It was so good to see you guys on Christmas, and I'm sure it will be a great new year! It's hard to believe that my mission is already a quarter of the way over; it has gone so fast and I feel like I've done so little compared to other missionaries. But that's probably just because I've only been in one area and had two companions. So once I get transferred and start meeting new people and serving in new places, it'll seem more full of experiences than it does right now. But it does give me more motivation to work as hard as I can so I can look back on it and not wonder where all my time went.
Elder Beck and I are doing a musical number for the Christmas Devotional, so maybe we can send you a video of it or something. I can ask Elder Ferrin how he did it if nothing else. Our Ward Christmas Program on Sunday was fantastic though! It was mostly choral numbers, but there was also a duet by a young couple in our ward and a solo by a sister in our ward. I think she must have taken opera lessons because it was that style. We also had harp accompaniment and a harp solo because the Ward Music Director's daughter plays the harp and she came to help us out. I really enjoyed it, but I think Elder Walker just fell asleep for most of it. I have worn my Christmas tie a few times, but I just keep forgetting! I'll make the most of it these last few days I guess.
Top - Mission Inn Arch - Christmas 2015
Bottom Left - Elder Cornaby standing by the Mission Inn's Centennial Steinway Piano
Bottom Right - Elder Cornaby & Elder Walker with an old Mission Inn cannon.
Dylan's baptism happened and it went really well! We showed up about an hour before to get the font filled and set up chairs, and David showed up a little early so he was able to help us. He's been part of more baptisms than the rest of us, so it was nice to have him around. The program was really good and it was mostly done by our ward missionaries which was nice. Elder Walker was leading the music and he said he had no idea how to do it. So he was up there waving both his hands around. It looked more like conducting an orchestra than a congregation! As for the actual baptism, I was the one doing it, and it took two tries just like with Mitch. Dylan is a big guy. He said he's 220 and I'm only around 160, so he was afraid of pulling me down. He's a little taller than I am, so the first time his knee popped up a bit. Dylan said he feels really good; he feels like he's starting a new chapter in his life. He had a lot of friends there, they all live in a ward in the Jurupa Stake that's on the east side of Corona/Norco area. They brought some refreshments for everyone after and it was a great time. The ward members were also there to support him, a couple high priests and three or four couples from elder's quorum were there. There is a move this Saturday and Dylan is super excited to be helping with it, so I think he'll fit right in with the ward.
On Saturday night, we had our Ward Christmas Party (see the pictures below). It was at the Long's house, and it was absolutely fantastic. Dylan was there and so were a lot of less active members, as well as nearly a dozen non-member friends of members. Many of them were very curious about who we were and many of them had some connection like a grandson who was a member or something. The entertainment at the party was also a lot of fun, and of course his garage and man cave were fantastic. One of the members told the story of the original St. Nick, which was really cool and you should look up when you get the chance.
Brother & Sister Long hosted the Ward Christmas Party. Here Elder Cornaby is sitting at the counter in their replica of a 50's Diner where they make awesome milkshakes.
Below Skyler is standing next to one of Brother Long's classic cars from his collection.
Brother Long also collects arcade game machines as you can see in the background below.
Elder Cornaby at the top of Skyline Trail with Corona in the background - December 7, 2015
I hope I can talk about everything I want to, this has been a really awesome week for fun and for spiritual experiences, so hopefully I can remember everything and get it all done in time.
So the whole mission is that densely populated with missionaries. Corona is a little bit on the larger side, but most zones have at least 14 missionaries and they can get together for their weekly meetings with no problem. Our entire mission is probably about the same size of 1 or 2 stakes back home. People complain about having to drive 15 minutes to get to their stake center.
I'm a missionary for the LDS church, teaching the Gospel while soaking up some California sun!