Monday, March 25, 2013

Best Week EVER!!!!

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 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

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mission Boundaries.... say what?

Well hello family and friends!!!

Not a whole ton happened this week. Things are slowing down right now and that's not fun. But that's ok because we are going to find someone new to teach and things are going to be good! :)

So I guess I should probably get started writing this email... We've been here for an hour and I haven't really done anything haha But I'll see if I can hurry and do this.

Tuesday the 12th was a pretty good day. We left the mission!!!! (Hence the subject line...) We got permission from President Becerra because Sister Amataga got garments for Christmas but her mom sent the wrong size so we needed to go exchange them. So we went out to Upland with Brother and Sister Powell. We had a fun time! We didn't do much because all we had to do was exchange things but we also went to Ensign books and got Sister Amataga a CTR ring. It was so tempting in that book store... It's just like going into Deseret Book back home. I wanted everything in there but obviously couldn't buy anything because I am poor LOL But it was fun! We got to take a fun little drive and we felt like such rebels ;)

Sister Amataga scared the bajeebers out of me when I turned around
Then that night we had a wonderful lesson with the Moon family. We haven't seen them in over a month so we were getting a little worried that something had happened. But we watched the Restoration DVD and it turned out to be a wonderful lesson. Before we started the lesson, we had them watch the DVD as if they were Joseph Smith. And when it was over we asked them what they were feeling. It was cool because Brother Moon was reminded how important the Book of Mormon is and Sister Moon realized how important the gospel is in their lives. So while Sister Amataga was talking to them at one point, I felt a prompting to say "If you don't set a date for something, whether it's to stop whatever is holding you back from being baptized or coming to church, it will never happen." So I said that and they agreed. They knew that but there was never really "a reason" to do anything about it until we said something, or that's just what I get from it... So they said that they were not able to come to church yesterday but they set a date for Sunday the 24th and we have another lesson with them tomorrow and then we will follow-up on Saturday at some point. So we are so excited and hopefully this will get them to move forward.

On Wednesday the 13th, oh my gosh what a fun evening we had! Elders Gracia, Yoshikawa, Sister Amataga and I were all apart of the stake mutual night. Each ward put videos together of popular YouTube videos and made funny things out of them. The Glendora 5th Ward did the Harlem Shake as part of their video and Sister Amataga and I had a couple seconds in the video. It was awesome! And then the Elders and I were part of a skit while Sister Amataga played the piano for it. There were little 8 and 9 year olds saying things about going on a mission and then they started singing "I Hope They Call Me On A Mission" and when it says, "when I have grown a foot or two" the Elders and I came out in front of everyone. It was so fun! haha And the videos were SOOO funny! I couldn't stop laughing!!! Especially at the opening video of the young men in the stake who made a music video to "What Makes You Beautiful" by OneDirection. Holy dang, it was awesome!!! It was just a fun night!
Legends Restaurant in Upland, California (outside of mission boundaries, with permission from the Prez)

Then Thursday the 14th we had District Meeting and President Becerra came to it. And it was a very good meeting. We talked about "Teach People, Not Lessons" and it was really good! The Spirit was so strong and we learned some things that will help with our two areas. And having President Becerra there was wonderful too! I love when I can learn from him so I was not bummed that he came to our district meeting haha

Then Friday the 15th was a good day. We had two lessons that day. One with our investigator Anthony is the singles ward and another with our investigator Mackenzie in the family ward. Anthony's lesson went pretty well. We taught the Plan of Salvation and that is a lesson that I still struggle with. I don't feel like I can teach it very well but we have to teach it so I might as well pray during the whole thing and work well with my companions and the lesson will turn out the way it needs to. And our lesson with Mackenzie... yeah, the most awkward lesson ever! haha We had to teach about the Law of Chastity and it was just awkward. Thank goodness we had a Sister in the ward who taught at the MTC for two years come with us to teach this lesson. She really helped us out. I think I would rather teach the Plan of Salvation a million times and mess up on it then teach the Law of Chastity. It is not fun! haha But we have to teach that lesson because it is part of what we believe so I'll get over the awkwardness eventually.

At Ensign Books in Upland, Cali
Sister Amataga at Ensign Books in Upland, Cali
Then Saturday the 16th we spent the day with Reyna from the singles ward and did some fun missionary work! haha We had an after baptism lesson with Henry and Peter and we just talked about missionary work and temple and family history. It was a good lesson but oh my goodness, those boys. haha They asked some funny questions that we all looked at each other and just laughed because we didn't even know what the heck they were talking about. They are just way too smart for us and they are only 12 and 9 years old! But it was a good lesson with them.

Then we went out to lunch with another member in the YSA ward and then did service at the VanWyk's in the family ward. So it was a good fun day!

But that's about all that happened this week. Nothing too exciting! But it was nice! This week we are hitting the pavement hard because the weather will be BEAUTIFUL and hopefully we will be led to someone who is ready to receive the gospel, or they will be led to us. Things are slowing down here but we aren't going to let that get us down :)

Well, thanks to mom for the St. Patrick's Day package this week. I was all excited but I was sad yesterday when the only green I could wear was a pair of earrings. If I had been at home I would have been all decked out for the holiday haha But it was ok, at least I didn't get pinched ;)

And a very happy birthday to Celeste Hernandez today and Margo on the 22nd. Love you both tons!

Love always, Sister Rachel Wheatley

Restaurant in Upland, California

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

ONE YEAR say what??

 Well, this last week I hit it -- that year mark! I know I said it last week but I just can't believe it! I texted my MTC companion that day and it was weird to wish her a happy year mark. I feel like we just got out here. Anyway, because I said that last week, I'll start writing about what happened this week...

Tuesday the 5th was a pretty good day. We did A LOT of walking but it felt so good! I can't wait til it gets even better weather and we walk more. But I'm not looking for the heat of the summer. That's the bummer with being in California, only a couple weeks of PERFECT weather... Anyway, we had a good day and meeting with our new investigator Jen. She wanted to read 11 chapters of 1st Nephi by the time we met but didn't get that far. So we just talked about what she was able to read and then we talked about what she was going to read next. It was a pretty good lesson. Then we just did tons more walking and didn't have a ton of people outside to talk to but that's ok.
Having fun with my teddy bear

The sad thing though about that day is that we were supposed to have a lesson with the Moon family but we haven't been able to go over in three weeks. They never answered last Monday when we asked if we could come over on Tuesday so we just thought we'd stop by but no one was home :( We were really sad. They were progressing so well and then it just stopped. I don't know what happened but hopefully we can get back into their home and help them progress again.

Then Wednesday the 6th we had a lesson with our investigator Mackenzie. We talked about the Plan of Salvation and she really knew a lot about it. She basically taught us about it. So that was cool! And while we were meeting with her, we talked about her baptism on the 24th and asked who she wanted to baptize her and give the talks. We had told her earlier that her father could baptize her (if he started coming back to church) and she, without hesitation, said she wanted her dad to baptize her. So we said we would talk to the bishop and she had to talk to her dad about it. And that was cool because she started to cry a little when she said she wanted her dad to baptize her. She also told us that she wanted her grandmother and aunt in the Glendora 1st ward to give the talks. Well, to keep this a little short, that night we went over to her grandmothers house and talked to them about it. Turns out, they didn't even know Mackenzie was taking the missionary lessons until that afternoon. Apparently she likes to surprise people haha So we had a nice talk with them and found out that Mackenzie's father stopped going to church when he was 14 years old. That was a shocker to us because we thought he went til he was at least 18 so he could baptize her. But nope.... So then we had a little more work to do in order to get Mackenzie to be baptized by her father but we were up for the "challenge." (Will come back to this later...)

Then that night we went to mutual at the church because we thought Mackenzie would be there but she ended up not being able to go. Well, while there the YM/YW were putting together a video for the stake and the YW president asked if we could be in it. So we went around while all the youth were doing the Harlem Shake (haven't seen the original but their version was pretty awesome so I'm sure it is funny!) and we shook all the youth's hands. They didn't really understand why we were doing it because they were being loud when the YW leader told them what we were doing but that's ok... It was just a little awkward... But it was fun to watch this. Now I just want to see the original Harlem Shake. Plus, we are part of the program when all the youth in the stake show their videos so we get to go watch all these. We are pretty stoked! haha

Then Thursday the 7th was MY YEAR MARK!!!! We got up at 5:45 am and got ready because we were teaching seminary for Brother and Sister Stowell in the ward. And that was fun. I don't like waking up that early anymore but it was fun to go to seminary. I've always loved going to seminary and institute and going to help out as a missionary reminds me of how fun it was in high school.

We had zone meeting that day also and that was tons of fun. We learned a lot about how to contact people on the street and to teach them doctrine when we first talk to them (after getting to know them a little of course...) But that's something that we're really working on as a mission. And it was good!
About to burn my skirt as a tradition for meeting my one year mark!

Oh, before I forget a couple things. The zone leaders had a couple announcements for us that day and some of them were kinda "yeah, we knew that" announcements but there were two that were good and sad... Good news! We are now able to email ANYONE we want (as long as it's not someone of the opposite gender within mission boundaries without permission from President Becerra...) and we can email for as long as we want on Pdays as long as our companions are ok with emailing for just as long! haha That made us missionaries happy! But the sad news... Starting July 1, 2013, the Chino zone will no longer be in the California Arcadia mission :( It will now be part of the Rancho Cucamonga (sp??) mission. So I was sad to hear that since I served there. But to add to that, there will be between 12-16 missionaries from the Arcadia mission that President Becerra will be sending to the new Rancho mission in July. He said he is going to hand pick them, not even help from the Assistants on this one. I know that I shouldn't pray to keep me here but I have been. I know that no matter what, I will be put wherever I'm needed but I will be sad if I have to leave the Arcadia mission. By the time this happens, I'll only have two transfers left and so I don't want to leave. But I guess I shouldn't dwell on it because I know President Becerra will pray about it and he won't move anyone unless he is told by the Spirit to do so. I know I've been in Chino already but that doesn't mean it keeps me safe from the move. But we'll see what happens...

Then we did service at the Salisbury's that day and it was fun! We always love going over to their house :) And that night we went to the Hyer's to talk to Sister Hyer about an inactive lady that lives up the street from them who Brother Hyer home teaches. And while we were there we talked about Pam and Amanda and found out that Pam's mother passed away suddenly so that made us sad. We have come to love Pam and Amanda and it was just sad to hear that. And we talked about a lot of other things and we shed tears of joy and while talking the Spirit was there. I just love going over to the Hyer's because I can always count on leaving with a smile on my face and to have felt the Spirit at some point in our conversation, no matter what we talked about. Sister Hyer just brings the Spirit so strongly! Love her!

Then that night after we went home and planned, I grabbed one of my favorite skirts that has always been too big for me but I still wear it and I cut it up and burned it! I always wanted to burn a piece of clothing on my mission! It's the thing to do! haha So I was very excited! But I was scared at the same time... All I could think of was something going very wrong and the house burning down while Sister Beck was in Argentina... But luckily I have a companion who has burned plenty of things back home that she knew what to do and how I wouldn't burn down the house (we did it outside on the sidewalk but I was still scared something would go horribly wrong.) But it was tons of fun! haha And that's how I celebrated my year mark :)

My fingernail burned in this picture!
Then on Friday the 8th we had to cancel a lesson with our investigator Anthony because we couldn't find fellowship :( We were totally bummed because the last lesson we had went really well and we didn't want to cancel this one, but we had to. And then we went to Jen's again and taught her the Plan of Salvation. I was bummed because it wasn't as powerful of a lesson as our first one was. So I was worried that we messed up. But she asked a lot of questions and she made sure that she understood things. So that was good!

Then that afternoon we had another lesson with Mackenzie. We talked to her about the commandments and other things. Then we asked if she had talked to her dad and she said no. So we talked to her a little more about that and after our lesson, her mom picked her up and we talked to her for a second. Vanessa was wondering about what she had to do for the baptism so we just told her some basic things but that she didn't really have to do anything for it. But we did tell her that Mackenzie wants her dad to baptize her and that requires some things on Tommy's part. So we talked to Vanessa and she said she would talk to Tommy as well, after Mackenzie talked to her.

Then Saturday the 9th we did weekly planning (we didn't have the chance to do it on Friday.) It was a very long weekly planning session. I can't go into much details because I've been asked not to but there were some things that were holding Sister Amataga back and we spent a long time talking about it and trying to help her. To be honest, I always felt like something was holding the both of us back from being even better missionaries and the "comp inventory" that we had, really helped to let these things out.

Then the rest of the night we went to dinner, had a recent convert lesson with Henry and Peter, visited a couple less-active members and then went home and made cookies. (I owed the Elders recent convert cookies again because the last batch I made were way too dry. But these ones I made turned out good! The only thing was that they were too flat for my liking, but tasted like they are supposed to when I make them at home...)

Then to the part about Tommy and Mackenzie that I said I'd get back to... Sunday the 10th was a very good day! We had a very good ward council meeting and then a really good sacrament meeting! As Sister Amataga and I were sitting on the back bench, we were by the doors and all of a sudden Mackenzie comes in WITH HER DAD!!!!!!!!!!!! I got this HUGE smile on my face and I almost started crying. We had told Mackenzie that if she wanted her dad to baptize her, he'd need to come back to church and talk to the bishop and he did! After sacrament meeting I went up to Bishop Whitworth and told him that Tommy was there and then they went into bishop's office and had a little meeting. We don't know what happened or what was said but OH MY GOSH!!!! HE WAS AT CHURCH!!!! And to me that means something! Whether he's able to baptize her in two weeks or not, the fact that Tommy came to church means something! I was just so happy all day! That is such a big miracle! It's one of those big miracles but I know that Heavenly Father is there! It's the thing that makes my mission worth it! I just am so happy, still!

And yeah, I'll end right there on that happy note. I know that this church is true. I have seen so many miracles because of the gospel of Jesus Christ and it makes me happy to know that I'm lucky enough to be apart of this gospel. I have had so many opportunities to share my testimony since being on my mission and it makes me so happy. I never took advantage of bearing my testimony like I should have when I was home but now I will. I need to share it in as many ways as possible. And one thing I challenge you all to do is to share your testimony with family, friends, co-workers, anyone. Maybe not one like you would share in fast and testimony meeting but find a way to share it with someone, whether they're members or not, less-active or fully active. Sharing your testimony with others is a great way to strengthen yours and to help others strengthen theirs as well. I know that our Father in Heaven is there helping each one of us in all that we do and that He will never leave us alone. He's always there listening when we need someone to talk to. He's the best listening ear! I have gotten down on my knees many times and each time, He's there. And he will be for each of us if we go to Him. I know that Jesus Christ came to this earth to suffer and die for each of us so that we can return to Him and our Father in Heaven again. He knows how each of us feel at all times and He is also always there. Whenever we feel like we can't go on any longer, we can because Christ died for each and everyone of us. I know that though Joseph Smith was only 14 years old, he was chosen to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ and that President Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today. And I can't wait to hear from him and the other apostles in a few weeks at General Conference. I look forward to hearing the words they have for us that have come from Heavenly Father. I'm thankful for my family and friends, each one of you. Without each of you in my life, whether I've known you for a long time or a short time, without you, I would not be who I am today. I have been molded to who I am because of all of you. Thank you!

The remains of my burning skirt
And last but not least, I forgot birthdays this week but hope that if there are any birthdays, that you have a great day! And thank you to the van Os family for the card I got this week! I got it on Thursday so it came on the perfect day :) And CONGRATULATIONS to all those who are engaged or going on missions! Such an exciting time in all your lives.

Love you all so much!

Love always,

Sister Rachel Wheatley

Monday, March 4, 2013

Week of Miracles

Can you even believe it?! This week, Thursday, I hit my YEAR MARK!!!!! I don't feel like it's been a year, it's gone so fast! But it has been one of the best years of my life! I have learned so much about myself and about the gospel of Jesus Christ and I really never thought it would come like it has. I just have loved it! Like I said last week, it's coming to an end so fast and I don't want it to come yet. I'm just now getting into the groove of things and I know there are going to be amazing things that will come in these next six months. It's just crazy how much has already happened! Life changing experiences that I will treasure for eternity.

Now to get started with what happened this week. One thing is a MIRACLE!!! But let's start with Monday the 25th. Crazy day! And the crazy part all happened before 10am! We had zone conference in Chino on Monday and we left at 8:15 am because we needed to be there by 9am. Plenty of time to get there early. I have to start out by saying how much I dislike the fact that California has a million freeways... I accidentally took the 210 freeway east bound when I really needed to take the 57 south bound. Ugh! While we were on the 210, I was not recognizing the road. I drove that road to Arcadia for seven months while I was serving in Chino Hills so I know what the drive looks like. Well, we finally got into San Bernardino county and saw signs for Upland.... Totally different mission! Dang it! (Yes, I have a GPS but President asked me if I could give it to a Korean Sister who is training in a new area....) So we called the Elders and they had to tell us where to go. Well, little did we know that the 210 and the 57 DO NOT connect  so we had to get off and go find the entrance to the 57 and that took us 20 minutes! So we were on our way and all of a sudden I realized that we needed to take the 71 freeway and I missed it. So we had to pull off in the middle of the freeway and call the Elders again asking what to do. It took us about 15 minutes of being on the phone before they finally just said, "Tell us where you are, we are coming to get you." I was totally embarrassed because I was just going to a church that was in an area where I served for SEVEN MONTHS!! I felt so dumb! So it took the Elders 15 minutes to get to us and  then it took us that long to get back to Chino. Ugh! I was so mad at myself! I couldn't believe I was needing Elders to come save us. Now, it wouldn't have been as bad but I wasn't feeling well at all so being sick just added to the drama.
So we finally got to the church building that we needed to be at and because we were late, we made everyone else wait for us. So embarrassing! haha BUT, it was a wonderful zone conference so that was good! And not only that but it was with the Chino zone so I got to see Sisters Carrell, Lehman, and Butler. It was nice! And the stake RS in Chino were serving us lunch so I got to see Sisters Knecht and Williams! So that made me happy! Anyway, it was just so wonderful! The Spirit was so strong the whole conference! I especially loved that we took time and got into our districts and read Enos in the Book of Mormon and got to discuss it verse by verse and we only got to like verse seven in 10 minutes. So cool! And then at the end of the conference, President brought us all into a smallish room and we had a Q&A session. Just so awesome! Can I just say how amazing President Becerra is?! Love him!
Then on Tuesday the 26th we were doing laundry at a members house and we get this text from a potential investigator that said, "Hi Sisters!!! I think it's time for some lessons!" Umm... We were so excited! This text came from Jen, who is Becky's daughter in-law. The night of transfer calls a couple weeks ago, we were at their house and she said that if we don't get transferred, she wanted to learn from us. Well, after they were sick for a week, she just randomly texted us! Whoop whoop! So the next day, Wednesday the 27th, we went over to her house while she was home with her two kids alone and we taught her. She had a couple questions for us that led us right into the Restoration lesson. And I basically taught the lesson by myself because Sister Amataga was keeping her son, Elijah, entertained so Jen could focus. Well, we were there for TWO hours! We aren't usually supposed to be at appointments for that long but we really didn't have any other plans for the day and we didn't feel bad about being there. And to be honest, when we looked down at the phone to see what time it was, none of us thought it had been two hours. We thought maybe an hour. So that was crazy how fast it went!
Well, like I said, I was teaching the lesson (Sister Amataga would interject every once in a while when she had something to say) and I was telling Jen about Joseph Smith and how he restored Christ's church. I quoted what's known as "The First Vision" and she started to tear up. Then she asked a few more questions and as the discussion went on, she said, "You know, I've been to a lot of churches. I've almost become a Jew because I thought that was the closest I could come to Christ's religion. I almost became a Jehovah's Witness. I have almost joined a number of churches but none of them have felt right. As I've been listening to you, a hunger that I have felt for a long time has started to fill me." OH MY HECK!!!
Seriously?!?! I'm not gonna lie, I've always wanted to have this kind of missionary experience but never thought it would happen. I just thought they were stories. But no! This was happening right before my very eyes. I just started to cry! It was incredible! And yes, the Spirit was incredible throughout the whole two hours. Basically all I can say now is WOW!

Then on Thursday the 28th, just a little something... We were supposed to go to Citrus campus at 8am to do the booth for all the morning students and then the Elders would come after studies and take over. Well, we didn't leave til about 8:15 or so and by the time we got to security it was almost 8:30. I grabbed my wallet to get my license out and IT WASN'T THERE!!! I started to freak out! I had no clue where it was. Sister Amataga and I looked EVERYWHERE in the car and couldn't find it. On the way back to the house we thought of all the places we'd been since I last saw it but couldn't figure out where it could be. Well, I went home and looked in one of my bags and couldn't see anything. So I finally got down on my knees and prayed to find it. I looked around the room for a minute and then decided to go back out to the car to look. I looked under my seat and there it was! Miracle! Not sure how the heck it got under my seat but it was there and my prayer was answered! Just another witness that Heavenly Father is there watching out for and listening to me and my needs, no matter how small they are.

Then that afternoon we went home and made cookies! I love being a Sister missionary! haha We felt like we needed to do something different for our investigators who we haven't seen in a while and also for the less actives we haven't seen. So I was very happy to make cookies! I was bummed because I wanted to make Chocolate Chip cookies but sadly we didn't have enough chips. But because mom sent Sister Beck her delicious Gingersnap recipe, we were able to make those and take them around to a couple people with either a General Conference talk or a little quote. It was awesome and I was happy to be making cookies :)

Then Friday the 1st I spent a lot of the morning in bed because I was not feeling well at all. I had been sick for a week and wasn't really getting better. But then we had a couple lessons and we had to get going. Then I was so sick of being sick and down, I said a little prayer to help me as we walked that afternoon because it was "No Car Friday" and all of a sudden I got feeling a lot better! So wonderful!

Then that night we went over to Jack and Lorie's house to give them cookies and a card with a little quote. Lorie has been investigating the church for about five months but we haven't been able to see them because of the holidays and their work schedule. Well, last week we went over and found out that they were moving. So we brought them cookies and wrote in the card that we hope they continue to take the lessons and that one day Lorie will get baptized. Well, before we even said anything, Jack said that he was at their new house that day with the movers and they were sitting outside in the garage and the SISTER MISSIONARIES showed up! Really, Heavenly Father?! You are just incredible! They were walking the area and when they saw Jack outside, they went and talked to him and the movers. He let them do their "spiel" and then said something about the Celestial Kingdom and the Sisters started to laugh and asked if he was a member. He said yes and that his wife was investigating. So, they told the Sisters that when they get settled, they want to start up the lessons again. So dang cool!! It just made me want to cry! I was so happy! Miracle!

Then on Saturday the 2nd we met some of the young women from the La Cresenta stake in Arcadia and they went out with all of us Sisters in the mission. So we took around Heather and we went to help at Jack and Lorie's, we helped them pack up his mom's books. So it probably wasn't the missionary work that she was looking forward to but that's what we do! haha And it was fun!

Well, that's about all that happened this week. Saturday night we went out with the Nielson's to Olive Garden (which was delicious and if you've ever been to OG with me, I ALWAYS get the Bruschetta... But not this time, I am branching out! I know, blows your mind right?! haha) Well, while we were there, Sister Nielson told us a story of when she was on her mission in London while they were filming the last Harry Potter movie. She had a story about her and her companion (mainly her companion) finding out when and where they were filming a part of the movie and they went and waited all day to just hopefully get a glimpse of and meet "Harry Potter." Ok, I was cracking up at her story because I felt like it was me with one of the bands that I love! I really wish I could tell it over email but I could never tell the story as well as her. BUT if you have the last Harry Potter DVD, she said that her companion was being chased by the security at the train station because she had her camera out. Well, I guess this chase is on the extras in the DVD. So if you've ever seen it, it was a Sister missionary in London who was being chased. I was cracking up!

Well, yeah, that's about all... Not more to say. It was a good week full of miracles! And I'm so happy for this coming week to happen. I don't know what will happen, but I know that it will be full of more wonderful things! :)

Oh, before I forget, Happy Birthday to my cousins Hayden Wheatley and Matthew and Jordan Tharp today. And to Jamie Webb on the 6th. I think that's all for birthdays this week??? And thanks to dad and Sam for your letters in the last couple weeks and mom, I did get the package from DB so thanks! :)
Love you all so much!

Love always, Sister Rachel Wheatley