Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Life is getting better every day!

Wow! Each week gets faster and faster out here! I swear I just wrote you last Monday! But I'm not complaining. As much as I love being out here, no matter how hard it gets, I am such a homebody so I will be excited to be home. But that doesn't mean I won't work hard while I'm out here!

Well, like every other week, not much has happened. One thing to start with, Mom, remember how you always tell us that story about being on your mission and the morning you woke up and Sister Frost was sitting there glaring at you because you kept saying that you didn't know the language and then come to find out that you wouldn't stop speaking spanish in your sleep??? Well, I kind of had the same experience haha I guess one night Sister Davidson was having a hard time sleeping because she couldn't stop thinking about what we could do to get investigators. Well, I guess at one point I sat straight up in my bed and said "Without the members we will not succeed." And then I layed back down. Oh my embarrasing! haha But totally funny! She said that she's going to be using that in her talk in a couple weeks when we have to speak in church (not sure when that will be but Bishop Hancock says it will be soon...) So when she told me that I thought of you mom. I'm just glad I didn't give the whole first discussion in my sleep, then I'd really be in trouble LOL :)

On Thursday, our Zone Leaders, Elder Thorstead and Elder McKee, invited Sister Davidson and I to go to Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) with them to set up a booth and talk to students as they walked by. We haven't had a whole ton of success in our area as of yet so we thought, "Why not, it's not going to hurt." So we went. It was hard for me at first. I was super quiet and I didn't go up to anyone but by the time it was over, I talked to three people on my own. I know that doesn't sound like a lot but for me, that's lots! haha It was hard because I don't normally go up to random people on the street and just start talking to them about things, but it turned out well. Towards the end of the day, Sister Davidson and I went over to a group of three people sitting on a bench and talked to them. It was really funny to talk to them because one of them asked so many random and weird questions about our church and what we can and can't do. I guess they aren't random and weird for people who don't know anything about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but for me who grew up in the church, knowing that we're not that different for others, they were weird questions. Some of the things she asked us about were if we could have cell phones, listen to music, wear make-up, and have boyfriends/girlfriends. We laughed with them and helped them to understand a little more and to let them know that we are just like the rest of the world but with high standards. There was another time where this athiest came by while I was talking to someone and interrupted and wanted to know what I was talking about. So I think I talked to him for about 30 minutes and then Sister Davidson came and saved me and we talked to him for another 15 minutes. When Sister Davidson saved me I was so excited! I'm not very knowledgable in the Gospel but I know it's true and that's all the proof I need. So this athiest was asking me all these questions about scriptures and God and Jesus Christ and I didn't know how to answer most of them except for to bear my testimony to him. That's not a bad thing but I wish I knew more so that I could help people understand rather than just bear my testimony all the time. But obviously I'm out here for a reason and maybe my testimony is all some people will need. I know I don't need to know facts and scriptures and all that but it's something that I'm working on and will hopefully get better at by the end of my mission.

I had an experience on Friday night that really meant a lot to me. It wasn't anything super big but it was big to me. I had not been feeling very well for a couple of hours and I was very uncomfortable because of it. We were at the church waiting to teach Rose (I think I mentioned her last week... she's been investigating for a few years and will only call us when she wants to learn more) and I just didn't know how the heck I was going to make it through the lesson. I decided to go to the bathroom (because that's really the only place we can ever be alone LOL) and say a little pray asking my Father in Heaven to help me through the lesson. About 5 minutes later, I started to feel comfortable again and my sickness was going away. It was something really small but to me it really meant a lot. I think that experience was a test of my faith. I try to have so much faith but when things don't go like we planned or we don't find any new investigators, I get really discouraged. But to me, with me being sick and Heavenly Father answering my prayer to help me feel better, just shows me that He really is listening to my prayers and that He's there for me. This is hard work but I know that through Him, it will be ok. And I know that I say that a lot but it's because it's true. There is no other way through these 18 months then with Him. Sister Davidson and I (and all other future companions  of mine) can't do this work alone, we will never be successful if we try to do it on our own. So this little experience really tested my faith and showed me that Heavenly Father is listening to me.

Well, on Saturday night we met with Rose again and really just talked most of the time. We obviously put in scriptures and other church related things but we just sat and talked the whole time. She told us that one big reason she hasn't joined the LDS church yet is because when she was studying with the Jehovah's Witnesses, she never felt like they really cared. She said that the second she was baptized into their church, they basically just checked her off their list and wanted her as a number and didn't really care about her. We tried to assure her that that's not what we as Latter-day Saints do but I can, in some ways, understand how she is feeling. She told us a lot of other things as well and we of course cried half the time we were with her but it was good cries. She is a wonderful lady! She has a Word of Wisdom problem, she's been sober for 9 months but still smokes, but we know that she can overcome that if she puts her trust in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. We just need her to believe that. We haven't talked to her since Sunday when she came to church, but we're hoping that she will call us sometime this week. She has a lot of struggles in her life, mainly with her son who is mentally ill, but we also know  that it's through faith in Jesus Christ that her son will be ok. It's hard to "convince" her of that but I really believe that she will come to understand that as we meet with her and teach her more.

It was sad to hear that there was a small fire in the Conference Center this last week but it couldn't have been better timing! Could you imagine what would have happened if it would have been before General Conference? I wonder if they would have just had GC in the Tabernacle... But still, the fire couldn't have been better timing! It was definitely something that the Lord had a hand in :)

Ok, time is running out and I have to write President Becerra. I'm going to include a couple pictures from this week... The first picture is me with one of the best meals in the world!!! Panda Express orange chicken and chowmein noodles :) The second is of Sister Davidson and I slaving away at our weekly planning session. And the last is a picture of me with the Wilsons. They are members in the ward who are letting Sis. Davidson and I practice our lessons on them. They are converts of 45ish years so we have asked them to pretend that they are back 45 years ago. Such a nice couple!

Well, I gotta run. Love you all so much!

Love Sister Rachel Wheatley

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pictures from Pomona area - Week of April 16th

Can't figure out why I can't rotate the pictures...not even being given the option, so sorry everyone!

It's been a much better week!

I can't believe it's been another week! It went super fast! And not a whole bunch happened this week. We made a lot of visits to members homes to get to know them better. We also made some stops at less actives/inactive members home. It's nice getting to know the people in the Carbon
Canyon ward. They are very amazing people! I'm glad that this is my first area.

Well, unlike last week, this week has been better. On Friday the 13th, Sister Davidson and I met with President Becerra and it was something that we both needed so much! After the week we had last week, we just needed some words of encouragement and we definitely got them! President Becerra is an incredible man. While we were talking, tears were shed of course,
but he said some things that I hadn't told anyone!! You can tell he is an inspired man! And I'm so greatful for him. He gave both Sister Davidson and I blessings and those really helped! I've always known that my Father in Heaven loves me, but after what President said, I know now more than ever that Heavenly Father loves me and He knows my needs, and wants, and He will help me through. It's amazing! I just felt so much better after our meeting.

Also on Friday, there was a major rain storm! It was so cool because I LOVE rain storms but driving back from Arcadia was a little scary. We could barely see 100 feet in front of us. But everyone on the freeway was going super slow so that was nice. President Becerra said that the rain would be the perfect time to go out tracting! haha I really didn't want to because I would
have rather stayed in and studied or something but we went out. It was incredible because after such an amazing meeting with President, I think Sister Davidson and I had more faith than ever. We went out happy and trusting in the Lord that we would be led to people who were being prepared for us. There were a couple people who we talked to that weren't interested but there was this one lady, Christie, who after we told her we were missionaries and that what we had to share would bless her and her family, she asked us if and when there were classes that she could take! It was so cool! So we are going to meet with her tomorrow (Tuesday) and see what happens from there. I can tell that she has been prepared. We just have to have faith that there are people here for us! And I do have faith, but sometimes it can be a little discouraging. But when we get people like Christie, it just reminds me even more that I'm here for a reason!

Also on Friday night I felt like we should go knock on this home and so we did. These people are members of the Calvary Chapel church. Calvary Chapel is a very big church in this town. We started to share our message and then they cut us off and said that we needed to find out for
ourselves if what we were teaching is true (sounds like the same lady we met a couple weeks ago huh...) So we once again shared our testimonies. They were very closed and said that Joseph Smith is just some dude that read the Bible and decided to write another book like the Bible that was full of lies. We asked if they had read it and they said they had and that it wasn't true. I
asked if they had prayed about it and they said no. So at that point I asked how could they know it's a lie if they didn't even pray about it, they didn't have an answer. It's sad that so many people say that the Book of Mormon is a false book, yet they don't take the time to read and pray about it. You can't force anyone but it's sad! You can't judge a book by it's cover, I've learned that time and time again.

On Friday night we had dinner with the Brock family (their son just got back from the Utah Provo mission). We had been talking about referals and things during dinner and Brother Brock said that he NEVER gives referals. We have been taught that the best way to find people to teach is through members, so when he said that, my hopes kinda dropped. I didn't give up all hope but he is a very firm man so I wasn't really sure what would happen. For our message that night, we decided to share the reasons that Sister Davidson and I decided to serve missions. Sister Davidson went first and we cried and then I went. I looked over at Brother Brock while I was talking and he was crying!!! I didn't know what was happening! haha At the end of my testimony he gave us THREE referals! I couldn't believe it! Miracles do happen!!! It was incredible! His kids and his wife were totally surprised! His kids even asked him, "Dad, why didn't you ever give referals to the Elders?!" It was just amazing! Now we just really have to treat those referrals well and pray hard! We don't want to let him down!

Oh, on Tuesday the 10th, Sister Davidson wasn't feeling well so we went to the Campbell's home to see if Sister Campbell knew what to do. Anyway, while we were there, President Becerra called and said that he had been thinking about us and really wanted to know what he could do to help us get investigators. It was really nice to have him call us. Sister Davidson said that it is very rare when President just calls missionaries to see how we are. So that was really nice! And because he called us, we felt like we could call him when we were having a rough time this week so that's how we got a meeting with him!

Yesterday (Sunday) we were asked by the Primary chorister, Sister Zdunich, to come in for singing time, so we did. She had all the kids stand in a circle and we went around and touched each one of the kids on their shoulders. This was because they were learning a song, If The Savior Stood Beside Me, and she wanted them to know what it was like to have someone super famous stand beside them. It was so cute! Especially with the little kids, they just loved it! We felt like major celebrities. Who knew being on a mission I would become a celebrity LOL :) It was a lot of fun!

So one night I had some Grasshopper cookies and so I of course had to have some milk with it and since I don't share my milk with anyone, I just drank straight from the carton. It was funny because Momma J looked over and freaked out and said, "You're drinking right out of the
carton?!" haha It was probably more funny being there but it was funny! haha She said that she has never seen anyone do that before. I just laughed!

Well, not a whole ton happened this week, just a lot of tracting and visiting members. So I don't think this week I'll write another letter home. I have so many that I have to write that I think only an email this week (sorry mom LOL) But next week we are going to the Temple on Tuesday so that will be our Pday, instead of Monday. We go to the temple 2 times a year so I'm excited to go next week. I wish we could go more but all the temples are kinda far from us :( But at least we get to go!

We had a service project today at a ladies house in the ward. She's 96ish and she's still going strong! It's awesome, so there's a picture from that. Also, I am eating healthy food mom, picture to prove it :)

And just other pictures of the beautiful city I serve in! Just gorgeous! And the walk sign, it's actually a doorbell at a members home haha Well, I forgot my birthday list in the car but I think I saw that birthdays this week are Uncle Mike, Uncle Dennis, Dallin, and Brianna... If I got that wrong, forgive me :) And also Happy Birthday to Liz (Poops ;) ) I hope you all have a wonderful birthday!

I'll write again next week! Love you all so much! Thanks for all your love, support and prayers, I can really feel the prayers being said.

Love always,
Sister Rachel Wheatley

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Leaving on a jet plane to California from the MTC...

Easter in Chino/Pomona

"It's been a tough week"

Hello family!

This week has been a tough one for me. Last week I had really no emotions and I was wondering what was wrong. Usually when I feel the Spirit super strong, I'll cry, as I'm sure many of you know haha But during conference, no matter how much the Spirit touched me, I couldn't cry. It
was so weird! I thought the change in climate and stuff had messed with my emotions LOL But this week I finally had a couple "breakdown days." It was hard, but it's ok. I just needed to cry.

With being in an area where we have to start from scratch, I just have felt kind of like a failure. I know I shouldn't feel like that but I was looking forward to coming out here and getting started teaching right away and all that stuff. But that didn't happen. We have to do a lot of tracting and
talking with the ward members and looking at old progress/former investigator records and that isn't what I was expecting to do. So emotionally it has been hard for me. It will get better of course so I'm not too worried.

I have also become super distracted during personal and companionship study. I have tried not to think about home and other things but it's hard. I can't lie, there have been times where I just
want to give up and come home. I feel like I can't do this. I feel like I can't be the missionary that my Heavenly Father wants me to be. I know I shouldn't think these things but I do. And yes they hinder me in ways but I cry for a few minutes and then I pick myself up and get back to work.

We had a mission wide conference on Friday and I really enjoyed it! There was so much said during it that I know it was for me! One main thing that was said, was a ton of stories about miracles. Mom, as you know, I love the words "Believe" and "Miracle" and I just needed a little bit of a reminder of that. "BELIEVE IN MIRACLES!" I really do believe in miracles! Another story that really hit me was when President Becerra told a story about his daughter, Rachel (sweet name!!! haha) She's out here with President and Sister Becerra and one day she came home from school and she had been struggling for a while. She talked to her parents about it and then she left to have them talk alone for a minute. During that they decided that they would
send Rachel back to Utah to live with family to make things a little easier. When she came back in, they told her and she said, "What would happen to Paula if I went home?" Paula is a girl she met at school who eventually started taking missionary lessons and who has ended up joining the church. What would have happened if Rachel gave up and went home? Paula wouldn't know that joys and blessings and happiness of being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So, that story really hit me and I now think to myself, "What would happen to the
people in the California Arcadia mission area if I gave up and came home?" I would never be able to forgive myself for giving up, I could never be ok in life. Besides that fact that I know what I felt and I know why I'm here. No matter how hard it gets, I'm never coming home
early! There's too many people out here that need to gospel in their lives. So I'm thankful for the mission conference, it really helped me!

Two really cool things that happened this week! On Tuesday, Sister Davidson and I went tracting and we walked past this house but didn't feel right about going up. On the way back to the car we were going to stop by but Sister Davidson had the thought of going to get a Book of Mormon before we went to the house. While we were at the door, talking to this guy, Bill, his granddaughter came up behind us and started talking to
us. She seemed really interested in what we had to say but she was in a hurry for a softball game so she asked us to come back that night. So we did come back but she was tired so we set up another day to come by.

Turns out she had spring break so she was gone but we told her that we'd text her this week. She seems super interested! She even asked if we had youth activities! So even though she ended up cancelling twice, we're crossing our fingers that she doesn't cancel again.

Then we went tracting again on Saturday and on the way back to our car, this 20ish year old chica was cleaning out her car so we went up to her. I started off "We're missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and we were wondering if we could share a quick message with you about Jesus Christ as it is Easter." She said yes and then I froze! I didn't know what to do! haha We've been "rejected" so many times that I guess I didn't have enough faith to think that she would say ok. So Sister Davidson took over from there and I chimmed in a couple times and, Natalie is her name, seem sincerely interested. She's going to school and is part of a all girls singing group so she's a little busy but we invited to her go on a church tour with us! We have to contact her and make sure we're still on for next Sunday! She was super nice and really genuine. She reminded me so much of Valerie! So we're praying and crossing our fingers on her.
I only have a couple more minutes on here and I want to put a few pictures so I better hurry. We're going to the park today to play soccer and frisbee with the district but I'll probably end up writing in my journal and writing another letter instead haha Mom, the people we had dinner with yesterday, their son should have sent you a message on Facebook and maybe even a couple pictures but here are a few from my camera.

Time to go! haha My time is running out! Love you all!

Oh... Happy Birthday to Adam Wheatley this week and also Jenifer's son Ashton and Trevor Fleck and Elia Livovich! Hope everyone has an amazing birthday! :)

Love Sister Rachel Wheatley

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

HERE YOU GO...more news from Sister Wheatley

Hello family (and friends!).

Well, it's my first week in 'sunny southern California,"
except for the fact that it's been kinda gloomy and it RAINED, twice!!! I
thought it wasn't supposed to rain! LOL JK But I was a little bummed that the
weather was kinda weird. But it's ok, it will get better! Hopefully this week

First of all, General Conference was AMAZING! Every talk was
incredible! And of course my favorite were Elder Hollands and Elder Eyrings!
Just incredible! The spirit was so nice too. I just love General Conference.
I'm sad that it was over so quickly :( I guess I can wait another six months ;)

Well, I know that mom is probably dying to know about my
companion and other things so here I go. If I don't get it all written in the
email, I'll write a letter later today and send it home...

My trainers name is Sister Davidson. She's a really sweet
sister! She has such a strong testimony and I am learning so much from her. She
is super patient with me as I learn all these new things and that's really
nice. She grew up in South Jordan, Utah but moved to Houston, Texas a few years
ago. She did live in Provo for a couple years before her mission going to
school at BYU of course haha She has been out for almost 7 months I think she
said... So she's almost half done. She says that she feels like she just got

Sister Davidson and I got assigned to the Carbon Canyon
ward/area. There were Elders here before us so we are white washing the area.
That has been a little rough for us. Not really knowing where the boundaries
are or who to go teach. We of course have maps and ward lists and former
investigators progress records and stuff but it's a little hard not having
appointments and stuff already set up. We really have to pray a ton and follow
the Spirit as to where to go. We found out that there have not been Sisters in
the ward for almost 10 years! Crazy! So there must be a reason why we are here
and I'm so thankful for this opportunity we have to start a new!

We live with a member in the Diamond Bar ward which is about
10 minutes from Carbon Canyon (the city is Chino.) Her name is Sister Jamentz,
or Momma J. She's a really sweet lady. She and her husband are converts, not
sure of how long though. He husband passed away a few years ago so it's just
her. She almost didn't have missionaries staying there anymore but she talked
to President Becerra a couple weeks ago and said how much she loves having the
Sisters stay with her.

The first night I got here, Tuesday, since we are white
washing, we didn't have the Area Book yet so we were able to go to Momma J's
and unpack and get settled. It was nice because it had been such a long day and
I was super tired. Sadly though, once we got there and were unpacking and
stuff, I got super hot and started to shake and I was not feeling very good.
But I kept unpacking so I wasn't getting any better but I finally decided to
lay down. I rested for about 30 minutes hoping to get lots more energy and
feeling better but I didn't. So I just decided I should probably go to bed. It
probably happened because I hadn't had much water to drink but I grabbed
some and had a whole water bottle before I went to bed. So by the morning I was
much better. I had a headache in the morning but it wasn't too bad. I just had
to eat and things were better.

We drove around our area that day figuring out where we
could go and stuff and it's a super nice area! We are so excited to get to work
and meet people and teach them about the true Gospel of Jesus Christ! It's a
pretty big area but it's good!

In this ward we are lucky because the lady that sets up
dinners for the missionaries is super persistant when it comes to asking people
to feed us! I guess she basically runs them down at church with her calendar
and says "What day you feed missionaries?!" (She's a cute little lady
from Taiwan!) So we have dinners with members almost EVERY night! It's so nice!
Yesterday we didn't have dinner with members but the rest of the week we had!
It's really cool!

Well, I swear this time went super fast, or I just write too
much about things... Either way, time is running out and I have to send off my
letter to the President so I better go! I was going to attach pictures but left
my camera in the car so I'll just send my SD card home with the letter I will

Love you all so much! I really can't thank you all enough
for the love and support and prayers that I feel. This work is going forth and
I'm so thankful that I have the chance to be apart of it! I know that the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's true church restored
back on this earth today! I know that Joseph Smith was called as a Prophet of
God to restore it! I know that Thomas S. Monson is the living Prophet
today, called of God! If I didn't know these things to be true, I wouldn't be
here in the California Arcadia misson right now!
I just want everyone to come
to know of it's truthfulness and to Come Unto Christ!

Love always and forever,
Sister Rachel Anna Wheatley