Monday, December 8, 2014

First Stop: San Diego

We continue to enjoy serving here in the San Diego Mission while waiting for our visas.  The missionaries (about 250 of them, 25 senior couples) and all the people we have met are very kind to us and make us feel welcome.  We have found something in common with many of the other senior missionary couples here including a sister missionary that I worked with many years ago at ZCMI, a brother missionary that was friends with our Utah ward member Bob Mouritsen, a couple missionary whose daughter is in the Bruertons’ (friends in Utah) neighborhood, our mission president and a couple from Texas that knows Jeff’s sister Karen and her family .  The couples serving in the mission office have been helpful in giving us some training in preparation for India. The first Monday of each month the senior missionaries get together for Family Home Evening.   In December we gathered at the Institute building for dinner and a Christmas program. 

Our main responsibility is to help current members.   One of the members we are working with joined the church a few years ago.  He moved to San Diego and, for various reasons, stopped coming to church. He has shared with us that he wants to return to church activity, as he recognizes that the happiest time of his life was when he was fully involved with the church.  We enjoy helping him come back.   We also have made some visits and attempted visits to members in our ward that are either new move-ins or haven’t been seen for awhile.   We have helped some with employment needs.  There are other members we hope to visit in the next few weeks.

Another priority is to invite other people to come unto Christ and learn about the church.  We love the new 3 minute Christmas video—“He is the Gift”.  We have shared it with people we have met and they have felt the spirit of the message.  We plan to continue to share it over the next few weeks.   We invite you all to please discover, embrace and share it!  It is all about the best gift of Christmas. Click on the link below:

An inspiring moment was when we met a clerk in the grocery store who after seeing our name tags commented that he had a friend who found family, which he did not think he had, with the help of our church and FamilySearch.  He actually flew to where they were and had Thanksgiving dinner with them.  We also met a clerk in a sporting goods store who also agreed to have the missionaries.  Another interesting teaching experience for us was visiting an inmate in the San Diego County Jail.  It was Sue’s first and Jeff’s second time inside a jail.  The inmate’s fiancé had just joined the church and she wanted him to start learning about the church.  Unfortunately, they would not allow us to give him a Book of Mormon, but we were able to teach him some of the basic principles.  We will have a Book of Mormon mailed to him, and then follow-up with some more discussion.  He gets out of prison in January and says he would like to be baptized.

As with young missionaries, schedules are not always full and appointments are cancelled.  So we find other opportunities to serve.  We have sorted holiday food at the San Diego food bank, and inspected missionary apartments.  We have visited the family history center and are becoming more comfortable with the new websites for this work.  We have found some new family names to take to the temple.  We know we won’t be able to go to the temple once we get to India, so we are getting in some extra visits to the temple while we are here.

A highlight for us was being able to join with lifetime friends the Colins for Thanksgiving dinner. They were dear friends and neighbors of my family when I was a child and have been our friends for more than 50 years!  We enjoyed visiting with their family and the dinner was a delicious feast!  We have also enjoyed going out to lunch with our cousins who live in the area.

The weather here in San Diego is beautiful and we love walking along the beaches or on Harbor Island.  We do a marathon every week!  (It takes us the entire week to complete the 26 plus miles.)  We try and do at least a 3 to 4 mile walk early every morning to keep in shape and also to offset our “It’s-It” treats (California specialty ice cream sandwich  made with oatmeal cookies, ice cream and dipped in chocolate).

For P-Day activities, we have been able to visit some of local attractions including The Mormon Battalion Historical site, La Jolla coves with an abundance of seals, Cabrillo Monument, Point Loma, and Mount Soledad.  The San Diego temple grounds are beautifully decorated for Christmas and offer Christmas concerts every weekend.  The Mormon Battalion site will also be having the 12 days of Christmas with musical presentations every night.

We are so happy being missionaries and our testimonies have been strengthened witnessing the gospel going forth to all peoples.  We have increased in knowledge and love as we study the Preach my Gospel manual and the scriptures.  It is wonderful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints and to be involved in bearing testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ.  We are truly blessed!

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