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

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