At this point in my mission, there are many things going on WITHIN. There are interesting inner queries that still search for my full purpose here in this great mission. I have a lot of theories, including the blessing of living close enough to home to participate in important events, both physically on occasion, and vicariously ALWAYS. It has allowed me to converse with loved ones often in any ding-dong electronic form I choose, and has provided an easier way for them to come to me here. I have needed ALL of these interconnections drastically.
Another thought that keeps bouncing around WITHIN is the blessing of my cute Sister Janessa being part of my mission. There are definite reasons for our sharing this mission together, and I'm thinking some of those will yet manifest later in life.
|Arcadia, CA sister missionaries prepare to share a 20th birthday!|
Our shared mission has, without doubt, provided us with great and unusual opportunities to be together at key times for both of us.
Birthdays, new areas of transfers and companions, and...
just being together.
Someone who has come to live WITHIN my heart is my dear former companion, Mary Ann Thurgood. She continues to take good care of my needs, even from WITHIN her Utah home and busy family life. She comes to visit and we share wonderful time together. Still.
|Me and Mary Ann at Legends Restaurant for Janessa's birthday|
We also enjoyed a special event WITHIN the LA temple as 5 people entered the temple for the first time on their way back to live WITHIN God's presence ultimately. It was definitely an experience extraordinaire, additionally witnessing the sealing of Jason and Thelma's little family.
|Wonderful group of the Valley Branch|
|Jason, Thelma, and little Jalen|
We celebrated afterward at the Golden Hibachi, an all-you-can eat Asian buffet. YUMM!! Delicious food WITHIN tummies!
|Thelma, Jalen, Jason, Mary Ann, Me|
While visiting WITHIN the Arcadia Mission, Mary Ann and I visited the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, where we enjoyed sea life WITHIN all its varieties. We visited Bubba Gump's for delicious lunch, the lighthouse overlooking the harbor, and caught the Queen Elizabeth historical ship in our background, which reminded me of Titanic. What a fun day!
|Bubba Gump's "shrimpy" lunch|
|Long Beach Harbor Lighthouse|
|Queen Elizabeth behind us|
Of course, we finished off the day in a perfect way at Fosselman's Olde-fashioned Ice Cream shop! Perfect for stuffing ice cream WITHIN already-full tummies!
I love Mary Ann! She will be WITHIN my circle of eternal friends forever. How lucky am I!
WITHIN our apartment complex live amazing young men and women we call missionaries. Two of them had a birthday the same week, so we celebrated with birthday hats, streamers, and lots of birthday breakfast food.
|Two birthdays: Elder Holdaway and Elder Lutz|
Donning visors, of course!
WITHIN the sacred walls of the Alhambra LDS church is a very small baptismal font, where MANY baptisms are performed each month. This was a baptism for Shan-Shan, and she was super excited, because her baptism was occurring on her birthday. She's a lovely person.
|Mei, Sister Martin, Shan-Shan, Thanh, Me, Sister Huang, Sister Bailey|
Infrequent rainstorms occur WITHIN SoCal, so I had to hurry and capture the wet ground before it was a phenomenon of history. I'm glad I did! It was gone before we knew it!
A very unusual day happened recently at the Center WITHIN an otherwise normal work week. When we got there in the morning, the power was out, and continued to be out for most of the morning. Finally the manager sent us home, since there was no power for lights or computers, our basic needs at ERC. We decided to fit something of real value WITHIN this bonus day off, so we went to the California Science Center to see the space shuttle Endeavor, and a very fun exhibit featuring the science behind the Pixar characters.
|Truly amazing space shuttle Endeavor|
WITHIN the Pixar exhibit were all of our favorite, furry-and-otherwise computerized characters:
Sully, Mike Wazowski, and us at Monsters University;
It was very interesting learning about the science and math behind the creation of these wonderful characters and many more. As society, we all get to enjoy the benefits of genius minds, creating beloved characters from WITHIN their own hearts and minds.
We looked forward for a long time to attend "Swing & Sway," BYU's ballroom dance team performance. We were taking our Vietnamese friends Thanh and Mei, who had never experienced such an extravaganza before. What a time we had! Encased WITHIN the evening was dinner first at Jasmine House. Another cultural experience. The dance performance was exquisite and it was more than fun to see the excited childlike responses of Thanh and Mei.
|Dinner at Jasmine House with Thanh, Mei, Sister M and Me|
|Roast duck, something NOT seen WITHIN the confines of Nibley, UT!!|
These. and others, are great times to experience WITHIN a mission, cherished times that have found a place WITHIN my missionary heart.