Len & Kit's Missionary Adventures in California

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Gospel Keys

Here’s an important skill for moving!  When we discovered the needed house key was not on the key ring we brought, Elder Ellestad was the MVP (and right size)!

This week is another big moving week.  We went to Auberry in the foothills of Yosemite Park area at the northeast edge of the mission (lots of curves on those roads) this morning to empty a senior apartment, then took the load down to Porterville at the far southeast of the mission.  We went today to dodge rain storms that will be around the rest of the week.  Driving a pickup and pulling a trailer is not our idea of fun when it is raining.  Getting upholstered or wooden furniture wet is a thing to avoid too.  We’ll have to make a second trip to Auberry later in the week to collect items that are unneeded in Porterville and wouldn’t fit in the covered trailer.  We are so glad for the missionaries who come to help us load and unload, even on their Preparation Day, on which they clean, do laundry, write emails, and do any sight-seeing they can manage.  They are always quick to agree no matter what we ask them to do.  We are so glad that we know a lot of them now and enjoy lunch together after or before moves when possible.

The past week we have had perfect California weather – cool, but not chilly, mornings; warm, but not hot, afternoons; plenty of sunshine.  Great!  The newest color of flowering trees is the vivid lavender-pink of CA redbuds along with something that is deep violet.  Really spectacular!

Last week was a transfer week with five missionaries going home and four coming in.  Those sorts of numbers are not uncommon in the spring apparently.  It is certainly more manageable than it was in the fall.  I suppose it could be more fun for the missionaries to be part of a large group, but calm and quiet is fine with us.  Len especially enjoys counseling with the departing ones who hope for medical careers and seek his advice.  The four newcomers are all from the south – Florida, Virginia, Texas, and Alabama.  I guess that might help them deal with the upcoming summer heat – and the reality of cockroaches here.

One of the missionaries who left was a convert from northern Minnesota.  Five years ago he was a clerk in a convenience store where missionaries used to come in and buy snacks.  One night they left and then felt they needed to go back and invite him to learn more about Jesus Christ.  The young man was not religious and really not interested, so he did all he could to avoid them from then on, but finally they saw him again and took the opportunity to ask him to read a short passage of Christ’s words aloud.  That short connection with the scriptures spoke to him so powerfully that when they asked him if he would continue to learn, he said, “Yes.  I know it is true.”  So he went on from there and just completed two years here extending that invitation to others.  I always thought he looked older than the others.  He applied for his mission just before he turned 26, which is the cut off for young missionaries so now he is actually 28.  He has lots of new goals for the rest of his life and we wish him well.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Q: Why did the auditor cross the road? A: To get to the Fresno Mission office!


The biggest new thing this week was that we survived the annual mission office audit!  The CPA who did the work is a local church member who mostly audits hospitals.  He was very friendly and also efficient.  He hoped to accomplish the whole process in about three hours. He stopped by the office Monday at six.  Len had stacks of paperwork laid out on the conference table in the President’s office.  He had read about audits and gathered up most of what would be needed.  Within an hour all the random selections in various categories had been made, including ten random apartments about which I supplied documents. 

Len and I spent Tuesday locating all the supporting documents to prove accuracy and answer questions about each random choice.  When Brother Jackson returned about 2:45, all was ready and we actually completed short of his time frame, save for one category where there had been uncertainty on Monday about what needed to be included in the paperwork from which random choices would be made.  Len called church headquarters and got a good answer so they made the final choices and finished up in 15 minutes Monday.  During Len’s call, the person who was explaining what needed to be done said that the audit we were undergoing was not a finance audit, but rather a process audit.  That information took some of the pressure off everyone. We each learned a thing or two going through the process.  It was reassuring to know that we do understand the jobs we are doing.  The other outcome was a strong hope never to go through a finance audit with someone sitting across the table telling us we have to produce receipts for all expenditures a few years back.  That is definitely nightmare worthy terror!

So now Len has begun to sort the paperwork for our own taxes.  Our mail forwarding has not been perfect for the last few weeks so hopefully we will not have trouble coming up with what we need.  He actually was able to locate a couple of 1099 forms that were missing by searching online last night.  We certainly appreciate having reliable people who have helped us prepare for April 15th for many years.

We bit the bullet and raked up the leaves from the very large tree that shades our back yard.  It was very slow to let all leaves drop and we didn’t want to do that chore more than once.  It actually only took about an hour since the backyard is fenced, and not much larger than the tree’s canopy, making the leaves deep but the area contained.  That should cover most of the yard work remaining while we are here.  The flowerbeds look cheerful with lots of bright yellow flowers -- probably some weed that is new to us, but they suit us fine for now.

 Sister Clark recently gave a short but memorable talk in Stake Conference.  She began by telling how much she loved getting invitations – to parties, to dinner, a night out, whatever.  Then she told about Jesus Christ’s invitations: She used scripture, such as Matthew 11:28-30 (KJV) 28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  And He invited the apostles to join Him, as well as invitations to “Learn of me”, “Follow me”, etc.  She concluded that all who RSVP can come to know Him, have greater joy, and be able to live with Him one day.  It was a choice little talk and also one that stuck in my mind.

Wishing you a great week,
Love from Len and Kit