Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Elder Mervyn B. Arnold


Guess where I just came back from? THE OUTBACK!! Hahaha just kidding, our wonderful member Valissa took us to the Zoo!! The San Diego Zoo! She is such a saint and I just LOVE her!!! So that was soo fun and I'll defiantly be sending pictures soon! 

But this week my life changed. How do I even begin. I guess I'll just start off by saying that we had a Mission Tour where one of the general authorities of our church comes and visits. So we had the privilege of having Elder Mervyn B. Arnold and his wife. He has changed my life, not just my mission, but my life. I don't even know how to express it, I just have a desire to live in a way that the spirit will always be with me. And when he came, I really came to know that God loves me and he is truly trying to express it to me in soo many ways!! So they split the mission tour up into 2 days so half the mission goes on the first day and the other half the next day. But on the first day we had Mission Leadership council after the first session. As we all walked in, boom SPIRIT. It got so serious so quickly, but a good serious! And honestly first impression of Elder Arnold was I was so intimidated. His eyes just STARE into your soul. Really though, and I remember he called on me to answer the simplest question ever but my eye sight started to go blury and I spit something out that I don't even remember!! Hahaha I can laugh at it now but wow, he is a man of God. And before we were about to close he stopped it and said, "I can feel some doubt in the room, we aren't leaving until all the doubt is cast out." HOW DID HE KNOW??? It was some intense stuff he was asking us to do and I know that only by the power of God he knew that. At one point he looked at me and my companion in the eyes and said, "I want all of you to know that you are worthy to be here." Instant tears, I knew that wasn't just coming from him, but it was coming from God. I couldn't help but to walk out of that meeting in tears! It was such a relief to hear that I was worthy. Not that I ever thought I wasn't, but doubt always creeps in and Elder Arnold came at the perfect timing!

And do you know what was also God sent that day? Before we headed off to MLC we were weekly planning and during our lunch I felt prompted we needed to go talk to someone on Midland rd. So we drive over and start walking, all of a sudden this car pulls over about 500 ft away and I see this woman jump out and start running to us yelling, "SISTERS!" Right as I heard the voice I knew it was SUZIE PILKINGTON!!!!! AHHHHHHH!!!!! One of my old and most dear companions!!!!! Man did it just boost me to see her and hug her and hold her tight! What a relief and a way God showed me that he knew I was there and he knew I needed love.

And throughout that day countless of people texted us saying how much we were appreciated and needed and we went to go buy dinner really quick before a power hour and a member hopped up and paid it for us! The little things, it really is the little things! 
And then Thursday happened. So much revelation to be had! Elder Arnold talked about many things but he just made me want to be a better person, to be really strict on what I watch and listen to when I get home. To strictly obey the prophets counsel. And he and his wife just love each other so much, something to work for. But a cool moment was when I got to accompany Sister Carlson while she sang, "Consider the Lilies of the field." Beautiful, he then had her sing by herself and me play by myself. And let's get one thing straight I didn't have the melody at all but when a general authority tells you to play a verse by yourself you do it. Did I mess up? Yes. Was I embarrassed? NO. A great theme throughout the tour was to never be embarrassed, it rubbed off. Moral of the story, things can sound beautiful by themselves, but together, masterpieces happen! Just like us and the spirit, need to work together to create a masterpiece! But honestly I don't know how to write down everything what I learned but I did have the privilege of being interviewed one on one with him. That was very special and very sacred and something only the Zone Leaders and Sister Training leaders got to do. I go in and sit down and he just reads me from head to toe. It made me feel good but then he also told me something he was worried about for after the mission, a good concern to have, not one to worry about right now but I did not see it coming. He is a wise man and I defiantly took his counsel to heart!
And D&C 123:17, my new motto! Elder Arnold, he is a good man. And he came to our Stake Conference this weekend too! We were combined with PQ and it's where the official changes were made. Another spiritual journey and it was one where 3 of our investigators came!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOHOOOOOOO!!!!! 
This week was just full of tender mercies! Do you want to hear another one? On Friday as we were driving to our dinner appointment we got a call from Rodrigo. He told us that Mia was coming into town and that she wanted to meet with us!!!!!!! WHAT? CRAZINESS!! She was apparently in town for a funeral and came down just for an hour to see us! She is the sweetest girl ever and one of my dearest friends! I miss her a lot but I know it's where the Lord needs her. She has a rock solid testimony and it made me so happy to hear her say how much she loves this church! I love Mia Moore. 

And I love having the spirit with me always. Last Tuesday we got to teach Sarah, who is awesome and she found the church she is going to in Missouri when she moves! Love her! We met with Jason and Nick who are just as genuine as ever! They went above and beyond their reading assignments and they met a ton of people on Sunday. We are going to see them again tonight and I am soo excited! :) They just fit right in!
Nick and Jason with our member Tori. 

And then we have started teaching this YSA named Josh. He sadly does not have a home recently. But he is really good at feeling the spirit and is on the right track  to getting back on his feet. He also came to church and loved it! Who wouldn't? It's such a great thing! We will see him again tonight. We may not be teaching a lot of people but everyone we are teaching is willing to keep commitments, to go above and beyond the commitments in fact and are just ready for the fullness of this gospel. I'm excited for them!!!!!  
And my favorite person I gave The Book of Mormon to this week is Tom. We were at the Ramona Car Show contacting people and while my companion is trying to answer a mans questions I see this other guy sitting down next to him and start to talk to him. His eyes were so kind and when I gave him The Book of Mormon it shocked him a little but he was so honored! A very humble man. He wasn't quite ready for missionaries but he has the best gift God could ever give him! 
Another cool miracle happened when we were trying to contact a referral from some Sisters. And before we go over we try street contacting this guy who apparently is a member! We ask him if he knows his neighbor who is apparently interested in the gospel? He didn't but he brought out Sister Walker who did know them! She offered to go over with us. IT WAS AWESOME! We knock on the door and this woman sees us and kind of grumpily says hello but when she sees her neighbor she just lights up! We were looking for her son who wasn't home but Sister Walker asks her if she'd be interested in learning more about the gospel! AND THE MOM SAID YES!!!! So cool! She said she's at a point in her life where she needs change and she loves how happy Sister Walker is! So cool! We left her with a Book of Mormon and a commitment to read and pray about it. We are excited for the Family Ward Sisters to go over! :)  
The spirit literally guides me where ever I go and if I feel as if I've missed something really important I turn around. It happened yesterday where we talked to a group of YSA and offered them service or asked if they knew anyone that needed any. They declined and made sure we didn't step over their property lines. As we walked away further and further I just regretted not telling them what we share. I asked my companion if she thought we should go back, she didn't. But as we kept walking further and further I knew we had to, so we did. And I knew that I would have to take the lead on it. We walk back and they are still there but they don't see us. I mustered all the courage that I had and blurted, "HELLO!" One guy came over and I didn't even know what to say so I just threw our the words, "We are missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we share a message about Jesus Christ." He then told us he wasn't interested but walking away I just felt this load lifted from me. I knew I had followed a prompting from God and I knew that I just got denied for my Savior Jesus Christ. What an honor. I would do it a thousand times more! 
I hope you all get to do it too! It's such a joy! I love you all but more importantly your Heavenly Father loves you!!! :)

Love, Sister Whitcomb

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Rejoice! Again I say REJOICE!

Ah my dear loved ones,

Has this week been a joy? YES! Has it dealt with a lot of growth? YES! I love being a missionary, I love the people we get to meet and love. I have become close with so many people.

And that is why this week it was so hard to receive a certain phone call. It was on Thursday after our glorious exchange with the La Jolla Sisters, (I'll talk about that soon. IT WAS AWESOME!!!) and we were teaching an amazing recent convert, Westin. We were trying to continue with the lesson, but this person kept on calling and calling. The spirit told me to pick up the phone. I looked and it was my favorite Australian! As soon as I got on the phone and heard Sister Purcell's voice, I knew something was wrong. So Westin allowed us to step outside and I asked her what was going on. She then went on to tell me that our dearly beloved friend and loved one, Stacey English, had passed away. What a shock to me, I instantly broke down. We cried and cried. But my lovely former companion told me we needed to continue on. She told me I had a lesson to teach and she had service to perform. But after she hung up I could only just sit there and cry and cry and cry. Sister Stirland was a saint. And I'm so glad I was at a lesson with Westin when I received the news because those hugs (from the females of course) were heaven sent. I think I cried even more. One of them even looked me in the eye, and I knew they were speaking from our loving Heavenly Father, telling me that everything was going to get better. And it did. But of course not right away. In the midst of my many tears I decided very quickly that I needed a blessing and that it needed to be from our loving Bishop, Bishop Tengberg. And I don't think it was a coincidence that that same night we were going to the Temple with Mia for the first time. I wouldn't of wanted to of been in another place.
It's amazing how Heavenly Father helped me remain happy and truly joyful when Mia was in the Temple. I love her so much and it filled my heart with joy that she was there. But not just her, Stacey as well. As soon as I sat down with the Bishop and my companion for the blessing and he asked me what was going on. I just couldn't hold it in. During the blessing Heavenly Father told me that the pain will always be there. It always will be but it will be overcome with joy. And it has. I have found joy that Heavenly Father would allow me to teach such a wonderful daughter of God like her, that he would allow me to strengthen my testimony in the gospel and especially the priesthood during the teaching process. Stacey is a miracle. I want all of you to know that. She is a miracle. And even though I will miss her dearly, just as it said in the blessing that I received, that my reunion with her will be joyous. I know she physically is perfect, that she is happy and that she is at home. I couldn't explain it better then The Book of Mormon itself:
Alma 40:11-12

 11 Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it habeen made known unto me by aangel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.
 12 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of thoswho are righteous are received into state of happiness,which is called paradisestate of rest, state of peace,where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.

Stacey is at home. All is well, all is well. It really is. Even though Satan kept throwing things our way. Unfortunately our investigator Katie who was previously going to be baptized has gotten to busy where she would not like to meet with us and isn't ready to be baptized quite yet. And we got another hard phone call on Saturday night. We were starting power hour when our lovely Mia Moore calls us in tears. Telling us her parents flew in to take her back to Nevada, that night. We didn't have time to say goodbye, just to cry with her over the phone telling her how proud we are of her, how strong she is, and how much we love her. She is in Heavenly Fathers hands and I know her testimony will always grow. Thank goodness we are not a gospel of "forever goodbyes." Just full of "see ya laters" which we experienced a lot this week. But that's ok, their is always cause to rejoice. And let me tell you why:
On Tuesday night we found 3 new people to teach! 3!!!!!! We had a wonderful dinner with one of our members and her friend who has been coming to church recently. Sarah. Funny right? Especially since my companions name is the same as mine. :) Sarah is wonderful, she loves our church, she loves the people and she wants to learn more. She is going to school in Missouri in a couple weeks but a couple weeks can be a good start to a building of testimony. She already told us she wants to go to our church in Missouri as well. She has such a strong desire and I am excited to teach her tonight as well. Then we went to an appointment for some referrals, Nick and Jason. We brought a member with us who recently got her call to the BOSTON MASSACHUSETTS MISSION!!! So cool right????? Ah I just about died, she leaves in November. We then go on to teach the 2 most genuine gentlemen I have ever met. On the edge of their seat at our every word. The Lord is preparing people who are ready, people just like Stacey and Mia and it is my duty and honor to go find those people. 

The Lord also blesses me with wonderful missionaries around me. Like my dear Sister Carlson. We were companions in the MTC and after 14 months or so being out, we were finally reunited on an exchange! Let me tell you it was an exchange led by the spirit. Uplifting each other and others. We met a 12 year old girl who has gone to girls camp, church, is reading The Book of Mormon and wants to be baptized. God is good. It was cool to see how much we had both grown, especially our love for the gospel. Looking back it was sweet that the night I found out about Stacey, I had relayed
the whole story to Sister Carlson, such joy it brought me! 

Sunday was fantastic, each testimony that was born was perfect, such comfort was brought to my soul. It was amazing how many people were there as well, I got to meet so many people! And we are teaching one of then on Wednesday, Vince! Members are just fantastic and so excited to share the most precious gift ever. It's inspiring. And what was even more inspiring was that night we went out to Ramona with our dear Valissa. As we were talking to everyone we saw we stopped this young woman with a little baby. She told us how her Aunt had passed away. I was able to strongly testify of Gods plan for us and how I know she will see her Aunt and I will see my friend Stacey. She asked us immediately if we could come back. God is good. 

Heavenly Father led me by the spirit this week and boy did I need it. But I am a stronger person because of it. One night I called Sister Purcell and as she was uplifting me she said, "Sister Whitcomb, their are more Stacey's for us to find!" Yes, yes there is. And I will do anything to find them. I am not kidding, on my way here to type out this email I felt prompted to turn around and talk to this couple on a bench. So we did it. And all they needed was an invitation to pray about The Book of Mormon and their hearts were softened. They too will be "Staceys" someday for some missionaries. And their lifes will be changed for good. 
I love this work. I know it's true and that is Gods. No one else can do any of this with out him. I know he's taking care of my purple haired friend and that he's taking care of me. This mission has changed me, changed me for good. And I am not, nor will I ever, go back to who I was before. I am the new improved Sister Whitcomb and I love it. 
And I love all of you. And I hope you will all continue to join me in this wonderful journey back to our loving Heavenly Father. We must press forward! I sure am. :)
Love, Sister Whitcomb

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Instrument in His Hands

Happy Summer!!!
Wow what a week of July! Full of Milagros!!!!! :) But since today was
transfer day I am happy to report that Sister Stirland and I are
staying together for another transfer!!! Woohoooo!!! I'm so grateful!
And it's unheard of that a Mormon Battalion Sister stays out for
3 transfers in a row! I'm a lucky Sister! And a very grateful one as
well. :) Crazy how time flies though.... BUT miracles happened left
and right this week! 
And so let me begin... KATIE!!!! We have a new investigator!!! Her
name is Katie and she is AMAZING!!!!!!!! She is the one that we street
contacted at the farmers market. :) We had an appointment Tuesday
night with her and she just let us right on in! Katie is a champ she
lost her fiancé a while ago and has really been able to deal with it
quite well. BUT it was sort of a rough restoration because she just
needs a totally different teaching style that we hadn't developed yet.
BUT HAVE NO FEAR! Companionship study and role play are real! And
Katie is being baptized on August 27th. :) She already got the day off
from work and everything. :) She also got Monday and Tuesday's nights
off so she can go to FHE and Institute. But not Sunday's yet. ;) She
is very good at feeling and identifying the spirit, we showed her the
chapel and just right away she was blown away, she loved it! And she
had a dream telling her this church is true and she should stick with
it. WOW!!!! Plus she's the most social person I've ever met, just
walking up to people and introducing herself, playing paint twister
with the YSA like no big deal. She has a lot of faith and a lot of
love. I have that same love for her. :)

AND MIA MOORE IS A MORMON NOW!!!! Oh my gosh. What a baptism! So
spiritual and it was packed with YSA and it was at 10 am!!! Impressive
right? ;) But seriously, the talks, the musical numbers, and Mia's
testimony was just so awesome! And when we presented the restoration
the spirit was so strong. We had a couple members bear testimonies
during it and man. Powerful. Jaden, Mia's friend from Nevada who
introduced her to the the gospel, came, and we had her help us with our
presentation. She bore her testimony of The Book of Mormon and talked
about how she and her friends left one in Mia's car and Mia left it
there. So cool! And later in Mia's testimony she mentioned how having
interest helped because when the cops would pull her over she wouldn't
get a ticket. Nice Mia. ;) But what a strong lady. She mentioned how
she was amazed at how much love missionaries can have for someone
right away. And it's true, it is amazing. I'm glad she could feel it.
:) I love Mia. And I love how their were 3 nonmembers at her baptism,
the spirit of God stuck them. :)

And then exchanges! I got to be with Sister Essymba from Africa!!!!!!
She is companions with the wonderful Sister Carlson and the cute
Sister Davis. I got to stay with Sister Essymba in Poway!!!! She is
just so awesome, what a strong testifier. I seriously learned so much,
especially about the importance of testifying. She is a rock. Love
her! And love our members! Grace Wooley is literally the best because
from 4:30 pm to 9 pm she drove us around and helped us teach! That's
the kind of member missionary I want to be like. BUT GUESS WHAT THIS
UPCOMING MIRACLE MADE MY WHOLE LIFE!!!! I'm still shaking from it....
So do you remember in El Cajon when I was teaching Elder Mahaffeys
grandson, Josh Mahaffey? We had a lesson with him where Tippy the cat
killed a bunny? Josh is awesome and he kind of got less motivated. But
as we were street contacting in Ramona all of a sudden I hear, "Hey
Stranger!" AND THERE WAS JOSH MAHAFFEY!!!!!! He remembered me! And my
name! IT WAS THE COOLEST THING EVER!! I wish I could of seen my face
because I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped. El Cajon to Ramona? Who knew!
And right exactly when I was serving there and I just so happened to
be in his apartment complex when he was! WOW!!! He said he would love
to meet with us again! And he has a girl friend that would too! But
he's going on a religious retreat for an undetermined amount of time
but I'm really excited to teach his girlfriend Sabrina, she seemed
really excited too! MILAGROS FOR DAYS!!!!! :):):):):)
I also love being the mouthpiece for our loving Heavenly Father. Their
was one street contact where we just approached this man. Found out he
was homeless, his ex wife lost all his money, and many other awful
things. We sat down with him and told him how much God loves him. We
read from the Book of Mormon with him. And words were coming out of my
mouth that I knew weren't mine. One of the coolest moments on my
mission and one I will never forget, I'm excited for the Elders to
teach him! :)
Then during a power hour we street contacted this man from Bulgaria.
He invited us to eat with him, so we did, don't worry it was outside.
It was interesting! But we came back the next night because the Elders
couldn't and ate dinner again and taught 3 men the Restoration. It was
hard, sarcastic jokes from them and not entirely the best audience.
BUT it was worth it because the quietest one had the most sincere
questions and accepted a copy of The Book of Mormon. He didn't want
missionaries to find him in La Mesa, but he said he'd read it. I'll
take it! And we will send the Elders back!
Sunday. WAS A FUN DAY!!! This whole weekend all of the YSAs over San
Diego, 13 wards/branches, had a regional conference. SO Sacrament meeting was
combined and we got permission to go! And since I have served in 3 YSA
wards now I had many friends to hug and shake hands with! AND TENDER
MERCY!! 3 of my recent converts passed the sacrament, Marco, Eddie,
and Anthony!!! Ahhhh so awesome! And Marco said the opening prayer and
I was just beaming!! I just busted with joy that day! BURSTED!!! And
Mia was just glowing, truly was. And I got a lot of revelation that
day. The Lord reassuring me once again that I've gotten my answer many
times to my prayers and that I just need to trust him. Have faith. I
will Heavenly Father, I will! :)
A fun P-Day at Poway Park

AND THEN MIRACLE MONDAY! Wow, that Sacrament really boosted us up!
Because guess what!  We got a phone call from Elder Woods, the Mormon
Battalion director, he told us that a youth church group of 40 High
School kids want to learn more of what we believe. Wait what?
Seriously. The pastor of a Box Church called the Mormon Battalion and
said just teach us like you would any person. So we did! And we got to
come help because some of them live in Poway!   Wow. I was so
impressed by those kids! So respectful, so kind, a light truly was in
there eyes and then when we opened it up for questions at the end, they were so
intelligent! A lot of them came up to us afterward and asked us more
about our missionary trip and the plan of salvation! Wow! It was
awesome! And I don't know if I'll ever get to do that again so what an
honor! To teach 40 people who were all intently listening! Some of
them were minors so we couldn't of gotten any appointments
with them, but we gave them a folder with all this information and
pamphlets and a card to request The Book of Mormon. It was awesome!
And when we were talking about Joseph Smith, boom spirit! This was a
HUGE seed planter for a lot of them. Wow. And then the day just kept
on getting better and better! Every night we always have dinner with
the Bishop and his wife so that was a treat! And then FHE, paint
twister! Mia was there, Katie was there, and then our friend Roland
showed up! So background on Roland, Sister Stirland and I street
contacted he and his friend Ronnie and taught them the Restoration.
They had a ton of questions, and we gave them both a Book of Mormon.
They didn't know of a time to meet so we just got their phone numbers.
And yesterday we were driving and I look to my left and there was
Roland! We waved to eachother and had to drive off because of the
green light. We tried to find him but were unsuccessful. But he texted
us and said sorry he kept missing us!! So we invited him to FHE!!
Wonderful Rodrigo gave him a ride, they did show up an hour late but
they came! We were planning on teaching Katie as well but we knew we
had to teach him too so we had to act fast! So we went on splits with
our wonderful members! Sister Stirland went with Valissa and Katie and
I heard it went beautifully! I had the privilege of giving Roland a
church tour and teach the restoration with Rodrigo, Miranda, and
Jordan Hood. Wow, powerful experience. Roland was just so attentive
and engaged. Such a spiritual experience, the members did an awesome
job at testifying and Roland related to all of them! We taught him how
to pray and he said the sweetest prayer! I'm so excited to teach him
and he loves the members already! Who wouldn't! AHHH!! Oh and he said
he would be baptized!! WOOHOOOO!!!
I'm so lucky. I'm the luckiest Sister missionary out there. I'm lucky
to have all of you! I truly do love you and want to give you all hugs!
I'm cheering for you! :)

Love, Sister Whitcomb

More P-Day Fun!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Keep Sprinting

Hello my dear family!!!
Another week has flown by and next week is transfers!! AHH!!! So crazy! I truly hope they don't take Sister Stirland back to the Battalion.... We truly never know! I'll let you know next week. :) It's been a great week, one full of lessons and the spirit. And of course YSA and an ever on going Pokemon go. ;)
Mia Mia Mia. Might as well start off with the good stuff right? ;) I LOVE MIA!! AND SHE PASSED HER BAPTISMAL INTERVIEW!!!! YAY!!!! I didn't for a second doubt it that she wouldn't pass. She's my hero. :) It was so cute when she said she didn't really wanted us involved in the program because she would need us to be right next to her the whole time. Ahhh. But it definitely has not been easy for her, and that's why I'm grateful President Schmitt is inspired and has asked every missionary to make daily contact 2 weeks before they get baptized. Mia needs it and we really have been able to get her to open up to us and trust us but more importantly trust God and the gospel he has given her. She's doing a great job! :) It was fun to put her program together. (She wants the opening song to be "The Star Spangled Banner" really badly... we will see what happen... ;) BUT SHE"S GETTING BAPTIZED THIS SATURDAY??? Isn't that crazy? Really crazy, time does fly. 
We went on exchanges on Wednesday and I got to be with my glorious 2 week companion Sister Kratzer. It was so cool to just get back in the swing of things, she's super bold! She's probably one of my favorite people to street contact with, it just feels so natural and we make so many new friends that way!! And it's amazing to see that even we ourselves as missionaries have concerns and things we struggle with, we are the happiest when we put those things aside and serve other people. When we are completely focused on our purpose. It's amazing!!!! Sister Kratzer is a great example to me of that. Where we live in Poway their is a cute park called, "Old Poway Park." With a little railroad and kind of an antique feel to it with little shops. (Mom you would have a field day!!!) We did power hour there and let me tell you, apparently it's a hot spot for Pokemon go because that's where everyone was. And more specifically the YSA! We have literally doubled our potential investigators this week because of it. Miracles, miracles. But once we got there we just started teaching this girl named Sierra. Poor Sierra has had a lot of death in her family. We were talking with her so much that we just say down with her on the ground. It was a tender moment and we actually got to give her a Book of Mormon. Then the next day Sister Stirland and I street contacted her in a different location! She was busy but said we could continue to text her to figure out a time we can meet. WE WILL!! :) It was also super cool at dinner how we saw a member get so passionate about missionary work he started to cry. He called us to repentance a little bit and now I am even more committed to helping members do missionary work. (Make sure all of your missionaries are doing that for you too! Follow up is vital! :)) Bottom line, exchanges were a blast! 

I truly do love the Sisters I am over, I feel a love for them I have never felt before. To see them struggle makes me so sad and yet so joyful! What a wonderful process of growth! And I can't wait till they look back and see who they have become, I'm so lucky to be a part of their journey! 

Friday were interviews with President Schmitt! I love interviews, they are so short but I've always learned so much and yet again President Schmitt wowed me! He's awesome. And let me tell you he asks about all of you all the time, mi familia, he prays for you everyday. And who ever President Schmitt prays for will be blessed, so count your lucky starts. ;) But I asked President Schmitt what he would of told himself 6 months before his mission ended. He responded, "I don't know, I wouldn't of changed anything. Just love it." I will President I will. And then he told me that sprinters when they run races don't picture the finish line at the finish line, they picture it 10 yards beyond the finish line. So that when they get to the end they are going full speed! So here I go, sprinting the rest of my mission! Don't wait up! ;) 
Now I would love to tell you a little bit more about Westin. Westin is a recent convert since about April, I've mentioned him a couple times. He amazes me, I've never seen someone so strongly follow the spirit and be able to read people. He came out street contacting with us and just could read people, he has such a desire to help people and he does. He just knows when people are struggling. We even brought a member present to his lesson to be able to friendship him but instead Westin was the one helping him out! It's incredible, God's gifts are numerous.
But when we were going contacting with Westin we were suppose to teach Spencer, a less active. Spencer wasn't there, so Westin had to go. But for about 2 hours we were still in the area and I felt prompted to go back. And look who was there, Spencer. He really opened up to us on what his concerns are. Now it's up to me to be able to rely on the spirit to figure out how I can help him. Working with the Lord is just the best. Also handing out Book of Mormons is the best and we've been doing it a lot lately. And I love how we don't just hand them out but we explain it, read a passage we feel inspired to read, give them a reading assignment and then leave it with them. We did it with 2 YSA that same night, it was awesome. They seem so ready to commit and then it falls through or they don't come to church. Ah YSA, you are so awesome but so difficult! It's the best challenge ever! 
And really cool experience in Ramona, we were trying to find this YSAs house FOREVER! It turns out their house was burned down and they now live in a huge metal garage or box of some sorts you could call it. So sad, but those girls have awesome testimonies. It was confirmed to me later by Bishop that it was definitely worth all that time to go and find them. Search and Rescue. People need it and we won't stop till we find them, I hope you all join in the search! It can be frustrating but it's worth it, not only for that person but for that persons family. Generations are always impacted. 

Sunday, game day! Mia the faithful was there! Always can count on her. She also came to our dinner appointment, since we needed a female so 2 return missionaries could feed us. We taught the Restoration to them at the end and it was one of the most spiritual restorations I have ever taught! Tears and all, I'm glad Mia was there. Then we went to our Mission Presidents Devotional with Mia. And I for once was not involved in the program so it was really nice to sit in the crowd. Guess who was there? ALEX BOYE!!! He is awesome, full of testimony and has an amazing conversion story. Life was hard for him after he was baptized, but he was able to get through it. I'm glad Mia heard that. But the coolest thing ever was guess who one of the speaker was? STACEY!!!!! My purple haired friend Stacey!! I was just beaming! She sounded so natural and she is so firmly planted where she is. It makes my heart sing! I'm so glad Mia got to hear her as well! She is just amazing!!! And I got to give her a hug so it made it 10X better! It was amazing how many friends I have made here in San Diego, I saw so many people who I loved and cared for! :) My heart was full. 
And Magical Monday! Always a great one! It was my first time doing the famous Goat service in Poway! Their is a woman who is not super active in the church and she has a goat farms where it's literally cages and cages of goats. Probably over 200 goats. Imagine that, goats, dirt, and poop. IT WAS AWESOME!! We got to feed baby goats and also we found a potential investigator!!!!! John. John works there and once we spotted him we literally never left his side. We just served and taught the gospel to John. He's gonna meet with us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was so cool! And even though I had alfalfa all in my hair I didn't even care! ;) So many people are just falling in our laps. Life is good. :) 
Bishop Tengberg and his wife are so nice! They feed us every Monday and we talk about missionary work the whole time! They are just an on fire couple! I'm amazed by their love and support and I hope to love missionaries that much some day! 
Before I head out for the week I want to make one suggestion to all of you, look up the book, "You are Special." Read it, absorb it, live it. God loves us, he knows us, and it's important for us to "visit with Him" everyday to figure out why we are so special. And he knows, he's the one who made us. 
And I also know how special you all are, if you ever forget just ask me why! :) But most importantly ask Heavenly Father. He loves you and he's waiting to hear from you!!!

Love, Sister Whitcomb

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Gotta Catch 'Em All

Oh beautiful day!!
It's Tuesday! And yes, I do know about the new Pokémon go app. Why you might ask? Because compared to prior weeks their are a lot more people to talk to outside and all of them are playing this game! (the best secret missionary tool ever!) Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways. The missionaries in San Diego are being blessed! Everyone is out! And the work keeps moving forward! I loved this week just as much as the last. :) 
We actually dropped our investigator Chad Tuesday night. Always really hard, but he's struggling with faith. It's a hard concept, I guess it might appear that life would be easier if God would just appear to us but I  am grateful that I am able to grow through my faith. I know Chad will one day too, we left him with a talk to ponder and an open invitation to come to church. I hope he comes!! He's a really nice guy! The prayer that he said at the end was so sweet, truly asking if God was there, I know if he keeps doing that, his prayers will be answered! 

But man oh man! Since we cover YSA we cover the whole Poway stake, which includes Ramona!!!! SO FUN!!! Ramona is beautiful and reminds me of Jamul, just a little more civilized. haha :) We went in the evening so we got to see the sun set and we almost played a game of pool to a guy we taught the restoration to. Just kidding, we had to speed home to make it for curfew! But the Elders can now go over!! WOOHOO!! And apparently it's the first referral the Elders have received in 3 months, wow. That's a long time. I'm glad we got to be the answer to someone's prayers!! 

WOOHOOO!!! Man so much love! The battalion, Mia, so much! We had dinner with Mia and our member Rodrigo beforehand and then drove to the Battlion. And since Sister Stirlands original call was the Mormon Battalion, so she got to dress up in a cute pioneer dress and give a tour! It was awesome, Mia loved it and was totally not expecting how fun it was going to be! Everyone needs to go to the Battalion! Even a man from Germany was there and at the end of the tour he said he had been to Temple Square as well and he just feels something different. THE SPIRIT OF GOD!!!

Battalion, gotta love it, full of miracles! But then Mia wanted to see the Temple as well so we made a quick pit stop and got to talk to Mia about the Temple. She literally knows so much! She wants to bring her Grandmothers name to the Temple and she already knows she's going to get her endowment in a year! This girl literally glows and so many people mistake her as a member! We got to sit down with the Bishop on Sunday with Mia so they could meet eachother and the Bishop confessed that he already thought she was a member! She already glows like a member! I LOVE HER!!! She comes to church, reads her scriptures twice a day and comes to all the activities! She's so cool!!! And apparently she has an Uncle and a cousin that converted to the church as well! Small world!

But as well on Thursday we were able to stop by the man, Matthew, who had glass in his foot. We came by with a member and when he opened the door you could tell he just totally forgot. He felt so bad! But guess what? He went to the doctors! His foot is no longer pussy and he was able to better communicate with us as well. :) We gave him a Book of Mormon and told him to read certain sections, he said he was going to come to church but wasn't able to. He said he would love to learn, and that his brother was learning and would probably like to continue it! WAAHOOO!!!! 
And here in Poway, every single Power Hour that I've been on has been such a success. We've invited so many people to be baptized, given out so many Book of Mormons (And people said they would actually read them),  given out so many referrals, and we've found a very few of our own potentials. POWER HOUR IS GOLDEN HOUR!!! And we've just been inviting and inviting and inviting them to activities via the phone, so hopefully one of them will show up soon! :) 
And the members are on FIRE!! We had a member who was suppose to come to a lesson that cancelled but he wanted to come tract with us! He was so pumped to go knock door to door and when we were knocking we managed to find a less active here on vacation from Utah, a dead possum, and we gave away a Book of Mormon. The member we brought out with us was literally run/walking from house to house! And he was a tall man so we were booking it to keep up with him. IT WAS AWESOME!!! They keep me fired up!!!! We also had zone meeting where Sister Stirland and I gave training. High Expectations and High Love people, they are so important and you can't have one with out the other! When we have those 2 things, miracles happen and faith increases!  

And talk about learning a lesson of Tender Mercies on Saturday! So we learned that every Saturday their is a Farmers Market where a ton of people gather, so we decide to go contact over there! Go where the people are! And it was slightly awkward at first, knowing who to approach, who to stop. But we saw miracles and ran into a former investigator, now have a potential investigator who was looking for a church and has a Book of Mormon. And talk about tender mercies, a member stopped us and bought us lunch! I almost cried! It was one of those high stress situations and she just let us know that God still loved us by buying us a sandwich! It's the little things, it truly is. Because that little act changed our whole day, it made us smile more, stand up straighter, and we defiantly did not feel alone in that big crowd. Never ignore a prompting, it could change millions of peoples days just by helping that one person. God is good. 

We went out to Ramona again on Saturday and our sweet senior couple, the Haws, drove us all over!  They just rock! They bought us dinner at the Ramona café as well which was apparently on a TV show on Food Network! Fancy stuff! ;) Even though it was hot and we both got a teensy bit sun burned our favorite part was probably street contacting an ice cream man. Yes we did share the gospel and yes we did get ice cream. :) 
My first official Sunday in the ward was awesome! So many members just willing to go! And I was so happy I got to bear my testimony to the members and nonmembers there! I put my name next to Nephi and let them know that whatever the Lord wants me to do I will do it, and I will not return home until I get it down. And I do these things because I love God and Gods children. Love is everything. And after every 3 hour block on each Sunday they have some type of linger longer. Except Bishop doesn't like to call it a linger longer, he calls it chat and chomp or flirt and feast or munch and mingle. He's a creative man. :) We then for the rest of the night had a member with us at all times which really makes the work so fun! We talked to many people and even stopped a YSA on his bike who said he would meet with us! I've never met so many people that have been looking for a church. Funny how the Lord works. :) 

And Monday was AWESOME because it was 7/11!! Free Slurpee day! We totally almost forgot but have no fear! We saw many people on the streets with Slurpee's and were reminded. :) And we again went on an awesome power hour with a convert, Greg, previously we had asked him to pray to know where to go and he thought of a random street. So off we went, and who do we run into? One of his army buddies, who is really struggling. He has just given up on God because of all the death that has been around him. He wasn't quite open to us but I know it softened him a little bit, especially to hear Greg's testimony. And I  know if Greg wasn't there, their would of been no way he would of listened to us. God is good!!! 

I just love teaching, I appreciate it so much when I have a long day and finally I get to sit down and teach a lesson. And we got to teach 2 surprise lessons yesterday to 2 less actives. Spencer and Ryan. They are awesome and they both want to share the gospel with people! Yipeee!!!! :) 
Even though we are really only teaching one investigator I'm really happy to say that I'm happy. I can honestly say I've been pretty impressed how I've never been frustrated and I've never given up hope. I know with all my heart that so many people are out there and I am willing to do whatever it takes to find them. I'm so happy to say my testimony is rock solid and is only getting more rock like qualities. ;) But I know Heavenly Father is preparing people and I can't wait to tell you all about them once I find them.
I love this church, I love my companion, I love my area, I love my mission. I love saying the name of our church to anyone and everyone I see.
I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! And I couldn't be happier. :)

Love, Sister Whitcomb