Don’t worry, California is cold too!

I honestly wasn’t sure that preparation day would ever come! This week has been absolutely packed with transfers, meetings, appointments, devotionals, and ward activities. My new companion, Sister Lind (yes, another Utahn), is absolutely fantastic. We get on so well and have really been teaching well together. We are working on coming up with new ways to find and teach because the area has been so dry. It helps that we have two seriously hard working elders in the other area, Elder Bertoch and Elder Magele. I served with Elder Bertoch in the Granada Hills zone (he was in Van Nuys while I was in Mission Hills), and he street contacts like a boss. Elder Magele is a brand-new missionary, and I swear is the SMALLEST Samoan I have ever seen in my entire life, but he’s still super big. And freezing. We scrounged up some handwarmers for him since they’re on foot until Elder Bertoch gets parts for his bike (it got stripped in Van Nuys last transfer, all he has is the frame) and until Magele buys a new one. I am so thankful we have fantastic elders to work with here in Chatsworth!

On Friday morning we had zone training meeting, which essentially means all the missionaries in the zone get together to have training from the zone leaders, who are given that training by President Hall. It was a blast getting to know our new zone. Almost half the zone was transferred out, so half the zone is brand new. It’s become a bit chaotic – two Filipinos, two Samoans, a Hawaiian, and two Koreans all talking in their native language with one another. But I love it. And almost half the zone can either sign or is learning to sign. Yes, our meetings are a bit insane.
That night we had the ward Christmas party which was a blast. It was a bit overwhelming to have to introduce 3 missionaries instead of  just one to everyone (yeah, did I mention I practically have 3 companions since the elders white-washed the area??), but it was fun. Lots of music, good food (your stereotypical Mormon potluck – ham, funeral potatoes, jello and bread), and good friends. Poor Elder Magele had no idea what was going on with the entire thing, but we all survived. One of the little girls, Ashley, prepared us left overs, meaning pink cupcakes for the sisters and blue cupcakes for the elders. The Koreans, Elder Yang and Elder Kang, came too, and she asked me, “what do Korean missionaries eat? Is cupcakes okay for them too??” It was adorable.
On Sunday I interpreted the three hour block for Beverly… which means my arms STILL hurt! It was a bit intimidating because I knew the entire time I was interpreting Sacrament meeting that Bishop Payne (who served a deaf mission and worked as an interpreter for years) was watching. And I may or may not have gotten the sign for “Christmas” confused with “strange.” So basically as people were talking about Christmas, I was signing “happy strange!” I was wondering why Beverly was smirking at me! But I was so tired by the end of the church meetings I just wanted to curl up and sleep. But I love signing and my goal has been to learn at least 50 new signs a week, between Bishop Payne teaching me, Beverly, and the books we’ve been able to borrow from Beverly. Sister Lind has been learning to fingerspell and is picking up words like a champion. Beverly is helping us to learn how to sign the lessons starting this week, which I am super stoked about.
Sunday night the Canoga Park stake had a youth Christmas concert before the First Presidency Christmas devotional, which was pretty fun. Our whole zone turned out to support their youth. They did a ton of different musical selections from your traditional Christmas hymns and carols to an entirely strange song about hot chocolate. I really enjoyed the devotional, especially the address given by President Monson.
Another short email, but I’ve got to jet. I love you all!

Love,
Sister Red

PS – I’m SO excited to hear that N’Krysta got her call to El Salvador!! She’s gonna rock it. :)
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