Hola from Chatsworth! Transfers went well, and Heavenly Father really blessed me with peace and calm during the hours leading up to the meeting and even told me who my companion was going to be the evening before transfer meeting. Her name is Sister Attanasio, and we are the companionship of unpronounceable last names. I swear, I crossed the Mississippi and my name became unpronounceable. I’ve gotten Redford, Reddington, Rutherford, and a plethora of names that start with “R.” One dear sister in the Chatsworth ward has found a new “R” name to call me by every time I talk with her, even if it’s in the same conversation. Sister Attanasio’s name gets butchered, mine just gets made up! It makes me laugh. Elder Shroeppel (district leader in Mission Hills) was transfered into the Canoga Park zone with me, so it’s been awesome to have a familiar face. He’s been called as zone leader and has done a fantastic job thus far.
My first night in the area, we went to visit a less active sister (Judy) who fed us a steak dinner. Talk about the Holy Grail of dinner appointments. She’s absolutely adorable, and kept me laughing for the whole time we were at her house. She showed us this ridiculous song by Ylvis, “What Does the Fox Say?” You need to google it. It made me die. Sister Attanasio and I randomly burst into singing it. She woke up singing it the other day. Judy is an absolute doll. She really brightens my day. You’d have thought we gave her a hundred thousand dollars when we set “What Does the Fox Say?” as her ringtone on her iPhone (that she doesn’t know how to use). She calls Sister Attanasio “Gilligan” and has insisted that we come over for thanksgiving supper.
This week we had the opportunity in our zone to volunteer up in Topanga to help the Topanga Community Center build a playground. The first day the whole zone showed up, and Sister Attanasio and I, along with the Zone Leaders, went up to work for a few hours. It was such fun to help them build a playground for the kids (there isn’t one). Enjoy the pictures of us wearing obnoxious yellow Helping Hands vests (which we were really excited about). We are SO sore, especially after spending hours on Saturday helping to haul gravel and mulch. Elder Mudrow, one of our zone leaders, called us the “Happy Yellow Army” which I loved. Because it was so true! We were all so exhausted and sore, but so happy to be there to help out. I love being able to share the gospel through service and labor.
On Friday the ward had their Halloween party, and Sister Attanasio and I bought candy to hand out at trunk or treat. It was a blast. It was a combination of a chili cook-off, the most terrible magic show known to man, and a trunk or treat spree that resulted in every kid going home with at least a pound of candy. I’m sure their parents aren’t too thankful for that last bit. But I’m glad I got to get to know members of the ward in a more informal setting, especially since we had stake conference the next day.
The missionaries in our zone sang a musical number for the adult session of Conference on Saturday night, and President Hall and Sister Hall were there. President struggled with my last name again. It makes me laugh. Elder Acosta of the Quorum of the Seventy was presiding, and midway through his address had us get off the stand and sit with the members. He was illustrating the point that we need to be a unified church of missionaries and members. Boy, was it crammed full once we got off the stand! But I learned a lot from him in that session. I was so distracted during the Sunday session, mainly because the ASL sisters were interpreting in front of us, and the Koreans sat beside us translating for the Korean branch. Absolute chaos!!!
I am doing well and loving the work as much as ever. Hard to believe that I only have 16 months left as of today. The work is hard, but worth it. I am so thankful to be here in California and am so thankful for the blessings of the Lord, and the miracles I am privileged to witness here in the San Fernando valley. I hope the amount of pictures makes up for the short email. I don’t have much time this week at all! So many missionaries and only a few computers.
PS – just kidding. This computer isn’t allowing me to upload photos. Next week, I promise!
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