Saturday, December 27, 2014

Denise Degler Gerstner: September 24, 1954 - December 25, 2014

Our wonderful, loving and angelic sister-in-law, Denise, passed away in the evening of Christmas Day.  
After several months of suffering from colon cancer, she joined her mother in the Spirit World and left behind her husband, my brother Tracy,  four children, a daughter-in-law and four grandchildren.
She adored her family and gave much service to others. We will miss her, but she is an example of faith and love for the Savior, and patient endurance through her trials.

Denise with her children:  Casey, Annie, Denise, Michael, Ben (picture taken May, 2013)
Ben, Casey, Maria (Casey's wife), Annie, Denise, Michael, Hugh Degler (fondly known as Bishop Degler, Denise's father),
Tracy Gerstner (my brother) 
Denise and Tracy, so happy together!

The family at Granddaddy Gerstner's funeral - February, 2012
Ben, Tracy, Casey
Michael, Denise, Annie
Cedes, Selah (grandchildren)

Christmas Day 2014

We invited all the missionaries over for Christmas breakfast--eggs, bacon, juice, pancakes, and waffles
Elders Gunderson, Garner, Owen, Fuller; Sisters Rigby and Drinkall holding their Christmas stockings that we gave to them.
Our Christmas gifts, ready to open
Elder Garner opening the boxes that the Solarzano family brought to them for Christmas (filled with food) 
My gift to Elder Lemmert
We ate Christmas dinner with the Schuette family. This photo was taken at their house.
Thanks Michelle Topham, for this great book!
Christmas Eve at Bro. Prien's house
There was a Christmas story and caroling along with all the goofiness!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Two Month Mark

Green Frog -- a landmark of where to turn when driving to a member's home.  Okie directions are "turn left at the green frog, then drive to the end of the dirt road, house on the left;" or "go on Highway 1, then turn when you see the Catholic church sign, then go on this dirt road until you come to Turkey Hill Road, then it's the house with the tires in the yard." How about "turn where you see the red sign, then it's two miles on the dirt road?" One of my favorites is: "It's the white house with blue trim, one block one way from Dollar General and one block the other way from Sonic, right in the middle between them; and then you  turn after you see two trees".                 Do y'all wonder why we keep getting lost?

This is a look at our trunk yesterday before making our Christmas deliveries. It took us three days, with three loads of cookies in the back of the car every day , to deliver our Christmas treats to people. We loaded up every morning, and I think we only have a half dozen left to deliver.    I know we had over 50 cookie plates,  candy bags, and cinnamon roll pans total.


 We had a great time at the Christmas mission conference (12/16/14) in Norman, OK.  There were over 100 missionaries, and that is only half of the mission. The other half of the mission held their conference a few days before ours.  I enjoyed meeting several missionaries, and all the couples serving, both as MLS missionaries and in the office. It was also fun to meet the Elders and Sisters that have served in Ada.  These two elders are Elder Davis and Elder Peterson. Elder Davis is now a zone leader north of us, and Elder Peterson is now the assistant to the President.   Elder Davis was so super. He sat with us both at lunch and dinner and went through the Ward roster with us and informed us of everyone he knew in Ada. He is just so awesome and so energetic. As I hear it, he broke many hearts when he left.  Pretty amazing for a 20=year old to be so caring and work so hard!
Elder Davis & Elder Olson, two awesome Elders that served in Ada, OK.

Food line for dinner! The Relief Society ladies cooked all the food for both lunch and dinner. Then they even put all the leftovers in styro containers and stacked them up on a table for the Elders and Sisters to take home for lunch the next day.  They were so awesome!
Elders Owen, Fuller and Olson

This was our P-Day. We walked out of the grocery store and found that our car had been love-tapped  in the parking lot!  Not too fun!!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Ada Ward Christmas Party, December 12, 2014

Santa checking to see if we've been naughty or nice this year.
Sister Drinkall, Elder & Sister Lemmert, Elders Garner, Fuller, Gunderson, & Owen
Mrs. & Mrs. Claus

Our selfie in front of our mission map tacked onto our living room wall!

He is the Gift

See the amazing "He is the Gift" video at

"He is the Gift", Part 2:  This  is a record-breaking live nativity...wonderful! You need to watch this!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

We love our wreath that was waiting for us when we returned home. It was delivered from Washington and is so fresh, full, and gorgeous!  Thank you Julianne!  We love it!
Pillowcases made by Elder Fuller's mom.  She made some for all the missionaries in Ada and wanted Elder & Sister Lemmert to have matching cases--so sweet!
First Christmas card from Richard, Stacy & Gracie. Way to bring in the holiday spirit!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A week in Huntington Beach with our new grandson!

Emily (new mom) and Jameson
Arriving in California and holding our little angel!
A three generation picture! 
Holding Grandma's finger

Mommy walking baby at the beach

A walk on Huntington Beach
First grocery shopping trip with baby
Grandma and grandson, so precious. He is only two weeks old and holding his head up.  He is so strong, always moving around!  
We were also able to spend some time with Ariadne. Here she is with her friend at Winterfest. She plays a mean violin! The concert was great! This is her first year away from family in Guam, attending Waldorf school in Huntington Beach, CA.

HE is the GIFT

He is the Gift - Go to the Website below for a spectacular video showing us the true meaning of Christmas!

Our Good Friend Joe

One of our favorite people in Ada is Joe. He is 90 years old, and a former Branch President in Ada. He is looking at his life story that his son wrote and published for him.  

More funny things about ADA!

It's so fun to go for a walk and suddenly, the sidewalk ends in the middle of the block. My assumption is that someone didn't want to pay to have a sidewalk in front of their house, but it is a common Ada characteristic!

Trains pass through Ada several times a day. The amazing thing is that there are approximately 100 cars and most of them carry coal, oil, or chemicals.

Our first snow in Ada in early November.  Not much but it can get very cold here (at least cold for people used to Mesa weather!)

A dear sister in the Ward always hosts a Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for her friends, family, and the missionaries every year.  This was our first Thanksgiving dinner the Saturday before Thanksgiving (one of 3 Thanksgiving dinners we ate!)

A real bear rug at Sister C's home.  She and her husband have been hunting all around, including Alaska and Africa, and these are only a couple of trophies in their collection.  She is a recent convert to the church and owns four ranches and a beautiful home. She cooks dinner for all eight missionaries at least once a month. We love her!

We hosted a morning breakfast for our missionaries on transfer day. Sister Chandler, (in the front of picture on the right) was transferred but the rest of the crew stayed in Ada. We cooked sausage patties, sausage gravy, bacon, pancakes, and eggs. Orange juice was the beverage of choice!

Our Bishop's donkeys!  Why does he have donkeys? To chase away the coyotes that want to eat the baby calves.

A house in Tupelo, OK, which is a city about 25 miles southeast of Ada.

One of the ward members has a huge bell in his yard that looks like the Liberty Bell. He enjoys ringing it now and then!

 An example of  country house, usually sitting on a large parcel of land and owned by a rancher.

A beautiful home located in the City of Ada, OK. This subdivision has beautiful large, brick homes. I particularly loved the setting of this house with the autumn leaves.

This is just a cute mailbox we discovered while driving on our county roads!

This is an example of the county roads that we drive every week, looking for remote address of members. We're put a couple thousand miles on our care already! Some roads are paved, but many are just dirt and gravel and seem so endless after driving for a few hours.  Every once and awhile we'll see a house!

All around the City of Ada there are Fall decor on the corners by businesses.