Friday, April 3, 2015

March 30, 2015

***New Address for letters, cards, and SMALL packages***
Sister Jessica Viraldo
9965 Valle Vista Rd.
Phelan, CA 92371
This is the address of a member who lives nearby and has volunteered to accept mail for the missionaries.

First week in my new area, & oh so many adventures!

So first off, let me say that Phelan is a city unlike anything I've ever been in before. There are about 4 or 5 paved roads & the rest are rocky, bumpy, dirt roads. and it's AWESOME...until you hit a crater in the earth that is just the right size to fit a truck's tire....details to come.

Monday was a pretty chill day. After getting to Phelan & emailing, we went home & I unpacked a bit, but I was so exhausted from lack of sleep the previous 2 nights of packing, that I had to take a nap until dinner. We had dinner with a really awesome young family. They have 4 children who are CRAZY. After that we went home & I finished unpacking...exciting day, I know.

Tuesday is when the fun began. So it began like most Tuesdays do: wake up, exercise, study, then we had district meeting which is 30 minutes from home! but luckily we pretty much take one road there the whole way & it's paved! I got to meet my new district & they're pretty cool. Funny, my district leader from my last area, Elder W, is again my district leader here. ALSO I was so excited to find out that one of my favorite people ever, Elder F is in my district! He was my first district leader in Chino for my first 2 transfers! So that was way exciting to see him again. 

After district meeting we went to Walmart to do some shopping. So normally we shop on p-day, but in our town there is no grocery store except for Stater Bros, which is way expensive, & Walmart is over by the stake center. Then we went home to drop off our groceries then went over to see our Ward Mission Leader's wife, Kim E. We helped put her fish tank together & I'm such a klutz & spilled a bunch of those colorful stones all over the floor........ Then we went to try to visit some less actives in the ward & I'm telling you, these roads here are crazy. So bumpy, pretty much all we do is drive down the road laughing because it's so fun. Also, there's a ton of "roads" that do not look like roads at all & don't have street signs, so therefore we spend most of our time trying to find people's houses and then look at the time & realize we're gonna be late for dinner. After dinner, we had a lesson with a recent convert/less active family. 

Our last appointment that day was with a less active family & they live on this wonderful road called Smoke Tree. It was about 8pm & we were driving down the road trying to look for their house & all of the sudden we're bumping along & BOOM. We're stuck & sideways in the a dead end of that "road". We look at each other "uh oh..what do we do?!"  So I said, "okay, let's pray." "Heavenly Father, we are stuck. Please help us know what to do or who to call."  We get out of the truck to see what the situation was. We go to the front & see the front right tire is in a hole. It fit in there PERFECTLY! 
So I get in the truck & try to reverse it, with no success. I was a little nervous of making it worse, too, you know, since I've had those kinds of experience of getting stuck in snow & sand in Michigan! So we called our ward mission leader and he & his wife came to help. We were standing outside for 30 minutes in the cold & wind with the sound of coyotes howling. Kinda freaky. Also, we were laughing so hard and I really needed to go......thank goodness for girls' camp for teaching me something useful! Anyhow, sorry for that, tmi maybe.

Finally Bro and Sis E came & he looked at our truck & commented on how bad it was. We thought we'd have to call a tow truck, but he got in & reversed it & MIRACLE he got it out!!! with only minor scraping on the bumper. Tender mercies from the Lord. Needless to say, we did not see that last family that night. We went home & crashed (into bed).

Wednesday we did service for our RS president, working on her greenhouse. From there we had a lesson with a 19/20yr old couple, S & J. They are both less actives & J was just baptized a couple years ago. They have a goal with getting sealed in the temple, so we're helping them with that! Then from there we went over to the E's to help Kim with dinner. We made fish tacos! Then we went to the H's, the family we missed last night. They're a really nice family, but they just don't come to church because they were offended by members of the ward. These situations are always really sad & sorta frustrating for me. We don't go to church for other people. We go for Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ & for ourselves. They have about 20 dogs, btw. hahaha

Thursday was the day that first showed me how different missionary work in the desert is vs missionary work in the valley. In Chino Hills we would mostly try to visit our potential investigators & throw in some less actives here & there. When we would visit less actives, they rarely ever opened the door for us right then (and they were rarely home). This day we stopped by 3 less active's homes and & they opened their door! It was amazing. 

Something to know about the Phelan ward: there are more inactive/less active members than there are active members...and I'm not overexaggerating. Needless to say, there's work to do here! I'm beginning to understand just how important it is & how much the Lord needs us to save His lost sheep. Baptisms of new members are awesome & everything, but the reactivation of those who were once lost is something special. The Lord's hand is extended to each one of us always; it's not Him that withdraws, it's us. I love the Savior's parable of the lost sheep. And this scripture...

Matthew 18: 
12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
 13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.

Friday we did our weekly planning & went over to a less active family's home to do service. The Ms & their 3 kids, age 4, 2, and 3 mos. They have a farm! 5 dogs, 4 cats, 8 chickens, 2 pigs & 2 cows. We pulled weeds & raked for the 2-yo's birthday party on Sunday. They also fed us dinner! Salmon & pork! sooo delicious. 

Again on Saturday we went to help at them & they fed us lunch. Then we went home to shower before the General Women's broadcast. If you didn't watch it, I would highly recommend it. It was phenomenal. The videos that they showed were so spiritual. And I LOVED how they focused on the family. It meant even more to me because recently I memorized the whole The Family: A Proclamation to the World. So that was pretty neat. Something that stood out to me in that was how perfect Heavenly Father's plan for us is & His promises are perfect. He knew us perfectly before we came to this world & He knows how to help us through it all. So many places in the scriptures it says that His hand is extended out to us. He never leaves us. We're the ones that leave Him. And how silly of us to leave and turn away from Him who knows how to help us & knows the ending? But we're human, we have our agency & we have our pride. Luckily, as the scriptures tell us, His hand is extended towards us and we have the opportunity to repent. What a blessing that is. 

After the broadcast we went over to a less active family's home, the Ws. Their home is CRAZY! They have like 23 snakes/reptiles & a tarantula. It was amazing because we were able to sit down with the whole family & have a lesson. We watched the mormon message Wrong Roads & talked about how we all have trials in our lives & we need to have faith & trust that Heavenly Father will help us. If you haven't seen that video, you need to watch it!

Sunday we had ward council at 7:30, church at 9, then went home to do studies. Then we went to the birthday party for a a bit until dinner at the Ds, a family with 10 kids!! 7 of them are at home, & get this...they all start with K's. Kyle, Kaitlyn, Korey, Kurt, Kole, Kade, Kyra, Kowen, Kace, & Kollins. (I've been practicing) hahaha!! Then we went to visit some people & had a lesson with one of our investigators, V. Her daughter A is also investigating, but she wasn't home. Super nice people.

This week was really amazing. My new companion, Sis O, & I get along really great & laugh all the time. The work is fun, the roads are even more fun :)

I'd really love to hear from some of you, just to make sure you're still alive ;) I love you all & am so grateful to call you family. Thanks for all the love & support.

xoxo Sister Viraldo

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