Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Monday Dec. 10th

Hmmm... I'm not sure I have that many special requests for the Christmas package because you've been so good to me and have sent me like everything I've been asking for lately and more. I'm not sure if there are any more of the homemade fruit leather things, but those are always good. Also, if you're throwing in snacks, I have a little sweet tooth for fruit snacks haha. You are seriously the best. By the way, did you get the package I sent home with the puzzles and Peruvian nativity and stuff?

It's funny that I'm even mentioning any sweets because I've been good about not eating junk food in the house. But, you know, Christmas can be an exception haha. See, what I've been finding out is that it is so easy to gain weight on the mission. At times it kind of feels like you have no control on what you eat and thus no control on your weight. The ward is so good about providing us a dinner every night and they are usually pretty huge. But I realized a couple of things. I may not have that much control on what I eat for dinner (and I pretty much feel like I have to eat it all because I don't want to offend anyone), but I do have control over what I eat for breakfast and lunch. Like if you think about it, you're supposed to eat like 1200-1400 calories or something like that to maintain or lose some weight. So if a dinner feeds you automatically like 600-800 calories, then you just have to be careful to eat breakfast and lunch which is closer to 300-400 calories. Plus if you have good workouts every day, then you're set. We got a copy of the Insanity workout DVDs and so we are definitely working out really well haha! They are so intense but it is great. I definitely have a testimony that living the word of wisdom helps you be healthier and more receptive to the spirit. If you think about it, your spirit is able to be in charge instead of your body. Like the type of thing where you eat to live rather than live to eat.

Anyway, this was another busy week. We definitely saw miracles and every night we were so tired. Sometimes I feel quite a bit of stress, so I'm working on being able to manage that a bit better. It is hard that I'm now the one who knows the area really well, I know the people, and I want to be the very best I can be because I want this area to become better etc. I really push myself to working hard, planning a lot, speaking Spanish a lot. So it makes sense that I feel stress sometimes. But I'm working on that. And to be completely honest, I'd rather feel stressed out a bit and like exhausted when I get home every day than to be lazy. I don't want to live with a single regret of something I should have done better that I could have. Feeling some stress helps me know that I'm growing stronger. Like a plant stuck in a nursery forever only grows so strong. It is by being exposed to the cutting wind, the blistering sun, the pain of thirst occasionally that helps the plant become strong enough to survive. It was never easy for Christ, so as his representative in a way it means I will occasionally need to feel it not being easy too.

It is interesting to think about. This year I won't have a Christmas tree, I won't have my family around me, I won't have the normal homemade candies like caramel and reeses and the experience of waking up super early to see if Santa came. But this year, my Christmas tree is the tree of life. I am helping lead people to the fruit of the tree which is a fruit of which they can taste and never hunger anymore, which fruit is the love of God. I am pointing people toward the tree and bringing them to the iron rod. What a cool opportunity.

Anyway, I don't have too many stories this week. Hermana Mulliner is seriously so great! She is so patient and humble and willing to learn and to help out. We have an investigator who is so great. He is like a shocker to me and makes me want to go into more of a finding mode to find more people like him. See, typically with most of our investigators they love us coming and they like what we teach, but they won't come to church even after we commit them very solidly. But after the second lesson with Antonio, he committed to a baptism date and he went to church yesterday! It almost seems too easy with him. Maybe we'll have a few more lessons and we'll find his doubt or maybe he really is ready. I don't know, but it makes me excited to teach when I find people like him!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I asked the Zone Leaders and they said gmail video chat is fine for the Christmas phone call. Also I was wondering if Sarah can get me Julie (previously Stringfield) Divett(?)'s address. I haven't heard from her and I'd love to write her a letter.
Anyway, I'd probably better head off soon! Have a fantastic week. I love you and you are so great!!
May the Spirit be with you!!
~Hermana Whetten

Tuesday December 4, 2012

How are you all?! It is always amazing to hear from you all! I hope you are having fun preparing for Christmas in a few more weeks! 
Before I forget, I haven't had a chance to ask if Gchat is even approved for us to use for the Christmas call, but I'll try to this week. If I have to guess right now, I would say we're only allowed to use Skype just because there is that whole rule about only using approved websites. 
Okay, first thing's first... So we went up to Santa Clarita and I picked up my new companion last Tuesday. Her name is Hermana Mulliner. She is super great. She is quite a bit shorter than me, but "fun size" does kind of apply to her. She is definitely fun. She is from Alpine, Utah. No, our ward mission leader's dream did not quite come true... He dreamed that she would be short, dark skinned, and long haired. Hermana Mulliner is short and has long hair, but she is definitely very white. She has been out one transfer longer than me...this is my 4th transfer and this is her 5th. We are getting along great because she has such great love for everyone, she is fun and funny, and she is not stressful to be around at all. 
An interesting thing is I actually met her at the MTC. On Sundays we would go for walks around the Provo Temple and I met her on her last Sunday right outside the fountain in front of the Provo Temple. We were so excited to find someone going to the same mission because that was a little rare for us. But I am pretty sure I actually remember saying to her. "I wonder if we'll be companions someday." and here we are someday later haha. 
It is interesting though... this is a case where the Lord's will was definitely greater than mine. At the last interview with the president, I had expressed how I really wanted to speak Spanish all the time. Because of that, I was sure he was going to put me with a nativa. But come the transfer and I ended up with a little white girl from Utah who speaks less Spanish than me (for instance, she was in the beginner's Spanish class at the MTC. She literally knew no Spanish coming onto the mission). In this case, the Lord definitely works in mysterious ways. Instead of giving me a companion who can easily speak Spanish at me, He gave me a companion who I can actually speak better than. But the thing is, both of us are committed to speaking Spanish more and more and because of that, we're speaking so much more Spanish than I did before. It's so great because we can help each other out if we learn something new or if we hear a mistake which we've already fixed in our own Spanish. I'm also having to take an extremely active role in the lessons whereas with a nativa I probably would have been using her as a crutch. For instance, with a nativa, when it gets difficult to explain something I can just give up and she can take over. But with someone who knows less than you, I have to figure out a way to express my thoughts and feelings. This transfer is going to be so great for the both of us!!! 
It is a lot different not having Hna Hansen here. Well the work is the same, but now it is me having to plan everything and talk on the phone to everyone and set up appointments and meals, etc. Hermana Mulliner is perfectly capable, but since it is a new area to her, she doesn't know the investigators and members which makes it hard for her to add too many ideas at this point. Within a week or two she'll start being able to take a more active role little by little. But until then it'll be a little interesting for me. I'm not perfect at it all. In fact, let me tell you about a few of my mistakes from this week... 
One was that on the highway back from Santa Clarita, I stayed in a right lane which I thought was safe, but I realized it was too far over. It ended up being an exit lane and there was too much traffic for me to get back over last second. So we ended up taking like a 5 mile or so detour to get back onto the freeway facing the right direction. Luckily Hermana Hansen is letting us borrow her GPS until I can get one (by the way, if it isn't too expensive can you get me one eventually now that I know I'm not on bike?) and so the GPS helped us get the right exit and then turn around spot etc so we could be heading back home. That was quite the adventure. 
Another adventure was one night for the dinner appointment. On our calendar, Hermana Moreno wrote down her name and her phone number. So I had done well and called the day before to set up the time etc. But come the day of, I realized I wasn't actually sure which ones the Morenos were and I accidentally wrote down the address of the Morales' into my agenda. So we showed up to the Morales house and we ended up teaching her husband who is a nonmember and he became a new investigator. When we finally got out to the car we had to profusely apologize to the Moreno family and then come over for them. They were so patient and loving to me, luckily! That's one of those things where I like couldn't believe I did that, but luckily it ended up working out. 
Another morning, I looked at my jacked and my name tag clip was there but my name tag was no where to be seen. So later that day we wandered our car over to the last appointment we had had the night before and lo and behold I found my nametag right there on the ground where we had parked the night before. I guess it somehow came undone while getting in or out of the car or while putting on my backpack or something like that. I'm not actually sure how. Sadly, it had been driven over and the clip was broken. 
So I'll probably have to order a new one anyways. But at least we found it. 
Another day we almost died. We were on a street at a stop sign going onto a street which didn't have any stop signs the two ways. So I was sitting there with my foot on the break looking right and left and waiting for the street to clear out because there were cars going both ways. So were just sitting there at the stop sign and the next thing I knew there was a car taking a left turn in front of us to get onto our street and they didn't see us I guess and took the turn wayyy too sharp. They were headed straight towards the front of our car and fast too. We were screaming and tensing up because it looked for sure like they were going to run straight into us. But then at the last second it looked almost like they hit an invisible shield around our car and it stopped. It was so crazy. 
But that is kind of how this week has felt. It has just felt really bizarre and strange. Sometimes it feels like we're running around chickens with our heads cut off. If I ever had an annoyed thought at Hermana Hansen, I take it back, because now it is me being the one always ending up on the wrong section of the street (because streets here will have the same name north and south or east and west but between the blocks they won't actually be connected at all) and always having to make U-turns. Good thing perfection isn't required to be a missionary because I am definitely not that and this week I've felt quite a bit like an airhead instead. I guess what I've been realizing is that how you choose to look at a situation changes everything. You can choose to look to look at them like imperfections or you can choose to look at them like miracles. For instance, it could be a complete imperfection that we went to the wrong house for dinner. Or it could be a miracle that we turned that situation around and got a new investigator. 
I think humans aren't meant to be depressed or stressed or anxious. Feeling depressed is worrying about the past, feeling stressed is putting too much worry on right now, and feeling anxious is worrying too much about the future. None of those are very optimal. And really, the solution to them is to develop attributes of Christ like Faith that the Lord has a plan for you, Hope that it will all be better in the end, Charity to add meaning to your life right now, etc. I think of Nephi's version of the story vs. Laman's. You can choose to look at every single situation like a trial. Or you can choose to look at it like an adventure. Being able to see the beginning for the end helps us to see how cool the trip could have been for them. For instance, they were the only native born people from Jerusalem who got to travel across a desert, build a boat, sail across the oceans, and end up in a great land with new mysterious plants and animals. What an adventure, right?! Looking at it that way, the trials they went through didn't seem so huge compared to how they ended up. I think that is how our lives can be. We can choose to look at the day to day trials. Or we can have faith that the Lord will bring you to someplace much bigger and better at the end, a place that he's promised for you, and then live every day like it's an adventure that's going to get you closer to your own promised land. Point of view really changes everything. 
I still can't really believe it's December already. I do want to tell you about Alba's confirmation really quickly. It was so beautiful!!!! She was crying during taking the sacrament, crying during her confirmation, and crying here and there the rest of sacrament meeting. It was so beautiful! She is so great. On the way back from the stage or whatever it's called, she was holding the hand of her husband who was just able to bless her. That was the first time I think I've ever seen them hold hands. On the lesson on Saturday she said that they're going to start reading scriptures together... both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. In a year they're going to get sealed in the temple, I'm sure and I don't think she will ever fall away. I am so blessed to be able to see such beautiful changes in people like Alba. It makes me feel like the love I have for the people and this opportunity I have to serve really is changing and helping people. I love her!!! 
About the huge 1/2 mission conference we had yesterday, Don R. Clarke is such a great person. He is so inspiring to listen to and he's helped broaden our vision so that we can see how many more things we're capable of. It takes a lot of hard work and smart work to get to it, but I definitely believe the mission president's vision of 1000 baptisms next year is absolutely possible. I'm ready to do my part completely. It's hard to pick something to share from it, because he talked about like everything it is to be a missionary. Basically, you either 100% have faith in God and are 100% committed to every covenant you've made and everything implied therein or you're not. You either have complete faith and love so that you will talk to everyone and ask everyone for referrals or you don't. You're either going to be 100% obedient to every mission rule (or commandment, rather) or you're not. You're either going to receive every blessing including a lot more success or not. It's when you decide to do everything all the way that the Lord will finally be able to bless you with everything he's promised you. I know that quote "Any excuse, no matter how valid, always weakens the character." That is what it is about. Every time you make an excuse rather than just obeying the mission rules or every time you decide to not talk to someone because they don't look like the easy kind of teaching material or anytime you give up on your goals rather than doing absolutely everything until the last minute to achieve them, it is building a dam between you and God. You are holding yourself back from being able to drink freely and abundantly. You are holding yourself back from revelation. You're showing him that you don't treasure every spiritual impression or every person that he's trying to put in our path. I believe that absolutely anything is possible with faith and then diligent work on our part. And thinking like that changes how you do things. It changes how you talk about the Joseph Smith story. It changes how you love the people. I really feel like my vision has been broadened. I will work changing things here and there until I can really become a missionary more worthy of all the prayers we receive every day and worthy of the title "a preach my gospel missionary." 
So yeah, let's now go and do! Let's become better! I'm going to let this mission flow through me and change me into the better version of me! I am so lucky to be out here!! 
May the Spirit be with you!! 
~Hermana Whetten

Monday, November 26, 2012

Wow! What a week! I have officially been a missionary for more than 6 months now. I now have a baby niece. Thanksgiving was this week. We had a baptism this Sunday! What a great week!
I can't believe Mia is here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was so happy to read that and to see all the pictures in the e-mail. Thank you so much!!! Thanks for taking the time to type out the whole story, Sarah. I'm sorry it was so painful but I am so grateful that she is here and is healthy and Max loves her. He is smiling so huge in those photos!!! He is so big. I am so happy. Like I kind of started tearing up reading and seeing all of that. It's a little hard not being able to meet her for such a long time. Just keep sending me photos!
Brittany, have you thought about referring your friend Sierra to the missionaries? As long as her parents are okay with it, it could be really special for you two and it could unite your friendship even more. Like how cool would it be if you could have the missionaries come to the house and you get to help teach her with them. You could start being a missionary now and being a missionary is really fun!!
Doodle, I was so excited to hear that you want to go on a mission when you're bigger. It will be something that will forever bless your life! You are so great!!
Shaun, great work being a missionary and being able to see your boss be baptized! It sounds like it was such a great thing to be a part of!!!
Really quickly, as a reminder, Don R. Clarke of the 70 is coming to our mission next week and the zones in the San Fernando Valley are having a conference with him next Monday. Thus, my preparation day next week is Tuesday so don't freak out when you don't get an e-mail until then.
Thank you so much again for everything you sent! I am pretty sure all of it arrived and I love it all! I have never owned the flat boots like that before and I love walking around in them. They make me feel cool haha! I'm not a girly girl at all, so I never thought I'd say that. But you know... when you're having to wear skirts every day you have to do something crazy and fun and warm haha.
We had Thanksgiving with Alba and her husband. It was so nice!! Their oven stopped working for a little while at like noon. They just noticed it wasn't cooking so they had to restart the cooking etc. Thus, it got out late and we started the dinner late, but it was so good!! They had this banana cream pie too which was delicious. I was glad that we only had to eat one Thanksgiving meal because last minute our elders realized they forgot to tell us that Hermanita was expecting us. We were able to kindly get out of it luckily. But the next day we had to eat two thanksgiving leftover meals a few hours apart and we were so stuffed!!
The way transfers are currently is that we receive transfer calls Saturday night. They will tell you if you're going or staying and if you're going they tell you if you're going to be on car or bike. We have Sunday and a little bit of Monday to say goodbye. We have Monday to pack. Then on Tuesday we all go to a big transfer meeting in Santa Clarita and that is when we find out where we are going and who our new companion is. So on Saturday night we got the calls. I am staying (and obviously I'll still have the car... by the way, I don't know if I've ever told you, but we drive a 2012 Chevy Cruz. It is nice!). Hermana Hansen will be leaving the area and her next area will be another car area (we think president is trying to make it so eventually all the sisters will be on car but that is just a rumor right now and there still are sister bike areas).
It's crazy to hear that! I mean I knew it was going to happen, but I hate saying goodbye. I really have grown to love her. Of course she isn't perfect. I probably know of her weaknesses better than anyone else right now. But we have done so much good together. We have worked so hard. We have seen so many miracles. We have been together so long. We were so lucky to get that one extra transfer in together. We have been together nonstop for about 4 months. We have definitely become friends. We've grown into better people. I'm excited to get a new companion and to grow in more ways. It will be good. I'm excited to have a new friend and to see where she goes and write to her to see what other miracles she will see on her mission. It will be so good. She keeps telling herself that she can't cry about leaving until tonight. But I know she loves me so much. In moments in the car when we're just thinking she keeps breaking the silence and saying things like, "I have loved working with you." It is moments like that that are so dulce.
Our ward mission leader, Hermano de Leon, told us that he had a dream where I had a different companion and she was short and had dark skin and long brown hair. I'm excited to go to the transfer meeting tomorrow to see if his dream will be correct.
But I was really grateful that we got to end the three great transfers together with a beautiful baptism. Alba got baptized. Like I think I said last week, she rightfully could have been called an "eternigator." I think her husband has been going back to church for about 11 years and he's been trying to get the missionaries to teach his wife for about 10 years or more. At her baptism even in the talks, the people kept on saying things like "I never thought I'd see the day when Alba got baptized!" We weren't even sure if she would make it this Sunday. But she did stop drinking coffee completely. We had a beautiful lesson with her based on the Mormon message "You Know Enough" (
http://www.lds.org/pages/mormon-messages?lang=eng#you-know-enough) and it really helped her realize that it is okay that she doesn't know everything right now. She knows enough. She prayed that night to make sure that this was something she wanted to do for herself and not for anyone else. Her prayer was answered. It did take that extra week, but that week really was what made the difference in her conversion. 
But the baptism was so beautiful. Hermana Hansen and I got to sing "Mas Cerca Dios de Ti" (Nearer My God to Thee) as a special musical number and it was so special. She was like quietly looking at the words and singing along. Her husband did the baptism. He has baptized several people before but I think it has been a while and he was a little nervous, so it took him 3 tries to get it right. I think the most beautiful part, though, was the closing hymn and the prayer. She started crying so much. It was so beautiful. We gave her hugs afterwards and she was like "I don't know why I'm crying so much." I know why. She also told us "thank you so much for everything!" She was so beautiful and happy and I was lucky to have been able to be an instrument in the Lord's hand and to have been able to play a small part in her conversion story. That is what this work is all about. It is about the one. It is so beautiful to see!!! 
I'm sorry if this letter sounds a little bit scatter brained and the parts don't necessarily flow smoothly. Hope you don't mind too terribly haha!! 
But have a great week! Enjoy every second of life!! 
I love you and may the spirit be with you!! 
~Hermana Whetten 

Monday, November 19, 2012

First of all, before I forget, Hermana Hansen last week made us CDs of some music from the youth.lds.org website and there is one that I've fallen in love with and you should all check out! Here is the website: https://www.lds.org/youth/music?lang=eng and the song is called "I am His Daughter." I love it! 
I have one little request. Can you print me off another talk sometime? I believe it is called "Do Things That Make A Difference" by M. Russel Ballard. I believe it can be found in the Ensign from like 1983. Thanks in advance! 
Oh, also before I forget. On December 3rd there will be a big conference thing that we're going to because a general authority or 70 or something like that is coming. So on that week, the preparation day will be Tuesday the 4th. So you don't have to worry when you don't get an e-mail on the 3rd haha! 
Okay, now for some stuff about how this week was... so something very interesting...unique and weird I guess happened. Let me see if I can explain. I guess I can start by saying that I believe I received my first revelation through a dream this week. I've been really wanting to for a while because so many of the Hispanics talk about how they've seen amazing things in their dreams which were revelation and helped them become converted or things like that. And I know that is one way the spirit can testify to us. But that it is a gift in a way. Well I had one dream this week that I believe was revelation. It wasn't the answer I wanted necessarily, but it helped me accept what was best. Here is the story... 
So Alba had her interview on Saturday. She is an intellectual so she feels like she needs to know everything completely before she is baptized. And she had a lot of doubts for a long time about prophets and the Joseph Smith story and things like that. Her husband is a member and on the high counsel right now and more than anything else in the world he wants her to be baptized. But for the longest time she wouldn't listen to missionaries. Some elders told the husband that they only needed one lesson with her and she would want to start on the road to baptism. Well they got their lesson and they asked her if they could come back and she was like "no thank you." So this has been basically how it has gone. But then Hermanas came into the ward and the husband asked the first few hermanas that came (they changed to hermanas in this area in January or February) she just clicked with them and let them keep coming back. Even in just the time that I've been here she has come very far. At first she only came to church sometimes and she would only stay for like 1 or 2 of the hours. Then slowly she worked up to coming for longer times and coming every week. Now she comes every Sunday for the full time. She took the sacrament for the first time about 3 weeks or so ago. She has been progressing so much! Maybe she doesn't see how far she's come, but when I first came, she could be labeled "eternigator" and then eventually we were able to set a baptismal date as November 18th and she was progressing so much. We set the date promising her that the Lord could help her before that time know that this is the truth. He has definitely been touching her heart. Her big doubts--The Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, prophets, etc have been dissolving slowly and she has progressed so much. 
She had her baptismal interview on Saturday and it took like an hour or so, but she came out and Elder Fullmore said that she passed and they left and we worked on planning her baptismal program. But a few hours later he called us and said that during the interview he felt great and that she was ready for baptism. But ever since he left he's felt uneasy and he's been praying and he felt like she should wait a week. Her big problem right now is coffee. She doesn't understand why we are asked not to drink it. She doesn't drink very much and it doesn't make sense to her why she has to give it up. I guess the way she sees it, it might be like if a prophet told us that apples are bad for us... she just can't understand why. But this past week she's been working on drinking less and less until she drank her last cup of coffee. But in the interview evidently she said that she had drunken coffee even the day before. So Elder Fullmore really just started to feel like it isn't the progress you've made, it is your acts that show that you're ready for baptism. She said that she won't drink coffee when she's baptized. But he was thinking it isn't right to drink coffee on Friday, not drink on Saturday and have the interview Saturday, then on Sunday get baptized, if that makes sense. So he asked to postpone for another week to make sure she is really committed to it by her acts this week. It was just a weird situation having her pass then taking it back. 
But on Saturday morning I had a dream where Alba and Elder Fullmore got out of the interview and he said that she needs more time and in the dream I immediately knew it was because of the word of wisdom. So to me, having had that dream was revelation that that was the right thing to do even though we had to take it back. I could have argued for it more to tell him that we really do feel she is ready. But because of that dream, I accepted it even though it isn't what I would have chosen. It helped me accept what was best for her. And honestly, I know this is the best thing for her. Her husband was so disappointed and was like depressed on Sunday. But this will give her another week to make sure it is her decision and not just because her husband wants it so badly. And it will help her know that she is ready to live all the commandments and to prove to God that she will do His will even though she doesn't understand completely the why. It really is the best thing for her. It really was a weird situation, though! 
Anyway... it is great to be seeing a lot of progress in many investigators. They are so great! I loved when we stopped by Herminia's house yesterday to give her a quick lesson and ask her why she didn't come to church and help recommit her for the coming week. She was working on making tamales and so we got to do a fun little impromptu act of service. She put the filling stuff in the husk stuff or whatever and then we tied them shut. It only took us like 20 or 30 minutes to finish it up (by like 6 or 7pm) and she said she would have been working on them by herself until probably like 9 or 10pm. I love being able to serve people! It is so great and it meant a lot to her. 
"Maria" has really been progressing in everything this week. For instance, one day we came over and she was just glowing. It was so great to see! But she has been learning and understanding the importance of things like prayer and scripture study. She found a quote the other day and she said that it explains her situation perfectly and about how we found her and have really been helping her. She sees us as angels who have been helping her all along the way back. This is how the quote goes: 
"It's not too late," the angel said. "Even though the world's a mess, even though you're not as young, even though you've made mistakes and have been afraid; it's not too late."
And then I saw the world through the angel's eyes. I saw the colors I could paint, the bridges I could build, the lives I could touch, the dreams that could still come true. And it became very clear to me. It's not too late.
~Ron Atchison 
Isn't that so beautiful! I love it!!! Well, I hope you all have a fantastic week! Enjoy Thanksgiving and everything! May the Spirit be with you! 
~Hermana Whetten

Monday, November 5, 2012

How time flies. And what a crazy week! I hope you are all doing well. Sarah, mom told me that you just want Mia to be born already haha.... at church yesterday Hermana Sanchez was talking about how she was pregnant for a year. I guess count your blessings that Mia will probably be born right about at the 9 month mark!
In case anyone was wondering, Halloween night is probably the one night in the year we're not allowed to go door to door haha! We were asked to be in by 6. We did a deep clean for an hour or two and after we finished we made homemade s'mores over our gas stove and we enjoyed ourselves.
This week was actually a really weird week. For whatever reason it seemed like almost none of our plans went as we thought they would. But the funny part is even though this week could be looked at as one of those less successful weeks, especially compared to the last two great weeks of tons of lessons, I don't feel unsuccessful or disappointed. I know that we will be blessed and this week will be another great week.
I've been working on the Christlike attribute of charity this week and I love it. It's like just working on that has changed a lot. I'm not as stressed, I'm more happy with the work, the companionship is working even better. I feel like I've been more able to consecrate and dedicate my time to the Lord and I can see this week how I've definitely been an instrument in the Lord's hands.
I figured out this week why olive oil is used in the healing for the sick and afflicted. It is partially because it is a symbol of purity and the spirit, but mostly it is because it is a symbol of the Savior and how through him we can be healed if we have faith. It is just like how the atonement took place at the olive garden: Gethsemane. You have to put a lot of pressure on the olives to get out the oil and just like that Christ was practically crushed under the pressure of the sins of mankind. But he endured it and came out victoriously.
That kinds of relates to what ended up happening yesterday; the biggest story I have to tell. In the end a priesthood blessing was given of healing and I know that through the atonement she will be healed.
I won't say the name of the person whose story this is for her privacy (not that any of you would know her anyways, but still). I guess I'll call her Maria, which about the most common hispanic name there is. So we went to Maria's house and you could tell that she has had something big weighing on her mind through this week. She just looked exhausted and miserable. We asked what has been going on and she said that this week especially has been very hard for her. She said that she has been contemplating suicide. In fact, just the night before she was contemplating what pills she could overdose on when we happened to pop our head in the door (we dropped by randomly because we needed to get a DVD back from her so we could let a different investigator watch it). She told us her whole story. That it has been difficult to even get up because it is easier to just be asleep than to do anything. Her whole body was in pain, especially her back, because she had been overdosing on prescription pain meds for a while and she didn't want to anymore. She was a straight A student in high school and she was in all these AP classes and she graduated early. But she got a bad boyfriend who was a drug dealer. He got her pregnant and she was 3 months pregnant when she found out that he got someone else pregnant and so she had an abortion. But this week, he came back into her life and she knows he is a loser but she still has feelings for him so she is so torn. All of that in addition to the fact that she has been doing drugs and alcohol for too long. She hates that she is addicted. She hates waking up from a hangover. She hates that she feels like her addictions control her. Her life is a mess basically. She wants to go to her family but they just judge her and are very hard on her. So this week she hasn't even really wanted to live. She was crying and telling us about how she just wants to be happy on her own. She just wants to have a husband who really loves her. She justs wants to be happy.
We taught her a simple lesson on what the priesthood is and how we have it on the earth today because of the restoration of the gospel. So that same power that Christ used to work all the miracles we read about in the Bible is on the earth again today. And that power can heal her. She asked for a priesthood blessing and we were able to set it up so the elders could come over and give her one just a few hours later.
So many wonderful blessings were pronounced upon her head. The blessing of knowing that Christ lived her life so he knows exactly what it is like for her. The blessing of love and knowing that she is a daughter of God and that God knows her so much. The blessing of being able to discern what friends are good friends. The blessing of absolute and complete physical healing of her body. So many other beautiful and powerful blessings.
That experience was probably one of the sweetest experiences of my mission so far. That we have been able to help lead and guide and teach her for so long. And that that night we could offer her something that no therapist of hers could offer. She has been completely drained spiritually, physically, and emotionally. She has no where to turn to get energy to do anything. But through the power of the priesthood she was able to be healed. The blessing ended and she was crying because she felt it. She knows. So beautiful. She told us that if it wasn't for us she would be dead right now. That she knows that this is the path she needs to go on. That God is basically knocking at her door and she would be dumb to let it pass by. She still has things she needs to work on and work through. But it has been the answer to the deepest questions of her soul...
Where can I turn for peace? Where is my solace
when other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger or malice,
I draw myself apart searching my soul?
Where, when my aching grows, where, when I languish,
where, when I need to know, where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand? He, only One.
He answers privately, reaches my reaching,
in my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.
Gentle, the peace he finds for my beseeching,
constant he is and kind, Love without end.
~Hermana Whetten

Pictures from 11/5/12

Little sculpey clay figures Brittany made of Hermana Hansen and I. Aren't they great?! Brittany is a convert of probably a year and a half or two years. She is actually engaged to the missionary who baptized her. Fun story.

At noche de hogar this week with the Young Single Adult branch (Jovenes Adultos Sulteros) we had a Halloween party. We did fun things like eating powdered doughnuts off a string, carving pumpkins, and eating tons of snacks. This is the pumpkin the YSA missionaries carved with the symbol for baptism on it haha!

We finally got photos outside the karate kid apartment! Yay!! It actually isn't that far from where we live at all. Maybe a mile or two.

the view right inside the gate of the karate kid apartment.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pictures 10-29-12

We saw this house decorated up for Halloween the other day and we had to take pictures because it was so cool. 

                                        The cake we made for Nikki for her
                                       birthday last week


We went on a hike bright and early this morning so here's some pictures :)
                                                      California is pretty :)

        Aren't we Hermanas so cool with our yoga on the rocks?!

Monday, October 29, 2012

What a cool week! Newest update about the state of new missionary calls since general conference... 
From Ryan (from a church news article, I believe): 
"As Church leaders had anticipated when the change was announced, the number of individuals who have begun the missionary application process has increased significantly. Typically approximately 700 new applications are started each week. The last two weeks that number has increased to approximately 4,000 per week. Slightly more than half of the applicants are women." 
Last week the church received 7000 completed applications! Can you believe that! 
From President Hall: 
I know that this is the time that that the Lord will hasten his work. We found out this week that the approved number of missionaries for our mission has immediately been increased from 190 to 250! In fact, all missions in California have had their missionary complement increased to 250 young missionaries! So amazing!! Some 18 year old men and 19 year old women have already received their calls and we could begin to see some of them arrive in the next transfer or two!Elder Marcus A . Aidukaitis of the Seventy told us this past week that the average for missionary applications per week had been averaging 300 per week and there were 4500 the first week after General Conference,4700 the second week and another 2700 half way through the third week!! Instead of about a thousand applications since Conference, there probably have been close to 14,000!! Now that is a true “hastening of the work!”
 Isn't that so great?! This work is so cool!!!
Mom, I forgot to say thanks for the package I got last week with the small Spanish Preach My Gospel. It is perfect! I can just keep it in my backpack all the time :) Also, I got the beautiful New Mexico stamps this week. Thanks!! You are so great!!!
Basically life is continuing to be great. Yesterday we had stake conference and we had two people from the 70s come up to talk. It was cool when they talked because they had a translator and I understood what was said both in English and in Spanish. Ha-ha! But they were there because the stake got a new presidency. The meeting was so great, though! Like you could feel the spirit so incredibly strong. President Hall was also there and he gave a great talk on missionary work in Spanish (I always love hearing his talks--you can get so inspired to do and be so much better in everything. I think my favorite parts, though, were when Sister Hall gave a 2 minute testimony in Spanish (she knows almost no Spanish) and also when the last speaker of the 70 came up after his talk he had the translator sit down so he could try to bear a testimony in Spanish as well. Both of those were so simple as far as the vocabulary they used, but the spirit was so strong in the entire room. It literally didn't matter what they said. It was how they said it and that they spoke with the spirit and they really meant it. It was so beautiful to see and it helps testify to me that I don't have to speak perfect Spanish at all. The language is just a tool. Having the spirit is what is important. 
We now have a grand total of 9 baptism dates!! Isn't that so great?! We got two more this week. One was with Marvin, a teenager who I found out by Hna Hansen this week isn't a member but his mom is a somewhat recent convert. But he's been going to church for a long time, he just hasn't been baptized. So we're on it now haha! 
The other is Hermana Yengle, or Mayra, who is the one who had the baby super early. She's had some pretty spiritually intense experiences since the baby was born like 2 or 3 months ago. The baby is still in the hospital until the end of November (because that would have been his due date). But many things have happened. For instance the baby, Ethan, has gotten sick several times while at the hospital. The most recent time he was very bad and the doctors were talking about him like he was already dead saying things like "I'm so sorry" etc. His skin was grey and his ventilator had to do 100% of the work. Well her husband is a member and he called up people from the ward to come over to give Ethan a priesthood blessing. They said that a half an hour after he got the blessing Ethan was already so much better. His ventilator went down to 40% and continued to decline until now he doesn't even need it. He now can be in an open crib rather than his incubator. That experience was so powerful for Mayra that she can't help but cry when telling us about it. We taught her a lesson on the Restoration emphasizing at every step about what the priesthood is and what it all means. She said she felt like it was exactly what she needed to hear right then. It was exactly what she had questions about and we were able to answer them all. She accepted the baptism date.
It is crazy that events like that just keep happening to us. We are so blessed and I believe as we are continually trying to become better teachers, become better people, become better companions, listen to the spirit better, love people more, et cetera that God really is blessing us left and right. We were looking at our schedule and we might have to do splits this week because it already looks extremely full with all the people we need to visit and all the appointments we have. I'll have to tell you about how that goes if it ends up happening. 
I finished going through the Preach My Gospel section on Faith, so now I'm onto hope. So your quick spiritual thought on hope for today...Scriptures and Preach My Gospel kept on saying things like how hope is "an anchor to the soul." So I was trying to figure out what that might mean. I mean I guess I kind of get the theory, but I have never seen the ocean. I am pretty sure I've never seen a boat big enough that it needs an anchor. So it doesn't mean anything to me. But I do understand kites. And I got to thinking about it and it is like hope is that person at the bottom of a kite who holds onto the kite no matter how hard the winds blow. Really, because of that person, or because of hope, you're able to have that anchor to the ground so you don't have to worry about floating away. With that hope you can resist the worst winds that come at you. In fact, with that hope you can fly! With that hope, it doesn't matter how harsh the winds are... bring it on... the more opposition the better you can fly! That is what hope is about. It is being able to keep the positive attitude and continue to do good no matter what the circumstances are. It is keeping that hope because you know what the outcome will be. It is always remembering that eternal perspective and how small the little day to day battles really are in the grand scheme of things. It is remembering the things that are most important in life regardless of the circumstances. (Another analogy that works too is us surfing the canal in Idaho every summer by hooking the board to the bridge. that rope and bridge create the circumstances that make it so you can ride on top of the water because you're letting the resistance flow under you even to the point that you're like standing on water haha!)
Anyway, that is all for this week. I sent some e-mails of some pictures from the last week or two, especially the hike we went on early this morning. I hope you enjoy them! Oh, I don't know if I've told you, but somehow I've also convinced Hermana Hansen to go running with me like 3 days a week! It is so great! And an elder in the district is also working on getting me a copy of the Insanity workout dvds. I'm so excited for them! But thanks for the yoga dvd a few weeks ago. We love doing that sometimes in the morning and sometimes before we go to bed. 
You all are the best! I hope you have a fantastic week!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday, October 22,2012

Okay, first of all, I want to copy and paste something Ryan sent to me in an e-mail. He said: 
"So in the first two weeks after the missionary announcement at conference there has been 8000 people who have submitted their mission paperwork! Can you believe that! usually they only get about 300-400 every two weeks. I have a feeling that a large part of those could be sisters so I might be at the MTC during a very historic time. It could be the only time that the sisters out number the elders at the MTC." 
Can you believe it?! 8000 people submitted in two weeks! Those poor apostles!!! They probably had all of them working all day and all night practically to go through all of those. I can just imagine them being like, "we're going to need a few more computers in this room!" But isn't that so great!?!! I am so lucky to be a missionary right now! I am a part of this historic time for missionaries! 
Now let me tell you about some of the miracles of this week. First of all, last week we were at 5 baptismal dates set if I recall correctly. And now we're at 7!!!! This is definitely the Lord's work and he has his hand in it all! So for the other two, one was the husband of an investigator that we have currently who has a baptism date. He is even more excited about this gospel than she was (this is Herminia --the one that sews really great, she made the wedding quality dress for a Catholic confirmation dress for someone who couldn't afford it-- and her husband is Miguel). When we talked about the restoration he was so excited. Then we talked about the Book of Mormon and testified of it. And when we said we would like to give him a copy of it too, he basically said the Spanish equivalent of "no way! are you serious?! you're giving one to me?!" It was so great! He said sometimes he sits in his car or at a bench and sometimes he is depressed but he was like, "so why not read something great instead?!" It was crazy because we just happened to go over there because we had a little bit of extra time before coming home for the night. They are so great and they are super busy with work, but I hope we can keep coming back to teach them more. He was even like, "my birthday is next month, maybe I can get baptized on that day!"

The other date we have is that of Alba. Hers is a miracle. Like when the ward mission leader read on our progress record that she had a baptismal date his jaw dropped. She has been an investigator since about February and she has been coming to church basically every week for about 3 or 4 months. But she never would commit to a date because she just kept on saying that it is still so new to her and that she might eventually join but never really doing anything about it. But hers for me is a testament of how important it is to practice during companionship study in the mornings. Because all of the concerns or doubts we brought up that we thought she might tell us during the study time were exactly what she ended up saying. and because we practiced it, we already knew how to answer and what scriptures we were going to use et cetera. It is just like God's work.... you have to create things spiritually before you create them physically. So it might be surprising to new missionaries how much time is spent planning and training. But through it all, revelation is able to come because you spend time planning, preparing, etc. 
I guess another thing I can talk about is faith. About a week and a half ago I decided to go through the chapter in Preach My Gospel about Christ like Attributes and to really work through and read through every reference it lists and to work on developing these attributes for myself. That task becomes a little longer when you look at it and realize that several of the attributes ask you to read through all the scriptures in the topical guide under that topic. haha! so because of that, I'm still on the first one--faith. But through spending that much time focusing on it, I've really learned a ton. Faith is so cool. Faith is a principle of action...when you have faith it will always be accompanied by the drive and need to go do something about it. But as it is built, strengthened, and developed, it becomes a principle of power as well. Through faith it is possible for hope to arise, for forgiveness to come (which are not small things), for miracles, signs, and visions to happen, for dreams and revelation to arise, etc. Faith is so great! 
In a way, faith is like a blob. In itself it can't do much. But between your hopes/desires and your actions, you define what your faith is to you. So that blob can grow, shrink, harden, soften, sweeten, brighten, dim, etc. In that way, faith can become a sword, shield, or breastplate (several scriptures liken it unto that). It can become a flower that you want to share with everyone to make them happier. It can be a rock in a backpack that is a burden to carry around. It can be like blubber or a weak muscle if you don't work at it. It can be your golden heart which you want to break and share with people, it can be bread that feeds your spiritual side, et cetera. In a way every day you create for yourself what your faith means to you by how your hopes and actions drive you. So what is your faith today? 
But so much is possible through faith. The effects of faith are huge! You can get to the point that unquestionably you know that the direction that you're living life is acceptable to God. (like being on a road--you don't have to make U-turns all the time. You know exactly where you're going and how you're going to get there). Eventually you can receive in this life all the blessings God has for you through faith (receive is the key word there. God wants to give us everything! But we have to get to the point where we are worthy of, desiring of, and able to receive every good blessing.) And finally, through faith it is possible to eventually get to the point where you unquestionably know that salvation is guaranteed for you. (all of that is found in the Bible Dictionary: Faith) 
Faith is so great! I never really gave it much credit before. I think it is the center of the Christ like attributes. Because you need the other attributes like humility, patience, hope, etc to really develop true faith. But faith will also feed those attributes. So that is what I'm working on right now... faith. And it is so great. God wants to bless us. And so as we do the actions to become worthy of them, he will bless us with them. I know that because I see miracles practically on a daily basis. 
This work is so great! 
Anyway, I hope you all have a great week. I was so excited to hear about Jason's baptism! Great missionary work, Shaun and Sarah!! Sarah, good luck with the last stretch of the pregnancy! I hope it isn't too uncomfortable. I love you all and hope life is treating you fantastically! 
Oh, one more random thing... haha! Living here you eventually get to know the noises of the street venders: 
- the cucaracha song is for the cucaracha trucks which are huge trucks that sell all kinds of snacks 
- a horn honked several times is for snacks like helote (corn on the cob with mayonaise covering the outside with like cheese and spice on that), respados (basically a snow cone but the ice is a little bit less fine than snow cones), and other things like grilled fat things that people put in a bag. 
- a bell is a street ice cream vendor 
- there are also normal ice cream trucks with the songs that play. we have one that comes around usually while we're doing our nightly planning session and it has animal sounds incorporated into the song which makes us laugh all the time. 
- a person screaming out "tamaleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees" are people selling tamales, usually on Saturdays and Sundays. 
basically, if Hispanics can't find or get a job they get a cart and start vending foods. You can tell how long they've been selling by how decked out their carts are. Like if they're just starting it'll be out of a grocery cart that they walk all over. 
Okay that's all, I'd better take off. Have a great week!! and may the Spirit be with you! 
~Hermana Whetten

Saturday, October 20, 2012


The little girl is Nikki a recent convert and she recently got a cat. The cat's name is Romeo and Sister Hansen's first name is Juliet, so this is Romeo and Juliet :)

                    The day 3 people from our mission turned 1 year old.

Us at the Dia de Hispanidad
The worst parking job ever (California drivers are scary!) It was kind of funny... both cars had tickets on the windshields. I guess the second car pushed the first one into the red zone?

We had the same colors that day, but in a different order. It made me laugh everytime I saw us :D

 The craft project we were working on for a long time last transfer. It was that object lesson with doing pushups for every door you open but you can ask if there is a candy bar behind the door (asking for baptism dates) so you only have to do 10 pushups instead of like 30. Hermana Hansen drew it all out and I colored it all. We gave them candy bars and gave them this so they could keep it. It is a door and when you open it, there is a candy bar. (these were for the elders. we still haven't quite finished ours)

Brittany made little sculpey figurines of Hermana Hansen and I! (I'll have to remember to take a close up picture of just the figurine. It is so cute!

Two with Hermana Jovel, a person who is so cool and makes delicious food and has been a member for about a year and a half. The flower thing is the national flower of El Salvador and they use it in cooking I guess.

                                      Our last zone conference this week.

                          Two from my first zone conference.