This post is completely random and has nothing to do with our lives at present, but I'm being nostalgic at the moment and remembering back to my sweet friend Daisy. So please bare with me for the next few minutes as I have a little mission moment:)
In October 2006, after serving for 6 months in Anaheim, CA, I was transferred to Santa Ana, CA. It was heartbreaking for me to leave the ward I loved so much, but as all missionaries know, that time comes sooner or later. Santa Ana is literally Little Mexico... the population is 98% Latino, and there are some areas that can be so dangerous that Sister missionaries don't serve there. But our area was wonderful and we always had plenty of people to talk to on the streets. One sunny day after I'd just moved there, my companion and I were street contacting and we ran into a beautiful woman who I would come to know as Hermana Flores. She was the Relief Society President in our ward in Santa Ana, and she sweetly invited us over for lunch that very day. We had an appointment soon after taking with her, but we stopped by a little later so that I could meet the family and we could have a late lunch. While we were there, I not only had some of the best Mexican food EVER, but I met the 4 Flores kids. The 2 oldest boys are 11 months apart ("what was I thinking?!" Hermana Flores always says), then Elizabeth, and then Daisy. Well, this is where the story really begins. Daisy and I became close friends during the 7 months I spent in Santa Ana. We even had a little "handshake" so to speak, and whenever she saw me she'd run up to me, wrap her arms around my waist, shake my hand, and then we'd pound fists. This was our "huuuuug, handshake, BONES!" ritual:) Daisy was 7 when I served in that ward and she always talked about how excited she was to get baptized. Unfortunately I was transferred before her baptism, but she has been the most excellent penpal! She even writes me letters to this day, and to me, Daisy is the purest example of childlike innocence and love. Here let me show you: (this was a letter she wrote to me last month)
"Dear Hermana Van,
I miss u. The first day you came in our barillo (ward) I was scared of you because you were very tall and giant. but as time past we became friends and I was not afraid of you. but now that I knew I thought If the blue sky is as beautiful as you and the birds sing as beautiful as your voice than that's the perfect person for me. and today that I saw the sun, sky, birds, and beautyness of the world it reminded me of you. I am always so cyriouse about what god created because it's so beautiful. and now that the bees are being ex tinked I grow a much bigger garden so they could come and live. I love you!!!
Well, if that didn't completely melt your heart I don't know what would. It's people like Daisy that make a person cherish their mission memories so much. I met so many incredible people on my mission, and I rank the Flores family at the top of my list. Daisy is now 9 years old and it's been over 2 years since I served in Santa Ana, but there's still a connection between my sweet little friend and I. In her letters and phone calls, it's like I never left and we just pick up where we left off. She's 16 years younger than me... she's still in Primary!... but our spirits touched and that's all we needed to start what I hope to be a lifelong friendship. Oh how I love my sweet little Daisy girl:)
Me and the Familia Flores on my last Sunday in Santa Ana. L-R: Elias, Hermano Flores, me, Daisy, Hermana Flores, Isaias, and Elizabeth. What a beautiful family!
This is one of my favorite pictures. Can you tell how much Daisy and I love each other??
Ahhh, it feels good to be a little nostalgic. It's so wonderful to think that I could literally hop in a car and drive to my mission if I wanted... and be there in a day! I know so many missionaries who hope to travel back to their missions at some point during their LIFETIME simply because they served so far away. Vina del Mar, Chile (where I was first called to serve) is a distant memory, and maybe I'll go there one day. But for now, I'm forever grateful for the people I met and the incredible experiences I had as a missionary of the California Anaheim Mission - "the happiest mission in the world!"