Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dressed in White

When missionaries meet a potential investigator they often picture him/her dressed in white.  Sometimes those dreams come true.

Sister Fabian and Sister Bjork

We have many baptisms in the mission, but rely on missionaries to send pictures.  Elders and Sisters we would love to have your recent baptism pictures to publish on the blog.  (Please ask permission to post the picture from the person being baptized and send us their names.) Send your photos to

The First Two May Zone Conferences, and Trainer/Trainee Meeting

It's zone conference time again.  This past week we had two conferences. 

You'll notice in the zone photos everyone is holding a copy of the Book of Mormon.  All of us are reading and marking the Book of Mormon together during the next four months.  (We've decided to go slowly as the elders and sisters also have studying to do each day to prepare for investigator appointments.) We would like to invite family members to join with us!  You will need a fresh copy of the Book of Mormon and colored pencils.  Here is what we are marking:

  • Each reference to Jesus Christ (any of His names or pronouns referring to Him).
  • His words (spoken by Him or by prophets when they say, "Thus saith the Lord").
  • His attributes. 
  • The doctrines and principles contained in the Book of Mormon.  

At the bottom of the page count the total number of items referenced.  Everyone will mark their copy according to their own thoughts, but this experience should help us see how often the Savior is referenced and help us focus on the principles taught in this remarkable book of scripture.  We hope you will enjoy sharing your insights with your elder or sister over the next four months.  We've challenged missionaries who are going home during that time to continue reading and call us when they complete their reading!

Tuesday's Meeting

President Mullen and the elders and sisters discuss the New Testament 
reading we have just completed, Acts through Revelations.

Riverside Zone

Mt. Rubidoux Zone

Here's what we see when the above photos are being taken!

The stake Relief Societies prepare lunch for Zone Conferences.  Sister Connie Beyers should receive a medal of honor for her service in putting on this lunch.  She broke both her wrists during the Just Serve project a couple of weeks ago and had a cast on each as she and her committee prepared this meal!  We hope she's doing better soon.  Fortunately she had great helpers.  Thank you, sisters!

Ready... Set... Lunch!

Blurry Birthday Celebrants!

Thursday's Meeting

Hemet Zone

San Jacinto Zone

Looking back at the cameras...

Enjoying lunch... The sisters in Hemet always make this special for
the elders and sisters!

Happy Birthday to You!

Hard at work role playing.

In addition to Zone Conferences this week we held the Trainer/Trainee Meeting on Wednesday.  

These elders look like they are sneaking into breakfast early, but really they had just finished helping to set everything up.  Thanks, Elders Anderson, Lavender, Celeste and Glausi!

Trainer/Trainee meeting starts with breakfast.  It's an opportunity for new elders and sisters to see those they came with into the mission and to compare their experiences during the first few weeks.  

Elder Anderson and Elder McConkie training our newest missionaries.
The three missionaries who have been waiting for their visas will depart for Brazil the last week in May.  We wish they could stay but wish them the best in their new field of labor.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Forever Young

The average age in the mission is nineteen.  There are a few of us though that are a little beyond that.  Most days we don't notice.  Our missions keep us feeling young.  We thought you might like to meet the senior missionaries in the California Riverside Mission.

Elder Duvall - Mission Secretary
Elder Puskas  - Fleet coordinator
Sister Puskas - Finance Secretary
Sister Duvall - Referrals and Mail
Sister Reed  - Housing Coordinator
Elder Reed - Housing Coordinator

The job titles don't come close to describing all the things these elders and sisters do.  The mission would grind to a halt without their service.  We would also be missing a major source of encouragement, testimony, cheering along, and good humor.  Recently, after they had helped prepare lunch for forty missionaries, we tucked a plate of leftover brownies in the office for the senior missionaries' lunch the next day.  Mysteriously, the brownies disappeared.  The following posters appeared in the office.  


After that time appropriate action will be taken 
which may include but is not be limited to:
Public flogging
       Blue Dotting for eternity
       Public Humiliation at all future meetings
Feeling the shame of eating treats meant for people as old as your Grandparents.

Everyone got a laugh out of the posters.  A good deal of kidding goes on between younger and senior missionaries.  The elders and sisters love to stop by the office to visit when they are in for meetings.  The senior missionaries love the time they spend with the younger elders and sisters too.  (By the way, blue dotting is what happens when a missionary can't drive a mission car.)  

You will be interested to know that the Reeds have also served in Russia, and the Duvalls are serving their fourth mission having also served in New Zealand, British Columbia and Korea.  

In addition to the full time missionaries several missionaries have homes in the mission and serve part time, although sometimes those "part time" days are twelve hours long. We are so grateful for their help. 
 Sister Aquino - Mission Secretary

 Sister Pendleton - Mission Nurse, missionaries A-K

We don't have a picture of Sister Crippen!  She is the other
mission nurse, missionaries J-Z.  We'll post of picture of her soon.

Elder and Sister Mortan - Housing Inspection & Safety

 Elder and Sister McKee - Housing Inspection & Safety

Occasionally Pres. Mullen (Sister Mullen to his left) gets out of his white shirt.
Here we are at the Just Serve event in April.  

I recently talked with a senior missionary in another mission.  She said, "I feel ten years younger since I've been serving!  I never want to go home!"  All of us "older" missionaries understand.  We feel blessed and sustained as we serve.  

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mission Leader Training

We held mission leader training this past week.  It is always a pleasure to be with the elders and sisters, to watch them teach, and to hear their insights.  I often find myself taking notes while I am with them in meetings.  At lunchtime they are nineteen and twenty again... that's nice too.

Members of the Mission Leadership Council
May 2015

When it's time for lunch the office elders have to take a van to pick up the pizzas.  
The boxes don't fit in a missionary car... even in the trunk!
The council makes four of these "Flying Saucer" pizzas disappear in minutes 
along with a huge green salad and two half sheets of brownies!

It's nice to take a break between morning and afternoon meetings.
From left to right:  Sister Miller, Sister Palmer, Sister Vaigneur, Sister Santoyo 
and Sister Castrillon.  Guest appearance by Elder Child.  

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Falling Leaves

It's been spring here for some time now.  Last week brought a few days well into the 90's.  Summer is coming.  Despite the season, the leaves are falling.  While many trees here are green year round, these trees lose leaves whenever the wind blows regardless of the season.  Most of the leaves are average size, and just get scattered on the lawn.  When a palm tree loses a "leaf" it's no small thing.

If you look closely at the top of the tree you can see that this palm leaf had some "help" other than wind in coming down.  Comparing the size of the man with the size of the leaf will give you a feel for how large these fronds are.  When the fronds blow down they usually come down one at a time, but occasionally a group of fronds will become dislodged all at once.  You can see that it doesn't take many palm fronds to make a good sized pile.  

These fronds are pulled from yards and the middle of the roads, wherever they fall, and stacked by the curbs.  The city brings trucks around to gather them up.  Southern California cities don't have snow removal problems, but they do have to keep up with the palm fronds.  (Thanks to Elder Puskas for the photographs.)

The Work and the Glory

Every transfer (every six weeks), elders and sisters take on the added responsibility of leadership in our mission.  There's little "glory" that goes along with the titles of district leader, zone leader or sister training leader, but there is extra work and the opportunity to serve others.  On Tuesday this past week the zone leaders and sister training leaders spent a morning learning how to do weekly planning more effectively.  This session was taught by the assistants to the president, Elder McConkie and Elder Anderson. 

On Thursday the zone leaders and sister training leaders taught those in their zones the same things they had learned.  


These same missionaries spend hours making phone calls, going on exchanges and training other missionaries every week.  We really appreciate all that they do to help us and their fellow missionaries.  

The assistants to the president have many extra assignments and responsibilities.  This work not only lengthen their days, but shortens their nights.  Sunday evenings they are at the office calling all the zone leaders to collect information on the key indicators for every companionship in the mission.  When this photo was taken Elders McConkie and Anderson had already been at a long meeting to finalize plans for Mission Leadership Council.  Later in the week they will prepare for and then train at that meeting.    

It's a lot of work which they do effectively and efficiently, but they wouldn't be missionaries if they didn't goof off for the camera...

Every missionary in the California Riverside Mission works many hours every week.  Their goal is to invite others to come unto Christ, to serve God and to build up His kingdom on the earth.  The work and the glory.