Jet lag is real and I’d heard it was worse coming back than going. I’ll add my amen to that! It probably didn’t help that I woke up at 4 am Monday morning, in anticipation of our day’s (and night’s and next day’s) activities—that of mainly sitting on a plane!
We received our itinerary on Friday and our first flight left Tuesday morning at 1:25. That meant that we would be in Delhi for their District Conference on Saturday and Sunday—one last time to say our goodbyes. In fact Elder David Evans (Counselor in the Asia Area Presidency) was in town for the conference and a mission tour complete with Zone Conferences (and since we work with a branch in each zone, we were invited to be in both pictures--lucky us!)
A few people made the trip to our apartment for one last visit with the two of us—the air pollution had gotten just awful following Diwali, even setting a new Delhi high of 1570. Consequently, Elder didn’t go out much our last two weeks there, but we loved having visitors.
A couple other people we will miss is our mission driver, Anil, (he also drives a Camry and Innova)
So back to Monday, November 14: we did our final washing and cleaning and had lunch with the other senior missionaries—what loving supportive friends! We will miss them, but since they are all from Utah, we plan to meet up post mission. We had a final interview with President, then dinner and testimonies. We barely had time for a quick shower and it was time to head to the airport at 9:30 pm. It would be 56 hours after arising at 4 am Monday before I crawled into our California bed! Add in the fact that I only got about 5 hours of sleep on the plane enroute and I was missing half my brain this whole last week. For some reason, I couldn’t sleep more than 4-5 hours every night! I woke up between 2 and 4 am every day. I took a nap some of the days, but I still had a serious sleep deficit—until Sunday. We attended one of the Spanish branches from 9-12 in their stake center 5 minutes away. Then we met with the Stake President and one of the bishops we will be working with. Came home, ate lunch and I laid down for a nap at 2. Elder tried to wake me up 2.5 hours later but I just couldn’t do it. We didn’t make the baptism that night (we had attended one the night before) and I slept until 10 pm. He was getting ready for bed so I followed his lead. I slept until 4 am and felt much better when I woke up! Yeah!
Now there is one part of the trip I need to mention. Since we arrived with no working phones, we were anxious to hear about our airport pickup before we left Delhi. Sunday night we exchanged several emails with our new mission president and were glad to hear that they had an apartment waiting for us and that our daughter from Las Vegas had called him and asked if she could surprise us by picking us up at the airport! What a show of support! We loved it!
So far this last week we have attended a district meeting, a baptism, met with the mission president, then with one of his counselors. Following the baptism, one of the wards meeting in the stake center was having a ward Thanksgiving dinner and the bishop’s wife invited us to come taste some of her turkey—Salvadoran style. It was delicious! Everyone is very friendly and gives lots of hugs (among the women at least).
So you might be asking: What will you be doing? We aren’t quite sure yet. Since Elder is fluent in Spanish, they want to utilize that. We’ve been told that 75% of the people in the San Fernando Valley speak Spanish. Now most also speak English, but the San Fernando Stake is one of only 3 stakes in the US that is totally Spanish speaking. There are 8 wards and 1 YSA Branch. The Stake Center is huge--having two chapels, 2 RS rooms, 2 of everything except just one full size cultural hall. So four of the wards meet there. The other 5 meet at chapels spread out over the valley. (Our mission has 6 stakes total and is pretty small geographically—maybe a 45 minute drive from one end to the other if the traffic is bad.) The mission president has assigned us to this Spanish speaking stake and it is the stake president who will give us our exact assignment. We are meeting with him and the counselor in the mission presidency again next Sunday.
Here are a few pictures of our very nice 2-bedroom apartment. Welcoming flowers from the President and his wife.
Thanks for your prayers and support and patience in hearing from us. It’s been a challenge getting working internet (a choice of exactly one very lowly rated and expensive cable company), phones (our apartments are a Verizon dead spot) and charge cards (even though we filed a travel plan showing we were moving to LA, Chase just wanted to hear from us that it was really us trying to use the card—something that is hard to do without a phone or internet and with only half a brain working). Well, things are looking up—I’m awake! Our phone works on our balcony and sometimes by the sliding glass door! Our internet works great this time of morning! (It’s 4 am as I finish writing this.) And we know that the fire alarms in the complex work since they have gone off early Sunday morning (a nice way to meet your neighbors) and several times yesterday as they were working on them so they don’t give any more false alarms.
We are excited to get back to work. We are excited for Thanksgiving this week. We have much to be thankful for, including the opportunity of serving a mission. But our relationships with family and friends both here in the states and back in India are some of our most precious blessings. We love you and wish you a blessed Thanksgiving Week.