Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spirit-Filled Tears

Well... I have to try and keep this email short. I promised Sister Staker that I wouldn't email for too long this week because I usually take a long time. Sister Amataga never cared how long I took but Sister Staker doesn't like it haha So I'm trying!

Leaving sticky notes with scriptures on them on the Elders' door
Last Monday the 22nd we didn't do much. Basically all we did was clean, clean, clean. It was crazy! I had to clean our carpet in our room because it has become so dirty. We tried to clean it before but never knew what to use but found something from the dollar store and it worked pretty good! So I was happy! And that's basically how we spent our Monday. But I didn't want to quit cleaning! haha It felt so good!

Then Tuesday the 23rd we got up super early and we went on a hike with a few of the Elders. I was so excited to go on this hike. We were hiking the "A" in Azusa and I have seen this on the mountain so many times and I thought it was going to be really easy. But we started and we weren't even half way there and I was already super tired! It was ridiculous! I almost gave up and just stopped. But I kept going and thankfully we made it and I didn't die. It was a beautiful morning and I was happy that we made it to the cross on the top of the huge mountain!

Then that morning we had a lesson with Anthony. We had to have the Elders who are also in the YSA ward come with us. We were teaching him the Law of Chastity and Brother Hatch wanted the Elders to teach it. And it was a good lesson. I'm just glad that I didn't have to teach the Law of Chastity to a 30 year old male haha
Sister Staker leaving sticky notes on the Elders' door
Then Wednesday the 24th we had a lesson with Jen. We haven't seen her in over a month and we didn't know what was happening. It was such a good lesson! We went in not knowing exactly what was going to happen. But I asked Jen where she stood and what she wanted and her answer was "I don't know what to do. I read the Book of Mormon and I don't see or read any relevance." That scared me when she said that. But then she asked what I read when I feel down or need something and so I pulled out Alma 7:11-12. And oh my gosh!! The Spirit came SOOOOOOO strong. Jen started to cry and she asked "Why do you always do this to me??" And it was just amazing!!!! I don't know how else to describe it. I wish everyone of you could have been there to feel the Spirit so strong. She said many other things but it was...gosh!! I wish I could take that lesson and bottle it up in jar and keep it forever.

Then Thursday the 25th.... That was a hard but good day. It was hard because.... Well, I can't say much but I found out that we have to postpone a baptism for one of our investigators. We had interviews with President and not even five minutes into the interview he told me something and I was in tears. I could barely handle it. But it's all good. Everything happens for a reason and things will be ok! I just went home after interviews and cried for a bit. But I didn't let it keep me down. Life throws curve balls and we catch them and throw them back to make things good. It's all going to work out in the end!

Sister Staker lost her name tag and so for now there are two Sister Wheatleys!

Friday the 26th was a pretty good day! Lots of weekly planning got done! Sister Staker came up with this awesome idea to do with the youth to help with their missionary work and so we went over that and put it together to take to our ward mission leader to see how we can present it to the ward council and the YM/YW leaders. Sister Staker is on fire! She has many great ideas and she's never wanting to stay more than five minutes at a place hehe She's great! And later that night, we went up to the Duvall's and there we were able to see the Salisbury's! I was so excited to see them. I have missed them so it was a treat to get to talk and see them for a bit.

Well, Saturday the 27th was a very awesome day as well. Our stake had the Mormon's Helping Hands in the city and we did so much! There were a good three hundred people there helping and we worked on homes, parks, and many other things. It was great because we got there just a couple minutes late and as we were walking to see where they needed us, the Whitworth's walked by and Sister Whitworth told us to come with their group. They were a very small group so it was good! And it was awesome that we went with them because the house we went to, we had to clean his backyard and pull weeds and after it was over (I wish I had gotten before and after pictures) we were talking to him and he asked what church we were from. He looked at my nametag and said "Oh! Mormons!" Yes, we are Mormons. And he said that he's always wondered what we believe and that he wanted to come to one of our services. So we took down his name and information and then gave him the Elders information and told him the Elders would contact him to get him to church. And he was very excited about that! So it was a wonderful service! And after we were done at his house, we went over and helped out Brother Nelson in our ward finish preparing lunch. And this stake does not skimp out on food. We had tostada's and tacos and it was just wonderful! It was the best tostada I have ever had! YUM!!!!

Hiking to the top of Azusa mountain

Then yesterday, Sunday the 28th, was one of the most spirit-filled Sundays I have ever had! It was the YSA ward conference and it was also the day they were releasing the Bishopric in the YSA ward. This Bishopric had been in for five years! So you can imagine how hard it was for them and every member of the ward to say goodbye. I was even in tears! I have only been serving in the ward for four months and I was bawling my eyes out. Our sacrament service took almost two hours compared to the usual hour and ten minutes. But it didn't feel that long. It was just amazing!! That's another experience that I wish I could bottle up and take with me to remember that feeling whenever I'm feeling down. Just too hard to describe. Bishop Ferrell, Brother Bell, and Brother Laidlaw have been amazing to work with. It's been a blast getting to know them. But the new Bishopric will be just as fun. We have Bishop Hatch (the YSA ward mission leader), Brother Blackburn and Brother Corbett. And they are all from the Glendora 5th ward!! So we don't have to miss them by not seeing them each week. Especially Brother Corbett. He has the most contageous smile ever!!! I was so happy that he is in the new Bishopric. Just awesome! And this new Bishopric will bring a lot of amazing things to this ward. Things are going to be kicking pretty darn soon! I am excited to work with these great men. Plus the new ward mission leader and his wife are also from the Glendora 5th ward, the Spencer's. So it's very exciting!!! We might as well just move the 5th ward and the 6th ward as one :)

Well... That' basically all that has happened this week. I'm trying my hardest to write a lot with good detail but also make it so I"m not on here too long. We're all going to the bowling alley right now to bowl so I better end here. I love you all! Thanks for your love, support, and prayers that I am constantly feeling.

Love always, Sister Rachel Wheatley

Monday, April 22, 2013

Hot milk!

Hello family and friends!

Sister Staker doing weekly planning
So I'm going to start off with a funny story... Last Monday we didn't have Pday because we were going to the temple on Tuesday so we were out doing regular missionary work. Well, it was cold and rainy and I had been craving hot chocolate for the longest time! So what a more perfect day to get some? Well, we stopped at McDonald's right before one of our appointments and I got some hot chocolate (Sister Staker got a slushy... Crazy girl! haha) I saw them put whip cream on it and I was bummed but I was going to drink it anyway. Well, we get to the church and we have about 10 minutes before our appointment so I started drinking my hot chocolate. I took the lid off first though because I was going to take out the whip cream. It was super white so I was like "dang, it already melted. Oh well, I guess I'll still drink it." I start to drink it and it did not taste like hot chocolate... What?? So I asked Sister Staker to take a drink and see what she thought. It didn't taste like hot chocolate to her either so she decided to dump some out to see if it was. IT WASN'T!!!! All it was was HOT MILK!!!!!! I was so bummed!!! I was so looking forward to my hot chocolate! But we couldn't go back to McDonald's because we had an appointment so we decided to go back after. Well, by that time we were needing to go to dinner so I didn't feel like asking for another hot chocolate, I just asked for my money back. I was so devistated!!!! haha I was so happy to get hot chocolate and then that didn't even happen :( But at least I got my money back!

Now to talk about what happened this week... Monday the 15th was a pretty good day. It was a little hard though because in our minds we were on Pday but we still had to work. So during the day we went to see Aunty Pam, our investigator. It was a very good talk that we had with her. She's not being baptized right away but we talked about when she would be baptized and she feels like it will come by the end of the year. So as much as we would love to see her baptized, we have to respect her decision and just keep teaching her. Then after about an hour, her daughter Amanda came home and she has a baptimal date for June 8th so we talked to her for about an hour. It was so nice because we are usually with the Hyer's with Pam and Amanda and we felt like if we could just talk to the two of them alone, they might open up a little more. And I don't know, I feel like they did. So it was just really nice to talk to them alone.

Then later that night we had FHE with the Hyer's and Pam and Amanda. It was a very good lesson about the 10 commandments. It was shorter than usual but it was tons of fun!

Doing weekly planning outside and I found a spider on me.... IT WAS NASTY!
Then Tuesday the 16th was, as you know, PDAY/TEMPLE DAY!!!! I was so excited to go to the LA Temple. I had only been to the Redlands Temple, which is pretty, but I was so dang happy to go to LA. And it was gorgeous!!! I loved it! I really learned tons of new things and really felt the Spirit. The only not so cool thing is that we had to wake up SUPER EARLY so we could be to the temple by 5:30 for the 6am session. But it was for sure worth it!

Then Wednesday the 17th was a very.... good and hard day! I don't like hard days! It started out by having a Sisters Meeting in Arcadia! That was so wonderful! I can't explain how awesome it was! I learned so dang much. It was weird though because we had SO MANY Sisters. Last year when we had a Sisters Meeting we were able to meet in the Primary room and this year we had to meet in the Cultral Hall. But it was fun! The Spirit was so strong and like I said, a lot was learned!

Then that afternoon we had a lesson with our new investigator, Rick. He has lots of questions and we were going into the lesson to teach him the Restoration. We prayed about it and thought this would answer some of his questions. But to be honest, he hardly let us speak. We'd start to say something and then he'd interrupt and start asking questions that weren't really relevent. So it was hard. I can understand that he wants those questions answered but it's hard to teach when he has so much knowledge and he won't really let the Spirit teach him. So we didn't get far in the lesson before we had to leave. And it was also hard because I would be in the middle of a sentence or I would have just asked a question and my companion would interrupt. She's so cute and has such a love for the gospel and just wants to share it with others. Something we learn as missionaries is to let there be silence in lessons and I asked this really important question and he was thinking and started to answer when she cut in really fast. I can't lie, I was not very happy with that. But that's something that I took with me to help as she is in her first 12 weeks and me being her trainer. But I do love her and she's a great missionary! She said some great things in the lesson! But we left the lesson and were late for our coordination meeting/dinner appointment at the YSA ward mission leaders house. I was already not happy with how our lesson with Rick went and being late to our meeting didn't make me any happier.
In the car: Sisters Sokolowski, Harker, Staker, Wheatley
After our meeting, we tried to go visit some people but I just wasn't feeling the Spirit. I prayed and took deep breaths and tried to focus and do missionary work but I couldn't. Then all of a sudden one of the Sister Trainers, Sister Harker, called needing to know where a good half way point would be between Glendora/Covina and Diamond Bar/Chino Hills and since I have served in these areas she called to ask me. And I'm glad she did! I talked to her for a few minutes and she asked how our day went and so I told her what happened. Well, after talking to me for a bit, she finally told me that there are those days when we just can't do anymore and that President told her once that it's ok to go get an ice cream or smoothie or whatever she wants and to go talk to a "ward mom" for a bit. So she gave me permission to do the same. And so we did. (But we couldn't get ahold of a "ward mom" so I didn't get to have that good convesation I wanted...) I'm not supposed to have sugar anymore (I talked to a nurse about some things that have been going on when I have dessert and she said to stay away from it) but sometimes I just need it! And that was one of those times! So we went to Wendy's and got ourselves Frosty's. I was so happy! I got an Oreo one :) And then we decided since it was 8:30pm to just go home and call it an early night.

One thing that did make my day though was when I needed to ask the Elders a question so I called them and they answered the phone with a funny "WHAT?!?" and I said something like "Fine, it's been a rough day and I didn't want to talk to you anyways..." But I continued on to ask them the question and then all of a sudden it was silent on the other end. I looked at the phone and they had hung up haha At first I was mad but then I realized how funny it was. They called me back and we couldn't stop laughing. So I guess that those two things, the ZL's hanging up on me and Sister Harker calling me to ask directions, even though they were small, they were tender mercies from the Lord after a rough evening.

At the LA Visitor's Center (L to R): Bro and Sis Fredericks, Rachel, Sister Staker, Sisters Sokolowski and Harker, Elders Stocks and Durfey
Well, not much happened on Thursday but Friday the 19th started out pretty funny! So... Thursday night we went to contact a former investigator for the singles ward but she wasn't there. As we were walking out, Sister Staker said, "Let's go knock on this door." (We had gone past it once before and she wanted to go but it was too late...) So we went. This 15 year old freshman boy came to the door and Sister Staker took the lead in talking to him. She shared a scripture with him and we had a good conversation and then we gave him our number and we were just going to tell the Spanish speaking Elders to go by another time. Well, Friday morning we got ready to start our weekly planning and we get this text from the 15 year old kid... "Hi. I was just wondering what the difference is between Mormons and Christians?" And so we gave him a simple but good expaination. He wrote back and said, "ok thanks! Are you the one with the pretty eyes?" WHAT THE DANG?!?!?! Ok, I don't want to sound mean but we laughed so hard! It was hilarious!!! And we didn't know what exactly to say right off the top of our heads without sounding rude so we were brainstorming what to say and not even two minutes later we get another text from him that asks, "are you in school?" UMMMM.... We hurried and wrote back something like "we are missionaries and we are here to teach about Christ. We can send Spanish speaking missionaries over to you if you would like but we are not here to flirt." And then we never got a text back. We were in shock the rest of the day. We didn't expect something like that to come from a 15 year old boy. Took us by surprise! But to be honest... I think Sister Staker is the one he is talking about ;)

Then that night we went to dinner at Sister Edginton's and as we were about to leave, Sister Edginton "Jr." came home and asked if we had any plans for the rest of the night. We told her not really and she asked if we could go over to the Bennett's and help them pack. Umm yes!! I had told Sister Bennett to call us three weeks ago if she needed help with their move and she never did. But Sister Edginton was able to see that she was in desperate need of help (her husbands new job is near San Fran and he was driving home Friday night so he wasn't able to be there.) There were a ton of members of the Elders quorum over there helping but we did small stuff while they did big stuff. It was fun! Especially because we were doing it in skirts so it was funny! But we were able to pack just about everything up that needed to be done that night and then the Elders quorum was going to go back the next morning and finish what was left. I'm just glad that we were able to help.

Not much happened on Saturday the 20th but we were finally able to have a recent convert lesson with Mackenzie and we talked to her about missionary work, especially within her own family, eternal marriage and the priesthood. It was a good lesson. We are just so happy that Mackenzie has such a strong testimony of the gospel and that she knows what she wants and the importance of it. She's amazing!

Then that night the YSA ward had a BBQ/Pool Party at President O'Bryant's house to jump start ward conference for next week (usually the BBQ would be this Saturday but we have Mormon Helping Hands so they wanted to do this before...) It was tons of fun! We had Tritip! Oh baby! It was delicious!! Sister Beck had told me earlier that morning that we were "having exactly what we had at the mission christmas party" so I knew what it was and I was looking forward to it all day! And it did not disappoint :) And it was fun to interact with the YSA members. I was just a little bummed though because everyone went to the spa after dinner and we couldn't go :( That's the only sad part about being a missionary... No spa trips haha But I survived! Maybe I'll just have to accidently shut off the water of our house sometime and have to use the pool to bathe... LOL ;)

Well, Sunday the 21st was a good day! All SIX hours of church was amazing! After PEC in the family ward, we had a church tour with Rick. We had Brother Benson come on the tour and it was a.... good tour? Again, he asked many questions that were hard to explain in a quick 15 minute tour before church started. And then he came to sacrament meeting with us and he was really closely paying attention to the whole service. It was super crazy though because guess what the talks were on this week.... The Great Apostasy and The Restoration!!! I don't ever remember those being normal subjects to talk on so the fact they were the topics yesterday was amazing! It's exactly what Rick needed to hear (in our opinion...) But after the service, more questions and not enough time... So we have a meeting with him on Wednesday but we are thinking that we might have to drop him. He's a very nice guy but we aren't really sure what he wants from meeting with us. In some ways it feels like he just wants to bash with us and in other ways we feel like he's sincere... So we aren't positive just yet... We are constantly praying for guidance on this one. But I think we're leaning more towards dropping him which is sad but we can't waste our time if he doesn't want it and we don't want to waste his time either.

Sister Staker and I in front of LA Temple
Then after the family ward (we finally got to go to all three hours because the YSA ward PEC got cancelled!) we went to the YSA ward. It was a wonderful meeting. Again, the talks were on the Great Apostasy and Restoration. Then at the end of sacrament meeting, Bishop Ferrell got up to give an announcement and he said, "I just want to make sure that everyone who's here today will be here next week for ward conference. Some major changes are happening next week and we want everyone to be here. And if there's anyone who used to be in the ward that is still around, we'd really like them to come too." I looked out at the congregation and a couple people just started crying. I even almost started crying. Then I looked over at the Bishopric and Brother Bell was crying! The Bishopric is being released next week! I obviously have only been in the ward for 4 months but gosh, I have grown to love the Bishopric and I'm going to cry next week when they are released. It's just sad. But now the speculations begin... Who's going to be the new Bishop of the Single's Ward??????

Well, we ended church a little early and had a baptism for a girl named Hailey (she was taught by the Elders.) It was such a wonderful baptism. The Spirit was so strong! Hailey was shaking so much and I asked her after, "was it worth it?" And she said yes. It was so cute! She was so happy!

Well, now everyone here is making fun of me for being on so long. Sorry I take so long on the computer.......... I feel bad but this is my journal.... Oh well, I'll just be done now.

Thanks to everyone who wrote me letters the last couple weeks (Ariel, Mark and Marta, Bekkah, and Michelle Gren.)

Gotta run and finish doing some major cleaning in our house.
Love always,

Sister Rachel Wheatley

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Trials and Tribulations

Good afternoon family and friends! Sorry this letter didn't get to you yesterday. I forgot to say last week that we were going to the temple this week so Pday would be a day late. And I really can't focus today for some reason so this might be really random and short... But it was a very good week so let's get started! :)

LA Temple - April 15, 2013
Tuesday the 9th started out and everything caught on fire and the world ended twice (sorry, that was my ZL Elder Gracia... I moved away from the computer and he got a hold of the keyboard...) Anyway, Tuesday was awesome! We had a really good lesson with our investigator Anthony. We talked about baptism, General Conference and the Book of Mormon. Anthony talked about how he's starting to gain a better understanding and testimony about modern day prophets. It was cool! Plus he talked about how he's leaning more toward baptism!!!! We are so excited for him. He's really progressing in the gospel and I can see a difference in him from when we started meeting with him to now. He really wants to change his life. He even asked us to text him the things that he needs to do in order to get baptized if he decides to take that step.

Later that day we had a tour/lesson with a potential investigator that Sister George met when we were at Citrus College the day we were together waiting for our trainees to get here. Her name is Deborah. She's super cute and TINY!!! We started out by giving her a tour but she had so many questions that it led straight into the Restoration so we just stopped the tour and had a lesson. She's super smart and really wants to know the truth. Sadly we can't meet with her this week because it's Spring Break... It was just a really good lesson.

Then Wednesday the 10th we met up with the Elders to finish a service project that we had been doing for a couple in the 1st ward where the husband had surgery a few months and it turned wrong and he has to have surgery again. It was just tons of fun. I really enjoyed it except for the fact that it was super hot!

During weekly planning session -- being silly
And then the rest of the day was pretty chill. We went knocking (Sister Staker wanted to go knocking so I told her to look at the map and choose a streety and we'd go there...) She chose the street Fountain Springs and things were going good! We knocked on four houses and decided to go to a members house to say hi. Sadly she wasn't home but as we were walking away she saw this house across the street and she said, "Let's go to that house." I said ok but as were walking up to the house, I noticed on the car a license plate cover that was from Azusa Pacific University. APU doesn't really like Mormons that well so I was a little scared but we went up anyway. And it turned out to be really good! The door opened and this guy says "Mormon missionaries!! How are you doing this beautiful day?? What message do you have for me today?" And we talked for a minute on the porch and then he invited us in. So he brought out an employee that was at his house so that we could come in and we ended up having an hour and a half long conversation. He asked us a lot of good questions and we tried to answer the best we could. There were a lot of things that he asked that we couldn't answer but we wrote them down and are learning about them so we can answer his questions this week when we see him. It was a very cool experience and we are excited to go back to see him this week!

Thursday the 11th we had a really good zone meeting! We learned a whole ton about teaching repentance and it really helped to know what to talk to investigators about. I just really loved it! I learned SOOO much!

That night we got a phone call from Sister Hyer that said that she needed to talk to us about something that had happened with Aunty Pam and Amanda. So Amanda wasn't supposed to go on trek with the stake because she was going with her parents out to Chicago to see her brother. Well, Amanda ended up going on the trek and her parents went out to see their son. I have to make this short but I want to tell all details. Anway, Aunty Pam and Uncle Bill were out in Nebraska after a baseball game and they were needing to go to dinner. Well, as they were on their way to dinner, Aunty Pam sees this sign that says "Mormon Trail" and she asked Uncle Bill if they could go but they didn't have time. They got to this restaurant but it was closed. Aunty Pam didn't say anything but all of a sudden Uncle Bill said, "Ok, where's that Mormon Trail??" And they went back. I wish I could explain it better but Aunty Pam told it so amazingly! I could not hold back my tears. It was a good experience for Pam and gosh, I wish I could have been there. PLUS!!!! Amanda had to move her baptism day UP to June 8th instead of June 22nd. So it was just amazing to have these miracles happen!

Sister Staker during weekly planning
Then Friday the 12th we had another lesson with Anthony... We taught the Word of Wisdom and it was hard for him to understand why we have such a commandment. But he made a commitment to us and to the Lord to stop drinking anything in the W.O.W. and also, Sister Staker was able to commit him to baptism. She started but wasn't able to finish so I finished and we committed him for May 5th! It was awesome!

LA Temple - Christus Statue
Then Saturday the 13th we had a couple way good lessons with a couple less actives. We talked about trials and tribulations with both of them. It was just amazing because the spirit was so strong in the last lesson. It's a sister who was super active but hasn't been to church the last couple months. We went over to see how she was doing and you could tell that she was not doing well. She was on the verge of tears most of the time we were there. I shared a thought/quote that I have in my scriptures about the atonement of Christ and it was just super powerful! It was interesting because I didn't really know why we were going to her house. I didn't know what we were going to say. But the Spirit really helped us we were meeting with her. I didn't feel anything super powerful telling me what to say but I have noticed that the way I receive inspiration is very soft and hardly noticeable. I struggled with knowing how I feel the spirit for the longest time but now I know that it's ok if I don't always feel the spirit super strong, as long as I try my best to say what I'm supposed to say. It was just so wonderful!

Well, I hope that this email made sense. There was a lot of talking today while emailing and I couldn't really focus so I don't know what was said...

I love you all so very much!

Love always,

Sister Rachel Wheatley and Elder G.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


WOW!!! Loved Conference SOOOO much! I feel like since I've been on my mission, I have enjoyed it even more than I normally do. I just hope that I can keep that when I get home. I think the difference is that we still have to get up and dressed and watch it at the church so it's not as easy to fall asleep as if I was at home in my comfy PJ's haha So maybe I'll start dressing up next GenCon haha

Getting our last Juice It Up together
So... I have to hurry because once again, the Elders are here waiting for computers. But this time it's our ZL's and they aren't as loud as the other Elders a couple weeks ago haha Not much happened on Monday April 1st. It was April Fool's Day but nobody got fooled by anyone (that I know of...) In some ways I was thinking that the AP's would call and be like "Oh, we April Fooled you all a couple days early. Transfers really aren't happening..." but that didn't happen :( LOL So we took Sister Amataga to the office in Arcadia and we said our goodbyes and then Sister George and I were on our way to spend a the next 24 hours together. And it was SO FUN!!! I sadly have not served around Sister George and so I was excited to get to know her a little and work together. That night we went over to the Hartwig's and had dinner with them and the Hill's. Oh my heck!! We were in stitches all night. We've had dinner with both families together before and it's just always so much fun! But we then had a really good spiritual thought about Christ and His resurrection since the day before was Easter. Brother Hartwig gave some really good insights, especially because he had watched that series they had on TV about Christ's life. So it was really cool to have that thought with them. I just love this ward so much! I have loved serving in the areas I have served in because I just some to love each one of the members so much.

Then Tuesday the 2nd was good too! We did the booth at Citrus College and had some really good contacts there. We did the booth with the Elders and it was funny because the Elders who are now in the singles ward, one of them just got transferred in and while we were at the booth, their phone rang and it was the AP's. Before Elder Taylor answered, he said, "I'm being transferred..." He answers the phone and sure enough, one of the Elders coming in that day didn't show up at the airport so there was a big emergency transfer going on and Elder Taylor was one of them being moved. He was not happy! He served here a while ago and he was excited to come back to his "old turf" and serve. But sadly he got moved out to Rowland Heights. It was just funny that he totally called it!

My "mission aunt" Sister George and I
Then 3:30 pm came around and Sister George and I were in Arcadia getting ready to meet our trainees. It was funny because we were having a really good time together and we got off the exit in Arcadia and all of a sudden I was like, "Wow, I really have to use the bathroom. I'm so nervous." And Sister George laughed and said she had just been thinking the same thing. We were doing totally fine, we were super excited actually, and then getting off at the exit just made us super nervous. So we got some training done by President and the AP's and then we went into the High Council room and met our trainees. It was very exciting! But at the same time, so scary! We were in charge of these newbies. If we messed up their training, we might mess up their whole mission. I was scared! haha But it was all good! I was even more excited when Elder Nielson, one of the AP's who I served with in Chino Hills, when he called out my name, it said it all funny because Elder Lindsey started saying my name with a funny accent and so now everyone in the mission says my name that way. Anyway, I just started to laugh and it made me super happy!!

My "Baby" Sister (Trainee), Sister Staker -- love her!
So, my trainee... Her name is Sister Staker. Her dad was in the Army so they moved around a lot (I never knew Army people moved a lot because we just stayed in one place haha) But most recently they are living in Erda, Utah. Where you ask?? Yeah, that's what I asked too haha It's a super small farming community in Tooele County. So yeah... That's cool! Sister Staker is a fireball when it comes to sharing the gospel. She's not afraid to talk to anyone and "get in their face" of sorts. It's awesome! haha I wish I had been like that when I was being trained (Sorry Davo...) She's super cute and on fire! Oh, and she's only 19 YEARS OLD!!! I feel so old compared to her LOL  But it's all good! So we went home that night, went to dinner at the Butler's and then we went home, she unpacked (she only brought ONE SUITCASE!!!!!) and then President told us to have them all go to sleep early and no daily planning that night. So Sister Staker went to bed but I stayed up writing in my journal. It was nice (although I didn't get much written because Sister Carrell called to tell me about someone we met her first day in Chino Hills who murdered someone last week... SCARY!!) So yeah, it was a good day that ended very early but it was good! haha

Then the next morning, Wednesday the 3rd, we woke up and I realized WE GET THREE HOURS OF STUDY TIME!!!! I was so happy! I miss those days. I love studying! So I wasn't too sad about that :) Not much happened on Wednesday. After our studies, lunch, and daily planning, we had to go to the Powell's to get an updated ward list and then I had a dr. appointment in West Covina to *cross my fingers* get my dang warts off my finger. Then we just did a lot of contacting. Sister Staker was so excited to go door knocking so we walked for a few hours until it was time for dinner. And then that night we had a coordination meeting with the new Elders in the YSA ward.

Thursday the 4th we had a good District Meeting. We have a new DL, Elder Carpenter. He made DM super short but then we had a really good discussion about some things and then we did role plays :/ Not my most favorite thing to do... And after lunch we were supposed to have a lesson with our YSA investigator Claudia but she had a meeting with her school counselor and after it, she never showed up. So we were totally bummed! Sister Staker especially because she was looking so forward to teaching a lesson. Sad day!

Then Friday the 5th was a very LONG day! We had training in Arcadia for the new trainers/trainees. It was so good though! I really enjoyed every second of it. Except for the part where we split off and the trainers went with President Becerra and Elder Garcia and pretty much every other companionship who is training, they had all these super cool experiences with their newbies and we had a lesson bail on us. That was hard to hear... But that's ok because miracles are going to happen for us and they are going to be amazing! It's just going to take time. I believe in miracles and I'm not giving up on giving my trainee a super awesome experience! During some of the training though, I was just super down but by the end of the day, I was super happy and felt better than ever!
Me with Sisters Ackley and George

So just a little something about my trainee and what happened Friday night. Well, my trainee is pretty awesome. She reminds me a little of me but at the same time she's not like me. She's quiet in some respects but when it comes to sharing the gospel, she is all up in peoples faces haha We'll knock on a door and she just shoves herself super close to them. It kinda scares me because I don't want them to hate us but it's good too. We went "knocking with a name" on Friday night and when we knocked on this one house, the lady said she doesn't really believe in God (her husband has pretty much brainwashed her) and then Sister Staker just gets super close and reads John 3:5 to her and we had a really good talk with her. She's Korean and spoke very little English but we had a very good conversation with her. So it was cool to see her so happy and enthusiastic that night while tracting.

Well, I forgot my notes for General Conference :( But like I said at the beginning of my email, I LOVED it!!! I went into Conference with a question in mind and prayed that I would get it answered. And sure enough, I did! And it for sure was not in the way I thought it would be. But at the same time, the way it was answered was totally obvious! I was like "well duh... Why wouldn't  it have been that answer?" So I was very happy about that! The two talks that stood out to me though were of course Elder Holland's (Love that man!) and Elder Eyring's. (I'm going to be embarrassed if I got that one wrong but didn't he talk about missionary stuff) I just loved that they talked a lot about missionary work. I loved it! And it really needed to happen. It's always so wonderful when the ward members involve us with their friends and stuff to get to teach them. Sadly there isn't a whole ton of that going on though. So I'm hoping that with the talks on missionary work, it will get all the members of the church to do more. I know it's a scary thing, but it's easy. People always say they don't know non-members. I could maybe believe that living in Utah but out here in California, I have a hard time believing that... I don't want to be mean by any means but yeah... There are so many non-members out here, it's crazy! So I just hope that we can better help the ward members with their missionary work.
Sister Lehman took my rooster when I left it at Cheryl's

Oh! The one thing that just made me laugh so hard was during the broadcast, at the bottom of the screen before it started, there was a Twitter hashtag, #LDSConf haha I just laughed so hard inside! It was awesome! :)

Then after conference we had a super good less-active thought with Brother Paul. We go see him every week or so and it was just a good conversation. We talked a lot about centering our lives around Christ and things we can do to do that. It was hard though because he has a wall up that is hard to break down. He feels like some things have happened to people in his life that shouldn't have happened because "they were good people." Anyway, long story short, we asked if we could say a prayer at the end, and he always says yes but here's what got me... He said Amen at the end. He has NEVER said Amen before. I was so shocked!!! But it was so cool! We just hope that we can help him to come back and to answer some of the questions he has.

Well, that's pretty much everything that happened this week. It was a good week! I wish we had had more success with it being Sister Staker's first week but that's ok. It will come eventually!

Love you all so much and I will talk to you next week!

Love always,
Sister Rachel Wheatley :)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Just call me Momma Wheats

Good afternoon dear family and friends! I don't have much time because I have to still go grocery shopping (it's been a very long day with transfers...) so I really just need to get going and write as fast and little as I can, yeah right!!

First of all, I was going to keep this til the end but decided to just tell you now... I'M TRAINING!!!!!! That's why the title of this email. I really am freaking out a little right now. I'm nervous and scared and excited all at the same time. I know that Heavenly Father trusts me enough or he wouldn't have me be training but man, it's just a scary thing right now. I'm not sure who my companion is yet. I will find out tomorrow at like 3:30 pm. So tonight and tomorrow I am spending time with Sister George who's from Wyoming. She is also training so we get to spend the day together. She's my "mission Aunt" so that's fun! I haven't gotten to know her yet so it will be a fun time to get to know her a little more.

Waiting for transfer calls: Elders Robinson, Garcia and Bucholz
Well, I guess I will get started with what happened this week. Tuesday the 26th we did more service with the Elders at a members house who had surgery a couple months ago and he's having some bad reactions and other various things happen with it so we went over to help out. We did a lot of phone calling and contacting the rest of the day so not a whole ton fun. But it was nice to get out in the garden and pull some weeds (no mom, I did not just say that...) I just HATED the nasty spiders. I killed a ton but there were just so many. It was gross!

District picture (L to R): Elders Robinson, Garcia, Yoshikawa, Erikson, Newton and Sisters Amataga and Wheatley
Then Wednesday the 27th we had a last minute lesson with our investigator in the singles ward, Anthony. Things are going well with him. It was last minute and we had a lesson at 1:30 so it was going to be a very short lesson. But it ran over. Oh well... Turns out it was ok because our next appointment had to do some things before we were able to go anyway. So that was nice. But our lesson with Anthony went really well! We talked about baptism and he was a little hesitant because he feels like he's already been baptized by proper authority. So we talked a little more about it and asked him to pray. It was just a really powerful lesson and I'm so thankful for the Spirit that was there. It really helped us during a time where I didn't know what to say. Just like it says in Doctrine and Covenants "Open your mouth and they will be filled." It's so true! Sadly he wasn't able to come to the YSA ward yesterday but his friend/co-worker who is in our ward said that they went to the family ward in the morning and he's really working on finding out if this is the true church and if he should be baptized. I know that a good thing will happen with him. We just have to keep helping him and things will all work out!

Then Thursday the 28th was a good day. We had a very good district meeting and had fun together for our last meeting of the transfer. Our District Leader is going home tomorrow so we were all able to give "eulogies" for him and that was funny. He is such a comedian that it was just a funny thing to do. And after that we had a lesson with our new investigator in the singles ward, Claudia. She's friends with a girl from the YSA ward who is on her mission in SLC (it's a Facebook mission so she's been able to stay in contact with Claudia and teach her some things over the internet. It's interesting how she was sent to that specific mission and because of it she's been able to teach her friend...) Anyway, we finally got her information so we could actually teach her in person and it was good. We can tell that it's going to take some time to move towards baptism for her but that's ok. We have to take things nice and slow but I think that will be good for her and us as missionaries. Sometimes we just need to slow down a little. So we are excited to teach her and she's excited to learn from us.

Friday the 29th was good. We usually do weekly planning but once again, it didn't happen for as long as we would have liked. We had a lesson with Jen in the morning so we parked our car at the church (No Car Friday) and walked to her house. We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it was super good. We also talked to her about baptism and she wants to be baptized! She just needs to talk to her husband and do this all together. It was very cool to have a good lesson! We love going over to teach Jen because everything we are teaching her, she's thought about and it just makes all the sense in the world to her. So that's awesome! Sadly they weren't able to come to church yesterday though because their baby girl didn't have a good night and finally at 8am she went to sleep. But church started at 9am. But hopefully they will want to come to General Conference this weekend (which I am SUPER excited about getting to watch!)
Last night as companions...Sisters Amataga and Wheatley.3-31-13

Saturday the 30th we did service again at the Elder's in the 1st ward. They went to Utah for their daughters wedding and our Zone Leaders decided that we'd all get together on Saturday and just plow through the garden and get it all done before they come home this week. It was a wonderful project and it was so much fun! Even though a couple of the Elders there were a little lazy... LOL ;) But it was fun to have one last service project, all of us together as a district. And that night we got together and waited for our transfer calls. It was a very weird night. It was fun but the transfer calls... Not expected. During the week, during lunches, I would start packing and getting things organized because I was SURE that I would be the one transferred. I have been here for almost six months and I just knew that I was leaving Glendora. But calls came and I wasn't the one leaving... It was Sister Amataga. She's going out to Diamond Bar (she's going to be in Mama J's ward!) And, like I said at the beginning of the email, I'm training. So it was an unexpected transfer call. And it was really hard on Sister Amataga and I. We have gone through so much together and we have grown to love this ward. Dang it! Why do we have to get so attached sometimes to people and places. It's so hard! But, it has been a wonderful four months with Sister Amataga and I know she will do wonderful in Diamond Bar!

Sister Amataga talking to AP for her transfer call.
Sad day :(
And as for me, well, I'm just sitting here breathing in and out a whole ton hoping to do well with the newbie. I don't want to ruin her LOL It will be a very fun adventure and I know that I wouldn't be training if Heavenly Father didn't trust me. I am so thankful for that knowledge that I have, that we are never given anything that we can't handle. I know that this experience will just help me grow even more as a missionary and as a person. And even though I'm nervous, I'm looking forward to it! Good things are going to come. And I had a good trainer myself so I'm going to take what I learned from her and apply it!

I know that this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ restored to the earth through Joseph Smith. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet today and I'm so beyond excited to hear him and the Apostles speak this weekend. I know that Jesus lives. I know Heavenly Father lives. I know that we were all sent here to this earth to go through life with trials and triumphs and that we can return to live with Them again one day. Christ died for each and everyone of us and He DID rise again (so thankful for the Easter holiday we had to remember His resurrection). I'm thankful that I'm a missionary at this time to go out and share that with others. This is the best news ever!

I love you all so much!

Love always,

Sister Rachel Anna Wheatley

PS - Thank you to mom, Bekkah and Renata for your letters/packages this week. And Happy Birthday to anyone who's celebrating. Love you all!