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.

Transfer 2: check. Onto 3!   

Hello everyone! Thanks for all the letters and support! I'm so glad the family and everyone has been doing terrifically. Thanks for all the quotes all the time, mom! I add a lot of them to my Preach My Gospel. My goal is to make Preach My Gospel mine by the end of my mission. It is well on it's way with highlights, quotes, thoughts, inserts of talks, et cetera. I love it! That makes me laugh so hard that Max can climb out of his pack and play now! How funny. And I can't believe that Mia only has 5 more weeks of cooking. The time has really flown and it is hard to believe because Sarah was still normal size when I left. But I hope you all have fun at the baby shower! I'll be there in spirit :)

Holy cow! Can you believe it?! It is already transfer 3!! This is going to be a great transfer... during this one we will have Halloween, Thanksgiving, and also I'll hit my 6 month mark of being on my mission. I can't believe it. That means that after this it's like my days are numbered. I will have less than a year to learn, do, and become everything that I want to on my mission. I don't want to waste a single day or it will already be over basically.

We had a conference of all the missionaries in the San Fernando Valley on Tuesday and from that I was extremely inspired by President Hall. I am seriously so lucky to be a missionary exactly right now. Think about it. This is a time when everyone is asking questions about who the Mormons are. Between politics (a presidential candidate in one party and the senate majority leader in the other major political party), popular culture (Book of Mormon: The Musical), and media (the "I'm a Mormon campaign, 
mormon.org, radio, documentaries, interviews, et cetera) everyone is asking who are the Mormons? For centuries missionary work has been predicted (in Isaiah) and today is the most significant moment in the history of the world for missionary work. 
D&C 88:72-73 says: 
72 Behold, and lo, I will take care of your aflocks, and will raise up elders [and hermanas] and send unto them.
73 Behold, I will ahasten my work in its time.
That is exactly what the Lord has done! I am the fulfillment of prophecy right now! There are currently about 58,000 missionaries in the world. President Hall was doing some simple math and it is possible that in the next year or so that number will soar to almost 100,000 missionaries with the new announcement of the minimum age of 18 for young men and 19 for young women. And I am a part of it! I'll probably be the trainer for several of these new 19 year old women in the field. I am so excited to be a part of this work!! Not only that, but to be out here right here and right now. 
President Hall said that in our mission we have been having about 500 baptisms here for many years. Well after praying earnestly about it, we are setting a goal next year to double that number and baptize 1000 people. And I will be a part of it! By making changes of being more obedient to the missionary rules, being more obedient to the spirit, praying more fervently, working harder, and studying better I know that that goal is possible. We'll make it. And I'm a part of it! I am also so lucky to have such a great mission president who is turning this mission even more fully into a Preach My Gospel mission. I know he was meant to be my president.
Anyway, let me talk a little about this week. I guess my first announcement is that we got our transfer calls on Saturday night and Hermana Hansen and I are staying together for another transfer. She was sure she was going to leave because it is somewhat rare I guess for people to stay with their trainer for 3 transfers. We know that in transfers the president has to think several transfers ahead to get people into the right area so they can have certain assignments given, so Hermana Hansen thinks it is because I am going to become a trainer next transfer. Who knows if that is true. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

This week was also such a great week. As of last Sunday we had 2 baptism dates planned, but in the last week that number has soared up to 5. And it doesn't feel like we've been doing anything differently. They have just been happening. The Lord blesses us so much. Sometimes I don't feel worthy for those blessings. But maybe he has hope in me so I will do my part to become a better person to become more worthy for them. But anyway, some of those baptism dates were these. Stephany's baptism didn't end up happening because she wanted more time. But when we rescheduled it, her sister Priscilla who has just recently finished nursing school is now available to receive the lessons and so we were able to set a date with both of them. When we were visiting a less active sister in the ward, her mom was out and so we taught her a simple lesson on the Restoration of the Gospel and invited her to be baptized. She said "porque no?" She is almost 90 and had 22 children and never before had been that receptive or eager because she's lived a very hard life. But it is never too late. She still has a lot of mental capacities and was telling us that she knows that the story of Joseph Smith is true and that the Book of Mormon is true. Another one of the dates is from a member referral. She came up to us after church and asked us to go to her house that night to teach her neighbor and he accepted the invitation to be baptized and he really wants to learn more and go to church. They are just so great!! Hermana Hansen is so excited to stay here with me for another transfer to help all of these people out to learn more. It is the greatest thing ever!!
I also prayed this week to be the answer to someone's prayer and that absolutely happened. We were trying to visit a non-active member for the young single adult branch and she was absolutely not interested. But while we were leaving we saw a neighbor (who happened to have the same name as that member ironically) going into the elevator with her arms full of clothes. We were like, "would you like some help?" and she was like shocked out of words for a second then was like "actually yes, can you help me?" She was moving out and had been doing so like all day. Her roommate didn't pay the rent one day so she had to move. There was supposed to be a ton of people to help her out but all of them didn't show up except one. They were almost done so we were able to help get the last few things down to the truck. She needed to get to work at 6 so she could pay for the truck and the storage facility and so that one guy was going to have to unload it all by himself. The storage facility was in Santa Barbara. She said she would pay us 20 dollars to help unload it all. (Santa Barbara is outside of my mission so it was like one of those moments where it was funny because it was like at conference... hmmm... will I sell my soul for $20? Do I want to get sent home for leaving the mission for $20? No thanks haha.) But within 3 phone calls we were able to get a hold of the missionaries in Santa Barbara, so she was going to have missionaries waiting there to help her out. That is how cool the church is. Maybe we couldn't go. But because there are missionaries everywhere, the missionaries there could help out. She said she had been praying for help and right then we came along and asked if we could help her out. Hopefully that planted a big seed and the missionaries in Santa Barbara will be able to teach her.
I guess another thing that was fantastic was that this week we had the absolute best lesson in the world on Monday. There is a less active member we teach and his non member wife. We taught then a normal lesson on the Plan of Salvation. But it was in the discussion afterward that it got really cool. We were talking about how now that we know this plan, what does that mean to us? What things does that change? He was giving us excuses for like 5 minutes about how he knows he shouldn't drink but he only does it sometimes when he's around his coworkers etc. We listened. Then after he was done I explained, "we are disciples of Christ. And as disciples of Christ, our invitation to you, Lyc, is to be baptized by someone who holds the authority of God." Then I turned to Juan Carlos and said, "and our invitation to you is to become worthy to baptize your wife." That is what changed everything. When he realized that he had the aaronic priesthood so he could baptize her, he was humbled and explained that that would be so sacred and special. Then later she opened up more too. She started chocking up with tears and said "it's okay, keep going on" and we were like "no, you're crying. What's on your mind?" and she opened up and they talked about how she's always wanted to be a mother but that since they've been married for 2 and a half years they haven't been able to have any children. Hermana Hansen and I both felt the impression so strongly in our hearts, so we promised her that if she starts on this path of baptism, her righteous desires of wanting to have children will be able to happen. The spirit was so strong in that lesson. Then afterward we asked her to pray and she prayed the most sincere prayer I've ever heard an investigator say about how strongly she wants to know it is true. She started crying again halfway through and her husband took her into his arms and there she finished the prayer. So when we opened our eyes they were there in each other's arms. It was the cutest thing ever! But I just loved it and the spirit was so strong there. We love her and hope that she'll listen to her heart and work toward baptism. That was one of those lessons where it wasn't us teaching. It was completely the spirit. And I was honored to be able to witness being there while the spirit was teaching.
So yeah, pretty much last week was like the best ever! I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for me this week! This is the best work in the world. And it still hits me all the time... I'm a missionary. I'm in California!! This is so great!
May the Spirit be with you!
~Hermana Whetten

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hello all! 
Wasn't conference the absolute best?!!?! Oh man! I loved it! It was really cool watching it because certain things came up and I couldn't help thinking of you all. For instance, when they made the lower age for missionary service announcement, I could practically hear mom from here saying "what!!" and Britt being super super excited (it was cool to be around the missionaries during that announcement. We were all like "woah, No WAY!" Not going to lie, I wish I would have been able to go on my mission when I was 19. But clearly I am meant to be right here right now.) And when the one sister (Ann M. Dibb) talked about the t-shirt slogan "I'm a Mormon. I know it. I live it. I love it" I could just see the gears in mom's head already working to design a t-shirt with that slogan. If you do end up making some you should so send one my way haha! When President Monson was talking about how he wished he had stuck with the piano I was thinking about Brittany and how she won't ever have to live with that regret. Oh man! It totally was the best. I'd love to hear what all of your favorite talks were and why! 
As a missionary, it was so great listening to them all. While last week I did watch the Relief Society Broadcast in Spanish I realized that I wouldn't get much out of it between the very sophisticated vocabulary I don't have yet and the speed of talking of the translators. Plus it is weird listening to it in Spanish because like you will sometimes hear the speaker start phrases then the interpreter will take over. So yeah, I watched in English and I learned so much. I can't wait for the November issues of the Ensign and Liahona to come out so I can study them again! I came into the conference with an attitude of prayer for specific things that I wanted to learn and they were definitely answered. Oh I also loved hearing the talk where he kept on saying "Ask the missionaries. They can help you!" After that talk the elders in front of us turned around and were like, "I think I just received 6 referrals." Haha! But it is so true. We have the answers to the big questions of life and we can help with practically any problem in life! 
I think my favorite talk of them all was that of Jeffrey R. Holland. I love the way he says things boldly but with love. When he speaks you know it is absolute truth because he is so logical (so it makes sense in your heart) but he also says it with the spirit and with love (so you can feel it is true in your heart as well). I actually cried a little while listening to that one because I realized that when I come face to face with Christ, I don't want him to have to ask me over and over again "do you love me?" I want him to absolutely know that I love Him with all my heart. I want that probably more than anything else. That is the desire of me heart. And I can become that person who loves him with all my heart by becoming a person whose actions show it. I want to become a person who loves those around me and shows it by always serving them. I want to be that person that people know they can come to when life gets hard. I want to be that person who always listens to the spirit and literally can become the answer to other's prayers every day. I'm not quite there yet. Not really by a long shot. But I want it so bad, so I will work on making the changes in my life to develop the attributes of Christ more fully in my life so I can become like that. 
Anyway, needless to say, I loved conference and can't wait to read these talks and study them more! 
Now for the big things of this week. The best part is that Stephany is going to be getting baptized next Sunday!!! I love her so much and can literally see how for her coming to know the gospel has been changing her desires and her levels of faith, peace, and happiness in life. We promise that more happiness is possible through the gospel than you've ever before experienced and with her that absolutely is true. She had to hit rock bottom of getting a DUI after crashing into a wall and then having to go to prison over the 4th of July. But she really has been repenting of her past and I really feel she's ready to take this huge step of getting baptized and becoming completely clean from it. She understands it so well too. Like last night we were reviewing the Plan of Salvation and we asked her what this plan means to her and she said "well, it's God's plan, so that means we'd better follow it!" I am seriously so excited for her!! 
It's also interesting how we found her. She was the daughter of the person a friend in our ward referred us to. That absolutely shows me the importance of member referrals! The cool thing is I have so much hope for Stephany's sister, Priscilla. We haven't really been able to meet with Priscilla because she's always been studying for these nursing school tests which have been every Monday. But now that is pretty much over and she said she'll be better about coming to church and meeting with us now. Yay! I'm so excited! 
We also got to get rid of our most difficult investigators this week. They asked so many questions and we always felt mentally drained after speaking with them. They basically loved having us come over because they liked to talk to us about what we believe in, but they didn't have any intention of acting on it. They just liked to learn. So we had really been focusing on teaching as clearly as we could why this church is the only true church on the earth and what makes us different. But they haven't been doing anything on their own like reading or going to church and I think they finally got tired of us over and over and over again inviting them to take the steps and be baptized and attend church and read the Book of Mormon etc. So they kind of dropped us over text. I love them and am sad to see that decision because I know what they really are turning down. But I'm happy because they finally made a decision. They got off the fence and made a decision. We don't have to keep on doing metaphorical pushups over them and we can spend our time on people who will progress. It's always a big question. When do you drop someone? In this case, they made it themselves. 
I guess those were the two extremes of this week and the two main things that happened. On Thursday Hna Hansen went to a training in Santa Clarita so it ended up working out that I was companions for most of the day with an English speaking sister named Sister Filimoehala from New Zealand who is Tongan. I loved her accent! But she speaks zero Spanish, so we were in her area for the day and this is her first transfer. So it was a nice role reversal because I was in a way a senior comp and I helped her understand what she can do in certain situations. I also helped her learn to read a map. It got interesting at one point because she hadn't written down the address for an investigator. She only knew the street name but the streets in California are confusing because any street that runs along a certain line on the map has the same street name. But the thing is that inside the blocks the streets curve and so it ends up that the streets on the different blocks have the same name but they're not actually connected at all. So I was able to help teach her that. I really had fun getting to help her out and to hear her story and the culture she came from etc. She is really great! 
So we're at the family history center (I guess it's a holiday? I'm not sure which one it is) and so I don't have too much more time right now so I'll wrap up. We got electricity in our house finally by like 2 or 3 in the afternoon on Tuesday. Oh yeah, Thursday was like the best day of my life!! When letters are sent to the mission office we get them the next time we go up to Santa Clarita or whenever we see the zone leaders, usually on Fridays at district meeting. But it ended up that on Thursday I got a stack of letters from Hna Hansen going up to Santa Clarita. So between that and mail at the apartment, I ended up with 6 letters and a paper saying I got a package waiting for me at the post office! It was the best day of my life pretty much!! Letters are pretty much one of the best things in the entire world when you're on a mission! But thanks so much for the package, mom!!! You are seriously the best! The snacks are great (I was especially excited that there were more fruit leather rolls! They are so good!) The DVD and Spanish book and Plan of Salvation papers are exactly what I wanted! You're the best! Thanks so much! 
Well that's all that comes to my mind right now so I'll sign off. I love receiving your letters and hearing how everyone is doing. I hope this is the best week ever for everyone!! 
May the Spirit be with you! 
~Hermana Whetten

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Whew. Today was a busy day and I don't have much time before we have to leave for our dinner appointment but I'll hopefully have enough time to write this e-mail.
Today was moving day from one apartment into another which is in our area (so you can use that address now). It ended up taking two trips because we had to take all the furnature with us... like the sofa, the dresser, the desks, the table, et cetera. The senior couple in charge of the housing was there but they weren't much help for lifting and moving stuff up and down the stairs. Luckily the three elders from our district came and helped the whole time and the zone leaders came and helped for the first trip. They were great because they got all the heavy stuff. After we were all done Hna Hansen and I got us all some In-N-Out burgers and shakes for the district because they are seriously so great. The size of the apartment is a little smaller but hopefully it will work out great once everything is put away. The main problem right now is that we won't have electricity or gas until in the morning.They meant to get that started up for us last Friday but I guess something didn't end up happening.  (I'm really hoping it will work in the morning!!!) It is still extremely hot here. Like our car thermometer is still reading over 100 almost every day (more like 113 or so this afternoon). So we're hoping that we'll be cool enough without the cooler working tonight. We are lucky in that we're on the east side of the building so it doesn't seem to get too hot in the afternoon. Between that and keeping the blinds closed all afternoon hopefully we will be able to sleep comfortably tonight. We'll just have to see and cross our fingers!!!
The work is still going great. We were able to meet with the person I talked about last week who asked us what the process for getting baptized was and we found out a few things. 1) in her process of moving she moved to Van Nuys not Reseda (the cities here are crazy because there are so many cities in the San Fernando Valley but there is absolutely nothing geographically different to divide the cities so I still am not sure exactly where many of the cities are but I'm figuring it out) 2) She actually already was baptized in probably 1993 when she was 8 with her dad but he stopped going so she wasn't able to continue for a long time. So we're going to try looking for her records and if that is the case she won't need to get rebaptized. I guess the bishop somehow didn't know about finding records because his solution for her was to rebaptize her. Usually that is the case for a lot of the hispanics who got baptized a long time ago in central or south america because it is really hard to find their records. The records can be recreated with 2 witnesses who were there but it is all interesting. Anyway, hopefully we won't have to be rebaptized. 3) Her mom isn't a member and she's interested in the missionary lessons. So she'll be a new investigator for elders in Van Nuys.
Priscilla is really progressing. She came to church on Sunday and also the Relief Society session of General Conference. That was interesting to go to. We ended up watching it in Spanish with her and the interpreters talk so fast that I didn't really get anything substantial out of it at all. Luckily in the second chapel in that building they show the english version too. So for the sessions of general conference this week we'll be watching it in english (yay!!). It was really weird though because in the spanish interpretation version the music is still the same (in english) and it's like the spanish people get upset because they don't know the language but they want to sing along too. Like in the last piece before the closing prayer it was a hymn sung by the choir and so it was supposed to be listened to. But someone found out what number that hymn was in spanish and shouted it out and the spanish people started singing along to the choir in spanish. It was really... different and made me like laugh and roll my eyes. Good thing I love these people.
I guess the last thing as I start wrapping up is a question I guess for anyone who happens to know more about this than me. I started researching it the other day. What is a visionary person? Like what is a vision? And who can get one?
I've always known that people in the Bible and the Book of Mormon were 'visionary people' but to me I guess I always assumed that was a thing that was rare and reserved for the prophet. But at least 4 times in the last few months I've had specific instances when I was in the process of praying/meditating about a question and my mind will play out these images that suddenly make something clear about what I need to do. It seems like daydreaming or my mind wandering to me and I guess I've always thought that is what it was. But when it happens that is the answer to the question I was praying/meditating about. The images aren't necessarily relevant but to me they are symbolic and they are like an answer to me. So is that a vision?
Sorry, this might sound random... I guess it came out in my mind especially right now because I'm currently reading the book Our Heritage and there are so many instances of people seeing 'visions' or angels ministering or stuff like that. So I'm just not really sure.
I'll wrap up with the question/thought. Are you a black hole or a sun? That is one of the image things that came to my mind during sacrament meeting this week to answer how I can be a better person. If you're a black hole you're sucking everything inward toward you, even the light is sucked in toward you. You're giving nothing back but are inward. If you're a sun you're giving everything and at the same time not ever really running out of more of yourself to give. But you provide light and heat and the ability for other things to exist or grow. Anyway, just a random thought. Computers in the library are shutting down soon so I've got to go. Thanks for everything. You're all the best!
~Hermana Whetten
ps-Mom thanks for the article! I got it and that is exactly what I wanted. Oh yeah, for the exercise thing, you know how pintrest had little exercise lists of things to do too? If you find any good ones ever can you print those off for me maybe? thanks! You're so great!