Sunday, September 14, 2014


This has been an eventful month for us. Max started serving as an unscheduled veil worked in the Los Angeles Temple. This means that he serves whenever he attends a session as a patron, which is, for us, once or twice each week. The temple is now closed for the regular two-week cleaning and maintenance work.

Since we've been to each of the temples in California except the Fresno Temple, we decided we would take our Friday P-day as a little road trip while the LA temple is closed. We welcomed a new couple to the Family History Library two weeks ago. They are the Tripps from Cottonwood Heights. Since they have Friday off too, we invited them to go with us. They agreed. We packed a lunch and left here Friday just before 7:00 AM. We arrived at the Fresno Temple about 10:30, had lunch on the temple grounds, then went on the 11:30 session. The session was almost full, only about nine, out of 38 seats, were empty. Then we headed back to Los Angeles. We traveled against the traffic both ways so we made good time.
Fresno Temple
Barry and Margie Tripp with Mary and Max

It was nice to visit with the Barry and Margie Tripp. They are nice people. She is a retired school teacher who taught with Sharon Garff. He retired from Utah State government where he was the manager for state trust and sovereign lands. They are both very well-versed in the FamilySearch Tree website, but would like to know more about how to do research.

We had our temple recommend interviews with our President Weidman. He asked us if we would like to serve our final few months  on Sundays in a struggling branch. We haven't been able to do that until now because we have had to open the library two or three Sundays each month for various groups, including the British Genealogical Society of Southern California. But we now have another new missionary couple. The McKinstrys have been here for about six weeks. They will take over for us on Sundays when we go home. They had already started to alternate with us. Sis. McKinstry recently retired from the Family History Library as a British floor consultant. She and Mary know each other from Mary's work in the Library as an intern and a Church Service Missionary.

We will be sorry to leave our friends in the Westwood First Ward.  Max serves as a regular teacher and as a frequent substitute in the High Priest group and Mary teaches Primary. This is a ward filled with talent and experience. It is a large ward geographically, encompassing everything from Santa Monica Boulevard to Mulholland Drive at the top of the mountains and from West Hollywood to the I-405 freeway. That means it includes some of the LA's most exclusive cities and neighborhoods: Beverly Hills, Westwood, Bel Aire, and Brentwood.

We think we might be needed more in a struggling branch. The small, storefront meetinghouse for the Los Angeles Southwest Branch is couple of miles from the infamous Watts neighborhood. The members are mostly people of color. The branch president is a faithful and dynamic Black man with a young family. Many of the senior missionaries serve there on Sunday's, or in one of the other struggling wards. They all love it. We are looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity to serve in ways we haven't done recently.

Sister McKinstry is a Downton Abbey fan. She brought CDs of all of the series, so we have a Friday night social. We bring snacks and watch two episodes together each time in the multipurpose room.

We feel like we live in a construction zone. There are two schools on this large block that includes Temple Hill. One is a Catholic K-8 school that built a new building on their very small property (the teachers use the Westwood meetinghouse's parking lot and the children have gym class on the LA Stake playing field). The new building has a gym,  library, music room, and classrooms. We watched it go up from our old apartment. Emerson Middle School is also undergoing renovations. They are building a new gymnasium on what was a teacher parking lot. We can see that construction from our new apartment. Just off temple hill was a vacant lot that is being developed as another apartment building. We can see and hear that from the other side of our flat. But most of all, the 40 year-old Patron Apartments where we live are undergoing renovations. Just as we arrived last year one wing, 26 of 100 apartments, was closed. They are almost finished with the second phase. Ours was scheduled for the fourth and final phase, but it turns out that it may be the third. If so, we will have to move again. It would be nice to get a one-bedroom apartment in one of the remodeled wings, but we are not counting on it. Whatever they decide will be fine.

Teaching classes in the library has kept us hopping. Max and Mary each taught two classes of our monthly three-day intensive course last week. Max also teaches one or two classes each of the other weeks. He will be the keynote speaker at a family history fair in Cerritos, southeast of LA, next week. He has spend a lot of time on that.

Sign on the wall of the Library foyer
Mary and Margie helping a patron. Elder McKinstry with back to camera
Max (behind computer) and Mary, each helping patrons. Jewish collection on back wall
Max at the Help Desk
We love the young missionaries. Since the mission office is just down the hall from the library, we see a lot of them, especially on Mondays, P-day, when they use our computers for their email. Max also gets to know them on his weekly mail drops to three districts in two zones.

There was a very special fireside at the Visitors' Center this evening. The young missionaries put on a musical performance called "The Restoration." Using narration with LDS hymns and songs, they taught about God's plan for us; the need for prophets; the life, ministry, and mission of the Savior; the apostasy; and the restoration, including the first vision and the Book of Mormon. It was very effective. The missionaries were all very mature and polished. The singing was extraordinary. Such talent these young people have! There were twelve young sisters and nine elders who performed solos, duets, trio, and in other combinations. They were accompanied very well by a young sister and a young elder, in addition to a local member who is a professional musician. We were blessed to get seats on the third row of a very crowded room for the first of the two performance held this evening.

The Gospel is true. We add our testimonies of the Restoration to that of the missionaries who spoke and sang for us tonight. God loves us; Jesus died for our sins; the Church He established has been restored; the Book of Mormon is the word of God; redeeming the dead through family history and temple work is sacred work; and the Atonement of Jesus Christ works in our lives. These things we know.

Sister Mary and Elder Max Evans
(Grandma and Grandpa)