Elder Ferrin was replaced by Elder Benson this transfer. He is our new DL and the one who will finish Elder Lewis's training. He was companions with Elder Beck for a while up in Riverside. Elder Frost and Elder Mecham were both sent to Hemet to be DL's. So in our apartment we now have Elder Walker and myself, and Elder Beck still. We also have his new missionary companion, Elder Bee. Elder Bee is just a visa waiter though, he'll be leaving for the Dominican Republic as soon as they get his visa issues worked out. Also, Elder Beck and Elder Bee will probably be moving into a new apartment they are opening that is closer to their area, because they're on bikes. President Mullen isn't a huge fan of 4-man apartments, so he's trying to eliminate them as much as possible by renting new apartments.
As for areas in the mission, there are two different ways to look at what makes an area great. The first is what Corona is like; the people are nice, there aren't any really sketchy parts of town, and if you want to go to a certain shop or place to eat they probably have it. Missionary work in Corona can be kind of slow, you don't have a teaching pool with a lot of people, but the ones that you do have are normally pretty solid from what I've seen. The other kind of great place in the mission are the places where everybody is humble and willing to let you into their house and even if there are some sketchy parts of town, you find a lot of good people to teach there. Those are the places like Hemet. You hear a lot of stories that start out "This one time in Hemet. . .", but half of those stories are about investigators that get baptized, so it's alright. So overall the whole mission is great, but most people joke about Hemet being the promised land for missionary work. Of course everybody loves being in Riverside because it's a city and there are so many missionaries there that sometimes multiple zones get together on P-Day for activities. And then Corona and Lake Elsinore are just a little bit nicer and more suburban type areas. So wherever you go you can be happy for one reason or another.
(I wrote that last paragraph earlier and I just looked at the Messenger and realized that Corona has been the highest baptizing zone for a couple months in a row. So it is good for missionary work too, don't get me wrong, but it just doesn't have hordes of investigators, which is a blessing and a curse at times.)
In Corona we have 14 English and 6 Spanish, so about 70:30, but I couldn't tell you about the rest of the mission as a whole.
Cecilia is doing alright. When we were teaching her this week she kept having the perfect answers, even for the obscure things. I've never once heard someone know what was going on in the picture on the front of the Gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet, I didn't know until I looked it up. But she looked at the surroundings in the picture and figured it out and related it all back to an experience she'd had that week, and all we had to say was "What do you see in this picture?" I guess there's a reason that President Mullen asks us to follow the example of the angel speaking to Nephi and just ask them what they see. She is so ready and excited to be baptized, but she hasn't been able to attend church because she's helping her brother out by watching her nephew sometimes, which is fine. She was planning on just bringing him with her to church, but her brother doesn't want his son to go to church with her, so she couldn't! She said that she will arrange with her mom to watch him next week so she can come but it's still sort of rough and it will be close if she can come to church enough before her baptismal date.
This week was sort of rough. Being a transfer week, and Elder Beck getting a trainee, and there being a DL meeting, and half the zone being sick at various times for various durations, we didn't necessarily get to work a whole lot. There were some mornings where we were stuck inside just waiting with a missionary who's companion was gone, and they were sick or needed to study, or whatever. This week should be entirely normal, except for the mission tour on Friday. I seem to say things like that every week though, so maybe I just need to get used to the fact that there is not a standard normal week in the mission field and roll with it a little better.
A really spiritual experience for me though was on Sunday, it was fast and testimony meeting of course. We had talked to Areena, a relatively recent convert, about bearing her testimony. (Elder Camper and I were actually the ones that made her promise over two months ago. I guess she figured that I would probably be gone too!) But she went up there after plenty of prodding from her young women's leaders and fellow youth, and she just bore a simple testimony about how much she knew her Savior was watching over her. Hearing Areena bear her testimony about a person experience of the Savior watching over her was very spiritual and also rewarding, because most of the time when we visit her, she's just your average 14 year-old girl. She pretends not to care and not to want to do the things we ask her to do. But when it comes right down to it, it really does matter to her.
I didn't really set a new year's resolution, as missionaries we set goals daily, weekly, monthly, and each transfer, so setting a goal for the whole year seems kind of pointless because we are re-evaluating and changing our focus so often. Overall though, at least for this transfer(it basically started with the new year), was to have a more positive attitude about potentials and appointments and members and everything. Too often I was finding myself doubting if they really wanted us to come back, or if they did if they would be home, if they would accept a date, if they would be interested. But what is the point in all that negativity? There really is none, and if you go in with that attitude there is a good chance you'll be right. "He who says he can and he who says he can't, are both usually right." Another awesome quote Elder Camper used to say. And as we have applied a positive attitude this transfer(and as the holidays have ended), we have been able to see more success. In the past two days we have picked up two new investigators, and while they aren't quite as solid as Dylan and Cecilia were, it will help us to grow as missionaries and I hope we will be able to help them grow in their faith.
The work is progressing well. We are working hard, and I'm over the little bit of a cold I had picked up during the week so everything is good again. I'm excited to let you know how the mission tour is and how our new investigators are coming alone next week.
See you soon,