Saturday, May 26, 2018

May Missionary Visits to Cali: When it Rains, it Pours!

On her way to Utah, one of our sister missionaries from Taipei came and spent a couple of days with us!
The Los Angeles Temple is a favorite place to take our visitors:)

 And they usually like to hit Hollywood's Walk of Fame. It was a pretty clear day to see the Hollywood sign. Much more impressive in person.
I took this pic for my grandson who loves Bumblebee!
Famous El Capitan Theatre:
 And TLC (former Gruaman's) Chinese Theatre:
 Fresh ground whole wheat waffles and farm fresh strawberries:
 If you're up for a hike, we'll take on Mugu Peak:

 Although I had cancelled my Skype session with TRC, they must have forgot and called anyway.
These two sisters are headed for Taichung in two weeks:)
They got a real treat being able to Skype with a native of Taiwan!
 And we got a real treat being able to 評估 with one of our missionaries who is now teaching at the MTC! 
This missionary landed an internship with Walt Disney Studios and is spending the summer in Burbank!
He was her district leader in Tanzi, and came by to visit us:)
 And another sister, on her way back from vacationing in Europe for a month, 
spent a night with us before driving back to Utah.

 And look who Skyped with us that evening! He's working in China, in Utah on business, and hopefully will return before the end of the year and visit us in California. We have our fingers crossed!
 Another companion stops by for lunch before our Taiwanese sister heads to Utah!
 Then two days later, we had the pleasure of reuniting with one of our Malaysian sisters. 
We found out two weeks ago while at a wedding that she would be visiting in LA!
She said she loved Mexican, so we took her to our favorite taco joint by the airport, Tito's Tacos:
 The clouds had set in but it was still a nice drive to Santa Barbara.
Mr. Pelican decided to pose with us...
 ..and show off his feathers, hahaha!
 The next morning, lo and behold, the clouds moved eastward
and it was too gorgeous to pass up another opportunity to hike Mugu Peak!
 It was so clear, you could see for miles!
 It was amazing! We could see Catalina Island (1) south of Long Beach, San Nicolas Island (2) that I never knew even existed, and the Channel Islands off the coast of Ventura.
That's a span of over 90 miles between Catalina and the Channel Islands!
 At Mugu rock:
 Squirrels love sunflower seeds!
 She had them eating right out of her hands:)
Come to Cali, stay and play!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

5-2018 A Wedding in Portland, and So Much More!

This wedding is a testimony to me that 
the Lord is in the details of the details of the details of our lives (Elder Chi Hong Sam Wong)! 
On her way home from Taiwan, this sister sat next to our last office couple, also returning from their mission. When the plane stopped in Hong Kong to pick up more passengers, missionaries from Malaysia boarded. A handsome elder took his seat one row ahead, and then, for the next 12 hours, careened his neck backwards to chat with our sister through the crack in the seats:) 
Still focused on his call, he did not ask for her phone number...
he did, however, tell his mother upon his arrival home that he may have met his future wife!
 We had been looking forward to seeing the bride's grandparents again, who served in the Taipei Temple while were were in Taichung. They are now serving another mission in the Manhattan New York Temple! 
 We look forward to visiting Manhattan this fall and spending more time with them!
We are also anxious to see the former Taipei Temple president and his wife,
who are serving an MLS mission in New York City!
 A wedding luncheon was held afterwards at McMenamins Octagonal Barn:
At the reception that evening, we were able to visit some more with the bride's grandparents.
They are so blessed to be wearing name tags again, representing the Savior in their service:)
Our wonderful office couple, who sat with our newlyweds on their plane ride home from their missions,
drove up from Salem!
We visited with several of the bride's aunties, who grew up in Singapore. We started asking them about our missionaries from that part of Asia, all of which were awesome! I showed them a Facebook profile pic of one of our Malaysian sister missionaries, and one aunty knew her! It was then that President noticed that our Malaysian missionary posted on her Facebook timeline that she's coming to Utah and California for a visit! 
Now we are so excited to spend a day with her on her layover in Los Angeles! 
I'm so grateful for this aunty who kept us from missing out on our Malaysian missionary's visit to America!
Of course we can't leave out pics of our favorite places to eat! 
Dinner upon arrival to Portland at Chicken and Guns:
 Dessert afterwards at Salt & Straw: waffle cone with a Tasting Flight of Chocolate Gooey Brownie, Pear & Blue Cheese, Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache, and Roasted Strawberry Coconut (my favorite)!
Our missionary just returned from BYU after graduating! 
We were happy he could join us for breakfast before the sealing:
After the wedding reception, we headed down to Salem, to spend a couple nights with our office couple. We could not have been more graciously welcomed into their home, 
it was so wonderful to visit with them for hours!
The next morning we went to Silver Falls State Park for a hike. It was such a beautiful day!
The flora and fauna were spectacular! South Falls:
Our missionary from Portland and President's nephew from Salem, and their families, joined us. 
From behind South Falls:

Lower South Falls:
Break for lunch...our office couple thought of everything and packed us all a yummy picnic!
With President's nephew's family at Upper North Falls:
GoPro selfie:
From North Falls Viewpoint:
Our missionary caught a rainbow in this pic, and a candid of us!
 Can you spot me in the photo above, taking the photo below?
In the springtime, the sheer volume of water is impressive!
My turn to snap a shot of him!
We were pleasantly surprised to learn that these leaves can be added to a salad for a tart green apple flavor! They are delicious! Our nephew, a forester, identified the flora as the Oxalis, a flowering sourgrass. 
Dinner at the Marco Polo Restaurant, on the second floor overlooking the Oregon Crepe Cafe where we enjoyed breakfast awaiting the total eclipse back in August last year!
After enjoying delicious Chinese cuisine, my fortune cookie revealed the following:
"Physical activity will dramatically improve your outlook today."
How true! I couldn't have been happier, having spent the day with some of my most favorite people in the world, and marveling in the Lord's exquisite handiwork!
The next morning, our kind and thoughtful host prepared a delightful Mother's Day breakfast!
We wanted to hit the Oregon coast before heading to the airport, so our mission couple suggested attending the Battlecreek Ward, which meets in the morning. We walked in a few minutes early, sat down in a pew, and this sweet sister came and threw her arms around me, calling me by name! 
I had attended her baptism three years ago in the English Branch in Taichung! 
Since marrying and settling in Salem, she met a sister in her ward that reminded me of her each week. 
She was surprised that this time it really was me!
As missionaries, our greatest joy comes from witnessing those that accept the gospel and enter the gate of baptism continuing to progress steadfastly along the path towards the kingdom of God!

Before I end this blog post, I have to share a tender mercy. You probably didn’t notice but I had a different dress on at the wedding luncheon than I did at the evening reception. Now I’m not one to be that particular about what I wear, but there was a reason behind the change! It goes like this... Thursday afternoon, President and I arrived at LAX to take our Southwest flight to Portland. I had one carry on, but President had a suit bag in addition to his carry on. He had decided to check both so as not to have to bother with bags on the plane. In considering whether or not to check my bag, my first thought was, “What if my bag got lost and I didn’t have anything?” This was overruled by my second thought, which was, “I only have 30 minutes to make the connection, so do I really want to bother with my carry on?” So I checked my carry on. We soon boarded our flight, then changed planes in Sacramento and continued to Portland. Unfortunately, my overnight bag did not follow me to Sacramento, but went on to Seattle:( So I had nothing but the clothes I was wearing and my computer. No dress for the temple. No toiletries:((( After filing a lost baggage claim with Southwest personnel, I could honestly say that I was nice about it. And President can vouch for me, hahaha! That helped us both to enjoy the remainder of the evening, which was spent feasting on sumptuous food! It also helped me to sleep better, and to pray harder, that my bag would be found and I would be presentable at the Portland Temple!
The next morning, I woke up at 5:30am and couldn’t sleep thinking about my bag. I got online and saw that my bag had been matched! A call to Southwest affirmed that my bag had been recovered, would be on its way to Portland, but most likely would not reach the airport until the afternoon:( 
Fortunately, the kind hostess lent me a 6” pocket-sized hair straightener. An elder once taught me, “If the hair’s okay, everything’s okay!”
My black flip-flops had a platform heal and a touch of glitz so they would suffice. But I had no dress:( What to do? The Marshalls two minutes down the road didn’t open until 9:30am, and the Macy’s next door until 10am. We were supposed to be at the Portland Temple by 11am, 20 minutes away. I told President I was going to Target, which opened at 7am. He generously encouraged me to go to Macy’s and buy whatever I wanted. But that had the potential of being very stressful! Opened too late and too big of a selection! I left and went to Target, arriving right when it opened at 7am. Of the entire women’s department, there was only a handful of modest dresses, and only two my size. In five minutes, I picked out a little black dress that fit me perfectly, on the clearance rack for $11! Isn’t it SO humorous how the Lord knows exactly what brings us joy???!!! Tender mercies:)))
Sure enough, my bag arrived in the afternoon, we picked it up before the reception, and I was given a $50 voucher from Southwest:)