I made it to California! I can't believe I am actually here. It's already been one week but it feels like I got off the plane this morning. It's crazy. I'm having a great time and starting to get into the swing of things. Today is PDay! so I'm at the church right now doing my email and once I'm done we are all playing basketball or volley ball in the gym. We started off today with helping an investigator move. That took up most of the morning since it was just me, my companion, and a priest from the ward. We still have some shopping and laundry to do and then at 6 I am going on exchanges with the elders from another ward so it will be me and another greeny tonight and tomorrow out doing the work. I am a little nervous for that but excited too. It's going to be good.
This week has gone by in a blur. My companions name is Elder Carboneau and he is from Buckeye, Arizona. He is 22 and is about 11 months in. I am his first trainee. Most of his other companions have been emergency transfers to him so he's had to work with all the elders that have broken the rules. He's a fun guy though and we are starting to open up to each other now. This first week has been pretty quite in our home since I'm so new and we don't know each other so well yet but it's changing and I know we will be great friends by the end of our companionship. The lady that took a picture with the green dinner is Sister Grossman. She's a really nice lady in the ward and to me it feels like she's going to become the missionary mom out here in the ward. And the other picture is from Sister Craipos. (I probably spelled that wrong) But they are both great ladies and will talk to you if you need anything. Don't worry. I'm not the one that sent the message. I'm keeping all the rules.
Well I guess I will start off with the beginning of the week. Sunday I was still in the MTC. I sang in sacrament meeting again with 7 others and we sang Be Still My Soul. It was awesome. I also got the see the John Tanner Story and Only a Stonecutter for our devotional that night. They were both really inspiring and it was really cool to say I'm related to John Tanner. Monday was our last real goodbyes to other missionaries and our teachers. We left Tuesday morning at 4:30 and arrived in Ontario, California at about 10. There we met President Smart and his wife. President Smart is a very quite guy but has a humor side to him. You can also tell he is a man of God and his wife is a wonderful lady. Sister Smart is super nice and always happy. We drove to the mission home and there we did our trainee training as well as drivers tests. That's right drivers tests! In the middle of the test the AP elder had us pull into a parking lot and each of us had to invite at least one person to be baptized and here our message. That was so scary. We actually got kicked out of a CVS parkinglot by the manager. That was kind of funny and a good story to tell on my first day. That afternoon all the new missionaries had to bare our testimonies. Oh and there were about 29 of us that came on the plane that day. About half and half were elders and sisters and we had about 6 or 7 that are visa waiters for Brazil. After our testimonies President and Sister Smart each talked and the President Smart announced the new companionships. It was awesome. My companion, Elder Carboneau, is our district leader and we have a CAR!!! I'm so excited! My first area is Temescal Canyon. It's a decent sized area with lots of hills. There are definitely it's rich and poor sides. We live with Brother Ziegler. He's in his 50's and has an unfinished 3 story home on the top of a mountain about 2 miles away from anyone one else. And he runs it completely on Solar Power. That's cool but problematic since the power and water have run out and there is no AC. The nights are actually really nice and cool but once or twice it's but warm and uncomfortable. Last night I didn't sleep very well because of that. The elders before me actually used cots and slept outside on the balcony. I'm about to do that because it feels amazing outside at night. The weather during the day is pretty good too. It's stayed in the 80s and 70s for the most part. It's great! and it isn't humid which makes it even better! We are probably moving to a different members home soon though just so we will be more in the middle of our area and be able to trust the AC, water, and lights. It's all good though. I'm loving it. Tuesday night my companion and I went to the walmart parking lot to contact at least 20 people. We have to talk with 20 people atleast each day as a mission rule. We got our twenty but the whole time a security gaurd was kicking us out so we finally left. So my first day I got kicked out of two parkinglots! It's going to be tons of fun.
Wednesday was my first real day in the mission. We woke up at 6:30 and did personal and compaion study. I met my first investigators. Brian and Loretta Alveras are on date to get baptized this coming Sunday. They didn't come to church yesterday though but we are hoping it doesnt have an effect on their baptism. They have two kids at home. five year old twins. That night was dinner at the Grossman's. That's the green meal. It was great. We met some of the ward so I could get introduced to them and to see if anyone had any referrals. We need referrals and people to teach badly. This next week we are going into finding mode.I met the Bishop and his family. He is only like 39 and a great guy.
Thursday was the same thing just different people and I had dinner at the Paxman's home. Friday we had zone and district meetings and then we all went to a Hawaiian place for lunch. We have had quite a few appointments fall through but we are working on getting some good investigators. Friday night we had dinner at Alex and Sophia's. They are our other investigators and they are a young couple. They know the church is true. She just gets scared of an actual date for baptism and her family is hard core catholic and she wants her dads permission which he isn't going to give her so it's going to be a long process with them. But dinner with them ran late. We were supposed to eat at 7:30 but they moved it to 8 which is already really late for us since we should be home between 9 and 9:30. And at 8:15 Alex put the chicken in for 50 minutes! We had to get permission from our zone leaders to stay out and be home by 10. We didn't eat until 9:15. I was starving! It was a great meal though. We are hoping to work with them a lot. Saturday we had lunch with a Scottish man we call Brother Albert. It was his birthday and he took us to Golden Chopsticks. He has a great testimony and isn't afraid to tell you about it. He calls the Book of Mormon the Latter Day Testament when he talks about it.
Total this week we tracted 1 hour and 20 minutes. We had 3 doors open for us and talked to one man that was outside his house. It is not effective at all. Sunday was good. We taught Sharing Time in Primary about prayer. That was my first ward council too. My companion hasn't been feeling well most of the week so after church he stayed at the Grossman's and their son Jessie, a Priest, went with me to get our 20 contacts and to dinner. We are pretty sure Elder Carboneau has strep but I'm all good. I haven't gotten anything yet.
The work here is good. There is a lot of it. We are looking forward to finding a lot of people. It's great here. I hope everyone is doing well. I pray for you all everyday. I hope Chanler is okay. I love getting letters from you all. That's one of the best parts of my week. I'll look for answers too. The best thing I can think of right now is to help everyone become truly converted to the gospel. That means a whole lot more than you think. Take it to deeper levels. Live by the Spirit,
I'm glad Utah was good. I miss all the family. Yes I did find the stamps this morning actually but I'm going to run out soon. My bike showed up in the middle of our meeting at the mission home Tuesday morning so I have it. Thank you for posting everything for me. I don't know if there is a story behind his pose. He came on his mission late because he was inactive for a while before. He is a great guy and I love him already. I'm glad the hike went well. I'm pretty jealous of them for that. I'm excited for you to teach seminary. It's going to be great. If you need anything or have questions I might be able to help you out with that.
Well I have to go now. I hope you all are having a good time and being good. I miss you and love you all so much. I hope you write me soon. Like really soon. Like tomorrow. Maybe even today. I still don't know if I can send/recieve pictures via email. Mail is probably the best bet. Good luck getting ready for school. I love you guys so much. I'll write soon. Can't wait to hear from you!
Your Elder Bushman