The last two weeks in California have been scorching! Not that many people have air conditioning because Costa Mesa and Newport are situated on the bluffs on or above the ocean. There is always a nice breeze moving through. It just so happened that the last few weeks are what is the typical "hot season" here and its lasted a bit longer than normal. Even adversity has its sweet uses; many people are surprised to see us out in the sun invite us in, if for anything at least to escape the weather.
This has easily not only been my most successful week here in California but also one of my most enjoyable! There is a large eco-preserve in my area called BackBay. It’s a small inland bay connected to the ocean full of mud flats and marshes. It’s a very pretty area with horse/running/biking trails through the sage were you can see rabbits and other small mammals. At night they have a problem with coyotes taking peoples pet cats and small dogs. While we were passing through in the noon day heat I saw fish jumping and some parrots in the trees. When the birds noticed us they puffed themselves up and posed for the pictures, some vain birds they were.
We taught a good amount of lessons, met a few less actives, but this week mostly consisted of doing service. We did everything! From moving an entire family at a moment’s notice Monday morning to helping a less actives daughter in flooring and moving her storage. The less active man was a counter-intelligence office in Berlin after WW2 or an American spy. He has some great stories and invited us down to the airport museum at the airport where he donates time. (more on that next week.) One of the young men in the ward had held a car wash to raise money for his eagle project so we helped there. I've watered plants, planted orange trees, and walked a dog all in service of the Lord this week.
Saturday we had a big ward picnic at the park across from the chapel and had a huge turnout. The entire week we invited everyone we could from the ward, even giving some food assignments to less-actives and returning members who came and had a great time. I was really enjoying myself with all my new friends here in this ward and remembered that it was tonight we were getting our transfer news. On the way home it was 9:30 and we were headed up Harbor Blvd and we got a nice little surprise: we get when in the right place at the right time, the fireworks from Disneyland!
The call came in and I was shocked to get the news that I was leaving and so was Elder Fetterman (not a surprised he has been here for 6 months!) I thought for sure I’d be staying, I only have 3 months left, I’d told President I loved the area and ward, plus the AP's called and asked me specifically to what I’d like. Well I was bitter to say the least and after some ice cream I retired to my throne and upon mediating this news the AP's called to tell me I was simply just taking Elder Fetterman’s place....staying in the ward and area.
So to get it straight......there are 5 of us elders: Me, Losee (new from the mtc), and Baliff (once serving in Ukraine) and the other companionship is Fetterman (Massachusetts) and Thayer (Texas). We stay in one apartment, same ward and same proselyting area. Saturday all they did was tell all those who'd be leaving to pack their bags and come to transfer meeting on Tuesday where you find out you new companion and area. I learned I'd be with elder Thayer just so I wouldn't pack my bags. But get this: my companionship we will be getting a third man, so that is still the surprise. I did learn Elder Mackey is being transferred, I think it would be cool if he came to be my companion. He goes home in 6 weeks so it’s his last transfer, then 6 more weeks I'd go home, then 6 weeks later Thayer goes.
Well that's the big news for the week. It was a great last mission birthday I continue to have ward members tell me Happy Birthday and during Zone meeting the Zone sang to me, plus I just got a birthday card from Grandma Russell and the Holders. I'm grateful to all those you continue to support me and just let it be known I'm doing just fine in my service to the Lord.
|Back Bay preserve|
|Not his tri-companionship but the other Elders in his apartment|
|P-Day at the air museum with the member|
|If anyone knows Elder Ray he was in heaven enjoying all the vintage airplanes|
|He told us "Maybe I'll go into aviation after going to this museum"|
|The puffed up parrots at back Bay preserve|