first letter from the field

Oct 6, 2015

Monday is Blythe’s P-Day, which means Preparation Day. It is the one day a week that missionaries can do laundry, buy groceries, check email, send letters, etc. She arrived in California on Tuesday and yesterday we received our first letter from her since she arrived in California. She sounds so happy! Our hearts are full with gratitude that she is doing well adjusting to missionary life and is working hard serving the Lord. Also, we chuckled a little at this letter as she has apparently adopted a new word, “chill,” as we have never heard her say this word as frequently as she does in this letter.

My first week has been awesome! I have literally felt no doubt or nervousness since that first day. I am serving in the Live Oak Canyon Ward, Rancho Santa Marguerite Stake, in a city called Trabuco Canyon.

My companion is Sister Shumway from Dallas, TX. She sort of reminds me of Alicia Horran. She’s awesome and nice. She has a quieter personality and she helps people feel comfortable. Everyone I’ve talked to says she’s an awesome missionary and from what I’ve seen they’re right. She not pushy, not nit-picky, but is able to stay focused and engaged in the work in an orderly manner. It’s nice because there’s barely even a “trainer/trainee” feel to our relationship. She is able to teach me and guide me through the training without making me feel like a student. She’s even said that she feels like she’s just with another missionary. I am so grateful that she is able to teach me well and still be equals and friends.

President Orgill is as awesome as everyone says, or more. You can totally tell he worked in Hawaii. He’s so kind and relaxed and concerned for your welfare. That first day we met with him and got all our paper work done and all the other stuff to get us started in the mission and had food and a little orientation. Then they gave us our bedding, we grabbed our pillow and they had us go take a nap. They had us spread out and lay on the pews in the chapel (which I thought was pretty funny). We got to sleep for about 1 hour and 45 minutes. That was the best! I think I mentioned this on Tuesday, but we’d all gotten about two hours of sleep the night before and by bedtime we were going to have been up for 21ish hours. Transfer meeting was awesome! When President Orgill started it off he says “Aloha” and everyone says “Aloha” back. They had everyone already present sing “Called to Serve” and had all the new missionaries walk in while they were singing and sit on the stand. President Orgill introduced us all. Then he announced who would be training who, and they’d run up and hug and they’d run down and hug. Some people brought some really funny presents for their trainees, such as an “It’s a boy” balloon and a duck and a turtle (not real, of course). Then he announced all the changes of companionships and every time he’d say one everyone would be like “Ah, Oh” and the new companions would run to each other and bear hug each other. It was awesome. One elder who is over 6 1/2 feet tall was put with a companion who is shorter than me (to co-train a new missionary who was perfectly in between their heights) so when he ran up to hug, he “ACCIDENTALLY” went to throw his arms around his companion, missed and went over his head, then was all like “Oops!” then hugged him for real. It was hilarious!

The first night we had dinner with the Ward mission leader and his wife (who are awesome) and a new convert, at this yummy taco place up the canyon. The next day we had a half P-day just to get anything we needed until Monday rolled around and did member visits to some of the coolest ward members. They’re way chill and fun to be around and with one lady we talked all about our favorite books and how yummy Thai food is. :) I like her a lot! Everyone so far has been awesome. That night we had a dinner appointment with a less active woman who married a very nice muslim man, so their sons name is way cool. It’s Shaffiq. Their house was super fancy, not huge, but everything was expensive, with a view of the valley, a fancy pool in the back and a yard for entertaining. She puts on big parties all the time. She was still pretty chill about it though.

Our area is pretty much this one long road going from this canyon, through the city and almost to the biggest gated communities in the world (where some famous person used to live apparently). There are two gated communities in our area and they’re a pain to work around. We can’t contact or tract. They would have to come talk to us first. We do have passes for them though, because ward members live there. Thursday we went down the length of our area and left info about General Conference for all the less actives. Only 4ish answered the door and one invited us in, but we left notes for them. Then we went contacting in an apartment complex which thankfully is not gated. We talked to several people who could be potential investigators. Sister Shumway says that’s the most success she’s seen her entire mission. She’s been out 4 months. By the way, one elder who was assigned a new trainee only got through 6 weeks of his twelve week training before he was assigned to train!. We are ward sharing with a companionship of elders, which works really well with getting to all the less actives. I love the zone and district. Everyone is fun and chill, with only the occasional socially awkward one. I don’t see them every day, but I did see them Thursday (a surprise party for an awesome elder from Tonga), Friday (zone/district kickoff meeting), Saturday (for Conference) and Sunday (for Conference). Haha! We all watched conference at the stake center together and on Saturday and had an impromptu potluck between sessions, it was totally awesome.

I have a ton of pictures for you, but somehow I forgot my cord this morning so you’ll have to wait another week. :( Just FYI, the picture that the nice lady from the airport sent you was not my MTC companion. That’s Sister Hollenbeck, a roommate and district member. I have so much more to say, but this will do for now. I love it here, I love the people and the area. My companion is awesome!

Oh! I saw the temple last night after a music fireside, and it’s pink granite, not white! I have more to say about it, but I’ll wait till I go in. I don’t get to go in every week, but every other transfer. :(

Brother King says he comes down here a lot and I want my violin. Maybe he could bring it to the mission office? I think there might have been something else I needed you to send, but I forgot. If you send my violin it would be great if it was with a person if you can. I don’t want it to get hurt. Also, could you put a humidifier in it?

Love you so much!
Sister Blythe W.

P.S. Tell Madi that I saw Dawson and Elder Arave (I forgot his first name.) Tell Emily I saw Logan, her dance partner. (At the MTC)

P.P.S. It’s not too much hotter down here, but the sun is more intense, and there’s just so much more of it.

P.P.P.S. The roads going through the canyons are about as wide as pasta noodles and as winding. Would be a total death trap with ice.


P.P.P.P.P.S. Keziah, there are sooooooo many palm trees. :)

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  1. Mommer

    Waaaay fun missionary letter! I love every word. I love that she is safe and happy and wonderful! I love that she is committed, unquestioning, and without doubt and nervousness. I love that her companion is wonderful!!!!

  2. Tami

    Ditto to what Dorothy said! Loved it!