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

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