Monday, September 9, 2013

This is it!

Alrighty everyone, I'm starting my last week as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the California Arcadia mission. I can't believe this time next week I will be in my exit interview with President Becerra. It's crazy! But it's been good! Next week when I'm home I will have to write a blog post about this coming week and my full testimony and experience here. But for now, I will focus and work hard to make this one of the best weeks yet!

Last Monday the 2nd we didn't do much. We have a couple in our ward, the Kohnle's, who do our laundry each week (yes we are beyond spoiled by them) and they invited us over to do crafts at their house. The other Sisters started making Plan of Salvation cut outs and I just sat there and helped. It was fun to just have a very relaxing and enjoyable Pday.

Tuesday the 3rd we were invited to the Pasadena Community College institute to get involved. Sister McGinty and I had been thinking about doing a booth over the PCC but didn't know if they had an institute. We were very excited when we met the secretary at a baptism last week and she invited us over. We go there so excited because we are wanting to get involved but come to find out, it's not in our ward boundaries :/ So we really have to see if it will be worth our time to do a booth, especially because all the young single adults we would meet at PCC would be going to the YSA ward in Glendale. So we still have to see if it will really be worth our time.
After that we had a very long talk about what we wanted to do to help  the work in our area. Every time we go to do something that we think would be a good idea, it turns out to not be in our area or a big waste of time and it starts to become discouraging. It's hard to find in our area right now and it's sad to say that because Pasadena is a really good area. We don't know what to do..
Wednesday the 4th we made a goal to talk to 10 people that day. We had to run to the post office during lunch and we ended up talking to two people there. What a good start to our day! And it was really cool because both people that we talked to either have talked to members or have a brother in-law who's a member. It was really cool because they were both super nice and knew a lot but also had some misconceptions that we were able to clear up. It was awesome!

Sadly right after that we went to our investigators house and we dropped her and her family. It was really sad because we love this family and know  that good things can happen for them but they have no desire right now. She told us that straight up. She said that she wants to have a desire but there's too much going on in their lives right now for them to have a sincere desire and to act on it. And that's the really sad part. They are having troubles and if they only could see that the gospel would help them to have a better life. They aren't married yet and it seems to me that they are having "marital" problems and I just can see that if they had the gospel in their lives, they'd be happier. So it's really sad. But we left a drop note for future missionaries to go back and see them in a few months or so. We'll see what happens.
After Jessica's we went to visit a former potential from a couple years ago. They had gone to a Gladys Knight concert at a church and had gotten info on the church and were then referred to missionaries here. We have tried them a couple times before but they were never home. Sister McGinty got this feeling we should go there and we sat at the door for a few minutes and just didn't feel like we should leave. We knocked a couple different times and finally the husband, Tyrone, came to the door. He was really nice but his wife wasn't home. We stood at the door talking for a few minutes about different things and getting to know him and he told us that we could come back the next day. This was a serious tender mercy from the Lord. After just dropping someone, we had a very awesome experience with him! We were so thankful!

The next day, Thursday the 5th, we went back to Tyrone and Yomi's at 6:30 pm like he told us. Yomi usually is back from work by then but not that day. We stood at the door again and it was cool because Tyrone answered the door and was so thankful that we came back! So was I! Sadly, like I said, Yomi wasn't home but we talked some more and made an appointment for this coming Wednesday and he said he'd make sure she was home. So we are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping for a miracle family with them this week! We both feel really good about them!
Friday the 6th after a very long weekly planning session that we didn't finish until last night, we had a lesson with our investigator Larissa and her husband Aaron. When we teach Larissa she never has questions for us and is very quiet so we were a little worried about how she's been understanding. We decided to teach a lesson on what a testimony is and have a little review. So we talked a little and asked questions and to our surprise, she really does know a lot! She's just quiet! haha So we were very happy about that! She is really progressing well and are excited for her to be baptized. Sadly she won't be baptized til October 19th though... That makes me sad because I won't be here but it's going to be so good because she husband Aaron will be able to baptize her!
Saturday the 7th we went on exchanges. I stayed in Pasadena with Sister Mattingley and Sister McGinty went to the Creekside ward with Sister Ackely. Not much happened for us on Saturday. We did have a lesson with a less active but that's about it. No one was home when we went to visit people so I felt bad that it wasn't very successful.

Sunday the 8th was a pretty good day but also hard. When we were in sacrament meeting, they announced that it was my last week and Sister McGinty and I started laughing. I guess I can leave now... Brother Ngo said so! haha Just kidding :) But it was funny. I'm speaking in sacrament next week with Sister Carrell so the stake high councilmen member we're speaking with, he came up to me after church all panicked making sure that I was still going to be here. I laughed a little and made sure he knew I knew.
Last night we had a missionary correlation with all the ward missionaries and during our meeting we got a phone call from our investigator's boyfriend. He calls us every so often to give us updates on her and if we have questions for him, we call him. He told us that her joining the LDS church came up to her mom on Saturday while she was home for the weekend. Her mom asked if she was going to join  the church and she said yes. Her mom then told her that if she did, she'd be very disappointed. Jessica then left the house and went to Ian's house. Long story short, they talked about it for a long time and Ian called us to let us know what happened. Sadly he even told her that because she's not ready to pick a baptism date, we'll have to sto

p seeing her as an investigator. It was really sad for us to hear Ian say that. We told him that the other day when we talked to him but it's becoming a reality. She needs to figure things out first and we think that if we stop seeing her, she'll be able to make that decision without any pressure. We don't like putting pressure on people but sometimes  they feel it even when we don't do it so hopefully this will help. It was just sad to hear! And tomorrow night when we have dinner with them and have a drop lesson, it will be very emotional! We are not looking forward to it!
Well, that's about all for today. This morning we went to the Santa Anita race track for breakfast and to watch the horses warm up/work out. It was awesome!!! I'm so sad this is the only time I was able to do this on my mission but at the same time, it's been something I've wanted to do since Sister Becerra told us about it the first day we got here so I was super happy!
Well, that is all for now everyone. I won't be writing next Monday but I will blog as soon as I can next week! I love you all and really can't thank each of you enough for all the love and support and prayers I have received the last 18 months. You have each played a very special role in my life as a missionary. Everyone at home and those out here in California that I have met. This has seriously been the best experience of my life and I'm so thankful that I followed the Spirit when it talked and that I came on a mission. The church is true. I know it with all my heart. Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. God lives and He and Christ love us. I'm so thankful for the knowledge that I have and that I have been able to share that in so many ways out here on my mission and I only hope to continue to do as much as I can when I get home.

Until next week.
Love always,
Sister Wheatley

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

No clever title!

Well, I don't have much time to write today. Yesterday was obviously Labor Day so the library was closed and we don't have keys to the Family History Center here in Pasadena yet so we weren't able to email yesterday. And today we have been busy so we don't have much time before we have to go to dinner but I will try to hurry this email up.

Monday the 26th was a pretty chill Pday. We didn't do much but mostly because I wasn't feeling very well. We did our typical cleaning, emails, groceries, etc. and then we went to the mission office to wash and clean our car because we were having Zone Conference and we wanted to win the popcorn prize for cleanest car ;) But when we got there, I sat on the computer the whole time. Mostly for two reasons... There were too many missionaries washing their cars so it was too crowded but also because I had a nasty headache that I just wanted to sit down and not do anything. Long story and day short, after being at the office all day, we had dinner with a part-member family, the Greer-Palini's. We got there and my headache was throbbing and I didn't talk the whole time. By the time dessert was brought out, Sister McGinty excused us and we left. On the way home, I was on the verge of tears so we called Brother Ngo and Brother Cannon in the ward to give me a blessing. I haven't had a headache so bad in a really long time and it was nice to get a blessing of not only healing but also of comfort. After the blessing, we went home and I went to bed. It took me a long time to get to sleep but when I did, I slept like a baby.

The "original" Panda Express - but WAY too pricey!
Anyone who knows me, knows my favorite food is Panda Express!
Sadly the next morning, Tuesday the 27th, I woke up still not feeling well. I didn't have as bad of a headache as the day before but I was not feeling well at all. I ended up sleeping in till about noon. I felt bad because Sister McGinty told me later that all morning she was having to apologize to the other Sisters in the house because they wanted to turn the AC off because it was cold but I needed it on. Apparently it was so cold in the house that our room actually had really cold air streaming from the cracks of our door yet I was burning up and sweating! It was crazy!

The rest of the day I didn't feel all that wonderful but I got up and get ready and we went to work. We took it really slow and we didn't even leave our house til at least 3 pm. I felt bad for wasting so much time but imagine how sick I would have been the rest of the day/week had I not slept in.

When we finally did get out to do some work, we went and visited a less-active member, Sister Callier. She has cancer right now and is going through chemotherapy or radiation (can't remember which one) so she can't come to church. She's been inactive for many years but her husband started taking the missionary lessons before he passed away and he was about to be baptized but things happened where they cancelled it :( Long story short, she's wanting to come back to church and to be able to go through the temple and be able to do her husband's work. We went in there thinking we were just going to be teaching her the Restoration lesson but this conversation turned out way better than anything we could have planned for. So it was really cool! I just hope that she gets better soon so that she can come to church and prepare for her to go through the Temple and do her husband's work.

Wednesday the 28th was a good day! We had Zone Conference here in Pasadena and it was so good! I don't have my notes so I can't remember all that was talked about but a lot of what was talked about was sustaining our leaders and planning. President O'Bryant, the Glendora Stake President, and his wife came and spoke to us and that was amazing! Glendora had Elder L. Tom Perry come to their stake that previous weekend for stake conference and President O'Bryant told us a lot of what Elder Perry said and it was just amazing! I was so bummed that I got transferred and wasn't able to be there when Elder Perry came. Well, I learned a lot about sustaining our leaders.... 

Well, like I said, Zone Conference was so good! We had it with the Glendora stake and I loved seeing everyone that I served with there. It's been so weird to be here in Pasadena and not in Glendora. I feel like sometimes I'm just on an extended exchange and I think I'm going back to Glendora tomorrow. haha So it was nice to talk to my friends/fellow missionaries from Glendora.

Sister McGinty and I at the original Panda Express
Not much happened on Thursday the 29th or Friday the 30th. We did A LOT of weekly planning on Friday. We went through our area book and sadly we "dropped" a lot of the investigators that Sister McGinty and Sister Carrell had been working with. Since I got to the area, we haven't met with them or they haven't kept their commitments. It was hard because it just meant that we were starting from scratch again. We are hoping that us having done this, it will help us to find new investigators. We have a lot to do and we are willing to do it!

We then had a lesson with our investigator Larissa and her husband Aaron. We taught the Plan of Salvation and had a great lesson there. We invited Sister Dieny in the ward and that was good to have her there because she testified a lot about what we were talking about and how it has helped her in her life. (Sister Dieny is the daughter of the Whitworth's in the Glendora 5th ward so I loved having her there because I just love the Whitworths!)

Saturday the 31st started out with us going to the Rose Bowl and playing soccer with the other Sisters in the Pasadena ward, the Elders from the South Pass ward, and our investigator Jessica. We are trying to put together a finding activity on Saturdays at the Rose Bowl and invite people there to come play with us so this was another test. Sadly it was pretty empty there compared to other days of the week because there was a UCLA game going on that evening and so it was pretty empty during the day. But we had fun just the seven of us and it was good for Jessica to come and hang out with us missionaries.

Sunday the 1st (can hardly believe that it's September already...) was a good day! In fact, it was a wonderful day!! The spirit was so strong all day at church and even in the evening! One thing that was so cool, or spirit-filled that I loved, is that in sacrament meeting, the closing song was "Lead, Kindly Light". The second the organ started playing, I started to cry. This song has been a song that I have come to love throughout my mission. Sister Davidson and I sang it for a member in our ward whose mother had just passed away and who hadn't been to church in a while. I remember the tears that he cried and the spirit that was in his home. And to make it "worse" the first verse of the song reads:

        "Lead, kindly Light, a-mid th' encircling gloom; Lead thou me on!
         The night is dark and I am far from home; Lead thou me on!
         Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
         The distant scene - one step enough for me."

Sister McGinty and I
As this last Sunday was two weeks before my farewell, those words just hit me so hard! This is exactly what I am doing next. I can't see the scene that is about to be set before me but I know that if I take it one step at a time and trust and have faith, my dear Savior will lead me through the darkness. This song has now become one of my favorites for so many different reasons. I'm just so thankful for the spirit that was felt on Sunday. It was a major answer to my prayers.

The rest of the night was just a wonderful night and it was because of Sister McGinty and an experience she had while fasting for the day. There's a couple in our ward who have had some miscarriages in the last year and they are having a hard time. Sister McGinty has taken this couple to heart and has prayed for them multiple times. That day she decided to fast for them that they may get pregnant and bring this baby here to raise. She forgot that we were having dinner with them that night and while at dinner, they told us that they are pregnant! Sister McGinty could barely hold in her feelings. What a miracle! We ended up spending about 30 minutes longer than the other Sisters to talk to them and it was just an amazing miracle!

As we drove home that night, we were talking about things that are going to help us this next week and we know that these miracles and the spirit that we felt that day and many other things that we learned this week, we know miracles are going to happen!

This has already been a very emotional weekend and week and so yesterday I went and got waterproof mascara ;) But I am so looking forward to the next 14 days that are ahead! Miracles are going to happen in this area and I'm so excited to be apart of them in some way or another.

I'm going to end now because it is about time for dinner but I realized that I haven't thanked people in a while for writing me the last month or so. Thanks to all those who have shown their love by doing so. I really do love getting letters! ;) And for all the prayers and support, thank you!

I love you all!
Love always,

Sister Rachel Wheatley

Monday, August 26, 2013

Three weeks, say WHAT?!!?

Out to breakfast with Sister McGinty, Sister Wheatley and Tammy Briggs Shahan
Alright, time is flying by! I can't believe that in three Monday's from now I will be sitting at the mission office waiting for my departure interview. This is just too crazy! But I'm not letting that slow me down any in my missionary work.
To start off, Tuesday the 20th was a good day! After studies early, we went to a members house and did some service for them. The wife just had a baby and they are laying a walk way in their back yard so we helped them with that. Who knew that putting stones in dirt would take so much work and creativity! We were there for two hours and didn't even finish a tiny section. It was fun though!
Sister Rachel Anna Wheatley and
Tammy Briggs Shahan (Mom's best friend)
Later that day we had a lesson with our investigator Jessica. We have not had much success when we go over to meet with her and her boyfriend and their family. It's been hard to keep any of their attention so we decided we better see her while all the kids are at school,  this really helped. We read Alma 32 together on faith and how she needs to exercise her faith when it comes to baptism and coming to church. She and her family have been taking the lessons on and off for a couple years. Sister Carrell and Sister McGinty started teaching them again about 8 week ago and there has not been any progression. When we went and saw her this week, things seemed good but since we saw her, nothing. It's so frustrating, agency. I wish we didn't have agency. Things would be a lot easier! But at the same time, if we didn't have agency none of us would be here so I guess I have a love-hate relationship with it haha Hopefully we get to see her this week and see how her prayers are going and see if she was able to talk to her boyfriend and discuss where they are at with the church. They are a wonderful family and we have a feeling  that they know it's true but they are having a hard time realizing that they know. I think that's what  is hard sometimes about being a missionary. The people you teach know the truth but sometimes they don't realize they know and we have to help them realize it. So I hope that this week we can do that with Jessica!
Wednesday the 21st was such a wonderful day! Sister McGinty and I spent a couple hours in the morning with moms friend Tammy. We had such a wonderful time together! I loved getting to know her. I hadn't seen her since I was like a small toddler and it was just nice to talk to her!
Stewardship Papers!!!!!
After that we spent a lot of time at the mission office trying to get an email out to the metro people to see if we can do a finding activity a couple times a week at the metro. While we were there, I had an envelope from Tammy that had letters from when mom was on her mission. It was so cool because I got to read them and I felt kind of like I was there with mom and all those who wrote mom letters 30 years ago when she was on her mission. It was cool because it has all come back around in a sense. I loved getting to know mom from a different perspective through the letters.
Later that day we had a lesson with our new investigator, Larissa. She and her husband Aaron just moved back in with his mom and sisters after living away for many years. He has been inactive for a long time and recently started going back to church. I think I wrote about them last week so I won't say much but I will say this... Before we even got started with the lesson, we asked Larissa if she had any questions for us. We thought maybe questions from the Restoration pamphlet we had left her with but no... Her first question was "What do I have to do to become a member of your church?" Umm.... come again?! Are you for serious?! We were in shock! It was so exciting! So we taught her the Restoration and gave her a Book of Mormon and she's super solid! It's amazing how prepared she is. She has been looking for a church that makes her feel welcomed and loved and she said that she's found it in the LDS church in the last three weeks that she's been coming to church. I just can't believe this miracle! We are setting a baptism date with her this week!
Stewardship papers arrived!
My mission is seriously coming to a close!
Thursday the 22nd was a pretty ok day. It wasn't too successful but it happens. That night for dinner we all went over to a less-active members home and he fed us dinner. Sisters Scott and Carrell are teaching a friend of his and he wanted to feed us. He is Chinese and so the Sisters asked if we could have some authentic Chinese food. I have to keep this story short but we had a hot pot dinner where there was raw food and we had to cook it ourselves in a hot pot of water. It was really good and we were all super excited because it was way different then anything any of us had had yet on our missions.
Well, we had a lesson after dinner and right towards the end I started not feeling well. We rushed home and (not to be graphic or anything) I ran straight to the restroom and was in there for almost 30 minutes! Come to find out that Sister McGinty was in the other restroom! I was so sick that I just went to bed without planning. Wake up in the morning feeling a little better but all the other Sisters were sick, Sister McGinty and Sister Scott really bad. Long story short, it wasn't food poisoning but we sure as heck felt like it was! I felt bad because Sister McGinty slept almost all day getting up here and there. We had an appointment at 4pm and we had weekly planning to do so we did it all but sadly we left for our appointment and couldn't find it so we called the lady and she had to cancel. So Sister McGinty got up for nothing :( But she was feeling better by then but I still felt back taking her out to work when all day she wasn't feeling good.
Later that night we had a lesson with our investigator, Jessica (another one...) This lesson was so good! We usually teach her with her returned missionary boyfriend with us but he couldn't make it this time, which ended up being a good thing! We got to talk to her about any concerns that she may have that she didn't want to bring up with her boyfriend there. So it was wonderful! She is still hesitant about setting a baptismal date but hopefully soon she will get up the courage to tell her friends and family and that we can set it soon. She knows the church is true, she studies out of Preach My Gospel, she comes to church every week. She's super solid as soon as she tells people.
Saturday the 24th we tried something new for a finding activity. We went down to the Rose Bowl and started playing frisbee. We wanted to invite people to play with us but in the end it didn't really happen. Mostly because this last Saturday they were having a 5K race so people were already pre-occupied. We did end up playing with a little family but it didn't last too long and then we left. We know that the Spanish speaking missionaries have a lot of success doing these kinds of activities so we are going to try it a couple times and see how it works.
Basically that's all that happened this last week. It ended up being a good week and I feel a lot more better about this week then the last few weeks. And I'm really looking forward to this coming week. We are going to be doing this differently this week then we've done before so hopefully we will have a lot more success in Pasadena!
I'm so thankful for this time that I have had to be a missionary. This week we have zone conference and we are supposed to read our patriarchal blessings and answer the question of why we were sent to the California Arcadia mission. As I read it this morning, so many things came to mind as to why I'm here in this exact mission. I am so beyond thankful that my Father in Heaven sent me here. I know this is where I have needed to be the last 18 months because I have learned so many things and it is just setting me up for the rest of my life in so many ways!
I love you all and am so thankful for your love and support!

Love always,
Sister Wheatley

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Last second miracle

This week was another slow week. It was hard to find people to teach and when we found people, they weren't interested. It was hard! But like the title of this letter says, Heavenly Father always sends a miracle our way at the last second.

Tuesday the 13th was a very good day. We didn't have much success in finding new investigators but we had very good conversations with former investigators. Sadly they weren't interested but you never know, they may become interested again in the future.

Amanda at her baptism with Sisters Wheatley and Amataga
That night we had dinner with the Tashjin family. They are a cute young couple that got married about 9 months ago. I think this dinner has stood out to me the most because the whole time we talked about mission things. We talked about the work in the Pasadena ward and we talked about Brother Tashjin's mission in Haiti right before it was closed off to foreign missionaries. He told of all these experiences that really changed him and converted him completely. You could tell that he didn't just go through his mission but that he let his mission go through him. It was something that I hope one day people will see in me. At the end of our dinner, we showed the Called to Serve video clip from the Work of Salvation broadcast. During the song, you could really see that he was reliving his mission. He told us at the end what that song means to him and it was just totally powerful! We gave them a commitment to pray about giving a Book of Mormon out to someone they know who will need it. I wish that I could explain it better over email but it was just amazing! I have had wonderful dinners that stand out to me but this one was just incredible! I want all dinner appointments to be like that one. That's what should be happening at dinner appointments with missionaries, sharing mission experiences and getting members to do missionary work again.

BYU represent
Wednesday the 14th we had a dinner and lesson with our investigator Jessica and her returned missionary boyfriend, Ian. Jessica is so ready to be baptized. The only thing holding her back is the fact that she's not sure how to tell her family and friends that she wants to be baptized. She is worried that they won't accept her. We had a very spirit-filled lesson with her and we  thought for sure we could set a date with her. Sadly, by the end of the lesson, she didn't want to set a date. So we compromised... We gave her the commitment to tell one person a week, family or friends, that she is meeting with the missionaries. We know that as she does this, she will feel that burning desire in her heart to be baptized sooner than next year (that's when she's thinking...) It's hard to tell family and friends, I can only understand that. But we know that as she makes this a matter of prayer and faith, miracles will happen for her to be baptized in the next couple months.

Thursday the 15th we had a really amazing zone meeting. We talked a lot about revelation  through the Holy Ghost. I have had this lesson multiple times as a missionary. I have heard it over and over. But this time it really hit me! I can't put it into words what was said or felt but as we did our role play, the Spirit was so strong, like it should be in all lessons. I couldn't believe that I was finally "getting it." Why so close to the end of my mission am I finally understanding things better? I really wish that I could have understood sooner in my mission. But now that I do understand, I have to work harder and better than I have in the past and teach Sister McGinty to "get it" and not let herself learn these things too late in her mission (although she already is a freaking amazing missionary...)
Sister McGinty warming up from coldness inside....90 degrees outside and freezing inside

Saturday the 17th we had a very busy day. We got up early, well... I guess we got up at usual time but didn't have time to go running because we had to be at a Multi-faith service project by 8am. We were there til noon and we didn't do much... There were a LOT of missionaries there so Sister Carrell and I along with some Elders sat at the Red Cross station the whole time talking and helping as people came up. So it was very relaxing but didn't know what we were really supposed to do even though we asked many different people.

After that we went to visit our investigators, Jessica and Reggie, and try to sit down with them to talk about the importance of the Book of Mormon and reading it. We have not been able to really sit down with them because things have been crazy in their home the last couple weeks. We met with Jessica one day and gave her the challenge to read Alma 32 on faith. I thought it was easy but she hasn't read it yet. It's really sad because this family is so amazing! They have so much potential in the gospel but things keep getting in the way and they don't understand how important sitting down with us to learn about the church is and how it will help  them. They have met with missionaries multiple times before but things just get in the way. So we left on Saturday having set up another appointment for Tuesday. We hope and pray that this appointment we can just talk to Reggie and Jessica without any distractions. It's hard because they have five kids and they are struggling with work and  things but if we could just sit down and teach them, I know that they will be blessed if they listen and follow Christ's footsteps.

Sisters Amataga and Staker, Amanda, and Sister Wheatley
at Amanda's baptism
After that, we had to hurry and get lunch, go to the family history center to finish up my talk for Amanda's baptism and head out to Glendora. We had to get a ride from a member in the Pasadena ward and we left at 3. The baptism didn't start til 4 but I wanted to get there early to say hi to people and since I was talking, I wanted time to sit down and not stress. Leaving at 3 pm and Pasadena only being about 20 minutes away, we didn't get there til 3:50!!!! Serious?! We never even figured out what was making traffic so bad but I was starting to freak out and you could tell Aunty Pam and Amanda were too when I walked in so close to the start of the baptism.

Amanda's baptism was amazing!! The spirit was so strong! Sister Amataga and I sat right behind Amanda and Sister Hyer and Aunty Pam were sitting across the aisle when we started to sing the opening song (I can't remember what it was) but Amataga and I did the wrong thing and we looked at Sister Hyer and Aunty Pam and they were in tears so of course, the two of us started bawling our eyes out also. This baptism has been in the works a long time. Many miracles have been brought about for this baptism to happen. I wish I could name them all but there are just too many. The biggest one is that Uncle Bill had his heart softened in December and lowered the age for Amanda to be baptized. If that wasn't a miracle, I don't know what would be. It was just amazing the miracles that have come about these last nine months.

The very famous Honey Boba smoothie that Sister McGinty talks about!
After the prayer, I gave the talk on baptism. I always freak out when I have to write a talk. I stress out and never know what to say but eventually it comes. This one did not come! WHAT?! It's Amanda's baptism, why was it not coming?! So I just went up and had to wing it. It wasn't exactly what I wanted to say but I know that it's what Heavenly Father wanted to me say. I'm so thankful that Amanda wanted me to give her baptism talk. I love that girl so much!! Each baptism is special and this was no different!

Amanda was then baptized by Matt Hyer, Sister Hyer's son. It was so cool to witness this miracle.
Amanda came out after and she just looked beautiful. She is a gorgeous girl but there was something different about her and it was the fact that she just entered into God's kingdom by making covenants with Him. It was so cool to see the difference in Amanda from teaching her to baptized. She has this beautiful glow and I know that she is going to be a light to all the people that she comes in contact with the rest of her life. She is going to make a difference, especially in her family.

Sunday the 18th was when the last second miracle happened. These last  two weeks have been hard but Sister McGinty and I decided to show forth our faith and fast for a miracle to happen that day, and it did! We had dinner with a family whose son is less active and his wife is not a member. The mother wanted us to work with them but knew that it was going to be a while before anything happened. At dinner, we shared a message about the Plan of Salvation and  then looked at their wedding pictures. After we got talking about church because they have come to church for the last three weeks. Larissa said that she loved it! She feels at home and that's what she has wanted in a church for a long time. Aaron said that he has missed the church so much that he went up to the bishop yesterday and asked for a calling. Long story short, Larissa is wanting to take the lessons and we set one up for Wednesday evening. Gosh dang, Heavenly Father. You really do come in at the last second! I was starting to get sad because it was Sunday and nothing yet... But He did it once again! Sister McGinty and I were so happy! This is why we are here on our missions, to bring others unto Christ and it means so much to us when people want to learn and are thirsting for that truth!

I know that the church is true! Yesterday was just another proof to me of it! I love this gospel with all my heart. There is no where else I'd rather be than here in the Pasadena ward in the California Arcadia mission at this time. It gets hard and there's no saying it doesn't. But miracles like yesterday and Saturday make it all worth it!

I love you all so much!

Love always,
Sister Rachel Wheatley

Monday, August 12, 2013

Slow week...

This last week has been a very slow week. I have never had a week go so slow in my mission haha Is it because I'm anticipating this transfer to go fast so Heavenly Father is playing a trick on me?! Probably! But that's ok. I am still enjoying my mission :)

Hold a baby turtle...I was freaking out a little!
Last Monday  the 5th, as you know, was transfers. Everything went really well and I got settled in great. I am living in an apartment, I think it's in Temple City, with five other Sisters! Yes, there are seven total Sister missionaries in this apartment. It's kind of like a sorority house at times, but it's fun! We all get along great. There are three Spanish speaking Hermanas and then there is the four of us that all serve in  the Pasadena ward. The best part of it is that Sister Carrell lives in the apartment and so it's fun! She's been companions with all of us serving in the Pasadena ward now. I swear, I  have never not served around new people on my mission. People I served with in Chino came to Glendora and now I'm in Pasadena with Sister Carrell and we served in both Chino Hills and Glendora together. But I love it! We all have a great time together.
Like I said, this week was very slow and part of  the reason it was slow is because we had EVERY SINGLE ONE of our appointments fall through this week... What the heck?! But that didn't get us down. We still worked hard to find appointments. We didn't get a whole ton this week but that's ok. We know that there are some days and weeks in the mission field that that happens so everything is good! This coming week we are very hopeful for good things to happen.

Tuesday the 6th we went to visit this sweet older, less active man in the ward, Brother Brown. We talked to him a lot about trust in God and at one point we got to talking about if he has been to the temple yet. He said no and got really quiet and would no longer look at us in the eyes. It was sad because he told us that he didn't feel worthy to go to the temple. There have been things in his life that he has done, we don't know what they are, but because he's done them, he doesn't feel worthy. It was so sad to hear because that's what the Atonement is for. When we don't feel worthy, that's when can turn to Him and know that there is repentance and the opportunity to change and become better so that we can feel worthy. We should always turn to Him but that's what the Atonement is there for. I just did not like hearing that he didn't feel worthy. So we are going to be working with him and hopefully help him to feel worthy of going to the temple.
Me in front of the Rose Bowl
Wednesday the 7th was a not so successful day. We went through the area book and wrote down names of people to go see but didn't get the chance to see many of them. But that night was a miracle. We had just gotten out of dinner and we were on our way to the church for mutual when I looked over and saw a lady on the side of the road by her car. That's not a totally unusual thing but what was way crazy is that she was in an accident... but there was no other car around. She was on the phone so I was just going to keep going to the church but I felt a very strong prompting to go back and see if everything was ok. Long story short, she had been there for an HOUR!!! She hit a lady and after getting all the insurance info the other lady needed, she left. There was no call to the police. No sticking around to help this lady. Nothing! So we called the people we just had dinner with and we were able to use their AAA insurance/towing and help this lady out. Her boyfriend had driven all the way from South LA and got there after we did. We sat there with this lady, Trasy, as we waited for the towing company to come. I can't explain everything that happened but it was amazing to me that she had been there for an hour and not one car stopped to see if she was ok. I felt horrible and sick inside knowing that people are like that. It made me want to always help someone when they are in need. It was just sad! We had a very good conversation with Trasy and her boyfriend Ceaser and also talked a lot about their faith in God. It was just a very powerful conversation. We know that Heavenly Father sent us to her for a reason. I don't know what will happen in the future but what I do know is that we were supposed to be there. We got her contact information and we are going to send the Elders in LA out there to see her. I just hope that she will listen to the wonderful message that the Elders have to share because I know that it will bless hers and Ceaser's lives. Miracle that night!

Sister Carrell got this necklace from an investigator and it reminds us of Santa's beard!
The rest of the week was very slow. Not much happened. We spent a couple hours at the mission office on Thursday the 8th writing a letter to the city of Pasadena to get permission to do a finding activity at the metro station. That was fun! Hopefully we get permission because it will be a great way to meet people. Friday the 9th we met with a less active lady who is returning to activity and we talked a lot about trust in God and family relationships. It was super powerful! She is such a humble lady and she just wants to do what's right. She got a calling in the Primary and she is so excited for it! I know that will help her to become a strong member again!

Saturday the 10th we met with our investigators, Reggie and Jessica. We talked to Jessica mainly and asked where she and Reggie are with the gospel. There are things in there life holding them back from being baptized and we wanted to see how we could help them. She isn't sure though if they are ready to make that full commitment and life style change yet. It was so sad to hear because they are wonderful people! I wanted to cry knowing that we might have to drop them. I wish I could just shake people sometimes and  tell them what they are missing and have it come across in a loving way and in a way that they can't say no. Basically, I want to take peoples agency away sometimes! haha But really, it's sad when they know that this, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church restored to the earth and they don't choose to be baptized. We left them with a commitment to read Alma 32 and pray about it and we will be going back tomorrow to follow-up. I just hope and pray that while they are reading and praying, that they have a serious witness that they can not deny the truth! It's just sad when people choose to not follow Christ's commandments and His church.

Sunday the 11th was good... I will admit, it was hard to go to a new ward and not know anyone. I felt a little out of place. I haven't felt that way in forever but that's ok because I will get used to it. But all day the Spirit was so strong! Sacrament meeting was wonderful! Gospel Essentials class we talked about family relationships and in Relief Society we talked about faith and trust in God. It was interesting to see that everything we talked about this last week with members and investigators all led up to Sunday at church! It was amazing how God works.

Sister McGinty and I in front of the Rose Bowl
Well, that's about all that happened this week. Not a whole ton! But before I end this letter I just want to bear my testimony about how important member missionary work is. Throughout my mission I have asked members for names of people who need an uplifting message. It's sad to me to hear from members "All the people I know or associate with are members of the church, so no, we don't know anyone." It's sad to me because if you really take your time to look around you, that's not totally true. You go to stores, your kids go to school, you go to the gym, your neighbors! All of these places have non-members. I don't want to make this sound like I'm mad or anything but if you really think about it, you're not just associating with members only. One thing that I hope to take with me after my mission is to be that member missionary. I want to pray for those opportunities after my mission to share the gospel with some random person in line at the grocery store. If we really open our eyes, we will see that there are many of God's children around us who are not members of His church and we can share the gospel with them one way or another. I guess what I want to say to all those reading this letter is please, pray for opportunities to share the gospel with others. And not only that but pray that you will see those opportunities and that you will act on them when you come. I know  that they will come and that your life will be greatly blessed for them.

I love you all and am thankful for you! Thanks for the love and support that I truly feel each and everyday.

Love always,

Sister Wheatley

Monday, August 5, 2013

Goodbye Glendora :( Hello Pasadena!!!

As you can see from the title of this email, I have been transferred to Pasadena FOR MY LAST SIX WEEKS!!!! I'm trying to decide if I'm happy or sad about it. I have come to love Glendora and the members there. I feel like I could have driven around with my eyes closed because I was there so long (since October.) But I know that this is where the Lord wants me for my last six weeks. I have had multiple prayers where I have asked the Lord to either bring me a companion that will push me these last six weeks or send me to an area that will push me. I think I have received both. My new companion is Sister McGinty. She has only been out for six weeks so I will be finish training again. I'm excited to be in Pasadena with her. She will be wonderful! Sister Carrell started training her and she said Sister McGinty is awesome!

Ivy, a little girl from Glendora, and Sister Wheatley

So, right now I am sitting at the office waiting for Sister McGinty and some of the other Sisters who decided to go to the Huntington Gardens this morning. I was going to go but to be honest, I'd rather email then go see a bunch of plants haha So I will get started because I don't know when they will be here to pick me up...
Not a whole bunch happened on Monday the 29th but Tuesday the 30th was a pretty good day. We had a lesson with our new investigator, Kathleen. She took some lessons from the Elders in the past but somehow slipped through the cracks. We taught about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what it takes for us to live with God in the Celestial Kingdom (we taught about the Plan of Salvation the first time we met with her.) It was a very good lesson and we had Sister LaRoche there with us. Sister LaRoche is a convert of about 20 years so she was able to bear her testimony a couple different times about what we were teaching. It was really cool because we committed Kathleen to baptism at the end of the lesson and she said yes. We committed her for August 25th and she said yes! After the lesson we were talking to Sister LaRoche and she said that when Kathleen said yes, she felt this huge waved of the Spirit. It was really cool! We were so happy. She wants to change her life and she knows that this is the way!

Sent from our Dutch friends to Mom and then she sent to us!
THANK YOU!!!!!!!
Wednesday the 31st was an ok day. It was one of the less productive days I've had in a while. We had no appointments and we didn't have much success in what we did. The only awesome success was when we went on splits that night with a member and we went to see a less-active member. We had seen her the night before but she was leaving and she didn't seem like she wanted to see us anyway. We went over again because this member wanted to see her and when she opened the door, it didn't seem like she was going to let us in until she saw the member. So that was nice because we then spent an hour or so with her. She said she was going to come back to church that Sunday but she didn't come and we were totally bummed! But that's missionary work, they say they'll come and they don't and you get super sad! But there's no giving up with her.

Thursday August 1st I woke up and kinda freaked out realizing that it was AUGUST and I come home NEXT MONTH!!!! So I had a little freak out session in the morning haha After district council we all went out to lunch at Chili's for the last time as a district. We had fun! I love my district! We had a good time together.
Parking spot for missionaries at the Institute building. HECK YEA!
We then had a lesson with our recent convert, Christine. We just read some scriptures and asked her how she felt when she was baptized. She was super shy, like always, and we had to keep her lesson short. But it was good. She kept texting us all week asking when we were coming. She's so cute but she was going to put us over our texting limit haha

We then had a lesson with Kim, and watched the Finding Faith in Christ DVD. It was nice to watch that and have a little discussion about what it means to have Faith in Christ and why that's so important.

Oh, one funny thing that happened at district council... So some of the missionary lingo is that your trainer is your mom for Sisters and dad for Elders. Gracia said something about Kappen being "his son" and out blurts Sister Hazelton, "I don't have a mom!!!!" It was so funny! She was waiting for her visa so she wasn't being trained. It was so cute! We couldn't stop laughing about it.

Not much happened on Friday the 2nd except for weekly planning. I had a really hard time paying attention during our planning. It took us a long time but I just couldn't focus! But we got lots done and had a good time while doing it.

Not much else happened that day except for that we had dinner at Olive Garden with Kim. It was fun to just spend some time with her and get to know her a little more on a more personal level. We love Kim!

Sister Hazleton is waiting for her visa to go to Peru.
She got her visa two days earlier, so we were happy for her!
Ok, Saturday the 3rd was a very crazy day! We got up and didn't have time to study in the morning because we had a service project right at 8am. That took us all the way til our after baptism lesson with Lone Wolf at 11:30am. That was good and we just talked about the Holy Ghost and asked him about his baptism. He told us he had a really cool experience when he want into the water and he kinda saw his life flash before him and how he wants to be better. I really like that! I was glad that he had an experience like that.

We then had just enough time to stop by a store parking lot where the Glendora High School Pep Club was doing a car wash. We really needed a car wash so I was like, "What the heck?" and I'm so glad I went because as we were there I saw some of the kids  there and I was like... "Oh my gosh, that's Matt! And there's Emma and Whitney and the Ballard twins!" These are all youth from the 5th ward and they are in Pep Club and stuff. I was so happy! And I finally saw my dear investigator, Amanda and got really happy. As we were sitting getting our car washed, I saw Matt look over and I waved. He looked at me for a second and realized it was the missionaries. He called out to Amanda and said I was there and she came RUNNING to the car and opened the door WHILE THEY WERE SPRAYING IT WITH WATER!! haha It was so funny! So while they were driving, I got out and talked to her for a minute. I was so happy to see them all, especially Amanda!

Right after that, we had to rush over to our next appointment with a less-active and her two non-member sons. They are wanting to get baptized so we have been teaching them for a couple weeks. The only problem is that they only visit her every other weekend so we have very limited visits. We talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and why these steps are so important. They committed to coming to church on Sunday but they were a little hesitant. We were already over our time and I knew we were losing their attention so we just finished up the lesson and left. Something that President has taught us is that because we are servants of the Lord, we are able  to discern when they are not telling the whole truth. I knew  they weren't going to come but I didn't call  them out on it. Now that the time is passed, I really wish that I had. Who knows, that might have changed things for them and maybe they would have come to church.
Sisters Wheatley, Butler and Denney.
The rest of the day was filled with the stake youth baptism and studies. Yes, studies in the evening but it was the only time to do so. And after our studies, our district all met up and we waited for transfer calls.
Oh, one thing... The Elders also had a really busy day so they decided to have studies in the evening also. We were at the church when they got there and Elder Gracia wanted Elder Kappen and Sister Denney to teach him. He thought it would be good for them because he is really hard when it comes to role plays. He is brutal! But it really helps us all to grow. So they started teaching him and he decided to just make up a random personality out of all the people that he has taught in the past. To make this short, at one point he was praying and oh my heck, his prayer in this role play was so powerful! He started to cry and I even started to cry. It was kind of like an experience that you would want as a missionary. And that's the whole point of role plays but the fact that he wasn't playing anyone in particular made it even better. It was just really cool!

Well, 9pm rolled around and we got our transfer calls. I got my call first and I heard words from Elder Bangerter that I did not want to hear, "after much prayer and consideration President has called you to serve in the Pasadena ward." I got off the phone and started to cry. Really?! My last six weeks and I get moved?!! I wasn't very happy. But I know, like I said at the beginning of this email, it is an answer to my prayers and I know this is where I'm supposed to be. So I'm making the best out of it! It will be good! Elder Kappen and Elder Gracia then got their calls. Gracia was going full time in the singles ward and training and Kappen was going full time in the 1st ward. Then Staker and Hazelton. Hazelton was going back to Spanish work for a few days before she heads off to Peru (she got her visa on Wednesday) and Staker was staying in the YSA ward but pink washing the 3rd ward which means 5th ward was being white washed. I was bummed that everyone else was staying (except Hazelton but she would be leaving soon enough for Peru...) and I was leaving. But it's ok. I just had a little crying fest but I got it all out that night and now I'm doing great!
Then Sunday the 4th rolled around. It was a very good day! I started cleaning up and packing in the morning and in between meetings in the morning. We had a lesson with Kathleen set up for before church but she didn't show. We were totally bummed! And she wasn't picking up her phone either. We didn't think to go to her house until it was too late so that was a bummer too.

Weekly planning for my last transfer
Church was good! Christine and Lone Wolf were both confirmed during sacrament meeting and they were wonderful blessings. During the whole fast and testimony meeting, the Spirit was so strong! I got up and bore my testimony since I was leaving and of course, I cried like a baby. But it was good! I especially cried when one of my most favorite ladies from the 5th ward was in the meeting, Sister Cisneros. She reminds me of Rozanne Dean in a way and I just cried when I saw that she was there. But I also cried because it was just a very spirit-filled meeting and I was leaving Glendora and I was sad.

Then Lone Wolf got up and bore his testimony and that was really cool to see! He got up the first Sunday that he was a confirmed member of the church! So cool! And even though some of the things that he says is sometimes a little.... weird? his testimony was very nice! It made me smile.

After church we stopped at some members houses, took pictures, went to dinner and then headed out to Arcadia for the missionary farewell. We went with some members and we didn't leave Arcadia til almost 9pm. The farewell was wonderful. Pretty long because there were so many missionaries going home but it was good! The whole time I was there though, I know I shouldn't have but I couldn't help but think, "Oh my gosh, that is going to be me in six weeks. Where has the time gone? I'm not ready for this." And then I just kept thinking about what I'm going to say in my farewell testimony haha Always thinking ahead! ;)
The Elders and I.
Elder Bucholz leaves tomorrow and Gracia and I in six weeks.
Elder Beard in 12 weeks.
During the testimonies, one of the Elders got up, I think it was Elder Wilding or Elder Stoker, and said, "Serving a mission is the best two for one coupon you will ever get." He said a couple things earlier about mail and coupons so it made sense and was funny but it is so true! You go on a mission to change the life of others but in the end, you also change yourself. I really liked that!

And that's about all that happened this last week. It was a pretty good week. The end of the week was bitter-sweet with transfers but I know that this is right. I know that I will meet people here in Pasadena that I need to visit. Sister McGinty asked if I figured out yet why I was sent to California for my mission and there have been many moments that I know I was sent here for but I also know that there will be more in these next six weeks. I love this work! I know it's true! Heavenly Father is in charge and I never have to worry about what's going to be happening. No one ever has to worry as long as we put our trust in Him. Don't turn your back on Him because He'll never turn His back on you. We are all precious to Him and He wants us all to return to Him. I know this!!!

Here's to a new area, new companion, and the last six weeks of my mission!

I love you all and am so thankful for all that each and everyone of you do for me. There have been a couple people in the past couple weeks that have sent me mail and I just want to say thank you. I know I haven't been good at saying thank you or wishing people happy birthday but I think about you all all the time.

Love always,
Sister Rachel Anna Wheatley

Monday, July 29, 2013

Two baptisms, two miracles

I'm trying to write this email today in a record time. I have been at the family history center for an hour now but have had a lot to read and a lot to respond to. So I am going to try and hurry and write this. We have a lot to do today!

Monday the 22nd was a very good and relaxing day. I cleaned a lot while Sister Denney was taking a nap (she has been wanting to nap for almost a month now but hasn't been able to...) So it was just a very nice day!

Sister Ackley and Sister Wheatley
That night though we had an unexpected teaching opportunity. We had gotten our hair cut earlier and the Sister cutting our hair mentioned Navajo Tacos. There's a kid who just got home from serving in New Mexico with the Native American's and he's been craving them. Long story short, we said how we love Navajo Tacos so she decided to have a last minute dinner party. When we got there that night, we pulled up right after this former Elder and his family and out comes his moms co-worker who's not a member of the church. She has been coming to church for the last several weeks. She saw us and got nervous because Brother Smith forgot to mention that we were going to be at dinner also. Anyway, at the end of the night we watched the Mormon Message "I Am a Child of God." Very simple and very sweet. I love this video because it takes us back to the basics. So it was really nice to just watch that and discuss how we are Children of God.

Tuesday the 23rd we went through our area book and wrote down a lot of names of former investigators. That's mainly what we did that day, contacting formers and less-actives. It was really cool though because there was one name in the area book that had an address but when we went to her house, there was no such address (Thanks Tovey and Yoshi haha) So we decided to just go knock on all the doors on the street. No one seemed to know who this lady was and I was starting to get tired and really frustrated. We almost gave up when we walked up to a house and a lady came out. I asked if she knew the lady we were looking for and she said it was her. We told her we were the new missionaries in the area and we felt like we should stop by and see how she was doing and if she was interested in meeting with us again. She said yes and we set up a time to meet her on Thursday! We were so happy! Heavenly Father is so incredible! Right at the end when we were about to give up, He steps in and lifts us up! I was just so thankful for that!
Sisters Amataga, Denney, Lone Wolf, Sister _______ and Wheatley

And to end the day, we had a final lesson with Lone Wolf before his interview on Thursday. So it was a good day!

Thursday the 25th was a good day. We had district council and Elder Gracia tried to focus it more to the "newbies" since we are the only two "oldies" in the district but to be honest, I got so much out of it! I loved it! Everything that was taught is something that I have heard before but this time around, maybe since I'm close to the end, it really stood out to me. I'm so thankful that it stood out to me because I will really be using it these last seven weeks (can you believe that's all the time I have left?! It's blowing my mind!)

Sisters Lee and Wheatley
After district council, we had a lesson with the lady we met on Tuesday, Kathlene. We got to her house, knocked on the door, rang the doorbell and nothing. We stood there for a few minutes and tried calling her but she didn't answer. Really?! We were so bummed! We started to walk back to our car when I felt a prompting to knock on the door of the motor home that was out front. Someone answered and we asked if he knew Kathlene, he said yes and he went inside to find her. She came out and invited us in. We started by getting to know her and found out a couple things about her. One thing we found out is that she loves her father and wishes that he would have been more religious while she was growing up and before he passed away. DING! That sent a bell off in my head that said to teach the Plan of Salvation. Lucky for us, I had my PoS pictures still in my bag. It was such an incredible lesson. The Spirit was so strong and everything we taught she loved. It was just so amazing! She loved it and wants to change her life and be better. She wants to come to church and be an example to her sons. She wants it and she knows it's the right path to take. It was just amazing!

Sisters Denney, Ackley, Lee and Wheatley
We then met up with the Sisters because we didn't have money or food and we were hoping they would buy us all pizza for lunch and we'd pay them back when we get paid... We found them driving down the street so we followed them. We ended up getting some pizza an went back to the church to eat. We were sitting there all nice and enjoying our time when all of a sudden I looked at the phone (2:56 pm was the time), I saw a missed call from Lone Wolf and all of a sudden I jumped up and said, "LONE WOLF'S INTERVIEW IS IN THREE MINUTES!!! WE GOTTA GO!!!" Sister Denney and I ran out of the church like it was nobodies business and rushed to the Stake Center for his interview. We felt horrible that we were late! We got so caught up in being hungry that we didn't look at our planners. But we got there and everything was ok. Elder Hill and Elder Beard were there waiting and so was Lone Wolf. Elder Hill and Lone Wolf went off into one of the classrooms and an hour and a half later emerged out of the room. It was a very long interview but Elder Hill came out and later told us "He's solid!" I won't lie... If you know Lone Wolf, there are somethings that you'd be like "Really??" and so I was a little scared. But it all turned out wonderfully! We were so happy! Baptismal interview number one complete!

Then later that night after dinner and a lesson our investigator Christine had her interview as well. Hers did not last nearly as long as Lone Wolf's haha It was maybe 10 minutes. She walked out of the room and was beaming with happiness and said, "I PASSED!!!" It was just so cute. I can't remember if I told you all last week but Christine doesn't technically need to be baptized. But she's been coming to church for three years and wanted to be baptized so we got permission to go ahead with it. It was awesome! She was just so happy! I couldn't stop smiling for her.

Sisters Carrell, Denney, Lone Wolf and Sister Wheatley at his baptism 7/28/13
Friday the 26th was just a normal weekly planning day. But after weekly planning we had a lesson with potential investigators, Nacho and Carmen. We went there planning to just get to know them and share the Restoration with them. As we sat down, we asked if we could say a prayer and Nacho said no. We were all confused and then he proceeded to tell us why we couldn't pray. I'll be honest, I was so lost that I don't even know what his answer was. And that's because he pulled out some scriptures from the Bible and then kept going on and on and on about random things. I was so confused!! We were there for about an hour and we barely got a word in... It was not good. When we left, we said, "Ok, now that you've told us what you believe, we'd like to come back sometime next week and tell you what we believe." He said yes and we'll see what happens. If we can't teach anything within the first 5 or 10 minutes that we are there this week, we won't be there long.

And to end the night, we had a dinner appointment with a Sister in the ward at The Golden Spur. I've been driving by this restaurant for 10 months and have never gone in. We got there and walked in and it was a super fancy restaurant! We sat down, looked at the menu and there wasn't much for cheaper than $20, and those were just appetizers! I couldn't believe it! What were we supposed to do! We couldn't believe that she had taken us there! We asked her our limit and she said there wasn't really a limit... CHOKE!!! Obviously though, we didn't get anything too "expensive." I got shrimp and Sister Denney got steak. By the end of the night, after we had talked about a lot of things, we had mentioned that we were going to take half our food home because we were out of money for the month and we don't get paid til Wednesday. She was paying the dinner bill and she pulled out $40 in cash and gave us each $20! What was she doing?! This meal was already over $100 and she was giving us more??!! We were completely speechless. We didn't tell her that to have her give us more money! We were just talking and bam! We got more money! I don't tell this story to brag but I tell this story because the members here are AMAZING!!!! They will do anything for us and I'm so thankful to them. And it was just a blessing/miracle for us. I'm still in shock! We don't know what we will ever be able to do to pay back these members. They are just amazing!! I guess what I can do in return is just do the same for missionaries when I get home (maybe not $100 dinners but food/money of some sort...)

After dinner we went to Covina and met up with Sisters Ackley and Lee for exchanges. So Saturday the 27th that's what happened, exchanges.

It was a good day Saturday. We had only one appointment set up so we just did a lot more contacting that day. The one appointment we did have was with a less-active and it was such a good appointment! We brought Sister Miller, the Relief Society President and it just went super well. We read "The Psalm of Nephi" (2 Nephi 2:15-35) and talked about how she can trust the Lord. Her sons are taking the lessons and she wants them to be baptized but she's not being the best example to them. So we talked about it and it was just a powerful lesson!

Sisters Carrell and Denney, Christine, and Sister Wheatley at Christine's baptism 7/28/13
Sunday the 28th was an awesome day too!!!! We had TWO BAPTISMS!!!!! It was amazing! I don't ever know what to say about baptisms because they are just so spirit-filled. We were talking to Christine at church and she said to us, "You're gonna cry!" Yup, probably! I didn't cry while they were being baptized but while they were getting dressed, we had a testimony meeting and Bishop Lemmon called people up. I was so sure I was safe because I'm just a missionary but I was wrong! He called me up and I just started to bawl! I had so many thoughts running through my head that I wanted to say but very little came out. But it was nice to be able to bear my testimony. I take the opportunity as much as possible but this one was special to me.

I'm just so happy for Lone Wolf and Christine. They have been a long time coming! It was just amazing! I have been blessed with such amazing baptisms on my mission. I may not have one every month like our standards of excellence says but each one of the have been so special (as they all should be.) It's just awesome to be apart of this wonderful work. I'm so glad that I took these last 18 months (almost) to leave everything behind and serve the Lord. He always jumps in when we need Him the most. I just love this work!

I gotta go now! After talking and emailing back and forth with mom and Bubba, it has taken me almost two hours to write this email! I'm hungry and we have so much to do! haha

I love you all so much! Thank you all for your love and support and prayers. I've never felt more supported in my life!

Love always,
Sister Rachel Wheatley