Aloha from Santa Clarita

That should tell you two things: I was transferred up to the Santa Clarita valley (specifically to work in the Solemint area), and I’m training a new missionary who is Tongan/Samoan.
 
I laughed too.
 
It’s been a great week, filled with over-protective elders and pouring rain. It was really hard to leave Sister Dame in San Fernando, but I told the Summers to keep an eye on her (not that she can’t take care of herself, but she’s the first missionary I trained) and to make sure she didn’t overdose on kimchi (which I do NOT miss, by the way). The transfer meeting was tiny – just 17 new missionaries came in, and only one of them was an elder. It’s interesting, many are bilingual, which makes me thing that President/Heavenly Father are up to something in this mission. Sister Finau speaks Tongan and Samoan, and is insisting that I teach her as much ASL as possible.
 
When she got up to introduce herself in transfer meeting, she said, “Aloha… from Utah!” She told me later at home that she didn’t mean to be funny, and was surprised when the entire group just busted up laughing. It’s going to be a fun companionship for the two of us. After we headed home – and got rid of all the ridiculous post-it notes that the previous elders left all over our apartment – we were able to settle in and get to know each other. Already, we’re great friends, and it is such an awesome opportunity I have to be called as her trainer. I have so much to learn from her – she’s had a lot of difficulties in life, but has such a vibrant testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And we decorated our room with her lava lavas (Islander’s versions of saris) and got rid of the elder’s apartment/guinea pig cage smell. Already our apartment is homey. And we each have our own bathroom!
 
We have had so much fun, despite the fact that we had to re-do the entire area book and track down referrals by ourselves. We still don’t know our area boundaries. But we found a new investigator! We are teaching him and his family on Tuesday (we taught a quick doorstep lesson to him and his kids on Saturday in the rain), and then have another appointment with a new investigator on Tuesday afternoon. I am so thankful we got our feet under us so quickly. It helps that we have three sets of elders constantly checking in on us to make sure we’re okay, to see if we need anything, to make sure we had umbrellas, etc. etc. etc. I guess that happens when you’re the first sisters in the area in over a decade. It’s funny because Elder Hudson and I kind of know each other (woohoo for the 50!), so we have this awkward last-name basis relationship. Though I wanted to kill him and Elder Smith when we got in on Tuesday – they told us about the Cub Scout’s blue and gold event, so we went. Little did we know that they had been assigned to do a skit, and when they didn’t show up, we had to do it. We’ll just leave it at the fact that cowboys and cowgirls should not wear pencil skirts. :)
 
Finally California has gotten some rain – and then it stopped, probably because all the English missionaries in Santa Clarita were making Noah jokes non-stop as we tracted and contacted in the rain on Thursday night to Saturday. Needless to say, we are buying Sister Finau an umbrella this afternoon. Unfortunately, the rain we did get didn’t do anything for the drought, so we keep praying and fasting for continued precipitation. I say precipitation because I would absolutely love some snow right about now.
 
Sister Finau and I were most definitely meant to be companions – we both have the same sense of humor, which has proven to worry some of the few ward members we’ve met. The Poly and the Irish kid, twins separated at birth. She’s from Alpine, Utah and we’re only a few months apart. She is such a champ – she tore her ACL/PCL/MCL in the MTC, and was supposed to come out in November with Elder Sharp’s transfer, but went home for surgery and came out with this transfer straight from home. There’s a bit of an adjustment period, but she is such a fantastic missionary already. What is with the missionaries I train coming to me pre-trained? It makes my job so much easier. :)

One of our goals for the transfer is to meet every family in our area by General Conference in April. I got the idea from the Boston missionaries meeting all the ward in 90 days, and figured we could do it on a smaller scale here in Solemint. I am excited to meet them all, especially since the both of us are brand new to the valley. I already love the people that I’ve met so far in the ward and stake up here, so I’m more excited to get to know them better and to find ways to serve and strengthen them. We got ambushed by the first counselor in the bishopric, who informed Sister Finau and I that we will be giving 25 minute talks next week. Surprise! So much for the San Fernando valley style of introducing missionaries – “you have five minutes to introduce yourself and bear your testimony before you get back to work.” It’s definitely a different culture up here in Santa Clarita, and although I am enjoying the newness, I already miss Chatsworth a ton. Part of it is that I know where I’m going in Chatsworth. Also, Sunday was super confusing to me, because it’s the first time in almost 5 months that I haven’t interpreted. Craziness.

 
But my ASL is already coming in handy up here – Sister Finau was struggling to learn the First Vision (we memorize it), and I taught her the corresponding signs so it’s easier to learn. She’s already a pro, and I just taught it to her this morning!
 
So, in terms of emailing, I have only an hour each Monday because all of us go to a library instead of a family history center. Expect more letters than emails now! Also, feel free to send me as many letters as your heart desires, because it definitely makes me super happy.
 
I am so thankful to be given the opportunity to teach and find new people, and to work with some incredible leaders, missionaries, and members up here in Santa Clarita. More than ever the song “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go” applies – I may not have been ready to leave Chatsworth of my own accord, but I am so eager to go where the Lord needs me and do what He needs me to do in certain areas. It is such a blessing to be able to be an instrument in the Lord’s hand and to share with His children that He loves them not only a little, but infinitely and eternally. I love this gospel, and love being a missionary here in the Great California San Fernando mission.
 
Oh dear, the little timer is telling me I must get going. Love you all!

Love

 
Sister Red
 
PS – people in this valley can say my name!! What?!
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