First week out in the field! It's been quite a time. We have had a lot of adventures. We woke up early Wednesday morning and took a bus to the frontrunner. From there, we took the trax in Salt Lake to the airport and it was PACKED. There were a lot of other Polynesians going to the San Fran/Oakland Mission. From there, we took a flight out to California. Upon landing, we were greeted at the baggage claim by the mission president. President Frandsen is a very tall man.
He took all the new missionaries (about 20 of us) to a Chinese buffet called the New Dragon Buffet. There was a lot of seafood and it was DELICIOUS. From there, we went to the Oakland Temple and it is BEAUTIFUL. I could not help but feel the spirit so powerfully as we toured the grounds. The visitor center has a spectacular view of the bay area and it is just gorgeous.
Later on in the day, we met our new companions. We had the trainers come up one at a time and tell everyone why their area was the best area. After they finished, we'd have a quick drumroll and then President Frandsen would announce their companion. My companion is.........Elder Lui. He's a Tongan/Samoan Elder from West Valley City, Utah. He grew up with my friend Joseph Tiatia who I went to SOAR with. Joseph is Moni Tiatia's brother, who was my section leader over at Living Legends this past year. Awesome Elder. He's been showing me the ropes while here. I've been assigned to the Antioch area which is the farthest zone from the bay. It gets incredibly hot here (over the 100's most days) and we are a full bike mission. Not to worry about the bike, family. They had extras at the mission home. This area is very full of hills and I've been #dying.
It's been an amazing experience. Our first tracting went as expected. Many doors were slammed but I did want to share a miracle that happened. Since before Elder Lui got assigned here, his companion kept mentioning the "Nieve" family. However, they did not have an address or phone number. They would always have that name on their list but no way to contact them. As we were tracting, one woman (after profusely denying us) pointed us at a house across the street. The father was asleep and the mom wasn't home so we talked to the kids for a little bit. They were way cool! One of them does break dancing and gave us a short demo. As we were getting ready to leave, we asked for their name. Lo and behold, we had found the Nieves. It was awesome to see how the Lord leads and guides his missionaries. He knows what we need to do and where we need to be. I'm glad we were open to His council and guidance. I look forward to the many more blessings and miracles He has in store for us.
Before I go, I must relate a quick story. With the ups on the hills come the downs. We were coasting down a pretty steep one a few days ago and we were enjoying the wind and the shade (the sun was beginning to set). Elder Lui began weaving back and forth along the deserted road. Suddenly, he got too close on one pass to the sidewalk and the side of his wheel hit the curb. He jumped off his bike, determined to stay on his feet. He began running/falling forward before completely biffing it. In a cloud of dust and dirt, he finally slid into home base. He got up quickly and started sayin, "go go go go go we gotta get outta here we can't make a scene gooooo". I could barely move because I was laughing so hard. Good times.
Anyways, thanks so much for your prayers and support family! I DID get the packages you sent and it was delicious. I think Elder Dewitt was crying, it was so beautiful. Elder Lui has also expressed his love for strawberry belts. My mailing address is and will always be:
4945 Lincoln Way
Oakland, CA 94602
They send it to the mission home and then the mission home sends it out. Can't wait to hear from all of you! Love you!
P.S. I also saw Elder KIMBALL! It's been a really long time since I've seen that guy but we both did the "walk by at the MTC, stop, pause, stare, smile real big, and bear hug" I forget where he's going. I also saw Elder Latu, And Elder Talaupapa. Lots of familiar faces. But I JUST missed Elder Ho and Fano.