Monday, January 28, 2013

Good week!

Hello everyone!
Not a whole ton happened again this week BUT it was a good week! It started out on Monday the 21st when we had a zone activity and we played Volleyball! I feel like I haven't been to a zone activity in FOREVER! So I was very happy and it was so much fun.
Riding a bike...this might actually be happening in the coming months with so many new missionaries coming out.!
Then that night we went to the Hyer's for dinner and then had a FHE lesson with them and our investigators Pam and Amanda. It was such a good lesson. We watched a little Mormon Messages video about the Restoration and then had a very good discussion about it. It's been nice to have these family nights each week with the Hyer's, Pam, and Amanda. They are all so wonderful! Tonight we go back to do another one and we are also celebrating both Sister Amataga's birthday and Amanda's, so we are excited!
Then on Tuesday the 22nd we had a good day! We went back over to Citrus college (which I love doing now) and put up our booth. After that we met up with Sister Edginton who just returned from serving at the LA Temple Family History Center, and we went out with her to invite a couple of the older members of our ward to the Temple Prep class that she started yesterday.  It was very nice to go with her.  We went to see Brother Paul, who we go visit every-so-often, and we had a good conversation with him. He is a wonderful man but sadly doesn't come to church anymore.  While there, Sister Amataga and I had to meet up with a girl in our ward that Sister Amataga was going to go on splits with and I was going to be with Sister Edginton and when I walked back to Brother Paul and Sister Edginton, they were just finishing up and we left. As we were driving, Sister Edginton told me a little about their conversation after we left and she said it was really good. Brother Paul has a hard time getting down on his knees and praying so they talked about that for the most part. I'm glad that Sister Amataga and I had to leave for a quick second so that they could have a good conversation. (Sadly he didn't come to church yesterday but maybe this invitation was a big step for him coming back.)
Me and Becky and Mike
Also that night, we had a lesson with the Moon family. Brother Moon and his three children haven't been to church in many years and Sister Moon is not yet a member. We go to their house every couple weeks to see how they are doing but we haven't been able to sit down with them and have a lesson with them since November. So it was really nice to have a lesson with them. In November we read from 3 Nephi 11 in the Book of Mormon and talked about what it takes to make Christ more apart of our lives. As we were trying to decide what to teach them this time around, I felt like we should continue to talk about 3 Nephi 11 and talk this time about how Christ give Nephi the power and authority to baptize and that's the first thing Christ asks Nephi and others to do, baptize everyone, before rebuilding their city after it's destruction. So we talked about how we need to make Christ a priority in each of our lives. We had a very good and powerful discussion and at the end we asked Sister Moon if she wants to be baptized. She said that's her goal but she has things she needs to work on first. We asked if there's anything we can do but she said that she has to work on these things herself, which we totally respect. All we can do now is pray for her. We have another lesson with them tomorrow and we'll see how that goes. They are a great family and I can see them going to the temple next year. We just hope and pray that she has strength to get over the things that are holding her back.
World famous Donut Man donuts
Wednesday the 23rd was a good day. We spent most of the morning walking around a neighborhood and passing out The Mormons Next Door fliers (a presentation that the Glendora stake President, President O'Bryant, and President Becerra are doing in February.) As we were walking we met this older man (he reminded me a lot of Grandpa K) and we had a good conversation with him about the Bible and Christ.
Later that day we had a church tour with a new investigator for the singles ward. We were supposed to have a tour with him on Tuesday and that's why we were going on splits but he got there super early and when we weren't there, he left... So we rescheduled of Wednesday and it was such a good tour. He, Jeremy, has been through a lot the last few years and was put in jail for six months and while there, like lots of people, he found God and realized that he wants to change his ways. So when we met him at Citrus, he was very happy to set up a tour with us. And it was a good tour too! The Spirit was very present and he asked so many questions. We are meeting with him again this week. We are sad though because he didn't make it to church yesterday because of work. So that was sad. But hopefully he can make it this next week!
Movie Star Sisters according to Mike
Then that night also, we had a really good conversation with a less-active that we haven't been able to see in a little over a month. She is struggling with the death of her husband a year ago and we are trying to help her understand that she doesn't have to be sad because through the gospel of Jesus Christ and the power and authority in the temple, we can be with our loved ones for eternity. It was just wonderful to have a good conversation with her. We are coming back this week and hoping that we can get her to come to church this next week. We know that she won't get all the answers to her prayers unless she reads, prays, and comes to church to renew her baptismal covenants. So that's something that we are working on her with.
Not much happened on Thursday the 24th except for that we got a call from our Zone Leaders in the morning and they told us we were changing districts! I was so happy! We are in a district with missionaries from a totally different stake than ours and it's hard to coordinate things with the missionaries in the Glendora stake when we aren't ever with them. So we are happy! And Elder Bucholz is the district leader there. I served with him in Chino Hills (along with a couple of the other Elders in our district) and it's just like old times haha He is a great DL and the Spirit was really strong. Sister Amataga and I both learned some things that we really needed to hear that helped us with the work the rest of the week. It was wonderful!
Not much happened on Friday the 25th or Saturday the 26th. Saturday was Sister Amataga's birthday so we went to lunch with Becky and Mike and had a good time. Then we did some service at the Salisbury's and then had dinner at the Benson's. (We had dinner at the Benson's on my birthday also. Sister Benson didn't do that on purpose but it was funny!) But later in the evening Sister Amataga wasn't feeling very well so we called it a night early and went home and were in bed by 9:30pm. Super early!
Then we had a pretty good Sabbath. Yesterday (the 27th) we had Fast Sunday in the Glendora stake because next week we are having stake conference. Our zone did a zone fast for the work to have more success. It was awesome to know that there were about 20 of us fasting for the same thing. It was very powerful and I know that good things will be happening in our zone in the next couple weeks!
Then after the YSA ward, we ended early and had a baptism for a kid that the Elders have been teaching over the last month. His name is Andy and he just randomly showed up one day to church and asked the Elders to teach him. He is a very incredible young man. It was a very good baptismal service too.
And that's about all that happened this week. I realized that I just shouldn't say at the beginning of my letters that a ton didn't happen during the week because I write long letters! haha But it was a good week! We have a couple potential investigators that we are going to contact this week and we will see where we go with that! We are so excited! Things are going well in both the Glendora 5th and Glendora 6th YSA wards.
Thank you to the Hofhein's this week for your letters, cards, and gift card! We already enjoyed a wonderful Wendy's lunch :)
Sister Amataga's birthday lunch with Mike and Becky
And for birthdays for the week, Happy Birthday to Mary Ann Livovich, Stephanie Kuznicki and her daughter Alyssa Palm. Hope you all have wonderful days!
Love you all so much! Until next week, peace out! :)
Love, Sister Wheatley

Monday, January 21, 2013

No cool subject line...

 Good morning everyone!

Well, this week wasn't the best week ever. We had all our lessons get cancelled :( I've realized on my mission that when you have a really good week, a hard week follows soon after. Or vice-versa. It's not fun! But that's the way I've seen my mission so I'm not getting bummed, we just keep working hard and we know that good things will come!

So to start off, last Monday the 14th was transfers. We had to go to Arcadia to pick up our car that had been in the shop over the weekend and it was nice to be able to go last Monday because we were able to see the missionaries that were leaving. It's sad every six weeks to see your friends go home. But it was good to say bye. I was sad because Sister Filimoehala went home and she was the first missionary, besides my trainer Sister Davidson, that I met out here in California. But I'm glad that I got to know her. She has an incredible story that I got to hear a little about and I'm glad she chose to serve a mission. She taught me a lot! I was lucky enough to be able to spend a couple days with her and Sister Lehman when Sister Davidson was going to zone council meetings. So that was nice!

Sister Wheatley, Stephany and Sister Amataga
Then on Tuesday the 15th, that was a pretty cool day! We were supposed to meet up with a Sister, Stephany, from the YSA ward to have lunch with her, teach her, and then she was going to come out with us for the rest of the day. Well, we were supposed to meet up at noon but she got called into work until 2pm so we pushed it back a little. So we decided to go to Citrus college to do the booth again. The Elders were busy in the morning but were going to come in the afternoon. So we picked up the supplies from the ZL's and went over to Citrus. It was super quiet the whole time we were there but we got to talk to a couple people. Then all these teenage foreign exchange students gathered right next to our booth and were loud. So Sister Amataga and I just sat back and waited til they were gone because there was really no point in talking to people when these kids were around. And it was interesting because as we were sitting there, I was texting the Elders and all of a sudden this college age kid comes up to us, HE came up to US!, and asked us about the church. He said he wanted to be a pastor and all this stuff and it was a really good conversation. Well, I asked if he wanted us to call him sometime to take a church tour and he said that he was available right then. Well, Sister Amataga and I couldn't leave the booth and we couldn't take him on a tour without another female so I called the ZL's who I knew were on their way to the church across the street to see where they were. They had just parked so I told them we were sending someone over for a tour. So I told them what he looked like and this kid, Randall, headed towards the church. We saw the Elders walking over to meet him and then an hour later the Elders were done! Oh my heck! The Elders had such a good tour with Randall that he gave the Elders his cigarettes and told them he wanted to stop some horrible addictions that he had. It was incredible! It was a totally good tour for the Elders! We wanted it to be our tour and our new investigator but after talking to the Elders, we let them keep him. I guess it doesn't matter who is teaching him as long as he's being taught by missionaries!

Well, while the Elders were on this tour with Randall, we were sitting down because class was in session and there was no one around and all of a sudden, another kid just walks up to us wanting to know more about the church! What the, really?? It made us so happy! And this kid, Jeremy, had so many questions for us that are exactly what we talk about in our lessons. So we asked if he wanted to take a tour but he had to go to class so we set up a tour for tomorrow! So we are excited! It was supposed to be today but he got called into work. But tomorrow should be good!

Then we spent the day with Stephany from the YSA ward and went to lunch and had a lesson with her. The lesson was basically on the Plan of Salvation and conversion. It was so good! We were all in tears! It was good. We love Stephany and are so happy that she hasn't had her after baptism lessons yet so that we can teach her haha :)

HUGE tree in Glendora, California!
Then that night we went to visit a new family in the ward, the Ding's. They showed up at church last week and thought that it started at 12:30pm. Well, no one knew it but they are less active members. They have lived in the ward for 2 years but we didn't have their records. I guess where they came from they were inactive so when they moved, their church records didn't move with them. So we went to see them and see if they wanted to investigate the church or if they were members. So that was cool to meet with them. They came to church again yesterday so it's awesome!

Alright, this email is getting long for not having much to do this week. But on Thursday the 17th we went to visit a less active who's birthday was that day, Tom. We go see him every so often and have good conversations with him. Sad to hear though, that his brother who lives in Utah passed away on the 1st of January and he was having a hard time with it. He has a hard time understanding why bad things happen to good people. We try to read scriptures with him and help him understand but he doesn't want to pray about what we say because he doesn't feel like it'll help. So we do all that we can but he has to choose to do his part too. But we do enjoy going over there and talking to him. He never fails to ask what time church is whenever we go over there so hopefully one day he will come back!

Then on Friday the 18th, we walked for a couple/few hours. As we were walking past McDonald's, it was pretty hot and we didn't have water or food and Sister Amataga and I were hungry and thirsty. So we wanted to go in and get us a McFlurry or Sundae. We aren't the richest missionaries so we decided to just keep walking ;) Over by McDonald's  there's a less active family that live close and we wanted to try and meet them. So as we were walking up the driveway, and a little girl comes down the sidewalk. Turns out this is a daughter and she was going out to sale Girl Scout cookies. We talked to her for a couple minutes and then Sister Amataga and I asked how much a box of cookies would be and she said $4. I turned to S. Amataga and we decided that we would both buy one box. So we put down our name and asked when they would be but she didn't know. So we went up to her door and this little girl knocked on the door to ask her mom. So we got to talk to the mom for a minute and we asked when we could come pick them up and she said February 8th. Then the mom said that when we come back to pick them up, we can come in and get to know them. What the?! No way!!  We were so happy!

Then we left and walked down another road when all of a sudden we hear a car horn and a lady yell out "Hey, I know those two girls!" We turned and it was Auntie Pam, our investigator! So she pulled off to the side of the road and we talked for 30 minutes about so much, repentance, faith, life. It was just a wonderful conversation! Plus, Auntie Pam had in her car, her daughters new scripture set and a book called Sunshine for the Latter-day Saint Womens Soul. So that was cool to see! She said that she's been reading a lot of the scriptures and taking notes and really enjoying them. It's so cool to see that she is really clinging to the gospel!

So, as much as we really wanted to stop and get ice cream and a drink, we were blessed for not stopping! It was so nice!

Man, there's so much more I want to write about now that I've gotten started but we don't have much more time, the Elders just called wondering when we'd be done... So I'll hurry...

with Elder and Sister Kasteler who work in the mission office and leave next month (February)
Saturday the 19th we went to visit anther less active, Josie. We love Josie! We go over there every so often and we love talking to her. She's 81 years old, super skinny, and super active. She doesn't slow down for anything! But while we were there, we found out that she lost her job as the manager at the apartments she lives in. She's been working there for 20 years. So she is really sad because that also means she has to move out. They are moving her to a senior home but she's not happy. She's worried now because since she won't have a job and doesn't have to worry about anything anymore, she's worried she's going to start getting old. So that's been hard for her! But it was nice to be able to go see her and talk to her for a bit. But I'm worried now for her because I don't know how much longer she's going to be around because she'll go from work work work to nothing. But she's lived a good, long life and hopefully she'll find someway to keep active and young :)

Well, like I said, the Elders want to come over now so I have to end. Not much more happened this weekend. I guess the week turned out pretty good for having all our lessons get cancelled.

Thank you to my cousin Sister Mariah Wheatley for your letter that I received this week! I can't believe you come home next month! Wow!! That 18 months went fast. I still remember our conversation that we had on your couch at your farewell. Thank you for giving me the courage to start my mission papers! It's been so fun to serve a mission with you, even though we are half way around the world from each other. Love ya!

Happy Birthday this week to my cousin Chad Tharp. I think that's the only birthday this week. And last week I think I forgot to mention happy birthday to my cousin Richard Woodland, hope your bday was good!

Before I end though, I've been emailing back and forth to mom and she says that I have "VERY faithful followers" of my blog. So I just wanted to say thank you! It means a lot to me to know that people are reading my blog and enjoying my letters. Thanks for all your love and support everyone! I can feel the prayers and the support. Love you all so much!

Until next week,

Love always,

Sister Wheatley!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Transfer #8

Good morning everyone!!! It's the first day of my EIGHTH transfer. And I am staying in Glendora with Sister Amataga!! We are so excited! We have been working super hard and we can see the fruits of our labors. We have seen many many miracles in the last two weeks. It's interesting how whenever something goes wrong, it's usually because something good is about to happen. And that was definitely what happened here in Glendora the last few weeks. But things are really looking up and we are so excited that we get to be together for another five weeks at least (they have cut our transfers by a week because of all the new missionaries who are coming in February...)

Family  Home Evening at the Hyer's
So to get started with this last week on Monday the 7th Sister Amataga and I taught the Family Home Evening lesson at the Hyer's. Their neighbors are investigating the church (Amanda has been coming to church and activities for years and Pam is wanting to learn more...) So we decided that after much struggle trying to figure out what we should teach, we finally decided to teach about the Gospel of Jesus Christ which consists of Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End. And the lesson went, if I can say so myself, wonderfully! The Spirit was so strong and after struggling, we were happy that we were able to pull of the wonderful lesson. Which we could not have done without the Spirit.

Then Tuesday the 8th we spent a couple hours with the Elders at Citrus college with our booth. We go once or twice a week and talk to students as they walk by. We get many different answers but most of them are very nice haha :) So that's fun! I always get scared but in the end, I get over it and talk to as many people as will talk to me.
Farewell for Sister Fili
Then we went and did service over at the Salisbury's and had another wonderful conversation with Sister Salisbury. We have been lucky to be able to go to their house at least once a week the last little while and get to know them all better!

And later that night we had a lesson with Jose and the Pocock's. It was the last lesson with him before his interview for baptism and we talked about tithing and fasting/fast offerings. It was a great lesson. We had a good conversation and there were testimonies given about how tithing/fasting have blessed each of us. It was just a great lesson!

Rachel, Ryan from Chino Hills and Elder Bucholz
On Wednesday the 9th after going to Citrus college again, Sister Amataga and I went on splits with two girls from the YSA ward who are going on missions. Sister Amataga went with Hailey and they went walking and I went with Esli and we went to visit less-actives. Sadly we weren't able to meet with them because they weren't home, were sick, or were busy. But we ended up going to a couple members houses because we needed to ask them questions. So it wasn't the best split ever but sometimes as missionaries we have those kinds of days. But it was fun! We are looking forward to working with them more, and other YSA Sisters, to go out with us and learn and prepare for missions.

Not much happened on Thursday the 10th but we did meet with Jose one last time with his mother and just went over the baptism interview questions. It was nice though because while talking about these things, his mom had many questions so we were able to answer those. It was nice!

Sisters Butler and Wheatley, Jose, Brother Pocock, and Sister Amataga
Then Friday the 11th we went back over to the Salisbury's and had lunch with Brother and Sister Salisbury. It was nice to have a good BLT for lunch with great friends! They have a neighbor who Sister Salisbury has been talking to over the last week who wants to change her life around and so we are going to meet with her, hopefully this Saturday for dinner, and have a lesson with her and the Salisbury's. So we are excited! Their neighbor, we met her last week, and she is a super sweet girl and so we are excited!

Also Friday, we didn't get much done because we had to take our car in to get fixed (the axle boots were leaking) so the Elders followed us to El Monte and then brought us back to Glendora. Then we got a phone call from the dealership that they had to order the axles for the car so we could either pick up the car and take it back on Saturday or leave it over night. Well, we called Elder Olsen and he told us to come pick up a car from the office and to leave our car in El Monte. So we called the Elders again and they took us to the office to pick up a car. And by the time we got back from Arcadia, we had a couple appointments to run to. And after lunch we had Jose's baptism interview. After that we talked to our district leader for a few minutes and then we had dinner. So after dinner, we went home and did our weekly planning. It's interesting because after talking to President Becerra last Firday, we have had amazing planning sessions! It is amazing what can happen! We have so much happening in the family ward and we are so excited for it! And we are working hard in the YSA ward and are hoping that things will pick up for us soon!

Our dear mail and vehicle coordinators...Elder and Sister Olsen
Then Saturday the 12th we went to lunch with Kirsty and Brittany from the YSA ward, which was so good! We went to La Tolteca in Azusa. It was SOOO delicious! I have been craving Mexican food, or rather chips and salsa, and I was not disappointed! It was delicious food and we had a good time getting to know these Sisters better.

After lunch we went walking and visited a couple people along the way and then headed back to the church to watch the water fill up the font for Jose's baptism that evening! And oh my goodness, Jose's baptism was wonderful! The Spirit was so strong there! Two young men in the ward, Jose's friends Riley and Chandler, gave the talks on Baptism and the Holy Ghost and they did wonderfully! And it was just a wonderful service. It was a packed room and it was awesome to see the support of our ward members. Everyone in the ward loves Jose and he will be a great member of the ward and of the church! He has a strong testimony of the gospel. We had a couple people come up to us after and say "he's going to serve a mission. He's going to be a wonderful member and missionary." So that was really cool!

Elder McKee, my first zone leader in Chino Hills
And that night was transfer calls! We had a feeling that both Sister Amataga and I would both stay and we did! It is very nerve wracking though waiting in the evening to see if you are going to get a call from the AP's. But we were lucky and we didn't! But as we were texting the Elders in our district and zone, it was sad to see which ones were being transferred. You get so close while working with the Elders and it's always sad when someone gets transferred. There were a couple of the Elders that told us they just wanted to cry because they didn't want to leave their areas. But what gets everyone through transfers is knowing that it's a call from Heavenly Father and that wherever He sends us, we know it's for a specific reason and we will make a difference wherever we go. So that helps every time we get the nasty ringtone ringing on our phone indicating that someone is being transferred.

Then yesterday, Sunday the 13th, was a good day! We had ward conference in the family ward and it was so incredible! Bishop Whitworth and President O'Bryant gave incredible talks! Sadly I forgot my notebook at home so I didn't write any notes but I just remember the Spirit that was there! And it was wonderful because we had three investigators at church and it was just awesome to have such a strong spirit there while they were there!

Sadly we had to leave the family ward early to go to the YSA ward for ward council. And church at the YSA ward was amazing as well! Our ward mission leader, Brother Hatch gave an incredible talk on prayer. It's not what he planned on talking about but they way it turned out was amazing! It was just a wonderful day at church! And then to finish it off, we got to go up to Bishop Ferrell's house for dinner with the YSA because there was a CES fireside and they always go to Bishop's house for firesides and have dinner. It was so fun to sit around and get to know each of the members in the YSA ward better. Sister Amataga and I left early though because we were going with the Powell's and Jose to the despidida (farewell) in Arcadia that night. And that was such a wonderful farewell! It was sad because there were friends going home but the Spirit was so strong! I cried a few times but it was cool! As the missionaries got up to bare their testimonies, I could picture myself standing up there in September. I was so impressed by these testimonies that I wondered if I could be like them by the end of my mission. I have come to really look up to some of the missionaries who are going home and I just think about what I have learned from them and now after their testimonies last night, I look up to them even more. I just loved going to the despidida last night! It was a wonderful way to end off the transfer.

Well, that's about it for this week. I'm so excited to be in the Glendora 5th and 6th wards again for at least another five weeks! Good things are going to happen! It's just amazing! And I'm so thankful for this opportunity.

And this week I believe are birthdays for Aunt Kathleen, and Jenifer Adair this week. Along with Jessie Brimhall's birthday. Love you all so much!

Have a good week everyone! Thanks always for your love, support and prayers that I feel at all times!

Love always, Sister Rachel Wheatley

Monday, January 7, 2013

I survived the end of the world 2012!!!!!

Good morning family and friends! There's not a whole ton that happened this week... But what did happen was amazing! I just have to start off by saying that I have the BEST mission President ever! I know that's what every missionary says, but it's true! President Becerra is truly amazing! He is always right there and ready to help whenever we need it. I just love him and am so grateful for him!

Before Bed...
Now to start off with what happened this week... Monday the 31st was a very sad day for me... I didn't get to watch my annual Dick Clark's New Years Rockin' Eve in Time Square *tears* haha ;) Just kidding, I wasn't too sad! We had our weekly dinner with the Powell's and Elders Gwilliam and Duerson and then sat around for a bit until it was time for Sister Amataga and I to go home. When we got home, we did our planning, got ready for bed, and had a little too much fun with the camera (hence the pictures this week...) Then we had our lights out by 10:00 pm and we were gone! haha I slept through the New Year (at least I was able to keep that tradition this year ;))
Huge eyes and a smile!

Then Tuesday, January 1st, 2013!!! we spent the morning looking through the Area Book that the Elders gave us on Monday evening. I said last week that they weren't going to be at the singles ward for a while because they are so busy in their family ward, so they gave us all their potential investigators, investigators, etc. We made a long list of who we wanted to go see this week and that took some time. Until later in the day we text them and asked when they were going to set up pass off lessons for us and they called and said that they talked to President Becerra and even though they are busy in the family ward, it's best if they stay in the YSA ward also. So we spent a couple hours looking through the Area Book for nothing!! Just kidding.... We ended up meeting with them later in the day and they told us we could keep the records of the people we wanted to go see. haha So I guess it wasn't for nothing, it turned out good!

BYU fo shizzle...
Then Thursday the 3rd we had a crazy weird District Meeting. I won't go into details but at the end we had a very long talk about needing to be more focused in our meetings and taking things more serious. We do what's called "Role Plays" where we act as if we are an investigator, less-active, or just some random person on the street and we try to get inspiration for how to best approach situations and lessons with people. Well, it's kind of an awkward and funny thing to do so not all the time are we the most serious about them (for anyone who has been on a mission and had to do role plays, I think you will understand...) So our District Leader asked what he can do better and then it just kinda turned "bad" (for lack of a better word...) So after the meeting, Sister Amataga and I went home and we had a very long talk about things. We talked about how we haven't been the most obedient missionaries (I know most missionaries don't tell every detail of what happens but because this is also my journal, I'm writing lots. And for anyone that has seen my journals, you know that I put too much detail in sometimes haha) Anyway, we talked about how we can do better to have better success as missionaries. If you look at our planners, you can see that we don't have many lessons taught. I think I mentioned that we were at the Hartwig's a couple weeks ago and their son sent home some of his planners and when Sister A. and I looked at them, we felt like horrible missionaries because they had 15-20 lessons a week and we have like.... maybe 3. So that was hard for us.
Samoa 2013 Baby!
Well, long story short, we ended up calling President Becerra and set up a time to meet with him the next day. After doing that I felt SOO much better.

Well, Friday the 4th came around and we drove to Arcadia and had our meeting with President Becerra. It ended up being shorter than we wanted but it was all good. Like I said at the beginning of the email, I really have the best mission President! While talking to him we told him so much about how we were feeling and about things that were holding us back and it was just wonderful. He helped us to understand that it's ok. The past is the past and we can now be better than we ever have been. It was just so nice to have a much needed "pep talk" from President Becerra about how we can better ourselves as missionaries. At the end of our meeting, I walked out of his office feeling as if a big burden had been lifted off my shoulders. He also said that he wanted to come to some of our weekly planning session that day but he had to run and do something else real quick so he would call us on his way back. Sadly he called us and said that what he was doing was taking longer than he expected and that we would have to reschedule. At the end of the phone call he said, "Sister Wheatley, I love both you and your companion. You two are great missionaries. Now put your heads down and go to work!" So that's what we did... Sister Amataga and I being funny, "put our heads down" and went to work haha But in all seriousness, we did! And we have seen miracles already from it! It's just incredible!

Just being funny!
Oh, I forgot to tell you about something that happened on Thursday night... There's a lady who used to be in the Glendora 5th ward who is trying to buy a house in the ward again but while waiting for the offer to go through, she's staying at a friends house. Well, I felt like we should go see Toni and her friend Dotti that night. So we went to the house but neither of them were available. But Dotti's daughter and her son let us in and we talked to them for a good hour and a half. At first it was just Laura asking Sister Amataga about Samoa but then Laura asked us exactly what we do as missionaries. So we kinda explained it a little and then she asked even more questions. Well, all her questions led to us teaching her a mini lesson on the Restoration! It was awesome! She had all these questions that she didn't really feel she knew how to get answers to. So we taught her a little and gave her the Restoration pamphlet to read. Then she told us that we could come back this next week and she wanted to learn more! So that was really really cool! Even though Thursday was a crazy weird day, it ended up being a blessing! We had a powerful lesson that answered so many questions! It was truly awesome! Heavenly Father really does watch out for His children!

Well, continuing with Friday the 4th... Jose has been in Guatemala for a couple weeks and he got back on Wednesday so we set up a lesson for Friday afternoon. We are just finishing up with the lessons before his baptism THIS SATURDAY!!!! We taught about following the prophet, studying the scriptures, and praying always. It was a great lesson. We didn't have our DVD though about President Monson called "On the Lord's Errand" so we got one yesterday and will give it to him on Tuesday. He loves the fact that there is a prophet that leads and guides us today and it really made sense to him how important a prophet is when Sister Amataga did a visual for him (I wish I could explain it over email but I don't know how it would come across...) This DVD is really good and just tells what kinds of things President Monson does and what a prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does (if you haven't seen it yet, you should check it out... It's really good!)

Then we went to the Hyer's and talked to Sister Hyer about us coming to Family Night's every Monday even though we are also over the singles ward. The Hyer's have some really good friends that have been coming to FHE's and are even more interested in the church than ever before and Sister Amataga and I feel like it's more important to be at these FHE's than anything right now. So we are very excited! We are actually teaching the lesson tonight so that's cool! We love the Hyer's and their friends and are so happy that they are really wanting to come unto Christ.

Well, to end the week, we spent about a total of 10 hours in a church building yesterday, Sunday the 6th. I have never spent so much time in church buildings! Since we are over two wards now, we have six hours of regular church meetings and then we stayed and talked to a couple of the YSA girls who are going on splits with us this week. Then we were supposed to have a meeting with Bishop Whitworth of the family ward but another one of his meetings ran late. Well, his wife is a seminary teacher and she was worried about how she was going to set up for seminary for today since the family ward is now at 9:00 am. So Sister A. and I went to the Relief Society room and set up her chairs. And while doing that, a family came to the church for a baptism for another ward and this family is Samoan and the father was part of the Samoa temple presidency a few years ago. So we talked to them for a little bit because Sister Amataga knows them. Then we went to dinner and then had a meeting with our ward mission leader and then rushed back to the church for our lesson with Jose. Well... Jose forgot and fell asleep so we called him and waited for him to come haha He ended up being about 30 minutes late (which was ok) and then we had our lesson that lasted an hour. So there ya go... That is why we spent almost 10 hours at church buildings yesterday! haha But it was good! The Spirit was amazing during church and the Spirit was still there that evening. So that was nice!

Well... that's about all that happened this week. Crazy week but in the end it turned out wonderfully! Thank you to Jane Merritt for you letter! It was so good to get it!

I hope that everyone had a good New Years and that you all are keeping your New Years resolutions ;)

Love you all so much!

Until next week....

Sister Rachel Wheatley

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year 2013!!!

Oh my goodness, this year went so fast! I can't believe it's already New Years Eve! Tomorrow is 2013!! WOW! Crazy! But so exciting!

Well, here's a little of what happened this week, not lots because of it being Christmas and people were either out of town or they didn't answer their doors LOL

Monday the 24th was a good Pday! Basically all we did was email, letters, and sleep. We took a three hour nap! It was so nice! We had an "appointment" at 3:30 pm but it wasn't anything really important (we were just going to a less actives house with the Elders because he's in our ward but we can't go to his house so the Elders work with him and they wanted to give him a Christmas gift from the four of us....) Anyway, I set the alarm for 3pm so that we could get up and get there in time and we slept right through it... oops... We felt horrible! When we finally woke up, we had four texts and a phone call from the Elders. Like I said, it wasn't like a BIG appointment but we felt bad.

Well, after we woke up Sister Amataga got to call her mom (a member in another ward saw us at Walmart and bought her a phone card) but it only gave her 14 minutes to talk :( But at least she got to talk to her for a few minutes!

And after that we went to dinner at the Bonds family! On our way over I was telling Sister Amataga that our family Christmas Eve tradition is pizza and that I would be so happy if I had pizza that night. But I knew that we wouldn't be. Well, we walk in and on their table is Hungry Howie's, a pizza parlor place! NO WAY!!! I was getting my pizza for Christmas Eve! It was so exciting to me!!! It's like she talked to mom or something LOL So we had fun with them and then we just had a little devotional about Christmas and I sang Oh, Come All Ye Faithful while Sister Amataga played the piano. So it was a very fun dinner! The Spirit was so strong as we bore our testimonies, sang, and the family bore their testimonies.

Then we went over to the Powell's for another Christmas Eve dinner! And that was good and there I was able to skype with my family!!! Yay!!! It was really weird to see everyone (except for Bubba)... But it was good! I really enjoyed it! It was the highlight of my Christmas! I was having a somewhat hard time not being home for Christmas but getting to see everyone was so nice and it made up for not being home.

Then on Christmas day, the 25th, we got up at 6:30 am and opened presents. We both got so much! Thanks to my family and my friends! It was a wonderful Christmas! We both got things that we wanted! Especially my footie pajamas ;) I wear them every night now! They are so stinkin' cute! haha

After that we went to the Stowell family home for Christmas breakfast. We had eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, potatoes and more. It was so good! They were all in their pajamas though and it made me want to run home and put on my new footies but I couldn't since I'm a missionary :( haha

Then we caught up with Elders Gwilliam and Duerson and went to brunch at one of their members homes, Gina. She has a daughter who's not a member and since we're over the YSA ward, we were able to go to meet her. The daughter is somewhat interested and so we just wanted to meet her and have her get to know us. And while there, Gina let Sister Amataga call her mom again because Gina has international calling. So Sister Amataga called again and talked to her mom for about 30 more minutes.

Then not much more happened that day (except for that I met Jeff Gelalich of the UCLA Bruins baseball team who was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds.... So that was exciting! (He's a member in the Heritage ward where the Elders live.)) But later that evening we went with the Elders again to another members house where we were having dinner. A less active in our ward, Becky, is the sister of this Sister in the Heritage ward and so we spent Christmas night with all of them. And that was fun. Except for that by 7:30 I was getting sick and everyone was saying how quiet I was being (which to me is just normal but apparently since I've been on my mission I'm a lot more outgoing.... Weird ;) and I guess I was getting white faced so we went home and I went to bed.

So it was a great Christmas! We had fun but it wasn't exactly what I thought it would be (read my email from last week...) But I can't complain too much. It was good and at least I had the good experiences I had about how I think of Christmas now :)

Well, Wednesday the 26th, Thursday the 27th and Friday the 28th didn't bring much more. We did a lot of visiting of the active and less active members in the YSA ward and we did service at St. Dorothy's. And on Friday we spent about 7 hours doing our weekly planning. It doesn't usually take that long to do but we sat down and pulled out our area book and called potential investigators that missionaries in the past had met. We called about 30 people and we had many say they weren't interested, they didn't live in California anymore, or they just didn't answer. We don't usually call people but these people didn't have addresses so that's why we called them. BUT out of all those people, we got one call back and he set up a tour with us for that Saturday.

Well, Saturday the 29th rolled around and we went out to Covina to visit a member, Valerie. We had an AMAZING talk with her! We talked a lot about faith and the Atonement and how they both work in our lives. She told us a lot about her and where she was a year ago and it was just amazing to see how much the Atonement really does help every single one of us! She's been through so much the last few years and to talk to her now is awesome! I wish I had known her a few years ago so I could see the difference but just talking to her I can see that change. And she taught Relief Society yesterday at church and she did an amazing job and she talked about one of the talks given at the Relief Society general broadcast given by Sister Linda S. Reeves titled "The Lord Has Not Forgotten You." And she shared that she was struggling the last couple weeks and when we text her to see if we could meet with her, she knew that God really hasn't forgotten her. It was nice to know that we are making a difference! We sometimes feel like we're not making a difference but it's times like these that I know that I'm doing the right thing. Whether it's helping people who are already members of the church or if it's people who have a desire to come unto Christ, I know that what I'm out here doing, is right!

On a sad note of Saturday, the guy we set up a tour with never showed up. We called and texted him but nothing. It was so sad! I just want him to know the truth and when he didn't show up, it made us sad. Of course we will call him this week again but we can only do so much. So we are hoping and praying that he ends up coming on a tour this week!

Then yesterday, Sunday the 30th, after church we were stopped by our ward mission leader and he told us that the Elders aren't in the ward anymore (they have a lot going for them in their family ward) and so we are fully in the singles ward! So, just like I was when we first got the ward, I'm a little scared but I know that good things are going to come from this! So that's exciting!

And yeah, that's about all that happened this week! It didn't turn out exactly like I was hoping but it was pretty good! And now it's time to work harder in 2013 than I have in 2012. I'm really looking forward to this new year and all that it will bring, not only for me as a missionary but also when I return home in September. There are things in my life that I know my mission will help me figure out and I'm looking forward to facing those things when the time comes. But for now, I'm a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I'm going to finish my mission on a high note!

Gotta run but I gotta wish Nate Wheatley a very Happy Birthday on Wednesday! And to anyone else who's birthday is this week... Sorry I didn't look at my list so I can't remember if anyone else has a birthday... Love ya Nate!

Love you all and until next year!! ;)

Love, Sister Rachel Anna Wheatley