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