Friday, 24 January 2014

California - Here I Come!!!

It is great to be able to get on here and to read the emails everyone sent!
Here are some photos from the MTC. 
In the group picture is everyone who was in my MTC district. The two women in the front of the picture are teachers. Sister Drew in green. Sister Spencer is next to her. Sister Hatch is in the Yellow and Sister Guthrie is behind her. Then Elder Fa'Alavelave is in the middle. Elder Pua is next to me. Elder Arp is in the back. Those three elders are from Polynesia. Elder Pullen is behind me.
Here am I with my two companions. Elder Arp is the bigger one and Elder Pullen is the one who looks white. 
It has been good being a zone leader. I was released on Sunday January 12th after being in the calling for 11 days. We also went over to the temple and it was a nice experience. The spirit is as strong in the MTC as it is in the temple.
Despite all of the food I ate in the MTC I have stayed the exact same weight as when I left home. We also had real investigators at the MTC, rather than just role playing all of the time. Throughout my mission I will be emailing the investigator we had.
While I was at the MTC I didn’t feel homesick and I was doing great but I was looking forward to working in Oakland. All of the elders in my district (i.e. dorm room) were going to my mission too. 
Two sisters left on Monday morning, Jan 13th, and it was upsetting because we were all so close. Two other sisters left the next morning and with all the sisters we sang songs to say bye. We all gave them all blessings and I was able to say it for one of the sisters.
This picture is me with one of the teachers at the MTC.
On Wednesday January 15th I arrived here in California. The weather over here is super nice! My 72 hour Emergency Kit that we had ordered (the Mission President had asked us to do so – maybe because it’s San Francisco and there is earthquake threat) had arrived. The first day was busy - we had training and also the next day mostly about cars and stuff. 
I was feeling homesick all day that day but when I met Elder Brown my trainer most of the homesickness went away. He looks English lol. Elder Brown is great! He's been out for a year and one month but we are both brand new to the area. This is a picture of us with President and Sister Meredith.
The area is full of rich people who like to feed us. This place is called San Ramon and is over the mountains, inland, from Alameda to the east of San Francisco and Oakland. I kinda feel homesick in the mornings so it has sucked. And we have NO investigators!! But the homesickness goes away pretty fast after the mornings and then I get excited about the work. They gave us a book called adjusting to missionary life which helps and in it is says that it takes about 6 weeks. So I think I will feel good in a few more weeks. Things are getting easier, though when we don't do much it sucks so it's good to be kept busy.

This is a hard area, but it doesn’t stop me because I just want to find people to tell about the gospel. My trainer is a district leader so we have a lot of meetings to attend. We got a few referrals last Sunday Jan 19th  that we are going to visit today (Monday 20th Jan).

We have been visiting the members to build trust and so that we can get rides when we need them. J  We are in a bike mission and I was blessed because the last missionary left a super nice bike! We bike a lot, but the church is pretty far away on a hill (a 25 min bike ride) so we try to get rides for Sundays and meetings. I seem to be more healthy now than I was a few weeks ago. There are more hills so everywhere we go we will be on a hill. But it is nice on the way down.

We have had a lot of meetings taking up our time. We do 30 minutes exercise in the morning - 3 times a week we run. Then from 7-8 we get ready and from 8-9 we study then from 9-11 we study as companionship for the first 12 weeks as part of training. Then we eat lunch. But we have had meetings everyday apart from p-day on Monday. We have other plans to meet a few more members. We haven’t been tracting yet as my companion thinks it’s pretty inaffective. We just go on the street and talk to people. But we will hold up a sign sometime this week probably.

People here are super nice! Everyone is willing to help and they all like to talk. Most people say my name right after a few tries. I tell them its like Close The Door and some people like that. And one of the sisters likes to call me that.  The sisters have a car. Right now there are just three sisters and me and my companion in the district. We are over one ward and the sisters over another. I think that is the whole district.

We actually live outside our area in our own apartment and it looks very good and nice! Luckily we got a dishwasher and a washer and dryer! We have one bedroom and one kitchen and one living room and one bathroom, but is is all very nice. But it’s expensive here - it cost like 5 bucks for a tiny box of cereal! The store we go to is just outside our place like a 2 minute walk.

We just found a shorter way to get on a trail near our apartment and so we use this to get to members homes faster. It is fun to cycle and controls stress more. In the day you can wear short sleeved shirts, but in the night and in the morning it is cold so I have been wearing warmer stuff then.

We don’t have any iPads yet but other missions do. And we have a phone for each companionship. My license to teach finishes on the 30th of December 2015. So I should be going home there abouts. I have made it a goal to write in my journal each day and I am doing well. The only day I missed was the day we had to leave for the airport.

Being a missionary you have so much to do, we have a goal to talk to at least 10 people a day about the gospel and commit them to something. So far this has been a lot of fun for me but finding people would make it more fun. 
My companion is a nerd. But he just came out of Pittsburg where people are more poor. The members are great here and the youth are amazing! Well here we go on a 2 year adventure! Send me an email :-)

Oh yea - phew - we get to watch one movie, on New Year’s Eve!

I know this church is true. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and I know Joseph Smith is a prophet. I also know for a surety now that God loves His children.