6 October - 4 November 2014

Dan (Johnny) Craig, Debra Craig, Elder Corry, Elder Guthrie
Elder Johnson, Elder Cruz (Spanish)
There was plenty to do during our final month of our mission.  We wanted to revisit all the people we have been visiting over the year and give some of them more encouragement to become active.  We wanted to revisit many of the new converts and also the families with problems that we have been working with. We made several visits following the closing session of conference and each week this month.

Johnny, Debra, Gail and Paul

Us with Elders Corry, Guthrie, Johnson and Cruz

Monday, October 6th,  we met for the final time with the senior couples at the home of the Zappeys. Paul gave a PowerPoint presentation entitled, "Abraham and Joseph of Egypt: The Royal World of Lehi."

For Zone Training the following day, Gail baked six different cream pies.  They were all completely devoured!

Two days later, Paul taught the Plan of Salvation to the McCartneys.  Wanda was pleasant and had lots of comments.  Sometimes it was hard to stay on topic.    That night, Gail took Barbara Summers to the Stake Center, where she taught Barbara about using a computer to do family history work.  They put Barbara's family information into Family Tree.

The following day, Paul had a dental emergency that took him to the office of Dr. Clark.  He was absent, but one of his able assistants took X-rays that revealed the need for up to three root canals in his front lower teeth.  Because of the great expense of root canals, Paul called our son-in-law, Dr. Clark Izu in California, asking if he had the time and was willing to to the operation. He readily agreed.

That night, we visited the Cole family in the new portion of Red Hill Ward.  They were friendly but not interested in attending Church.  This is the response we get so often.

The Iron Rod with Ana, Daisy and Monica
All week long, Paul spent many hours preparing a PowerPoint presentation for our Sunday School class.  That Sunday only four students were present.  Bishop Robinson chose that hour to hold his youth council meeting.  Paul had prepared a power point of Joseph of Egypt.  It was a great disappointment.
But the next three weeks our class was well attended and we had some of the best lessons we have ever had.  We talked about Enos one week and then Joseph Smith.  All three of these men were examples of Christ-like attributes--our theme for the month.  The final lesson we taught was on "The Iron Rod" and we encouraged the youth to stay strong and remember what they have been learning.
Dryden, Michael and Daisy
 We used the rod that Don Hood made Paul for teaching.  We also invited him into our class.  We told the class to keep us updated on their lives after we leave.  We want to hear about their missions and temple marriages and just all the good things that happen to them.  We were presented a hugh card with pictures and sweet messages of thanks from each of them.  We will certainly miss them all.  This has been a wonderful opportunity to again teach the young people of the church.

Seth, Madelyn, Tendra and Perla

Brittany and Tanner

Monday, Gail endured eating a meal at the trailer house of Doris Redmond, a native German sister.  She had to eat directly over an odiferous kitty litter box.  Doris has such a kind heart and loves to support the missionaries! But sometimes it's hard to be in the homes of some of the saints and eat the food.
Picture of Reno Temple taken by an elder outside the window of our car

During October the Reno area Elders and Sisters again attended the Temple for an endowment session.   We met them as they arrived and handed out Gail's temple names.  So much of our work was done during the three days they attended.   On Wednesday we attended with them, along with all the mission couples.  It was another couples' retreat with lunch at the mission home following.  Paul made a presentation and showed "A New Day for the Book of Mormon" , an excellent documentary by Russell Holt.  Gail talked about "Family History and the Hastening of the Work".  The day concluded with dinner at Chilis.

Ashley and Robbie came to see us for four days this month.  She is cute pregnant.  Robbie had strep throat when they arrived.   He was not up to doing much the first day, so Ashley and Gail went shopping.  On Saturday we headed up to Lake Tahoe. It was a beautiful day and the Lake just sparkled.   We ate lunch at South Lake Tahoe which reminds me of Park City.  We went to Sand Harbor and walked along the beach.  We also collected large pine cones.  Back at the apartment we loaded their car up for their return trip with some of our stuff so we will have room to take the two twin beds home for Emily and Brandon.  It was great having them with us.

Robbie, Ashley and Paul

On Tuesday, October 21,  we attended our district meeting and with the approval of President Hermansen we left immediately after for southern California for Paul's dental work.  Clark felt we couldn't wait and come down when our mission was over.  We drove Interstate 395 nearly the entire distance--traveling between Yosemite National Park and Death Valley National Park.  We would have gone into the parks had it been a different time of year and had we had more time.  We arrived at the Izus Tuesday night--about a ten hour drive.  We rested up and visited Wednesday. That night we went to a nearby school where we saw six school bands perform on an outdoor field.  Griffin played the trombone for one of the bands.  We were amazed at the size of each band and the high quality of their performances.  Afterward we noted that most of the young people were not Latino but Asian.

Clark performed two root canals at the Pasadena Endodonix on Thursday.  He is so fast and good at his work and refuses to be paid.   We made a quick stop on our return trip at Lone Pine, California, to visit the Film History Museum,  arriving in  Sparks Friday night.  It was a quick trip with Gail doing most of the driving but a very pleasant one, seeing much of California we had never seen before.
Jen with us in her living room

The following Sunday we attended part of the "Why I Believe Fireside" and then had dinner at Doug Doxey's home in Reno.  Gail took the dessert.  Doug showed Paul the mouthpiece his father was using when he passed away in the Pacific Ocean scuba diving.

October 20th we began teaching a referral, Jenevieve Keske.  Her daughter, a recent convert, referred her.  Her daughter was a witness to the recent Sparks Middle School shooting  where a former student of hers killed another teacher and then himself.  The daughter, as a result, had a mental breakdown, went to Dr Joseph Johnson (our Stake President), and he told her what she really needed in her life was the gospel.  She joined with her family.
Gail, Jenevieve and Paul

Jenevieve requested a couple teach her.  At our first contact we almost had the door shut in our face by her husband, but she intervened and welcomed us in.  She was such a golden contact.  She wanted the lessons and felt good with everything we said.  Her first husband had died and she was still very close to him although she was now married to a Muslim who wasn't fond of us or the church.  We committed her to baptism and she responded, "Yes, I'd like that."   Because we were leaving the mission soon we had the ward mission leader and his wife, Randal and Margarie Angle,  attend her third lesson with us and they will continue the teaching.  She will be baptised soon we are sure.

We continued to visit the ward members.  One convert family, of about a year, the Posadas, had quit coming to church.  Sister Posada had two children in our class, Leslie and Francisco who we grew to love so much.  Their mother and dad have now divorced, and the mother has been offended somehow and by someone and quit attending with their kids.  We were able to visit with the children and expressed how much we missed them.  They were so happy to see us and indicated to the elders how much they wanted to come back.  We gave them encouragement.  It was interesting they never once complained about the Mom not letting them attend.  They indicated they didn't know why it had happened.  The elders explained it was probably a cultural thing--to not complain about the mother.

For Transfer day Paul made a presentation for the new and departing missionaries.  He also held a question and answer period while President Hermansen went to the airport one last time to pick us the missionary group coming from the MTC in Mexico City.  Among that group was Elder Richie Todd, a good friend of Abby's and from Virginia.  As they all  came in late they sat on the first row and we sat in front of him on the stand.  We smiled at Elder Todd and talked to him later.  He will make a good missionary.  Following the meeting we prepared a meal for the departing missionaries with Gail making four batches of rolls.
Transfer day meeting
with Elder Gutherie, one of our favorites

We taught Wanda McCarney a third lesson.  We will miss these good friends.  Jack presented us with a beautiful Christmas wreath he had made.  It has a hugh pinecone in the center from a sugar pine tree. Working for the forest service he collected many of these pinecones and enjoys making wreaths for his friends and neighbors.   He also gave Paul a small pinecone from the Sequoia tree.  How ironic.

Paul and Brian Crane
Brian and his wife
Before leaving our mission Paul wanted to visit Brian Crane, the creator of the comic strip "Pickles". Paul had previously met him when he talked in the singles ward.  He is in the Bishopric and lives in Jay Thessian's ward.  We arranged a visit and had a wonderful hour with he and his wife.  He answered a lot of questions and Paul gave him one of his books "Prophetic Destiny".  Brian then gave us a signed copy of his work with a personal cartoon in the front with a message of thanks to us as missionaries from Earl and Opal Pickles.

We visited the Reno Temple one last time on the 30th, before leaving Reno and said goodby to all our friends there--many whose names we can't recall except the sealer Brother Knight who lives near us on  Ferrell Ross Road.  Everyone on that street are Mormons.

We celebrated Halloween with our friends taking us to dinner.  The Ross Smedleys and Dennis Bells took us to a Chinese Restaurant we had enjoyed before.  We all lived in the Wedekind apartments.  President and Sister Hermansen also took us to the Sizzler for dinner before we left.
Dennis and Marsha Bell
Karol and Craig Smedley

Sunday, November 2, was Fast Sunday.  We both bore our testimonies about how much we loved the ward and the members.  We congratulated them on their dedication and hard work to help the Red Hill ward move ahead.  We wanted them to know how much we loved working with them and loved getting close to their youth.  Their friendship meant a lot to us and we hoped it would continue.   The Bishopric wanted to have a ward dinner before we left to say good by didn't realize we were leaving so soon so at 8 PM Monday night they held an ice cream social to conclude family home evening.  There were so many people there and all our class.  The girls were crying and didn't want us to leave.  One of the boys promised us we would be first to know when he gets his mission call.  So many of our friends promised to come see us in Utah.  It was a great farewell.
The Village at Wildcreek Office & Club House 

Our patio

Downstairs, corner apartment
Two windows to our bedroom

Our front door

Tuesday morning, November 4th,  we finished packing the car and about 2 PM left for home.   We strapped much of our "stuff" on the top of our van and drove straight through to Utah even though we were so tired and considered stopping.  It was good to be home!!!



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