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 9, 2013

Weekly update, Oct. 9, 2013

Hello all!
Today we got to go the temple, so P-day was switched this week. Until next conference (which is the next time we'll go to the temple), p-days will remain on Mondays.
Here's how last week went:
Monday 9/30: We talked to a lot of people. We managed to stretch the 10 minute walk to Target from our apartment into a 1 hour event. We met some pretty interesting people, but none of them seemed real interested. That night we took a bus over to Burbank, which is yes, out of the mission (GASP!). However, because we work with the singles ward and there are some funky boundary things, we are actually allowed to do that if we have an appointment or a referral to contact. In this case we had a referral for a less-active girl. On the bus over we met William, who I will talk about later on. We got to the referral's house and were actually able to teach her and two of her non-member friends. We've been trying to set-up a return appointment with them but have had little luck there.
Tuesday: This was zone council day, so while my companions went to that I went on exchanges with the Armenian speaking elders that live below us. They were actually on exchanges too so it was one of the Armenian elders, another elder in the district, and myself. We went to GCC for some lessons, that both cancelled on us. Since we were up there we set up the booth on campus and started trying to get some phone numbers. The Armenian elder I was with got talking to a girl who was pretty interested, and we actually got her and a friend to come to the institute building for free lunch and a short lesson about the Restoration. One of them was pretty interested, while the other was just kind of there because her friend was. We are still working on when we can teach them again. That night we visited some member families that we are working on turning into referral machines and shared some videos with them about member missionary work.
Wednesday: We started the morning off with a lesson up at GCC with one of our investigators. She was much more talkative this time, and asked some good questions. She was resistant to praying and reading for herself though (which says to me she already knows the truth, but doesn't want to change). We got a text from her later in the week saying that she had an experience and didn't need to visit with us anymore. It's a total bummer, but at the same time, President has asked us to focus our efforts on people who are elect and ready to receive. If she isn't ready now, then now isn't the time. Anyways, we had another lesson with Stuart that night, which was really great. We just talked the whole time about how coming back to church and starting to think about serving a mission is already making him a much happier person. He has the Spirit with him more abundantly, he smiles more, talks to more people, has more charity. The guy is on fire, and I love him. He's just awesome. As my companion Elder DeBry says, he's bomb.
Thursday: We had zone training today. We talked a lot about how we are post-hastening missionaries and that we have to be hunters not fishers. We have to go out, track down the golden investigators (those with believing blood), and teach them. We can't just be sitting on the pier waiting for them to nibble at the gospel. We also can't get distracted by people who aren't elect at the time we are teaching them. Yes, we still teach them. Yes, we want them to become converted. But the days of eternal investigators are gone. Which was cool because that night something pretty cool happened. We got back to the apartment at 8:58pm. Since we aren't supposed to be back until 9, we decided to walk down the street and see if we could talk to some people. And what should happen, but we do! We met a woman who loves Mormons, stands up to people in defense of Joseph Smith, but isn't baptized yet! She is married to a less-active guy and invited us back to visit with the family on Sunday. It was really awesome to see how being exactly obedient dropped someone with believing blood right on our laps.
Friday: Fridays are when we do weekly planning (3-4 hours after studies), so we don't do a whole lot in the way of proselyting until the evening. We went by a couple of formers and less actives near our apartment and we were able to teach one of them. When the missionaries first contacted her, the boyfriend she was living with said we couldn't go back. But things have changed and we have an appointment to go back next week! So that's exciting. We'll see if she does her reading.
Saturday: General Conference! For the Saturday session, we went to the Bazil's. They are a young couple in the ward that introduced us to someone in Sister Bazil's nursing program who has been inactive for a while. We had cinnamon rolls (yummy) and really enjoyed the session. I'll send a separate email with my conference thoughts. We had dinner with the Bishop who took us to priesthood as well. After priesthood we tried to stop by some member homes, but had little success.
Sunday: More Conference! After conference was over we went out on our bikes to try and track down more less actives and formers. One family sent out their nonmember friend to chase us off but instead we told him about the Restoration and got his phone number. We also stopped by the family from Thursdaynight. The wife wasn't there, but we had a great talk with her husband who expressed interest in coming back but didn't know where and when. So hopefully we will see that family in church on Sunday, although we are planning on going back before then.
Monday 10/7: We went down to visit out ward mission leader's office which he has been wanting us to do for a while. Due to some missed bus stops, we got there after lunch and weren't able to really talk to the people he wanted us to, but we were able to say hello. Then we went off into the streets to find some names in the area the ward mission leader wanted us to track down. You may not be aware, but the area right outside LA proper (Sunset blvd, which we spent a lot of time on this week) features some very, VERY, steep hills. For whatever reason, a lot of people have made their homes on these ridiculous hills. Anyways, lots of climbing and sweating in the afternoon trying to find these people. That night we went with a member to give a blessing to a less active member and then to teach William whom I mentioned in the beginning. William is really cool. His story is really sad, and the things he shared with us were very personal and hard for him so I won't say much there. It suffices me to say (if I can borrow a phrase from Nephi), that he possibly the most prepared, most ready, most willing, most golden, person I have met here, or will possible ever meet. It was only the first visit, and we really didn't share much in the way of a "lesson" but we were able to testify to him, help him recognize the Spirit, and commit him to baptism at the end of the month, to which he said yes! So that has us all very excited.
Anyways, thanks for the birthday wishes and letters! I hope you are all doing wonderfully, reading your scriptures, praying, watching conference, etc. All that good stuff. If you aren't, I invite you to first watch Elder Bednar's talk from the Saturday AM session of conference. His words to those who aren't currently paying tithing apply to us all. "...I invite you to consider your actions, and repent."
I love you all
Elder Whitney