Monday, August 19, 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

First and foremost....... (drumroll please!) .... we had a baptism yesterday! Jose Farias got baptized!!!! 

Okay, so here is some of his story...He was originally found in exchanges and the first visit was evidently scary for some of the newer missionaries. I guess he didn't have a shirt on and he was smoking and even though it was okay to be in the house because they had a member with them, they felt like they were being kidnapped or something. The first lesson I had with him he was so much better than that. He had read 400 plus pages of the Book of Mormon and solely from that had already decided he needed to stop smoking and he was down to 1 cigarette per day by the time we taught him the word of wisdom lesson. He fell down once that week and smoked but it made him want to throw up and through us calling him all the time to help him stay motivated, he was able to quit completely "ya no mas!" is what he said. Well then he completely finished the Book of Mormon as well. And we got him colored pencils so that this time through he'll read slower and find verses he really likes to mark them and he was showing us his Book of Mormon later and he had it all colored up like a little kid and it made us smile so much! He began to feel peace and happiness. And yesterday the baptism was seriously so amazing!! We got to sing a special musical number for it. And after the baptism Jose bore his testimony and it was short and simply... he basically said thank you so much and keep on preaching the gospel. Haha! He's a little missionary already. We called him up later that night and this is what he told us.. He said that when he was getting into it, the water was super clear and he was feeling so good. Then he said that for him the getting baptized made him feel like he had shackles taken off of his legs. He feels like he was let free and he feels like he must be the happiest man in the world!! He is so amazing!!!!!! I was so lucky that Heavenly Father let me come in and be a little part of his story.

                                                    We straightened my hair for the Baptism.

                                                                  It took forever.

Project "Serve Vila-make this the absolute best transfer in the world for her last transfer" is going super well. Like I said last week, I did a treasure hunt for her in the house. This week, I colored a beautiful paper for her that said her last name and it had mountains and a sun rising and a pretty sky. I also cut out more than 100 circles using our hole puncher and I wrote her a note using 1 letter per circle and a number on the back corresponding to the order it goes in. Hahaha! It took her a while to put it together and she loved it so much!

I have some more plans and every time we go on exchanges I try to get more ideas from the hermanas of what else I can do. Some more services in the queue and writing her a note and sticking it to the bikerack for her to see sometime when she is backing me up if I can figure out how to sneak it onto it. Also, filling up balloons and putting them all over the study space or something with scriptures inside. Just typing that up made me think that maybe I'll also make a puzzle and write a note or something on the back... hmmm... that could be fun!! Also, stringing notes up on the doorway for her to walk through. I also want to make her some snickerdoodle like muffins that Hermana Hardy made for me one time that were delicious. If you have any more ideas please let me know! This is super fun!! Also, I thought of something yesterday that she wants to buy, an English quad when she goes home because she only has scriptures in Spanish and she'd like some in English too. So I'd like to get your opinion on what if I gave her one of my sets? I know I have the one set at home and one set with me on the mission. I mean I don't have to. I don't know how expensive they actually are. I'm still letting the idea float around inside my head to see if I really would want to or not. What do you think? 
Oh, another thing that happened this week is that I got the paper lovingly known by missionaries as the "pre-trunkies." yikes! That means I'm officially getting closer to coming home. It is scary because right on the top it says "approaching release information. Release date: 04 DEC 2013" It says that I have to fill out the information as soon as possible and send it back. So I guess I should ask you a few questions just to check that I am writing the same information that you're thinking. One of the questions is: How are you traveling home? I assumed I'm flying and I'll be flying into the Albuquerque International Airport (that's the name of it, right?) but if your plans are different and you're planning on picking me up just let me know I guess. They also need to know current bishop and stake president. They should have President Rounsville's information, but can you maybe get the new bishop's name and number and address just in case they need to update all that too? Once I get the paper sent in it says that a copy of my flight schedule will be emailed to you and also sent to you will be a letter. 
Phew. Now that that is over with, I can get on to living in ignorance again that I'm going to be here forever haha. 
Anyways, it was such a great week. I am so grateful to be able to be with Hermana Vila and to be able to use my creativity and sneakiness to serve her a ton this transfer. She is exactly what I needed for this transfer. We've gotten to become really good friends and I've learned a lot about what it is like to have and to be a friend. Exchanges have also been really great. I feel like I am learning more teaching skills of how to help them become even more excellent, And it is such a great calling because I get to help lift them, inspire them,. encourage them, and bless them. President Hall gave us a little acronym of how we lead them... LEIB with love. (lift, encourage, inspire, bless) when they feel that, the spirit is able to teach them so much about what more they can do to improve little by little. 
Anyway, I love you all! Have a fantastic week! and enjoy the pictures I sent.
Tenga el espiritu consigo para siempre! 
~Hermana Whetten

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

Ah it is so good to be with Hermana Vila! I got the idea from the exchange that I went on this week to do a little scavenger hunt for her where I gave her a clue which lead to another clue which lead to another clue etc. At the end I wrote her a note telling her how much I love her. So this morning I took probably the quickest shower in the world and when I got out she was still in the shower, so I literally was running around the house putting the clues in their right places and my timing was just right as she was getting out. She loved it and was so so happy!! She said no one has ever done that for her before. Last night we also did facial masks before we went to bed. I love getting to answer some doctrinal questions for her since she is relatively newer in the church. It is just so great being with her. I'm also learning a lot about humility from her. I think before my mission I didn't know how much of a prideful person I am, but she through her mission has really been able to become much more humble, so I am learning so much about that from her. I just have a weird combination because I am prideful and perfectionist but a bit insecure. Haha! But luckily I'm not doomed to be those forever. That is the beauty of the gospel-- that we can change! Use the good parts of those and get rid of the bad parts little by little through consciously working on it. 
I want to also tell you about two stories that I found out about this week of seeds that were planted back in Sylmar and I've gotten to hear about those seeds flowering. And finding out about that is probably the coolest experience in the world. Knowing that things you did and have done totally made a difference! 
SO the first story, in Sylmar one day Hermana Hardy was driving and ridiculously (and very inspiredly) made the decision at a stoplight to turn left at the last street on a street called Foothill before the end of our area. And it ended up being this completely industrial street with absolutely no one in sight. No houses, No one. except for this one person who was standing at his fruit stand. So if we were inspired to go there, it must have been to talk to him. So we got out and talked to him. ANd we gave him a Book of Mormon and we kept on coming back again and again to see how he was doing. And he wouldn't ever give us his address or his phone number but we kept on going back and he was reading the Book of Mormon! We'd come by and his copy would be sitting on the stool by his stand. It was crazy but that is where it was when I left the area. Evidently the Hermanas who came in after us kept on going back to him and I got to see them this week at the mission leadership council and they told me an amazing story. Evidently he told them that about 6 months before he met us, he had this dream where he was looking at his fruit stand and it was barren. There was no ice. There wasn't much fruit and what was there was going bad. so he was thinking to himself, "How on earth am I going to sell fruit today?" Then in his dream he looked away from the stand toward the sidewalk and there were these two angels that were walking toward him. And then when he turned back to his fruit stand, it was flourishing with fruit and ice and it looked better than it ever had before. He dreamed about Hermana Hardy and I and he connected that to us being those angels coming! That increases my faith so much that the Lord is preparing people for us to teach and they are people that only we will be able to find or touch. 
The other story also has to do with Hermana Hardy and I and how one evening we were trying to find some old investigators we had picked out during the weekly planning session. We tried one and no one answered, but we had just a few minutes left before we should return to be home at 9 and so we knocked the neighbor. And it ended up being an inactive member who had once gone on a mission. He asked if the ward had sent us to him and we just told him that the Lord has a purpose and was able to send us to him indirectly by sending us to that old investigator. And so Hermana Hardy and I worked with him. We got to do a random service project for him when we showed up one night and his door was wide open because of the wind but no one was home and we called him up and shut the door for him. And we would stop by on Sundays and randomly. And one day we came by when he was washing his car and his girlfriend was there and so we got to meet her for a bit. At that point she wasn't interested in learning about the gospel but I now remember him saying she lived in North Hollywood. Well, yesterday at church, there she was! She is in the zone leaders in my ward's area! How cool is that?! If we wouldn't have found Eddy the returned missionary, the girlfriend wouldn't have been at church yesterday and learning about the gospel now! 
We had the mission leadership council this past week and I am so excited to be able to work more closely with the mission president and it was cool to be able to actually speak up some of my ideas and he totally took my view into account. I love being in a position where I can serve better and more fully! 
Oh! And we got to take Hermana Martin to the visitor's center this week and it went so well. I really feel like she is one step closer to accepting a baptismal date because she really got to telling us there what her real deep down fears are and why she says she will get baptized but only far in the future. 
I also had my first time doing an exchange this week. It went really well but what I found out is that I saw myself spending most of the time trying to get to know her because I didn't feel like I could give her advice unless I got to know her and I haven't been around her on the mission. So I didn't feel like I trained her that much because I didn't want her to think that I just am here to come into her area and tell her everything is bad because it isn't. I helped her out with some ideas to get their area book looking even better and other things like that. But after the exchange the next day I studied in preach my gospel the chapter on teaching skills and I got a few ideas of how I can come to know more early on things that I may be able to help with so I can get to helping and I think part of it is through listening and having the spirit with me to help me ask inspired questions. But what I learned is that I can share more of my stories with them of when it was that I finally learned certain principles because that will both help them know that I am loving them by opening up to them too and also get them trained by my example and ideas. I am excited though, because for the exchange we have tomorrow, they said their biggest goal is Spanish and getting more skills for being able to master that. So I am excited because that is something I can definitely share lots of ideas with and is something I could teach well whereas Hermana Vila wouldn't be able to help quite so much as I will. I also want to ponder today and try to come up with fun games we can do through the day tomorrow to use Spanish. I was really nervous before we did the first exchange and I'm still not completely over that because I want the exchanges to be great for the Hermanas we go with. But I am more than anything else super excited because I know this calling will help me stretch and become a better teacher, better leader, and a better example. 
Finally, we're going to have a baptism this coming Friday! I'll tell more of Jose's story next week probably, but he is doing sooo great!! He is so converted and he's stopped smoking and he got a priesthood blessing yesterday to help with the headaches from smoking and he said that that helped so much because it took Satan out of his head. And he was so cute inviting everyone to his baptism. It is so great! 
Anyways, I hope you have a wonderful week!!!! 
Tenga el espiritu consigo para siempre! 
~Hermana Whetten

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday, August 5, 2013

Oh man, do I have miracles to share with you today! Seriously, this week has been AMAZING and I probably feel more like a missionary and servant of the Lord this week than any week before on my mission. 
First thing's first... here is my new address: 
6924 Woodman Ave #203 
Van Nuys, CA 91405 
My new area is in the ward of North Hollywood 5to and my new companion's name is Hermana Vila. She is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!! She was born in Venezuela and she lived in Texas before her mission. She is a convert of about 2 and a half years. She was baptized when she was like 24 or 25 or something around there and she was told she would have to wait a year after she was baptized to be able to go on a mission, so when she hit her year mark she went and she is so great! She was born Catholic but her really good friend brought her to church and that was it for her. She met with the missionaries and was baptized 3 weeks later. She has such an outstanding testimony. She knows this is the restored gospel and she loves sharing her testimony. She is a little ball of fire and is so great. This is also her last transfer on the mission, so we're totally committed to making it the absolute best in the world!! She also has like 600 photos left to take on her camera, so we have a goal to take all of them before she leaves haha! So much fun! But I've looked up to her in the mission for so long. Like she was Hermana Tavoian's trainer and when I was in Reseda I for my 4th and 5th transfers I gave her rides because she was in the bike area in El Camino ward. I've always looked up to her for how generous and loving she is. She loves people from the moment she meets them.

We made a companionship statement and it goes like this: 
We will serve faithfully not perfectly as we turn outward to lift others and expect miracles through our obedience. 
We are already living that so well. We have seen miracle after miracle this week and I can't wait to see what the coming weeks have in store for us. Like one of the big miracles has been that we have 3 baptismal dates for August which are now super solid! They are: 
Jose on the 18th. He is amazing because he used to smoke like 4 cartons of cigarettes per day. But he's been reading in the LIbro de Mormon (he's read more than 600 pages already! He's almost done. But just by reading he just felt that he should stop smoking and so he had already been smoking less and less. Then when we taught him the Word of Wisdom on Tuesday he really committed to stop smoking. On Wednesday he smoked one and felt so bad. And on Friday he bad barely smoked a little bit of one and he felt like he was going to throw up. So the Lord is really blessing him to be able to quit. Hermana Vila is also super detail oriented and she called someone in the ward and they donated a white shirt to him and our district leader donated a tie, so he came to church yesterday and he looked like a member already and it was so great! We also showed him the baptismal font after church and he said a prayer after that and said basically "God, I'm so ready to get baptized!" He feels it and it is so great to see him becoming converted!! 
The other two are Liliana and her 10 year old daughter Nadia. They are extremely adorable!! We invited them to be baptized on the 25th and they accepted and asked what they needed to do to prepare for that right then and there we made a calendar to help them see what they need to do to help them achieve their goal. They loved it. Before church we also had some extra time, so we stopped by their house and through knocking on the doors and windows for a while we were able to wake them up and they were so grateful because they would have slept right through it because they had only gotten like 2 hours of sleep that night. We helped them get ready and made them breakfast. It was so fun! And they really loved church, especially Naida. They are also from Argentina and so they have a crazy accent that I haven't really heard often at all on the mission... like they say vos instead of tu and they speak as if they are singing because of the Italian influence. It'll take me a little bit to be able to understand her on the phone haha! But her husband has also been in a coma for 18 months which is really really hard on them but we are working on building their faith still. 
Another miracle of this week is seeing how the Lord knows exactly what he is doing. He created the position of Hermana Training Leader exactly when he did a few transfers ago. Then he put Hermana Arguello and Hermana Vila as the Hermana Training Leaders. And of all the areas they could have been put in, they took over this precise area. And Hermana Arguello just went home because her mission was done and the timing was exactly right that the Lord put me as the new Hermana Training Leader at this moment in time even though that meant taking me out halfway through training two hermanas. And he happened to put me right here right now. And in this area, one of the investigators they happened to have is the mom of an elder I met and became friends with while at the MTC because he is from the mission I was going to, and so he was able to tell me all about what it would be like. Isn't that the craziest thing ever? All of it fell exactly into place that I was able to be right here right now and I believe part of it is to help her be able to progress by connecting with her in a very unique and special way. The odds of me going to this exact mission and me happening to be at the MTC at the exact time as her son etc are phenomenal! I believe it was definitely in the Lord's hands.

One thing I love about this assignment is that we are able to serve so much more. Or maybe it is just me. Hermana Vila calls me a service magnet because she said that in the two transfers she was with Hermana Arguello, she didn't serve nearly as much as she has served in this one week that she's been with me haha! I think that is what I love about this assignment. And I have a newfound appreciation for district leaders, zone leaders, and especially the assistants. I never realized before how much they do behind the scenes because I never saw it or heard about it. But they do a lot. But yeah, some of the service we did this week includes.... playing ring around the rosies with all the missionary’s bikes, taking one and delivering it to an hermana then taking her bike and delivering it to zone leaders to give it to an elder who really needed a better bike, et cetera, Also, jumping our zone leader's car whose battery was dead. Then getting to drive up to Santa Clarita to go searching for a bike replacement for the hermana who we had delivered the bike to about 24 hours before who had it stolen from her while she was in an appointment. Dropping off meals to people in our district who didn't live within biking distance of the members who volunteered to feed them. Giving rides to the bike hermanas in our district to get food after the transfers. Giving rides to help bike hermanas in Van Nuys not have to bike very far to be able to e-mail this morning. Sending off encouraging texts to the hermanas all the time. Even finding a few random service opportunities when finding-- taking in one woman's groceries and helping another one with some gardening which she was trying to do with one hand because her other was in a cast because her dog had bit her hand (and through that we were able to get a rock for Nadia's lesson this week to give her a prayer rock). Basically we are more service full than ever before and I really love it! It makes me feel so good to be able to serve so many people all the time!! 
We are going to have our first exchange this week and I'm pretty excited for it! I am so excited to be in this area and to have this position and to be able to serve and love better and especially to be with Hermana Vila. I think she will change me for the better absolutely as she rubs off on me more and more.

Hope all of you have as great of a week as I'm going to have!! 
Tenga el espiritu consigo para siempre! 
Hermana Whetten

Monday, July 29, 2013

Holy cow. Do I have updates for you.... 
1) send your next letters for me to the mission office in Santa Clarita. The Saturday night before transfers is when transfers calls come and I didn't think anything of it because I was assuming that I'd be with Hermanas to finish off the training period with them. So we got the calls and I assumed that they'd just tell us that we're staying. But then in the call this is what we heard... all three of us are being transferred out of the area and all three of us are going to a car area. WHAT?! whoa that was unexpected. We didn't know if we were going to be together. What was going to happen with the little rama (branch) that we've been working so hard on? What about all of our new investigators. Our minds were blown. We were so sad going to church telling everyone that we're all being transferred and not even being able to tell them for sure if they're even going to get missionaries again. They had prayed so long and hard about getting us in the first place that it was heartbreaking to tell them that we're all gone and that is literally all we knew. 
2) I just received a call from President Hall a little less than an hour ago that because of the huge influx of missionaries it just ended up working out that the rama will be under the care of missionaries who will also be over a normal area as well. And hopefully within a few transfers the rama will gets its own missionaries again. 
3) In that call with President Hall I also got a leadership call. Evidently this coming transfer I will be serving as an Hermana Training Leader. Holy cow. I don't even know what to think. He is so great. He said that he prayed long and hard and he knows that is where I need to be. He said that he appreciates how open I have been in my weekly e-mails to him etc and that he knows I have been going through really good and really tough times. But he wanted me to know that I am a very good missionary and my dedication is phenominal. He said that he knows that I will be very sensitive to the needs of others especially because I had that one very bad exchange. He asked me if I would 1) Be exactly obedient 2) Help the hermanas become exceptional missionaries. Obviously I said yes! But he also talked to me very personally about how he knows how I have the tendencies of being a perfectionist especially when I am stressed et cetera and he said that he doesn't want a perfect Hermana Whetten. He just wants me to be me. 
It made me go back and think about when I was first set apart by President Rounsville he told me that I would be a trainer of new missionaries and that mom in the car afterward said that it sounded like I'd be training for my whole mission. Getting this assignment makes me think back to that and how the Lord fulfills everything but not in ways you'd expect. Not only did he have me play a role in being a trainer for 3 new missionaries, but he also he created the role of an hermana training leader since then and is putting me in that position. And the thing is that being a training leader means indirectly that I'll be training new missionaries since almost all the missionaries are new missionaries nowadays (it is super weird to think that only Hermana Vila and Hermana Mulliner are "older" than me in the mission). How crazy. I feel a bit nervous. Once again I am being put outside of my comfort zone. But I know that there is no growth inside of your comfort zone. And I am going to do my best to do what President asked and just let me be me. Just have fun and show the hermanas how amazing it is to be a missionary!!! 
One huge thing I learned about myself from my two hermanitas this week is that I am insecure in a way. I had never had anyone tell me that before but looking back on my life and parts of my mission that is why certain things have played out the way they did. I am very good at creating a vision for who I want to be or what I want to do. But I do not at all want to control others, so when they come along and have a different vision, I will usually just go along with theirs to help them feel good or to not offend them. I am very independent, so when I can still achieve my vision independently I will do it, but I don't want to impede on others about my dreams and goals et cetera. It isn't a certain things and I am more or less insecure in some aspects than others. But I had never really realized that about myself. I was in a way diagnosing the symptoms or the things that resulted from insecurity and trying to treat/fix that about myself. But I realized the root of it all is actually my insecurity in a way and so now that I know that, I can work on fixing the actual problem and that will definitely help me to become the instrument God needs me to be. It comes from remembering, realizing, and accepting who I am. I am a daughter of God. I am beautiful in his eyes. God doesn't make mistakes. I am perfect in his eyes when I fill the measure of my own creation--what I was made to be. I shouldn't hide. I shouldn't think worse of myself. I want to reach my full potential and help others reach theirs, but I have to love myself for either of those to come about. Heavenly Father is proud of me. Absolutely. And His love is real. 
In a real way, I think I'm like the ugly duckling. I really all along have been a majestic swan, it's just that I'm different from those around me, so I haven't always seen or believed it. 
The last thing before I send this is that I really feel like one of the greatest successes of being in the Rama is helping so many youth decide to go on missions. I think there are so many youth in the valley who are sitting on a fence about that decision to go. But they just needed a friend to help show them what their actual full potential is. A missionary to focus on them and not on their family. Daisy is almost done with her paperwork now. Vickie has started her paperwork. Jennifer said that she has made the decision to go on a mission. Emmanel said that he wants to go. These are all people that I literally think wouldn't have gone on missions anytime soon if it weren't for us three specifically being called to serve here and work with them in the young single adults branch. That is one of the successes that the "key indicators" don't account for but which really show me that I am doing good in this valley in a very real way. 
I think it is interesting how much you learn about yourself while you're on the mission. You come to very deeply realize your strengths and intimately come to know your weaknesses. You have never had such joy and yet at times have to live under such stress. I am so grateful for this mission. I know I needed it. And I can feel it changing me little by little. 
Tenga el espiritu consigo siempre! 
~Hermana Whetten

Monday, July 22, 2013

Time flies by way too fast as a missionary sometimes. It seriously felt like it was just preparation day. But I'm not complaining at all :) I'm so glad to hear that Doodle got to ride a horse and Britt got jazz shoes for the organ. I actually own jazz shoes and they're probably in the closet but I don't think Britt and I have the same size feet unless she's grown a bit (granted that is probable). 
Okay, so one big thing about this week is that we had zone conference on Thursday. I LOVE zone conferences and I felt so inspired. The broadcast a few weeks ago inspired President Hall to do the conference on ways in which we as missionaries can better work with members. One of the many great things said was that we should give each of the members a "member missionary preparedness kit" -- a compilation of a Book of Mormon, a few pamphlets, and some pass along cards that every member in the valley can have just in case a missionary opportunity comes. Also, we are to work with the members more to give them uplifting 15 minute thoughts much more frequently and help them set missionary goals which could be anything from something as small as saying hello to someone you don't know at church to sharing a Book of Mormon et cetera. This will help all the members in whatever capacity they're capable of to share the gospel. We're super excited about that and I want to extend that to you, I would encourage you if you don't have some already to get a Book of Mormon that you could give away and some pass along cards just in case the opportunity presents itself so that you're prepared. 
But!! Cool miracle that came from the person we gave one of theses MMPKs to. We were visiting with a recent convert who we're trying to convince to come to the YSA branch and we had just finished up her lesson and gave her a kit and she was saying the closing prayer. Then in the middle of the prayer this guy was trying to get our attention, so we stopped the prayer and the guys asked us what it is that we are promoting, so Erika the member didn't even skip a beat and she gave him some of the pamphlets that we had just given her and a pass along card and she bore her testimony to him about how this is the truth and that she just recently got baptized. We then exchanged phone numbers. It was a HUGE miracle! I think it strengthened her so much to be able to be a missionary like that because she had been telling us how absolutely no one in her family was interested in the gospel at all when she brings it up. 
Another thing about the conference was when Sister Hall was giving a presentation and she made really cool connections with the atonement and taking care of ourselves etc from some like 55 page health manual that we'll evidently be getting in August or September. But she said that using resources that we have helps us rely on the Savior and his atonement who is the ultimate source of help for the demands and stresses we experience. Really, it is by small and simple things that the wise are confounded. So she gave us a list of small and simple things that we can do (our resources) to apply the atonement in that way and one that really stuck out to me was simply "remember what you have learned." That really stuck out to me and so I researched it a bit the next day and learned some things and set myself up a little memory plan. Here is some of what I learned: 
-first of all I think I figured out what remember even means. It is like re- piecing together a member, or a small piece of the whole. You are able to notice the piece and still have it stay vividly there even after you re-put or re-member all the pieces or members together. It is appreciating its correct place in the grand eternal picture. Through remembering you can appreciate the beauty (or ugliness) of the piece but also keep in mind that it isn't everything-- not even close to it! 
-I looked up a lot of scriptures from the topical guide about remembering and they are really good. But it really made me continue thinking about it like a jig-saw puzzle. I learned that you have to remember the ugly parts like the good so you don't continue in the same mistakes (Ezek 16:61- remember thy ways and be ashamed), not remembering is as important as remembering- there are parts you don't have to care about (jer 31:34- I will remember their sins no more), you have to remember parts of other's puzzles if you don't want them in yours (Luke 17:32- remember Lot's wife), We want to have a piece of our hearts to be incorporated and remembered in someone else's puzzle (2 Nephi 3:25- remember the words of thy dying father), it is our destiny to freely choose what our puzzle will become (Moses 3:17- choose for thyself... but remember that I forbid it). Those are just a few examples! 
-As humans we are inherently forgetful. This is in a way a good thing because we have a new shot daily (when we wake up), weekly (sacrament), yearly (new years goals), et cetera. But it is bad when we don't progress just because we forgot to make the change actually happen. 
- We have to remember unto action what we've already learned or it doesn't matter that we ever learned it in the first place. I've noticed that through my mission a lot of times it took something being mentioned several times at different comp studies, conferences, zone training meetings etc before I finally incorporated it into myself. But if we become better at remembering, then we are obviously learning and growing and changing faster to become the people God wants us to be. 
-So I set goals to spend a little bit of time daily remembering what I've learned by going through all my notes like from the MTC, conferences, study journals, et cetera. Then I'm going to set daily goals to help better incorporate that into my life. Then I'm weekly going to review the goals to decide which I want to keep or get rid of and then continue working on the ones I still don't have great. 
-We also have to remember that it is the atonement that makes it all work. Through the atonement we can forget/throw away pieces from the past yet our past is filled in and still complete by the atonement. It is the atonement that gives us strength beyond our own to continue making an ever more brilliant and stunning puzzle of our life with all the pieces. 
Sorry this letter is a little bit more random and different probably than normal but I hope you still enjoy it. If we could only just remember what we've already learned we would be epic. So I want to work on remembering better. 
I hope your week is fantastic and this summer is working out to be the best in the world! 
Tenga el espiritu consigo siempre! 
~Hermana Whetten

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hey! Thanks for your letters and support always. It means the world to me. 
This week was like a roller coaster emotionally with my companionship. We have been trying to make it work since the beginning of the companionship but we are all very different. A day would start off good then one of us would have a bad attitude and it would weigh down on all of us. There were many days that ended in a catastrophe of sorts. We all have known that it has to work out or this huge miracle that is being expected of us in really being the missionaries to start up the YSA Spanish branch would be impossible. It is required of us to move a mountain and that requires the faith of all of us. We've tried to get it to work... comp inventories for hours discussing the problem and trying to come up with a solution that could work, trying service, trying to delegate responsibilities more and more etc. Nothing has been working and there have been times this past month where each of us has felt depressed and like our insides are in pain. It is was funny at first, then it got annoying and ridiculous, and then we were getting angry at it. There were days that were better and days that were worse. It is the hardest because it has been draining on faith and hope. The worst is when I would try and only get coldness returned at me. We would work, but it was always work out of duty because we have to not out of faith and excitement. 
Yesterday for some reason I woke up with such hope. The thought came into my mind of "why can't today be the absolute best day of my mission yet?" It may take work, but I don't see why not. 
Then the circumstance was just right. Hermana Evans has been in several car accidents and so she has back problems that sometimes is worse sometimes is better. She has bulging discs so the pressure of the cerebral spinal fluid pushes on her nerves of her lumbar spine and when it does that it causes pain which, when it is bad, radiates out to her legs or even arms. This pressure yesterday was the worst it has been for a while so she just needed to take the day after church to rest her back. From this I was able to have a conversation with her and talk about things that were super important to her (Hermana O'Hara was taking a nap) then I was later able to talk with Hermana O'Hara about lots of things. We really began open up and tell stories about ourselves and by the end of the night she was telling stories of all the people she's kissed. It is getting so much better! We are working together better than ever. We are excited to be more creative with the branch and to even just get to know each other better. 
You all know how communication has always been somewhat difficult for me. When there is something to do I just have to go and do and do it no matter whether I want to or not. And I am extremely independent. In fact, it is easier to do it myself because if there is ever a conflict, I just shut down. I hate people disapproving of me or thinking I haven't done everything I could have because I am my own worst critic and I have already thought of and analyzed all the problems and am doing the best I can. That is the perfectionist side of me. To different extents those, communication and perfectionist problems have happened in every companionship I've had. Luckily, we've always been able to find a medium where we are all very happy. But I hate that I have this problem because I want to get married someday and I don't want to have these problems then. So I guess that is one of the reasons why Heavenly Father knew I needed to be on a mission, so I could work through this and hopefully master it so that I can have an amazing marriage in the future. The mission brings out the absolute best and the absolute worst in yourself. Never have your strengths looked so good and never have your weaknesses been so apparent and annoying. Just know I'm still working on it! 
As for a few things about this week...we had exchanges and they went so much better than last time. Hermana Vila came to me and my companions went with Hermana Arguello in North Hollywood. Hermana Vila inspired me by her positive attitude in every little thing. I felt like being around her was like taking an injection of faith and that I can accomplish miracles if that is the Lord's will. We brain stormed through more ideas of what we can do with the rama to find and help and teach et cetera. We also happened to go to California State University (CSUN) and walk around talking to everyone while trying to find the English YSA hermanas because they said they were set up a booth. I felt so inspired by that experience because we've been like "where are we supposed to go to find YSA's?! We can't just knock around for them!" So we want to go and do more of that. Well we're thinking more of trying the community colleges because that is where we're more likely to find the YSAs who prefer Spanish. 
We also found some people this week like Hilda who is super spiritualistic but after we explained the restoration and the Book of Mormon she really wants to read and learn out more. One thing that I love is that people in this age group actually have reading comprehension!!! It's been like a breath of fresh air to get that because so many people that we had been working with would read something and say that it sounded so beautiful but you could tell that they didn't understand at all. But in our lesson with Mirna this week she had read 4 chapters of 1 Nephi even though we just assigned her 1. And she understood it! She was talking in great detail about all the thoughts she was having as she was working through it like how she thinks she is more like Nephi than like Laman and Lemuel. So great! And working with the YSAs is fun because we have more activities like this past week a volleyball/ping pong night! 
Anyways, that was pretty much this week. I am so excited because this week will be so amazing and my companions have like the greatest stories ever. We all feel like in a way we've been experiencing the refiner's fire but that is good because it gets hot, but then you get better and more pure in the end. But there really has been an increase in love and we're all committed to being happy and making this work! 
Tenga el espiritu consigo siempre! 
~Hermana Whetten