Monday, May 27, 2013

Long, hard, and rewarding

Well, we've been at the Family History Center for two hours now and I'm barely getting started on this email. I got kicked off at one point so I have to hurry because we are having a zone activity and I'm so excited so I have to write like a wind storm.
Monday the 20th was an OK day. We went contacting in the early part of the night and then had a lesson with Pam that turned out good.  Then that night we got home and I got a text from Sister Salisbury that made me hyperventilate. She said that the tornadoes in Oklahoma were moving toward Arkansas and I got scared for Daniel. I started to cry and wasn't having a good night. It had been a couple of harder days and so this just made me really scared. Sister Staker talked to me for a few minutes and then she suggested we say a prayer. After the prayer I was feeling a lot better but was still crying so Sister Staker suggested I get a blessing from Bishop Whitworth (we live with their family now.) It was really cool because the blessing he gave me was incredible! Everything he said really gave me a lot of comfort and I received some really cool personal revelation! I really needed the blessing and everything was just perfect! Then it was cool because we walked back into our room and I looked at the phone and it was 10:57 pm and I got a text from Sister Salisbury from 10:54 pm that said she felt like everyone was going to be OK. So I thought it was cool that she sent that almost immediately after my blessing from Bishop. So I was able to sleep well that night but the next day I was completely exhausted and barely made it through.

Tuesday the 21st we had a six week training program meeting and like I said, I was so tired! I couldn't pay very much attention but I got some awesome things out of the meeting.
Wednesday the 22nd was just crazy! I'll try to keep it short... We had a lesson with our investigator Rick but we were going to drop him. We had Sister Hartwig come with us and she asked a couple questions to know how Rick was doing with his reading and learning. He said some things where then Sister Hartwig said exactly what we were going to tell Rick but it made it so much easier for us! He kinda got mad and then we told him that everything Sister Hartwig said was exactly what we were going to say. Then I went off on him a little more and I had a very hard time but had a very cool experience! I told him some things that were on my mind and why I was out on my mission and this was really the first time I have ever seen him quiet for more than 3 minutes. I even said something like, "Rick, this lesson today is to tell you that we can't come back because you aren't doing anything that we ask. We can't keep coming over here and wasting our time, your time, and our members times. We aren't coming back Rick." And at the end of my "rampage" he said, "OK, I want you to come back. I'll read 100 pages in the Book of Mormon. I want to continue to learn." And we left the lesson with my eyes puffy and a return appointment. It was cool but it was so hard! But at the same time, I felt this huge weight lifted off my shoulders. So we are going to go back this week if we call him on Tuesday and he says he's read. But if he hasn't, we won't be going back. We feel like he could really want to be a member of the church and to learn for the right reasons but this will really show us what he wants.
Thursday the 23rd I was lucky enough to be able to have a meeting with President Becerra. Before we went to see Rick on Wednesday, literally everything was going wrong! We got keys and Sister Staker's backpack and scriptures locked in the FHC and we couldn't get someone to open it til 9:00 pm, one of our potential investigators didn't show up at the appointment we had AGAIN, and just a bunch of other things! It was just ridiculous! So I called President and on Thursday I met with him. He talked to me about prayer and gave me some really good scriptures to read. At the end of our meeting, he told me we would find two new investigators by Sunday night! So off we went and I was ready to work! It was awesome!
Not much more happened the rest of the week. We did a lot of finding and talking to members. We took a member of the singles ward who is preparing for a mission out with us on Friday and we had a very awesome time! She is going to be a wonderful missionary! It was just a lot of fun and we made a lot of contacts. But that's about it. We didn't have too much more happen this week but what did happen ended up being amazing! We tried hard to get those two new investigators but sadly, everyone has their agency :( So we didn't get anyone. But we worked hard and I'm really looking forward to this next week! It's going to be good!!
Well, sorry this email is a little shorter and not as detailed as usual. It's been a crazy couple of hours here with 12 missionaries talking and trying to email. It's been fun but now it's time to get going to our zone activity. A set of missionaries got their car taken away today :( so we have to take three Elders with us wherever we go today haha
Gotta run! Love you all so much!
Love always, Sister Rachel Wheatley

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

No cool email title

The Big Tree Park for lunch.  Sisters Wheatley, Carrell, Allan and Staker

Well, I have no cool email title because not a whole ton happened this week. And we got back from a Sisters hike way later than we thought today because of the nasty traffic so I have to hurry and write this email.

To start off, Monday the 13th was a good day. It was the first day of the new transfer. We didn't get transferred but we had to move to a new home because there were Sisters "Pink washing" another ward and they needed to live where we were. Well, we were running around all day because I didn't think it would be crazy but it was. We were late for dinner and that wasn't cool. But we got everything done (except we had a bunch of stuff in the car for a couple days...) And later that night, Sister Staker and I went on splits again. We had three lessons to teach in two hours. It was crazy busy. But it was really good. Sister Staker went with a YW in the ward, Julie, and taught an FHE with an active family and then went to our investigators home, Pam and Amanda, and taught a lesson there about one of the YW General Broadcast talks, Be Not Moved. And she said that turned out really well. And for my lesson that night, we went to teach Jen. I felt very impressed to talk abotu Esther and the courage she needed to go talk to the King. We watched a Mormon Message about it and it was just a super powerful lesson. The Spirit was so strong!
Beautiful Christus in LA Temple Visitor's Center
Then Tuesday the 14th... Oh my gosh, crazy day! Things were going so well in the morning and then we were meeting up with our investigator Anthony and his friend Valerie and we were going to go to the temple visitors center. Well, we were supposed to leave at 2pm but we didn't even end up leaving until like 6pm. We went out to dinner together and then traffic was horrible and crazy things happened the whole day that we had to keep pushing it back. We were lucky that we didn't have any set plans all of Tuesday so we were flexible. We almost didn't go because it was just too crazy and it was getting late but as Anthony and Valerie were driving away, they stopped and then Anthony rolled down the window and said, "We just need to go today. If we don't go, Satan wins." And it was so true! Everything that was happening, was Satan's way of making it so we wouldn't go. But we defeated him and I'm so glad we did! It was late and got dark but we went and had a great time! We took a little tour in the Visitor's Center and then we just walked to the temple and touched it. I wish we could have spent more time on the grounds but because it was dark and it was already like 9pm, we had to go. But it was good that we got to go because I think that helped with Anthony's testimony. It was his decision and it was wonderful!

LA Temple Visitor's Center. Sisters Wheatley and Staker, Valerie and Anthony
Wednesday the 15th was a good day. Not much happened but we finally got to meet with our recent convert, Mackenzie. It had been a couple weeks since we saw her and it had been about a months since she came to church last, we were getting worried. But we had a great lesson with her and then told her about a 13 year old girl we met who wants to take the lessons who goes to the same middle school as Mackenzie. We asked if she would be willing to help and come to lessons with us if we get permission from her parents to teach her and Mackenzie was very enthusiastic about it! We think it will really help her in her own testimony. (Turns out they know each other and see each other every-so-often in the halls!)

That night we had dinner with the Elders, and two members in the YSA ward, Matthew and Andy. Can I just say... Couldn't stop laughing and having fun the whole time we were there! And Matthew makes delicious food! We had tacos with a delicious chicken and carne esada! DELICIOUS!!!!!! And the guacamole was to die for!

Thursday the 16th we had District Meeting. It was awesome (and kinda weird) because our district got split into two districts and now Elder Gracia is the DL over four sisters and his companion. So it's a very small district but fun! We talked about diligence and the importance of being diligent in our work. It was a very good DM.

Not much happened Friday the 17th but after a couple hours of studies and weekly planning, I needed a break so we called Sister Carrell and Sister Allan and we went out to lunch together. We just bought pizza and ate at the Big Tree Park but it was so fun! I love spending time with other Sisters, even if it was just for an hour. I love Sister Carrell! She makes me laugh so much! I decided this is going to be a very fun but dangerous transfer with the two of us :)

Saturday the 18th we spent the day tracting and visiting members. But that night we had to help out at the YSA regional activity and that was fun. We played games and it was a very small group. There were only about 20 people, if that, that showed up and we just went from room to room playing games and helping out.
Then yesterday was a wonderful day! We had a wonderful PEC were Sister Staker introduced her idea to help get the youth involved in missionary work and everyone was so on board with it! Of course the YW leader wasn't in this meeting so we had to go to another meeting later last night and introduce it to the whole YM/YW board and they also all loved it. We wanted to do it in June because that's the only "open" month without major activities but as we discussed it, everyone decided that doing it in August/Spetember would be better because of what it involves and not being in school might make it a little harder. But the cool thing about it, the Bishop now wants to do it ANNUALLY!!!! And everyone is for that. So Sister Staker's sweet-awesome idea is now going to be done every year in the Glendora 5th ward! And they are making it even better and bigger (this ward does not go small on things like this...) So she's way excited about that.
Well, yesterday in the YSA ward, our investigator Anthony came and he brought his daughter. He gets her every other weekend and he usually brings her to church or they go to the family ward. Well, when he brings her to our ward, they usually leave after sacrament or the second hour, but yesterday they stayed for all three hours PLUS the linger longer! it was awesome! I was so happy because I feel like it helped Anthony and his testimony grow. Cute Alyssa didn't want to be there but she survived and didn't complain. In fact, she gave great answers in our Gospel Principles class that we teach. So that was cool! It just made me happy that he stayed so long!

And yes, that's about all that happened this week. Not a whole ton but it was a good week! It was especially good after we pushed the Adversary out of the way and got to the temple! That just made it all better :)
Well, I have been HORRIBLE at wishing people Happy Birthday the last couple months. I'm sorry! So for all those who have had bdays and I have neglected to give you a wish, consider this my apology and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!! :) Love you all!

Gotta run!
Love always,
Sister Rachel Wheatley

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Glendora again...

Well... Transfers were this weekend and I'm still here in Glendora! At the end of this transfer I will be here for NINE months! It's pretty exciting!

I'll have to hurry and write this week because we are moving to a new place and we have lots to do.

Monday the 6th was a very good day! We had to do splits because I needed to go to the YSA FHE and we also had a lesson with Pam and Amanda. Then we had FHE with the Jacobson's. It was a good night. The YSA FHE was good. We did a farewell party for the old Bishopric and we just kept laughing the whole time they were telling stories. So I was glad I was able to go.

Tuesday the 7th we had a lesson with Anthony in the morning and we watched the hour long Restoration DVD. Then we talked about Joseph Smith and asked him to pray about Joseph. After his prayer, which was super awesome!, he looked right up to the pictures in the room of the temple and stared at it for a minute and then said "When can we go to the temple?" So we are planning on going tomorrow! We are excited! (As long as we can get someone to take us...) And his baptism is scheduled for June 2nd! Things are going good for him!
Sister Staker and Sister Wheatley on Mother's Day at church
Later that day we went and visited a less-active, Brother Paul, and found out that he was having some tests done for his heart the next day so we read in D&C 121:7-8. It was a good meeting with him. He said that if he came out of his testing and things were good, he'd come to church on Sunday. Sadly he wasn't feeling well Sunday so he didn't come :( But close! When we first started meeting with him, things weren't going so well but it is now so we are excited! Hopefully this next week he can come!

Talking to my family on Mother's Day from the Salisbury's home in Glendora
Wednesday the 8th we had a lesson with our investigator Rick. We went in thinking this would be the lesson where we would see if he really was interested in learning to be baptized or if he was just meeting with us to "bash." We didn't get much accomplished with that because he dominated the whole conversation. It was not good! We left feeling horrible! But Sister Staker wants to go back this Wednesday because she feels like he really is interested. But I don't feel good about it. So we're still praying and if she really wants to go back, we'll go on splits. I just don't feel like we should go back. We leave every time feeling down in the dumps. So we'll see.

Thursday the 9th we had an incredible zone council all about faith! It was something that we all needed. Everyone left that council feeling so uplifted!

Then we had a lesson with our investigator Deborah in the YSA ward about baptism. It went really well and after the lesson, before the prayer, Sister Staker invited Deborah to be baptized and she said yes! So we are planning her baptism for sometime in June (haven't set a date yet...)

The rest of my siblings and their "spice" (spouses) watching the video call
Well, to be honest, not much more happened during the week. Saturday the 11th was Sister Staker's birthday. She got a couple packages from friends and for breakfast all she had was candy... Then she got super sick the rest of the day. We went to dinner at the Benson's and she just did not feel well. She could barely eat anything. I felt so bad!

Then yesterday, Sunday the 12th, such a wonderful day! The Spirit was so strong all day! I had the opportunity to sing in the YSA ward with one of the members. We sang "I Stand All Amazed." I was nervous before hand but I said a prayer  and things were going well. But then when we got up there, all of a sudden I got something stuck in my throat and I totally messed up! I was totally embarrassed! It was sad. But oh well... It wasn't HORRIBLE!!! But it wasn't good. But it was fun.
Sister Benson and Sister Staker -- Birthday Buddies

Just being a little weird with cupcakes and frosting on Sister Staker's Birthday
Then the rest of the night we didn't do much haha We went to the Salisbury's and that's where we had dinner and then got to TANGO call home! I was so happy!!!! But that's about it haha 

Well, that's about all... This week is going to be another good week! Things are going wonderfully here! And to end this email... Just for Sister Carrell's father who is probably reading this... SISTER CARRELL IS BACK IN MY DISTRICT!!!!! I'm so happy if you couldn't tell :)

Well, it's time to go to our zone activity. Sorry again if this is not a good email. But it was a pretty mello but awesome!

Love you all so much!

Love, Sister Rachel Wheatley

The cake I made for Sister Staker on her birthday

Brother Salisbury from Glendora taking pictures of me while I am on the video call for Mother's Day

Pictures from the "Tango" (kind of like Skype) video call home for Mother's Day


Monday, May 6, 2013

Can't Complain!

Well, this was a very good week! We had a few lessons cancel which was a total bummer but we ended up having a total of 5 lessons. I know that doesn't sound like very many but trust me, that's a lot for us! haha

To start out with what happened this week... Monday the 29th was pretty fun! We went bowling as a district and that was fun! It was an unlimited amount of games for two hours for $10. So it was pretty good. By the third game though, Sister Staker and I were done so the Elders decided to hurry and finish our last hour or so of bowling. They were just doing silly bowling moves and Elder Howell did this super funny one and he got a STRIKE!!!! It was awesome! I even got it on camera and would totally send it to you but for some reason I can't send videos. But it was awesome!
Then that night we had a FHE with the Hyer's and Bramschrieber's. We talked a lot about the Iron Rod, obedience, and repentance. It was a super good lesson and the spirit was super strong. It was exactly what was needed for everyone.
Bowling with the Elders (L to R): Elders Carpenter, Bucholz, and Howell
Tuesday the 30th we got all ready for the day and then the Zone Leaders texted everyone saying that because it was the last day of the month and because no one was even close to reaching their finding goal for the month of April, whoever found a new investigator that day would get lunch bought by the ZL's. So I got all excited and joking around I told Sister Staker that we would find someone! So we went throughout the day doing a bunch of stuff in the morning and early afternoon and then we decided to look in the area book. There was a name on there that I knew because of some members who live on the same street and so we decided to drop by this house. I have to admit, my faith wasn't very strong when we were walking up to the house. I didn't think she would answer and I definitely didn't think she would let us in. But guess what... Heavenly Father showed me!! She did both! We were so excited. We got in and talked to her about her family and got to know her a little bit and then we gave her a DVD called Together Forever. (Found out last night that we accidently gave her the wrong one but hopefully it will be ok...) Anyway, long story short, we talked a lot about families and then said a prayer. It was such a nice little conversation! Then as we were in our car, Sister Staker and I looked at eachother and realized WE GET LUNCH FROM THE ZONE LEADERS!! Not gonna lie, we were happy! BUT we didn't go in there remembering these things which was good that we weren't thinking about it during our lesson.
Then that night we went and had a lesson with one of the young women in the ward who was wanting us to teach her to help her learn a little more. It was fun! We talked a lot and had some good conversation. We really enjoyed ourselves and love that the young women are wanting to learn more.
Wednesday the 1st (I can't believe it's already MAY!!!!) we did a lot of service with Elders Bucholz and Carpenter. Their investigator is moving and she has a TON of stuff to pack and move but she broke her foot a few months ago and can't be on it for too long. So that was fun to do.
Thursday the 2nd we met with Anthony and we decided to push his baptism back til the end of the month. He's still trying to gain a testimony on Joseph Smith and President Monson so we thought we'd give him some more time to pray about it and to have more lessons.
Sister Staker being funny!
Then that night, a small miracle happened! We were just about to go home because we weren't able to get the 12-week program done earlier in the day because we were so busy but before we went home, we decided to go past a less-actives house who just moved in. As we pulled up and said a prayer, I looked up and this man started walking up to the house we were going to. Thanks to the LDS Tools and Brother Nelson in the ward for showing me a picture of this guy during ward council, I knew that it was the same member we were going to go see. So we got out of the car and Sister Staker yells his name. He turns around and we talked for a good 15 minutes outside his house. (Ariel - if you are reading this email, it was Richard (Sister Frederick's son) from the Diamond Bar ward... If you remember him...) It was cool because he thought the Bishop sent us over. He kind of did but turns out Bishop was coming over that night to visit with Richard. So it was really cool that we got there right before the Bishop and also right as Richard was walking home from work. So trying one last house before we called it a night and it just happened to be right at the perfect time! It was awesome!
Then Friday the 3rd we woke up super early and went to help out in seminary. We had to teach on why memorizing the scripture masteries are so important. It was the perfect lesson to teach because I was able to tell them really why it was important. I don't know most of my scripture masteries so it was good to give a different view. Now it's just time for me to memorize them all. Only a few months left and I want to memorize them. haha We'll see how that goes!
Another little miracle that happened that night... We went through the area book and found another name that Sister Staker wanted to stop by. We wrote her down for Wednesday but never got the chance to go. So Friday she said she really wanted to go. It was going to be our last stop for the night also. We pulled up, said a prayer, and knocked on her door. She came out and we introduced ourselves and ended up talking for about 10 minutes. She's not completely religious but is interested in learning more. The miracle part... She has three daughters but is no longer with their father and this weekend was her off week. She had just gotten home from work or something and was just on her way back out when we caught her. She told us that next week she'd be available to meet with us! We were so excited! It was truly another miracle!
Sister Staker and I at Big Tree Park
Saturday the 4th we didn't get much done... We spent most of the day with the Elders again helping their investigator finish the rest of the packing and loading on the truck. She had SO MUCH stuff! It was crazy! It was almost never ending. But it was so fun! She got rid of a whole Uhaul truck full of things and she still had more! It was crazy! But we didn't stop laughing almost all day. It was lots of work but it was good! She was very appreciative and it felt good to help her.
Well, I just want to end with a quote that I've been meaning to send in so many emails for a long time but never wanted to type it because it's so long. But the last couple weeks we have been sharing it and one of our investigators wanted me to email it to her and some of the ward members wanted a copy so I finally decided to type it up today. So now you all get it too! It's a quote about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It really changed my perspective on Christ's Atonement. There are some lines in there that hit me hard and it's just my most favorite quote ever! So I thought you all might enjoy it as well!...
“We know that Jesus experienced the totality of mortal existence in Gethsemane. It's our faith that He experienced everything – absolutely everything. Sometimes we don't think through the implications of that belief. We talk in great generalities about the sins of all humankind, about the suffering of the entire human family. But we don't experience pain in generalities. We experience it individually. That means He knows what it felt like when your mother died of cancer – how it was for her, how it still is for you. He knows what it felt like to lose the student body election. He experienced the slave ship sailing from Ghana toward Virginia. He experienced the gas chambers at Dachau. He experienced napalm in Vietnam. He knows about drug addiction and alcoholism. On a profound level, He understands about the hunger to hold your baby that sustains you through pregnancy. He understands both the physical pain of giving birth and the immense joy. He understands about rape, infertility and abortion. He understands your mother-pain when your five year old leaves for kindergarten, when a bully picks on your fifth grader, and when your daughter calls to say that the new baby has Downs Syndrome. He knows your mother rage when someone gives your thirteen year old drugs, when someone seduces your seventeen year old. He know the pain you live with when you come home to a quiet apartment where the only children are visitors, when you hear that your former husband and his new wife were sealed in the temple last week, when your fiftieth wedding anniversary rolls around and your husband has been dead for two years. He knows all that. He's been there. He's been lower than all that. He's not waiting for us to be perfect. Perfect people don't need a Savior. He came to save His people in their imperfections. He is the Lord of the living, and the living make mistakes. He's not embarrassed by us, angry at us, or shocked. He wants us in our brokenness, in our unhappiness, in our guilt and our grief.” (Chieko Okazaki, Lighten Up, 1993)
Well, it's time to get off and go deep clean our place. Sorry I have been horrible the last month with wishing everyone Happy Birthday but hope that the April birthday peeps had good days!  I love you all so very much!
Love always,
Sister Rachel Wheatley