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.