Sister Rounds

Sister Rounds
California Arcadia

Saturday, August 20, 2016


On we go! MORE of the same missionary life, but new and different experiences to accompany life's events. MORE family photos before transfers of Elders Pao, Asenjo, and Woodcock.

Elders Asenjo, Lutz, Kemsley, Garcia, Pao, Woodcock, and Sisters Huang, Mann, Candice, and Me
MORE groupie random get-togethers, now including our cute new Vietnamese investigator and "best friend," Thanh. Or so she refers to us. What a story behind this little lady! And what a splendid cook! We really love this adorable little lady.

Thanh, Sisters Mann and Huang, Elders Dean and Garcia

Sofia, Sister Mann, Candice, Me, Sister Martin, Thanh, Sister Huang

MORE Sunday Night Treats have started including new converts, investigators, and a devotional. These are gatherings we have all loved and are now sharing with new friends outside of just a missionary circle. Lots of girl power!!

MORE ongoing outings with the Bunker's, including an exotic dinner at a Lebanese restaurant and production of "The Wizard of Oz."

MORE missionary lessons to witness the Spirit. Elders Garcia and Dean found a wonderful way to teach Thanh in her native Vietnamese language, by skypeing Vietnamese elders in a different mission in the LA area. It was inspiring watching her vision expand as she understood the gospel in her own language. We are reminded in Alma: 
"Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of EVERY people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my thanksgiving." (Alma 26:37)

And we also learn from Alma how Heavenly Father feels about his children learning the gospel in their own language:
"For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true." (Alma 28:8)

So a crowning event occurred when Thanh made the choice to be baptized, despite lack of full support from family members.

Thanh on her baptism day

Elder Garcia, Thanh, and Elder Dean

MORE farewell dinners with lovely young sisters leaving the Arcadia, CA mission to return home. We had a fun night with sushi and Sister Huang and her companion, Sister Hobbs, from New Zealand. We laughed and talked and shared, and then said good-bye.
Sister Hobbs, Sister Huang, Me, Sister Martin at Sake Sake

AFTER sharing a little MORE time at Frootopia for frozen yogurt!!

Frozen yogurt to top off!

Sister Gong, Sister Mumford, Sister Martin, Me
MORE food at our next stop at a great dessert bakery to meet Sister Gong and her English-speaking companion, Sister Mumford. We enjoyed incredible pastries, cakes, or muffins together. And Sister Gong is still learning MORE English every day. It's been a bit of struggle, but she's doing it!

Sister Plumb, Sister Xia, Sister Martin, Me
Next stop, another faraway place in the mission to take Sister Xia and her companion, the lovely Sister Plumb (Janessa's first companion) to dinner at a fun retro place, Legends. MORE great food. MORE laughing, tears, fun. We took turns reading a cute children's book to Sister Xia, which she took back to Chengdu with her. It was called, "You're Here For A Reason," by Nancy Tillman. I knew she would love it because it is loaded with illustrations of animals, including pandas. And the message was priceless.

Sister Martin, Sister Xia, Me

MORE laughing and tears when it's time to leave her to go. She laid herself on the hood of the car and...MORE tears. And laughing. She was here for a reason.

Dragon fruit -- MORE delicious!
Sister Chu
There is exotic food all around us all the time. We are tasting extraordinary international cuisine regularly. At one of the functions in the Valley Branch, the Branch President's wife brought a "Dragon Fruit." MORE interesting tasting and appearance.

Party on! MORE food, fun, and farewells with Effy leaving the Center for Ogden. She can hardly bear the thought of leaving exciting, wonderful LA for... "cow-town" Ogden, Utah! What a surprise she's in for! Fortunately I will see her in a few short months. We had days of parties because MORE people wanted to tell her good-bye and wish her well. MORE food. MORE farewell.

Dianey and Effy eating YUMMY b-b-q chicken and corn on the cob, cooked by the Bishop's Storehouse staff

One recent P-day, we enjoyed MORE time on Olvera Street with our good friend, Theresa Gilliam, from the ward. She knows everything about the area and the early beginnings of Los Angeles and we had MORE fun! And MORE food. I am quite certain I will be coming home weighing MORE than I did when I left. But I will also have MORE beautiful, memorable, and blessed memories from these wonderful times in my mission.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Farewell For Awhile

This month has posed both seen and unforeseen farewells. They have proven sweet, hard, awakening experiences that grab at the heart. They have granted me the opportunity to bid a tender, lovely good-bye to wonderful people in my life, individuals who have impacted me forever.      


Courageous Sister Gong

Sister Gong has demonstrated how you leave everything familiar and discover the courage from somewhere deep inside to power through one of life's most difficult experiences culturally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. She has returned home to Beijing, China.   I will miss Sister Gong's courage.                                                                           
Sweet Sister Huang

Sister Huang has shown me how to be a positive, upbeat, energetic missionary, ever excited to be part of this important work. We're always happy to see one another.  She has returned home to Chicago, Illinois.  I will miss Sister Huang's goodness.                    

Awesome Sister Xia

Awesome Sister Xia has taught me lessons in joy, diligence, and acceptance. She has been a fun friend and surrogate daughter who has helped save my sanity more than once.  She has returned home to Chengdu, China, home of pandas. I will miss Sister Xia's friendship.

Talented Julie 

Talented Julie Cook, a very good friend of the Wallis family, and my cute little technology guru, returned Home suddenly. She died tragically in an automobile accident while on vacation with her family. She worked amazing magic, even as a high school amateur, in transferring all our home movies from videocassettes to DVD's. It was such a treasure, because during the process, Arlyn passed away. Those movies became even more precious. I'll never forget her tender, loving care to make them just right, so they could bring comfort to our shattered lives. I learned tenderness and tenacity from her.                                        


Incredible Effy

Incredible Effy has been relocated to Ogden, Utah, where she will spread her wondrous talent and goodness among the people there. Even though we feel we need her here, obviously God has a good reason for her to be there. How she is missed as we bid her farewell from ERS, home to her for over 10 years, and LA, home to her for most of her life. I learned the power of testimony from her. I will miss everything about her. 

Energetic Aunt Lera

Energetic Aunt Lera has gone Home, passing away from cancer just a few weeks ago. I always remember her being in a hurry, because she had so much to get done in so little time. What an amazing hard worker she was! She taught all 6 of her children an incredibly strong work ethic. She was fun, active, and a joy to be around. She is missed by all who knew her. I will miss her sparkle.

Beautiful Rachael
(Courtesy of Erica White)

Beautiful, young, vibrant Rachael, my 21-year-old niece, has returned Home. She passed away suddenly in a tragic car accident. She was so loved by friends and family and her beauty, grace, and humor will be missed. I learned selflessness from Rachael through her willingness to loan me her bedroom while I stayed with their family. I admired her cute interactions with her siblings. I will miss an important member of our family.

Dear Tammy

My very dear friend, Tammy, has returned Home. She passed away last week after an incredible fight with cancer for 7 years. I learned so many lessons from Tammy I can't count them. I know I will miss everything about her. I have decades of memories that include her and her family. She is the kind of friend I wish everyone had the privilege of having. Among so much, I will miss her ability to see and serve, without ever thinking or asking because it came so naturally to her. 

Thank you, beloved family and friends, for blessing my life. Farewell for now, but not forever.