Monday, July 29, 2013

Two baptisms, two miracles

I'm trying to write this email today in a record time. I have been at the family history center for an hour now but have had a lot to read and a lot to respond to. So I am going to try and hurry and write this. We have a lot to do today!

Monday the 22nd was a very good and relaxing day. I cleaned a lot while Sister Denney was taking a nap (she has been wanting to nap for almost a month now but hasn't been able to...) So it was just a very nice day!

Sister Ackley and Sister Wheatley
That night though we had an unexpected teaching opportunity. We had gotten our hair cut earlier and the Sister cutting our hair mentioned Navajo Tacos. There's a kid who just got home from serving in New Mexico with the Native American's and he's been craving them. Long story short, we said how we love Navajo Tacos so she decided to have a last minute dinner party. When we got there that night, we pulled up right after this former Elder and his family and out comes his moms co-worker who's not a member of the church. She has been coming to church for the last several weeks. She saw us and got nervous because Brother Smith forgot to mention that we were going to be at dinner also. Anyway, at the end of the night we watched the Mormon Message "I Am a Child of God." Very simple and very sweet. I love this video because it takes us back to the basics. So it was really nice to just watch that and discuss how we are Children of God.

Tuesday the 23rd we went through our area book and wrote down a lot of names of former investigators. That's mainly what we did that day, contacting formers and less-actives. It was really cool though because there was one name in the area book that had an address but when we went to her house, there was no such address (Thanks Tovey and Yoshi haha) So we decided to just go knock on all the doors on the street. No one seemed to know who this lady was and I was starting to get tired and really frustrated. We almost gave up when we walked up to a house and a lady came out. I asked if she knew the lady we were looking for and she said it was her. We told her we were the new missionaries in the area and we felt like we should stop by and see how she was doing and if she was interested in meeting with us again. She said yes and we set up a time to meet her on Thursday! We were so happy! Heavenly Father is so incredible! Right at the end when we were about to give up, He steps in and lifts us up! I was just so thankful for that!
Sisters Amataga, Denney, Lone Wolf, Sister _______ and Wheatley

And to end the day, we had a final lesson with Lone Wolf before his interview on Thursday. So it was a good day!

Thursday the 25th was a good day. We had district council and Elder Gracia tried to focus it more to the "newbies" since we are the only two "oldies" in the district but to be honest, I got so much out of it! I loved it! Everything that was taught is something that I have heard before but this time around, maybe since I'm close to the end, it really stood out to me. I'm so thankful that it stood out to me because I will really be using it these last seven weeks (can you believe that's all the time I have left?! It's blowing my mind!)

Sisters Lee and Wheatley
After district council, we had a lesson with the lady we met on Tuesday, Kathlene. We got to her house, knocked on the door, rang the doorbell and nothing. We stood there for a few minutes and tried calling her but she didn't answer. Really?! We were so bummed! We started to walk back to our car when I felt a prompting to knock on the door of the motor home that was out front. Someone answered and we asked if he knew Kathlene, he said yes and he went inside to find her. She came out and invited us in. We started by getting to know her and found out a couple things about her. One thing we found out is that she loves her father and wishes that he would have been more religious while she was growing up and before he passed away. DING! That sent a bell off in my head that said to teach the Plan of Salvation. Lucky for us, I had my PoS pictures still in my bag. It was such an incredible lesson. The Spirit was so strong and everything we taught she loved. It was just so amazing! She loved it and wants to change her life and be better. She wants to come to church and be an example to her sons. She wants it and she knows it's the right path to take. It was just amazing!

Sisters Denney, Ackley, Lee and Wheatley
We then met up with the Sisters because we didn't have money or food and we were hoping they would buy us all pizza for lunch and we'd pay them back when we get paid... We found them driving down the street so we followed them. We ended up getting some pizza an went back to the church to eat. We were sitting there all nice and enjoying our time when all of a sudden I looked at the phone (2:56 pm was the time), I saw a missed call from Lone Wolf and all of a sudden I jumped up and said, "LONE WOLF'S INTERVIEW IS IN THREE MINUTES!!! WE GOTTA GO!!!" Sister Denney and I ran out of the church like it was nobodies business and rushed to the Stake Center for his interview. We felt horrible that we were late! We got so caught up in being hungry that we didn't look at our planners. But we got there and everything was ok. Elder Hill and Elder Beard were there waiting and so was Lone Wolf. Elder Hill and Lone Wolf went off into one of the classrooms and an hour and a half later emerged out of the room. It was a very long interview but Elder Hill came out and later told us "He's solid!" I won't lie... If you know Lone Wolf, there are somethings that you'd be like "Really??" and so I was a little scared. But it all turned out wonderfully! We were so happy! Baptismal interview number one complete!

Then later that night after dinner and a lesson our investigator Christine had her interview as well. Hers did not last nearly as long as Lone Wolf's haha It was maybe 10 minutes. She walked out of the room and was beaming with happiness and said, "I PASSED!!!" It was just so cute. I can't remember if I told you all last week but Christine doesn't technically need to be baptized. But she's been coming to church for three years and wanted to be baptized so we got permission to go ahead with it. It was awesome! She was just so happy! I couldn't stop smiling for her.

Sisters Carrell, Denney, Lone Wolf and Sister Wheatley at his baptism 7/28/13
Friday the 26th was just a normal weekly planning day. But after weekly planning we had a lesson with potential investigators, Nacho and Carmen. We went there planning to just get to know them and share the Restoration with them. As we sat down, we asked if we could say a prayer and Nacho said no. We were all confused and then he proceeded to tell us why we couldn't pray. I'll be honest, I was so lost that I don't even know what his answer was. And that's because he pulled out some scriptures from the Bible and then kept going on and on and on about random things. I was so confused!! We were there for about an hour and we barely got a word in... It was not good. When we left, we said, "Ok, now that you've told us what you believe, we'd like to come back sometime next week and tell you what we believe." He said yes and we'll see what happens. If we can't teach anything within the first 5 or 10 minutes that we are there this week, we won't be there long.

And to end the night, we had a dinner appointment with a Sister in the ward at The Golden Spur. I've been driving by this restaurant for 10 months and have never gone in. We got there and walked in and it was a super fancy restaurant! We sat down, looked at the menu and there wasn't much for cheaper than $20, and those were just appetizers! I couldn't believe it! What were we supposed to do! We couldn't believe that she had taken us there! We asked her our limit and she said there wasn't really a limit... CHOKE!!! Obviously though, we didn't get anything too "expensive." I got shrimp and Sister Denney got steak. By the end of the night, after we had talked about a lot of things, we had mentioned that we were going to take half our food home because we were out of money for the month and we don't get paid til Wednesday. She was paying the dinner bill and she pulled out $40 in cash and gave us each $20! What was she doing?! This meal was already over $100 and she was giving us more??!! We were completely speechless. We didn't tell her that to have her give us more money! We were just talking and bam! We got more money! I don't tell this story to brag but I tell this story because the members here are AMAZING!!!! They will do anything for us and I'm so thankful to them. And it was just a blessing/miracle for us. I'm still in shock! We don't know what we will ever be able to do to pay back these members. They are just amazing!! I guess what I can do in return is just do the same for missionaries when I get home (maybe not $100 dinners but food/money of some sort...)

After dinner we went to Covina and met up with Sisters Ackley and Lee for exchanges. So Saturday the 27th that's what happened, exchanges.

It was a good day Saturday. We had only one appointment set up so we just did a lot more contacting that day. The one appointment we did have was with a less-active and it was such a good appointment! We brought Sister Miller, the Relief Society President and it just went super well. We read "The Psalm of Nephi" (2 Nephi 2:15-35) and talked about how she can trust the Lord. Her sons are taking the lessons and she wants them to be baptized but she's not being the best example to them. So we talked about it and it was just a powerful lesson!

Sisters Carrell and Denney, Christine, and Sister Wheatley at Christine's baptism 7/28/13
Sunday the 28th was an awesome day too!!!! We had TWO BAPTISMS!!!!! It was amazing! I don't ever know what to say about baptisms because they are just so spirit-filled. We were talking to Christine at church and she said to us, "You're gonna cry!" Yup, probably! I didn't cry while they were being baptized but while they were getting dressed, we had a testimony meeting and Bishop Lemmon called people up. I was so sure I was safe because I'm just a missionary but I was wrong! He called me up and I just started to bawl! I had so many thoughts running through my head that I wanted to say but very little came out. But it was nice to be able to bear my testimony. I take the opportunity as much as possible but this one was special to me.

I'm just so happy for Lone Wolf and Christine. They have been a long time coming! It was just amazing! I have been blessed with such amazing baptisms on my mission. I may not have one every month like our standards of excellence says but each one of the have been so special (as they all should be.) It's just awesome to be apart of this wonderful work. I'm so glad that I took these last 18 months (almost) to leave everything behind and serve the Lord. He always jumps in when we need Him the most. I just love this work!

I gotta go now! After talking and emailing back and forth with mom and Bubba, it has taken me almost two hours to write this email! I'm hungry and we have so much to do! haha

I love you all so much! Thank you all for your love and support and prayers. I've never felt more supported in my life!

Love always,
Sister Rachel Wheatley

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pioneer Day

Sisters waiting for exchange backs.  L to R: Sisters Brown, Allan, Wheatley.
Back, L to R: Sisters Luther, McGinty and Denney
Well, this week was a pretty awesome week so I will just get right into it! Monday the 15th we started our Pday early. The ZL's text us all on Sunday and said that they were going to hike the "A" in Azusa and wanted it to be a zone activity. And it was fun! It was the second time I hiked the "A" and it wasn't as hard the second time around. Although it was a little hard for Sister Denney and she looked like she was going to pass out some of the time so we took it really slow. I asked if she wanted to go back down but she kept telling me that she wanted to make it all the way. So we did... But got there right as everyone was coming back down haha But it was a fun hike. The rest of the night not much happened.

That night though we drove out to Arcadia to do exchanges! I was going to Alhambra with Sister Brown. And being in Alhambra means being in East LA because that's part of their ward... But that will be talked about next.

Tuesday the 16th on exchanges we had a lot of fun! I never got to serve around Sister Brown because she was "born" in Chino Hills and this was the first transfer that she's been out of the Chino zone (which is officially no longer part of the Arcadia mission.) They are partially "pink washing" the Alhambra ward so we spent a lot of the time going around to visit less-actives and actives. We did have a lesson though with a less-active/part member family. It was a hard lesson. The non-member girlfriend was asking all these questions and I personally feel like she was just asking them just to ask/bash in a way. It was hard. But in the end, we bore powerful testimony and told her that we can only teach her and she has to do her part. It was so powerful, how could she deny it now?! I'm sad that I wasn't able to go back this past Saturday to see how their follow-up appointment with them went. I hope and pray it went well!

Proof of being in East L.A.
Then for dinner we went out to EAST LA!!!! Yes, I was so happy! I wanted to go to East LA forever and I got to spend a little over an hour out there haha It's a sketchy area... Kinda scary! But I was happy :) We had to take a picture for proof!

Wednesday the 17th was a good day! We didn't get much done though because we had to go out to Glendale for a Dr. appointment and Arcadia. It started out with interviews with President Becerra. I was so excited to have an interview with him and I was all pumped going into it and then three minutes before I went in, I realized it was my last interview with him before my exit interview. I got SOOO bummed!! I told him that and he said, "Sister Wheatley, you can't go there." haha I know! I didn't want to. It just popped into my head :/ But other than that, it was a good interview. I love meeting with President. He always has the best advice. Basically we talked a lot about praying anxiously and following the Spirit. It was exactly what I needed.

Then we randomly got a text from a member in the ward who asked if we wanted to go to Chili's for lunch... Umm.... YES!!!!! He said that we could get the two for $20 meal and get RIBS!!! I was so happy! haha So we went :) I was very happy!

After that we went to Glendale, Arcadia and had a lesson that evening with a new investigator. I had this really cool experience though while I was sitting at the Dr. office waiting for my companion. There was this man who was in his 80's (a member of the church) that started talking to me and he told me so much about himself. After about 10 minutes he went back for his appointment and after he was done, he came back out and waved good-bye to me. The second he did that, I just felt this overwhelming love for him. It was so weird! But it was amazing! I never thought I could ever have all that love for random people. I just wanted to start crying! I feel lucky that I have been blessed with this new love for people.

After the 5K walk/run. (L to R): Me, Sister Denney, Elder Kappen and Gracia,
Sisters Staker and Hazleton
That evening we had a lesson with a new investigator. She was being taught in the 5th ward but found out that she was in our ward boundaries. She's friends with a bunch of members and has been taking lessons off and on for years. It was a pretty good lesson and then the members that came to the lesson actually know Kim from work and they took us out to Baskin Robbins. Yummy!!

Thursday the 18th was an ok day. We had a couple lessons that turned out well and then we went to a Relief Society service auction and dinner. It was a good time! I got all sorts of crazy trying to win things haha It was just funny!

Friday the 19th all we did was do weekly planning. We had so much to plan for. But that  evening we had a last minute lesson with our new investigator, Kim. She texted us and said that she had decided to not pursue the LDS church. We asked if we could meet with her and we had a lesson with her that night. She just had a lot of concerns and we helped her understand things better. She's still not sure if she wants to get baptized. So we are just going to be meeting with her to help her gain a better understanding about the gospel. But she's not ready to be baptized. It was a bummer to get a text like we did but we are glad she is still willing to meet with us. She said she just felt pressured in the beginning and she has some doctrine issues she needs to get through. So we're excited to help her!

Now I have to hurry... I don't like emailing so late in the day because all the other missionaries are around and I can never keep focus. But they all just left so now I think I will have some peace and quiet to finish emailing and have it make sense :)

Saturday the 20th was a very good day! We got up and went over to the stake center for the Glendora Stake Pioneer day 5k walk/run. I wanted to run but we were so sore from the hike on Monday and working out that there was no way we were going to run that thing. So we just walked. But it was so much fun! I got to walk with Brother and Sister Hartwig from the 5th ward most of the way. I really enjoyed it. It took us about 45ish minutes to walk the 5K but it was good!

If you walk into Pinnacle Peak with a tie on they cut it
Then that night we had a big picnic and that was awesome! I guess there weren't as many people there as there usually are but it was cool. It was neat to celebrate Pioneer day differently this year than what we usually do in Utah. Sister Ackley was on exchanges with Sister Chambers so she was there and we decided that we are going to come back next year for it (she served in the G3 ward last year at this time...) haha But it was fun!

Earlier in the day though, we had a really sweet awesome lesson with our two new investigators, Brad and Derek. They are sons of a less-active in the ward and Brad really wants to get baptized. He's really interested in the church but his father and grandmother have something against the church and won't let him. It's really sad. We can only teach them every other week because that's how often they are with their mom. It's just sad that some people are so against the church. But the lesson was great! They had a lot of plan of salvation questions so that mainly led our discussion. Plus they had a friend their with them that had a lot of questions! It was just awesome! To be teaching these teenage boys and seeing that they had all these questions was just neat! We gave them the challenge to exercise their faith by praying to Heavenly Father to have their father and grandmothers heart soften so they can be baptized. Plus it will get their mother back to church which would be awesome!

Sister Brown and I.  Long story that goes with the shoes...
for another time.
Sunday the 21st was just awesome! I have to say that one of my favorite things about being a missionary is going to ward council meetings. Growing up I always wondered what they were about and I get to go to them every week as a missionary. I love to be informed so that we can go out and help people whenever needed. It's just awesome! Plus because of the world-wide broadcast last month, the missionary work/efforts in ward councils are changing and Bishop Lemmon is on top of it! Yesterday I started to cry in ward council while he was talking about what things are changing and how we are going to be a more missionary focused ward! It was just awesome! I'm a little worried though because he said he's been bishop for five years and next month is stake conference. I'm worried that he's going to be released! He has the vision and I don't want to ward to lose that! I guess that's when the members need to take over and catch that vision too!

But it was a good day yesterday. This next week is going to be good also! We are planning two baptisms for next Sunday and we are so excited! Everyone in the ward is excited and we are hoping that this is the start of something new for the ward. They have always been a missionary focused ward but the last couple months it's kinda gone down but it's climbing back up! And I'm thankful that I get to be here to witness it! No missionary work can be done without the members. It's been hard without the members help but it's picking up again.

I know this church is true. I could never deny it!

I love you all so much!

Love always,

Sister Wheatley

With Danielle at Pinnacle Peak for dinner

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Crazy, fun, spirit-filled week

Hello once again! This week went by super fast!! I have a feeling that's how it's going to be for the next eight or nine weeks... I'm starting to freak out a little... But it's going to be a good eight or nine weeks!

Anyway, I guess I should probably get started on what happened this week... Monday the 8th was a good day! After emailing we had planned on having our district come to our house for lunch. Well, the district of six ended up being eight and then 10... So we had a few people over but it was fun! Sister Whitworth had taken her girls to EFY in the morning so when she came back there were 10 missionaries in the house and she pulled out popcorn and some crystal light and we had a party haha It was fun!

Elder Torrey with Sisters George, Wheatley, Ackley
After that we had dinner at the Powell's in the 5th ward and they had six missionaries! What started out as four has turned into six and may soon turn into 12! But they love feeding the missionaries every week. They are incredible!

That night was a rough night for a lot of the missionaries though. After dinner I talked to Sister Staker about some things that she's been going through and then we went our separate ways. But I kept thinking about things and decided to call her and we went on exchanges that night for a couple hours so we could just talk. They had a lesson with my dear investigator Amanda and I was so happy to go back and teach her! It was a good lesson. We taught the Restoration. The cool thing about having an investigator who's been going to church for several years is they already know everything. So we didn't have to teach her that much, she could have taught the whole thing!

Sister Amataga and I with our balloons
Tuesday the 9th was a good day! It was so weird though because it's really the first day where we actually were able to do our studies all the way through without having to stop for a lesson or a meeting. So we didn't leave the house til NOON which was weird... That afternoon we had a really AMAZING spirit-filled lesson with our investigator Gary. This was the first time I have met Gary. Sister Denney has told me a lot about him. He was in jail for a while and has gone through a lot in his life. But luckily for him, the jail that he was at is one out of two of the jails here in California that have LDS services. He went to them, read the Book of Mormon and has prayed and knows that the church is true. It is an amazing story! Sadly he has a lot of things that have to happen and be changed in order for him to be baptized so we don't know when it will be. But the spirit in the lesson was just incredible. You could seriously cut it with a knife it was that strong! By the end of the lesson we were all in tears! He wants to be baptized so badly. He just has to get things done and settled before he can be. We are praying so hard for him.

That night we also had a lesson with our investigator Lone Wolf. He was supposed to be baptized this past Saturday so we were teaching a lesson on tithing, fast offerings, and the law of chastity. Or that's what we were supposed to teach him. The lesson didn't go exactly as planned... We only were able to talk about tithing. We tried hard to explain to him how important tithing is and why we pay it before we pay anything else. Long story short, he didn't agree with it and was trying to explain why he would pay for "his general welfare" first. We tried to testify that if he would pay tithing first, he wouldn't have to worry about his general welfare. But he just wasn't understanding. A lot went into the lesson and by the end everyone could tell that I was getting really frustrated and I wanted to cry. But I held it back as good as possible... It was just hard! So we left that lesson knowing that he wasn't going to be able to be baptized this Saturday because we weren't able to get the other lessons/laws in and yeah... Sad day!

Sister Denney and I in our sweet-awesome new sunglasses
That night we got home and while we were planning, I heard Bishop Whitworth say "I'm going to miss the Sisters when they're gone. It's been wonderful having them here." I heard that and I started to cry. I have loved living at the Whitworth's house but their son was coming home from his mission on Thursday so we had to move out :(

Wednesday the 10th all we did most of the day was pack and move! After that we tried to visit people but no one was home. It's kind of hard to find people here in Glendora at home in the middle of the day, especially in the summer time. But we tried! At the end of the day, we went home and started putting our sheets on our beds and we got bunk beds and I was going to be sleeping on the top bunk. I got up there and two seconds later I fell through!! I almost killed Sister Denney!!!! haha Ok, not really but it was pretty funny! Needless to say, I am now on a mattress on the floor that I push in and pull out from under everyday so that I don't actually kill her during the night.

The Elders shooting at my camera
Thursday the 11th started out wonderfully when we slept through our alarm and didn't wake up til 7:10 am. Dang it!! And that just started the day off not right. We had a district meeting that went really well, we had district lunch late in the afternoon because the Sisters wanted to come but they had an appointment that ran late, and our studies that morning weren't that amazing. The two good parts of the day though were when we taught Lone Wolf and before we could even say anything, he apologized for his attitude on Tuesday and I guess talking about tithing just brought back some old memories of his ex-wife who apparently was LDS and he had this same conversation in the past with members of the church about tithing and it just didn't turn out well. So he was having somewhat of a dejavu (sp???) moment and took it out on us. But our lesson on Thursday went really well because he had thought about it over the next couple days and things went well! (He will now be baptized on the 28th!!!)

With my Poly sisters, Sisters Amataga and Fogavai
We also had a lesson with our investigator Christine that night. She's super cute! She's 19 years old but has the mind of an 8 or 9 year old. She's been coming to church for like three years and we got permission from the bishop to baptize her. So that's exciting! And she's really understanding a lot! She loves the church and loves learning. We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then read in 3 Nephi 27 about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We wanted her to read but she has a hard time reading. We took turns and Sister Denney and I read the first two verses. Then it was Christine's turn and she read and read and read. She read like 10 verses without stopping except to ask a couple words! It was amazing!! After she was done she said, "That felt good!" I started to cry because she then said the closing prayer (she also said the opening prayer). It was so cool! And her prayers are so simple and cute! Most of the time all she says is, "I love you. I'm excited to be baptized." I just love it! So that ended a weird day!

Then Friday the 12th came around!!!!!! What a wonderful day! We had a big MISSION PARTY!!!!! Just like last year! I was so stoked for it! A day off to spend with everyone in the mission to get mission unity. I love President Becerra for knowing that we need a day off to just chill. We first started with a conference and the Winward's, the Assistants, and the Becerra's all talked and then we had lunch, played games and went outside for some water games! I was so happy. Last year I was able to dodge all the water that came my way but this year I was excited to get right in the middle of it! By the end of the day, I was soaked! It was just fun! But then we got done at 6pm and we had to be back out to work! So even though President likes us to have fun, he makes us get back to work right away, which is totally fine with us :)

Saturday the 13th we got up and helped out at an Eagle Scout project painting red curbs at the high school, studied, ate lunch, weekly planned, and tried visiting members of the ward, less-actives, part-members, and potentials. No one was home! What the heck?! We were getting so frustrated! We don't know what's been going on. Every time we go out, we feel like nothing is happening. We try and try but nothing. So we sat and talked about it for a little bit and we are trying to find things that we can change to have better success. Yes, we have a couple baptism dates, and will set a couple this week hopefully *fingers crossed* but something isn't working and we really need to change whatever it is. This area has amazing potential but it's just getting it started is what's hard. We don't give up too easily but the last couple weeks have just been a little stressful trying to find new investigators and keeping follow-up appointments with them.
The Sister Trainers and my friends, Sisters Ackley, Wheatley, Carrell and George

Sunday the 14th wasn't much better. Of course we had church and that's always good but after church and dinner, we had a lesson with a new investigator, Emma, that we picked up last week. We went to go see her and she didn't want to meet because her family was coming over. She didn't know when they were coming so we asked if we could teach until they came but she didn't want to. Ugh, so frustrating! I just want to teach someone!!!

But we walked around for a bit yesterday and as we were trying to find a less-actives home, we walked past a home where a man was watering his lawn and we stopped and talked. He asked if we were from the LDS church and we said yes. I guess this guy is a less-active member but we don't have his records. It was interesting talking to him because you could tell that he wants to come back but somethings have happened in his life where it makes it hard for him. He goes to church with his daughter in Texas whenever he's out there and loves it but for some reason he can't seem to come out here. We talked and invited him to come back to church. He said he would come when he feels it's right for him. I testified to him that his Father in Heaven loves him and that we are always there waiting for him to come back. You could just see the sadness in his eyes. I just wanted to go up and hug the man. He told us we can come by anytime and get water and we will for sure do that (he lives right down the street from us...) It's sad to see people who have lost their way because of bad experiences in the past, especially when you can see that they want to come back but it's hard for them. I just want to help everyone who's in that situation. I don't like seeing people lost. It's too much heartache. I just hope that he finds the strength to come back soon. I know his life would be so much more blessed if he did!

I know this church is true. I know it now more then ever. I'm thankful for second, third, fourth, fifth, etc. chances that Heavenly Father gives us. He won't ever give up on us. We may give up on Him but He's always right there waiting for us to come back to Him. I know that Christ died on the cross for each of us and that He lives today. The same church that Christ set up while He was on this earth is back on the earth day and that is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know this with every bit of my heart.
I love you all and I hope that things are going well back home and wherever you may be. Keep the faith and don't hold back. Come back if you have lost your way and learn of Christ and His true church if you have not done so yet. I know it will bless your lives and those around you. It's blessed my life and it's blessed people out here in California who I have been so blessed to teach.

Love always,

Sister Rachel Anna Wheatley

Monday, July 8, 2013

Meetings, meetings, and more meetings!

Well, as you can tell from the email title, this week consisted of MEETINGS!!!!!!!! It was crazy! I don't feel like I got much done this week because of all the meetings we had. But I'll go quickly through the week and see what really happened.

Monday the 1st (Holy cow it's JULY!!!!) was a good day. We got a lot done, including going to buy a couple new skirts from a lady in the ward! (Yes, I spent some money but it's $30 less that I have to spend when I get home...) I am so sick of my clothes that these three new skirts give me a little more variety to wear. So that's nice! Then the rest of the day was spent relaxing and getting ready for a lesson we had that night with our investigator, Lone Wolf.

Exchanges with Sisters Chambers, Denney, Butler and Wheatley
We had a very good lesson with him that night. We talked a lot about the Priesthood and helped him understand the importance of it. We were lucky that we got to have this lesson as part of an FHE with the Lowry family who Lone Wolf has really come to love. We watched a Mormon Message on the Priesthood and Brother Lowry really helped explain a lot better and more than we ever could about it. The Spirit was so strong the whole night! And at the end of the night we asked Lone Wolf if he would like a Priesthood blessing. He is having a hard time getting over his smoking and coffee addiction so we thought a blessing would help him. It was really cool because there was so much said in the blessing that needed to be said. And Sister Lowry had a coffee substitute type thing that she gave to Lone Wolf to help him stop drinking coffee. So that was exciting! He was going to be baptized this past Saturday but because of his addictions, we had to push it back. So we are meeting with him tomorrow and we have a baptism scheduled for this Saturday but we'll see what happens. If it's not this Saturday, we have to wait til the 27th so we're crossing our fingers and sending up many prayers that he can be ready by Saturday.

4th of July District Fun.  Elders Kappen and Gracia, Sisters Denney, Wheatley, Staker and Roberson
Tuesday the 2nd we met up with Sister Ackley and Sister Lee to do a little exchange-a-roo. Sister Ackley and I are Sister Trainers together and we had a Leadership Training on Tuesday. I was so happy to spend the day with her. I want to be companions with her next transfer! Crossing my fingers on that one :) But it was a very good meeting. I learned so much! I remember when Sister Davidson and I were companions and she would go to these Leadership Trainings and she'd come back and tell me so much! I was so jealous that she got to go to these and I didn't but she would always tell me, "Don't worry Sister Wheatley, you'll be a Sister Trainer someday." I never really believed her but here I am! And I'm so excited! Not only do I get to go to these sweet-awesome training meetings once a month but I also get to go on exchanges with some of the Sisters and help them in their areas. Sometimes I wonder why me but I know that I was called of God so there must be a reason. And I'm so thankful for this opportunity that I have (at least right now... Thursday's Zone Meeting might have changed that but I'll tell you why in a minute...)
Elder Gracia adding to Sister Denney's drawing of the District

That night wasn't too successful, sadly. We had a dinner appointment and then we went to Young Women's because they were having a night where they were talking about missionary work and they wanted us to come and tell them how easy member missionary work is. They asked for us to bring some copies of the Book of Mormon and some pass-along cards so the YW could give them out to friends by the end of summer. It was a good night. They YW seem to be pretty excited about it!

And to end the night we had a lesson with our investigator, Christine. She's been taught for a couple years now but hasn't been able to get baptized til now. So we taught her the Plan of Salvation. She has a hard time paying attention and it took us a while to get her to concentrate but finally were able to do it and the lesson turned out great! We really felt the Spirit and she is understanding a lot more than she's ever been able to.
Wednesday the 3rd was another meeting day! But luckily this was a shortish meeting. It was only until about 12:30 in the afternoon but then we had to go to the office and get somethings done there and that took an hour and then we went to lunch and had to go home and do Sister Denney's 12-week program so we didn't get out to work until about 3:30 pm and even then we didn't get much done because people weren't home and I had a tiny melt down because of it. It was actually kind of funny, my melt down. Sister Denney couldn't stop laughing. I'm glad someone was laughing haha I was just frustrated because it was Wednesday and we hadn't been able to get much done so far and it wasn't looking too promising either ("oh ye of little faith" is something I guess you could say to me...) But it was a hard week thus far.

That night we started doing "splits" with the ward members and we went with Brother and Sister Linford. We couldn't do the typical splits because it was with a husband and wife but we just all went around together and tried visiting a ton of people but yet again, there wasn't anyone home :/ We kept going and finally at 8:00 pm we went to a less actives house and got in there. It was really cool! We talked for a while and then we gave a little thought on faith. As we walked away from the house, Brother Linford said, "Thanks Sisters for that thought on faith. That's something that Scott really needs right now." So that was exciting and at least something went well that day! :)

Thursday July 4th (FOURTH OF JULY!!!!) was a pretty good day! We had yet another meeting though. The zone leaders called me on Wednesday and asked me to take about 10 minutes to talk about some of the things we learned about in Leadership training. Elder Tovey told me what he wanted me to talk on and I wrote it down and freaked out a little on Wednesday because I was scared to teach but on Thursday when I woke up and did my studies, it just seemed to flow very well. The ZL's wanted me to come early so we could talk about when I would teach and when I got there, they showed me when I was talking and what I was talking about and I STUDIED THE WRONG THING!!!! I was so mad. I was so confident up until that point and I guess either I wrote it down wrong or I interpreted it wrong or I don't know what but what I had prepared was ALL WRONG!!!! I started to stress again! Dang it! But I left the room, said a little prayer and I was ok. The meeting starts and about 10 or 15 minutes into the meeting, Elders Garcia and Bangerter come walking it... THE AP'S!!!! Dang it all heck! I started to freak out again. I hate talking in front of large crowds of people. I like the more intimate settings. This was only a group of about 27 missionaries but it was too big!

Lunch with Sisters (and Elders, but they are taking the pictures): Sisters Wheatley, Ackley, Denney, and Lee
Well, long story short, it was my turn to teach and I got up and I feel like I totally botched it. I didn't say anything that I really planned and I could tell that everyone was kinda confused and bored. I even had a companionship walk out while I was teaching (turns out they got a phone call they needed to take but to me it seemed like they were bored haha) There was some good conversation while I was teaching but I sat down after and just felt sick because I feel like I failed. I've had a couple missionaries tell me that I did a good job and that it made sense but I'm still trying to figure out if they are just saying it because they are my friends and they want me to feel like I did a good job or if it's because I really did do a good job haha But that's why I say I may no longer be a Sister Trainer because I can just see the AP's going back to President saying, "Wow, why'd we call Sister Wheatley into this position, she's not a good teacher." haha But we'll see at the end of the transfer if I still have this calling :)

Not a whole ton else happened that day because it was the Fourth of July but it was a good day. We were invited to a lunch at the Powell's in the 5th ward and it was nice because I got to see tons of 5th warders there! And then the rest of the day was spent trying to find people at home, not a whole ton of success. We did have another lesson though with Christine and we finished the Plan of Salvation lesson. And after that lesson we met up with the district and went up to our pad and watched the fireworks from an empty lot by our place. It was so cool because there were about 20 firework shows going on that we were able to watch all at once because we could see so much of the LA county area. It was awesome! One of my favorite things to do is sit on a mountain side area at night just enjoying the beautiful scenery and to have fireworks going made it even better! I did miss going to the Stadium of Fire and watching that incredible fireworks show but I let everyone know every second what was more than likely happening in Provo whenever I would look at the clock haha But it was a good, fun way to end the night as a district!

Friday the 5th was pretty good! We had in impromptu District Meeting called and it turned out really well. We just talked about accountability and unity and how we can be better at those two things in our district. It was sad though because we got a new sister in our district on Friday morning. Sister Roberson sadly had to go home because of some health issues. We were all really sad! She was a good missionary and we all had fun together. But now Sister Staker is with a Spanish sister who is here waiting for her visa so she can go to Peru. So yeah, I guess that's pretty cool! Sister Staker will get to learn some Spanish, lucky her!
Then Sister Denney and I had a very long weekly planning session and in the middle of it we called the Elders and asked if they could come give us blessings. I was happy to be able to get a blessing. I'm not gonna lie, it's been hard to focus a whole ton as I am coming close to coming home. So I just felt like, after talking to Sister Denney, that it would be good to get a blessing. She needed one for some things that she's going through and we just both felt good about it! And they were wonderful blessings! I wish I could always be around great Elders who hold the Priesthood! But I am thankful that I have a wonderful father, brothers, uncles, cousins, grandpa, and friends who will be there for me when I need them after my mission. Receiving blessings are so wonderful! And they really helped Sister Denney and I this weekend!
A street in Azusa named "Durrell".  SO COOL!  I was hoping it would also be 2nd Street, but it ended before 2nd Street or that would have been REALLY COOL for Durrell II.

Saturday the 6th was a pretty good day. I went on exchanges with Sister Butler. She's about to go home but as a Sister Trainer I felt like I needed to go on exchanges with her. And it was a good exchange! We just talked about a lot of things and helped each other learn and grow. We had an amazing lesson with their investigator who's daughters were there for the weekend and the daughters really took to what was being taught and they asked a lot of questions. It was just a very spirit-filled lesson and they daughters are looking for more and they really feel good about what was taught. It was just so amazing and powerful!
All of Saturday was spent walking. I had to get new shoes last Monday because my other ones died and I thought I had broken them in during the week but not as well as I had hoped :/ I spent the day walking in these new shoes getting nasty blisters on my ankles. We had to stop at a grocery store at one point of the day and get me band-aids because the mole skin stuff that I was using didn't work :/ It was horrible. Now it hurts to walk with shoes on and I'm limping everywhere now so that I don't make my blisters worse...
Well, while I was on exchanges with Sister Butler, Sister Chambers was over in the 2nd ward with Sister Denney and they had some miracles happen and we got two new investigators! After the rough week we had, Saturday brought forth blessings!

And to end the week, Sunday the 7th was pretty good also! We had two investigators at church and it was Fast and Testimony meeting and the Spirit was wonderful! Plus the less-active that we saw on Wednesday night with the Linford's, he was at church! So it was a very exciting Sabbath day!

That night after dinner we went to visit a couple other less-actives and we went to this one apartment building and were about to go visit a member when this lady came out of her apartment thinking we were someone else. We talked to her for a minute and asked if she knew the lady we were looking for and she said no. We told her she's part of our church and she asked what church we are from. So we talked a little more and I asked if there was a time we could come see her and teach her about what we believe. She said we could and then I felt prompted to ask if she was busy right then and she said no so we went in and taught her a lesson! It was amazing! She's a very wonderful lady and we had a great lesson with her. The Spirit was there and she said we could come back and teach again. It was just amazing! I don't know how else to describe it other then that it was a miracle!

After a very long and not so successful week, blessings and miracle were brought  forth! I knew that would happen. It always seems to go that way. How lucky and blessed we were to just keep pushing on and following the Spirit.

Well, that's about all for the week. I decided to write this email first before all the Elders get here and I get distracted by their talking and it takes me four hours to email hehe And this time it only took me about an hour! They will be happy when they get here and I'm done!

I love you all and am so thankful for the love, support, and prayers! The Church is true! I could never deny it. I know it! I live it! I love it!

Love always,
Sister Rachel Wheatley

Well, there's not a whole ton that happened this week... It was a slow week for us in the Glendora 2nd ward. Sister Denney was telling me that this ward is super amazing and we have a lot of work but sadly this week didn't prove it. But that's ok because things started to look up at the end of the week.

We spent the day with Sister Staker on Monday and Tuesday before she went and picked up her "baby." Now I'm a grandma!! haha 

Well, we're teaching a young lady in the ward who has been coming to church for about three years. She's 18 years old but has the mind of an 8 year old. We talked to the Bishop and he said that he feels she's ready for baptism so we set a baptism date for July 27th! We are very excited! She's a cute girl who has a good understanding of the gospel and loves coming to church every week.

Sleepover at the Whitworth's
Thursday the 27th came around and we had a lesson with an investigator, Lone Wolf. We were going to teach him about Prophets and we watched On The Lord's Errand with him. He has a baptism date set for this Saturday and we were all excited going into this lesson. After we watched the movie, I was explaining why we need to have a Prophet in these Latter-days and he stopped me and said, "Are you trying to sale me a car?" What the heck?! That took me aback and caught me off guard and caught Sister Denney off guard too. We didn't know what to say. I was just trying to teach and testify and he tore us down! We walked out of the lesson all sorts of confused! So we are pushing his baptism date back.

And that night we went and helped out a family in the ward move to another house in the ward. They are a part member family and super nice. And then the next day, Friday the 28th we went back over to their house and helped unpack. It was very good because we really got to know Sister Crapo and it was just a very good time with her.

Sad that we couldn't be there when the BYU Soccer Team came to our home
Oh, one story real quick about Friday... So we are living at the Whitworth's from the 5th ward and their son plays on the BYU mens soccer team and they had a couple games here in CA this weekend. Well, the Whitworth's invited them all over for a pool party and they were on their way and the Whitworth's were running behind so we went out to help them. We started cutting chicken for the BBQ and all of a sudden the team walks in. We hurried as fast as we could and I turned around to wash my hands and they were outside getting ready to get in the pool. CRAP!!!! We needed to get out of there! So we hurried and washed our hands, ran to get something from the fridge for lunch and came back in when the door to our room was not only shut but it was locked! What?! Then we walk back out to the garage and stay there for a minute. We hear the door to our room open up so we went back inside. We walked in our room and I saw the light on in the bathroom so we hurried and ran back out to the garage and stayed there for a minute. OH MY GOSH!!! The soccers guys were in our room changing! Not cool because it was weekly planning on Friday and so we had a ton of crap on our beds so it looked like a mess. But the horrible part was just the fact that they were in our room changing... It was not a good thing. We hurried and grabbed our stuff faster than you've ever before seen and left for the rest of the day. It has ended up being funny but at the time I was just frantically running around trying to avoid the soccer team... We should have left earlier but we felt bad that the Whitworth's were so far behind getting ready.

A Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Splurge (Sisters Denney and Wheatley)
Well, I have to hurry (I've been on way too long emailing today) but I have to tell you of the miracle on Saturday the 29th. We got this referral from the Crapo's to go see a neighbor of theirs and Saturday we had a little extra time before dinner so we decided to stop by real quick. We didn't really think anything would happen (bad of us to think that...) and so we went. We knocked on the door but all we heard was yelling... Um... Is everything ok? We knocked again and waited for a minute and the door opened... Turns out he was watching the horse races because he used to be a horse jocky!!!! WHAT?!?! He told us that and I got so excited! At one point he even turned to his TV and said, "You see number 6? That's my brother." Ok, who just says that about a jocky?! I just thought that was so cool!!!! So we talked to him for a minute and told him the Crapo's and Moran's wanted us to come see him and talk to him about our church. We sat down with him and his girlfriend (who doesn't speak English...) and started telling him a little about the church. He told us he believes there  is only one God and he's not super religious but goes to church every-so-often. He then asked us what time our church starts and we told him 12:30 and he said, "Ok, we'll see you there tomorrow." WHAT?!?! Is this really happening?? This is one of those Ensign missionary moments that you dream about but it never happens to you. So we walked out of there kind of in a daze. We couldn't believe what just happened. MIRACLE!!!! We couldn't help but thank our Father in Heaven for the miracle that happened. And the coolest thing about it happened on Sunday the 30th...

Sisters Staker, Denney, Rachel from the YSA Ward and Sister Wheatley
We got to church and after long meetings and seeing everyone from the 5th ward that I love and miss dearly, we had a quick church tour with Felipe and his family. We couldn't believe that they were there. And his two daughters were super quiet the whole time and didn't complain. It was a little hard for Felipe because he had a horse accident and now has screws in his back and that's why he had to stop being a jocky. But he stayed the whole sacrament meeting and after he said how much he enjoyed it and he wanted to come next week and stay for longer. We walked out of the church with him and he asked for a Book of Mormon and a Bible so we ran and got one and he said, "I'm excited to read these." They walked away and Sister Denney and I were in awe. We still couldn't believe what was happening. We are meeting with him this week again and are so excited! We were talking about it last night and we really feel like he can be baptized in August. It's just an amazing miracle! I can't believe it but I'm so beyond thankful for it!

Sister Denney and Sister Wheatley
And also yesterday at church, during the 3rd hour because it was the 5th Sunday, we had a combined Relief Society/Priesthood/YM/YW meeting. It was all focused on missionary work and how we as missionaries can't do it alone. We really need the help of the members. There's a quote by President Hinckley in our Preach My Gospel that says that tracting is not effective and that we need the members help. And it's true. I've seen the difference of when we get members help and when we don't. We can't do this alone! We need your help! So wherever you live, help the missionaries! This work is really hastening and it's hastening fast but we can't spend 10 hours a day knocking because we'll be done knocking every door within a week. So that's not very effective. Please help the missionaries!

And yeah, that's about all that happened this week. It was just a very not-so-good week but by the end of the week, it was amazing!!! Good things are happening in this ward and I'm so excited to be apart of it!

I love you all and am so thankful for the love and prayers that I feel are coming my way.

Love always,

Sister Rachel Wheatley