Monday, September 9, 2013

This is it!

Alrighty everyone, I'm starting my last week as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the California Arcadia mission. I can't believe this time next week I will be in my exit interview with President Becerra. It's crazy! But it's been good! Next week when I'm home I will have to write a blog post about this coming week and my full testimony and experience here. But for now, I will focus and work hard to make this one of the best weeks yet!

Last Monday the 2nd we didn't do much. We have a couple in our ward, the Kohnle's, who do our laundry each week (yes we are beyond spoiled by them) and they invited us over to do crafts at their house. The other Sisters started making Plan of Salvation cut outs and I just sat there and helped. It was fun to just have a very relaxing and enjoyable Pday.

Tuesday the 3rd we were invited to the Pasadena Community College institute to get involved. Sister McGinty and I had been thinking about doing a booth over the PCC but didn't know if they had an institute. We were very excited when we met the secretary at a baptism last week and she invited us over. We go there so excited because we are wanting to get involved but come to find out, it's not in our ward boundaries :/ So we really have to see if it will be worth our time to do a booth, especially because all the young single adults we would meet at PCC would be going to the YSA ward in Glendale. So we still have to see if it will really be worth our time.
After that we had a very long talk about what we wanted to do to help  the work in our area. Every time we go to do something that we think would be a good idea, it turns out to not be in our area or a big waste of time and it starts to become discouraging. It's hard to find in our area right now and it's sad to say that because Pasadena is a really good area. We don't know what to do..
Wednesday the 4th we made a goal to talk to 10 people that day. We had to run to the post office during lunch and we ended up talking to two people there. What a good start to our day! And it was really cool because both people that we talked to either have talked to members or have a brother in-law who's a member. It was really cool because they were both super nice and knew a lot but also had some misconceptions that we were able to clear up. It was awesome!

Sadly right after that we went to our investigators house and we dropped her and her family. It was really sad because we love this family and know  that good things can happen for them but they have no desire right now. She told us that straight up. She said that she wants to have a desire but there's too much going on in their lives right now for them to have a sincere desire and to act on it. And that's the really sad part. They are having troubles and if they only could see that the gospel would help them to have a better life. They aren't married yet and it seems to me that they are having "marital" problems and I just can see that if they had the gospel in their lives, they'd be happier. So it's really sad. But we left a drop note for future missionaries to go back and see them in a few months or so. We'll see what happens.
After Jessica's we went to visit a former potential from a couple years ago. They had gone to a Gladys Knight concert at a church and had gotten info on the church and were then referred to missionaries here. We have tried them a couple times before but they were never home. Sister McGinty got this feeling we should go there and we sat at the door for a few minutes and just didn't feel like we should leave. We knocked a couple different times and finally the husband, Tyrone, came to the door. He was really nice but his wife wasn't home. We stood at the door talking for a few minutes about different things and getting to know him and he told us that we could come back the next day. This was a serious tender mercy from the Lord. After just dropping someone, we had a very awesome experience with him! We were so thankful!

The next day, Thursday the 5th, we went back to Tyrone and Yomi's at 6:30 pm like he told us. Yomi usually is back from work by then but not that day. We stood at the door again and it was cool because Tyrone answered the door and was so thankful that we came back! So was I! Sadly, like I said, Yomi wasn't home but we talked some more and made an appointment for this coming Wednesday and he said he'd make sure she was home. So we are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping for a miracle family with them this week! We both feel really good about them!
Friday the 6th after a very long weekly planning session that we didn't finish until last night, we had a lesson with our investigator Larissa and her husband Aaron. When we teach Larissa she never has questions for us and is very quiet so we were a little worried about how she's been understanding. We decided to teach a lesson on what a testimony is and have a little review. So we talked a little and asked questions and to our surprise, she really does know a lot! She's just quiet! haha So we were very happy about that! She is really progressing well and are excited for her to be baptized. Sadly she won't be baptized til October 19th though... That makes me sad because I won't be here but it's going to be so good because she husband Aaron will be able to baptize her!
Saturday the 7th we went on exchanges. I stayed in Pasadena with Sister Mattingley and Sister McGinty went to the Creekside ward with Sister Ackely. Not much happened for us on Saturday. We did have a lesson with a less active but that's about it. No one was home when we went to visit people so I felt bad that it wasn't very successful.

Sunday the 8th was a pretty good day but also hard. When we were in sacrament meeting, they announced that it was my last week and Sister McGinty and I started laughing. I guess I can leave now... Brother Ngo said so! haha Just kidding :) But it was funny. I'm speaking in sacrament next week with Sister Carrell so the stake high councilmen member we're speaking with, he came up to me after church all panicked making sure that I was still going to be here. I laughed a little and made sure he knew I knew.
Last night we had a missionary correlation with all the ward missionaries and during our meeting we got a phone call from our investigator's boyfriend. He calls us every so often to give us updates on her and if we have questions for him, we call him. He told us that her joining the LDS church came up to her mom on Saturday while she was home for the weekend. Her mom asked if she was going to join  the church and she said yes. Her mom then told her that if she did, she'd be very disappointed. Jessica then left the house and went to Ian's house. Long story short, they talked about it for a long time and Ian called us to let us know what happened. Sadly he even told her that because she's not ready to pick a baptism date, we'll have to sto

p seeing her as an investigator. It was really sad for us to hear Ian say that. We told him that the other day when we talked to him but it's becoming a reality. She needs to figure things out first and we think that if we stop seeing her, she'll be able to make that decision without any pressure. We don't like putting pressure on people but sometimes  they feel it even when we don't do it so hopefully this will help. It was just sad to hear! And tomorrow night when we have dinner with them and have a drop lesson, it will be very emotional! We are not looking forward to it!
Well, that's about all for today. This morning we went to the Santa Anita race track for breakfast and to watch the horses warm up/work out. It was awesome!!! I'm so sad this is the only time I was able to do this on my mission but at the same time, it's been something I've wanted to do since Sister Becerra told us about it the first day we got here so I was super happy!
Well, that is all for now everyone. I won't be writing next Monday but I will blog as soon as I can next week! I love you all and really can't thank each of you enough for all the love and support and prayers I have received the last 18 months. You have each played a very special role in my life as a missionary. Everyone at home and those out here in California that I have met. This has seriously been the best experience of my life and I'm so thankful that I followed the Spirit when it talked and that I came on a mission. The church is true. I know it with all my heart. Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. God lives and He and Christ love us. I'm so thankful for the knowledge that I have and that I have been able to share that in so many ways out here on my mission and I only hope to continue to do as much as I can when I get home.

Until next week.
Love always,
Sister Wheatley

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

No clever title!

Well, I don't have much time to write today. Yesterday was obviously Labor Day so the library was closed and we don't have keys to the Family History Center here in Pasadena yet so we weren't able to email yesterday. And today we have been busy so we don't have much time before we have to go to dinner but I will try to hurry this email up.

Monday the 26th was a pretty chill Pday. We didn't do much but mostly because I wasn't feeling very well. We did our typical cleaning, emails, groceries, etc. and then we went to the mission office to wash and clean our car because we were having Zone Conference and we wanted to win the popcorn prize for cleanest car ;) But when we got there, I sat on the computer the whole time. Mostly for two reasons... There were too many missionaries washing their cars so it was too crowded but also because I had a nasty headache that I just wanted to sit down and not do anything. Long story and day short, after being at the office all day, we had dinner with a part-member family, the Greer-Palini's. We got there and my headache was throbbing and I didn't talk the whole time. By the time dessert was brought out, Sister McGinty excused us and we left. On the way home, I was on the verge of tears so we called Brother Ngo and Brother Cannon in the ward to give me a blessing. I haven't had a headache so bad in a really long time and it was nice to get a blessing of not only healing but also of comfort. After the blessing, we went home and I went to bed. It took me a long time to get to sleep but when I did, I slept like a baby.

The "original" Panda Express - but WAY too pricey!
Anyone who knows me, knows my favorite food is Panda Express!
Sadly the next morning, Tuesday the 27th, I woke up still not feeling well. I didn't have as bad of a headache as the day before but I was not feeling well at all. I ended up sleeping in till about noon. I felt bad because Sister McGinty told me later that all morning she was having to apologize to the other Sisters in the house because they wanted to turn the AC off because it was cold but I needed it on. Apparently it was so cold in the house that our room actually had really cold air streaming from the cracks of our door yet I was burning up and sweating! It was crazy!

The rest of the day I didn't feel all that wonderful but I got up and get ready and we went to work. We took it really slow and we didn't even leave our house til at least 3 pm. I felt bad for wasting so much time but imagine how sick I would have been the rest of the day/week had I not slept in.

When we finally did get out to do some work, we went and visited a less-active member, Sister Callier. She has cancer right now and is going through chemotherapy or radiation (can't remember which one) so she can't come to church. She's been inactive for many years but her husband started taking the missionary lessons before he passed away and he was about to be baptized but things happened where they cancelled it :( Long story short, she's wanting to come back to church and to be able to go through the temple and be able to do her husband's work. We went in there thinking we were just going to be teaching her the Restoration lesson but this conversation turned out way better than anything we could have planned for. So it was really cool! I just hope that she gets better soon so that she can come to church and prepare for her to go through the Temple and do her husband's work.

Wednesday the 28th was a good day! We had Zone Conference here in Pasadena and it was so good! I don't have my notes so I can't remember all that was talked about but a lot of what was talked about was sustaining our leaders and planning. President O'Bryant, the Glendora Stake President, and his wife came and spoke to us and that was amazing! Glendora had Elder L. Tom Perry come to their stake that previous weekend for stake conference and President O'Bryant told us a lot of what Elder Perry said and it was just amazing! I was so bummed that I got transferred and wasn't able to be there when Elder Perry came. Well, I learned a lot about sustaining our leaders.... 

Well, like I said, Zone Conference was so good! We had it with the Glendora stake and I loved seeing everyone that I served with there. It's been so weird to be here in Pasadena and not in Glendora. I feel like sometimes I'm just on an extended exchange and I think I'm going back to Glendora tomorrow. haha So it was nice to talk to my friends/fellow missionaries from Glendora.

Sister McGinty and I at the original Panda Express
Not much happened on Thursday the 29th or Friday the 30th. We did A LOT of weekly planning on Friday. We went through our area book and sadly we "dropped" a lot of the investigators that Sister McGinty and Sister Carrell had been working with. Since I got to the area, we haven't met with them or they haven't kept their commitments. It was hard because it just meant that we were starting from scratch again. We are hoping that us having done this, it will help us to find new investigators. We have a lot to do and we are willing to do it!

We then had a lesson with our investigator Larissa and her husband Aaron. We taught the Plan of Salvation and had a great lesson there. We invited Sister Dieny in the ward and that was good to have her there because she testified a lot about what we were talking about and how it has helped her in her life. (Sister Dieny is the daughter of the Whitworth's in the Glendora 5th ward so I loved having her there because I just love the Whitworths!)

Saturday the 31st started out with us going to the Rose Bowl and playing soccer with the other Sisters in the Pasadena ward, the Elders from the South Pass ward, and our investigator Jessica. We are trying to put together a finding activity on Saturdays at the Rose Bowl and invite people there to come play with us so this was another test. Sadly it was pretty empty there compared to other days of the week because there was a UCLA game going on that evening and so it was pretty empty during the day. But we had fun just the seven of us and it was good for Jessica to come and hang out with us missionaries.

Sunday the 1st (can hardly believe that it's September already...) was a good day! In fact, it was a wonderful day!! The spirit was so strong all day at church and even in the evening! One thing that was so cool, or spirit-filled that I loved, is that in sacrament meeting, the closing song was "Lead, Kindly Light". The second the organ started playing, I started to cry. This song has been a song that I have come to love throughout my mission. Sister Davidson and I sang it for a member in our ward whose mother had just passed away and who hadn't been to church in a while. I remember the tears that he cried and the spirit that was in his home. And to make it "worse" the first verse of the song reads:

        "Lead, kindly Light, a-mid th' encircling gloom; Lead thou me on!
         The night is dark and I am far from home; Lead thou me on!
         Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
         The distant scene - one step enough for me."

Sister McGinty and I
As this last Sunday was two weeks before my farewell, those words just hit me so hard! This is exactly what I am doing next. I can't see the scene that is about to be set before me but I know that if I take it one step at a time and trust and have faith, my dear Savior will lead me through the darkness. This song has now become one of my favorites for so many different reasons. I'm just so thankful for the spirit that was felt on Sunday. It was a major answer to my prayers.

The rest of the night was just a wonderful night and it was because of Sister McGinty and an experience she had while fasting for the day. There's a couple in our ward who have had some miscarriages in the last year and they are having a hard time. Sister McGinty has taken this couple to heart and has prayed for them multiple times. That day she decided to fast for them that they may get pregnant and bring this baby here to raise. She forgot that we were having dinner with them that night and while at dinner, they told us that they are pregnant! Sister McGinty could barely hold in her feelings. What a miracle! We ended up spending about 30 minutes longer than the other Sisters to talk to them and it was just an amazing miracle!

As we drove home that night, we were talking about things that are going to help us this next week and we know that these miracles and the spirit that we felt that day and many other things that we learned this week, we know miracles are going to happen!

This has already been a very emotional weekend and week and so yesterday I went and got waterproof mascara ;) But I am so looking forward to the next 14 days that are ahead! Miracles are going to happen in this area and I'm so excited to be apart of them in some way or another.

I'm going to end now because it is about time for dinner but I realized that I haven't thanked people in a while for writing me the last month or so. Thanks to all those who have shown their love by doing so. I really do love getting letters! ;) And for all the prayers and support, thank you!

I love you all!
Love always,

Sister Rachel Wheatley