could "practice" teaching them in preparation for her mission.  She loved the idea.  "There can be miracles when you believe" (Watch The Prince of Egypt).

We look forward to the Mission Tour with Elder James J. Hamula of the Quorum of the Seventy this week. We will have a special MLC with him and two zone conferences. We have to do a presentation/ lead a discussion on our mission's key indicators and how we can improve. After the conferences, just President and Sister Felix, Elder Boyce and I will be meeting with Elder Hamula. Oh, boy.
It has been a great week.  I'll keep in touch:)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Dairy Queen :)

We had this really neat idea for Zone Conference which is Tuesday through Thursday this week.  We want to do some training on planning, goal setting and accountability.  Elder Boyce and I will be training on Planning.  Our idea was to show a live planning session and project our daily planner so that everyone could see.  Sister Felix has this Samsung tablet that comes with a pen, so it is really precise.  We took a picture of a blank planner and we could write over the top of it.  Today, after emails and studies, Elder Boyce and I drove to President's house to figure out how we could project what was on the tablet.  We had a horrible time trying to sync the tablet to President's computer so that we could project it.  We started at 11:30am and we left the Felix's home at 2:00!  Eventually, we found an alternative.  Instead of writing in our plans live, we will just type them in.

We were hungry, so we drove to the mall where we heard there was a Dairy Queen.  Dairy Queens are not common out here in Cali.  We both had gift cards.  We stopped and talked with a couple guys at the mall who had previously met with missionaries.  We got one of the guy's number and he may come to the Young Single Adult ward.

When we arrived at Dairy Queen, our cards wouldn't work.  The old Asian lady that took our order did not know English well.  She took FOREVER with our food.  We were probably waiting there for 15 minutes.  No joke and no one else was ordering.  Yes, I was impatient, but we also had a lot more to do.

We had three more errands to run after we shopped: mail a package, drop off some pants and shirts at the Goodwill, and get a car wash.  For some reason I could not make the right turns or I couldn't go the way I wanted or planned.  Oh, the care wash and vacuum were lousy.
St. Patrick's Day

I have learned that meal planning is a really good idea.  This week we made something called Aztec chicken in the crock pot.  We got this recipe from Sister Floyd (our mission secretary) after she made this dish for MLC a while ago.  The members still don't feed us much, so it's hard to get fat off of sandwiches, noodles and rice.  But we are doing some meal planning ourselves and eating better.  What kind of meals will you be planning this week?

We are getting a brand new 2016 Nissan Frontier truck tomorrow!  The truck that I drove up in SLO is getting high in miles, so the mission is selling it.  The SLO elders will get our truck and we get the
new one!

I have grown a lot spiritually, emotionally and mentally these last few months.  This assignment has been really good for me and my confidence.  Wow!  Eighteen months down.  Six months to go.  Those 6 months will be gone before I know it.  I will be sure to give all my heart, might, mind and strength to serving Christ and representing Him.

May the spirit be with you!

Scenery coming back from Santa Maria

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Doors and Trainings

This week has been great.  On Tuesday, we had MLC.  Elder Boyce and I led a training on finding people and we involved many of the Sister Training Leaders and Zone Leaders.  We put a bunch of our black socks in a crate and inside of one of them we put a white sock representing a prepared person.  We had a volunteer try to find the white sock.  The missionaries seemed to like the demo.  We went on exchanges that evening.  We taught a Buddhist who thinks everything is God.  It was a good day!

We did a booth the next day at Ventura College.  We found a few people that were really interested.  That was really fun.

On Thursday or Friday night we (Elder Boyce and I) got the door slammed in our face the hardest either of us ever had!  We were trying to find a less active member.  We knocked on the door at about 7:30pm.  A big, white guy answered.  He didn't even let us get a word in before he cussed us out and called us Jehovah's.  Then he slammed the door so hard that I felt it in my face.  Yikes.  We just walked away.

Speaking of Jehovah Witnesses, we met one today at the store who wanted to bash with us.  She was an older lady riding one of those scooters.  She stared asking us questions that were meant to catch us.  She told us that we needed to study up more.  We just offered to help and then went on our way when she declined.  I haven't run into many of those people on my mission.

Tonight we met a couple who don't believe there is such a thing as true happiness.  We assured them that there is.  Their opinion made us sad for them.

Yesterday we had the weirdest door approach.  We were trying to find a less-active member of the church.  When we walked up to the house, the door was open and the TV was on.  We knocked and a lady walked up to the door.  We asked if the less active person lived there and she said, "no," and told us rudely to take this person off the list.  She then walked away and another lady answered the door. She said they were watching the Oscars and wanted us to go away.  Out of the blue, an older lady came to the door with a platter of Hostess treats (Twinkies, Ding Dongs, etc).  She gave us a treat, took a pamphlet and said good-bye all before we knew what was happening. . . Yeah.

We just had a zone activity where we learned life skills like budgeting (the missionaries have $135 to spend a month on things they need), cooking, medical help, communication, public speaking, and car maintenance. They were also taught how to maintain their vacuum cleaner and scrub the bathtub.  That was pretty fun.  Elder Boyce and I helped Elder Stewart, an older office missionary, with teaching the missionaries about what is under the hood of a car, how to change a tire, and how to jump a car.  We had three of those activities this week.  We saw all the missionaries and we loved it.  We have such a good mission.  The missionaries here really are fantastic.  We could be more bold in opening our mouths and knowing how to work with the members, but I trust our missionaries.

President has asked that we record the number of people we contact in a day. A contact is someone that we talk with on the street and we make an effort to share something with that person or get their name.  President wants us to have at least 50 contacts in a week.  The purpose is to find more people.

Car Maintenance Training

Elder Ruby showing the missionaries how to change a tire.
Elder Ruby showing how to safely use jumper cables.

I have gained a testimony of following the direction from our leaders. As we have contacted everyone we could, I have felt the Spirit direct my words more than I have before. We heard from almost all the zone leaders today that those with high contact numbers also found more new investigators. Go figure.
This transfer, I feel like I have been the best missionary I ever have been.  I have been less hard on myself.  Elder Boyce has really helped me.  I am learning to trust Christ and have confidence that I am doing His work.  That understanding has relieved a lot of unneeded stress.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Transfer Train

This past week (middle of February) was crazy.  We tried out our new system for transferring missionaries to different parts of the mission.  We picked up the new missionaries on Monday.  They were really solid.  I feel really good about this group.  On Tuesday, Elder Young and I woke up early (5am).  We split up.  Elder Young went south and drove a van from the south to the north parts of our mission, picking up and dropping off missionaries as he went.  I took a Zone Leader, Elder Chatterton, up north with me to Santa Maria.  I drove a 10 passenger van.  There was a Senior Elder who drove a truck and trailer for each of us.  There was traffic going up north in Santa Barbara, so that put us about 20 minutes behind schedule.  Other than starting late, we stayed on schedule really well.  Everyone was at the check points when they needed to be and it was easy to load everyone.

We finished at about 12:40pm.  We had a trainer's meeting at 1pm at the Gonzales building in Oxnard.  We set up for that and didn't have a chance to eat anything for lunch.  Elder Boyce, my new companion from Idaho, did a great job at the trainer's meeting.  We kind of threw it together short notice.  There, in the chapel, we brought the new missionaries in and introduced them to their new companions.

Wednesday was busy in the morning.  Four of the departing Elders stayed with us, so we dropped them off at the mission home Wednesday morning at 6:45am.  After saying good-bye to Elder Young and others, President Felix brought us inside.  Sister Felix made us breakfast.  We then discussed the upcoming transfer schedule.  This next transfer the new missionaries will be coming in the same day that the departing missionaries are going out.

After talking with President Felix, we drove to the mission office and fixed the phones.  It was wild.  All the office couples needed us for something.  Also, they got a new printer, so there was a guy there to install it and get all the computers to talk to it.  Elder Boyce looked like a deer in the headlights.  It was his first day as an AP.  I think he asked me if every day was like this two or three times:)  I assured him that we spend probably 80% of our time proselyting.

The rest of the week we have been "hitting the pavement."  We have been talking with everyone.  It's been so great! We haven't found any Young Single Adult potentials from our effort yet, but we have given out a few referrals to other missionaries.  So, that's cool.

Tomorrow is MLC and then we start all the craziness and busyness.  I will be going on 9 exchanges this transfer.  Elder Boyce and I will be doing a training on Chapter 9 of Preach My Gospel: Finding People.  Nothing happens in missionary work until you find someone to teach.  It's going to be great.

Zorbie Balls at a Zone Activity

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Transfer Preparation and Sushi

Elder Ruby hasn't been communicating much to us lately.  I do know he spent 30 hours last week to prepare for transfers.  Here was his report before the transfers happened, so I will hopefully get a full report soon.  As you can see from the pictures, it is a very big process, especially when this mission has never done transfers like this before.  Enjoy!

Yeah, the transfer process took all week long. We finished on Friday afternoon and then called all the Zone Leaders with their zones' assignments on Saturday morning.  It turned out alright. When we talked with them this morning the zone leaders all had good reports. If everyone follows directions, it should all run smoothly tomorrow. Today we are driving up to Santa Barbara around 2:30 to pick up the new missionaries. They are so funny. They are so excited and nervous. They ask questions like "When do I get my trainer?" "Are you guys the APs?" " How long have you been out?" "What's your favorite area?" "Do you get fed a lot?" "Do you eat a lot of seafood?" "Is the traffic always this bad?"

Tomorrow morning at 6am I will be heading up to Santa Maria with a Senior Missionary: Elder Floyd. We will start at the stake center and we will pick up missionaries who are going south and
head down the mission, We will pick up and drop off as we go. I will be driving a 10 passenger van and Elder Floyd will be driving a truck and trailer for all the luggage. Elder Young will do the same with another senior missionary but he will start at the bottom of the mission and drive up.

I am excited for Elder Boyce, my new companion. He's from Rigby, Idaho and he wants to be a mountain guide in the Teton Mountains.  We also have a training meeting on Tuesday and a District leader training on Thursday. This week is going to be busy. This month will also be busy. MLC is next Tuesday. This transfer we will have two zone conferences and two MLC's. Next transfer there will be a mission tour. Elder Hamula of the Seventy will be coming!
The Finished Train
He also gave himself a haircut.  He looks pretty good!
Elder Ruby had the "opportunity" to eat sushi.  Here's a little about his experience:)
These are pictures that a member took of my first time eating sushi. Yep, and the orange stuff on the top of the second one is calamari. . . It was all pretty good except for the thought that I was eating raw fish.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Serving During the Floods

On Wednesday, Elder Summers and I drove out to Ojai, a hippie town, to visit some less-active members.  One of them had a little land and was raising a couple of 4-H calves, a pig and a few horses.  They had a nice pig.  After that visit, we saw a Prius that was stopped.  We waited awkwardly for the lady to get out of her car so that we could offer to help.  We asked if there was something we could do to help her.  She casually said that we could help her lay sand bags in front of her place.  We were dressed in our nice clothes, so she expected that we would hesitate or say no.  When we accepted, she was super surprised and impressed.  After checking that we wouldn't charge her and we wouldn't make her go to church, she accepted.  She was worried about our clothes, but we told her that they were our work clothes.  We got her place sand-bagged really good.  She so appreciated our help.  Linda was probably 50 or 60 and not very capable of lifting the heavy bags.  She called us angels and said that she would always believe in the Mormons.  We told her to believe in Christ instead.  Her neighbor wasn't home, but he had all his bags set up in his driveway, so we decided that we would help him out and lay them down for him.  Linda helped and could hardly contain the joy that she felt.  Toward the end, it began to rain.  When we finished, it was pouring.  We didn't mind.  My cup was overflowing with joy as we ran a quarter of a mile back to the truck.  Serving others is really where we find the most joy.

Have you heard of El Nino?  Well, we got sooo much rain on Wednesday and Thursday!  There was a lot of flooding (that's why Linda needed our help).  At one intersection we saw a gray Corvette stuck in probably 2 feet of water!  The firetrucks and police were there to help get it out.  We are alright, don't worry.  We stocked up on canned food, rice, noodles, and other things just in case.

On Thursday, Elder Young, President and Sister Felix and I went through the process of a mock transfer so that we can be more prepared for this change.  It took over five hours!  President and Sister Felix took us out to eat after that.  Wow!  What a puzzle.  We found out that we will not be able to use the trains because it is too expensive and complicated.  So, we will have to be the train and drive up and down the mission picking up and dropping off missionaries as we go and meet at central points.  It will be fun, but a challenge.

Here is some advice he gave Rowen and Lily that is good for everyone.
I hope you stand for right and don't support anything that goes against your standards.  President Felix has taught us that if we question if something is wrong, then don't do it.  He also said if it's awkward or uncomfortable, then get out!  If you ever see a kid who doesn't have anyone to play with, will you please invite him or her to play with you.  It's okay if they say "no", but it helps the other kid feel better.

May the spirit be with you :)

Friday, January 22, 2016

Elder Ruby's First Transfer Experience as an AP

This post is from experiences Elder Ruby had the week after Christmas.

Today, and this last week has been stressful.  We began the week by picking up the new missionaries on Monday.  We drove up to Santa Barbara after we had finished laundry and shopped.  I used my new GPS and it was great.  The new missionaries had a lot of questions.  "Are you the APs?' "How long have you been out?" "What's your favorite area?"  "So, do you eat a lot of seafood?"  "My mom said the weather is really nice; is that true?"  "Where are we going?"  "When do I get my trainer?"  Taking them places was like trying to herd cats.  I'm sure I was never like that:)

That night, after dinner and some orientation, one of the new missionaries, came with us.  We visited a less-active person and taught her the Restoration of the Gospel.  The Elder did a great job and the less-active sister loved it!

Tuesday was transfer day.  We got everything ready for the last transfer meeting.  (I'll explain a little later)  That was a busy day.  The meeting starts at 10am.  We introduce the ZLs (Zone Leaders), STLs (Sister Training Leaders) and the new missionaries.  Then we announce who the new missionary's trainer will be.  Finally, the departing missionaries (those going home) give their "final testimony".  I really like transfer meetings.  I love to see all the missionaries that I know (which is pretty much everyone).  After transfer meeting, those who need to exchange keys or cars do so.  If everyone listens to instructions, then all goes smoothly.

On Tuesday we had a mess.  Elder Smith (I have changed his name.  If there is an Elder Smith in the mission right now, this is not about him.  Bless his heart) was assigned to white wash train in Santa Barbara.  The Elder who was supposed to give his car to Elder Smith did not drive his vehicle to transfer meeting.  Thankfully, we had an extra car to give Elder Smith.  Elder Young and I had to drive two departing Elders 30 minutes south to get the car and drive it back here.  We sent Elder Smith off.  Later that day we get a call from some sisters.  It was actually Elder Smith calling on their phone because his new phone was not activated.  After a stroke of luck, we got in contact with the church guy in Salt Lake City who activates phones and fixed that problem.  Elder Smith called us again saying that he had left his proselyting bag in Ventura.  This bag had is wallet, scriptures, journal, and camera.  Good grief!  We made some calls to have missionaries look for it at the Stake Center.  They couldn't find it.  Finally, we texted all the Zone Leaders to see if anyone had accidentally picked it up.  Thankfully, the Santa Barbara Zone Leaders had Elder Smith's bag.  Phew!  That poor Elder.  That night was wild!

On Wednesday, we said good-bye to the departing missionaries.  Hermana Huey's family came and picked her up.  That made me cry.  I'm not sure why.  They were all so happy.  President informed us that the transfer meeting we just had would be our last.  President received instruction from Elder Dallin H. Oaks (one of the Twelve Apostles) that transfer meetings distract from the work and are no longer authorized.  Now we have to figure out a system to transfer all the missionaries.  We (Elder Young and I) got permission to Face time the assistants in the Oregon Eugene Mission!  That was way cool!

They use two vehicles with a trailer.  They pick up and drop off missionaries as they travel up and down the mission.  This is a big change!  There is a good possibility that we could use a train that runs the length of the mission to transport missionaries.  We were informed that as long as a missionary is dropped off and picked up from public transportation, it is alright for he/she to ride alone.  We are doing a lot of thinking and we are trying to see how it will be possible.  Transfer planning will be even more of a puzzle because now we will have to consider temporary companions while they wait for their new companions to arrive.

Thursday we moved into a new, super nice apartment.  At the old apartment we would kill cockroaches and ants every day.  Our upstairs neighbors smoked marijuana and partied a lot.  The new place has nice neighbors, high ceilings and an indoor washer and dryer!  We love it!.  I wonder what he means by an "indoor" washer and dryer??  Moving was a hastle though.  We had 5 bunk beds, dressers, supplies, a lot of food and clutter.  We finished the move on the following Monday.  I don't know how we moved so well and quickly in Wisconsin, Seattle and Wyoming.  On Thursday, Elder Young and I drove to Santa Barbara and Camarillo to train new district leaders.  We were really impressed by them.

The rest of the week we have been back to the usual schedule.

We are all equal sons and daughters of God.  He loves us and just wants us to be happy with our family forever.   Set goals and then keep trying until you achieve them.  You can do and be anything that you and God want!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Happy 2016!!

This is the year Elder Ruby will return home!  That's a pretty cool thought:)  I apologize for not keeping you up on Elder Ruby's life lately.  Honestly, he has been so busy, he hasn't had a lot of time to communicate much with us, at least not enough to put on the blog. 

We had a wonderful visit with him on the phone on Christmas day.  We were at the ranch, so we put the phone in the middle of the table and he got to talk to Granny, Papa, Uncle Ty and all of us.  It was so joyous, but definitely not long enough.  Our 45 minutes seemed to be a fleeting moment.  He told us three really great stories/experiences.  He sounded to happy.  We enjoyed talking and laughing with him.  Our next phone call is Mother's Day, just 4 months away!

Just before Christmas, he ran into a young lady from our ward in Buffalo who is stationed in the Navy in CA.  She was attending church when he saw her!  She was headed to Buffalo for Christmas, so he was able to give her some things to deliver to us.  It was such a surprise to see her at my door with things from Hyrum.  They weren't gifts, just some things he didn't have room for in his suitcases - a few books and a beautiful ceramic plate he made, that he said I could use:)  This really is a small world, even when your son is 1000mi away in CA :)

Two days after Christmas he got to go to Santa Barbara to pick up the new missionaries from the airport.  He was pretty excited to do that.

Here are a few of his comments over the past two weeks.

This past week we had two Christmas Devotionals/Zone Conferences.  We really enjoyed getting to know the missionaries in the mission.  Elder Young and I did a presentation on our new Christlike attribute focus of patience.  We taught the missionaries about being patient with others, ourselves (that's the hardest part for me), and God's timing.  Then the Felix's spoke/gave a training on the Doctrine of Christ.  He had us go through 2 Nephi 31 in depth.  It helped me understand my purpose better.  For lunch we had stuffed chicken, funeral potatoes, steamed broccoli and pie and ice cream.  Yum!

After lunch we had some entertainment by the missionaries.  We finished the conference with President and Sister Felix teaching us about angels.  They showed a video of pictures of all the missionaries put to the song "Angels Among Us".  A member in one of the nearby stakes had recorded Elder Deem and 3 hermanas (Spanish Sisters) singing this song and then put the photos to it.  Halfway through the first time they showed it to us, it dawned on me that we are the angels.  I cried.

Sister Felix also read us a Christmas book entitled "Snow Angels".  I love that book now.  It is about two girls who call upon angels to help them do good deeds in their neighborhood.  The whole conference was a blast!  And we got the privledge of doing it twice!

President and Sister Felix gave us all a copy of the Book of Mormon and colored pencils.  By the next Zone Conference (March) they would like us to have it read and the Doctrine of Christ highlighted and angels circled!  If you don't know what to study, or how, I suggest you get a brand-new Book of Mormon and highlight/annotate it according to a topic or question.  This is something that Elder Bednar does and I am really enjoying the study of the Doctrine of Christ so far.

The phone call home was nice, but not long enough. Everyone is so happy. I loved hearing their familiar voices. It's kind of like life here on Earth. We are away from "home" for a while, but we can call home in prayer. We recognize Heavenly Father's voice and love when he answers. I miss my family, but not so much that it distracts me from the work here.

Much of our time this week was spent in the office, but we still found time to meet with Ulises and Nevin. We even found a new investigator through our own efforts.  The bishop had both the Camarillo Elders and us over for dinner last night with one of their non-member friends! One of the less-actives we are working with has said that she is done with church now. That broke my heart.