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

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Happy Veteran's Day (Yesterday)

Sorry this email is late but this morning all 29 sister missionaries got together with Sister Becerra and we went on a hike! And it was SO much fun! So now I gotta hurry and write this...

Monday the 5th was a good day! We didn't do much. Lots of letter writing and grocery shopping! But we did get up super early and had to be at the Stake Center by 5:50am to teach the seminary class! That was fun! We taught about gossip. And it was really cool! One of the seminary teachers, Sister Whitworth, is in our ward and she was so excited to have us come and teach her class! And besides having to get up super early, it was really fun :)

Then Tuesday the 6th was AMAZING!!! It was Zone Conference! I always look forward to conferences! They are just a full day of inspiration! We learned a lot about unity and faith. We have an amazing mission President! And the Assistants are incredible too! I left the church that day feeling like things are going to be different and better! The more we work together, the better it will be! And I always knew that but this was just a nice little reminder.

And that night was hard to be out doing anything because of the election. At one point we were walking up to this house and I told Sister Butler... "Why do I feel like Obama is going to win tonight?" And then we got home and Sister Beck was on the phone with her son and I hear him say "I'll let you go so you can break the news to the Sisters." Dang it! Why did I have to be right? But you know what? The good thing about this is that no matter what the outcome was, we as Americans just need to work together and be strong! We can be happy if we want to be! Good things can come from whoever the President of the USA is.

Sisters Wheatley and Butler in front of their door sign
Thursday the 8th (Sam's 18th birthday!!!) was a good day! The only thing that stands out to me was that we went to visit a less-active and had a very good conversation. We had tried to get to see her a couple times but she was never answering her phone but on Wednesday, Sister Butler was like "I'm going to call Sister Bowman." And she answered! So cool! So we set up an appointment to see her on Wednesday. It was really interesting because she asks the same things to everyone that comes to see her... It's always about gays and the Priesthood. So we answered her questions the best we could but also told her that this week we would go and study more. And the rest of the time with her was really nice! We got to know her and learn about things that happened in her life and it was just really good! Then we sang For the Beauty of the Earth for her and the Spirit was so strong there! The sad thing though, is that she said she probably wouldn't come to church for a while. She doesn't like to commit to things. But she said that she knows she needs to go to church. And she even told us that she has absolutely no excuse for not coming. It's sad to know that she has a testimony of the Book of Mormon but struggles with a few things that she says she feels like she needs to get answered before she comes back to church and that she has no excuse for not coming. We'll just have to keep going over to see her and help her to come back to church and renew her baptismal covenants!

On Saturday the 10th, that was a good day! We got to talk to a lot of less-actives! There was this one family that we've been trying to see for a couples weeks but the wife works as a nurse so it's hard to tell when she will be home. But we went by their house Saturday morning and Brother Lupton said that his wife would be back that afternoon so we could stop by later. We had forgotten until later in the evening so we hurried over there praying that they would be home! And they were! So we went in and talked to them for about an hour. The Spirit was so strong in their home. They talk as if they are active and it just breaks my heart to know what they are missing by not coming to church. They were sealed in the temple with their daughters and now neither of their daughters go to church. I just wish that this didn't happen to people. Going to church and renewing your baptismal covenants is so important! I have a feeling that they feel guilty but being gone for so long, it's hard for them to come back. And I wish I could tell them that it's not hard. I wish I could just plop them right in the middle of sacrament meeting and help them to feel comfortable. I guess that's when we just have to be there to help in small ways that will eventually lead to reactivation. And the ward is amazing so I know that they will be welcoming. As we were getting ready to leave, we asked them what their favorite hymn was and Sister Lupton chose 'A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.' And oh my goodness! What a powerful song that was! Sister Lupton started to cry. The Spirit was so strong!

Sister Butler and Sister Wheatley - Glendora, California
Then on Sunday the 11th, we went to choir practice early in the morning and then went to Ward Council! The ward is so amazing! We came up with many ways to help the work progress in the area. I am looking forward to being here for a while, helping and being a missionary here! Everyone is so happy to do missionary work! It's amazing!

Then on Sunday, Sister Butler and I sang in Relief Society. The teacher yesterday, Sister Cisneros asked us to sing 'If the Savior Stood Beside Me.' I love that song! It makes me think about things that I'm doing, would I do them around the Savior? It's interesting to think about things I need to change in my life that I would never do if the Lord stood beside me. Because really, He is standing beside each of us everyday!

Well, that's about all that happened this week. It was a very good week! I can't believe that we are already on the 4th week of the transfer. And we are almost half way through November (Sister Butler would get mad at me for saying that since it's only the 12th LOL) Time is flying by! But it's good!

Gotta run and email President Becerra! Time goes to fast when you're on the computer emailing! haha Hope everyone is having a good day! Love you all so much! Thanks for your continued prayers and support!

Love always, Sister Wheatley

Monday, November 5, 2012

November Equals Eight

Can you believe that this Wednesday marks my EIGHT months?!?! These last eight months have gone by SOOOO fast! I can't believe next month is my half way mark. I have learned so much and I look forward to learning even more in the months to come!

Alright, on to a little of what happened this week. Monday the 29th started out a little rough. As we were sitting at the church watching the Elders play basketball, we got a phone call from a less-active lady in the ward. We had gone to her house earlier in the week and asked when we could come back and have a family night with her family. Well, she called us and the first thing she said was "This is very awkward for me to say..." And my heart sunk. She told us that because of some things that had happened with their family and the church in the last few years, they have decided that they are not going to practice the LDS religion anymore. Oh my gosh, I was numb. I didn't know what to really think. All I could think of was wanting to ask her "Why??" I didn't understand how someone could just drop everything that they know to be true. How could you throw eternity away?? I couldn't cry. I couldn't speak. I was completely numb. It made me so sad! And it made Sister Butler sob. This sad experience made me realize how important it is to NOT lose sight of the important things. It doesn't matter who you were offended by or why, you need to have a strong testimony of the CHURCH so that you don't fall like this family. One of my favorite quotes is, "The church is true. The people aren't." There isn't anything wrong with the church. But we are all human beings and we make mistakes. We have to remember that this is The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints, not the church of people. I never want to live a life where one small thing can keep me away from eternity with my family. It's too important!

Then on Tuesday the 30th, we had a pretty good evening!! We made a list of less-active members in our ward and wanted to go visit them. There was this lady on the list that we felt like we needed to go see. When we got there she answered the door and told us that she wasn't interested. But we kept talking to her, trying to make conversation, and we ended up talking to her for about 15 minutes. At first she told us that she didn't want us to come back but by the end, I felt like I should ask again and she said yes. She said that this is the first time in 30+ years that she told missionaries that they could come back. As Sister Butler and I left, we realized that a miracle had just occurred and that we had to give all credit to Heavenly Father. We hadn't had the most successful day but we worked hard all day and we were blessed for it! I just hope that we can bring this Sister back to the knowledge of the gospel, to help her realize what she's missing and help her renew her baptismal covenants.
Then on Halloween... We couldn't be out later than 6pm so President Becerra had us have District Meeting on Wednesday instead of Thursday. And that we SOO much fun! Sister Butler and I got there a little early and it was funny because when the Elders walked in, we had Abe Lincoln (Elder Colata), Mitt Romney (Elder Spalding), and Spiderman (Elder Scrogs) walk in. We couldn't stop laughing! Also, Elders Gwilliam and Gough had a Stitch stuffed toy and a Bateman. Stitch had a sign that said "Will wurk for food" and Bateman had a BYU towel. We just laughed! It was a very fun District Meeting. But it was very hard to take anything serious because we just wanted to go play basketball and volleyball with the zone. But 7:30pm came around and that's what we did! It was so much fun to be with the zone! (Minus the fact that for some reason one of the Elders, Elder Meeks, wanted to kill me all night. I swear, every time he had the Volleyball, it would come flying my way and would hit me in the face no matter where I turned so it wouldn't hit me. It was pretty funny!)
Thursday the 1st was a very good day! That evening we had a lesson with a former investigator. He is friends with a Young Man in the ward and he'd had a couple of the lessons in the past and just got back from living Guatemala for 10 months and wanted to take the lessons again. And this was a very good lesson! We talked about the Restoration of  the gospel. It was a very powerful lesson! And he told us before the lesson even started that he wants to be baptized! So that was awesome! His dad has been a member of the church for a few years now and Jose loves learning about the church. He is very open and absorbs everything wonderfully! The Spirit was so strong in the lesson! It was amazing!

Saturday the 3rd was a good day! After dinner we went to contact some of the less-actives again and we went to see Brother Pico. We didn't know how long he had been less-active for but we felt like we needed to go. When we got there, he had a cabinet guy there so he told us to come back. But he asked us a couple questions and as we were standing out there, the cabinet guy left so Brother Pico let us in. We sat and talked to him and his roommate, Ginger, for a while. By the time we left, we didn't realize it had been so long! Anyway, we had a really good conversation with them. Brother Pico told us that he knows he needs to come back to church but he wants to do it on his own time. And we can respect that. But that doesn't mean that we aren't going to try and move the process faster by visiting him every once in a while :) And his roommate, Ginger, said that she's been looking for a church for a long time and that she would like to have a tour of the church after Thanksgiving! I know that seems like a long time away but she really seems interested! It was amazing how the Spirit was so strong in there home! I know that we were sent to them that night for a reason. I know that it's their time. Time for Brother Pico to come back and time for Ginger to find the truth! It was an amazing experience!
Then Sunday the 4th we had another lesson with Jose and his mother Lupe. Jose is under 18 years old so we had to have her permission. She was very happy to give permission and she even stayed for the lesson! We talked about prayer and the Holy Ghost and it was amazing! Lupe even took a Book of Mormon in Spanish and she was excited for it!

Then later in the evening, we stopped by Brother Paul's. He's another less-active member that we have had our eyes on his name but he hasn't been home whenever we go over. It was sad to me to talk to him though because I can see in his eyes that he's hurting and that the Gospel of Jesus Christ would help him but he's been through too much that he's not willing to really let the church back into his life. We tried our best to help him understand why bad things happen to good people and many other things that he's concerned about but it was hard for him. He's been gone for so long that he's forgotten what it feels like to know the truth. We left last night and I just cried. I don't know how to help him. I want to help him so badly but I don't know how. I know that I have to leave that up to Heavenly Father but at the same time, I know that he has agency and if he doesn't want to let the gospel back into his life, no one can force it. I just wish that something amazing could happen where he'll recognize that importance of the gospel in his life.

Well, that's about all for this week. I really realized this week how important it is that each of us really need to have a strong testimony of the gospel because even the smallest things can make us fall away. My heart hurts for all those who have lost their way because of the small things. I just hope that miracles can happen in each of their lives to help them realize that no matter what it is, the Gospel of Jesus Christ can help them and they never have to feel alone or lost again.

Happy Birthday this week to Sammy on Thursday! Love you Buddy! And happy birthday this last week to Aunt Dayna on Friday! Hope that you both had/have amazing birthdays! Love you both!
Until next week! Love you all and hope that things are going well in good ol' Provo!
Love always, Sister Wheatley