Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Santa Ana

Dear Fam,
I know that I talked to you on friday but it seems like forever ago! How is everyone doing? I'm doing so good right now. These past couple days have been crazy! I have done so much stuff. Thanks so much for your emails mom and Dad. Dad- I'm sorry you werent feeling the greatest. I hope that you get feeling better. Thats awesome that robby is going to tahiti! That will be awesome. Also thanks for the pin. I'm glad to hear that your first days were hard- because friday night and saturday and part of sunday was really hard. But im doing lots better. Its always a reassurance that I'm doing the right thing. Mom- Thats awesome that you talked to Elder Thornes mom! He is so awesome. I do miss him. I hope that he is doing good. That will be fun to visit with them. He should be in Alaska by now.
I guess I'll just start telling you about the last 4 days. So we got to the airport and the assistants and President Bowen and his wife picked us up. They are seriously so nice. They took us out to lunch and we got to take a nap after. It was much needed. Then we met our new companions. I am in a threesome with Elder Smith from Sandy and Elder Arevalo from El Salvador. They are both so awesome!! I got so lucky to get this awesome of trainers. Elder Smith has been out a year so he knows alot. Elder Arevalo has been out 23 months so he knows everything. I have learned ALOT in the last 4 days. But i still feel like i'm never going to be able to learn everything that i need to do. At first I wasnt sure how happy i would be here. But now i know that I am going to be way happy. It is so pretty here. And the people are awesome. I really don't care how long I stay here because I like it so much, even though its hard. I know the Lord wants me to be here. Pres Bowen told me to watch every little thing that Elder Arevalo does. He is so amazing. I mean his name is even Nefi ( which is Nephi in spanish). He is so humble. The first night I didnt have a bed. But he insisted that I have the bed so that I could get a good night sleep. When I got out of the shower, Elder Smith had made me a big bowl of oatmeal with bananas in it. How did I get so lucky? Every second they were and are just trying to help me. Its incredible. I really hope I can become like them. Also Elder Arevalo is the most obedient missionary ever I'm sure. With everything. he is such a good example. He loves how tall I am. He's always laughing when i have to duck to get through doors or When the little kids at church were telling me how tall I am. Let me tell you a little bit about our apartment. Its way pretty outside! There are lots of palm trees and there is a little river that runs through the apartments. It is called Cinnamon Creek Apartments or something. The inside isnt quite as nice as the outside ha ha. But its so fun. The shower hits me about at my sternum. To shower I just get on my knees ha ha. I have found myself on my knees alot lately. And it really helps. Im so grateful for the power of prayer. I know that all of our prayers are answered in one way or another. Church was awesome. I passed the sacrament. It was kinda frustrating because I cant understand anything. People just talk so fast. But just about everyone speaks english here also. My first night in the field, we visited a less active member. I bore my testimony. It was really cool. I can definitely feel the spirit helping me when I teach. Also that night I did some street contacts. This guy was completely drunk. He asked us if we wanted to come in and have a drink and talk about God ha ha. It was great. I wish everyone was drunk all the time so they would talk a little slower. Saturday was awesome. There is this new program for new missionaries. Everyday instead of 1 hour of companionship study you do 2. I really enjoy it. I feel like im learning alot. Also in the first week when you're new as part of the program, it is the new missionaries job to extend the baptismal invitation. So... Saturday we were teaching Maria and her son Jose ( None of us really know the investigators that well because Elder Arevalo and Elder Smith have only been companions for 6 days in this area). Anysways we taught Jose and Maria saturday night. They have been seeing the missionaries for about 4 months. I gave them the baptismal invitation and they said yes! They are gettting baptized the 9th of october. It was so amazing. The spirit truley helped me out so they could understand me for one, and help them know that it was true. It was awesome. This week its the "new missionary's" ( they want to get rid of the term greenie ha ha) job to lead into the first lesso and do the baptismal covenant. So tonight i'll have 3 opportunities to do that. I'm way excited. Actually mainly nervous but thats ok. Sometimes Elder Arevalo and Elder Smith will just stop talking and just look at me during the lessons. I just have to try and listen to the spirit and just talk because I don't know what the heck is going on. People talk so fast!!  Today we played soccer and baksetball as a Zone. Geez people act like they have never seen someone that is good at basketball before. Have these people watched the NBA? Our zone is mostly from south america so I think thats why. Today I had to use my debit card to go shopping because I don't get my own card here since I am not a temperate missionary. Elder Arevalo just gets extra money loaded on his card but the office hasnt loaded it yet. It was fun to go shopping though. The fruit here is so good! Some members just have orange trees and lemon trees. Its awesome. So the address for our mission is 2500 N Bristol St, Santa Ana CA 92706. That is the office. All the mail and packages are sent there and the zone leaders give it to you once a week. Have you gotten my package that Elder thorne sent yet? I bet you havent they kinda take a while to get there. I am really wishing that I would have brought a third bag. Like how we talked about just getting a small one to carry on. Thats 50 more pounds of stuff! That would be way nice. Plus they let you bring that and a back pack on the plane i think. Do you think I should buy one here? or do you think you could send me one? I don't really know what to do. I'll just wait til next monday to hear back from you. Do you think that you could send me a digital watch? I know thats alot to ask for, but it gets really dark here fast and I can never see mine. But i could just buy one at target also. I'll just wait to hear back from you ha ha. Oh yes I can print out these emails. I think that I'll do that and just keep them in a binder. Santa Ana is pretty sweet. All the mexicans have there sweet cars that go up and down. It's hilarious. Santa Ana is kinda scary though. There is a few places we cannot go. But There has never been anything bad happen. The Lord watches out for you.
I heard that this is the second most populated vietnamese place in the world. The first being vietnam. They are everywhere! And they drive crazy. Elder Arevalo is like a grandma behind the wheel. Just about everyone has cars in our mission. It is way nice. I need to appreciate that while i have it. Anyways I spear we are getting cut off like every second. Elder Arevalo is always saying " Chinitos Locos!" Crazy asians ha ha. He is so funny. He is actually way good at Enlish. But he still says some funny stuff. He is so patient with me. Every lesson he can do it 100 times better than I can but he lets me so that I can learn. I can just really tell that he loves me. and all of our investigadors.
Well i don't know how long I'm going to be here, but I'm loving (just about) every minute of it :). I'm learning so much. I love you all so much. Thank you so much for everything you do for me. You are the greatest family in the whole world!
Love Riley

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