Sunday, November 9, 2014


Hi everyone,

We are going into the holiday season.  There were two pumpkins as Halloween decorations in the library--after cooking them up, Mary made a big bowl of pureed pumpkin for pies and bread.  Max and Mary will celebrate Thanksgiving here by eating a turkey dinner in the recreation room of the apartments. Everybody who will be staying here then, signs up to bring a part of the feast.  Christmas will be an exciting time when our children and grand-children will come for a week after Christmas. They are planning to go to Disneyland as well as enjoy the ocean.  We will also hike to the Hollywood sign and take in a few of the sights.  Wait until they see the temple grounds all lit up with red and green lights on the palm trees. And the Rose Parade on New Year's Day.

Pizza Party Practice
We have now been reassigned to a branch near Watts instead of the Westwood 1st Ward.  The Southwest Los Angeles Branch is a struggling branch consisting mainly of Blacks, Hispanics and Polynesian families.  The Senior missionaries serve mainly by teaching and providing music.  The first Sunday we were there, Max was asked to substitute in teaching Priesthood and Mary to play the piano in either Primary or Relief Society.  Then Nancy Dial, another Senior missionary, was going to be out of town, so Mary helped practice for the Primary program and then played 11 songs for 10 children to sing at the actual Sunday program.

The children did an amazing job; it was wonderful. Branch President Allen asked Max and Mary to teach the Temple preparation class during Sunday School to 3 people:  Chris, a young missionary going to Texas, Susie, a new convert of 1 year, and Laisa, a reactivated sister.

We missed going to the Southwest Branch last week because we flew home for Laura's son, Alex's baptism. We stayed with Emily in our home in Cottonwood Heights. We went to the neighborhood truck-or-treat in our meetinghouse parking lot on Friday. The baptism was Saturday morning in Lehi, with a brunch afterwords at the Daniels' home. Many of Alex's aunts, uncles, cousins, and all grandparents, including a great-grandmother, were there. We had dinner Saturday night at the Olive Garden with Mary's sisters: Sarah and Susan and Susan's husband, Robert. We went to Church in our ward Sunday morning, then went to Max's sister's house for dinner with three of his sisters and their husbands. Then we flew home again on Monday.
Mary with Alex before baptism
Laura and Jared's family at the baptism

Emily at Laura's house

Tuesday at 8:00 AM Max was at the library to teach the first two classes of our monthly three-day intensive course. Mary taught another class, Church Records, on the afternoon of the last day.

Yesterday was the Howcroft's last day of their six-month mission. They are on their way back to their home in Idaho Falls. This is a photo taken last week of our full-time missionaries.
Back: Elder Tripp, Richard McBride (director), Lani Bucchelli (computer guru),
Elder Howcroft, Elder Evans, Elder Dial, Elder McKinstry
Front: Sister Young, Sister Tripp, Sister Howcroft, Sister Evans, Sister Dial, Sister McKinstry

Folk art
The Watts Towers
Today after Church, we drove to see the Watts Tower, a folk-art masterpiece completed in 1954 representing the life's work of Simon Rodia, an Italian immigrant.  There are 3 tall cone-shaped spires adorned with colored pieces of tile, glass, pottery, and shells.  Kind-of unusual, but worth seeing.

Stick horse

Another day we walked (over 5 miles round-trip) to the outdoor Sculpture garden in UCLA; Mary's favorite one was entitled "Noble Burdens" by artist Emile-Antoine Bourdelle of a pregnant woman holding an infant in front of her and carrying a basket of fruit on her head.  Max liked the horse made out of sticks.

Often we help patrons find names to take to the temple. One day Mary helped a lady who said all her work had been done by an aunt who wrote a book about her ancestors. She had heard that she could look for cousins to find names.  Mary helped her look at her descendancy view and clicked on the sister of an ancestor.  Through searching a little, they discovered a child that had died at a young age whose father, she thinks, was divorced from the mother.  She realized that there would be no descendants and that she was, in effect, the closest living relative.  Mary printed off the card; the lady said that she and her husband were going to a sealing session that same day at 5 PM.  So she could have that child sealed to her parents. She said it was a miracle!  She didn't really think there were any names available at all.

One day we helped a couple who came to the library with the visitor center young sister missionaries. They are both new converts. Max helped the husband. He has had a very hard life, but finding the gospel gives him a new perspective. Max helped him with his family history by starting a tree with the little information this brother could remember about his parents and grandparents. After searching historical records we began to fill in the blanks and extend his tree. We got his father's mother's maiden name from a death index record and found that the family was living with her uncle when the father was an infant. He promised to come back and look for more family. I think he will want to take names to the temple for baptisms. then when he receives his own endowments, will want to do the rest of the work, including sealings. Elder Anderson wrote recently of the oneness of the Lord's work. Missionary, family history, and temple work are all part of one unified plan. They support and build together and build faith in the members.

Love, Elder and Sister Evans