I think this blog will be a blessing because if every p-day is like today, I won't have much time to send snail mail. Well! I guess I'll start from the beginning. I arrived in California at 9:30 am on Wenesday and met my temporary companion(she became my permanent companion) Sister Aniuska Bustamante! She is really wonderful. She is from Madrid Spain, she's happy, she's obedient, she's beautiful, and I love her. I find myself thinking in her accent and saying things like "why you no look?" instead of "why didn't you look?" I really wish the CLAM was still a bilingual mission because I already new English and it seems like everyone down here speaks spanish. I'm sure it was inspired though. The very next thing I did my first day was take driving test which I was not expecting, and it's a miracle that I did as well as I did running on like 3 hours of sleep. After that my companion took me grocery shopping and she ran into a fence so now I am the driver for our companionship, not to mention I get to pay for half the damages(sorry mom and dad). Next we had a big meeting where we found out about our areas. Get ready! We are white-washing Malibu! It's my companion's first english area and she doesn't feel comfortable speaking it a lot(I think she is pretty good at it). Anyway, I thought the mission president was kidding, but alas he was not. It's been kind of rough because we work in the Visitors' Center 6 hours a day and then with personal study, two hours of companionship study for the new twelve week training program, language study for my companion, and the hour that it sometimes takes us to get to our area when there's traffic, we really don't have a lot of time in our area. I was getting really antsy the first couple of days because we didn't go to our area at all due to trainings and the visitors' center was really slow. I think I was overwhelmed because I was underwhelmed if that makes sense. It was a big adjustment, but not the one I was expecting. I wanted to talk to people! I felt like I wasn't doing anything to help the work progress and it was stressing me out mucho. Now we have been to our area twice and I feel a little better. The members in the Pacific Palisades ward are really great, but I am saddened to report that the ward is about 50% active. From the sound of things we will be workng a lot with less actives. I know that my companion is stressed because our area book doesn't seem to have a lot in it and she keeps saying "What were those elders doing?" I guess we don't have a lot to go off of, but we are going to do our best. I am grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord. I was feeling pretty low on I think my third day because we hadn't been to our area and I just didn't feel like I was doing anything like I said before. It was our first day in our area and we only had time for our dinner appointment with a member family and to knock on a few doors. No one answered but there was a man walking his dog that we talked to and at the end of the conversation he said that he would be willing to meet with us and read the Book of Mormon! (My first contact!) Turns out he was visiting his sister and actaully lives in the Ventura mission. I am still so grateful that my first contacting experience was a good one and hopefully all goes well with Maurice and the missionaries in Ventura. Thanks to our lovely call center I can check in on him and follow up on how things are going/answer any questions he has. Then yesterday I was able to have another wonderful experience on my first tour with a non-member in the VC. Her name is Zazi and she is from ethiopia. We talked a lot about Christ's life as we looked at the Christus and listened to the audio in that room and then we were able to watch a short film about Joseph Smith and we taught the Restoration. It was amazing to see her feel the spirit and listen to her talk about the feelings she had here. She is in another companionship's area so we introduced her to them and she wants to learn more! She doesn't want them to come to her house though so she is going to come here and receive the lessons in the
visitors' center. I am beginning to see what amazing things can happen here for people like Zazi who would probably never have let the missionaries in without the experience that she had here. I'm out of time, but I love you all and I'm grateful for this opportunity that I have to talk about the gospel every day and share my testimony so frequently.