Well, you are probably wondering why I say that this week was the best week on my mission so far. But I will keep that until the end of this email because it all happened yesterday! But it was amazing!
|Sister Amataga fell asleep during weekly planning!|
To get started... Last Monday the 18th we went over to the Hyer's for our standing FHE appointments with them and Aunty Pam and Amanda. Sister Hyer had talked to us and asked that we teach on baptism and covenants. So we did! To be honest, we didn't know what to teach. One reason is because Sister Hyer text us two hours before FHE and said that it was back on (it was supposed to be cancelled...) So we were still doing emails at the time but needed to get ready for our dinner appointment and we tried looking up things on lds.org real fast but nothing was coming together. So we just prayed hard throughout dinner and before we went into our lesson. We pulled up to the Hyer's and said a pleading prayer to help and guide us as to what to say. And it helped so much! Right before we got out of the car, Sister Amataga said to do the water, pepper, and soap lesson and so we did. She also did an object lesson with cups, knives, and BoM's. It was just very powerful! I taught mainly the first part all about baptism and then Sister Amataga took over. I was in tears during my part and then at the end of Sister Amataga's lesson. I know why I was crying but it was more than that, it was because the Spirit was so strong in so many different ways. I just had this overwhelming feeling of love and comfort. It was incredible!
Then to end the wonderful night, we were sitting around having Donut Man donuts when Sister Hyer said, "Everyone, Amanda has an announcement. Listen!" And right then I knew what was going to be said, AMANDA CHOSE A BAPTISM DATE!!!!! It was awesome! It's not until June 22nd but she chose a date! It's awesome! And it's this date because that's the soonest her brother will be home from school and she wants him there. So we are all very excited! We have been teaching her for the last few months but now we are officially teaching "the lessons." So it was a very happy night at the Hyer household!
Then Tuesday the 19th I woke up sick! Sister Amataga and I both went home on Monday with a stomachache and I have had a nasty cough for almost a month now but Tuesday was the worst I've felt. So I slept most of the day but we did get out in the afternoon and get things done, so I didn't feel too bad ;)
Then Wednesday the 20th was a long but good day! We called all the Elders in the Glendora stake the night before and we all went over to the Salisbury's to help them finish packing up and move. I was so bummed that they moved! I love that family so much (thank goodness for Facebook these days :) Anyway, we spent a few hours over there and then just did a lot of contacting and stuff the rest of the day. But we had fun at the Salisbury's!
Then Thursday the 21st was a good day also! We had a mission conference! LOVE mission conferences! Sister Becerra pointed out how lucky we are that we have such a small mission and that we get to get together so often because most missions don't get that. And yes, I realize how lucky we are. I love it! Heavenly Father knew that I would need this mission and the closeness we have in the mission. I have learned so much from so many people and have grown so close to all the missionaries out here that I've come in contact with. Just wonderful!
|Elders Bucholz, Jewell and Newton stuck in back of sisters' car on way home from Mission Conference|
But just a quick little bit about the conference. To start with... President Becerra got up and told us that there are a lot of changes happening in our mission. The biggest ones are that Chino zone will be in the Rancho mission (which we already heard about) and the other is that we are going to be a "test mission." When he said that, my first thought was iPads haha But then he shot that down quickly when he said we were being a test mission for bus and metro passes :/ haha No more cars! Only buses, metros, bikes, walking, and rides from ward members. EXCEPT for if you are a Sister. We get our cars at night! Yay!!! haha So it will be interesting to see how this works. We are starting this in May. Not too excited about it but we will all survive. He says it's a "test mission" but we all think it's because we as a mission have been going over our monthly miles and too many accidents haha
|Moving day with the Salisburys :(|
Well, I really have to hurry so the Elders can come use the computers but there's just so much to write about... The main thing I got out of the mission conference was "Outward not inward." That's something that honestly, I have struggled with a bit... At first I came out just saying "baptism baptism baptism" but the last month or so I have really come to the realization that it's NOT about numbers or "dunking" people. It's about helping people have a true conversion. Whether member, less-active, or non-member. It's all about helping them have that conversion where they want to be baptized. I wish I had realized that earlier. But I guess it's better late than never, right? And that's why I think this was the best week EVER!! I just saw it happen this weekend in so many ways!
Then Friday the 22nd was a very.... good day! haha We have had a very slow draining shower lately and we got this super heavy stuff and had to leave the house all day. This stuff made our whole house smell like rotten eggs. When we got home that night, it was supposed to have worked but IT DIDN'T!!! Seriously?? We were so bummed! It actually made it worse. So we didn't know what to do.
Ok, the Elders just got here and they won't stop talking so it's hard to concentrate on what I'm typing so the rest of this email might not make sense...
|Glendora District service at the Salisbury family before moving|
Then Saturday the 23rd we did more service with the Elders and then again in the afternoon by ourselves. It was crazy! Almost seven hours of service! It was a very long day! But so good! But after seven hours of service, we needed to shower again before dinner. But we couldn't shower at home because of our drain and I was not going to go take a bath in the pool like Sister Davidson and I had to do when we were serving in Chino Hills, so we had to call someone in the ward... We called the Whitworth's! haha Love that family!
Then Sunday the 24th... Oh my goodness! The BEST DAY EVER!!!! It was Mackenzie's baptism day. We were sitting at church and it was five minutes into sacrament meeting and Mackenzie and her dad, Tommy, were not there. I started to panic a little but wasn't too worried. Just a couple minutes later, THE WHOLE FAMILY walks in! I just cried! I was so happy! Tommy was being ordained a Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood and they were all there to see it. I just couldn't hold back my emotions. And the whole sacrament meeting was just wonderful!
|with McKenzie and her father, Tommy, who was able to baptize her|
Then at 4:00 pm that evening, Mackenzie was baptized by her father! This was something that we had been working on for a while. We only have been teaching her for a month or so but the ward has been hoping and praying and working on getting Tommy back to church. It was just wonderful! The Spirit was so strong. We put up all these chairs and the support for Mackenzie and her family overfilled the chairs. We had so many people standing off to the sides. It wasn't enough to fill the chapel but there were a lot of people. It was just so wonderful to have that much support for Mackenzie. Her aunt Natalie and Grandma spoke on baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. The whole time Mackenzie was in tears. I don't know if it was because she was overwhelmed or the Spirit was touching her but it was just a feeling that I could never explain. Seeing Mackenzie be baptized by her father, who had not been active in many years but has been doing other things to where he was able to be interviewed by the Bishop and was found worthy to baptize her, to have Tommy coming back to church, to feel of the Spirit that was there, to realize that THIS was the reason I was on my mission. All these wonderful things happened. I wish that I could explain it more. I wish I could have taken pictures. Taken videos. Recorded it in someway or another. But even then I don't think the Spirit that was there last night would ever be so apparent to anyone unless you were there. But to see this young women take a step to come closer to Christ, to come closer to the gospel, and to make these sacred covenants, was just amazing! She is an example to her family. She is a light to her parents and younger brothers. She is leading the way to help her family become an eternal family. I don't know when her mother and brothers will take lessons. I don't know when they will be able to go to the temple to be sealed forever and all eternity as a family, but what I do know is that it will happen one day before their time on this earth is over. And it's because of Mackenzie's wonderful example and strong faith.
Last night as I watched this baptism and felt the Spirit, that's when I realized what I'm doing on my mission. Here's this young girl who courageously took the step to be baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here's this young girl who has her whole life ahead of her. And here's this young girl who is an example to her family. I can't wait to see when happens with her in 30 years from now. I know that by her example, miracles will happen.
Well, the Elders are making fun of how long it takes us to email. So I guess I better get off now. Sorry to cut this email short LOL JK I wish I could have gotten all my thoughts typed up but the Elders were being too loud so my thoughts were everywhere.
Happy Birthday to my cousins Brooklyn Grace today, Maria McKee and Jazmine McKee on the 30th, and to Laura Hofheins on the 28th and YaeJin Ha on the 29th! I hope you all have wonderful birthdays!
And thanks to Amanda Parrott for your letter this week!
Love you all so very much! The church is true! Christ lives and I hope that we can all remember Him this week even more than normal as we come up to Easter next Sunday.
Love always, Sister Rachel Wheatley