Whats up everyone!!!
Soooo I am in Hemet right now in the Echo Hills ward. People told me that if Riverside had a ghetto, that it would be Hemet, but honestly, it is totally fine. Dont get me wrong, there are some sketchy places here and sketchy things are happening all around us, but we are safe. My ward is SUPER nice, i love it!! We get fed really well and i am sooooo thankful that being a vegetarian has not caused an issue yet. The best part about eating with members is by far the dessert! Idk what it is about Hemet, but like every dessert we have eaten so far has been THE BEST dessert in the world. I guess that is how people gain weight on the mission! We are the furthest south in our mission, besides Anza and Idyllwild which kind of tie with us. Our area is huge and we share it with the elders, but the part that they gave us is the Boonies. We drive on a lot of dirt roads and see a lot of horses, its kind of fun.
i absolutely love california though! I know without a doubt that this is EXACTLY where i am supposed to be. 100%, no questions asked. As the plane was flying over our area and into Ontario, I was smiling so big cause it just felt like home to me. Literally every aspect about California is exactly what i wanted in my mission and i didnt even know it. We are in the valley, surrounded by mountains, which i love. The plants here are absolutely beautiful!!! They have sunflowers here bigger than my head!!!!!!! And there are cacti everywhere and palm trees and the most beautiful wild flowers, I AM JUST SO HAPPY!!! I AM EXACTLY WHERE I AM SUPPOSED TO BE!!!!
As for my companion, i am with Sister Diamond, who is from st george/nevada. Shes awesome and a great trainer. She doesnt push me too hard which i appreciate. We dont knock doors here, we just walk around the area and talk to whoever we see. Although i love talking to people, when it comes to talking about the gospel, i often get really scared and make her do it. I am definitely working on it. the only power Satan has over me is to keep my mouth closed. If i just open my mouth and share my testimony, i can effect so many people. Usually, i let sister diamond do most of the talking and then i just play with the people’s dogs. I pet a lot of dogs here hehe!! it is my favorite part!! To practice, i usually just end up talking to the dogs about the gospel. I think we have a couple dog baptisms coming our way.
Sister Diamond is a Sister Training Leader (leadership position for the girls) so she has to go to a lot of meetings in riverside an hour away and do exchanges a lot. Becasue of that, we have a car, which is such a blessing. Honestly i would prefer to walk around or bike, but cars are very convenient and have AC so i am not complaining. Because she has to leave a lot though, i often go on splits with the spanish sisters (Hermana Chandler is the other STL so i go with her companion when they are gone). We spend a lot of time in the spanish areas speaking and teaching to her investigators, so i just kind of stand there and smile. I am learning spanish though! i know how to say “We are missionaries for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, can we share a message of Jesus Christ with you?” and “I speak very little spanish but understand nothing”. I use those a lot haha. Its fun to learn though! Plus after practicing, you get super good and can say it really quickly without pausing and it is so fulfilling. Who would have guessed i would be a half spanish speaking sister missionary in my very first transfer?!!? I think it is really funny that of all the new sisters that i was at the MTC with, that i was the one that would start off learning a bit of spanish.
Fun fact i bet you didnt know about my mission though, RIVERSIDE IS A ZIKA MISSION hahah!!! We have to wear very special bug spray everywhere. I forgot one day and now i have a bite on my arm so lets hope i dont die!
Everyone in the area can tell i am a new missionary just because of how white i am and my lack of missionary tan lines. I am working on it so i can fit in, but i just dont tan! I have gotten slightly darker since being here a week, but i dont have any crazy tan lines like my trainer yet. I think her watch, ring, and shoes tan lines are so funny and i want them just so i can feel like a real sister haha!!
Since coming out here, i decided to reread the Book of Mormon and really STUDY it. It is AMAZING what you can get out of it when you actually focus and study it and ask questions and apply each chapter to your life.
My favorite verse so far is 1 Nephi 17:50.
And I said unto them: If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done”.
It talks about how if God asks you to do something, he is going to make sure you are able to do it. That applies to me soooo much right now. Nothing is impossible through God. i am sooooo empowered right now!!!! i invite everyone to start rereading the Book of Mormon with me this week. It is going to bless your life so much! Even if you only read a chapter a day, it will help you so much. Reading has given me such an amazing sense of purpose and has helped me really feel the immense love God has for me.
So yeah, that is my life right now! It is busy, super exhausting, but sooooooo uplifting and fulfilling!!!! I love all of you!!!
Also, side note: My address is not changing. It is easier to just send letters and packages to the mission office, and they will get them to me. Just make sure that my name is on it, or they wont know who to give it to (eli……hahah)