Letter #1 - June 1, 2015
Let's start with a story (given by Verla Sorenson, a fantastic elderly woman who gave a talk in church yesterday) : there was a little girl who went up to her mom and asked where we came from and how we're here on the earth. Her mom responded by saying, "we came from God, and we came from heaven, where we'll return someday." The girl then went to her dad and also asked where we came from, and also how we're on this earth. He wanting to make her laugh, he told her "we came from monkeys." Confused, she went back to her mom asking why the answers were so different. Her mom said to her, "oh it's very simple, I told you about my side of the family and Dad told you about his."
Sister Sorenson is fun. She also had Brother Goodsell from the bishopric stand next to her at the podium and hold up laminated quotes she had prepared (like we were in primary again or something) as she read and explained them because since he asked her to speak she assigned him to help.
Anyway, I do miss the MTC but I'm excited to be here. I hope I cover what I want to but I only have so much time and I'll probably think of all these things I wish I had included later. So this email can be forwarded to anyone just in case I don't have time for more than this.
Our travel group to CA turned into 23 missionaries all brand new: 19 English speaking, 2 waiting for Visas to Mongolia, and 2 Spanish speaking. The transfer meeting was huge. My first companion in the field is Sister Hall, who is also my trainer. I like her, she's not one of those super overly-energetic sisters that you find a lot. But she is more a visitor's center missionary. She doesn't like contacting, so I am always trying to come up with ideas to meet people. And her favorite thing to do is give the tours on the temple grounds, which we do every Friday night and Saturday morning (temple tours go all week, but this is our shift). The temple is gorgeous. I haven't been inside yet, we get to go every 3 months. I like doing the tours, but we don't have a lot of people that come so I feel pretty unproductive sometimes sitting there for 4hours. There's a nearby food place called Bowl of Heaven though that feeds missionaries for free so that's a fun treat every once in a while. We started off on day 1 with no area books, maps, or directories, and we are supposed to cover 2 huge wards. Over this last week we've done a lot with finding all that information, which we finally gathered and organized yesterday. Our goals have suffered because of it, we don't have a single investigator and a line of 0's down most the other things. But there are plenty of less-actives to visit. I'm trying to ask for referrals from them especially. This week should go better, though we have A LOT of meetings unlike usual. We are in the San Clemente area, which I've heard is where every missionary wants to serve. Our leaders and members are great! And we are generously fed. We haven't had to provide a single dinner for ourselves and won't have to for the next month. Even several breakfasts and lunches have been provided. On Saturday there was a Relief Society activity that was bigger and more elaborate than a wedding reception. I have some friends from my MTC zone here in my district so it is a lot of fun.
I also found out that Elder Perry passed away (as I'm sure you know). We found out in the closing prayer at sacrament meeting. The missionaries are always the last to know.
The strangest thing I've eaten on my mission so far is dandelion jam and violet jam made from flowers. We also had some sort of edible flower you can pick right off the stem and eat, and it's good for you. It had a slight radish flavor. Weird.
Collin (our cousin) wrote me a letter while I was in the MTC! It was short and sweet and made my day. And it had a stick figure drawing of Jesus on it. Sometimes I tell the sisters I have a boy writing me.
Yeah I feel like I'm missing a lot of stuff but I'm about out of time so I'll write things down throughout the week so I don't miss anything next week. <3ya!
- Sister Shumway