We were able to video Skype with Elder Brett, in the evening on Christmas for him - morning of Dec. 26th for us. This was by far our best Christmas present of the year. He sounded great, looked great and was very thankful for all of the Christmas care packages and gifts that he received. We are thankful for the technology that allowed us to see and speak with him and for his unwavering service to the Lord. We are also thankful to all of you who continue to write encouraging letters, send packages and remember him in your prayers! It has been a truly blessed Christmas!
Matt & Trish
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!
Thursday, December 26, 2013
: was a total bummer by the time we were having dinner. One of our really good potentials that we've been trying to teach since before I got to the area is going into full hospice care and will probably pass into eternity by the end of January :( Then the Bates, who were progressing, cancelled our evening appointment and asked us not to stop by without an actual appointment. No idea what happened there. BUT! That evening we found Andre and Lina! They waved Elder Leavitt and I down a few weeks ago and told us that we needed to start teaching them. This was the first time we found them since then. They are still really interested. Andre sang us some David Bowie with his guitar, and I sang some Beatles with him. Not totally missionary appropriate? Maybe. A valid way of building a strong relationship with new investigators? Totally. So that made pretty awesome.
: We had a correlation with the Sisters and the assistant ward mission leader in the morning. That afternoon we had Lisa cancel on us again (see Tuesday). We had some brief contact with Andre and Lina again, made sure that their ride to church was all set. We spent the rest of the day talking to closed doors, a class missionary past time.
: So Andre and Lina didn't show up for church. Neither did anyone else we have been teaching. This made me very sad. However, we had some great discussions with Bro Peck (ward mission leader) about how to press on with the work here in Creekside. The Christmas program in Sacrament was very good, several tearjerkers in the musical numbers.
Merry Christmas to you all! Thank you so much for all the cards and gifts. I have been a good Elder, and not opened the gifts yet. I have quite a large pile of them under the little tree that Brooke sent to me.
On to the week
Monday 12/16: Had a zone activity for pday at the stake center in Hacienda Heights. One of the elders from my MTC district is in the zone so it was fun to hang out with him a bit.night we taught a recent convert named Orion. He is 10 years old, and very smart. We shared the restoration with him, just to make sure he hasn't forgotten too many important things. His family situation is such that he usually doesn't make it to church. Sadness. But, he was glad to see us, and still believes.
Tuesday: Had our morning lesson cancel on us (again). Then we went back to our pad with the Helbergs to pack for the move to the Snyders. We had a good dinner with a sister in the ward who has to work a lot on Sundays during the holidays. She actually got one of her unbaptized sons to come to church, that was cool. In the evening we taught Jose, a less active convert. He's been a member for almost 20 years, but hasn't been to church consistently for a long time. We are going to be teaching him pretty regularly.
Wednesday: We moved to the Snyder's home in the morning. Then we took a bunch of buses, trying to find people to talk to and to get to the "outer darkness" areas of the ward boundaries. We made really good contact with a less active named Brad, who hasn't been in a church in about a decade. He still has a strong testimony (made me feel the spirit anyways) and his conversion story is pretty cool. He also has really good friends who are still in the ward. So, with the wards help I think we can bring him back before the end of the transfer.
Thursday: Thursday was kind of nuts. We had zone meeting at the stake center, which was really good. I got to see Elder DeBry, which I greatly enjoyed. He loves to show off the watch that his 'son' got him from China (thanks mom and dad!). Then we had to do some funky exchanges. Elder Ramirez and another elder got called into the office to get fitted for suits that were being gifted to the mission by a member in Glendale. So I went with the zone leaders for the rest of the night. I actually really liked being with the zone leaders, I like them a lot. They're really great missionaries.
We had dinner at the Helbergs, which made sister Helberg very happy. She calls us her boys, and while she loves having family for the holidays wishes her Elders could be there too. She's a wonderful woman. We spentevening finding some less actives. We actually made good contact with two and less than good with another. One of the good ones set up an appointment with us, and was very open with us and genuine. That is also a part member family, so hopefully we get some new investigators in that household and eventually bring them to the temple.
Here is my little Christmas tree!
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
- Our only solid appointment cancelled on us, but it was a good opportunity for Elder Leavitt and I to get to know the new assistant ward mission leader, Bro. Kongaika. He is a newlywed and a recent RM. Also, he is AWESOME. He is already doing so much to help us move the work forward here in Walnut.
- Had significant bike problems for most of the day (blown tire and tube, yippee!) But those were resolved by the evening and we had a good dinner with the Christopherson family, and an even better correlation with Bro. Kongaika. We are setting up practice lessons with the ward leadership to work on our teaching skills, then asking them to invite their non member friends to do the same thing for us. Is it too sneaky a way to teach nonmembers? Perhaps. But I think it will be effective. At the very least, I'll get to teach more often and really improve myself there.
- Made some good contact with some less active families. Several were not interested in coming back AT ALL. But one was! So we are going to start working with them, and hopefully we can bring back one of this ward's many lost sheep.
- We had a pretty good district meeting where we talked about improving our study skills/habits. Especially in personal study. There was a lot I already knew, but needed to be reminded of. As I've implemented the ideas in my study, there has been dramatic improvement. We also taught another lesson with Gary, who we started teaching . We taught him at the church, and he actually thought that he was coming to attend a worship service. So that's a pretty good indicator of his commitment, right? We gave him a tour, showed him the font, and taught him the Plan of Salvation. He wants to get baptized, but recognized without us telling him that he will need to quit smoking. How awesome is that?! It's pretty awesome.
- We had a really great weekly planning session, one of the best I've been in since I got out here. If not the best. We tried to contact a referral, but he wasn't home. After that Rose and Stephan Bates, our only other investigators took us out to Golden Corral for dinner and a lesson. We taught the first few points of the Plan of Salvation, and committed them to come to church .
- We had the ward Christmas brunch in the morning. That was pretty fun, none of our investigators showed up, but we did have quite a few less actives come out of the woodwork. After that we had to go to Covina to help out at their Christmas parade (it was required for the whole zone). I didn't actually see the parade, we just waved VIP cars back to the staging area after they finished the parade route. I did hear several marching bands though, so that was nice for my ears. On the way home we got transfer calls. Elder Leavitt got transferred to Glendale to whitewash and train. I already miss him quite a bit. It seems that as soon as I really hit stride with someone, one of us gets transferred. I'm still in the Creekside ward, and my new companion is Elder Ramirez.
- We finally had investigators come to church!!!! WHAAAAAAA. You have no idea how happy I was to see the Bates pull up to the building. Gary couldn't make it because he had promised his father that he would help him roof the house or something like that. But the Bates actually came! it's been 30 hours and I'm still bouncing off the walls about it. We and the sisters sang Tyler's song, "Before the Angels" in sacrament meeting. The ward really loved it! Several members asked for recordings, and were very surprised that such a good piece was written by my little brother. But they just don't know Tyler. It made me a very proud brother to help bring some of his music to life, and even more so to receive such high praise for it on his behalf. We are singing it again at the mission partynight we went to the mission farewell, which was pretty good. My trainer Elder DeBry is now AP, but I called that weeks ago. He's an amazing elder.
I don't have a lot of time this week to email, so I'm sorry if I don't get to respond to all of your emails personally.
So I'll be in Creekside for the foreseeable future. However, we will be moving to a different members home on the 18th and stay there for 16 days. So mail (packages included) can continue to go to my address at
403 Beverly Dr
Walnut, CA 91789
BUT if it is going to arrive after then, it will need to go to a different one, which I do not have at this time. I'll get that to people soon. (next week)
Love you all! Go do missionary work!
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Dear parents of the missionaries in the California Arcadia Mission,
We are writing you to inform you of our change in address. Starting December 2, 2013 our new address will be:
California Arcadia Mission
614 W. Foothill Blvd.
Arcadia, CA 91006
Our phone number will be staying the same. We will still be accepting mail at our old address on Duarte for now, so your missionaries will still receive all letters sent out to them. If you have any question, don’t hesitate to call us.
Thank you so much,
The Mission Office Staff
So I don't have a lot of time this week since I wanted to respond to everyone emails personally, and I need to write president too.
- Knocked on a lot of doors of less actives. Talked to one, and we are visiting them this week
- We finally had correlation! A new assistant ward mission leader got called and he is AWESOME. I love him. And the ward mission leader will be in town for 2 months, which is nuts. And so the next 12 weeks here will be magical! woot.
- Taught Virgil, he still isn't getting it and wants to meet less frequently :(
- Thanksgiving morning. Had a fun day. Started with softball with the ward, and then we had district meeting. Which is the last we'll have with our district leaders, since they're getting trainees . Which is weird. We had dinner with the flores family, and they're awesome. Love the Flores family.
- Weekly planning, took forever. Stopped by a bunch of people who weren't interested. Except for one guy, who we taught is super interested!
- We helped the Bates with some service, and taught them the Restoration. he is really interested, and so is the wife. However, rose has a slightly different viewpoint on it, and it might be a hard thing to overcome. But I'm confident her husband will actually be a big help in that. They're a really awesome family
- No one showed up to church, but right after church we picked up a new investigator, and he is really excited to keep learning. we are giving him a tour.
We finally taught Robert too, but his interest has waned since its taken so long to have an actual lesson
So things here are really hopping! Of course, this is the last week of the transfer. We'll see what happens come. Love you all!