Happy New Year!
No, I did not party it up on New Years here in Southern California. We were in by five and in bed by ten. And we were happy about it! It was great until midnight rolled around and then I think half of Chatsworth exploded.
It (Chatsworth) actually did explode last night. The wind knocked out a power line and the entire city was out of power for several hours. It was kind of hilarious, because all we had was our little mag-lite and our cell phone and it was pitch-black outside. We were worried about some of our members, and weren’t exactly able to see our scriptures to study, so we went out, braved the crazy California drivers, and checked on some of our single sisters we knew might face some issues with no power. I was proud of the drivers on the streets, they were all taking turns at the non-existent stoplights. At first we were trapped in our complex because the gate was shut and has no back-up power, so we helped Carlos (our maintenance hero) jimmy-rig it open so people could come and go as needed. We were going to tract, but realized that might not be the most intelligent of ideas considering the entire city was pitch-black and preoccupied at the moment.
When we got home from checking on members, and our elders who don’t pick up their phone (do you hear my frustration?), we still didn’t have power, so we changed into our po-jammies, grabbed some snacks and piled onto my bed and used our flashlight to make shadow puppets and reenacted the Restoration. It got interesting because I can really only make a dingo/llama and Sister Lind is totally shadow-puppet inept. We finally realized we had some teaching aids that would work to cast shadows and spent another hour playing with those. Our zone leaders, Elder Chandler and Elder Schroeppel called to check in on us and were concerned about the amount of giggling and once we told them what was going on, they (along with Elder Magele) determined that we needed to show our faith in order to have the electricity return. Faith powered electricty. I’m definitely a fan.
Sister Lind is still out of commission, so I’ve had the opportunity to scrapbook literally all of my mission up to this point.
And read “Jesus the Christ.” And write every foreign missionary I know. And finish the entirety of Doctrine and Covenants. It’s been a long couple weeks, but Sister Lind is finally on the mend. She’s begun to eat mochi again (a Japanese treat, basically ice cream wrapped in sweet rice dough – it’s a little ball of happiness covered in powdered sugar), which is a good sign.
I’ve been working on using family history as a finding tool for Chatsworth, so if anyone has any ideas they’d like to send along, please do! I really want to be able to get this going so that it will keep going after I’m transferred.
California culture is still an enigma to me. I don’t really understand the subculture that is 100% California, but I really enjoy the meld of cultures that I get to experience. This morning after Sister Lind’s chiropractor appointment, we stopped at the market and got apple empanadas (the lady gave us a bunch extra… she either likes missionaries or thinks we’re starving vagabonds… I did do my hair before we left the apartment, I promise) before going to look around a Japanese store. It’s totally normal to have people speaking half English and half Spanish or any sort of mix of languages. The one constant is that it’s usually German that pops out of my mouth in response! I still think palm trees look ridiculous,
So, I love my district. I’m sitting here emailing and Elder Hansen and Elder Sharp just sang a capella “As Spiritual as Me” (from Sons of Provo…Mormon thing I willnever understand). I just about died because it is the most ridiculous song I have ever heard, and these two crack me up.
As I finished Doctrine and Covenants the other day, I read a verse that really struck me, and I’ve spent the last few days thinking about it. D&C 135: 4-5,
4 When Joseph went to Carthage to deliver himself up to the pretended requirements of the law, two or three days previous to his assassination, he said: “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer’s morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men. I shall die innocent, and it shall yet be said of me—he was murdered in cold blood.”—The same morning, after Hyrum had made ready to go—shall it be said to the slaughter? yes, for so it was—he read the following paragraph, near the close of the twelfth chapter of Ether, in the Book of Mormon, and turned down the leaf upon it:
5 And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord that he would give unto the Gentiles grace, that they might have charity. And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness, thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father. And now I … bid farewell unto the Gentiles; yea, and also unto my brethren whom I love, until we shall meet before the judgment-seat of Christ, where all men shall know that my garments are not spotted with your blood. The testators are now dead, and their testament is in force.
I love that last verse, especially how it addresses our mortal weaknesses and how our faith and the mercy and grace of the Lord compensates for those weaknesses and short-comings. And it’s a testament to the integrity and compassion of Hyrum Smith that he marked that last verse before he went to his death, to leave his wife a widow and his children fatherless.
It has been a quiet week, so hopefully more news next week. I hope you all have a wonderful week, and know that I love you all tons!
Picture 1 – we love shadow puppets!
Picture 2 – dingo jokes abounded.
Picture 3 – our shadow missionaries!
Picture 4 – empanadas!