Saturday, March 30, 2013

March 25th, 2013

Hello all!
So sorry I have almost no time to write this week. Yesterday for my preparation day from about 1-5 we were doing the new missionary activities which meant for us that within a few hours of them getting off the plane, we took the missionaries out contacting on the street and knocking for about an hour to an hour and a half. Hermana Tavoian and I are training now. We just got back in Sylmar from the meeting and eating lunch etc. My new missionary is named Hermana Hardy. We are in Sylmar. But because we were gone yesterday we had permission to come write a quick e-mail and put in our key indicators etc. I'll tell you more next week! Have a great week!
Tenga el espiritu consigo siempre!
~Hermana Whetten

Monday, March 18, 2013

Oh boy. Another great week. I can't believe that this week we'll be celebrating our 10 months out on the mission together. Where has the time gone, seriously? It seriously felt like last week that we were celebrating our 9 months. I don't even know where this transfer went!!!! The transfers are going by like weeks nowadays. And that's scary!!!! 
I don't think I've shared the list of animals I've seen since I've been in Sylmar with you all yet, so I'll do that. We've seen horses, chickens, llamas, lizards, bunnies, squirrels, dogs!!!! (in like every house), cats, and peacocks (I know, what?! They were just wandering around on this street one day). So I guess Sylmar is like a nice mix between a farm, a desert, and a zoo. 
Last preparation day we went mini golfing at this random free outdoor mini golf park from the 60s that is just randomly set up and way overgrown with grass, plants, weeds, et cetera behind the hospital. We randomly found it in our area one day because a referral was nearby. But yeah, it ended up being really fun. I think we're going to be hiking today, which I'm quite excited for! 
On Tuesday we had interviews with the president. It was fun, but we didn’t have much time each. He gave me a cool talk that I want to check out from April 2012 by Richard G. Scott called How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life. I think that will probably go along nicely with my seeking to receive revelation for my Book of Revelations (I just finished up my last page of my current one today, so I'll need to be on the search for a new one today!) 
We also met some pretty cool people this week. Likewise, we went on exchanges for a day. Hermana Hansen and Hermana Zepeda are the exchange sisters right now. Hermana Hansen is going home in a week and that is kind of crazy to think about. We were curious which sister would be with Hermana Hansen because Hermana Tavoian and I have both been her companion, but it ended up that I stayed in Sylmar and Hermana Zepeda came to me. We had a really fun time. She also loved when I helped cure her insomnia by doing yoga with her before we went to bed and also when I taught her about how cool the word of wisdom is. I think little by little Hermana Mulliner and I will convert the whole mission into being more healthy. It's a good thing to haha! Because there was an elder in our district who, when we were going around talking about what we ate for breakfast, said that he ate ice cream that morning! Oh man! But yeah, one thing I learned from Hermana Zepeda is that God doesn't have to direct you in every step of your life. If you have enough trust in the Lord, you can move forward and have the faith that if you're about to fall off of a cliff he will warn us. We don't need to be guided in every step of the way. In fact, that takes away our agency. 
She also taught me that it is no coincidence that I came out on a mission when I did. That only after I was out was the age requirement lowered. I was meant to be out here to help train these younger sisters coming in. I definitely believe that. Because originally I wasn't planning on going on my mission until after I graduated from college. I didn't receive some huge confirmation that I needed to leave out on my mission right then, but it all just worked out and felt right as I was continuing to go through the process of filling out the papers et cetera. But it was no coincidence that I was out here and then the age was lowered. I was meant to be right here right now. This is where and when the Lord needed me. And I am glad I accepted and came even though that meant changing my plans quite a bit. Hermana Tavoian also shared with me a very cool thought about how why I was even meant to be in Sylmar right here and right now. Hermana Hansen was only here for a transfer. It would have made sense for her to have stayed in Sylmar for her final transfer and that would have given enough time for some other sister to get used to this area before she took off. But had she been here I wouldn't have been able to come because I've already been her companion. It was by moving her and keeping Hermana Tavoian here, even though this is now her 6th transfer here, that not only were we able to be together (President even said he never would have expected us to be together) but also that I was able to be in Sylmar right here right now. There is something or someone in Sylmar that I need to do or teach. I absolutely know that. Isn't it cool how the Lord is in the big things of our life but also the little teeny details as well. If not even a hair is lost without him noticing, of course not a single companion or area or mission would be chosen without his direction. How cool that an infinitely creative and divine being is hand picking experiences for us!! 
I definitely encourage you to continue your book of revelations and I'll also share a cool scripture I found this morning. 1 Nephi 18:3. That is the desire of my heart, to be showed great things by the Lord. But it doesn't just come. I have to diligently work for it. It is by praying, studying, taking seminary and institute classes, going to church, doing callings, going to the temple. That is how you do your part. And along the way you are preparing yourself to receive those great things! 
Tenga el espiritu santo consigo para siempre! 
~Hermana Whetten

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hello all! I can't believe how fast time flies! It's already Monday again. I'm kind of scared the second half of my mission is just going to fly by like that and suddenly I'll blink and I'll be on a plane. I'll try not to think about that too much. But yeah, how has everyone been? 
This week was really busy and great. I told you last week about how Hermana Tavoian is really struggling with Spanish still, so we've been studying Spanish together for the whole language study time. I am teaching her principles of Spanish: grammar, vocab, pronunciation, songs I learned in my Spanish classes, et cetera. It is really helping her and it isn't that bad of a review for me, clearing up the fuzzy spots I have here and there. She hasn't had a companion yet whose really just sat down with her and helped rewire the mistakes that maybe she didn't even know she was making, so she's really grateful and I feel like she's understanding more and then noticing the things we've studied more and more. It really has been a blessing for me. With Hermana Hansen, she was the one who knew all the Spanish. Since then with Hermanas Mulliner and Tavoian, I was in a way thrown under the train in that suddenly I was the one having to do most of the texts, telephone calls, starting many conversations, teaching much, et cetera. It has been good for me because I can now do that stuff. I'll still have moments when I'm like "wow, I just met someone who speaks no English and I was able to communicate!" Anyway, I feel like helping out Hermana Tavoian has also been preparing me for training in the future because it's very possible I'll have a complete beginner in Spanish to train, so I've been learning the patience that takes on my part and also how to be charitable and help them feel good about their Spanish but always help them learn more and more. 
This week, Hermana Tavoian also got sick with stuffy nose problems, so she's had to come home and take naps a bit early sometimes but I think she's on the uphill side. Haha-- I feel like my companions have been getting sick a lot with me. I wonder if I have a ton more energy than them and I'm wearing them out. But it hasn't been holding her back too much. 
Oh, one really fun thing about this week is that a recent convert, Juan had us come over on Saturday. He fed us saviche which is actually not too bad even though it is seafood. It's like a mixture of shrimp, crab meat, and some veggies like cabbage, and cucumber with some juices like orange and lemon. I'm honestly not sure what else is in it. But then you eat it on tostadas. But anyway, after we ate, he had us go outside and we got to dump out some of the wine he had. He wasn't drinking it, but he had it from before he was baptized and he said he didn't feel good when he gave a bottle or two away, so he just wanted to dump it all out. It was a fun little dumping out wine party (though the backyard stunk quite a bit hahaha). 
We've been meeting lots of new people and preparing others for baptism. We even set a baptismal date with an eternigator who finally received his answer because of a very spiritual experience they had in the LA temple visitor's center. He promised his wife he would give up drinking and he wants to get baptized on their wedding anniversary in May (shh-- don't tell his wife! it's a secret for her).
We've been meeting lots of new people and I had a really spiritual experience meeting with this lady who has cancer. That visit really helped me to love people better for many reasons. Don't ever judge someone. Chances are when you talk to them you'll love them so much as you learn of everything they've been through. I remember last Sunday at church judging her a little bit because she was sitting there coughing and wheezing loudly right behind us during the sacrament and I was sitting there praying that our investigators would have a spiritual experience during sacrament meeting. (I had no clue who she was at that point) But getting to talk to her at her house made me feel bad and want to be better. She told us of many experiences she's been through in her life, of everything she went through to be baptized, of how her catholic family completely rejected her afterward, of how she had to defend her faith for 3 1/2 months on the bus when a Jehovah's Witness wouldn't stop tormenting her, of experiences she had as a child when the catholic people in her pueblo went from house to house taking people's bibles and burning them because they said that only the priest could interpret the word of God for the people (but her Grandma had stuck the Bible onto their roof and she still has it), of how since she was baptized like 40 years ago, she's only wanted to go through the temple but she got baptized without her husband's permission so she decided she had better at least get his permission for that. She told us of how she smoked and drank before she was baptized and she returned to it when she was inactive for 8 years and it is only now that she is suffering from it all. That her left lung is drying up and her right lung is having fibrous growth and so she is imprisoned in her house basically on oxygen and what used to take her an hour now takes her all day. She is dying of cancer, but her husband finally gave her permission to go through the temple and that is the only thing that matters to her. She will go through on April 6th. Meeting her changed everything for me. It helped me see what it is like to have the pure love of Christ for someone. Having that changes everything. I met an angel and at first in that appointment, I was only concerned about whether or not we would get a referral from her (because we had prayed about who to visit to get a referral and we were sent to her house). But now I see that the Lord wasn't sending me there for a referral. He was sending me there because there was something important I needed to learn from her: LOVE. Sometimes I get too logical about missionary work, I think. I see where I've seen success in the past and then I start creating formulas for future success. But that isn't what missionary work is about. This is about learning to be guided by the spirit in all we do. This is about "feeding my sheep." He didn't call us to feed his sheep in some robot-like mechanical manner. He called us to love them and care for them so that when they hear our voice they will recognize the voice of the master calling for them and so they will follow him because they love him, like sheep run to the voice of their master. I realized that I was thinking to myself "there is no missionary point in us being here since she's not going to give us a referral" and "man, she's talking so much like all Hispanics, how are we going to get out of here?" and then it hit me... I was basically talking to an angel... or at least someone who will be one very soon. I was talking to an angel and thinking to myself "I have to go." Meeting her changed a lot for me and I now have the desires to really love people better. It isn't about loving them because they're changing. It is about loving them enough that they want to change. I really hope that during my mission (and I'm sure I'll be working on it through the rest of my life) I can keep on seeing the people around me as Christ sees them and that I can truly be the servant and friend he needs me to be. 
Haha... sorry... that was a lot of typing to read through. I would love to hear experiences you've had that have helped you learn to love people better! 
Tenga el espiritu consigo para siempre jamas! 
~Hermana Whetten

Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013

Oh man. We get a weekly e-mail from our mission president and I just got done reading mine and it is so crazy!!! So I decided to attach the whole thing so you could read it too. Here you go... 
Dear Sisters and Elders of the Great California San Fernando Mission, 

In late December 1832 and early January 1833, a revelation was given through the Prophet Joseph Smith at Kirtland, Ohio. This revelation was given after high priests at a conference prayed “separately and vocally to the Lord to reveal his will unto us concerning the building up of Zion.” We have that revelation recorded today in D&C 88. Two verses of this great revelation, which Joseph Smith called the “‘olive leaf’ … plucked from the Tree of Paradise, the Lord’s message of peace to us,” have great meaning to me today. You have heard me speak of this great prophesy being fulfilled today throughout the world, and specifically, in our Great California San Fernando mission:

“Behold, and lo, I will take care of your flocks, and will raise up elders and send unto them. Behold, I will hasten my work in its time.” (D&C 88:72-73)

Last week, the Church announced that some of the 347 existing missions will be divided to form an additional 58 missions, bringing total number of missions throughout the world to 405. What a great hastening of the work this will be, especially in the areas where the new missions have been created.

Among the 58 new missions, three were announced in California – Bakersfield, Irvine, and Rancho Cucamonga. The creation of the Bakersfield mission is evidence of the great hastening of the work that the Lord is preparing for our mission. 

The new California Bakersfield mission will be created from the California Ventura and the Great California San Fernando missions. Specifically, the three Bakersfield stakes (Bakersfield, Bakersfield East and Bakersfield South) will be combined with the four northern stakes from our mission (Palmdale, Lancaster, Lancaster East and Ridgecrest) to form the new Bakersfield mission. 

The Great California San Fernando Mission will reorganized to include the six remaining stakes – Canoga Park, Granada Hills, North Hollywood, San Fernando, Santa Clarita and Valencia. I will send out an e-mail to your myldsmail accounts with a map of the current and new mission boundaries.

I have felt a great hastening of the work in this area with President Monson’s announcement of the lower age for missionary service. However, now with the creation of a new mission, even more missionaries will be sent to this area! The hastening will be accelerating at an even greater pace! The Lord is certainly raising up elders and sending them to us!

For some of you, this may be the first that you have heard of our mission being divided and a new mission being created and I am sure you have some questions about what will happen. Let me address the highlights.

The new Bakersfield mission will go into effect July 1, 2013. All the missionaries that will be serving in the Palmdale, Lancaster, East Lancaster and Ridgecrest zones on July 1st will be reassigned to serve in the new Bakersfield mission at that time.

I know that this may cause a bit of anxiety for some of you, especially around transfer times, but I want you to know that I will continue to seek inspiration and revelation from the Lord regarding transfers. Just as we Find by the Spirit in this great mission, I assure you that transfers are also done by the Spirit of revelation and prophesy. I will continue to fast and go to the temple as I finalize the transfers every six weeks. I commit to you that I will be obedient and will follow the Lord’s will as I make changes to assignments so you can know with certainty that they are the Lord’s will for you.

This is the Lord’s work and he is involved in the very details. I have witnessed too many miracles in my life to believe otherwise. We may not have known that a new mission would be created in Bakersfield when we received our calls, but the Lord did. He knew that some of you would serve in both the San Fernando and the Bakersfield missions. As a matter of fact, the Lord specifically called some of you to San Fernando so you would be able to serve in both missions.

How humbling it is to me to see such a prophesy fulfilled so completely in our day. The Lord is truly hastening his work in a marvelous manner. I want you to know that I know that this is the Lord’s work. He is in the very details. This is His Church and Kingdom on the Earth and nothing will stop this work from progressing. I know this Church is true. I really do.

With much love and the tender feelings of a parent,

President and Sister Hall
Okay, now that you got that news about that our mission will be partially split (crazy!!!) Here is my little e-mail update about how everything is going. 
First of all, so everyone can have my new address, here you go (I felt dumb because last week right when I got into the car after the library I realized I forgot to include my new apartment address): 
Hermana Whetten 
14078 Astoria St #204 
Sylmar, CA 91342 
Now for some stuff about this week... 
I have to tell you first of all the miracles we are seeing. When I came there was one person with a baptismal date goal. Now there are three (hopefully soon to be five tonight with someone who was an eternigator because of the word of wisdom but who we recently got a text from his wife that he received an answer that this church is true and he has quitting drinking and also their oldest daughter is working on moving back into the home). Those right there are huge miracles!!! But another miracle is that the baptismal date they had, her name is Monitsa, was so excited about the restoration that she wanted to share it with her best friend and so now she and Ashley are progressing toward baptism on March 17th. They came together to church yesterday and they loved it so much. They thought everyone was so friendly and cute. They loved the testimony meeting and when we told them that they do that the first Sunday of every month they were super excited. Ashley said she wants to prepare this month to think about what she would say and that next month she wants to go up and give her testimony. They are so great!! They are like the definition of golden as of right now. I love them so much and the Lord is definitely preparing people to receive him! 
I know the Lord is helping us. The Lord is preparing us and is helping us to become the people he needs at this time. Hermana Tavoian was getting really down and frustrated because she's still not where she'd like to be with learning Spanish and it is really hard for her. So that is really bringing us even closer together as I'm able to try to help her grow her faith in herself and in the Lord and as I work to help her learn little by little more vocabulary, words, and grammar. It is crazy how Satan works to try to make it seem like our personal weaknesses are so much bigger than they are. The Lord is proud of our efforts and he knows that she is doing her best. I know that we all have weaknesses so that we will realize that we can't do it on our own and therefore we can go to the Lord and he will help us. 
A cool thing I learned this week was about light and truth. As we make good choices, obey the commandments, follow the spirit, and do the things we're supposed to like prayer and scripture study et cetera, the amount of light we have (the light of Christ) grows. This illuminates us with the ability to receive more truth. That light and truth is like a symbiotic relationship (as one grows brighter and stronger the other is able to grow brighter and stronger even more as well). As we work in the direction of receiving and not losing even more light and truth, more will become illuminated until we understand all things and obtain eternal life. Cool, huh? The Holy Ghost will teach us the truth of ALL things. God is not a God of confusion or obscurity. We are his literal children and he wants us to understand, know, and receive all things that he has and as we work on receiving more light and truth he will revel it to us little by little! 
That's about all the time I have right now. But know that I love you and am here for you. If there's anything I can help you with let me know! I pray for you. 
Tenga el espiritu consigo para siempre jamas! 
~Hermana Whetten