Keep Calm and Ask the Sisters

That’s what one of the elders had pasted to the back of his Preach My Gospel in the Granada Hills Zone. I loved it, because it’s so true. Not sure how to cook something? Ask the sisters. Can’t figure out how to fix your pen? Ask the sisters. Your planner somehow gets stuck in your shirt pocket and you accidentally rip it halfway off? Ask the sisters. Yes, that last one happened. Elder Chandler, our lovely Hawaiian zone leader, ripped his pocket off half-way because his planner got stuck in it. Just a peek into the nitty-gritty of life in the Great California San Fernando mission. :)

This week has been crazy. Transfers are Tuesday (1/14), which means we had our last district meeting of the transfer. Somehow we managed to get a decent photo. Miraculous things happen on a daily basis in this mission. I’m not being transferred, but things are still up in the air with Sister Lind, so we’ll see! I’m so thankful to be staying in Chatsworth for another transfer. I know the Lord has a certain work for me here, and he has blessed me so much here. The ward has really become one of my favorites. 
On Wednesday we had dinner with the Summers, which turned out to be a bonding activity. We made wooden toys in the shop while Sister Summers made dinner. It was awesome, and really funny to see the elders in their proselyting clothes using saws and sanders and drills. I’m sure we looked just as ridiculous in our skirts. It was a ton of fun. Elder Magele and I both made a little steam boat, Sister Lind made a motorcycle, and Elder Bertoch made an airplane. I have no idea why they thought we needed bonding time, but considering there are only two families in the ward that can have both sets of missionaries over simultaneously (Bishop and the ward mission leader), we took advantage of it. After dinner, we sang a hymn and sat and talked for a while about what got each of us out on our missions. 
One of my favorite things as a missionary is to learn more about my missionary friends. It’s unusual that you have the opportunity to work closely with people with such diverse backgrounds. Elder Magele really opened up beyond his usual quiet jokes and testimony. I’ve always figured that Elder Magele had more to him than he let on – all we knew was that he’s from Samoa, played rugby, and has a huge family. Oh, and that I can’t pronounce his first name. But while we were talking, he told us about how he got himself on a mission. He’s been through a lot. He got into a lot of trouble as a teenager and was expelled from several different schools. He joined a gang and in a huge fight with another gang, watched his two best friends be killed right in front of his eyes. In the same fight, he was beat so badly that he spent six months in the hospital pleading with the Lord to let him live and turn his life around, promising to serve a mission. He started playing rugby, and was recruited by a team in New Zealand. He turned down the place on a pro team to serve here in California, and on his first Sunday in the field recited James E. Talmage’s “Missionary Commission” from memory from the pulpit. Elder Magele and Elder Bertoch are incredible – they have the first convert baptism set up in over a year for Chatsworth! They work so hard, and I am so thankful to work alongside the both of them. 
On Friday, we had exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders. I was so excited that I would be able to work with Sister Olsen. She is one of my favorite people in the mission, and I am so glad we became such good friends while we were in the MTC. We contacted a few referrals and had fun doing work. We binged on country gospel music as we drove through the canyons in the area. We stopped at a place I’ve always wanted to get a picture of, where someone carved a huge face in the rock alongside the road. It was an adventure trying to get up there in our pencil skirts without killing ourselves. It was a blast. 
We stopped by a less-active’s house (they weren’t home), and it totally made my day. On Lassen Street, there has always been this bright orange trucked painted to look like the General Lee off of Dukes of Hazard. I’ve always wanted to take a picture with it, and imagine my surprise when I realized it belonged to one of our members. Definitely took the opportunity to take a dorky picture with it. They are my new favorite family, and I haven’t even met them yet. 
I really needed the exchange we had. It was nice to be back with Sister Olsen, to catch up, and to mix everything up a little. You always learn a lot on exchanges. And in honor of Elder Barnett, and the fact that despite almost being hit by a car more times than we can count while he’s been on bike for the past four and a half months he’s still alive, we sang “If You Could Hie to Kolob” during our companionship study. It was the one song he wanted to sing every single morning and at every single meeting we had. All seven verses. I love that kid! 
Saturday afternoon we had an appointment with President, so we spent a few hours in Santa Clarita while waiting for our transfer calls. The memorable parts of that adventure? President swatted me with a sheaf of papers for some comment I made (which is unheard of), and told Sister Lind I was essentially a bulldog. I’m quite flattered, especially since I nicknamed Elder Jeffrey R. Holland the Lord’s bulldog. Life in the mission gives you a weird sense of humor. 
After church on Sunday we had dinner with Bishop and Sister Payne. Their daughter and son-in-law were there, and he (their son-in-law) served in Philly. We had fun talking about the “city of brotherly shove” and other mission related nonsense. He’s hilarious. The whole Payne family is hilarious, really. Who knew that our Bishop went head to head with Walter Martin in and won? Yeah, he’s that legit. 
A quick quote from President Hinckley before I go: “Do you want to be happy? Forget yourself and get lost in this great cause. Lend your efforts to helping people…stand higher, lift those with feeble knees, hold up the arms of those that hang down. Live the gospel of Jesus Christ.” I love this because it is SO true, and is what I strive for every day. Love the people, love the work, love the Gospel. In the words of Bishop Bell, “Be Good, Do Good.” 
Love you loads!

Sister Red

PS- that awkward moment when you accidentally leave your mission. Yeah, that happened today. 
Photo 1 – Tarzana district. 
Photo 2 – somehow the zone leaders got ahold of my camera. 
Photo 3 – toy building!
Photo 4 – Elder Bertoch and Sister Lind working away. 
Photo 5 – my little steamboat waiting to dry!
Photo 6 – Indian rock.
Photo 7 – We named him Joe.
Photo 8 – General Lee. 



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