Len & Kit's Missionary Adventures in California

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Mission Adventures

You don’t go after your golf balls if they wind up in the ocean at Pebble Beach Golf Course. Too much undertow.

There was a wonderful temporary jellyfish exhibit at the Monterey Aquarium.

No swimming suits on the beach that day!

Last weekend we drove over to Monterey.  In best times, the drive is supposed to take around 2 ½ hours.  Summer weekend traffic increased that about an hour, but we were not on a tight schedule.  While there, the 17.5 mile driving tour with lots of stops along the Pacific coast and by Pebble Beach golf course was great, and the local aquarium was very worthwhile. So nice to need a windbreaker for part of Sunday in Monterey with temperatures in the 50’s in early morning, combined with a chilly ocean breeze. Conversely, we had a 40 degree change in temperature on our return to the San Joaquin Valley (Fresno) Sunday afternoon, with temps topping 100 as the widespread hot wave began (highs of 104-110 last week and 95-99 this week, which was nothing compared to AZ.) Kit enjoyed Monterey style architecture and the beach houses too. The LDS church there was constructed of adobe style blocks instead of brick.

We have done all the shopping and finished packaging up all of the zone conference materials today for the two zone conferences on Tuesday and Wednesday.  The Clarks will finish their 3-year assignment this week and turn the reins over to President Mackay and his wife who will be in charge of training meetings on Friday.  The Mackays will tour the mission with the Assistants to the President next week.

We have long known that missionaries who serve in foreign countries often have to renew their visas at intervals during their missions.  The process can require a train trip and overnight stay or other major effort depending on the laws of the country where they serve.  Geographically small countries are often easier than large ones by virtue of distances.  We don’t know what the process was for missionaries from other countries who served in the United States decades ago.  It can certainly be a big deal nowadays.

For example, there was a missionary for whom the office personnel had to gather a lot of information, such as several specific photos of the person at the apartment where the missionary lived plus a copy of the lease and proof of rent payment for that apartment, in addition to other financial minutia.  It reminded me a lot of the movie Green Card.  

At times it can even be necessary for someone to travel to a city where there is an embassy of the country of origin in order to renew a visa.  We have had to go to similar lengths on occasion in our preparations for travels to other countries.  Mainly that involved having our host provide us with contact information so we could arrange with a travel business to go to the designated spot and “walk it through” in our place.  In our mission, getting necessary paperwork has even led to a cross-country bus trip.

Another thing about missionaries from other countries that was recently emphasized to me is that missionaries who come from grinding poverty adjust to life here but then return to the places and conditions from which they came.  I know that sometimes the proficiency they have achieved in English and knowledge of the U.S. can help them find job opportunities to improve their lot.  Too, they no doubt find that there are values and experiences in their own places which are more desirable than part of what they encountered in this country. Of course there are those who live in higher socio-economic conditions in their country of origin than they do while here, but insecurity about life’s necessities must be terrible for some who return to dire poverty.

Happy Independence Day!
With Love from Len and Kit