Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Temple (15 Oct, Week 3, transfer 11)

Fam Bam,

We've been running like crazy all morning! But it was worth it because we got to go to the temple!!! It's been since May since I last got to go.  It was so great- actually a little bit bitter sweet. I LOVED the new video.  I was captivatied the whole time- I kept wanting to be able to press pause so I could just stop and think for 2 seconds.  But it was also the last time that I will be in the San Diego Temple as a missionary- and that one cut deep.  Then to top it all off travel itinerary was in my inbox when I got to the about crazinesss.   It really is such a bitter sweet thing. I can't even think about it right now....

Moving on.  we had the BEST lesson this week with a woman named Rosalba.  Marisa Kendrick...I have met your TWIN. SEriously. SAme voice, same mannerisms, same personality. We had run into her a couple of days before and set up a return appointment and came back to teach her.  She was willing to listen, but made it very clear that she was Catholic and firm in her beliefs.  As she was saying all of this, I was having 2 thought processes play out in my mind. One: my mind was saying- nope. We are looking for the prepared people, those that are willing to ACT and she's not willing- let's go.  Two: but she hasn't even heard our message yet, the Spirit hasn't even had the chance to soften her heart...we have to stay.  We are always told to picture them in white, and EXPECT  a yes when we invite them, or contact or whatever.  So- I did that and she looked so great- all in white ready to be abptized.  we started the lesson and it was so powerful.  Hermana Painter normally shares the first vision, because she is still learning it and it is good practice, but we decided to swap this time and that I would give it and she would invite to be baptized.  When we got to that part of the lesson, and I started quoting the words of Joseph Smith, my eyes just immediately filled up with tears and the spirit just swooped in. It was so cool!!! That has always been my favorite part of the first lesson becauase the spirit always comes in.  And whether they choose to recognize it as the spirit, even after you have pointed it out to them, or Not, they see the impact that it has on YOU and it is just so cool. We were all three of us bawling and it was just so cool. WE invited her to be baptized then and she took a long time to think about it- and said no. But it's okay because she'll say yes, she is just afraid of changing what she grew up with in the Catholic church- it's just tradition that's what their family has been for generations.  It was so cool.  I just love it. I LOVE being a missionary and getting to have those types of opportunities- so blessed.

Alex, the 9 year old is doing great- moving steadily towards his baptismal datenext saturday!  He's so great.

We also set a date with an investigator that we have- Fernanda. She's about 30 and living with an abusive boyfriend- but we had a bomb lesson with her and she committed to a date! Now we just have to move her out and get her to church! But it's so cool to see people change! 

Allen, the other 9 year old that we are teaching is progressing nicely as well. We still haven't been able to meet with his Dad or even meet him at all- so since they want him to do the actual ordinance, it could get pushed back. 

The brothers William and Gabe are doing well too. They are excited about their baptism, they just have been visiting their Dad in Tiujana every weekend, but it looks like they are going to be here this weekend, so they'll make it to church. Happy DAY!

Things here are good with Hermana Painter:) We are becoming better teachers together and just better companions everyday.  

Thanks for all of your kind and supporting prayers and letters and everything. I love you all. I often say that I have the best family, but it really is the truth. I hear LOTS about families and relationships from companions and investigatros and members, and sometimes I am utterly APPAULED at the thigns that have happened and their attitudes and everyhting. There really are no words to say how grateful I am to all of you for the positive influence and impact you have had on my life!  All ther eis to say is I loveyou!! 

that is all I have time for today. Have a maravillosa week this week! Love you all!!!!

_Love, hna Whicker

"That's because I love ya" (7 Oct, Week 2, Transfer 11)

Hello familia

First off before I forget, next Monday is Columbus day- so our Pday has been moved to Tuesday.  So don't expect anythign from me until then.

It has been a great week this week.  We have set 3 baptismal dates! Miracels!!! It is really cool to see actually. WE set a  date with another 9 year old of a less active family who is just starting to come back to church! he wants to be baptized so badly!  We just have to work with his dad to come back to church, b/c Allen, the 9 yr old, wants his dad to baptize him. So that should be great!  Then we also set 2 dates with 2 young boys, William andGabriel who were being taught before we got here. We went in had a sweet lesson on the REstauracion and the need and power of baptism and they BOTH want to be baptized. being under age though, we have to have permission from their parents.  So, the mom got home right at that very moment- we talked to her about it, and she just gave her permission RIGHT THEN AND THERE! Oh it was a miracle!! Never, have I ever been able to get permission from a parent to easily- it takes MONTHS and so much work and prayer and fasting, it just seemed too easy! but it was GREAT! We are actually trying to have a lesson with the Mom, AMy this weekwe are going to invite her to be baptized with her sons! The only problem is that her husband and the kid's dad was deported, so they go to Tiujauna (TJ) alsmot every weekend to see him. So we'll have to work with that and see if we can't get them to churc h a couple of times  and feel the SPirit!  So we are excited about that. Hna Painter is improving a lot. She is a little miss Chatty Kathy, I can tell you that!  She just has so much to say that she has a tendency to jump in and cut me off in lessons mid sentence and get distracted on other topics because her mind is just going 1 million miles per minute.  It is good, and it will get better with time a we are PRACTICING hard core. :)

Conference was just joyful wasn't it?  There were many a good talks. I particularly like Eduard Dube's  talk on FAith and looking towards the future and not looking back. It's been easy to make comparisons that aren't fair lately... like comparing other areas to this one and other companions to current, and those just really aren't applicable.  I need to stop looking bakc, and look forward to what the Lord has given me here and now and make the best of it.  So that is my goal:)

I also really loved Terrence Vinson's talk. The part that really hit me was when he was telling the story of when he and Elder Holland were giving missionary assignments and as they left the room after they finished, Elder holland put his arm around bro Vinson's. Bro Vinson made some comment about how that had happened which Elder holland replied, "That's because I love ya.".  Such a simple sentence, but it hit me hard. I imagined walking and having our Heavenly Father put His arms around me and say exaclty the same thing, "That's because I love ya".  He loves us sooooo much.  He loves us so much that he sent his Son to die for us.  What greater love can there be?  just imagining Him in such a REAL way, just touched me and made me appreciate all the belssings I have. Especially the blessing we have of prayer. WE can communicate with him anytime, anyplace, for any amount of time. Talk about an UNLIMITED PLAN!!   I am just filled with Love at the thought. 

I was also looking for Katie in the crowdsin both of the Saturday sessions. no such luck though;) 

Yes mom, I did get you package! Thanks for the skirt and the clothes.  I love the skirt!!  The shirts, are good too:) I appreaciate it!  But, there is no need to send me any more things...I won't have much room in my luggage:) But I do appreciat ethe thought!   I hope you shingles are gettign better...they sound like they are horrible! I am sorry that you have to endure such pain. What is the cause?  And I've been taking the vitamins and such that you sent me.  I think they are hepling which is good!

Any news DAd- on being able to split the JROTC program into 2 yet? That'd be sweet.  Hope you can make it happen!

That is so fun that Lins will be there with you all for the Senior games!  Tell her I say hello and that I love her!

Jame- I couldn't open the attatchments of the fam pics you took, but sounds like they were great:)  Glad to hear that you are having success in your KITCHEN! So exciting:) And exciting that you have all these fair events that you can sell your stuff at. That's great:)

CAm- Thatnks for the halloween package you sent:)  We've been munching on the candy the last few days! Your hip isn't doing well? Hmm that's not good.  Almost the whole time I was comapnions with Hna Lythgoe she had some serious hip problems.  Verdict was that her SI joint tended to pop out too often and she had to go to the Chiropracter to get it in place again and then the physical therapist gave her a bunch of excerices to help her strengthen it. She had to wear an elastic band around her knees and do side to side squats down the sidewalk. It seemed to help....but I  don't really know anything...good thing you amrried Shane:)

Tara- Nice. ATM/ MTC pretty much the same thing right?:) haha I got a good laugh out of that one!  WE passed a tow truck yesterday that had "MTC" all over it!  it was an abbreviatioin for "Matthew's Towing Company"or something, but it was pretty funny:) Wish I would have had my camera with me! 

Ali- nice story about the missionaries:) So do you have elders and sisters in your ward now?

Oh Dad- I keep forgetting. CAn you ask the Kelsch's for the address of MaryAnn? It's Michelle's sister  that I worked with at Fitness Ridge. She's come to my mind a couple times recently and I want to write her, but I have no way to get ahold of her. That'd be lovely. Thanks!

 Well that is really all I have time to say today. I love you all! Hope all is well and that everyone can stay healthy this week:)  until next week!!!!!!

-Hna Whicker

Land of the... (30 Sept, Week1, Transfer 11)

Wowzers, What a week.

WEll I'm sure you've already heard, but by some MIRACLE, I am still in Spanish work!!  It was hilarious at transfer mtg President called my name to go up to the stand to pick up my new missionary, and as he announced where I would be serving there was literally a Gasp when he said, "spanish branch' becuase EVERYONE thought I was going english too! It was funny. Hna Painter turned to me on the way back to our seats, "Why is everyone freaking out?" HAhaha it was funny.  It was sad to leave Hna Lythoge- but luckily I didn't have much time to think about it, becuase transfers tend to suck your full attention- especially whitewashes.

I am now in Murrieta California- the land of The RICH. Seriously, what a stark contrast from Vista.  EAting in Tiny apartments with cockraoches all over to visiting members in huge spacious homes.  We live with a member on an English ward in our stake- the Mazur fam- the ones that sent you the pics.  We live in the Ritz Carlz...or it's equivalent. Seriously, I'm afraid to TOUCH anything!!  GAted community- I have to show my Drivers lisencse everytime we come home. So fancy. but they are great. Very generous. Let us eat their food, use their laundry detergent, they buy lunch for us. Super nice.  It has definitely been an adjustment though living with memebrs. It's a lot easier to be casual and relaxed...and harder to be strict with our schedule. But I'm doing my best to engrain exact obedience in to my new comp.  Hna Painter is from Iowa.  She is a convert of 3 years and she is 19 years old, She's sweet.  She went to the Mexico MTC for 6 weeks and loved it, but I was shocked to hear that they didn't really teach her spanish there....very interesting. we have been focusing on spanish a LOT this week.  But she is pretty fearless- which is a great thing. 

It has been a stressful week to say the least. We arrived here to the new area (one set of missionaries was here before and 2 new sets just whitewashed in) to an area book Disaster-- no addressses, no records for some people, no nothing. Ugh, I could've just kicked the former elders in the shin for leaving an area in such a state!  Irksome..... but it's okay. We've made some GREAT progress in getting organized and visiting the peeps here. The area wasn't even split either when we got there--so we were just kind of raoming around without boundaries for the first couple days until we got it all worked out.  There are like ZERO people on the streets here. ZERO. So weird. I quite honestly feel like I am starting my mission all over again, because everythign is SO new!  New culture. And it is just SO different. A lot of the missionaries here are from the Riverside mission whcih got put into CArlsbad with the split...which was much more lax about obedience and such- so that is hard as well. I just want to engrain obedience into the minds of each one of these elders!  Sometimes I feel like the grandma of the mission. BEcuase I'm so OLD! Especially with the age change- they're so young.  But it's okay- they will learn:)

WE are in a small branch, and although the people speak spanish, it is VERY much an ENGlish Ward. Everyone has a steady income and lots of gadgets and nice clothes. And EVERYOne is almost more comfortable speaking englsih...which was very interestign to me. Half of them didn't even know that sister missionaries existed- so they LOVE having us there. Well It's actually interesting, because they are very well organized and say they are excited to have us...but it really was kind of a cold welcome. but it's fine- we'll just kill em with some kindness and LOVE and all will be well:) 

WE had a miracle happen this week. We went to visit a less active that was on our ward list and she invited us over the next day to teach her son.  So we went and she has like this whole tabel set up and filled with sweets and ready for a our lesson. This lady hasn't been to churhc in 2 years and she was literally just WAITING For someone to come and invite her and she wants her son to be baptized and everything!  So we have a baptismal date for the 19 of OCt with her 9 year old son. Miracle.  it was great. 

It is goign to be interesting to see how 'finding activities' go here. WE are going to have to work with the members like no other- becuase there just aren't that many hispanics here. And the ones that are here are hidden in huge houses in very white neighborhoods.  So, I'm excited to get that going and see the great results from that:)

Funny story.  Sister Mazur took that picture and let us see it before she sent it, and I said, "Oh geez, I bet you the first comment to be said will be about my feet." She laughed and said they wouldn't even notice....HAha yeah right. But that just made me laugh because that was the frist thing Al said:)

WEll that is all I can think of for today. I love you all. I'm so grateful to be a missionary. We were watching the RS Gen Broadcast and during the song. "I'll go where you want me to go..." It just hit me how SHORT a time I have left to be His full time emmissary. Oh how I will miss it. But I do know that there are peeps here that are just a waitin for me and Hna Painter! That's the great part:)  I know that this is the true REstored Gospel and we are truly so blessed to have it in our lives.  Love you all so! CAn't wait to hear from you next week!

-Love Hna Whicker

Well the tradition continues...(23 Sept, Week 6, Transfer 10)

Well...this darn computer just erased my whole this'll be a quick re cap.

Starting tomorrow at 4 pm I will once again begin another journey of whitewashing.  Not only whiewashing, but whitewash TRAINING. You betcha.  Yours truly gets to train her last 2 transfers on the mission. And there is about a 99.9% chance that I will be going to english work as well. There is only 1 spanish sister coming in out of 14. and there were 4 spanish sisters called to train. Which means that 3 of them will be going to English work. And I am most likely to go...because I am the oldest in the mission and they don't think I'll lose my spanish.  SO, needless to say IT will be an adventure!!!!

But, since I am training, I am glad that we will be whtewashing.  Even though it is hard, it automatically puts the trainer and the greenie on equal ground. And I very muuch appreciated that when I was being trained. 

I am excited, really I am, but I just get tired and weak even thinking about it. My body just can't handle this for much longer. I'll be definitely running on adrenaline the next few weeks and hopefulyl my body can accustom to the weight and stress that will come. 

Yesterday was a great day. I felt like a celebrity at church...seriously, we took about 50 pictures after church yesterday! It was sad to say goodbye, but it was just so great because there was so much LOVE. I love these people. I will miss them lots, but it is good. It's time to go.  Hna Lythgoe will stayhere and train a new STL and I will still carry on my STL responsibilities over the next few transfers. So it'll be good. We'll still get to see each other at meetings and such, but it will be sad to be separated.  

I got a blessing from my district leader last night and it was really great.  He's most definitley the best district leader I've had on the mission- just very humble and really the best leader. WEll, actually this has probably been the best district I've been in on the mission thus far. Anyways, both hna L and I got blessings and it was a powerful experience.  I've felt a little down, not down, well yeah...down just from the numbers that we've had in this area. Numerically we have had like ZERO successs.  IRonically, this has probably been on e of my favorite areas, despite the difficulty of the work.  but in the blessign it said that HEavenly Father was plwased with the work I have done here in this area adn the lives that I have been able to help.  He blessed me that I will be able to comtinue to Thrive in my bext area and to be able to give my  new companion all the help that she will need. That was comforting. Because I am just tired.  And i want this new missionary to get all she deserves from her mission- and sometimes I question if I'll be able to give that to her. but it was a great experince, very comforting and uplifting. I am SO grateful for the power of the priesthood!!  Where would we be withoout it? Not here, I can tell ya that much!!

Oh my goodness. If I do go to English work I am going to miss spanish work SO much!! The people are generally just more loving:)  And More hilarious. Especially when it comes to speaking in sacrament meeting. For example: When will I ever again have the opportunity to listen to an old mexican man open his talk by singing a hymn with perscription sunglasses on his face at the top of his lungs while the Organ..not the piano...the organ accompanies him? With his 5 year old son bringing his collection of toy dinosaurs and setting them up on the ppulpit for the whole congregation to see? Oh it was quite entertaining:)

WEll those are the highlights from this week. 

Oh except we picked up a new investigator last night be is 11 and his name is Christain. He's awesome. He WILL be baptized. We talked about prayer and how we can always talk to our heavenly Father whenever we want/need him. Then we talked about how there are lots of churches and he asked, "Ya know, I've always wondered which church is true...THAT"S MY QUESTION! All my friends at school go to different churches, and I don't get it. "  Golden! wish I was staying here to teach him.  But that's okay:)  Hna Lythgoe will get himthere:)

Mother- Hna Sheffield is sitting right next to me and wants me to tell you that she says hello and that she loves you.  She thinks you are likethe perfect mother- just so loving:) She also says that stems from the fact that I am her mission mother:) I'm sorry to hear that you haven't been doing very well health wise. I hope that you can get over it quickly and that the medicine helps! Bummer about the Air conditioning and the water heater...sounds like it was quite the week!

Tara- That's sweet that you get to coach Audge's vb team! So fun. I can't remember any drills sorry... and I don't have time to think of any sorry! but you'll do great:) TEll Audge that she looks great on the volleybal outfit and to keep it up!

Jame- good luck getting everything ready for your Santa Clara days! How is Addie's ankle doing? I hope well:) 

AL- bummer that WAde got Croup.  Sounds not fun at all. Hope he get's over it fast!!

CAm- How did Porter break the night light? He really is one mischevious child! CAn't wait to meet him in december along with hank who I haven't met yet either!!

Dad and Kate- Hope to hear from you next week:) Hope all is going well! Love you!

WEll I love and miss you all! I really appreciate all of your prayers, love, encouragement, and letters that I get fom all of you!  I really do have the best family and friends:)  Time is up!  The Gospel is the same in English and Spanish, so I'll be happy wherever I go!! Con mucho Amor!

-Love, Hna Whicker

Hippo Hot Dogs (Sept 16, Week 5, Transfer 10)

What a week:)

It was a good one. I sure am tired though.

President Kendrick gave me permission to watch the KSL news clip on Katie's ears:) It was GREAT!!  I might have teared up a little watching it:) It was pure joy. Btw that was a pretty good reaction that Kate gave when she saw them for the first time!  That's pretty sweet that you got to give some presentations in some health classes as well! You're just little miss famous aren't ya? You've just got a story to tell and a lotta poepl to touch eh?  So great.

WEll we had some miracles this week. Juanita and her 3 daughters, whom we have been teaching for a while FINALLY started progressing. They PRAYED!!! Not only did they pray, but they prayed infront of us, and everyday this week. It was bliss! AND they came to church on Sunday! it was great!! They had about a bagillion questions though becuase it was a weird sacramaent mtg because we got a new BISHOP. So it was a very exciting day yesterday!   I was SO thrilled that they came. They are great people, just lazy, so they need a LOT of pushing and a lot of love, but they came. AND we set baptismal dates fot them which made it even better. 

Caballo...CAbello.  Might not seem like there is a big difference between these two words in English, but let me tell you in Spanish- there is a quite a difference.   Caballo = HORSE. Cabello = hair. 
Funny story. During our lesson with Juanita and girls- we were teachign the plan of Salvation. So naturally we read in Alma 40 about the ressurrection and we read the verse that says, "not a hair of your head will be lost".  Being the talented person that I am, mix up these 2 words, and even more impressive i mess them up as I read it off the page!! Oh the talent I possess sometimes astounds me:) So this is what I said, " We will  not even lose a HORSE from our head!"  Hahahaha it was so funny. No one reacted until my companion said, "um...I think you main Hair" And then we all busted up!  They were crackin jokes all night about how we are going to be 'unnicorns' after this life because of my little mishap:) Oh it was great.

Also that night- in the SAME lesson, I was giving an analogy about how getting to the Celestial Kingdom takes more work, but is worth it. I compared it to eating your FAVORITE food  and having to work to get it (Celestial Kingdom) or getting your least favorite food, free (TElestial). Mind you , I am speaking with a 12 year old. So I ask her, what's your favorite food JAckie? this is what it sounded like "Hippo Hot dog" In my mind I am thinking, GROSS, WHAT ON EARTH IS THAT??. But i just keep going with the analogy. "Okay, so imagine a hippo hot dog on one hand and califlower (sp?) on te other ...." The whoel room bursts into laughter:) Apparently she said a "HOme Depot Hot dog".  Still pretty weird to me.  but it made for some good laughs:) 

We also had a cool experience with anEnlgish investigator, Her name is ashley and we met her and helped her carry her groceries up the stairs. She let us in and she just starts chatting about her life and all the trails she'd been through. It was great. She let us stay and teach her- and as she was in the kitchen I turn to Hna Lythgoe to ask if she has an English BOM. Nope. DAng...we rarely carry them because our area is so highly populated with Mexicans. So I decide to look in my bag one more time.  AND Guess what was there???? An English Book of Mormon. YESSSS Miracle!!!!! It was great. THen in the middle of the lesson she goes.."  do you happen to have a free copy of the book in English?" WHY YES,,, YES we DO!! Oh it was so great. We set a baptismal date and errthing.  Too bad we have to apss her off the the english elders...but it's okay, hopefully we'll get to go to her baptism:) 

WEll those are the main highlights form this week!! i love you all and hope you are doing well:)  CAn't wait to hear from you all next week:) Love ya lots!!

-Hna Whicker