This week was another slow week. It was hard to find people to teach and when we found people, they weren't interested. It was hard! But like the title of this letter says, Heavenly Father always sends a miracle our way at the last second.
Tuesday the 13th was a very good day. We didn't have much success in finding new investigators but we had very good conversations with former investigators. Sadly they weren't interested but you never know, they may become interested again in the future.
|Amanda at her baptism with Sisters Wheatley and Amataga|
That night we had dinner with the Tashjin family. They are a cute young couple that got married about 9 months ago. I think this dinner has stood out to me the most because the whole time we talked about mission things. We talked about the work in the Pasadena ward and we talked about Brother Tashjin's mission in Haiti right before it was closed off to foreign missionaries. He told of all these experiences that really changed him and converted him completely. You could tell that he didn't just go through his mission but that he let his mission go through him. It was something that I hope one day people will see in me. At the end of our dinner, we showed the Called to Serve video clip from the Work of Salvation broadcast. During the song, you could really see that he was reliving his mission. He told us at the end what that song means to him and it was just totally powerful! We gave them a commitment to pray about giving a Book of Mormon out to someone they know who will need it. I wish that I could explain it better over email but it was just amazing! I have had wonderful dinners that stand out to me but this one was just incredible! I want all dinner appointments to be like that one. That's what should be happening at dinner appointments with missionaries, sharing mission experiences and getting members to do missionary work again.
Wednesday the 14th we had a dinner and lesson with our investigator Jessica and her returned missionary boyfriend, Ian. Jessica is so ready to be baptized. The only thing holding her back is the fact that she's not sure how to tell her family and friends that she wants to be baptized. She is worried that they won't accept her. We had a very spirit-filled lesson with her and we thought for sure we could set a date with her. Sadly, by the end of the lesson, she didn't want to set a date. So we compromised... We gave her the commitment to tell one person a week, family or friends, that she is meeting with the missionaries. We know that as she does this, she will feel that burning desire in her heart to be baptized sooner than next year (that's when she's thinking...) It's hard to tell family and friends, I can only understand that. But we know that as she makes this a matter of prayer and faith, miracles will happen for her to be baptized in the next couple months.
Thursday the 15th we had a really amazing zone meeting. We talked a lot about revelation through the Holy Ghost. I have had this lesson multiple times as a missionary. I have heard it over and over. But this time it really hit me! I can't put it into words what was said or felt but as we did our role play, the Spirit was so strong, like it should be in all lessons. I couldn't believe that I was finally "getting it." Why so close to the end of my mission am I finally understanding things better? I really wish that I could have understood sooner in my mission. But now that I do understand, I have to work harder and better than I have in the past and teach Sister McGinty to "get it" and not let herself learn these things too late in her mission (although she already is a freaking amazing missionary...)
|Sister McGinty warming up from coldness inside....90 degrees outside and freezing inside|
Saturday the 17th we had a very busy day. We got up early, well... I guess we got up at usual time but didn't have time to go running because we had to be at a Multi-faith service project by 8am. We were there til noon and we didn't do much... There were a LOT of missionaries there so Sister Carrell and I along with some Elders sat at the Red Cross station the whole time talking and helping as people came up. So it was very relaxing but didn't know what we were really supposed to do even though we asked many different people.
After that we went to visit our investigators, Jessica and Reggie, and try to sit down with them to talk about the importance of the Book of Mormon and reading it. We have not been able to really sit down with them because things have been crazy in their home the last couple weeks. We met with Jessica one day and gave her the challenge to read Alma 32 on faith. I thought it was easy but she hasn't read it yet. It's really sad because this family is so amazing! They have so much potential in the gospel but things keep getting in the way and they don't understand how important sitting down with us to learn about the church is and how it will help them. They have met with missionaries multiple times before but things just get in the way. So we left on Saturday having set up another appointment for Tuesday. We hope and pray that this appointment we can just talk to Reggie and Jessica without any distractions. It's hard because they have five kids and they are struggling with work and things but if we could just sit down and teach them, I know that they will be blessed if they listen and follow Christ's footsteps.
|Sisters Amataga and Staker, Amanda, and Sister Wheatley|
at Amanda's baptism
After that, we had to hurry and get lunch, go to the family history center to finish up my talk for Amanda's baptism and head out to Glendora. We had to get a ride from a member in the Pasadena ward and we left at 3. The baptism didn't start til 4 but I wanted to get there early to say hi to people and since I was talking, I wanted time to sit down and not stress. Leaving at 3 pm and Pasadena only being about 20 minutes away, we didn't get there til 3:50!!!! Serious?! We never even figured out what was making traffic so bad but I was starting to freak out and you could tell Aunty Pam and Amanda were too when I walked in so close to the start of the baptism.
Amanda's baptism was amazing!! The spirit was so strong! Sister Amataga and I sat right behind Amanda and Sister Hyer and Aunty Pam were sitting across the aisle when we started to sing the opening song (I can't remember what it was) but Amataga and I did the wrong thing and we looked at Sister Hyer and Aunty Pam and they were in tears so of course, the two of us started bawling our eyes out also. This baptism has been in the works a long time. Many miracles have been brought about for this baptism to happen. I wish I could name them all but there are just too many. The biggest one is that Uncle Bill had his heart softened in December and lowered the age for Amanda to be baptized. If that wasn't a miracle, I don't know what would be. It was just amazing the miracles that have come about these last nine months.
|The very famous Honey Boba smoothie that Sister McGinty talks about!|
After the prayer, I gave the talk on baptism. I always freak out when I have to write a talk. I stress out and never know what to say but eventually it comes. This one did not come! WHAT?! It's Amanda's baptism, why was it not coming?! So I just went up and had to wing it. It wasn't exactly what I wanted to say but I know that it's what Heavenly Father wanted to me say. I'm so thankful that Amanda wanted me to give her baptism talk. I love that girl so much!! Each baptism is special and this was no different!
Amanda was then baptized by Matt Hyer, Sister Hyer's son. It was so cool to witness this miracle.
Amanda came out after and she just looked beautiful. She is a gorgeous girl but there was something different about her and it was the fact that she just entered into God's kingdom by making covenants with Him. It was so cool to see the difference in Amanda from teaching her to baptized. She has this beautiful glow and I know that she is going to be a light to all the people that she comes in contact with the rest of her life. She is going to make a difference, especially in her family.
Sunday the 18th was when the last second miracle happened. These last two weeks have been hard but Sister McGinty and I decided to show forth our faith and fast for a miracle to happen that day, and it did! We had dinner with a family whose son is less active and his wife is not a member. The mother wanted us to work with them but knew that it was going to be a while before anything happened. At dinner, we shared a message about the Plan of Salvation and then looked at their wedding pictures. After we got talking about church because they have come to church for the last three weeks. Larissa said that she loved it! She feels at home and that's what she has wanted in a church for a long time. Aaron said that he has missed the church so much that he went up to the bishop yesterday and asked for a calling. Long story short, Larissa is wanting to take the lessons and we set one up for Wednesday evening. Gosh dang, Heavenly Father. You really do come in at the last second! I was starting to get sad because it was Sunday and nothing yet... But He did it once again! Sister McGinty and I were so happy! This is why we are here on our missions, to bring others unto Christ and it means so much to us when people want to learn and are thirsting for that truth!
I know that the church is true! Yesterday was just another proof to me of it! I love this gospel with all my heart. There is no where else I'd rather be than here in the Pasadena ward in the California Arcadia mission at this time. It gets hard and there's no saying it doesn't. But miracles like yesterday and Saturday make it all worth it!
I love you all so much!
Sister Rachel Wheatley
Sister Rachel Wheatley