So I arrived in CA on Tuesday. It was a crazy day. We woke up at 1:45 AM, so I got about an hour and a half of sleep, went to the travel office to turn in our room keys and stuff, then took a bus, then two different trains, to get to the airport. My plane left around8:50 and arrived at 10 something I think. Then we were off to the Arcadia Stake center for lunch, pictures, and to find out who are trainers were. It's so crazy, I don't know if I told you before, but in my zone (group of missionaries) in the MTC, me and two other sisters were the only ones going to Arcadia while the whole rest of the zone went to Roseville, CA. Well we were actually the only sisters to arrive in Arcadia that day period. All the rest were elders.
My mission president, President Becerra, and his wife are so nice! They were very welcoming and seem really dedicated to missionary work, it's really great. We took some pictures with them and then ate lunch. Then there was some down time while we waited for the missionaries from the Mexico MTC to arrive. I took a mini-nap on one of the benches in the chapel (Sister Becerra recommended it).
Then we all came back together to meet our trainers(the first companion that a missionary has is called their "trainer", clearly, they will be training the new missionary on rules/teaching/their area/etc). One of the assistants (to the president of the mission) read them out I think. The assistant would call out the trainer's name, then the greenie (new missionary), and then the two would come up to the front, hug, and then the trainer would show the new missionary where they were going. It was funny because all of the elders would do a quick hug with a couple of loud pounds on the back while us sisters were a lot more gentle.
My trainer is Sister Mattingley. She's really great, but it's been really hard because she's only been out for six weeks! So she doesn't really know what she's doing either and hasn't finished her own twelve week training regimen yet. She's trying really hard though and already knows the area pretty well. It's a lot more difficult now that the mission has gone car-less though. We're still trying to figure out which buses to take and schedules and everything. Her bike arrived on Saturday, but mine's still on its way.
So my first week (at least most of a week, it will have been a week tomorrow) was pretty crazy. The day I arrived, we were supposed to drive home (we were allowed cars to transport luggage and stuff), get settled, and do our daily planning for the next day right away so that us new missionaries could get to bed early. However, there was A LOT of traffic on the way to Walnut (my area) from Arcadia, so by the time we got home, we had to turn around to go to dinner. But the car had to stay in the driveway, so a member picked us up and brought us to dinner. Right after that we had an appointment. THEN I unpacked a little bit, had weekly planning, showered, and went to bed. Not early. So I was exhausted the next day from lack of sleep the night before, and then just how busy the day was then. But we went to a couple of appointments, including a final review before a baptism that we had this Saturday.
Seth Estrada is nine years old. First baptism and I just got here! Haha.
I've become pretty close with one of his sisters, she's a freshman in high school. We're trying to help the entire family. Apparently most of them were baptized about five years ago, but then went inactive. And then all of a sudden Sister Estrada asked the missionaries to teach Seth so that he could be baptized.
The baptism was kind of hectic because neither Sister Mattingley or I know how to properly put together a baptism and all of the planning was in just a couple of days. We ended up doing almost everything for it. We felt really bad because the water was too hot. It had felt okay when we put our hands in, but apparently it was not. Seth was pretty good about it though. Overall, it was kind of crazy, but it was nice to see how excited his sisters were for him. Now we are focusing on keeping their family active. Sarah and Ellie (two of the sisters) were set apart in the Mia Maid (group of teenage girls) presidency on Sunday, so hopefully that will help keep them motivated. They're really good though, I'm not so much worried about them as I am about their mom. She seems like she is trying to do the right thing, but I'm not sure that she completely understands the importance of enduring to the end after baptism. We're going to try our best to help them out though, they're really a sweet family.
Anyway, earlier that day actually, we spent the entire day at an Emergency Preparedness fair that our ward put together. We tried to talk to some people about the church, but I don't know who there were members and who were not, so it was really hard to figure out who to talk to/what to say. We did do one church tour though with one of the volunteers from one of the booths.
The days in-between Wednesday and Saturday weren't super productive. The beginning of Thursday was spent in district meeting. All of Friday was spent back with President Becerra for the new missionary orientation and then traveling home. It took us ages to get home by bus (we drove the car back and left it there). One good thing though was that I talked to a guy on the bus about the gospel a little bit and got his contact information to give to the elders in the ward. All of our appointments on those in-between days fell through and so we some time passing out flyers for the Emergency Prep fair and stuff like that. It has been frustrating that we haven't really been able to teach much at all this week. However, it wasn't your typical week either with the different meetings and activities and everything, so I'll just look forward to a better week this week and see what happens.
I look forward to getting to know the area more and working hard to learn more about contacting and everything. I know that with the Lord's help, we could make this into the most effective area of the mission. We are kind of training each other, so it won't be easy, but the Lord knows what he's doing and I trust him.
I love you all so much and can't wait to hear from you! Please send letters! I found out that I'll really only receive those about once a week as well as the emails, but it's still better because I have more time to read them if not a lot of time to write back.
Have a great week!