Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas from Sister Wheatley

To start off, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! I hope that everyone has a wonderful couple days spent with family and friends! I wish that I was home to spend it with my family but I have come to a conclusion and I will write about that later....

And also, I just want to say a quick thank you to all who have sent me things these past couple weeks for Christmas! I didn't think about writing them all down until we were doing our laundry and I didn't have them all in front of me so I can't remember everyone. But even if I can't remember who I got stuff from, it doesn't mean I'm not thankful because I really am!!! So here are the names I remember... Brother Geertsen, the Parrott's, Renata, the Urban's, Grandma and Grandpa K, and I don't remember if I thanked Grandma and Grandpa Wheatley when they sent me Special K cookies! So thank you to everyone that I have received things from! I really do love and appreciate it all! It means so much to me!

And Happy Birthday to cousin Crista Tharp on the 26th, Bekkah on the 27th, and Happy Anniversary to Sarah and Michael on the 27th, and Bekkah and Jonny on the 29th! Love you all!

Ok... Now to get started on what happened this week. There wasn't a whole lot but I feel very blessed for what I have learned these last couple weeks as the world has brought their focus on Christ at this time of the year.

Monday the 17th was a pretty good day. It was a very relaxing Pday for Sister Amataga and I. We basically stayed at our home all day to write letters, clean, and relax. Our zone had an activity but we decided to just have a day to ourselves to get the little things done. And it was wonderful!

Then that night we went over to Bishop Ferrell's house for the Young Single Adults Christmas Family Home Evening. It was fun! It was kinda weird for me because I'm such a quiet person and I don't do well in large crowds of people when I don't know anyone but in the end, it turned out good! I talked to a few of the members of the ward and they brought friends and I was able to talk to them as well. And there was a white elephant gift exchange that night but Sister Amataga and I forgot to bring ours so we weren't going to participate. But the Elders had to leave early so they gave us their gift and no one ended up wanting it, so it was ours to keep. When we opened the box, there was a note that said "The best gift EVER!" and inside was a little kids fanny pack (not sure if I spelled that right...) from the 90's with Scooby-doo on it. And inside it, was something else. So we opened it and it was a High School Musical locker box with HSM playing cards inside!!! So I immediately grabbed the cards from Sister Amataga and said they were mine! haha I was pretty excited!!! ;) But it was a good night getting to know that ward a little better and having fun!

Then Tuesday the 18th not much happened than either but we did go visit a less-active and have a very good gospel/Christmas discussion with her. And her son's girlfriend was there as well so it was nice to have her around and talk.

And to end off the night, we went to St. Dorothy's to help out with the San Gabriel Valley winter homeless shelter. We walked in and the lady in charge had us do a job that she does every year, which was to serve all the homeless seconds of dinner. So we did that and in a good way, it was so rewarding! You never know how small things in life are going to change your thoughts for your future life. As we were standing there, we had people come up to us and say "This is the first meal I have had all day. Thank you so much!!" And so many other things that just tug at your heart strings. It made me realize even more that I have been so blessed in my life! I never had to worry whether there was going to be a meal on the table at night, whether it was just left overs from the night before, Taco Bell, or a homemade dinner, I never had to worry. We have been so blessed my whole life and I have taken that for granted. And to just see someone's face light up when you give them a smile of wished them a Merry Christmas, it was just wonderful! I think my parents did a good job at teaching us to be grateful for the things we have and to serve others but I just never realized how important it was until being out on my mission. One small thing can change someone's life forever. And personally, I think we all need to realize that a lot more. We go through life so quickly and we don't take time to remember the important things, like food and shelter that we have been so blessed with.

Then Wednesday the 19th was basically a day of contacting people in the YSA ward and getting familiar with everything. We had a meeting with Bishop Ferrell, which lasted much longer than I thought it was going to, but it was very good! Not only was it good to get information about the ward and see how we could help Bishop, but we were able to (hopefully...) gain his trust in us so that we can have a good relationship as we are serving in the ward. Oh... and not to mention, he has a family business where they make designs and things for amusement parks and other places so he showed us a little of what they do! OH MY HECK!!! It's so cool! They have made attractions for Disneyland, Disney World, places in China and other foreign countries, and they even designed Celin Dion's pool/spa area for her house in Florida (they didn't know it was for her until after it aired on a tv show haha) Anyway, not like that matters in missionary work but it was cool because they showed us all these awesome attractions they have done! It was just sweet!

Then on Thursday the 20th, President Becerra showed up at our District Meeting. I have said it before but I'll say it again, he always shows up at our meetings or schedules a meeting right when I need it the most! And for that I am thankful! He talked about how there are three things that we need to change in our mission because they are "broken." And those things are personal study, companionship study and district meetings. When he asked us about that, we all shook our heads in agreement that yes, those are broken in our mission. And that's really sad because those are the things that start out each of our days. So we talked about how we can change that and how we can help everyone else in the mission, especially with so many new missionaries coming in in the next few months. And it just changed my whole perspective. Then we talked about how we need to put away our weapons of war like the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's did in the Book of Mormon. And we kinda talked a little about what some of those things might be and how we can change it. So many thoughts went running through my head about what kind of things I can change to be a better missionary. I walked out of District Meeting that day seeing so many new ways of how I can change! We were lucky enough also, to be President's "guinea pigs" so that was nice because it wasn't anything that he has talked about to other districts yet so it wasn't routine. It was comfortable and nice!

Then that night we had a lesson with one of our less-actives in the ward where we watched The Forgotten Carols. And I have seen the play before but I think I was a little too young to have seen it when I did because I didn't really like it the first time. But oh my goodness, it was one of the best things I have ever watched before! I was in tears! That is one of the things that has helped me to realize the important things in life. To remember the forgotten things! It's like a quote that President said in District Meeting that morning, "What will you remember when you forget everything?" And I thought that kinda went along with The Forgotten Carols. It was just wonderful! And I wish I could explain what it's about but for anyone who hasn't seen it or read the book, you should go and try to find it online or at Deseret Book or something because it is amazing! And after watching it, we had a very good conversation with Sister Bright about it. It was just wonderful!

Then Friday was a pretty good day! We did our weekly planning and had a very long companionship inventory. Comp inventory is not something fun to do but in this case, it was much needed (not because we are having troubles but for other reasons.) Then we had a meeting with one of the members of the YSA ward and then dinner with a less-active/part member family where we had my favorite tacos!!!! And we had good gospel conversation there which was nice. But that's about all that happened on Friday.

Then Saturday we had a very rewarding morning. There's a less-active/part member family that we are teaching that called us and had three full turkey Christmas dinners that they needed us to find homes for. So after talking to the Bishop we were able to take these meals to three families that we know would be very grateful for them. And it was just fun to be able to deliver them. We were able to find one of the families at home but just left the other two on these family doorsteps. I don't know what their thoughts were but it was so good and another rewarding thing to do for those in need.

Then to end the week, yesterday, Sunday the 23rd was just wonderful!!! I was able to be apart of the ward choir again for the Christmas program and it was so good! We sang Joseph Came Walking to Bethlehem and also It Came Upon A Midnight Clear (which has become one of my favorite songs lately...) And at the end of sacrament meeting, the primary kids got up and sang their Hallelujah chorus they sang at the Christmas party. Then they sang a beautiful song called Peace Peace and at the end of that, we all sang together Silent Night and the Spirit just overwhelmed me so much! I was happy and sad at the same time. As I was sitting in sacrament yesterday, I saw all these families sitting together and I just thought of my family back home and wanting to be with them. But then I thought, that's why I'm on a mission, to help bring other families together like all of these families. And it was just an amazing feeling! It was so overwhelming but it changed me. I have been out for over nine months and I haven't felt like I have made a different or that I have changed but I realized yesterday that from here on out, I am going to work even harder than ever because of the overwhelming feelings I felt yesterday.

Well, I just want to end by giving you my journal entry from the other day. This is from 12/21/2012 (the day the world was supposed to end LOL)

"This morning I have a lot on my mind. Christmas is four days away and I'm really missing home. So much would be going on. Work at DearElder.com would be crazy! Last minute shopping trips. Snow on the ground. Presents to wrap. So much to do. But this year I am away from home. I don't get to enjoy the business of work. I don't get to wrap presents or go shopping. There's no visiting Santa Claus at the mall this year.

This year I'm a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This year, as much as I'm missing my family, I get to enjoy Christmas in a new way. I get to enjoy Christmas this year by serving. I will be out at people's homes. I will be walking the streets of Glendora and San Dimas. I will be looking for those homes where my heart tells me, "Go knock on that door." And when I knock on "that door," I hope and pray that the person who opens it will say, "I've been praying for you."

Being away for Christmas this year has changed my perspective. As nice as it has been to feel so loved when I receive boxes of presents, gift cards to Panda Express, and Christmas cards with cash inside, I've realized that none of that matters.** DISCLAIMER: I truly am grateful for the gifts, love and support I feel when I receive them.  It's not about what I receive. It's about what I give. And I had always been taught that as a kid. My parents were always wonderful at teaching us these things. But being away from home this year has really cleared my view. I'm not in the middle of all the holiday rush. My life right now is slowed down and focused on one thing, spreading the good news of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ here upon the earth. And as I've realized that, my perspective of Christmas has changed. I don't know what future Christmases will hold. Will I go back to my old ways and forget what I have learned this year? I sure as heck hope not! I know that only I have the power to change future Christmases to what I want them to be but life gets to us, it's time to take a step back and see what is really important in life. I'm so grateful for this year and all it has brought to me. I never thought I'd be on a misison. But my Father in Heaven knows best and He sent me to the California Arcadia mission for a reason. And if I could give one present to Him and my Savior, Jesus Christ, it would be to work harder than I have these last nine months. Time is flying by and I don't have much left. So as I spend Christmas in California this year, I'm more grateful for this gift I have been given, the gift to share what I KNOW to be true. Like I said earlier, as much as I miss home and my friends and family, I have come to realize that there's absolutely no where else I would rather be this year than on my mission. I know that what I'm out here teaching is true. I know my Heavenly Father loves me. I know my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ loves me. And I know that He died for each and everyone of us so that we can return to live with Him one day. I'm grateful for this Christmas that has changed my life. I hope and pray that we may all, wherever we may be, can give just a little more than we receive. Jesus Christ gave His life for us, what can we do for Him?

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

Merry CHRISTmas, everyone!!!

Love always,

Sister Rachel Anna Wheatley

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

Hello dear family and friends! I can't believe it's already the 17th of December! This month has gone super fast! It's going to be 2013 before we know it!

Anyway, here's a rundown of the week that we had! It was a very good week!...

 Monday the 10th, after a very stressful morning of running around getting laundry, groceries, and pictures printed, we enjoyed a fun time at Panda Express and Chaparral Lanes with the Elders and Rob from our ward. This was all part of my birthday present from the Elders (and my companion got to come along and be paid for also... The benefits of being with someone on their birthday haha) It was a ton of fun! But, the sad part of the day is that it was Sister Amataga's first time bowling! So we gave her a few pointers. We even told her "Do NOT go past the line." But.... sadly she went past the line and totally slipped and hurt her arm! It was really funny because we kept telling her all these things and then she went past the line. But it was sad because she ended up not bowling anymore that day because she hurt her arm so bad. Now that we all look back on it we can joke about it but it was sad to see her in so much pain. Turns out she has a bad bruise but that's it. She wasn't able to use her hand for a couple days and it ended up being in a sling but she is now able to use her arm. It still hurts her but not as badly as it did the first few days.

And after we went bowling, we went to Arcadia to meet up with some of the other Sisters to practice for the Mission Christmas talent show. I was nervous because like I said last week, I was sick and my voice was gone! But I was able to get through practice and I just kept praying all week that I would be feeling better by Friday so that I wouldn't have to back out at last minute.

Tuesday the 11th, my birthday!, was a good day! I woke up and as I was getting ready for the day, I got a phone call from Sister Butler and Sister Harker who sang Happy Birthday to me! Then I got a couple texts from some of the Elders and our investigator. Then after I was done getting ready, I debated whether I was going to open my package from home right then or if I was going to wait until lunch time. I decided to open it right then! And I'm so glad that I did! Thank you mom for such a stinkin cute outfit! And yes, it fit me so well! I absolutely LOVE it! I even changed my clothes from what I was wearing so that I could wear it that day! haha

Then as we were out during the day, everyone we would come in contact with, Sister Amataga would tell them it was my birthday. I got a little "mad" and embarrassed but it was nice to get so many birthday wishes. So I'm kinda happy she told people :)

And that night we had dinner with the Benson's and I didn't tell Sister Benson that it was my birthday. So after dinner, she got the brownies that she made for dessert and then Sister Amataga blurts out "It's Sister Wheatley's birthday!!" You should have seen Sister Benson's face, I thought she was mad at me for not telling her it was my birthday! haha She then hurried and grabbed the candles and said, "I'm a firm believer that everyone deserves to be sung to on their birthday!!" I guess I won't lie... It was nice to get sung to on my birthday! I just don't like being the center of attention so I didn't say anything. But I'm happy I got sung to!

Then when we got home that night, there was a birthday card and present from our district leader and his companion. And then Sister Beck got home from Israel that day and she got me a beautiful scarf! So I was very well taken care of on my birthday. It was a good day!

Oh, and the Zone Leaders called us that morning and told us that President Becerra called them on Monday night and told them that they are now sharing the Young Single Adult ward with us, so they called us to tell us. Happy Birthday to me... haha I'm happy to be serving in the YSA ward. I have heard a lot of good things about this YSA ward. I'm nervous though because we'll be splitting our time between each area and I don't want to slip up in anyway with either of the wards. But I guess I just have to make sure that doesn't happen. So it will be good!

On Wednesday the 12th, the ZL's asked us to come with them to Citrus College to do a booth. So we went and while there, we asked the students to take a survey about their beliefs in God. And it turned out very good! I noticed that I would let about five people walk by before I would get the courage to talk to anyone. I'm just too shy and don't like going up to people! You would think that being out on my mission for nine months would have changed me already but it hasn't. Haha But we all made some really good contacts that day and hopefully this week Sister Amataga and I will have a couple church tours and lessons with the students we talked to.

That night we also had a meeting with the YSA ward mission leader so that was good. We split the ward so that it makes things easier. The Elders are going to focus on the guys and we'll focus on the girls. So that will be good! We are very excited to get started working with them!

And finally, that night we went to visit Jack and Lori. Jack is a less active and Lori is our investigator. We haven't had contact with them in almost three weeks and I was starting to get worried that they weren't interested anymore. So we went over there and Jack came to the door and walked out to talk to us. We just went by to see if everything was ok and Jack said, "Don't give up on us. We haven't given up." I guess the last few weeks have been super crazy with their business and it was just nice to hear him say that they weren't giving up. That gave me a lot more peace and comfort. And of course I would never give up on them! I know that they know the church is true. I have seen it when we go to teach them. But it was nice to hear it from him!

Then Thursday the 13th we had a very good lesson with our less active Lora. She is AMAZING! The Spirit was just so strong there. We talked about how sometimes we go through things that we don't understand why but Heavenly Father is always there no matter what. And she really opened up about a lot of things in her life. I just love her to death! And at the end of the lesson, we all decided that three times a week we would go walking together in the mornings for our exercise. So that will be fun for the three of us. And it will help us to get to know her even more and to help her with whatever she's struggling with.

Then Friday the 14th was a very good day! Oh my gosh! It was just amazing! We went to Arcadia super early and practiced with the Sisters for our Christmas party that day. I was having a hard time with one part of the song (we sang The Olive Tree... I had never heard it but it's an amazing song!) But we did as much practicing as we could and then I had to leave it up to Heavenly Father to help me through. And He did! So I'm very thankful for that. And the rest of the day was just amazing! We had so much fun together as a mission. There were so many "talents" that we went an hour and a half over what we thought we would spend there. But it was so fun! I got tons of videos of the talents. It was just nice to relax and have fun! We had no worries what so ever. (Except for that everyone was trying to figure out who the "special visit" was going to be from that day that we never got because we went over time... My guess was Donny and Marie Osmond because someone that works for Marie was there with her mission companion from their missions LOL but probably not... But when she got up and bore her testimony and President Becerra made her tell us what she does for a living and she said she works for Marie, the whole mission thought it would be them since they were in LA last week haha) And the Spirit was there throughout the whole day! I have to say, it was a very nice way to spend Christmas this year (even though it was a week and a half early...)

Well, Saturday the 15th brought a lot of service! The Elders called us and said that they needed us to come help them at St. Dorothy's Catholic Church. So we met them there and the people in charge told us that each winter they do a homeless shelter in the San Gabriel Valley at many different churches from November til March and this coming two weeks are St. Dorothy's turn to host. So we helped them move things from room to room and put together a boutique where the people coming can get clothes while they're there. It was very cool to hear what they do to help those in need!

And along with that, the lady there asked Sister Amataga and I a ton of questions about the church because she had never talked to Mormon missionaries before. So while we were doing service, we got to teach about what we do! She couldn't believe that we take 18 months to two years out of our lives to do full-time service for the Lord. But I have to be honest, since I'm half way through, it doesn't even feel like that long. It feels like it's only been a couple weeks. It's going by so fast! But I am loving every good, bad, sad, happy second of it! :)

On Sunday the 16th we went to the YSA ward for the first time. We were welcomed with open arms and it's funny because the Sisters in  the ward are so excited to have Sister missionaries again! And then last night we went to the Glendora Stake Christmas Concert. They said they have been doing this for over 40 years and it was so good! They have a youth choir and then an adult choir and it was nice! I really liked it!

Well, that's about all that happened this week! It was a good birthday and Christmas party week! And I'm excited to get started working with the YSA! Good things are coming :)

To end, Happy Birthday to Dad today, Grandpa Kuznicki and Nicole Wheatley tomorrow, and Renata Skousen this week! I think that's everyone! Love you all tons!

Hope everyone gets all their Christmas shopping done in enough time but that we all also remember the real reason for the season, the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Until next week (Christmas Eve)! Love you all so much!
Love always, Sister Rachel Anna Wheatley

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A couple of pictures

Here are a couple of pictures that came in later in the day yesterday.  You can tell that one of them is when Rach was sick and taking it easy in bed.  The other is Christmas in Glendora!  Can't wait for her to see the Christmas stockings that I sent her and her companion.  I think they will look very nice on that fireplace mantel. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sick, Sick, Sick

Well, from the title of this email I'm sure you can guess that I have been sick this week! :( I have had a cold since Tuesday night and it has not been fun. I spend the morning hours during our study time sleeping and I get out and go to work the rest of the day. There was only one day that we came in early because I was just too exhausted and sick to keep going. But I pushed through and I'm at the tail end of my cold, which is a good thing because I'm supposed to be singing this coming Friday at our Mission Christmas party. Not sure how that's going to go but we're going to Arcadia this afternoon to practice with the other Sister's I'm performing with. My voice is no where near beautiful but I gotta practice and pray that I'm all better by Friday... Prayers from back home would be great as well, for both me getting better and also me singing. I'm really scared. I have really enjoyed singing to members on my mission but to have to sing in front of the WHOLE mission, I'm a little scared! But we'll see how it goes!

Anyway, to get started with the week... Monday the 3rd was transfers. It was a good day! We went to Arcadia at 10:30 am and spent a couple hours there with all the missionaries who were either leaving or who were being transferred. My new companion, as I mentioned last week is Sister Amataga from Samoa. She is awesome! We are having so much fun together and working hard! She  tells it like it is and that's good because I don't. But she does it in a loving way to everyone we come in contact with.

Then Tuesday the 4th we spent the day walking around in one of the areas in our ward. Sister Butler and I had decided that we would spend a couple days during each week before Christmas, walking around in areas and just contacting people and giving them The Living Christ handouts we have from the First Presidency as a Christmas gift. So we spent all day doing that and that was fun. We talked to a few people and also invited them to the stake Christmas Concert this weekend and it was just a lot of fun spending time talking to people as we walked around.

Then that night, we had a lesson with our investigator, Jose. During our studies in the morning, we felt strongly that we needed to ask Jose to be baptized on December 15th. So we had a lesson on prayer and talked about his reading from the Book of Mormon and at the end of the lesson, Sister Amataga committed him to be baptized on the 15th. Well, he told us that he had been thinking about it all week and that he was going out of town on the 17th and wanted to be baptized before than! So it was perfect! The Spirit was definitely there and it was just so exciting! Well, later that night he text us and said that Brother Pocock, the member in our ward that he lives by and is really good family friends with, is going to be out of town until the 16th. We thought maybe we could have him baptized right after church on Sunday but Brother Pocock doesn't get home until later in the evening and that night is the stake Christmas concert. So that doesn't work. But we met with him yesterday and we set another date for January 12th! So we are excited and so is he! :)

Then Thursday the 6th was a good day... I woke up and got already for the day and we went to take the seminary kids on a church tour, request of Brother Jimenez their seminary teacher. So we did that and it was very good! But after we got home, I went straight to bed instead of doing my studies. I was just totally exhausted! So I took some DayQuil and was out! But we had Zone Meeting that day so I got up at 10am and we went to the stake center. I didn't want to be there because I was so sick but it ended up being a good meeting! And after the meeting I was putting chairs away and one of the Elders, I just drew a blank on his name...., came up to take the chairs from me and asked if I was sick. I told him yes and he asked if I wanted a blessing. I had thought about it earlier that morning but pushed that thought aside. But when he asked me, I figured I should probably take him up on his offer. And I'm glad I did! Because it really helped me that day to make it through! And he said something in my blessing that daddy said in his Father's Blessing to me the day I entered the MTC. So I thought that was really cool! I definitely know that that blessing was giving directly from Heavenly Father! It was amazing!

Then Friday the 7th, I still wasn't feeling well but we had our weekly planning to do and also we had a lesson with a less active. So I just pushed through and did what I could. Well, at the lesson with Sister Bowman, Sister Amataga's left arm was getting numb and Sister Bowman asked, "Do you have a heart problem? That's not a good sign..." Well, turns out that Sister Amataga, when she was younger, was diagnosed with a heart disease. So Sister Bowman told us that she needed to go get that checked. So after our lesson we called Sister Becerra and she told us to go see Dr. Lew. So we called his office and we ended up going all the way out to Glendale. We spent almost three hours out there. Now Sister Amataga has to have surgery because Dr. Lew doesn't see anything wrong with her heart but he wants to make sure. Not really sure what exactly is going on because I wasn't in the room and she can't remember everything but he will call Sister Becerra and we will figure things out. So, if prayers could be said for my companion, that would be greatly appreciated! I know she could use them!

Well, like I said earlier, yesterday (the 9th) we had another lesson with Jose and we committed him to baptism on January 12th! And we are all very excited! He has been in contact with the missionaries and has been coming to church on and off for two years and we talked about how he feels like two years ago there was no way he was ready to be baptized but now he really feels like he is! It was really cool to hear his testimony. It wasn't a formal testimony but it was definitely powerful! He knows that the church is true and is very happy! He was even excited when he asked if he could invited people to his baptism and we said yes! And on Tuesday when we talked to him, we were telling him how much of an example he will be for his father who is less active and his mother who is not a member and yesterday he said that his mother has said that she will start coming to church with him twice a month! So that just proves that his decision really is right! And he is just so happy!

It's such a wonderful feeling to know that I am helping to change lives! I know that I could not do this without the Spirit. Sometimes I feel like I am not at all filled with the Spirit, but then there are times like last night that I know for sure that the Spirit really is there helping me and I'm not alone. Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ are always there to help me. I am never alone! And that goes for each and every one of us. We are all children of a loving Heavenly Father and He cares to much for us to leave us alone. It's so wonderful to know that and to be apart of this wonderful work to help others come to know that! I know that this church is true. I know there is nowhere else in this world that I need to be at this time in my life then here in the California Arcadia mission. I have had too many experiences to help me know that! It's incredible that I get to get up each and every morning and go out and serve the Lord!

Well, I gotta go. We're going bowling and then heading to Arcadia so I gotta get going! Love to all of you! Thanks to Celeste Hernandez and Sister Gren this week for letters! :) And a Happy Birthday to Aunt Lucinda tomorrow! Love you! I believe that's the only birthday this week. And Happy Anniversary to Durrell and Brandi this coming Sunday. One year! Whoop whoop! Love you both! :)

Love always, Sister Rachel Anna Wheatley

Friday, December 7, 2012

Back to Bethlehem

Good afternoon!!! It is a beautiful day here in Glendora, California. After days of rain and cold, it is finally sun shiny out. So I'm happy!

Let's see what happened this week... Monday the 26th, the Elders text us and said that we were having a zone activity playing softball. I was so excited! I had been wanting to play baseball since I got here! So you can bet that Sister Butler and I were over there. She wrote tons of letters while I played and I really enjoyed it! I was good for another couple months haha

Then on Tuesday the 27th, oh man, that was an adventurous day... We drove to Glendale because President Lew (the mission presidency 2nd counselor) is a doctor and he was giving us flu shots. So we drove out there and it was so fun to see so many of the missionaries there. We have had many conferences lately so I've been able to see them more than normal but it's always fun when we get to see each other. And while standing in line, we find out that it cost $10 for a flu shot. Our dear Zone Leaders never told us that it cost money and I was out of money for the month so I stepped out of line and didn't get one... So now I'm praying that I don't get sick. But after flu shots, we had to go to the mission office in Arcadia and pick up a couple things and while we were there, Elder Olsen had to take our car to get something fixed so we were at the office for 30 minutes. And while there, Sister Butler realized that she left her bag in Glendale. So after Elder Olsen came back, we drove all the way back to Glendale to the church to get it. But the church was locked and everyone was gone. So we called the missionaries around the area but no one could come open the church for us. Crab apple... But as we were sitting there, a car pulls up and it was Sisters Harker and Amataga. Turns out they were serving in that area and they had also gotten a flu shot and President Lew, as he was leaving, saw Sister Butler's bag and took it back to his office. So we had to drive to his office and pick it up. We were both really hungry so across the street from the hospital was In-N-Out and Sister Butler wanted that so we stopped there and waited in line for 20 minutes. It was pretty ridiculous! haha I don't understand what's so good about In-N-Out haha And since I don't like In-N-Out, we found a Wendy's on my GPS and started driving when we got on this freeway and realized that it was taking us towards LA... Not in our mission. So we had to hurry and get off the freeway and head back towards home. It was a very crazy day! We didn't get back to our area until 2pm. It was a long morning and we were so tired because we spent so much time in the car. And because of all this fun adventure, we ended up going 115 miles on Tuesday... That's a little much for one day but it was funny! It's gonna make us look like we went for a joy ride around California! :/ But it was funny!

Also that day, we had an INCREDIBLE lesson with a less active/part member family in our ward, the Moon's. Sister Moon has been investigating the church for a few years or so and since I've been in Glendora, they have been really busy at their work so we haven't been able to meet. But we finally set a time and it was one of the best lessons ever. Sister Butler and I were really not sure what we were going to teach them but Sister Butler had been reading in 3 Nephi one day and felt like she should go back and ready chaper 11 and we used that chapter for the basis of our lesson. It was all about how we need to make Christ apart of our lives and what we need to do to have Him apart of our lives. It was incredible because you could really feel the Spirit and after the lesson, Sister Moon said that making Christ part of their lives is something that they've been trying to do a lot lately and that the scriptures we shared was exactly perfect! It was awesome! And then we left them a challenge to read their scriptures daily. It was just amazing! I can't explain it. Especially because Sister Butler and I had been having a hard time feeling the Spirit guide us to know what we should teach them. But we walked out with our jaws dropped in awe that it was such an amazing lesson. I'm so thankful to my Father in Heaven for sending the Holy Ghost to tell us what to do even when we felt like we couldn't feel the Spirit.

Then that night we had a lesson with Jose and then a coordination meeting with our new ward mission leader, Brother Ballard. He's a former Bishop so we are really excited to have him as our WML. He will be wonderful! We have a lot of good ideas of ways to help the ward with their missionary opportunities and we're making a new ward mission plan and things are just going to be so good here! I've very excited!

Then on Wednesday the 28th, we spent a ton of time visiting people and then in the evening, we went through our ward list and wanted to go visit people we hadn't met yet. There was this one name on there, Steven Dahl, who has not been active for years and so we went to visit him. It was interesting because the second he opened the door, he let us in without any hesitation. And we got talking to him and he said that he had been inactive since he was 17 years old but he doesn't know why. So we see some major potential there that he will come back to church sometime. He's a really nice man and his wife is super nice as well. So we are very excited to go back and see them. We hope that we can help him to come back to the fold and to help his wife come unto Christ.

Then not much happened on Thursday the 29th except for that it was the last District Meeting of the transfer so the Heritage Elders got some money from one of their ward members so they had us go buy donuts to bring them to District Meeting and that was fun! And then that night we went to the church where they were having practice for the ward Christmas party. Sister Edginton and the primary were in charge of it this year so they asked Sister Butler and I to be part of it as well. The theme of the party was "Back to Bethlehem" so everyone was dressed up in clothing from that time. So that was fun to watch them practice and to get fitted. We look crazy in our costumes but it was fun!

Then on Saturday the 1st, we had a very busy day. Sister Butler and I went out to IHOP for breakfast for "AP Saturday" and then we did a ton of service that day and went out and visited members on our ward list and potential investigators and former investigators. Then we went to the church at 4pm and helped finish up a couple last minute things for the ward Christmas party and we dressed up and took our places at the doors so that when people came in we could say "Welcome to Bethlehem. Make sure you sign the census so your family can be counted for and get your gold coins as well." It was so much fun! We had so many people there! The cultural hall was PACKED with people! And the program was amazing!!!! The primary did an amazing job! And at the end of the program, we joined the kids and adults in the program and sang the Hallelujah (ok, I don't know how to spell that word...) chorus. And that is one hard song to sing but the kids, OMGosh were amazing! They did really well. And the Spirit the whole night, so strong! It really took us back to Bethlehem and made us feel like we were there when Christ was born. It brought a whole new meaning of Christmas to me. I always remember Jesus and His birth but it was just amazing!

Then we went home after it was all done and did our planning, got ready for bed, and then sat and watched the church movie Legacy waiting for transfer calls. We have a special ring tone for the AP's and when it rang, neither Sister Butler nor I thought it was real. We did not expect for the phone to ring for us. But it did. And Sister Butler was being transferred to Glendale 1st ward and the Filipino branch with one of her former companions. So she was excited but very sad at the same time. And my new companion is Sister Amataga from Samoa! She's awesome! But we have to run and go get groceries before dinner tonight at the Powell's so I gotta finish here! It was an incredible week! We had a lot of good things happen to us this week. And I'm looking forward to this next week with Sister Amataga. We are going to have a very good week! Good things are happening in Glendora! I'm super excited!

And to end off my letter, a very Happy Birthday to Aunt Susan yesterday (the 2nd), Valerie Osmond tomorrow (the 4th) and Jane Merritt on the 5th! Love you all! And thanks to Renata and Brie for the letters and bracelet this week! Along with Sister Pack for the letter and Christmas tree, Mariah (aka Sister Wheatley) and Grandma and Grandpa Wheatley for the delicious Special K cookies! Love you all! Oh, and Sarah and Michael, I got your Christmas card this morning while at the mission office, so thank you for it! :)

Hope every has an amazing week! The church is true, I know it is! And I'm so thankful to be here on my mission to share that with others, especially this time of the year when we remember Christ's birth!

Love always,

Sister Rachel Anna Wheatley

Monday, November 26, 2012

Oops -- she sent pictures too!!! SQUEAL!

My SEVEN Christmas CDs Mom made for me!!!! SQUEAL!

Sisters Butler, George and Thayne - Thanksgiving Day

Elders Freeman and Meeks singing with Elder Cottrell on piano - Thanksgiving Day

My new shirt from Mom -- an early bday present!  Can you tell I'm excited?


Gathering Israel

Hello friends and family!

Ok, so this week was AMAZING!!! It was also a little hard because of the holiday but I made it through! And that's thanks to the wonderful Thanksgiving that we had with Sister Beck (the Sister we live with) and 12 of us missionaries! But I will write about that in a minute...

First of all... Monday the 19th was a pretty good day! We did a lot of cleaning of our house for Thanksgiving and just had a very relaxing Pday. As much as I loved doing things with my Zone in Chino, it's also nice to relax and get some much needed things done around the house.

Then that evening, we went to the Edginton's for Family Home Evening. They invited us and Jack and Lori over! Jack is a member of the church but had been inactive since he was 17 years old and Lori is one of our investigators. The Edginton's are an amazing couple that invited us all over to have a lesson and to teach a little bit about prayer. And it was something that Lori really needed. The Spirit was very strong during the lesson and at the end, they showed a Mormon Messages video on us being children of Heavenly Father and it really helped Lori understand a little better. It was really cool. Those Mormon Messages are amazing things! I love watching them when I can! They really make the gospel better to understand!

Then Tuesday the 20th, as we were out visiting people.... Every road we went down (Lone Hill, Route 66, and Amelia), there were cops everywhere standing outside their cars with what we think were either semi-automatics or tranquilizers. We weren't really sure. But it was pretty scary! I just wanted to go home because I wasn't feeling safe. But we went to a members house and asked if they knew what was going on and they said that the Glendora police go all out when a really small thing happens because there isn't usually a lot of crime around here. So that made us feel a little better... But only a little... And then as we were driving down the road, we saw a helicopter circling the church and this housing development with a big spot light. So at that point we just figured that it's probably just a bear or something that was around. We ended up never finding out what the heck was up but we'll just say it was a bear because that makes me feel better :)

Then Thursday the 22nd, Thanksgiving! That was a good day! Like I said it was a little hard because it was the first major holiday that I wasn't with my family but it turned out pretty good. We got up early and did all of our studies and then went out to the kitchen to help Sister Beck prepare for our lunch. We spent the rest of the morning cooking and cleaning. And at 2pm, we had 12 missionaries over for lunch! It was just so relaxing and tons of fun! We sat and talked with one another and it felt like one big happy family Thanksgiving.

After lunch, a couple of the Elders played the piano and Sister Beck's husbands Trumpet for us and we all sang her a song to say thanks! And then after cleaning up this huge mess in the kitchen, we sat down to take a nap during our dinner hour, and at 5:45 pm, four of the Elders had come back to get some pie because they had to leave to another appointment. So after showing them their leftovers that we packed up for them (I never want to see  Turkey again LOL) we sat around and talked with Sister Beck and laughed and enjoyed time together. And we got another choir concert from some of the Elders. So that was a lot of fun! It was very relaxing and enjoyable!

Then Friday the 23rd was an AMAZING day! After our weekly planning, we drove to Arcadia for a mission wide conference. And guess who spoke at this conference??? Brad and Debi Wilcox! Yes, Sister Wilcox's parents! It was wonderful! I wish I could have had it on camera! I love Brad Wilcox! He makes everything so simple and understandable! And that's exactly what he did this time around! He talked about the gathering of Israel and what our job is in doing so. He said that we all know we are Children of our Heavenly Father and that we all know we were saved for this time but that's everyone on the earth, not just members of the church. So what is our purpose? He said that our purpose is to gather Israel! We are members of the church at this time for a reason. And I wish that I could explain it better but he had some of the missionaries come up and stand with signs with the names of Jacob's children to help us better understand where we come from and our purpose. It was just AMAZING!!!! I really wish I could explain it better but it's hard to explain over email. But if anyone has ever heard or read one of Brad's talks, you know it's amazing! And it was fun to be with all the missionaries in the mission and to see old friends! I loved it!

Then that night we went over to the Salisbury families for dinner and tree decorating! We had so much fun! I had so much fun! haha I really wanted to decorate a tree this year and when they asked us if we wanted to help them, I freaked out a little :) And Sister Salisbury said that she sent mom pictures so that's good because my camera was being weird all night.

And yeah, that's about all that happened this week! It was a good week. Kinda hard because so many people were out of town or they didn't want to talk because they had family over but it was good! And one of the best parts was when we went over the the Vanwyk's for service on Saturday and Sister Vanwyk had bought me Stroopwafles! OHMYGOSH!!! I was so happy :) haha

Well, gotta run write President! Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Love you all!

Love, Sister Wheatley

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pictures from a sweet member of Sister Wheatley's Mission Ward

Rach was able to go to dinner at a member's home this past Friday (Black Friday).  This sister, Sister Angela Salisbury, was kind enough to have pictures taken of the girls (Rach and her companion) and email them to me.  I was very touched that she would do that for us.  It meant the world to me.  Here are the pictures... Happy Thanksgiving to ME!!!!

Sister Wheatley and Allyee Salisbury

Being wrapped in Christmas lights

Decorating the Salisbury's tree

Christmas lights

Sister Salisbury and Allyee and Sister Wheatley - November 23, 2012

Companions!  Sister Butler and Sister Wheatley

Rach and Allyee

The Light of our Lives -- Sister Wheatley

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

WOW!!! Monday is finally here! This was one of the longest weeks ever, I swear! haha But we figured out it's because we had all of our appointments cancel this week :( But it was still a good, but long week! So now to let you know what happened...

Mom asked that I send silly pictures -- is this what she meant?
More silly pictures for Mom!
Mom--is this silly enough for you?
Monday the 12th was such an AWESOME day! We had a Sisters Hike, like I mentioned last week. All 29 of us Sisters got together with Sister Becerra and we had so much fun! Not going to lie though... When I saw Sister Davidson (my trainer) it was really weird! haha We hadn't seen each other in 10 weeks so it was kinda trippy. But it was nice to see her again! I have missed her as my companion. But I have also loved my other companions so that's good! But we met up at the church at 9am and then drove to where we were hiking (I forgot what it was called but it was somewhere in Monrovia...) It took us about 30 minutes of so to hike to the water fall but it was fun! And after the hike, we went back to this members house and had brunch and we just got to all sit around together and talk. There was so much laughing and smiles and it was just.... fun! haha It was a much needed Sisters day!

MTC comps -- Sisters Wheatley and Lehman
Then on Tuesday the 13th we had a church tour with our new investigator, Linda. She had been taught a couple times by missionaries in the past but stopped taking the lessons. But we felt like we should go back over and talk to her. And she was very happy to go on a church tour. It was a very good tour and the Spirit was there! She goes to the Lutheran church here but is open to learning about other religions. So after the tour we stood around and talked for a few minutes and were able to set up another appointment with her for next week after Thanksgiving.

Sisters Butler and Wheatley and their BIG EYES
Also on Tuesday, we went over to our Ward Mission Leaders house and did service for them! We got to wear pants! Heck to the yeah! haha We helped them trim their bushes in their backyard and that was fun. Who know I'd have fun trimming bushes (shhh... Don't tell Dad ;) We love the Butler's. They are this older couple and are super cute! And we had fun over there!

Study, study, study!
Then on Wednesday the 14th, Thursday the 15th, and Friday the 16th we did even more service! Which meant pants again!!! LOL Wednesday we went over to the Vanwyk's and pulled weeds in their front yard. It's mid-November and we could still work out in the yard... Never thought I'd be able to do yard work in November haha Brother Vanwyk is from the Netherlands and I found out that at the local super markert, they sell Stroopwafels. Not a good thing... I think I might have to get me some for a birthday gift to myself next month :) Then on Thursday we did service at the Crawford's and helped Sister Crawford paint their front room! And that was tons of fun! I never knew that I would like painting so much! It's so relaxing! :) But we had tons of fun there. Sister Crawford joined the church about eight years or so and her husband joined about three years ago or so. They are a very awesome family. They are working toward a Temple Sealing sometime next year. So that's exciting for their family! (They have two young girls also.) Then on Friday we did service at the Lindstrom's. Sister Lindstrom got sick while she was in Idaho so she wasn't really up to doing a lot of cleaning before all her kids and other family members come this week for Thanksgiving. So we went and helped her out. So needless to say, this week was full of service! And it was tons of fun! I have really enjoyed doing service since being out on my mission. I guess I never took the time to look around and see the service opportunities around me back home but service is for sure one thing that I will be better at when I get home. Not only can you help others but you can also feel good about serving others. I'm sure Mom and Dad will laugh at that since they tried to teach us to do service but I never got it apparently. But it's better late than never right?! :)
Sisters Wheatley and Fogavai and Rachel Hendertilo

Sisters' Hike
Then on Saturday the 17th, we went out at 10am (like every morning) and we went to visit another lady who missionaries had talked to a little bit in the past. When we got to Mary's house, she was not very happy to see us, she wasn't rude to us but she wasn't welcoming either... But we got talking to her for a few minutes and we were laughing and then she asked if we wanted something to drink. So she let us in and we ended up talking to her for an hour. We just asked her about her family and about her and then she asked us a couple questions about the church and we were able to answer them. She had some ideas about the church but we were able to help her see the truth of what she asked us. So that was nice to be able to talk to her and get to know her. You could tell that she really needed someone to talk to. So that was nice!

Sister Filimoehala and Sister Wheatley
Then that night, we had dinner at Bishop Whitworth's house. His daughter got married that day so we went to the reception. Now this next thing I say will sound kinda creepy but those who know me will laugh.... As we were driving to the house, all these cars were parked on the side of the road and I saw this Prius parked there with a Marathon man sticker on the bumper and I said, "Oh my gosh! That's the Tanner's car!" The Tanner's live in Chino Hills in my last ward so I saw this car all the time. I can remember cars really well... creepy I know haha So as we were walking up to the house, I looked in the window and there was the Tanner family! So when we got in there, I went into the kitchen where they were (the reception was moved inside because it was raining) and they looked over and saw me and so we got to talk for a few minutes, over the very LOUD music. Turns out that Brother Tanner is Sister Whitworth's youngest brother! So it was very fun to see them there! And the reception was nice also and the food was DELICIOUS!!!!

Sisters Wheatley and Carrell (second companion in Mission Field)
Then yesterday, Sunday the 18th, we had meetings at the church from 7:30 am - 3:30 pm. Such a long day at church AND I forgot to bring lunch :( But all our meetings were really good! We got a lot of information that will help us in our area. Plus, in sacrament meeting, they called a new Ward Mission Leader. We love Brother Butler but he is getting older and his health is not very good so he was released and they called Brother Ballard! Brother Ballard is a former Bishop and he is very missionary minded so we are excited to work with him. Good things are coming to this ward! We are looking forward to it!

Well, that's about all that happened this week. Hopefully this week will be good. Holidays are a little hard but we are going to work really hard! And hopefully we can have a few lessons this week and none will be cancelled.
Sisters' hike

Thanks for the letter from Janey Orton! And a very Happy Birthday to Lisa Wheatley tomorrow and a Happy Belated Birthday to Manouk, yesterday! Love you all!

Sister Wheatley and her trainer, Sister Davidson
Well... gotta run! Still have to do a couple shopping trips today before the day is over! Happy Thanksgiving to you all! I am very grateful to be a member of this church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And I am also grateful to be here in California for 18 months to serve the people here and to help spread the restored gospel of Jesus Christ! What a better way to show my thankfulness than to share it daily!

Love you all so much! Hope everyone's Thanksgiving is filled with family, food, fun and football! haha :)

Sister Wheatley and her MTC Comp, Sister Lehman, and Rachel Hendertilo

Sister Wilcox and Sister Wheatley -- both from Provo High

Sisters in the back of a van on the way to sisters' hike

-Sister Rachel Wheatley