|Enjoying her ribs at a member's home|
|Sister Ackley and I with Sister Davidson before she left for home. Davo spent 11 months of her mission with just the two of us!|
First of all, I forgot to tell mom last week that we were going to have Zone Conference yesterday so that's why I didn't email yesterday. Sorry about that. I know mom was updating her email every two seconds to make sure she wasn't missing an email haha
Secondly, Happy Birthday this week to my Uncle Dawain (today) and Uncle Micah on the 28th. He gets the best bday present ever, having his daughter come home from her mission! And also to my cousins Perry and Michael the III. Love you all!
Speaking of Mariah coming home, WELCOME HOME!!!!! It's been so much fun serving with you these last 11 months even though we were across the pond from each other. I know that I have said it many times but thank you Mariah, for your example! Love you so much!
Wow! This week went by so fast and it was so good! We got a lot accomplished this week. We have been busier than I've ever been on my mission and it's so wonderful! (Yes, I just read the email from Bubba and I feel like I'm copying what he wrote but I'm not...)
So, to get started... Last Monday the 18th was such a good day!!! Sister Amataga and I went to the mission office to say goodbye to Sister Davidson, my trainer, and to wash and vacuum out our car. We spent about two or so hours there and it was nice. We sat with all the Sisters that were in the office and we just laughed and talked and had fun. I don't think I ever stopped laughing while at the office. I think everyone was getting annoyed of it... JK But it was fun. Sister Davidson and I sat and talked about all the good times we had while we were companions. I just can't tell you how fun it was to just sit and relax and enjoy one another's company. And Sister Ackley sat with us and talked and yeah, it was fun! haha But then it was time to say goodbye to Sister Davidson and that was sad. But no sad tears. She has this really cute picture of the two of us right before she left of us laughing. I'm so thankful that I was able to learn from her for six months of my mission. She will never really know how much I learned from her but I did learn a lot! She's been a great example to me the last year.
Then on Wednesday the 20th, we did a booth at Citrus College again. The new semester started and there were a ton of people around. Plus there were a lot of other booths around. Sadly we ended up leaving earlier than we wanted to because for one thing, we had a Jehovah Witness come up and talk to us and he kinda made things not so nice and also, a radio station was in the courtyard and they were playing loud, not-so-good music and the Spirit was just not there. But hopefully this week will be better and we can get some good contacts out of it!
Then that night, we went over to a part-member/inactive families home and talked to the 12 year old daughter, Mackenzie and her mom. Mackenzie has been coming out to church for a long while now and we felt, and the Bishop has asked us, to teach Mackenzie the missionary lessons. So we asked her a couple weeks ago at church but we needed to get the permission of her parents. So we went over that night and talked to her and her mother and she gave us permission to teach Mackenzie. Vanessa said that when she and her husband were younger, they felt like they were forced to go to church and they didn't want that to happen to their children. So growing up, Mackenzie went to church with her grandparents in the Glendora 1st ward and her great-grandparents who are in our ward and so she just keeps coming back. So we got permission and we set up a time to meet with her! We were so excited! Mackenzie is a great girl and has such a strong testimony and I know that it will help her and her family.
Then Friday the 22nd we spent a few hours over at the church helping set up for the Women's Conference that was happening the next day. And it was so fun to set it up! It was a Victorian type feel and I loved it! (It's something that I might consider as decorations for my wedding someday ;) It was very simple but very elegant and beautiful!
Then that afternoon we had our first lesson with Mackenzie. It was super good and the Spirit was so strong. I'm not a fan of committing someone to baptism in the first lesson even though Preach My Gospel tells us to but we have talked about it a few different times with Mackenzie so we felt like it was ok to set a date with her. She said yes so we set a date for Sunday March 24th. It's so exciting! And she's really happy!
And after our lesson, she asked us to help her prepare a talk for Sunday. The Bishopric asked her to speak in Sacrament meeting and so she needed help. Her topic was knowledge and it was fun to be able to help her. I'm not good at writing talks but together the three of us came up with some good ideas and she went home and put it together and she gave an amazing talk on Sunday!
Then that night for dinner we went over to the Ingram's. Their son, Matt, is in our singles ward we are over and he invited us for dinner. It was such a fun night! We didn't stop laughing all night. And come to find out, Brother Ingram owns a catering business and he said if I came back after my mission, I could work there! haha :) I couldn't stop thinking about what Sarah said to me in high school.... "Rachel, I could see you working out in Hollywood one day!" He said he's done a couple big weddings and he was even in the movie Matilda. If you remember that movie, his place is where they go to eat dinner in the fancy restaurant and all the cake and stuff flies everywhere. haha So cool!!! :) But it was just such a fun night with tons of laughter (I won't tell you why we couldn't stop laughing but I will tell you it was because of something that happened to me since I've been on my mission... and just other funny things that were said that night by everyone.)
Then Saturday the 23rd we were able to go to the Women's Conference at the stake center. SO good! The theme was angels and it was just amazing! I'm sad though because we weren't able to go to all of it because we had to go do some missionary work haha But we went to the beginning and the end of it and it was just awesome. We don't talk a whole ton about angels in the church so that's why they had that as the theme. It was awesome! Basically the major message I got out of that was that we are all angels in our own way and we have a loving Heavenly Father who sent all of us here in this world to be one another's angels. It was cool!
Then after the conference, we went to La Verne to sing at a memorial service. We got a call on Friday night from Becky and the Elders and they were having a memorial service for a friend of Becky's and her sister Olivia's (who lives in La Verne) and they were going to have Olivia's wards primary sing but they had to cancel so the Elders in Olivia's ward, Elders Duerson and Smith, and I sang a couple songs and then Sister Amataga played the piano. It was a great service and the Spirit was there. It was sad though because their friend, Linda, who passed, was raising her granddaughter and at the end of the service, Charlotte got up and said a couple things and it was just heart wrenching. She was in tears and could hardly speak. She's only 9 or 10 years old and it was just so cute! But it was hard because you could see the sadness and pain she feels now that her grandmother is gone. But, she's been going to church with Olivia and her family (not sure she's baptized....) and so she basically bore her testimony saying that she knows she will be able to see her grandmother again. It was just beautiful but sad.
And that night we had THREE meals, one right after another. One was lunch but it was a late lunch and then we had dinner with a family in our ward at 5pm and then we had a dinner with Brother and Sister Lancaster in the Heritage ward with the Elders. Sister Lancaster works in Chino Hills and Davo and I met her while we did service there and so she had us come to dinner with them. It was so fun! And the food, DELICIOUS!!! We had RIBS. Yes, RIBS! Would I have been caught dead eating those before my mission, yes. But I have come to LOVE Ribs (which could be a dangerous thing when I get home and want to go out to eat......) And these were so good! They just fell of the bones and melted in your mouth! Yum! But, I was so full by that time that Sister Amataga and I only ate a little and then we had to take the rest home.
Then Sunday the 24th was such a good day! Church in both wards was amazing and then at 5:30pm we had a baptism for Henry and Peter. It was so awesome! The Spirit was strong there and it was just good. The ward gave them a lot of support and Brother Ding baptized his sons, which was really cool. After being inactive for six years, they have been coming back to church for about two months and he was able to baptize his sons. It was just a very good service!
Then that night we went over to the Jacobson's and Brother Jacobson is a chiropractor and he's been helping Sister Amataga with her arm since she fell in December while bowling and he helps me too. He's worked on my feet a couple times and this time he told me "I'm going to work on you too." And he cracked my back and neck. It was so nice! I have been in need of some "back crackage" as Sister Davidson would say, and it felt wonderful! Then they showed us pictures of their trip to Isreal and told us about it. It was awesome! To get to see these pictures of places where Christ walked when he was on the earth. They were telling us all about it and I just felt like I was there myself. It was so cool because they were just pictures but I felt the Spirit so strongly! It made me want to go to Israel one day and walk where my Savior, Jesus Christ walked. Can you imagine?! I can't! But it was awesome!
Well, that's about all for this week. But I will end with this. On Saturday at our first dinner appointment, I was giving the Spiritual thought and at the end I was bearing my testimony and out of my mouth came something like, "Before my mission I didn't know how I could make it for 18 months. I felt like 18 months would be an eternity. But as I am now just a couple weeks til I reach my six months til home mark, I realize that 18 months isn't long enough. I am just now "getting it" as one of our AP's, Elder Nielson, said. I don't want to go home yet. I was always told that with six months left on a mission you will feel like you are just then learning and doing the right things but I just kinda laughed and brushed it off. But now that I'm at that point, I realize how true it is. I don't have much time left. I go home soon and I don't want to leave this work behind feeling like I didn't do anything. I have six months left and I am going to work harder than I ever have." And it's all true! In about two weeks I hit that point of six months left. I don't want it to come yet because I feel like I just now "get it." But I know that my time is almost up and I'm not going to let it slow me down. I have seen miracles happen all throughout my mission and I know there are more just waiting to happen!
I have a love for this work that I honestly never thought I would have. But the more I'm out here serving the Lord, the more that love comes. I know with all my heart that this, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is THE church that Christ set up while He was on the earth and that it was restored by the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know that it is true with all my heart! I don't know how I could still be out here on my mission if it wasn't true. I just want to shout it from the top of a high mountain where everyone in the world can hear it. Whether they are a member or not, active or not active, I just want everyone to know of it's truthfulness. It had changed me in so many ways. I have learned and grown in ways I never could have if I was at home. If I had one wish granted, it would be that the people I love the most, my family and friends, members, non members, and members who have fallen away, would pray to their Eternal Father in Heaven to have that witness of it's truth. I would never need anything else in this world if I could see those I love being baptized and going to the temple to be sealed for time and all eternity. I know this to be true and I'm so thankful for my parents, leaders, friends, and family who have taught me my whole life of it's truthfulness. Thank you, every single one of you, for your examples you have been in my life. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Love always, Sister Wheatley
|Stake Women's Conference - table decorations|
|Sister Davidson and I -- gonna miss my trainer and friend!|
|Henry and Peter's baptism with their parents|
|Sister Amataga and Iin our sweet-awesome matching shirts. All the Sisters that came to the office last Monday thought our shirts were way cool. Plus, we have matching rings from Becky and Mike for Valentine's Day. Just matching all around :)|