Paul Brushes With Skippy Toothpaste

Paul made this video while on his mission. His mother had sent a parcel with various items that included a lot of different flavored Crest toothpastes. Another item included was a tube of Skippy peanut butter. Paul put them altogether and came up with this video.

The official title is Real Creamy Delicious Toothpaste. Paul says:

After unwrapping flavor after flavor of toothpaste, the last one surprised me.

Rickety signature.

Missionary Paul – Part 10 of 10

This is part ten of a ten part series chronicling Paul’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.

April 2006

I think they upped the mail box capacity I have 15 Megs free now. Before you were sending the pictures with Picasa I think but they were too small. If you go into the menu under tools options email you can change what size it sends them. Try 800 or 1024 pixels. I sent you a package in the mail. It has a bike in it. Transfers are in two weeks and it looks like they are going to move me somewhere. I’m in Oakland right now. I got an Easter Medical form was that the package?

[I’d like] that Australian licorice and some beef jerky. Feel free to open up the bike and put it together if you’ld like. It cost $13 to ship it home. We have some special account that makes everything really cheap to ship. There is one more week after this one in the transfer. We don’t have anyone scheduled as of now. Jovanic, a 20 year old from Mexico, is doing really well except he smokes so it looks like it might take a little more time. He lives with his member uncle who went to church for the first time in 13 years the other day. I don’t know where I’ll go. There are only two areas left that I haven’t been to, Hayward and Livermore. So it will be back to an old area or one of those two. It should be good.

I called them and they said we would have 100% coverage for the visit. The doctor just gave me some samples that supposedly aren’t very effective to see if it would work. There is a prescription that works well but it costs $150 and the insurance coverage is spotty so he thought we would try the samples first.

[Read more…]

Missionary Paul – Part 9 of 10

This is part nine of a ten part series chronicling Paul’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.

The Prophet Joseph Smith
Photo credit Travis S.

January 2006

I spoke in church yesterday about agency. [Dad], you looked thin in the wedding pictures. The CD pictures were nice. Elder Checketts from Texas is my new companion, we stayed in the office but moved to the Oakland 6th Spanish ward. They must have messed up the paper work for the doctor visit. Sister Bauman sent me to the doctor to have them look at the ring worm on my arm. Don’t pay the bill yet, I’ll talk to her today and get it figured out and maybe have her give you a call.

They paid the doctor bill. The powerball is working well. Four other missionaries have them now but no one has beat my record yet. The pictures came through fine and download really fast at the office. We are on a cable modem. We go to a Spanish ward now. There is probably about 200 members that come. I’ll write you an essay on office work but maybe not until I get transfered out of the office. We stay really busy. This week we are going to see the new Joseph Smith movie during zone conference. It should be fun.

I sent a big shipment back to the salt lake distribution center of surplus supplies that we had. We got a pallet from Safeway and stacked 25 boxes on it and wrapped it up. We have a baptism set up for Ivan Quintanilla for the 29th. It should be good. Beranice Martinez got baptized last Saturday so we drove out to Concord to see it.

[Read more…]

Missionary Reunion

Since starting my blog I set a goal to post once a day. That is a big goal for me. Naturally one wonders if anyone is reading the posts. The blog is aimed at documenting our family’s events so a poll of family members should give some indication of the level of readership. Not much activity there I found out but of course they already know about the events — they were in them.

I was happy to find out that my blog was helpful in some way this week. Follow this email narrative to see how it happened. I have changed the name of the person contacting me and the names of the people he was trying to find. Otherwise the account is verbatim.


Not sure if you can help me. I was searching on line for some people I had met during my mission years and years ago who I now believe are in the Richmond area — Spanish speaking ward. I ran across your blog with references to that ward. If by any chance you have any ties or knowledge of the people in that ward let me know.

Thanks, Tom


My son Paul who served a mission there asks what are their names?



The names would be Lance and Lucy Martinez. I don’t know Lance but do know Lucy although it’s been 25 years. They would be about 60 years old right now. I served a mission in 1981 in San Francisco and that’s where I met Lucy. She is from Costa Rica. At the time her family housed the missionaries. Subsequently she married Lance whom I have never met. I heard that they were in that area now and I am trying to make contact with them. My son is currently serving a mission in Costa Rica. Anyway, if your son has any contact with that ward I would appreciate his help in tracking them down. How long ago was your son in that area?

Thanks, Tom


He was there in 2004. He will be home later, I will ask him. I don’t think he has any contacts there but may remember a name from when he was on his mission. Any way let me ask him when he returns.



Paul seems to think that he knows them. He had to leave again but he will see if he can find their phone numbers when he gets back. Don’t get too hopeful in case he is mistaken.



I am already hopeful.

Thanks, Tom


Looks like I will be asleep before he gets home so I will have to try for tomorrow. Sorry for the delay.



No problem. I can wait another day.



Here is their address:  XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Here is a link in Google Maps:  XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Phone:  XXX-XXX-XXXX (we don’t know if the area code is correct).

Hope this helps. Let me know how it turns out.



Thanks. I was able to call Lucy and talk to her this evening.


Missionary Paul – Part 8 of 10

This is part eight of a ten part series chronicling Paul’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.

October 2005

Elder Bodily and I didn’t get transfered so we are both here in Concord for another transfer. Yesterday we went and played soccer in Oakland with all of the Spanish missionaries. It was fun. We are going to have the mission president come do a fireside in our branch on the 16th which should be good. We watched all the sessions of conference. This next Tuesday is transfer day so I’ll see if we move anywhere. Working on Hondas is no fun. They are over engineered. The photos came through fine. Tell Steven he has to get married before I get back as well. I don’t like weddings.

The mission is going well. We are teaching a lot of people. The other elders in our branch had a baptism yesterday and we have one coming up on the 6th of November that looks like it might fall through. The couple is having some serious marital problems. I am the junior companion. I haven’t heard from Jake C. I currently weigh 175 pounds. We ran two miles Saturday morning. You don’t need to send anything. A CD with the wedding photos would be fine, the branch mission leader has a computer.

I am currently serving in the cities of Concord, Clayton, Martinez, and Pleasant Hill California. Many of the Latino people here are receptive to the gospel message and the work is moving forward slowly but surely. Many of the people we meet are from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Peru. The food here is excellent. I think I like Mexican food the best. It is wonderful to be able to learn about many different countries without having to do any traveling and invite everyone to come unto Christ.

I am fine. I lost weight don’t worry. Make Daniel get a hair cut.

November 2005

A day usually goes like this:

6:30 Wake up, exercise
7:00 Breakfast, shower, get ready
7:30 Book of Mormon study
8:00 Personal study
8:30 Companionship study
9:30 Personal study
10:00 Language study
10:30 Leave apartment
11:00 Something: appointments, meetings. Usually we go tracting
1:00 Lunch: sometimes it moves or is dropped according to the schedule
2:00 Something: sometimes appointments. Sometimes we go tracting.
Check contacts, media referrals, you name it
5:00 Dinner: sometimes it moves or is dropped according to the schedule
6:00 Usually appointments or drop-in visits, member visits
9:00 Return home, plan for the next day
9:30 Get ready for bed
10:30 Sleep

We usually have a lot of people we need to get a hold of. The Spanish culture is kind of lax so appointments fall through alot but drop-in visits work well too. We have two baptism dates set right now, we expect to set three more soon. Transfers are next week on the 22nd, I could move or stay. I’ll probably eat with the mission president for Thanksgiving. They put out a newsletter every month, I’m saving them up and you can look at them when I get back.

I was transferred to the Oakland-Berkeley University (Student Single) Ward and I’m over referrals and supplies in the mission office. Use the mission home address if you want to send anything. Elder Vernon my MTC companion is
the new assistant to the president and we’ll live in the same apartment. The apartment is on top of a convenience store across the street from the temple. It should be fun.

Office is fun, we use computers. My main job is handling referrals and supplies for the mission but we get pulled into a little of everything and stay really busy. We ate Thanksgiving at our bishops house. It was fun. I’ll try and think of something for you to send me. I liked the last Christmas picture, that one can last can’t it?

December 2005

In the singles ward almost all of the members go home for the holidays as they are students away from home. We do have the new Kruger’s Christmas DVD that seems to be pulling in a lot of referrals. Our ward doesn’t have church on Christmas so we have to pick one to go to. I don’t know which one we will choose. Church will probably be at 9:30. We have two lines and two cell phone numbers at our apartment so you can call any time you feel like if I’m there, they shouldn’t be busy.

[Aunt] Susan’s package came right before the 1st. My companion and I are really enjoying opening them every night and we always read the accompanying scripture story. Send some of that Cukaburro licorice, it’s really tasty and some beef jerky and a bacon cheddar cheese whiz with ritz crackers. We have a huge stockpile of candy so don’t send any more and there isn’t room in the suitcases to bring anything more home so don’t send any trinkets.

I order supplies for the mission ie. Books of Mormon, manage church media generated and visitor center referrals, baptism records, and keep the office running. You’d better get reading [the Book of Mormon]. If you can manage a little more than 8 pages a day you should finish.

We are going to the Berkeley families ward for Christmas. We’ll leave for church around 9 PST and won’t be back until 1:30 PST or so. We might have somewhere to go after church so I’ll try and email you again to say when would be the best time if it’s not after church. The call is 30 minutes, the last two times you went over so have everything planned out this time. Write down some things to talk about so we don’t have to talk about the weather again.

We watched the Christmas devotional and we’ll watch the Commemoration broadcast as well.

Missionary Paul – Part 7 of 10

The Book of Mormon.
This is part seven of a ten part series chronicling Paul’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.

August 2005

There are about 110 to 200 people that come every week to the branch here. They all are Spanish speaking although some of the kids don’t speak Spanish very well. Si me amáis, guardad mis mandamientos.

You might want to consider picking up the institute Book of Mormon manual. I like it. Today we had a big barbecue and ate all of the food left over from the stake’s youth conference. The library’s Internet is hardly working today. It took the whole hour to look at the pictures. The pictures normally download quickly, but we had to use the computers later in the day when they run very slowly.

I am getting transferred to concord. It will probably be faster to wait until next week for my address than to send them to the mission home but it’s up to you. Dad’s [conversion] story came though. I spoke yesterday in church about missionary work—twenty minutes. Send me some socks, not the green striped ones they don’t last. The ones with the gold toe are good.

September 2005

If someone asks for my address you are supposed to give them the mission home address so they don’t send mail to my old apartments. Have Steven send the camera TV cable with the socks if you could. Tell Jake C that they have been holding all the mail because of transfers so if he was expecting a reply from a letter he might have sent I still haven’t got it. My new companion is Elder Bodily from Pittsburg Pennsylvania. My room mates are Elders De Olivera and Gionet from Brazil and New Brunswick so I am learning a little Portuguese and French.

[Read more…]

Missionary Paul – Part 6 of 10

This is part six of a ten part series chronicling Paul’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.

June 2005

Yes I got the camera and I have taken some pictures. Tomorrow I am transferring to Pittsburg from Antioch but with my same companion Elder Garcia and in the same apartment. I’ll be here for at least another six weeks. The baptism is set for the 11th but it doesn’t look like it is going to go though. In the report every week I mostly write about the people we are working with. My companion drives a lot, he likes it.

The stamps came, however it appears to have taken $7.05 in postage to send me $7.40 in stamps. We have a baptism date set with Higinio for the 2nd of July I think. He is doing very well. The package came with some tasty cookies that I have been eating. Someone seems to have gotten hungry on the way to the post office though because all of the candy came half eaten. The teaching appointments are going well, I expect Doris, Rosendo, and Higinio will be baptized soon.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Photo Credit: bryanh

We are going to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert in Oakland tomorrow. I think we are going to ride the BART there, which should be fun.

Dad, can you have your conversion story finished by August 1?

Paul’s Father

[On Father’s Day I] hope all is well with you and I’ve not forgotten you asking for my conversion story. I want to thank you for being my son and all the things you have done for me over the years—from looking after me when I was sick; repairing my cars; fixing computers; and giving your opinions and perspective. You also educated yourself on many things which made you fun to be around because you would sometimes be the only one in the house that knew what I was talking about on a particular subject. As I’ve watched all my children grow I try to learn something from my observations and indeed with you I have learned a lot—so thank you again for being my son.

Love, Dad

July 2005

We went to Alcoholicos Anonimos last Thursday with one of our investigators. He is one of the big promoters of the program here. It was fun.

Missionary Paul – Part 5 of 10

This is part five of a ten part series chronicling Paul’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.

March 2005

I like the area I am in very well. We haven’t had any baptisms in this area yet, however, we are getting close. The church in Spanish is small down here. I still drive, I have not forgotten. The church members are just like church members. Except they all have black hair and black eyes and are fairly recent converts to the church.

We washed the car today. It is very clean now. The 15th is transfer day; I think I will probably stay here in San Leandro.

I lost twenty pounds this transfer. Now I weigh 160 pounds and my clothes fit well once again. I think that if you put your mind to it you could lose weight too. It is not very hard. There is a lot of food to eat though so I may gain it back again. My first companion Elder Smoot is back in Provo now. He finished his mission. He will be officially engaged to his girl friend that has been waiting for him as soon as he earns enough money.

I bought a new 512 memory card so now I take more video and pictures. I like the videos better. I worked on not being a picky eater in the MTC and it looks like it paid off. I can eat just about anything now without throwing up and most things even taste good. One of the things I don’t really like is lengua [Ox tongue]. It is really squishy and fatty but I eat it anyways. Burritos of carne asada, which is like thin steak, are my favorite food here. We buy them from little taco trucks which drive some where, park and then sell tacos.

Talk to you next week.

It’s too bad to hear that grandpa isn’t doing well. Try not to be too sad. Photo of Wilson Rivas Sanchez

One of my little friends, Wilson, died a few weeks ago at five years old. I was there the first time their family came to church and followed their progress until the Mother and her twelve year old were baptized three months later. The Father continued to struggle in overcoming some difficulties but never failed in coming to church and supporting his family. Then four months later I picked up the phone one Sunday morning only to hear Brother Rivas struggling to relate the sad news and inform us of the viewing and funeral. The next day as we gathered together and looked at the little casket, it was obvious that Wilson was not in the cold lifeless body but as promised had indeed returned to live with his loving Father in Heaven. While it may have been difficult to accept, his death was a necessary part in God’s plan of Eternal happiness and we have the assurance that all is well.

Keep the big picture in mind.


Elder Willoughby

I moved to Antioch. Elder Denning from Idaho is my new companion. Brother Lang told me if I ever made it to Pittsburg to avoid Black Diamond street, however, the Elders that live with us and cover Pittsburg say it isn’t too bad anymore. Elder Vernon, my MTC companion, lives in the same apartment with us. It is fun. I have begun reading Jesus the Christ in Spanish. It is easier to read than the English one because the translator has taken out all of the archaic words.

The shirt fits well, however, I don’t think I’ll need any more. All of my shirts are holding up well and should last me the whole time. The new apartment is nice. I’m thinking I will probably stay here for a couple months but you never know. The scripture cards came. They look really good, I like them. How is Uncle Mike? Do you watch more TV with your Tivo?

Hello Daniel,

Try to see if you like the Work and the Glory books, Sarah has all of them. They should be good. Have you read all of the Tennis shoes among the Nephites? The Wards have all of them. Try the hitch hikers guide to the galaxy, Steven has that one. Get the eye, the ear, and the arm from the library. It is a good book. Jake C knows what it is called if I didn’t get the title right. Try reading the wheel of time series. Oh, get the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe that is a good one and read the other books that he wrote. Start out with the eye the ear and the witch and the wardrobe. Let me know when you finish and I’ll remember some more.

Food, if you go to Betos I have probably eaten every single thing on the menu. I’ll tell you what the good stuff is when I get back. In the mean time you might try some quesadillas as they are tasty.

Clay Wight email to Jill Willoughby

Jill discovered that her L-3 Communications colleague, Clay Wight, had a son in the MTC with Paul.

From: Wight, Clayton
Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2005 7:09 AM
To: Willoughby, Jill
Subject: Small World


This is an excerpt from my son’s email yesterday:

Hey Dad I did know Elder Willoughby, real well. He was in my Branch. I even went to class with him a few times. I checked him out of his room. I never heard him speak English the whole time he was in the MTC. That was impressive.

Clay Wight

April 2005

We watched all of the sessions in conference and they were really good. I watched them in English, the Spanish translators are really good but they always miss some things. I would have gone with the Presidential scholarship that gives [Jake] more money, the credits transfer fairly well between the schools and he could switch if needed. Photo of Paul with missionariesHe should be able to get good enough college grades to get a scholarship at Utah State when he switches. Tell him to get a free bachelors degree at U of U then he can go to what ever school he wants for his masters. Fifteen hours is a lot of credits to take and have to work at the same time. I think he wants to go party up there with Brian.

The pictures don’t cause any problems. I don’t need anything I will tell you when I do. If Dad still has the Book of Mormon summary booklet project saved off the other Elders here really like it and were wondering if he could send three of them out here.

There are a few people we are teaching that look promising. Monica, Sal and Elvira, Guiermo, and Roberto. There are some others that are doing well but I can’t remember their names at the moment. I like fixing head gaskets; that’s an expensive repair. I haven’t heard from Jake C for a while and I like the city I am serving in. Ask Steven if he has any tips for improving my Spanish. Did Daniel get started on any of those books?

I like linoleum, make sure you get some real slippery so we can slide around in our socks. The places aren’t too scary here. I am the junior companion right now, which means that I work equally with the senior companion except he is responsible for what happens and has the last say in the decisions to be made. I play the piano in district meetings when no one else can. So far I have learned one new hymn, #27.

We usually eat breakfast and lunch in the apartment and about half the time we eat dinner with a member. I have been eating honey nut cheerios for breakfast with some tasty vitamin D whole milk. I found some chili in one of the apartments, someone gave us some hot dog buns, and I bought some hot dogs so I have been eating chili cheese dogs this last little while. I usually have some toast and put either pork and beans, old English cheese, jam, peanut butter, or honey on it. There are usually some leftovers from a dinner to eat as well. I like to eat what other missionaries have left in the apartment, a cupboard of strange cans and foods always builds up that no-one can bother to cook or eat so I chow down on it. I’ve been eating a lot here and I’m back up to 180 pounds, which makes my clothes fit a little tighter.Photo of Paul with missionaries and converts

They carpooled to the temple, it is about thirty minutes away. We drive a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu. I have been driving for the last seven months. Do you think you could send me a Franklin KJB-2003 Bible Bookman Card for my birthday? I think they are about $20 and plug into the back of the little translator that I carry around. A legacy dvd and a special witnesses dvd, they come with Spanish on them. My new companion is Elder Garcia from Tampico Mexico, he is 6 foot 5 inches tall and really big.

The senior missionaries sure help out a lot here.

May 2005

Next Sunday is Mothers Day, if you can call me up at 6:30 – 7:00 my time. We go to church at 8:00 so if you are late we won’t be there. We haven’t received any direction on calls yet so if anything changes I’ll tell you when you call. Hey do you think you could send me a church almanac and a true to the faith in Spanish (Leales a la Fe)? My companion’s name is Elder Garcia. I can send you a picture after the camera arrives. The traffic is only bad here during rush hour and the highway systems are very extensive so it ends up about the same as Salt Lake. Elder Oaks spoke with the missionaries yesterday, he flew out for a YSA fireside and was nice enough to speak to us the next day. Steven can send the package here to Pittsburg if he has them leave it in the apartment office or at the post office. If not I’ll just have to wait until zone conference when they bring the packages from the mission home.

The pants are not too small they are just getting tighter. I’m going to keep wearing them for now. I have a lot of candy I keep collecting it from other elders so it’s going to take me a while to eat what I have. Macaroni and Cheese is only 33 cents at Wal-Mart, it’s pretty tasty.

So it turned out to be a bunion [on Sarah’s foot] after all, I thought so. Tuesday we have interviews with the President so we’ll be doing that for a while. Our branch is moving to a different chapel this Sunday. It should be fun. Good job at work [Dad], now all you have left to do is retire. Yesterday we had a zone conference with Elder Hallstrom and his wife are who taking a mission tour here. It was good. When you get a chance I was wondering if you could send me your conversion story.


I don’t have a lot of time left because the computer at the library was broken and I had to fix it before I could use it. I received both packages and every thing looks good. The pictures are very nice and fun to look at. I don’t know if Andrew can mail me or not but it cost money to print here so if he would like a response have him mail it out. I received the present from Amazon and the others and I’m very happy with them. The Wards sent some little sticky frog snappers that the other elders have really enjoyed snapping each other with. Could you send me some more stamps? We live in Pittsburg but our area is Antioch. We have a baptism coming up on June eleventh, Monica Zarate from Peru. Also we are hoping that Berlin Leon will be baptized soon. She is married to a member and they are both from Guatemala.

If you would mail [your conversion story] out when you finish it up that would be good.

Missionary Paul – Part 4 of 10

This is part four of a ten part series chronicling Paul’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.

December 2004

I talked with some construction workers and the other elders, looks like they all vote for laminate [for your floor]. Two of the members have really nice laminate floors that look great. If you can include a Mexico map in the Christmas package, the others are great. I’ve been working on memorizing the script to the restoration movie because we watch it a lot. If you get some extra time could you rip the Spanish audio off and send it to me on CD? Photo of Paul with other missionaries

Steven or Jake should be able to help. After you rip the movie, virtual dub can save off a wave file of the audio which can be burned onto CD.

Yes my suit and pants still fit. I’m still the same size except my ribs don’t stick out anymore. The second suit that they sent they sent the pants a size too small expanded out to the largest setting which is an inch too small. They fit now but I couldn’t say for how long. I’ve got it hanging up in my closet and don’t wear it because I really don’t need two suits. If you haven’t bought Jake’s yet I’ll send him this one. It looks really sharp and should fit him well. I still have the box if Jake wants it, if not maybe you could have the pants traded in for me and I’ll wear it on the way home. Christmas calls are one hour long. Some of the members have free long distance so I might call from them if they offer. Do you have some sort of card for me if that doesn’t work out? Transfers are December twenty first so if you are sending anything that isn’t going to make it to the apartment before then send it to the mission home. About packages can you send some more black socks? I like the thick kind.

[Read more…]