Friday, January 14, 2011

Did You Know That La Cañada Flintridge, A California City Of Only 20,563, Has 28 LDS Missionaries In The Field Right Now?

According to, the city of La Cañada Flintridge in California, nestled in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, has a population of 20,563 as of July 2009. How many currently-serving missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do you suppose are from that city? Two? Four? Six?

Try 28. Yes, that sounds incredible for a city of just over 20,000 outside of Utah, but that's what the La Cañada Valley Sun reports. That's not merely a measurement of how the LDS Church has grown, but that's also an indication of exceptional faithfulness within one community. A few bishops, stake presidents, and, above all, the parents can step forward and take a bow.

Only three of the missionaries are mentioned by name:

-- Zachary Wetzel, serving in Paraguay. He walked 20 miles through the mountains and jungles of Paraguay to a hotel that could receive phone calls from the United States for his Christmas call from his family.
-- Christian Frandsen, bound for Paris, France. Just departed on his mission on January 11th. If he hustles, he might get to meet Elizabeth Smart before she leaves Paris.
-- Jay Johnson, serving in Houston. Has seven months left on his mission.

Not all the missionaries from La Cañada might necessarily be the stereotypical young 20-somethings. Some of them may be older people called to serve couples missions later in life after their children are raised and their financial resources permit more flexible service.

La Cañada Flintridge lies within the La Crescenta Stake, which has a total of 11 congregations (nine wards and two branches) assigned. Only two of the wards are in La Cañada, although the Glendale Seventh (Student Single) Ward accepts qualifying singles who live anywhere within stake boundaries. But the idea that as few as two wards may have supplied 28 missionaries simultaneously is astounding. Those are two wards where the Spirit is very much present.

Even more impressive is the fact that La Canada Flintridge has a median household income more than twice the California average. Oftentimes when people become prosperous they tend to get lifted up in the pride of their hearts, looking down upon those less financially-endowed, and forgetting about service to God. Not these people. Riches have merely increased their gratitude; their desire to serve the Lord continues to burn bright.

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