Sunday, September 29, 2013


Dear family and friends,
Pool at the Getty Villa
We have had a busy two weeks. On our P-day, Monday September 16, we went to the Getty Villa. This is not the more well-known and larger Getty Center, but is at the site of J. Paul Getty's Pacific Palisades home. As it filled with his private art collection, Getty opened an adjacent gallery. Quickly running out of room, he built a second museum, the Getty Villa, on the property down the hill from the original gallery. The villa design was inspired by the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum near Pompeii in Italy and incorporated additional details from several other ancient sites. It opened to the public in 1974. After the completion of the newer Getty Center, the Villa was remodeled and dedicated to the exhibiting Getty's collections of Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities. The Villa is a wonderful work of architecture, with marble floors and walls done in the classical style, gardens, courtyards, and a wonderful ocean view. It is very peaceful and beautiful. The collections are priceless and are exhibited in ways that make the museum both educational and interesting. It has a very nice restaurant where we had lunch, and a Greek Theatre. It was a nice day.
At the Villa
Mary with the statue of Mercury

In our stake are three Spanish-speaking wards; we were invited to the Hollywood building where they had a Spanish fiesta on a Saturday night.  The food was from Ecuador, Peru and Mexico and was delicious. The entertainment included the members wearing beautiful costumes as they performed in typical Hispanic dances. The emcee spoke only in Spanish.
Mary with Peruvian dancer
Work in the FH Library continues as before. We still enjoy helping people and teaching them the basics of family history research and of the FamilySearch family tree on the Internet. That week our stake had a temple day. We did baptisms, confirmations, initiatory work, and sealings for some of the people in Mary's line that she continues to find, and attended a chapel meeting. 

We also follow the directions received in a recent zone conference to read the Book of Mormon again and mark it with colored markers. We have a study schedule indicating which chapters to read every day (about 1-4 each), and to finish before Christmas. We are to mark the passages that relate to faith in Christ, faith in his atonement, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. We have kept up with the schedule so far and find that the focused approach helps to increase our understanding and testimony of the gospel. 

We left here Friday afternoon to fly to Salt Lake City for a quick weekend to attend Nicholas Gillen's funeral. It was sad, but hopeful, knowing as we do, and as Nick's family does, of the plan of salvation, certain of our faith in a life after this one, in the resurrection of the dead, and that we will all again be together again.

We went to church in our home ward on Sunday and had dinner at our house with David and Becky, Joe, Laura and Jared, Emily, and the grandchildren that could come. We flew back to LA on Monday, our last P-day. We arrived early enough to do the laundry and go to the grocery store. We started again at the library on Tuesday and learned that our P-day has changed to Wednesday. Now we can visit the Getty Center, the Griffith Observatory, and the Newport Beach Temple, all of which are closed Mondays.

We went to the Temple again this week and on Saturday attended a Mission zone conference at the Westwood building here next to our apartment house. It was the last of three zone conferences in our mission and the last of seven days touring three missions by Elder Kent F. Richards of the Seventy. Elder and Sister Richards taught the missionaries important, fundamental lessons about how to teach the gospel: keep it simple and brief. Teach President Hinckley's four essential truths: (first) faith in Jesus Christ, (second) the first vision, (third) the Book of Mormon, and (fourth) the priesthood. They left early to catch a plane back to Salt Lake City and President Weidman took over. It concluded with the vision for the stake by our stake president, then with a lesson on the "eye of faith" by Sister Weidman. It was all very well done and inspiring. We ended with lunch with the missionaries in the cultural hall. Since Max has a cold, he spent most of the rest of the day relaxing and resting. We did take a walk in the cool of the evening.  

Elder and Sister Hurley, Elder and Sister Chandler, Sister and Elder Evans, Sister and Elder Dorius

Also on Saturday, Mary went to the Visitor's Center where she could view the Women's Conference on the big screen.  It was very inspiring to hear the Relief Society leaders, the message from President Monson, and the wonderful sister missionary choir.  Today was fast Sunday in our ward, because of General Conference next week and our stake conference the following week. It is also the fifth Sunday, so we had a lesson on families from our bishopric. We have been resting the rest of the day, hoping Max will feel better tomorrow.

The ancestor we want to focus on is Edward Lisle, Mary's mother's grandfather on her father's side.  He was the developer of the Star Motor car in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England in the 1890s and 1900s.  He started out designing bicycles and tried his hand at airplanes, then settled on a touring car.  Most of his children worked in the business (He had 12 children).  
Edward Lisle
1920 Star Car
1922 Gold Medal winner

Love you all,
Elder and Sister Evans


Sunday, September 15, 2013


The Observatory
We had a busy P-day Monday. We cleaned the apartment, Mary got her nails done, Max got a haircut, and we went out to lunch (at Subway, of course). Then we headed for Griffith Park, a 4,300 acre nature preserve in the middle of Los Angeles. We went to the Griffith Observatory, but it is closed Monday's. However, we got a great view of the entire LA megaurb and the famous Hollywood sign. It was quite hazy that day. We learned that the Los Angeles Zoo, the famous Autry Museum, and the Greek Theatre are in the park. Definitely a place to return to. We took the long way home, through the San Fernando valley, then did our grocery shopping for the week.
Mary - Hollywood
Hollywood - Max

A small slice of a very large city
Downtown LA. LA invented the word SMOG

Beginning Tuesday we had three additional days of training in family history research and using, so we can help the patrons who come in. The young sister missionaries who work in our ward and in the Visitors' Center, our next-door neighbors, came for dinner Wednesday. One is from Saratoga Springs, Utah, and the other is from Barcelona, Spain. And, as is our routine now, we went to the temple Wednesday evening.

We had very sad news from home Thursday night. Mary’s sister Ann’s son, Nicholas died on Wednesday. It is all so very devastating. He had just started a new job that took him and his young family to Kentucky. We are praying for Ann and Darrell and her children and especially for Nicholas’ wife, Brita and their three young daughters. We are very sad and distressed about this.

We took time off from our assignment on Friday, at President Weidman’s invitation, to attend a zone conference with the young missionaries. He has two zones meet at a time. This conference was with the Downey and International zones and was held in Downey, about 40 minutes from here. The International zone has missionaries who teach in five languages: Chinese, Korean, Tongan, ASL, and one other, French, we think. The President said that more languages will be coming with the next group of new missionaries. The other ten zones teach in English and Spanish.

It built our faith to see these 18-21 year-old missionaries speak and to respond to the challenges President Weidman gave us all. One challenge is to re-read the Book of Mormon by Christmas and to look for, and mark, evidences of faith in Jesus Christ, faith in His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. We have a daily reading schedule that we each use to accomplish this. We are having good discussions of these principles in our daily companion study. President Weidman is truly inspired and most kind and loving. It truly lifted our spirits, which were in much need of lifting.

In honor of Nicholas, we would like to tell about his third great-grandfather, Nicholas Wood:

Nicholas Wood (1795-1865)
Painted by Hermann Schmiechen
Born: 24 April 1795, Ryton, County Durham, England
Died: 19 December 1865, Greater London, England
Nicholas Wood was a well-known English steam railway pioneer.He was born and educated in Durham and joined Killingworth Colliery as an apprentice, rising to be manager. The colliery engineer at Killingworth was George Stephenson and the two men worked closely together on the development of a miner's safety lamp and the building and testing of early steam locomotives. He wrote an influential book called "A Practical Treatise on Rail-roads" based on his experiments and experiences which advocated the benefits of steam locomotives.He was one of the three judges at the Rainhill Trials in 1829 where the locomotives for the new Liverpool to Manchester Railway were selected. He became very influential through his many investments in local mines and railways. His interest in mine safety and education led him to be elected first President of the North of England Institute of Mining Engineers and to campaign for a College of Science in Newcastle. In 1865 he was created a Fellow of the Royal Society.

All our love,
Mary and Max Evans

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Hi everyone,
        It was so good to Skype with the family in Utah earlier on today.  Alex has lost a few more teeth and we wish we could have seen Hallie stand alone and hear Julia's piano piece she played for the Young Women to sing in church and taste those donuts Becky made.  But everyone looked good to us.  Amazing world we live in to view each other like we are in the same room.  I hear it's been pretty hot in Utah.  I hope you have air conditioning in your school classrooms.  We talked with Katie and Jennifer on the seventh, Katie's birthday.  Walter is becoming a football dad and was the emcee for Joshua's game.  And Jennifer wishes she could become a cheerleader.  Walter is gearing up for when he will be the coach for Carolyn's softball team in the spring.  Meanwhile Carolyn is under a mountain of homework for seventh-grade. The family went out to P.F.Chang's Restaurant for Katie's birthday. I remember going there when Matthew was baptized.  Well our family is just great!  And Emily, we wish we could be there to help you can those peaches.  I'm sure they'll be delicious.  And thank you, Jared for fixing the garbage disposal and the sprinkler in our Utah house.  We love you all.

        Well, what have we been doing here in California? You might think that we are on an extended vacation.  But we mostly go out and about on our one day off. The other days we work from 9 to 5 in the Center--helping patrons who want to find our about their family history.  Some people don't know how to use the computer very well.  You grandchildren are so much more technologically advanced.  Do you know there are family history games you can play and activities for children from ages 3 to 11 and teenagers from 12 and up--go to family, click on search, then on the WIKI.  Type in "games and activities for children".  There are also a lot of videos you can watch on also.
        Other people we work with don't speak English very well, and their family comes from another country. Sometimes Grandpa spends so long helping people that he forgets about lunch. So we decided to take our lunch rather than coming home.  Then we can visit while we eat in the lunchroom with other workers or people doing research.  It always surprises me when the people we work with during the week attend our ward for church on Sunday or are in the hall.  (There are 4 wards that meet in our building, so it's a busy place.)  Bindy is one lady who comes to the center and also attends our ward Relief Society.  She wanted me to help her find a name to take to the temple, but try as we might her family members have done them all.  So she decided she would just continue to work on her PAF program.  She is here for six weeks at a time, and lives in her car.  She belongs to a gym, so showers there.  Sounds a bit strange, wouldn't you say?  There's also a couple of black people who are deaf and sign to each other.  They wear very lively colored clothing.  And there are groups of people who come once a week to meet with their buddies, eat lunch and exchange information.  A lot of people are regulars.

        We did have an interesting outing to the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.  They have the Air Force One airplane he and his staff used to fly around the country.  We walked through it.  The displays in the library are very well done and document Reagan's life.  Max and Mary went with the Livingstons.

Entrance to the Reagan Library
Looking over Simi Valley from the entrance


With Elder and Sister Livingston
Looking toward the Pacific from the grave site

Sarah Louisa Hobson
        We thought we would focus on one ancestor so you could get to know them better.  Sarah Louisa Hobson is Grandma Mary's father, Wilfrid Wheatley's grandmother.   She was born in Barton Mills, Suffolk, England on July 17, 1843.  Her father was a Baptist minister and they lived in London. Her mother, Sarah Maria died when she was 4 years old, so she was raised by her grandmother Gamble, her mother's mother.  Her mother's only brother, Henry Gamble was a Congregational minister who went to divinity school with Sarah Louisa's father, Jesse Hobson.  When she was 31 years old, Sarah married Edmund Wheatley on August 12, 1874.  They were married by her father in Salters Hall Church in London where he was the minister.  Sarah must have had a lot of courage because they went to live in Ningpo, China (near present-day Shanghai) where he was the harbormaster.  They would hold meetings in their home for the sailors to try to get them to stop drinking and believe in a spiritual way of life.  She had 3 children; one of them was Edmund Wilfrid Wheatley.  Edmund, Sarah's husband got sick and died; so, in 1880 she brought the children home to England and raised them there.  She not only raised her own children but also her grandchildren.  She died at the age of 94 in Worthing, Sussex, England on February 23, 1938.

Love to all.
Elder and Sister Evans

Sunday, September 1, 2013


Our mission has us working in the Los Angeles Family History Library Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Here is a summary of what we do each day:

  • Arrive at 8:45 for prayer meeting (except Tuesdays, when we arrive earlier to help with a "deep cleaning" of the library). Someone gives a thought, we review the scheduled visits by groups for the day, discuss any issues, and have a prayer.
  • Next we check our assignments. Mary and I are assigned mostly to the "help desk" or to "help," meaning to be aware of people who need help or to consult with people as they come in. Mary is sometimes assigned the cash register (The center charges for copies, thumb drives, and registration for classes) or reception. The receptionist answers the phone and counts people who come in, determining whether they are non-members (visitors) or if they are members of the Church. If so they are asked what stake they are in. We also note if this is their first time in the library. All of this is recorded. We both have been assigned to the film desk where we help people with microfilm, including helping with scanning a few frames.
  • Helping people is very rewarding. Max thinks it's fun. We have people who don't know anything about family history and others who know nothing about using a computer, and a few who know nothing about either. Others come with various levels of skills and experience. Some need no help at all. Yesterday Max helped a couple whose daughter was at the temple doing baptisms. The wife knew only a little about her grandparents and wanted to know more. He helped her get into FamilySearch. She was shown how to do records searches and found her grandparents in the census. She was thrilled. Max also helped a mother and daughter from Peru get the mother's sister's name for the temple and showed a brother how to find work to be done and to get cards printed. Mary has had similar experiences, for example, helping a sister who attended our ward today get names for the temple. When she saw Mary in church today she hugged her and said that she and her husband had done all the work this week, except for one endowment.
  • Max is part of a team of people working on getting the books in the library that belong to the Jewish Genealogical Society of Southern California into the the Family History Library. Cataloging is something he hasn't done for many years, but he is the only one on the team who has done it for before the mission. We use the Church History Library's web-based catalog system. This is part of a larger project to identify and catalog the books in all family history centers, so we get instruction from the catalogers in Salt Lake City. This is what he does when not "helping."
  • We both work on our own family lines when we are not otherwise busy. Max and Mary are both finding sources for their ancestors and adding them to the family tree. Mary is extending her line by searching for additional sources, either online or on microfilm. She was able to search the microfilms for St Peter's Church in Wolverhampton because the films are in the cabinets in our library here in Los Angeles.
We have been praying for the ability to be better helpers and to extend our own lines. We believe our prayers are being answered.

We usually have lunch around noon for forty-five minutes, unless we are in the middle of helping. Sometimes we take a sack lunch or on other days we walk back to the apartment for lunch. Evenings are free to do what we want. This week, as last week, we went to the temple one night. We also went to the Hammer Museum of UCLA one night and saw beautiful art by some of the European masters and a great exhibit of the work of A.Quincy Jones, an LA architect who helped create a local style. We went to the public library branch one night and signed up for a library card. And we sometimes do P-day stuff in the evenings so we have more time on Monday. We went to the grocery store last night and did our laundry here in the apartment building one other evening. We also enjoy cooking together.

Our mornings are settling into a routine. We arise and say our individual prayers; then Max goes for a brisk walk and then reads the scriptures. Meanwhile Mary showers and gets ready for the day. We have breakfast together, then Mary reads while Max showers and dresses. We have prayer together, then walk to the library. We also study together Preach my Gospel at night and read and study the scriptures associated with its lessons. Sometimes we do "tai chi" in the morning and sometimes at night.

We attend the Westwood first ward that meets here on Temple Hill from 10:20 to 1:20. Tomorrow we are going with Elder and Sister Livingston to the Reagan Library in Simi Valley. It's outside of the mission, so President Weidmann gave his permission. Last Monday P-day we went to Santa Monica and walked on the beach.
Amusement Park, Santa Monica Beach

Mary on the board walk, Santa Monica Beach

Pacific Ocean waves, Santa Monica Beach

We are having a wonderful time together and enjoying our mission.

We love you all and miss you.

Mary and Max