Can you believe that I've been in California for ONE MONTH already?!!? It's gone so fast! There are days that were slow but for the most part I feel like I just got out here! My mission will be over before we know it at this rate!
Well, to get started, I know there's a lot that I didn't write about last week but I'm in the middle of writing a letter home. Last week there was just a lot of stuff to write about so I wasn't able to finish my letter. But today I should be able to and get it sent off by tomorrow.
Ok, so this week we did exchanges. Exchanges are where we switch companions for a total of 24 hours with other missionaries. We usually do it within our zone but Sister Davidson and I are the only sisters so it's not like we could do exchanges with the Elders LOL So we exchanged with Sister Butler and Sister Arbogast in the Monrovia/Duarte area about 30 minutes from our area. It was fun. I was companions with Sister Butler. We did a service project at the Food Bank in the morning and then we went to Less Actives or Recent Converts homes most of the rest of the day. Most of them that we went to see weren't home but it was a good try. We also had a lesson later in the afternoon with a lady who'd son and his family are members but no one else in the family is. When we got there, her son, who lives in Alaska, was there visiting so that was nice to have him there to share his testimony and insight on the gospel. Then we had a lesson with these two teenage girls (I forgot their names). They seem like they are really grasping the gospel and loving it. They had a lot of questions which was nice that we could answer. We also had a recent convert with us (President Becerra's daughter friend, Paula) and she was able to share her testimony with them which was nice. It was a very good lesson and there were times where the spirit was there strongly!
When I got back from exchanges on Thursday, Sister Davidson told me that Momma J (the lady we live with) was in the hospital. She has a lot of health problems and we could tell that she wasn't doing very good the last few days and she finally got so bad that her daughter took her to the hospital. I was so sad to hear that! I love Momma! She is a wonderful lady with such a strong spirit and testimony! It was just so sad to hear that she wasn't doing very well. So on Friday her daughter told us that she really wasn't doing well so that night we went to go see her. I am not a fan of hospitals and that's one of the reasons! It just makes me more sad! But she is strong and she is fighting to get better so that she can come home. The doctors are so wonderful and helping her and her daughter Julie said that she should be home by the end of this week. So we are crossing our fingers and saying our prayers for her.
Last Monday we were able to meet with the Relief Society president and she gave us a list of less active sisters in the ward and asked if we could go visit them. So Sister Davidson and I, in typical Mormon standard, made cookies for some of these sisters and took them around. It's surprising what a plate of No Bake Cookies can get you! haha No, the sisters we went to see are super nice and let us in so that was good! We had nice conversations with them and we'll just keep going back and being their friends. We really do care about them and want them to come back to church of course, but a little plate of cookies for an incentive never hurt anyone ;)
On Friday night we visited this kid that we met a couple weeks ago, Gordon, who we felt inspired to give a Book of Mormon to and when we went to see him, he told us that he had been super busy and hadn't had time to read. So we asked if he had a couple minutes that we could sit down with him and read a little bit and talk about what we believe. He's an athiest so it was a little hard trying to figure out how what we had to tell him would help him. Obviously the gospel of Jesus Christ can help anyone no matter what but how do you tell an athiest that? So we asked him questions about God and things like that and talked about the Book of Mormon and there were many times where the spirit was definitely there! It really seemed like he was taking it all in and especially the fact that there is a God, I think he accepted that. He still has to find out for himself but with examples that we gave and testimonies that we shared, he really seemed to have a more open heart by the end of the lesson. So we asked if we could come back this week and he said yes! So we aren't going back til Friday but we are going to keep in contact with him this week to keep the church and what we taught him on his mind. We think that having the lesson at the church building will be even better for him because the spirit is so strong there!
On Saturday we had a service project at the local high school, Ayala HS (whose mascot is a Bulldog haha), where we put mulch in their flower beds and other areas in their courtyard. It was a Mormon
Helping Hands service project but we tried to get the community involved. There were a few non-members there which was nice! It turned out to be a good service project. They had 4 hours set aside for it but we finished in an hour and a half! That's how many people we had there! It was so cool! The only problem with it was at the end, there were no donuts or hot chocolate. I thought every service project we do in the church has donuts and hot chocolate! LOL JK But one of the Elders that was there mentioned that too so I'm not the only one that thinks that way :) But in all seriousness, it was a very good service project with a great turnout!
Today we were finally able to go to the temple! We went to the Redlands temple! We are the only zone in the mission that goes to the Redlands. So it was nice to go there and the spirit was great there like always! We had to get a member to take us so we had Sister Jones and Sister Brock go with us! It was very good! I'm glad that we live so close to the temple that we are able to go, even though it's only twice a year. I know there are many missionaries who don't get to go at all on their missions so I feel so blessed!
Well, time is running out so I better go! I will finish writing my letter from last week and a few other things from this week and will send that off asap!
Love you tons!
Sister Rachel Wheatley
PS - Happy birthday to Nik and Tasha Wheatley! Love you guys!
PPS - I love getting letters from everyone! I feel so blessed to have amazing family and friends! I am trying my best to write each one of you back but you might not get a letter right away, but you will get one!