Hello from California!!!
This place is HOT! I have been living in 100 degree weather. It's a little crazy! This week was such a great week! It really is so cool being here! I will break down the days and try to update you as best as I can.
Tuesday: This was the day I left the MTC. I left at 3:30 am and went on a long ride on Trax to the airport. There I was able to call on the phone (which was so awesome to hear from the people I love most!). We were challenged in the MTC to talk to the people we sat by on the plane, so I already knew what I was going to do. Our plane was tiny and it was just 4 people across. 2 and 2 split by the isle. I sat by a 68 year old guy from Oklahoma, going to California for work. He had his head phones in when I sat by him, but I smiled and gave a loud hello. He then pulled out his headphones. That was the start of a 2 hour LONG talk with this man. He told me all about his life, where he was born, his struggles, his family, what he admires, and religion. I listened as he went on and on. He was hilarious, so we were laughing on the plane. He told me how he never talks to people on planes, but he loved talking to me because there was something about me. He had heard about the LDS church. The church building in Oklahoma was actually right down the street. About 20 minutes before the plane landed we talked more about religion. I told him that he should try going to the LDS church sometime and check it out. He smiled at me and thought to himself for a second and said, "You know what.. I think I will!" He then told me how I need to come to Oklahoma sometime and talk with him more. I told him that by the time I visit he better have gone to the church, and he said that he now wants to go this week. I was so happy! When I finally said goodbye and he left, the Elder that was sitting in front of me was saying how he was listening to me the whole time and was so happy I was talking to someone because nobody else on the plane was talking! haha. Once off the plane we were greeted by President and Sister Hobbs. I absolutely adore them! They are AMAZING people! We then drove to the mission office. I was amazed to see what Rancho Cucamonga looked like. It is GORGEOUS! I'm shocked! There's two parts of this mission, the valley and the desert. I was praying I would stay in the valley because it is so beautiful and is a lot greener than the desert! We then did some training and went out and contacted with random Sisters. We met a random lady and set up an appointment for the next day for those sisters! Pretty cool. That night we stayed at the mission home, which is BEAUTIFUL!
Thursday: We were spoiled with a nice breakfast and then went back to the mission office. We then found out who our companions are. My companion is Sister Lambinen! Just wait. It get's better. She is from Finland! So Cool! She is darling. My area is a driving area. Because Sister Lambinen is from Finland, she can't drive here, so that leaves it to me. I drive a cute little Chevy Cruz. It's great! Driving here is fun, but we like driving to our area and then walking everywhere else. We got to work right away! We are serving in the VALLEY! We live like 5 minutes away from the mission office and are in the middle of everything. Our ward is the Victoria ward, which in the past has been one of the hardest wards... they haven't had a lot of success here. So we started out the day visiting less actives. There are a lot here! So that was great! Then we decided to do some contacting. We don't get many referrals so we have to walk around and talk to people or knock on doors. We met a man on the street named sunny. We talked to him about religion for like 20 minutes and shared with him what we believe. He was interested and asked us to come back next Wednesday to teach him more! Then we also met another man and he said the same thing! I guess this hasn't happened in a long time to them here! Then we were fed by the members. We get fed like every night here. Then they send us home with TONS of food! oh no.. haha.
Friday: All morning we did weekly planning, which took forever! We finally got out of the house and didn't have any appointments set up, so that meant it was time to walk. We walked, and walked, and walked in 97 degree weather. Then Sister Lambinen and I both felt like we needed to go to this specific house. We walked up and nobody answered, but we felt like we needed to stay and wait, so we did. A few minutes later a 16 year old girl named Sarah came to the door. She talked to us and listened (which doesn't normally happen with younger people). She was very interested and asked if we could come back next week, so we set up an appointment. Such a miracle to have met her, we were so happy we stayed on the door step and waited. Then we also met a lady who wanted us to come back as well. I guess all of this is amazing according to Sister Lampinen because they never have this happen here. Kind of cool.. right? We made a goal to talk to everyone and It seems like it's working! We have met some pretty interesting people but also some that are just so cool!
Saturday: This was a great day! We had a few appointments with less active members and then did more finding. This area needs some help, so we are starting from scratch and trying to find new investigators just because we didn't have any in the first place. The General Womens conference was amazing! I loved all the messages about protecting the family. Family is key to the Lord's plan! It's where everything starts! That's why it's so important we guard it. So thank you for all the examples I have that do just that. You are all such wonderful examples to the world. Saturday night was the first time I experienced a door being slammed in my face. It was great! You just have to shake it off and remember why you are a missionary. Also, I saw a Coyote! It ran in front of the car and It made me so happy! I'm telling you, this place is great!
Sunday: Going to church was awesome! The members are very kind and very welcoming to me. After church we do what we do everyday, talk to everyone and teach. We visited one of the investigators that the the previous Sister missionaries had an appointment with and then set up more appointments. This week we will be BUSY! Something funny for the day. We went to a random house and started talking to this man, he shared how he was not interested, so I asked him if he knew anyone that needed to hear a message about Christ. He pointed to two of his Neighbors. We went to follow up on the referrals and both of the neighbors were grumpy old ladies who did not like missionaries at all! Turns out to be that guy just really didn't like those ladies, so he sent us to them! People love referring us to their neighbors! haha. Seriously though. I love the people here. They are so cool! We have had a lot of laughs because of them.
Now just some random thoughts. Being companions with Sister Lambinen is awesome! Nobody can pronounce our last names! Then when they see Sister in front of the last name, they just die! It's almost a blessing that our names are so hard though. We have started many great conversations because of them, and people are more willing to talk to us. We laugh like all the time here. Being a missionary is hard, but also so fun! I have met A LOT of great people! The missionaries in my zone are really amazing people. I'm just surrounded by great examples! Being out here has made me realize just how blessed I am! I am so lucky to live where I live and experience everything I have experienced. I just can't even believe it.
My testimony of Jesus Christ and this gospel has grown so much in this one week. I always knew the church was true, but I never thought much more about it. The knowledge I had just became something that was apart of me and I didn't do much about it. Being here has made me realize how important the message I have about the gospel is. I love sharing it with others! Honestly, I think my mission is changing me faster than I thought it would. Things finally makes sense that never did. It's incredible! The church really is true. Joseph Smith really did translate the book of Mormon by the power of God. I can't even express my love for the Book Of Mormon. It is one amazing book and I'm so grateful for it. I am grateful that I'm serving in Rancho Cucamonga California. This place is amazing and I know I'm supposed to be serving here at this time. No new updates on the Visa, but that's okay because I'm enjoying my time here. As long as I'm serving the Lord I don't care where I am! I love you all and I'm so grateful for you all! Keep smiling! Also, happy Easter! Everyone should get onto lds.org and look up the Because He Lives video. It's an amazing video! Share it with everyone! Thank you for the support, I feel all your prayers!
Until next week!
Sister Umbrella (what I was called last night by this random lady we met haha).