I returned late last night from a trip to Los Angeles this weekend, where we held a huge Days for Girls event in the historic Los Angeles Stake Center. We’ve been planning this event for months with Carol Turley, wife of my third cousin, Brentnall Pierce Turley. Brent and Carol welcomed us into their home and their wonderful Los Angeles world. I traveled Friday with my dear friends, Julie Treadwell and Wendy Barton, both DfG Leaders. We had a great time.
Friday afternoon Carol Turley gave us a tour of the beautiful historic building, built in the 1920s. The chapel has beautiful stained glass windows and there are galleries of historical photos. There is an amazing spirit there.
Below is the chapel where I spoke Saturday morning. It was breath-taking and filled with about 200 Relief Society women eager to learn about Days for Girls. They came from 12 different wards, including Spanish and Korean congregations. We also had members of a local Ethiopian Church and the Thai Town Rotary join us.
Then Saturday morning, Carol led this amazing group of women and we all went to work. I was thrilled to be there and made many wonderful friends. I loved the cultural diversity and working with women of all ages. These women came from areas stretching from Hollywood to downtown inner city Los Angeles. Many spoke very little English. But all came together to help. It was magical. All day long, women said things to me like, “in all my years of Relief Society service, this is the Best service project I’ve ever helped with.” The women were thrilled to be there. We were thrilled to introduce Days for Girls to them. By the end of the day (we worked from 9:00 to 3:00 with a delicious lunch at noon), we were exhausted with happiness. Please meet some of these wonderful women: Above is Elizabeth Manning McCombs. We were missionary companions in South Africa in 1982, where my heart became firmly planted in African soil. Above are wonderful missionaries, who are making huge differences in the lives of these women. Below is a group from the local Thai Town Rotary Club.
These are my dear Days for Girls friends, Wendy Barton and Julie Treadwell. We had such a fabulous weekend. There is not one single part of this work that I do not love with all my heart, especially the new friends I’ve made and the old friendships that have been strengthened. I also marvel at the family connections that are developing with distant relations as I do this work. It’s almost as if my ancestral mothers are helping to orchestrate our meetings. I did not know Carol or Brent Turley before this weekend. We met months ago through phone calls, but left last night as dear friends.
There are days when I can hardly comprehend walking away from this work for the next 3 years. My days have been long and full. There have been so many wonderful events (almost daily for the last year), that I have stopped posting about most of them here (they are represented on our Days for Girls Utah Facebook pages). I am going to try really hard in June (that starts tomorrow) to pull back and prepare to walk away. We leave in 3 weeks for the Missionary Training Center. My focus will change a bit. I’m not sure how to re-direct, but I must try. There have been some huge miracles happening here, even this week, that will allow us to spread and grow and help many women become involved in the future. I am leaving things in good hands. And Heavenly Father is directing this work. I have no doubt of that.
Now I must step away.