I live in an apartment with my companion and one other companionship in Laguna Niguel. We are hardly ever home so it's really nice for the needs we have. It's a little weird to not have a computer or TV because that's part of what I'm used to being standard furniture basically. We each have our own desk which I very much appreciate. The area is beautiful, but June is very gloomy and cloudy, like the clouds are threatening the rain we very much need but never do rain. Apparently it'll clear up fast come July and stay clear and sunny year-round so I'll hopefully have good pics to send then. The weather is perfect every day, not humid and not too hot or cold ever, day/night. We hardly even turn on the air conditioning because we just keep the windows open. My favorite part so far is going to Bowl of Heaven, which is like a healthy smoothie in a bowl that feeds missionaries free since the owner is Mormon. My favorite part spiritually is probably scripture chases with the other missionaries when we have meetings or games and stuff. We don't have ipads and probably won't until at least January if at all. I don't know why. I am at the temple 8hrs a week on the grounds giving tours, but not a lot of people come so sometimes I wonder if it's a waste of time, but the other missionaries have recounted miracles because of it so I use it as extra study time so far. I haven't been inside though, we get to go every 3 months and they just went right before I got here to CA. The members are either awesome or acting like it, and you can always tell. But between the 2 wards I'm over, about 800 out of 1300 are inactive so that is one of our focuses here. In a way nothing is like I expected, but in a way everything is how I expected it because I expected it to all go as I didn't expect it (make any sense...?).
We have cars in this mission. In fact, because this mission is the wealthiest of all of them, we have 2013 and 2014 Toyota Corollas, Chevy Cruzes, and Ford Fusions. Some of the missionaries joke about getting a different car at a transfer and having the problem that theirs is a 2013 instead of a 2014.
Here's some things I think you'll enjoy hearing: At our first district meeting we couldn't decide on an opening hymn so we defaulted to a verse of I Am a Child of God (of course). After the meeting we couldn't decide on a closing hymn so we sang the second verse of I Am a Child of God. The next week we did the 3rd verse for the opening then we all joked about not knowing what on earth we would do about the closing hymn that day! So we may just start doing How Firm a Foundation or A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief. Those two would last us for like 7 district meetings or so. We also play grounders at the playground on P-Days as a district like little kids. It's the best when other kids are there watching us. I'll take a video of it next week. The Stake President said the best missionaries are sent here to this stake that I'm in. You would expect him and any stake president to say that, but he actually brought up a good point that I've considered a lot lately: people are lined up in Africa and places like that at the baptismal font (basically). But, once baptized, they can serve and be blessed in their families, but since they're so poor they don't have much to contribute no matter how willing they are. Here in San Clemente, but applicable to the entire Irvine mission, every baptized member can immediately contribute significantly by following the same commandments given to those in 3rd world countries. I feel like a huge responsibility is on my shoulders, but I also felt trusted enormously. Can't decide how intimidating that is yet.
I honestly don't have a lot of awesome stories. We work hard. We set goals. We make contacts, have dinners and appointments, study, give temple tours, go to a lot of meetings, study, update records, map our area, study, go contacting, study, go contacting, study, etc. And I don't need a huge miraculous experience, I'm doing my best and so is my companion, and so are we together. So I guess we will see what happens.
- Sister Shumway