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!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Oct. 28-Nov 3

Hi all!

As you know I was unexpectedly transferred early two weeks ago, and last Monday I got a new companion. So first, a bit about my companion, Elder Leavitt.

Elder Leavitt is from Kenniwick, WA (Of the 4 missionaries in the Creekside ward, none of us are from Utah). He reported to the MTC on July 24, 2013. So yes, only one transfer older than me. He is 18, turning 19 pretty soon here though. He marched alto sax all through high school but wishes he had played a brass instrument. Besides knowing what DCI is, his favorite corps is the Cavaliers or Phantom Regiment. He has dark brown hair and glasses. He is an eagle scout. He loves Hot Rod. He doesn't like spicy food. he gets migraines. Our old companions are now companions in his first area. The jaws of people who know me can now be picked up off the floor, because the list of similarities just continues. 
I've pretty much determined that so far we are essentially the same person. Which makes things pretty good as far as our companionship goes. Which is definitely a blessing from the Lord, given the task we've been assigned with in the area. 

On to the day by day:
10/28 Monday- Spent most of P-day with my district leaders (they are Korean speaking) and two of the local Chinese speaking elders. One of them is from Beijing, so we were able to talk about some cool stuff there. The other Chinese elder is a close family friend of the Martindales, so that was a weird and unexpected connection. Elder Leavitt showed up around 2 and we spent the rest of P-day getting him moved in and what not. 

Tuesday- After morning studies we had a brief correlation with the Sister missionaries in the ward to determine how to move forward in the ward. After that we visited a recent convert named Miguel. We had a pretty visit with him talking about how blessings are predicated on obedience and things like that. We also talked about how we can help him introduce a lot of his friends to the gospel in the coming weeks. Miguel has, get this, banana trees (technically banana shrubs). He also introduced us to a mysterious fruit that grows on a tree in his yard. We still don't know what it was, but it was pretty good. The rest of the day was spent riding around trying to find less actives from the ward list, which was semi-successful. We found a few names that moved, and a few good ones for the sisters to be visiting. 

Wednesday- Elder Leavitt was suddenly uber sick Tuesday night, so we spent most of Wednesday at home, trying to let him get better. I did get to give him a blessing. We did get out that night to meet with the ward mission leader and the bishop. We set a goal to increase our teaching pool from 1 to 6 by the end of the month. 

Thursday- I think I forgot to mention this, but on the 25th we had Elder Sitati of the Seventy come to the mission. He taught us a really cool way to study our purpose as missionaries and told us that by studying our purpose we could answer every single question we have about missionary work and our areas. That was a neat promise, and I've been studying it pretty furiously since then. If anyone needs guidance and answers for their area right now, it's elder Leavitt and myself. Anyways, I bring that up because that's what we focused on in district meeting last week. Thursday afternoon we had a lesson with Virgil, our only investigator. We taught him the Plan of Salvation. He pretty much accepted it, except he has some major issues with repentance (not his own, but like how people who commit serious crimes can be forgiven). So that's what we are going to teach him this week. We are also going to make arrangements with his wife, who is a member, to try and get him to sacrament meeting this week. He is paralyzed on one side of his body so it's going to be a challenge, but we think he can do it if he has enough support from us and the ward. Thursday night we helped set up the ward's halloween party, stayed for the event, met a lot of members, and then helped tear it down. It was a pretty fun night. Cornbread is delicious.

Friday- Our hosts, the Helburgs randomly left on a 3 day cruise on Princess. We did studies and weekly planning until lunchish and then went to find a HQ referral we got on Thursday. The address was bogus though. However, we did meet a guy who was pretty interested. We were at a corner looking at the map when for some reason I looked up, just in time to see him. I called out, asking if I could give him a mormon.org card. He turned around a took it. Usually, at this these street contacts are turned into conversations about the person we're contacting, but Elder Leavitt just went for it and asked if he wanted to meet with missionaries, and he said yes! He doesn't live in our area, but we got his information and missionaries will be meeting him pretty soon hopefully. So that was a very successful outing. After dinner, which was preceded by possibly the longest uphill ride of my life, we were forced home early. Elder Leavitt never really fully recovered from Tuesday night, and as we left dinner I was pretty sure I was going to have to put his lungs back in his chest. So I studied while he went to bed early.

Saturday- Elder Leavitt still coughing pretty hard in the morning, so we got permission to stay in again. I started and finished reading "Our Heritage" and read a good chunk of the Book of Mormon. We also went over the ward list with a member of the bishopric and got a lot of really good information from that meeting. We did the same with the Elders quorum president, bro Outhier. His wife has cousins living in Beijing named the Featherstones, figured you probably know them.

Sunday- Elder Leavitt is finally doing alright. We had PEC in the morning, and I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting about the sacrament and how important it is to remember what we're doing when we take it. After church we studied up for a member-missionary fireside and then met with a member in the ward so he could introduce us to his neighbor. We are going to go back on Tuesday to visit with him. The fireside was a really nice home. I mean, one of the most amazing houses I've been in, ever. Fountains all over the grounds and what amounts to Dad's dream of a piano room with a baby grand over-looking the valley. They also had a massive separate shed for the brothers model trains. He's been working on his set up there for upwards of 50 years, and it's pretty sweet. The fireside itself went pretty well. A lot of the more active families were out of town though, so we're going to try and do it again one of these days. 

So that was the week. We lost a couple days due to illness, but Elder Leavitt is all ready to go. This week we've set a goal to find 2 new investigators, and it's what we fasted for yesterday. We know that if we are exactly obedient, study hard, ride harder, and have faith the Lord will help us accomplish that goal. I hope you are all doing splendidly, and that the spirit is teaching you something each and every time you open the scriptures, I know it has taught me a lot this week. 

Joseph Smith truly was a prophet, and the Book of Mormon is literally the most important book that exists in the world. 

Love you all,
Elder Brett Whitney