Happy Valentine’s Day from Whittier!

Until about a week ago, I thought the Long Beach California Mission had one hill… Signal Hill. But coming up to Whittier showed me an entirely different Southern California. My companion (Elder Bernard) and I cover a singles’ ward as well as sharing a family ward with another set of missionaries. And the area our family ward covers, called La Habra Heights, is almost rural. Well, more rural than anything I’ve seen since I’ve been in California. It is completely developed, but the roads don’t have curbs, the hills are steep, and there is actually natural vegetation behind and sometimes even in front of houses. And the houses are massive and expensive. It is an extremely challenging area to work in because it is huge and full of hills and rich people with cameras and security gates who only leave their secluded houses in expensive luxury cars. A big chunk of our area is completely fenced and has armed guards surrounding a walled-off development full of multi-million dollar houses. We are living with a member who is the mayor of Whittier. The views are incredible. You can see the entire mission… all the way to the ocean, from many of the members houses in our ward. And at night, the lights go on forever.

The singles’ ward is great, but it is hard covering an entire stake. We definitely have to be extremely careful with planning so we don’t use all the miles in our car halfway through the month since it would be easy to have an appointment in the family ward 20 miles from an appointment in the singles’ ward.

Elder Bernard and I haven’t quite figured out what to do in our areas. We definitely need to work closer with our family ward and ward mission leader than we have in the past week.

Also, I woke up Saturday morning and puked all day long. It was probably the longest, most miserable day of my mission so far, but it’s over! =) I talked to our mission nurse, who said a lot of missionaries had been getting some type of 24 hour stomach flu, and I felt fine during our 6 hours of church on Sunday, although I was starving, since nothing had stayed in my stomach since I went to bed Friday night. Don’t worry, I’m completely fine now.

I’ve noticed the new zone I’m in has problems with being… “selectively obedient”. Obeying the rules they feel are important and letting other ones slide. This zone is known in the mission as the place where they “send you and forget about you” and in a lot of ways does seem pretty disconnected from the rest of the mission. It is kind of frustrating. I want to be obedient but when the missionaries around me aren’t doing the “little things” that bring the spirit I feel like I’m giving in by allowing it to happen. It is mostly things like listening to music that doesn’t bring the spirit and driving aggressively and talking to other missionaries way too casually.

Anyway, enough ranting. I’m grateful to be a missionary, for the experiences it brings that helps me strengthen my personal conversion, for watching the people we teach receive the blessings that come from the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I read an article in the Ensign (I think) about how our attitude has more power to bring happiness than our circumstances. I’ve been thinking about that a lot and trying to learn how to apply it.

Lacey: $30,000,000 over budget? That’s insane! The pictures I’ve seen of it are incredibly beautiful… the little details really set it apart. That really does make you wonder how much the whole thing cost to build. I really hope your workload lets up a bit! It’s funny how sometimes how sometimes when we are having hard times we wait until we are at our wits’ end to turn to the atonement and the Gospel to help us make it through, when really that is the first place we should turn for strength. I know I have been guilty of that.

Mom and Dad: Moving so much as we grew up definitely prepared me for a mission. I’ve learned never to get comfortable in an area because that’s precisely when I will be transferred to another. It’s so neat, Dad, to have all of those letters from your mission. I’m sure they bring back a lot of memories.

I love everyone! Happy Valentines’ Day! Fique Firme!

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