Sister Rounds

Sister Rounds
California Arcadia

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Deja Vu!

Blast from the past and powering through the present.  I return to some of the same activities that I've participated in over the past 14  months. There are ongoing temple excursions. The group looks a little different each time, depending on who is serving in our area at the time. It's ALWAYS rewarding, however. We never get tired of taking missionaries to the temple on their meager bi-annual quota of twice a year, even if it means getting up at 3:30 am to do it.

Elder Garcia, Elder Chen, Elder Lutz, Elder Pao, Elder Woodcock, Elder Kemsley, Sister Mann, Sister Xia
Elder Kemsley, Elder Chen, Elder Lutz,
Elder Pao

"The Errand of Angels"

And every once in a special while, just as in times past, our little sisters pop in unexpectedly with a plate of fruit or bowl of some Chinese something, and we decide on a whim to whip up quick dinner to share all together. We can do that when they live just doors away.

We LOVE spending time together. Yet they never forget why they are here, and often, they will opt out of other activities at our home because they have missionary work they are engaged in.


 Always in the mood for shakes or late-night smoothies!

Part of the past's blast is the Gladys Knight concert/missionary devotional we were able to attend. Her style of music brings back many memories from decades past, though she performed strictly inspirational music. It was truly a cultural experience, characteristic of black gospel music, including clapping, rhythm, and the sense of evangelical. It was a wonderful missionary opportunity, since it was performed at a local Mormon church, inside the chapel, and both Gladys and her husband shared sweet, fervent testimonies of the gospel. We were supposed to invite non-member or less-active friends. We invited our cute little friend, Mayci  Rosa with us and had such fun.

We were joined by Deja Vu Sister Huang, who came to visit and stay with us for a couple of nights. She was a past missionary in this area, and it was awesome seeing her again.

After the concert, we found Marie Calendar's restaurant. Rosa ordered EXACTLY everything the same as me, because she was basically unfamiliar with this kind of American food. It was too cute!

We enjoyed some fun time with Sister Huang, while SHE enjoyed a great deal of Deja Vu coming back to her mission before leaving for Taiwan with her family. It brought back great memories and we enjoyed some sweet talks.

Deja Vu with beautiful jakaranda trees in full bloom this time of year! I totally missed them last year, because I was too green to notice, I guess. But they are sooooooo lovely! They are a tall, full, stately tree that turns a beautiful shade of purple while it's in bloom. They rise above other trees, so they can be seen looming in all their beauty.

Almansor Park and its wildlife are great experiences to revisit again and again. Depending on the time of day we go, we either see many squirrels, or else many turtles, but they appear at opposite times of the day, so it was fun one day when we happened to see BOTH in the same visit!

Hello, Mister!
Random visit to the local Old Mill. Super cool!
We also had Sister Chan come back to visit in the same weekend as Sister Huang, so that really felt like Deja Vu with past missionaries, blending with our present contingency. They had a great time face-timing with Elder Chui, who had just returned to Hong Kong within 2 weeks.

This is what a returning missionary gathering looks like. There are not very many, so it's a LARGE event for both English and Chinese wards, who both know Elder Lin, just returning from a mission to New York. The food was phenomenal and plentiful!!

The popular animal hats are revisited again and again also. These happen to be sported by Elder Chen and Blake  Elder Lutz. They are so funny when they pull me into the action.

Ducky Elder Lutz!
Ducky Elder Chen!
And then there are continual Deja Vu activities at the Employment Center also. Effy is continually taking care of everyone's birthdays and every other excuse we can find to party...and eat! This happened to be Elder Werner's birthday celebration, our local service missionary/resume specialist, who volunteers a day a week to help people with resumes. He's great!

Joel (Director), Effy (Co-Director), Sister Mascaro, Elder Mascaro, Elder Werner, Sister Martin

In a strange way, a visit to the flower and fabric districts in central LA is Deja Vu. Though I had never been to quite that area, it was almost square in the middle of Skid Row. And THAT is Deja Vu in a haunting sort of way. These are wonderfully priced shopping areas, but a little sketchy to wander through because of the area. It was a unique Deja Vu experience.
Trying not to be too disrespectful, I wanted to try and capture the unbelievable look that is so prevalent in this area of LA. Tents and tarps everywhere. Peoples' homes.

More special outings with my good friends the Bunker's. We went out to dinner and attended a play-in-the-round in Glendale. It was a mystery, "Catch Me If You Can."  The beautiful theatre belongs to the same family that runs the Hale Family Theatre in Salt Lake City. It felt Deja Vu because I had previously attended "The King and I" here with Sister Thurgood and our friend, Jezabel. It felt great to be back. (The Bunker's LOVED the concept of taking a photo with a selfie stick.)

We were part of The Helping Hands service project for the local food pantry again this year. Same parking lot at the same church in South Pasadena. We were doing the same sorting through goods and packing them in boxes, and it all felt very familiar from last year, but it also felt a little different. Each Deja Vu experience has its own characteristics, familiar and new. 

Me, Sister Krammer (mission office), Sister Martin
Missionary shoes in the front hall. The missionaries are very respectful to take them off when they come in. The scene is the same, but the shoes change from group to group. It's still a cute sight both outwardly and in my heart.

Deja Vu from days in my beloved valley home, when we baked and delivered bread to others seeming to need bread that day. Here is my cute babysitting neighbor, Violet Carmona, and she had her hands full this day. I had just baked bread, and it seemed she might like some to share with the multitude of kids she was watching that day. Yep -- gone in no time!!

Ongoing are birthday parties and Sunday night treats. It's part of the happiness and satisfaction of mission life, these Deja Vu events. Even though the participants change, the feeling of love and unity stays consistent from event to event, group to group.

A very special Deja Vu afternoon transpired when the Allen's from Hyde Park, who are serving a mission in Los Angeles, came to the Center and we went to lunch together. We talked about missions, home, and Arlyn. Elder Allen knew him from the insurance industry and it was truly heartwarming to hear his remembrances of him. I feel like I have known these good people forever, though I never knew them until we ran into one another in Los Angeles, both serving missions. I hadn't spent any real time with them since the beginning green stages of my mission. So it was a sweet return to our foundling period of time, but with an added measure of seasoning that we've all added to our lives over the past year of these missions.
My dear friend, Sister Allen and me at Marisco's Mexican Seafood Restaurant

I will truly miss them when they return home without me in July.
Come to think of it, chances are, we'll fondly recall some Deja Vu LA in times ahead together.

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