About This Blog

Elder Whitney is called to serve in the Arcadia, California mission, English speaking. He enters the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah on September 4, 2013 and will serve for two years.

This blog is being maintained by his family to post general updates, pictures from Elder Whitney, and to keep his mailing information up to date. Elder Whitney would love to get letters and emails from everyone!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Weekly Update Oct. 14

Before I go into the day-by-day stuff, I want to say something about Elder Page, the missionary who died after a car struck him while he was on his bicycle last week.
I did not personally know Elder Page, he was a Spanish speaking elder and was trained at the Mexico MTC. We arrived in Arcadia on the same day though, and all of us here were affected by the news of his accident and subsequently his passing into the next life. My companions and I were with the English AP's when they received the news of the accidenton Thursday afternoon. Last night we had a memorial service for Elder Page where his companion and the Becerras spoke to all the missionaries in the California, Arcadia Mission. It was healing for all of us, and the spirit resided in the room in a way I had never felt before.
However, the passing of a missionary so young and so new to the field only speaks to a higher calling. There are many scriptures that indicate Elder Page is still wearing the name tag. With his deceased father as his companion, he is now proclaiming the Gospel and Plan of Salvation to our brothers and sisters in the spirit world (1 Ne. 20:15). His mission is not over. Because he died while living a life fully consecrated to the Lord, we can rest assured that he will receive eternal life in the celestial kingdom.
I humbly ask that everyone keep his mother and sisters in their prayers while the Page family is in this time of trial. In addition, pray for his companion, Elder Ostler, who taught me yesterday what it means to have a companion and to love him/them with everything you can. His mission service also goes on.
Now back to what I saying about Paris France:
Tuesday 10/8: Last Tuesday we got to go to the temple! Wahoo! we woke up at 3 am so we could go to the 5:30 session. After the session we stayed in the celestial room (which is huge at the LA temple) for a very long time, which was happy. That night we were able to talk to Stuart about his thoughts on conference and what he learned. Which was awesome, and now we have a great place to start preparing for our next lesson with him. My companions, being zone leaders, also went on exchanges, so we had Elder Compton with us instead of Elder DeBry. Our only real lesson of the day came with William that night. We talked a lot about how the atonement can heal us, and how baptism cleans us from our sins. William promised to read the first 100 pages of the Book of Mormon.
Wednesday: We went to the mission office to get supplies/mail. (Thank you everyone for the letters/gifts, most everything edible has already been eaten!) We had pretty much everyone in our afternoon block cancel on us, but we were able to meet with William again. He hadn't read all 100 pages that he promised, but he did read quite a lot. Unfortunately, he was pretty drunk when we came over. I'm not really sure what happened, but he said he was going to Puerto Rico for his sister's memorial service, and that he had to have a surgery at the hospital too. There was clearly a lot going on and he just wasn't coping well with any of it. We were able to give him a priesthood blessing, but other than that nothing much came of the visit. We called him later that night and he said he would finish the first 200 by the weekend. We also went out to Caltech to teach a lesson to Monica who got in contact with us through a member of the singles ward. Her big question was how we had things like the word of wisdom, so basically she was asking about modern day revelation. Which tied in pretty nice with the Restoration. The lesson went pretty well and hopefully we'll see her again this week.
Thursday: We had district meeting this morning and discussed ways to improve our weekly planning which has been pretty bad. Hopefully we'll see that improve. We, once again, had everyone cancel on us. We couldn't even track down William at his apartment or the hospital. We haven't heard from him since Wednesday night and we are afraid that he is already in Puerto Rico. He said he would be there anywhere between 1 and 6 months. So even our golden William got away. We've been having an extremely difficult time retaining investigators. Even the golden ones. They meet with us two or three times and then they move, get super busy, etc. In the short time I've been here I've heard every excuse in the book and then some new ones. It's very frustrating. We did have a good meeting with the assistants (who serve in the same wards we do) about getting member missionary work going. That was followed by the news about Elder Page's accident. We didn't learn of his passing until the next morning.
FridayFriday morning we went to see a recently baptized family, and they gave us a really great idea for improving the ward. They said that when they were meeting with missionaries more regularly, there was always a member there too, but since they were baptized they hadn't had that same fellowship from the ward. We asked them how they could play an active role in solving that problem and they said that they would really like having families in the ward over for FHE once a week. Truly inspired! We'd been listening to members complain all week that the ward wasn't very friendly and were looking for something to jumpstart things. We are very hopeful that the answer lies in the ward strengthening itself. After all, the Lord won't give us new people to care for until we care for the ones we have.
Saturday: On exchanges again, this time Elder Winfield went to the other area and we brought in Elder Montgomery. We were able to meet with Anthony again (we'd been trying to track him down for a few days). He doesn't want to come to church until he has a job, but Elder Montgomery showed him a couple scriptures, and promised him that until he started living the commandments he wasn't going to find a job. Vice versa, if he changed now he would find a job immediately. Anthony seemed to really get it but still didn't come to church. GAH
We spent the rest of Saturday trying to find less-active members and former investigators but didn't have much luck. We did go to the penthouse of a young multi-millionaire member in the YSA ward to give him a blessing. His doorbell was the Olympic Fanfare and his carpet was the presidential seal. Pretty sweet place. Most importantly, the blessing worked and he was at church the next day feeling fine.
Sunday: We woke up yesterday and had a surprise call from the ward mission leader who said he wanted us to go to this stake priesthood meeting with him in ten minutes. So that was fun. Although the meeting itself was very good. At church we were able to set up a lot of appointments with more active families in the coming week, so in that way it was a success. It was also less successful in that basically nobody we were working with made it. Raquel made it, but she texted us earlier in the week that she didn't want to meet anymore. She's had all the lessons like three times, has a testimony, and her boyfriend is going on his mission in like, a week, but she is still afraid that getting baptized will alienate the Jewish side of her family. So she likes the church and everything, but doesn't want to meet with us until she feels she's ready to get baptized.
Sunday night was the memorial service that I already talked about.
Anyways, this was a week of cancellations, frustration, and sadness. But I'm still happy to be out here, and I'm confident that as we strive to work with the members of our wards that miracles will happen and we will be able to baptize monthly as the mission president has asked us to do. I love this gospel. The Plan is a perfect one, and by knowing it we can find peace in this life, solace in death, and everlasting joy in the life to come.
Elder Brett Whitney
Going to the temple at 3am! Elder Winfield on the right and Elder DeBry in the center (yes, he was at the time without his nametag, we found it though)
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