Sunday, October 30, 2016

Car salesman extraordinaire ...........

October 30, 2016 blog entry

While this past week has been a very busy one, there isn’t much that is new to report. Mostly I have been wearing my used car sales hat and during the week I sold three Subaru Imprezas, one Chevrolet Equinox, and one Chevrolet Trax. Two other vehicles were detailed, photographed, and I am awaiting pricing for them. Two other vehicles needed oil changes, which I don’t do but have to take them to Canadian Tire where the work is done. The person who bought the Equinox didn’t like the snow tires that were on it due to road noise, so I arranged for the wheels to come off his Equinox and exchanged them with another Equinox we have for sale and now he is happy. Three other vehicles will have body and paint repairs completed on Monday and they will be ready for detailing and pricing during the upcoming week. Still others are coming in to be sold as we gradually introduce the new Toyota RAV 4s for the older vehicles into the fleet.

On Wednesday Kathy and I drove to Brooks where we met a pair of missionaries and exchanged their Equinox for a new RAV 4. Brooks is about two hours away from Calgary and we were able to see how the collision avoidance system works on these new cars. The system has a radar device and a camera that work together to be “aware” of other cars ahead. Once you set the cruise control, the system works like usual until it senses a slower vehicle ahead at which point the RAV 4 slows to match the speed of the slower car in the lane ahead. If you need to pass the slower vehicle, however, as soon as you turn out into the other lane the system allows you to accelerate or resume the set speed. Other features, - if you drift across the lines on either side of your lane, it warns you. While we didn’t have occasion to see how the vehicle reacts to a stopped vehicle or one hurtling toward us (thank goodness!) the literature states that the system will apply the brakes faster than you can humanly react to a potential collision. The owner’s manual states that the system records speed of deceleration and acceleration, GPS location, and other pertinent information that can be accessed by the owner, the police, and other authorized personnel if necessary. I assume the system works in harmony with the TIWI devices that are installed on missionary cars in many missions of the Church. We are in line to have these devices installed on all our mission vehicles next April.

I will include a picture of a very happy set of Elders and the new car with which they have been entrusted. 

Elder Jewkes and Elder Shah

 I am nursing a cold and asthma to go along with it, and since it is much cooler this weekend, we didn’t venture out to see any of the sites in the area as has been our custom; therefore, we don’t have any new pictures to share. Hopefully Kathy won’t catch a cold as well, in which case we will hope to do better in the next blog. In the meantime, our mail-in ballots are sitting here waiting to be marked and sent as we struggle with how to vote. What a political mess the U.S. is in! Canadian news channels faithfully report on the “progress” of the election in the U.S. Many of our Canadian friends, while somewhat amused at the process, are also very worried about the outcome. They already have concerns about their own prime minister and Canada’s future as they live with the recession since the fall of oil prices. Now they look south and see the political unrest in the U.S. and worry how Canada will be affected by the outcome of the U.S. election, regardless of who is elected. When it comes to the possibility of war, economic instability, and other human welfare issues, Canada sees itself as gaining or losing by what its closest neighbor does. Yes, Canadians are watching the elections very closely and are concerned. 

Enjoy the week. Keep a positive attitude. Amidst the turmoil, it is still “the best of times”.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Cars, berries, and horses .................

October 23, 2016 blog.

As I mentioned last week in the blog, a lot is involved in keeping up with the vehicles assigned to our mission. The arrival of new cars adds to the paperwork, and a few more new RAV 4s arrived during the week. These are in addition to the ones mentioned last week. And a couple more are due soon and that should do it for a few months. Some of the new cars have been taken to their area of assignment and the old cars they replaced brought back to Calgary. Figuring out where to place the new cars is high on my list of things that need to happen during this week. Word is out that we have these new cars and that they have collision avoidance, seat heaters, and backup cameras. I have to chuckle with missionaries stating their reasons why they think they should have one of the new cars, - especially wanting to have warm "tushies" during the winter months. 

Three vehicles (all Subaru Imprezas) were sold during the week. Others are at various stages of repair and await detailing and pricing. The challenge for me this coming week will be to figure out where the remaining new cars will go and how to get the old cars back into the office.

That said, Kathy and I did get away to the Calgary Temple with our office mates on Friday evening. After our session we did some family name sealings and finally got to dinner around 10:00 p.m.

Yesterday we were able to see some things on our must-see list. First we went to Saskatoon Farms, a farm outside of Calgary where they raise Saskatoon Berries. Prior to coming to Calgary I don’t think I had ever heard of Saskatoon Berries. Since arriving we have enjoyed some jam made of the berries and some pastries containing them. They resemble blueberries and the taste is somewhat like blueberries but different. The berries originally grew mostly on the Canadian Plaines.  The berries are now produced commercially and the farm we visited is one of those “orchards” where they are grown. One of the pictures below shows a berry orchard; not much to look at now as the bushes/trees have been pruned back and frost has taken its toll. The farm has become a tourist spot with a restaurant, farmer’s market, pastry shop, small zoo containing farm animals, etc. The pictures below are all from our visit.

Totem pole at the entrance to the farm

More totem poles

The berry orchard (note the river in the background) Has to be a lovely place during the growing season. Not so much now.
How to make good use of your old stuff
Main Street on the farm. The dead vines over the front of the restaurant are actually cherry tomato vines. 
Guarding the door to the restaurant. (Makes me wonder what they are looking at.....)
Stuff for sale
From the farm we drove a few miles to a rather famous equestrian site in North America known as Spruce Meadows. They are having their version of Octoberfest, which involves eating and drinking while choosing from among a number of equestrian events. Yesterday we enjoyed an indoor horse-jumping contest with horses and riders from Canada, Europe, and the U.S. It was well run and moved right along (20 horses and riders). We stayed for the whole thing (about two hours) and really got into it. 

The riders began by a walking inspection of the course and then the competition began. 

Riders familiarizing themselves with the course

Speed over the course adds to the point total and points are deducted when the horse’s hooves knock off one (or more) of the bars. The horses were magnificent and the riders all looking fine in their riding attire. Most of the horses were very tall Thoroughbreds and were remarkably responsive to the rider’s urges. 

Amazing horses
A few balked at the more difficult jumps and if the horse balked more than once, it was eliminated from the competition. Some riders had two horses entered in the competition. I will try to post a video clip with the Facebook version of the today’s blog. The pictures below will give you a flavor of what we were able to enjoy. 

So, it has been a good week; we look forward to another. Each week brings a whole new set of unique experiences and challenges and we are loving it. Our association with such wonderful Elders and Sisters make it all worthwhile. 

We miss you all and hope all is well. By the way, it is always wonderful to have you comment on what you read and see in the blogs. We appreciate the messages we get back from you. Have a great week!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

New cars are nice but ..................

October 16, 2016

New cars are nice but…………

Winter in Heritage Park

We’re not ready for winter, - emotionally, or physically. Can’t we just postpone it for another few more months, but, like it or not, winter is here. We got snow each day over the last weekend and into the early week. Fortunately, we have had more temperate weather since, which is much more to our liking, and the snow has melted.

On Monday the office was closed for Canadian Thanksgiving. Kathy and I celebrated by returning to Heritage Park and to the winter wonderland there. We had dinner in the Wainwright Hotel and then returned home. It was enjoyable despite the snow and cold. I spent the better part of the day trying to get caught up on a mountain of paperwork which I will explain below.

As the title of this blog states, new cars are nice but a whole lot of work comes with their arrival. As mentioned last week, we received six new Toyota RAV 4s, and another six are due to arrive tomorrow. Let me give you an idea of what must be done for each new vehicle and why the arrival of new cars is a lot of work:
*First an inspection form has to be created and an inspection has to be done to certify the car is ready to go, no damage was done at the dealers, and the ordered equipment and necessary transfer paperwork is in place.
*Each vehicle has to have a car specific file made, both a physical file and an electronic one.
*A brass ID plate has to be created which is attached to each set of keys. This requires stamping out the vehicle VIN and the license plate one letter/number at a time onto a brass circle that is about 1.5 inches in diameter.
*A key box is prepared by attaching an ID label and the spare key is placed inside. Once the car is assigned to a specific area, this key box is placed in a container holding the spare keys for each vehicle in a particular zone.
*A car log book must be prepared for each vehicle and placed in a plastic bag along with an envelope containing the car registration, the insurance ID card, and forms to be used in the event of an accident.
*A car maintenance folder is prepared into which all maintenance items and inspection forms are to be placed by the missionaries as maintenance happens.
*A gas card (credit card) has to be assigned to each car and this requires an electronic assignment of the card to each specific vehicle.
*Now the car is ready to be assigned to an area but this area may be over 300 miles away so a plan must be developed for how to get the car to that area.

For each car going to an area, an older car needs to come out of that area and this triggers yet another series of actions:
*A car exchange form needs to be prepared showing by VIN, license number, car description, and assigned gas card to track which car is going in and which car is coming out of an area.
*Usually the older car coming out of an area is one being considered for sale. This car is brought to the mission office.
*An inspection form must be generated for the older car and a thorough inspection done to identify everything that must be done to prepare the car for sale. This includes checking for old oil, worn tires, missing floor mats, failing batteries, burned out bulbs, making a listing of body and paint defects, dings, and dents and anything else that may need to be replaced or repaired. All of these must be arranged through the various vendors we use for repairs and maintenance.

As you can see, moving and placing multiple vehicles translates into an abundance of coordination and scheduling. Once a car has all of these items corrected, it is ready for detailing and this, too, must be scheduled. Once detailing has occurred, the vehicle needs to have a set of photographs taken which are sent electronically to Salt Lake City for pricing. I maintain a list of interested buyers and I keep them advised regarding what cars are coming up for sale, but the item they most want to know is the cost, and this is the last step in the process. Now the “buyers” show up to try out the car and, if they like the car and the price, they pay with a bank draft and away goes the car. Whew!

One of the frustrations I have in the process is the time it takes for the new cars to be reflected in the church car inventory. Until the vehicle appears officially in the fleet as assigned to the mission, I am unable to complete the electronic assignment of the new car, - it is not “clickable”. While it exists in reality it does not exist electronically. Sometimes it takes weeks to show up in the inventory so I have to remember during the interim what I did with each new car.

So, enough about cars except to say, the process is very time consuming, and trying to keep all of this straight is a challenge while taking calls from the 200 missionaries with car related problems - oil changes, tire problems, gas card issues, cars that won't start, streaky wiper blades, accidents, etc. I hope none of this sounds like complaining; it is what the job requires and mostly it is very rewarding. I have a chance to teach and demonstrate car maintenance skills that these young Elders and Sisters will remember when they have their own cars (but then their car problems will be their own!). 

We were delighted to read emails posted by our twin grandsons who are currently in the Missionary Training Center. They are learning American Sign Language along with how to teach and how to be effective missionaries. We are delighted to hear of their progress and their growing love for the work despite the challenges of learning a “foreign” language.  Our thoughts and prayers are with them daily. We know what a wonderful yet challenging experience being at the MTC can be.

Other activities - On Wednesday Kathy and I drove a missionary with a chronic but manageable illness to and from a specialist in Lethbridge. On Thursday we participated with others from our ward in the ward’s periodic cleaning assignment at the Calgary Temple, and then on Friday we made our weekly visit to the temple to do some family names. On Saturday we participated in a special event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Calgary North Stake. This was a huge celebration with activities and food in every room of the stake center. All of the missionaries in the North Stake as well as we office workers were asked to be there to assist in the event. The missionaries worked as greeters, food preparers, food servers, etc. Kathy and I cooked over 600 quesadillas during the course of the evening as others placed them out on tables under food warmers. Other rooms had roast beef sliders, pulled pork, salads, and then at 9:00 p.m. the deserts appeared. There was live entertainment and dancing. The decorations were beautiful. All around the hallways surrounding the Cultural Hall there were pictures and displays of significant events involving the stake over the past 50 years. It was truly a great event. I will include a number of pictures to give you some ideas. 

Missionaries waiting for assignments

Guests are arriving - time to get to work

L -> R: Sis Jacobi (Germany), Elder Reetz (Illinois), Elder Chen (Taiwan), Sis. McDonald (Canadian) 

Elder Peppinger, Sister Sefcik, Elder Sefcik

Elders Fellows, Elder Klingensmith, Elder Bryner, Elder King (all from the U.S. I think)

Live music, dancing, good food

Whoever said, “Mormons don’t know how to have a good time.” was sorely wrong!

We love and miss you all. Stay warm, and above all, acknowledge the Lord’s blessings in your life. Remember: “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.” (D&C 59:21)

Evan and Kathy Thorley

Sunday, October 9, 2016

A very busy but delightful week........

Blog for October 9th, 2016

What a busy week…….!

This week has been a most stressful week thus far in our mission in terms of being busier than I would like; viz., new missionaries arriving, training for the new missionaries, the visit of my other boss (the North American fleet manager) and others, the arrival of a bunch of new vehicles, arranging for car repairs for cars needing to be sold, missionary transfers, missionary car accidents, and getting everything done up in sufficient time to get away to meet my daughter and her family in Banff. Now the details……

Recalling Monday is vague other than considerable scrambling to prepare as much as possible for all that would be happening during the week. This included arranging work to be done on several vehicles needing body and fender work and paint touchup in preparation to put on the market for sale. Late in the day we received a call from our wonderful ward bishop in Sandy. He is also President and Sister Miles' bishop. Bishop Pingree and his wife had been in Vancouver for a conference, then took a train trip through the Canadian Rockies to Banff. At Banff they got off the train, rented a car, and at the time of their call were on their way to see Calgary as well and were wondering if we could meet them for dinner, which we did, We had a wonderful visit and got caught up with all that is going on in the ward and stake at home. 

Bishop and Sister Pingree, President and Sister Miles

 Tuesday morning I made a trip to the airport and picked up several new missionaries. This was followed in the afternoon by the training the office staff provides. Also arriving on Tuesday at noon was the Church fleet manager from Church headquarters, Bro. Paul. He attended our new missionary training and we had a chance to visit some over dinner where he informed me that some new Toyota RAV 4s were on order and should arrive soon.

Wednesday morning, Bro. Paul came to the office to conduct some training and discuss our situation. In the midst of that training I got a call from one of the Calgary Toyota dealers informing me that they had six RAV 4s waiting to be delivered and that six more would be arriving any day. So the cars got delivered that morning and Bro. Paul got to see the delivery end of a process he sets in motion when the cars are ordered from Salt Lake. He and others in his office negotiate the purchase of these vehicles directly from the car manufacturers. I think it was interesting to him to see the other end of the pipeline. He helped me get all the cars inspected as they arrived and we got them parked and put to bed for the time being, so to speak. Bro. Paul was able to show me some aspects of the CARS program, which I use daily keeping track of the details for each car that comes to us. The CARS program is an online data base management system the Church has in place to manage all of the Church fleet. From Calgary Bro. Paul drove on to Edmonton to visit the mission there.

Thursday was transfer day, which I have described before. This entails my driving the missionaries going to the south mission, then loading up the missionaries being transferred to the north part of the mission and making the return trip. 

A trailer full of luggage goes with the missionaries

Thursday’s trip included taking three vehicles to the south mission, facilitating the swap of a couple of cars from areas being closed to areas being opened, receiving two cars from areas being closed, and returning with the cars that were replaced by the newer cars; in short, three cars went south and five cars came back so now there are a few more vehicles awaiting preparation for sale. This will be the pattern for the next few transfers; during the summer and earlier this fall we were getting more missionaries coming in than the numbers going home, but we will now see the reverse of this until the end of school next spring. Where we were needing to keep cars that ordinarily would have been sold in order to provide cars to missionaries going to areas being opened, now the numbers of missionaries will be dropping until springtime. For me in my work, as these areas close we move cars around so that the older cars come here to be prepped and sold. With the arrival of the new RAV 4s, we will need to sell 15 vehicles.

Friday we were faced with trying to get out of the office early so we could meet my daughter, Brooke, and her family in Banff. (All summer they have been planning to take a Fall vacation in Montana in order to see Flathead Lake, Glacier National Park, and Whitefish, then continue on into the Banff National Park so they could spend some time with us.) Ordinarily on Fridays during transfer week I take the outgoing missionaries to the airport. Fortunately Elder Sefcik was willing to take them to the airport as I needed to prepare a plan for car assignments to a meeting with the mission president, which suddenly now needed to include where to place these new vehicles. I went into the office very early to work on a plan to present to President Miles, and everything seemed to be falling nicely into place; then a phone call came during the meeting informing me and the president that one mission car had just backed into another mission car after a zone planning meeting. One car had already safely moved out of the parking space and was moving forward when the driver suddenly realized he had forgotten to mention something he needed to tell another missionary. He quickly put the car in reverse and began moving backward just as another set of missionaries pulled out of a parking space moving forward and, Bam!, proving yet again that two cars cannot occupy the same space at the same time. The one car, a Cruze, was so badly damaged that the driver’s door couldn’t be opened and the front wheel was bent. The accident cut our meeting short so I could investigate and figure out what needed to be done. This involved arranging for a tow to the Chevy dealer where the repairs will be made. Accidents prompt a whole sequence of events including making sure the missionaries inform the police so they can investigate (if they so choose), arranging for an alternate vehicle for the missionaries not at fault, and getting the missionaries online to provide documentation of an incident involving a Church vehicle. The fact that we had had a couple of inches of snow earlier in the day had no bearing on the accident.

It continues to amaze me how backing up accidents continue to happen when the non-driving companion is required to get out of the vehicle to guide the driver while backing up so that such accidents can be avoided. This is a frequent topic at zone conferences and it was just covered yet again just two weeks ago at each zone conference where we had pairs of missionaries demonstrating how this process works. Statistics show that backing up accidents are the most common and costly accidents missionaries have, so lots of attention is placed on this in training; still the accidents happen.

In any case, we did manage to get on our way to Banff by 3:00 p.m. where we met Brooke and her family at our timeshare (see previous blogs about the timeshare; we go as often as possible). The weather was a bit rainy and cloudy, which made for some great pictures. These are some we took on the way from the main highway to the Worldmark Timeshare. 

Bow River and the Bow River Valley in Canmore, AB

Approaching the timeshare
Approaching the timeshare

We went to dinner that evening and visited and made plans for the following day. It was a wonderful reunion.

On Saturday, yesterday, we got up and headed for Lake Louise. Unusual for this time of year in the Park, it rained lightly on us all the way to Lake Louise. The pictures that follow are all from the shores of Lake Louise, which you can see has not yet frozen. The glaciers that feed the lake are not visible due to the clouds. The unusual color is from the sediment in the glacier melt. It is more beautiful than the pictures portray. 

The Knight family. Brooke is my second daughter. 
Knight grandchildren
Elder and Sister Thorley. It is not as cold as it might look. 

We had decided to also make a hike to a couple of lakes higher up. The trail was initially fairly gradual and okay for Kathy’s knee at first, but then the rain turned to snow and the trail got steeper and the accumulating snow made it more difficult. 

On the trail to Lake Angie above Lake Louise. 

A pause on the trail at Mirror Lake

Periodically we could look down on Lake Louise through the trees and revel in the beauty of the beautiful jade color of the lake and the grandeur of the mountains towering over the lake. 

Kathy and I got as far as the first lake, which is known as Mirror Lake. We stopped to take a few pictures before the others continued up to the higher lake, Angie's Lake. 

Mirror Lake. No controlled outlet; the water seeps down into the rocks.

A pause on the trail
More from Mirror Lake
Yup, its me. At Mirror Lake
Kathy and I then slowly made our way back down as the others continued on up to the higher lake. The downslopping trail made the footing treacherous. Despite the challenges of the weather, the hike was beautiful! The snow was falling so gently as there was no wind, and the beauty of the area is wonderful. 

This next shot is of Kathy as we again neared the bottom of the trail at Lake Louise. The beautiful hotel in the background is the Lake Louise Hotel. It is the place we went last winter (as shown in a previous blog) to see the ice sculptures. A wedding was being conducted in the area between the walk and the hotel. There were 75-100 in attendance. As we walked by on the trail, the groom was waxing long and eloquent in his vows. In the meantime, the bridesmaids stood shivering in their sleeveless dresses. Finally when the wedding was over, there was a loud whoop; partly, we guess, because the couple were wed, but also because it was time to go inside and get warm!

In the meantime the Knights made it up to Lake Angie where there is a teahouse at the top (bakery goods and hot drinks. (The supplies are taken up each day by horseback). The Knights stopped and had some hot chocolate before making their way back down. We joined up with them again at the bottom and made our way back to Canmore (near Banff) where our timeshare is located; there we BBQ’d some steaks and chicken, small potatoes, and corn on the cob, and had some Caesar's Salad, - all of  which we had brought with us with that in mind. Sam, Brooke’s husband, is a marvel with BBQ’g. The meal was great. Sorry, no pictures! Too busy eating I guess. 

Today we parted company with Brooke and family who continued on to Great Falls, Montana, for the night. Kathy and I returned home for our church meetings and have rested up this afternoon. Today was my sister, Ann’s, birthday so we had a nice visit by telephone. Ann only recently returned from serving a mission in the New York North Mission. While I talked with sister, Ann, Kathy was chatting with her daughter, Kristie. Suddenly Kristi exclaimed, "There is a naked man walking by our house!" She notified the police; then texted back a short time later to report the man had escaped from the mental hospital which is not far away. Life is full of surprises!

We have had reports that twin grandsons, Jonah and Ethan, are finding the ASL language training at the MTC a real challenge but are progressing well. We are so pleased with them and the decision they have made to serve.

So, it has been an exhausting week. Tomorrow is Canadian Thanksgiving Day and the office will be closed; however, I plan to go to the office in any case and prepare files for all the new cars, those received and for those cars to be delivered during this coming week. Despite the challenges of our mission, it is fun. “No one said it would be easy, only that it would be worth it” and this applies to our mission as well. Have a great week!

Love, Evan and Kathy

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Wanna buy a car? We have several .............

Blog for October 2, 2016.

Kathy caught this sunrise with her iPhone this week.

Calgary Autumn sunrise

 This has been a very busy week for me in my mission role as the fleet manager. I have been trying to get caught up with all that is involved with car inspections. The inspections (all 101 cars) happened a couple of weeks ago but now all of the information has to be entered into the data base, so the inspections are only the beginning. The purpose of car inspections, of course, is to identify what maintenance items are needed for each of the cars in the mission in order to keep them in good repair and safe to operate. The data entry for each car can be done in a couple of minutes but that is only the beginning; each identified maintenance item must be addressed and the service arranged, first with the missionaries to discuss what needs to be done, then to call the particular service provider in the missionaries’ area and set it up, then a call or text back to the missionaries to provide the time and location for the service, and then back into the electronic file to document what is arranged. To put a little more urgency into the equation, the man who oversees the Church fleet for all of North America, technically my boss, is coming on Tuesday for a visit, and new missionaries are also arriving on the same day. It will be a busy week!

As mentioned last week, we received a number of new Nissan Rogues. I have placed all but two of them with missionaries, mostly in the south part of the mission, and have brought the cars they replaced here to Calgary to sell. Most have dings and dents and other paint issues that need to be touched up, and some are hail damaged; all this has to be repaired and the cars detailed before I can take pictures and get them priced. I mention this as we pretty much keep one body and fender repair place here in Calgary in business. The owner, Tom, and I are becoming “best friends” and we spent time this week going over each car to decide what was essential to get them ready for sale. I keep a spreadsheet listing everyone who has called with interest in purchasing a mission car. Currently there are about 25 people on the list. In preparation for the actual sale, I email a list of the cars that we will have, but, of course, the most essential piece of information is, what is the asking price for each? This will have to wait for another week or two; the Church fleet people in Salt Lake make this call, but only after the prep work is completed after which I send them the required pictures of the car when it is ready. Two cars are ready for pricing so, in the midst of everything else that is going on, I will be playing the role of a used car dealer again this week and for the next few weeks. With this much interest, hopefully it will go quickly and smoothly. This is one of the cars ready to go and all set for a buyer.

2013 Chevy Trax - driven only 80,000 km by kind and loving missionaries!

 This week saw the arrival of another senior couple in our mission, Elder and Sister Anderson. They will be working with the Native Americans (they are called First Nations here in Canada) in the Siksika Branch. The Andersons insisted on taking the entire office staff to lunch during the week and we enjoyed getting to know them.

In that same vein, the couple we replaced here in the mission office, the Birches, returned to Calgary for a visit and likewise insisted on hosting the entire office staff for dinner this weekend.

Dinner with the Burches and the mission office couples

We have also attended a couple of baptisms during the week, one in each of the Spanish wards here in Calgary. The first was a 93 year-old woman; she required help getting down into the water as her legs are quite weak and there was some concern about keeping her safe and comfortable while in the font. The solution used was quite unique; the font was filled higher than usual and once she had been helped down in the water she was seated on a chair, then after the baptismal prayer, she was just tipped back in the water in that same seated position and the immersion was complete and brief. Pretty clever. I will include pictures taken at both baptisms.

Mama Lola in wheelchair

New family, Pres. & Sis. Miles, Kathy and I

We are having to say goodbye to a couple of our favorite missionaries (actually all of them are favorites!) Elder Sanchez is leaving for his home in Uruguay, and Sis. Ratliff to Victorville, California. 

Elder Sanchez, Sister Ratliff

This has been General Conference weekend and has been most enjoyable. We get the Conference on local television so we remained at home to watch. The talks were wonderful as usual. Oh, how I wish we could have the caliber of leadership in the nations of the world that we have in the General Authorities of the Church. I bear testimony of their divine callings and the inspiration and revelation by which the Church is lead.

Life is good. Our Canadian Fall weather has been great. It is hard to believe that we are well over half way through our mission. We are loving it! We send our best wishes out to you.