Sunday, August 25, 2013


Monday is our regular P-day, but since the LA-FHL was closed for carpet cleaning that day all the senior missionaries decided to have an all-day activity. We drove in two vans to Long Beach harbor for a 45 minute harbor cruise, a visit to the Aquarium of the Pacific, and lunch at Bubba Gumps. The visitor's center was also closed so their missionaries had the same idea, but they chose the three-hour whale watching cruise. We had a good day. Not much to see in the harbor except the Queen Mary, the second largest shipping docks in the country, and some man-made islands for oil wells. All pretty industrial. But the day was nice, as it is every day, and we got a nice view of the the Long Beach skyline. The Aquarium was very well done. We had been to the Scripps aquarium in June and this one compares favorably. The food and the service at Bubba Gumps was very good. It was a good time to get better acquainted with the other missionaries.
Our group on the harbor cruise
With the Queen Mary in the background

Near the aquarium
We had what our library director calls intensive training for three days, from 8:00 to 5:00, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. These classes are for library staff and for anyone else who wants to sign up. We had two classes each morning and two each afternoon, taught by our director and a couple of part-time missionaries. It was very good, but a bit much to absorb in three days. However, we will get the beginners' training later and then will repeat the intensive in a few months. One of the classes was repeated on Saturday and Mary took it. We are learning a lot and enjoying it.

Friday and Saturday were spent working in the library. In the slow times (Friday) we can work on our own research, practicing what we learned in the training. But when it is busy (Saturday) we help the patrons. Max spent a couple of hours with one man in the morning and then just before lunch started another couple on searching FamilySearch and Ancestry, and came back with more help after a quick lunch. He found it very stimulating and a lot of fun. One researcher wanted to find more about Jewish emigrants from pre-war Austria and about his Norwegian ancestors. The couple wanted to trace their ancestors back to the antebellum slave plantations in Louisiana and Tennessee, and to post Civil War Texas. Max helped them find and use the US census slave schedules.

Max has been able to get up early and walk around the neighborhood for two or three miles each morning this week. Mary and one of the single senior sisters have started doing Tai Chi together. We went to the temple on Wednesday.  It is beautiful, even majestic.  We went to a farmers' market in Westwood Thursday evening and found a lot of nice, fresh produce. We walked back to Westwood, about a mile away, on Friday evening to visit the public library branch, but found it closed.

We did our laundry Saturday after our shift so we can be unencumbered tomorrow, our P-day. We attended church this morning. Great speakers and lessons. And we went to a "Why I believe ..." fireside at the visitors' center this evening. The sister missionaries sang and played hymns, and we heard from a professor from Pepperdine University who is a convert to the church about his conversion and mission and how he came to have his testimony.

We are both well and having a good time.

Love from

Elder and Sister Evans

Sunday, August 18, 2013


To family and friends,

Max and Mary are here in sunny Los Angeles. The weather has been beautiful. Not too hot. Our apartment is small, but cozy. We live within a few minutes walk of the Family Search Center where we spend our days: helping patrons, attending classes, and learning what is expected of us.  There are 4 full-time couple missionaries (including us) and 3 single sisters, along with some church service missionaries. The temple has been closed for cleaning and will reopen this Tuesday, so we will get a lot more patrons then.  There are also missionaries serving in the Visitor's Center, in Public Affairs, and as Ordinance Workers in the temple.  One of the couples serving in the Visitor's Center is Donna Jensen and her husband who used to live in the 37th Ward.  We learned today while talking to one of the missionaries serving in Public Affairs that part of their job is to work with foreign consulates located in LA to secure visas for missionaries.
Visitors' Center from the back. This building also houses Public Affairs, the Mission Office, and the FHL.

LA Temple from the back
We live in the housing provided for temple patrons and missionaries.  We have a walk-in closet for only one person at a time, so we have to take turns.  It also is the hallway to the bathroom.  There is a kitchen and a small balcony where I'm going to grow herbs and other plants.  We bought a small table for our computer, but we don't have any room for a TV.  Today we are going to have the senior sister missionaries from upstairs come to dinner, so they will have to bring a chair.  Our bed is in the living room.  At night it is very light, even with the curtains closed, because there are security lights.  We love the cool breeze that comes in through the windows and balcony door.

Our new parson's table for a computer desk
Our sleeping area

Mary in the kitchen

Our sofa with an Afghan made for us by one of the missionaries.

One evening we walked two miles round trip to Ralph's which is associated with Smith's and uses their rewards card.  It is a good grocery store, and we like to pick up food for dinner from their deli.  Below Ralph's is Target. Parking is at a premium in this city, so you have to get a validation.  If we're getting a week's groceries, we take the car.  But the day we were on foot, we stopped to see a small cemetery which has graves of many celebrities: Eva Gabor, Merv Griffin, Farrah Fawcett, Ray Bradbury, Truman Capote and Marilyn Monroe, to name a few.  Marilyn had a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers on her crypt.  Other of the graves had cute epitaphs.  Peter Falk's said "I'm not home. I'm home with Shera".  Billy Wilder's said "I'm a writer, but then nobody's perfect."  Rodney Dangerfield's said "There goes the neighborhood."  Jack Lemmon's said "In".  Merv Griffin's "I will not be right back after this message." and one other, "Finally under par."

Last night we went to an all Tschaikovsky performance of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in the Hollywood Bowl. It seats 18,000 people.  It was great; they played movements from Romeo & Juliet and Swan Lake and at the end they played the 1812 Overture, along with two visiting Drum & Bugle Corps, with fireworks. The way they park the cars is called "stacked," that is jammed next to each other.  So we had to wait a long time for cars near us to get out first. (Max went exploring the area while we waited and said the barn next to us was the site of the first film made in Hollywood, directed by Cecil B. Demille. Then we saw a real live skunk on the porch and we moved away fast.) We didn't get home until 11:30 and the gates all around this compound were closed and locked.  We had to call Security to let us in.

We attended the Westwood First Ward this morning at 10:20. It is part of the temple complex and has a large softball/soccer field next to the building. It is very close to our place. The people are very friendly. We can attend any ward we want and may decide to go to one of the needy branches in the area.

We send our love to all of you.

Mary and Max

Thursday, August 8, 2013


We arrived at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, UT, on Monday at 9:30AM as planned. The first thing we learned, before we parked the car, was that we would be housed in the Marriott Hotel in downtown Provo for our five days here.

After getting our card keys, which double as ID cards and meal tickets, and our black missionary badges, we had several orientation sessions, went to lunch in a very large cafeteria with a few thousand young missionaries; young men and not a few young women. There are a lot of choices, to suit any taste. We had a meeting with the MTC president and learned that the 128 senior missionaries is the largest group ever to come to the MTC at the same time. We were also each assigned to a mission district, in our case, consisting of four couples from Oklahoma, California, and Oregon and going to the Philippines, Delaware, and Australia. We then came to the hotel and unpacked, then got ready for the next day.

We started our training on Tuesday. We have large group instruction, small groups with our district, and practicum sessions with volunteers from the community. It has all been very good and useful, even though ours is not a proselyting assignment.

Wednesday was the day for the new young missionaries to arrive, almost 1,000 that day! Our grandson was among them so we went to the arrival place hoping to catch a glimpse of him Sure enough, we got to see him and say hello before he was rushed off for his orientation. His mom got this photo.
Isaac Evans, Max Evans, Samuel Evans, and Mary Evans, at the MTC when Sam arrived.
 We also saw him twice today in the cafeteria. He is doing well and seems happy and confident.

We are getting to know a lot of nice senior missionaries and making good friends. We will miss them when we leave tomorrow afternoon. We will drive back to our home in Salt Lake, finish packing, then load the car Saturday morning. We will drive to St. George Saturday, stay Sunday, and then leave for Los Angeles Monday morning. We expect to arrive in the afternoon.

Mary and Max

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Three months since receiving our call and two days from the MTC! Max retired and we went to Maryland to see Katie and her family. We've been playing, working in the garden, fixing up the house, going out to eat, deciding what to take, and having our portraits taken.

We went to San Diego with our daughter Emily and with our son David and his family and had a nice, relaxing time, seeing the sites and enjoying the beach. Mary and I drove to LA one day to check out the LA family history center and met a few of the missionaries. Its a wonderful facility. We will enjoy our work there.

Emily will be staying in our house and taking care of things while we are gone. So we had some work done. Fixed the rain gutters and added ceiling fans to three rooms. Because we pulled the plug on Comcast TV, internet, and phone, we had to make other arrangements for each and ended up adding an antennae for broadcast digital TV, added a Clear 4G system for broadband, and acquired a Verizon home phone, so we can take our home phones and phone number with us.

We also planted a garden, with Emily's help. We've had broccoli, herbs and raspberries already and Emily can enjoy the zucchini, pumpkins, tomatoes, potatoes, apples, and peaches when the are ready.

Last week we took Emily, David's family and Laura's family to Midway, UT, for a week-long vacation. It was interrupted when we all returned to Murray for a sacrament meeting where David's son, Sam, spoke prior to going on a mission to North Carolina. He did a nice job. He will enter the MTC in four days. In Midway we swam in the condo pool, hiked, fished, flew kites, visited the Homestead crater, played games, watched movies, and ate together. The younger members of the family skateboarded, in-line skated, and rode scooters, while the girls and Max went to the outlet mall.

It was nice and relaxing.

Mary and Mary spoke in our sacrament meeting last Sunday. Most of our children and grandchildren were there. We also had three of Max's sisters and their husbands and four of Mary's brothers and sisters and their spouses.

This week has been busy with dinner and lunches with family and friends, packing for the MTC, and getting ready to pack for the trip to Los Angeles.

We will go to the Stake High Council meeting at 7:00 AM tomorrow, go the church at 11:00, and have the Stake President come to our house tomorrow evening to set us apart. We will arrive at the MTC in Provo Monday morning between 9:30 and 10:00 and stay there until Friday at 3:30. Then we will come home to finish packing and loading the car. We plan to leave here Saturday morning and drive to St. George, then leave St. George Monday morning for the six-hour (depending on the traffic) drive to LA.

Our preparation is guided by a personalized web page that tells us what to do before the mission:

  • Have a temple recommend
  • Re-read the Book of Mormon
  • Watch The District, a six-episode TV program showing missionaries at work
  • Complete the profile
  • Study Preach my Gospel, the missionary manual
  • Read The Missionary Handbook
  • Learn about Family History
We will keep you posted.

Mary and Max