Sunday, May 4, 2014


Another month gone by. What did we do? Hmmm. No big adventures to report. We've been spending our P-days mostly preparing, not playing. As we mentioned last month, since the end of March, three senior missionary couples and one single sister from the Family History Library finished their missions and went home. That's seven out of the ten we once had. One single sister decided to extend for a month (thank you Sister Loveland!) and we welcomed one other couple. So with this greatly diminished crew, together with some Church service missionaries and volunteers, we've managed to get by. We will greet another couple later this month, and yet another in July.

In the meantime we keep busy. We have a one-day series of three classes that are taught about twice a month. Max teaches one or two of them, depending on who else is available, has not broken his foot, been called to be ward Relief Society President, or is moving to North Dakota (from LA?!).  [That's the case with three of the teachers].  Max was planning to teach the first class yesterday, when it got switched to the second time period and he was reassigned to teach the third class. Keeps you on your toes.

Mary has been called to teach primary in the Westwood First ward; she loves teaching these young boys. Max has four families to home teach. In a stake where 70% of the adult members are single, that means four people to teach. Our other activities continue as usual and as previously reported. Max enjoys his Thursday morning trips to Carson, San Pedro, and Palos Verdes to deliver mission mail. He is learning patience through the trial of traffic on the I-405. Mary takes that time for a water aerobics class. Life is good, but it's beginning to get hot; up into the 90s this week. We are anticipating what the locals mean by "Gray May."

We have some people who are regular patrons in the library. We wrote about one last month. Another one, a member of the Westwood ward, is a convert of about one to two years. She is an older Italian sister who came with her husband from Italy so he could receive medical treatment at the UCLA medical center. After he died, she joined the Church and remained. She understands English well enough, but has a very pronounced accent, so she is hard to understand. She works on her own family history research and also does indexing of Italian records, and she needs a lot of help with each. She had someone scan photos and help her add them to the Family Tree, but now she can't find the originals, so we keep trying to help her find them. Max was beginning to see her as a bother, looking for other things to do when she came in. But then he had a change of heart and decided to pray for her, first so she can find her photos, then then to help him be more kind, helpful, and understanding.  She has been to the temple to do baptisms for her family members, but has not received her own endowments. She wants to have the work finished for those that were baptized, and Max has been helping her get the names ready, but we don't think she understands what that means. Max recommended that she go to the temple for her own endowments first, and then she can go back and do the work for the sisters in her line. She doesn't have a phone (or doesn't accept incoming calls) so it hard for her to make a appointment with the stake president. Max has been facilitating that this week. He is also starting to feel a great deal of compassion for her and continues to include her in his prayers. He also was called up to the Visitor's Center one day when she requested a blessing and he did that for her. It is a little thing, and one that the young missionaries learn quickly and well, but it is a big change for hard-headed Elder Evans.

The young missionaries are having success in our ward. We have eight of them, a pair of single sisters and a pair of English-speaking Elders, as well as four Farsi-speaking Elders. We've had a lot of baptisms here, mostly Persians, but also a young English-speaking couple last week. We had a lot of Persian investigators here this morning, including a single man who is being baptized today and his friend, and a very nice and clearly very capable family of five. They have been to church several times, including the time we first met them at the Nowruz (Persian New Year) celebration in March. We feel wonderfully blessed to be "flies on the wall" to watch the hastening of the work among the Iranian people.

Mary walks home from her water aerobics class with a woman from Barcelona, Spain who she's hoping can get together with the sister missionary next door who is from Barcelona.  Cinta lives close to us and feels the peace that exists here when she walks around the temple grounds. She has been on a trip to Spain and will return home this week.

Mary and Max at work in the library
Mary also manages the schedule for the workers at the library which has become a challenge with new volunteers that need to be trained, but none of them coming very many hours.  She also is in charge of updating the calendar and posting classes.  Max does the marquée which helps to advertise classes and events.  We do have a new full-time missionary couple; they are very positive and helpful.  Boyd Dial is a former missionary companion of Mary's brother, John when they were young missionaries in Belgium; he has done a lot of indexing.  His wife, Nancy is helping with the microfilm ordering which is a large job here.  We have a new part-time Church Service missionary, Sandy who is being trained to do the once-a-month statistical report. Lloyd Reynolds, a Church Service missionary, helps maintain our equipment.  We have volunteers who help man the welcome desk and answer the phone.  When the Howcrofts come at the end of May, we hope that she can help with the cash register tally and financial reports we do every Monday.  And they both can ease the burden when people come into the library needing help. We get many new converts and others who need help getting logged in to the Family Tree, and members who need cards printed for temple work.  And there are a lot of non-members who come in who have been advised to come here for we have answers to their genealogical questions.

Along with helping patrons, Mary has been furthering her family line. She e-mailed someone who had a private-member tree on and they sent back about 40 pages of very-detailed and sourced information on the Mills line.  There were five generations of men named Edmund Mills. Susannah Mills married William Louis Wheatley of whom Mary referred in the last blog.  Her father, grandfather and back were all named Edmund Mills.  The first one was born in about 1690, married Abigail Short in 1717 and was a sailmaker and lived near the Thames River.  Because of the data sent me, I researched the second Edmund Mills' mother-in-law, Lydia Nepar who left a will.  After transcribing it, Mary found mention of three grandchildren, Edmund, Spavin, and William Mills, who would benefit to the tune of £800.  She died in 1757 so that was a lot of money in those days.  It was to pay for their apprenticeships and their future.  Anyway it has been interesting to see that there are other persons today whose research matches mine with so much more detail and helps me to find so many more members of the family.

We are so blessed at having the Los Angeles temple so close.  Within five-minutes we can walk over and be at the door of the temple to enjoy the blessings of attending.  We feel the peace that work brings to our lives.  A few weeks ago, we took 5 men from the library and Lani Bucelli's grand-daughter to do baptisms for about 50 of Mary's ancestors along with a few of his.  Meadow did the female names and Max was baptized for some of the male names.  It was a beautiful experience.