Tuesday, December 29, 2015

FEAR NOT: Christmas was my favorite!

Ah man.
Such a good week, full of the spirit, love, and Christ.
Couldn't get any better than that! :)
I truly do love being a missionary, I love working hard, I love having a purpose, especially a purpose in and for Christ!
The people I meet around me are amazing!
On Tuesday it was the day ALL the Christmas mail came in. I've never seen so much mail in my life! Christmas was real and alive for all the missionaries! We are well loved! And thank you so much for all the packages you sent me and the Christmas cards! It rule was the best Christmas ever. :)
I felt bad I didn't thank you as much as I should have over Skype so I'll do it now: THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!
On Wednesday we were able to go caroling with one of our ward mission leaders and his family. It was really fun to meet other members in the ward and make them smile. I love caroling! No matter how awkward it might be to just start singing once someone opens the door. Haha. We also went to the food bank again that same morning, the best thing ever! A great service and something I definitely want to do more often!!
We also had a super powerful lesson with Vanessa. We were able to bring a fellowshipper from the ward. During the lesson I just asked a question, apparently inspired, and Vanessa just started sobbing, and this wonderful lady in our ward scooted right over and held her while she cried and they conversed in Spanish. I can now thank all my Spanish teachers in High School! I was able to understand and discern her needs! MIRACLE!!
We also met with our 17 year old investigator Katie and had a really good lesson and she still committed to being baptized January 23rd! She has a hard family life so she's a trooper.
Christmas Eve was the most legit Christmas Eve I've ever had!
We got out of our apartments at 10:00 am and headed over to a YSA less active's house. And while we were walking there was a woman who said hello and started asking about our Christmas. She then led to telling us that her neighbor really needs us and she then led us into her house and showed us all the Christmas decorations. She then showed us her dancing reindeer and proceeded to dance and then shouted at us, "C'MON GIRLS!" So we did our awkward missionary boogie with this 60-something-year old woman. It was fun. She then gave us a huge bag of rice Krispy treats and proceeded to tell us that she knows Mormons, she has a dear friend and she just starts getting emotional. Talking about how she wants the happiness we have. So we told her about The Book of Mormon, and she took it. And meanwhile she keeps stroking my companion's hair because she thinks it's so beautiful! Which of course it is. And then she asks us to come back, we exchange numbers and we ask to say a prayer with her. And she accepted and then pulled us both in for a hug and I said the prayer in Sister Pilkington's hair, haha it was awesome!
Then we got out, and we were talking to her neighbor that was out; not the one she referred, and then all of a sudden we see this woman, Dawn, we had just talked to come around the corner. And she goes up to him and says "I have to tell you about these two girls." And she also stopped these other people from walking down the street so she could tell them too! I DIED!!! She went on to say how amazing we are and is very sweet, but then starts to get into an argument with her neighbor about how loud he is so we slipped away....
Haha LOVE those random people that we get to meet! :)
Especially on Christmas eve!
I also got to see Chelsea and Aaron! Those two are sweethearts. They are Taylor McDaniel's siblings. We tried to see Taylor since she's now in the YSA I'm serving in!!!!!!!! SO PUMPED!!! She wasn't home but it was so good to see them and we gave them the rice krispy treats Dawn gave to us. :)
I also got to meet a recent convert in the Grossmont Ward. His name is John and he is about 65 years old. He is so sweet and since we can't go into his trailer because of the rules of needing another woman present, we sit outside and he makes us some treats as we sit out there and teach him! He's so cute. And he gave us Christmas presents in this big Home Depot bucket! So cool! :) I admire him.
We also then caroled again at Starlight Circle and this time we put up a projector to show The Savior is Born video, and Sister Pilkington and I were able to get a referral for the Spanish missionaries! WOOOHOOO!!! It's all worth it. :)
And Christmas.
Possibly the best day on my mission thus far.
shout out to ep for the EPIC Christmas Banner! thanks ep :)
We got up nice and early because the mission brought the musical numbers from our mission Christmas devotional down to the Marine Corps Recruits. So spiritual. And slightly scary.
Apparently the recruits are pretty isolated and are not allowed to talk to any females, so not allowed near them at all. So we had to be blockaded by a wall of Elders as we were sitting. Good times. But a really spiritual experience, they are in such a similar experience we are in. Away from home, similar age, sacrifice. And so many of them were crying. And a side note, Sister Carlson sang a beautiful duet with another Sister and I just want to be Ursula and steal her voice! SO GORGEOUS!
basking in the radiance of Sister Carlson
And of course I was able to play piano as well for a group of sisters so that was fun. :)
Also, Sister Stewart, my beloved trainer, was asked to be the narrator, perfect Sister for the job! And I'm glad they asked her because it gave me an excuse to give her a hug! I LOVE HER!!!
Sister Stewart
She's leaving soon which makes me sad...... So I'm gonna make these days count with her!
President Schmitt got up to address the Marines and talked about Fearing Not! How the shepherds were told to fear not as they were watching over their flocks and if they follow Jesus Christ they should FEAR NOT! And being Marines they are pretty loud when they repeat things, and President Schmitt had them repeat "Fear Not" back to him; let's say it put a little fear in me! But so motivating. :)
And President Schmitt also invited all of them to seek the missionaries if they hadn't already and be baptized! So cool. After the program it was amazing to see all the blessings being given. Whether of healing or of comfort. Truly inspiring. Since the marines are on a strict schedule they just went three or four right there, off to the side. So cool to see God at work. And the Assistants work with the marines there an it seems to be going pretty well! It was cool to see all the marines with a Book of Mormon. That was probably the highlight besides SKYPING WITH MY FAMILY!!!!!
Oh my gosh that was so cool to see all of your faces and sorry I'm such a baby, crying has become a thing for me. But don't worry, it's not out of sadness it's out of joy! BECAUSE I LOVE YOU ALL SOOOO MUCH!!! :) :)
It went by way too fast and it was so hard to hang up. I feel like Mason was trying to say something as I was hanging up and I feel so bad! I might have cried because of it. BUT I LOVE YOU MASON! I can't believe you're almost as tall as me!... Ahhhh, skyping was the coolest!
We were also able to teach our investigator Anthony who got baptized on SATURDAY!!!
Anthony's baptism
All the sisters who taught him plus his girlfriend
That was way cool, I was able to play the piano and teach the restoration with my companion while they were changing. That message is always so strong. I love it! If you haven't heard it in a while have the missionaries come teach you it! And then kneel with them and pray to see who needs this message! It works. :)
We then caroled as a district, and our district is made up of Spanish missionaries (except us) so it was fun to carol in Spanish for part of it. We just went around to investigators and less actives in our different areas. The best way to end the night!
our district
Saturday was the baptism. It was awesome. We might have filled the font with luke-warm water which then became cold, but it's okay! Anthony's a member now!!!!!!! He's so cool. So faithful and we were able to teach him last night. We taught him the plan of salvation and he had a notebook and pen so he could take notes! HE'S SOOO COOL!!! :)
Also our investigator Julio showed up to the baptism. We were able to teach him afterwards the plan of salvation with two recent converts there as well. They were awesome at teaching and I was so impressed! This church rocks! He is very quiet and very observant. Opening up slowly but surely. He lives in Chula Vista so we will have to pass him off to other sisters. But that's okay because he will be a member of the church, I just know it! :)
We then had lunch with some members and were able to find a less active in their house we had no idea was there! And he came to church on Sunday! Win! The Lord is good. Then Sunday was super fun with going to two different sacrament meetings and the YSA had me speak, just bearing my testimony . I talked about how we don't need to fear with the Lord on our side. Quoted Isaiah 41:10, look it up, it's a good one!
On Sunday afternoon we were able to add an investigator! In the past the sisters had street contacted this boy who referred them to his dad (who is a member but hasn't been to church in a while). So they went and taught him and he is so cool! So ready, just needed some motivation! He said he wanted his daughters to learn so we were able to go back and teach Julie and we invited her to be baptized and she said she would be! Date to be determined. The Lord is amazing! And nothing is by coincidence!
Monday was FUNday with Anthony's lesson and rain! Our prayers have been answered! It's awesome to see it raining! God is good!
after our morning run in the rain
And our Bishop gave us a big list of members who he hasn't seen in a while and we were able to teach a couple of them yesterday and set appointments with a lot as well! God is good! And I love this area! We also walked out of one of the houses with a wooden toy turtle. It's legitimate. It's head moves. :)  And it's homemade. He and dad would be best friends. :)  And being on a mission and seeing people's circumstances and how much can go wrong in their life truly makes me grateful for mine! And for this gospel. I've never been so happy than on my mission and I've never been so happy to be a member of this church. The Lord blesses me too much! :)
And I hope he's blessing all of you and you can see his hand in your life!
Thanks for all you do and once again thanks for making this Christmas for me the best one yet!
And don't worry, I'm still cheering for you!
Sister Whitcomb

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

'Tis the Season for a NEW COMPANION!!!!!!

I love you all sooo much! And I'm so excited for Christmas! There is so much excitement! So let me play it out for you because I know you are all curious. Sooo my wonderful trio who I miss very much, we drove to transfer meeting Wednesday morning. They had asked me to play piano so I played prelude, the hymns, and how transfer meeting goes is, you sing, you pray, and then they announce who will give a S.T.E.P.P. Talk. (Which is a talk that has a scripture, a testimony, a personal experience, a promise and something from Preach My Gospel.) Each month the topics change and at any mission meeting you could be called to give it.
So as I was walking down from the podium they were announcing who would give testimonies on our purpose; usually two people do. And then they announce two people who will give talks on our S.T.E.P.P. topic. And what do you know: they say MY name last for the STEPP talk. I seem to always be picked. This month the topic is on the Atonement, which has applied a lot in my life recently. So it was a very emotional talk for me; I'm definitely inheriting Mom's genes! (Thanks Mom!)  :) But I felt good about it. Then transfers started and all of a sudden I hear my name to be companions with SISTER PILKINGTON!!!!!!!!!! She was one of my past Sister Training Leaders, and GUESS WHAT?!?! I'M A SISTER TRAINING LEADER WITH HER!!!! AHHHHH!!!!! So weird, and a little scary.
So what that is, is we are over five companionships of English speaking sisters in the mission. We go on exchanges with them, we help them improve and just be the best missionaries we can be! I'm pretty excited. We also go to a lot of meetings with President now and all the Zone Leaders, so that will be weird!!! But I'm so excited and honored to have this opportunity. AND GUESS WHAT?!?!? There are two sets of Sister Training Leaders--the ones that used to be over me, which includes my trainer Sister Stewart. I love her!!! And she was getting a new companion as well, and guess who it is???? SISTER CARLSON!!!!!!! I FREAKED out!!! When President Schmitt announced it I was so excited that my MTC companion will be with my trainer!! Crazy stuff. So we will get to see each other a lot at different meetings and such! So excited! Transfers were SO good. And my international trio is still in a trio, with a new Sister, Sister Guest! They should be GREAT together!
BUT... let me tell you about Sister Pilkington! SHE'S SO FUNNY!!! She's my first companion from Utah, and guess what part? AMERICAN FORK!!! How crazy!! AND SHE KNOWS THE PARSONS!!! AHHH!!! She's in their stake. But she only has two transfers left, so I might be her last companion......Sad. But she's SO cool! She has a twin brother! And she's 20 years old! Pretty much the best.
And she had a baptism on the next day we were companions! Pretty sweet! I got to teach him the day we became companions and guess how they found him? So he had read the script for The Book of Mormon musical and listened to the album, and was like, "I want one of these Book of Mormons." But he didn't want to pay for it so he ordered it for free through us! And my companions and her companions went over and asked if they could teach him about it and he said yes! And now he's a member of the church. Pretty cool. This area is on fire! Sister Pilkington also makes me laugh. A LOT. She reminds me a lot of my sisters, same humor, but not as cruel, because she's a missionary. :)
There is also an investigator getting baptized THIS Saturday! The day after Christmas! :) I've been able to teach him twice. His name is Anthony. And he is so prepared! Ready to make this lifelong commitment! He had his baptismal interview yesterday and he passed! YIPPEEEE!!! Also we got to teach an older returning less active. He's 80 years old and he was sustained to receive the priesthood on Sunday. So sweet. The Lord never gives up, and it is never too late! I love this church. :)
Oh, by the way, I am in Santee! It's right next to El Cajon!!!!
We double cover a family ward, Grossmont, and a YSA branch! It seems I cannot escape YSA, which is not a bad thing because I LOVE YSA!!! And I love double covering! This will be SO fun!!! :)
Jake's baptism was GREAT! They had me play piano, and quite a few people showed up considering it was a 10:00 am Thursday baptismal service! I was quite impressed.
Jake's baptism
But Jake is YSA, so I guess YSAs are more flexible. :) And it's been quite chilly which is rather weird. We also tried tracking people who had nativities in front of their houses that day--SUPER nice, but SUPER not interested. It was good times. Sister P literally ran to someone across the road, down the hill, it was quite funny, but we did get to show him A Savior is Born! Unfortunately he's not interested. Ah shucks.
Then Friday morning we got to go to a food bank! We just helped package things up for people. We also met this old woman who is from Jerusalem. Apparently she has met with missionaries before! Her name is Lydia and she really wants us to come over. She kept saying how much she loved us! She's so sweet! One time she even came up behind Sister P and just gave her a big hug. It was so cute and so funny! :) But it felt good to serve those people, and all the volunteers know who we are! It's awesome. We then had zone meeting. It went well. There were donuts so that always makes for a great meeting! Also, people in San Diego DECK OUT in Christmas decorations. It's pretty great. There's this one street where when you move on it, it's in the contract that you have to DECK OUT at Christmas. People have themes to these houses; the nutcracker, monsters inc, beauty and the beast, Peter Pan, it's legit!
We have two members that live on that road so our zone just stood in front of their house and sang Christmas hymns. We sounded good! Harmonies and everything! And some of the missionaries were giving out A Savior is Born cards to EVERYONE!!! It was awesome. They even gave out a couple of Book of Mormons. And people stopped and listened to us, recorded us, and one little girl even sang Silent Night with us! So cute! But THOUSANDS of people walk through, it's that legit! And we got to do it two nights in a row.
the zone caroling
Saturday morning we had a Grossmont Christmas party, for the family ward. We had breakfast and a bunch of service projects, in the church and out in the community. We got to help wrap gifts for a family in need. SO FUN! And I love being around little kids again. Perk of being in Santee we are SURROUNDED by Senior Missionary couples. One lives below us. Mom, you actually got an email from the one that lives below us. They are the Tanners and they had us over for lunch on Saturday.
Lunch at the Tanners
So sweet! And so good, I felt so healthy! Eating my carrots and grapes. :) Sister Tanner was also so sweet and made us Christmas pillow cases! She's the best! And we also have another Senior couple in the YSA branch who lives in our apartment complex, the Monks! They are the best! We also got to meet with another investigator Eddie, a YSA, and the Monks came! Super cool lesson about real intent in the Book of Mormon. He has a baptismal date for January 2nd! SO PUMPED! Sunday was great, no sleeping in because Grossmont ward council is at 7:30am!!! Good times. So we both went to Sacrament meeting for Grossmont at 9:00 am. Sister P sneaked out while I went on splits with a member. Sister P went to YSA Branch council and then we went to Sunday School and Relief Society with our investigator Vanessa! She's Mexican but looks super American. Really confusing. And GUESS WHAT! One of my favorite Mormon Messages is called Expressions of Love. Look it up. It's the one with a bunch of couples and the purple couple that talks about how they have a lot of fun together and how it only makes sense that they would be together forever.... THEY ARE IN MY WARD!!! It's crazy. They are sort of like celebrities, and the sister taught the Relief Society lesson so that was fun. :)
I then sneaked into the end of Santee YSA Sacrament meeting. And then had two more hours of church! Woohoo! And guess what? A guy Sister P had street contacted in the past and invited to church actually CAME! His name is Julio, but again super American, weird. But awesome! We taught him after church and added him! He then came to Family Home Evening the next day! So cool. He's quiet but awesome! We also saw a 17 year old investigator Sunday and Monday night. She lives in a hard home, she also lives with a recent convert; he's nine, so cute! And one of the lessons he was the member present! He was telling her about his baptism and how much he loved it! :)
She wants to be baptized on January 23rd! It's legit! So pumped for all these people to come closer to Christ!
Then yesterday was really fun because we had a Mission Christmas Devotional. It's where the whole mission gathers together. We enjoyed special musical numbers, remarks from our mission president and his wife, they fed us brunch, gave us Christmas cards, and we got to see old friends and companions! That was one of my favorite parts. :)
two of the original trio
In the Christmas program I got to play the piano. It was fun and I love using my talent! Hard to find time to practice but worth it! Did you know this mission has a facebook page? Well check it out because President Schmitt took a panorama of us. I'm at the very end near the piano. And also he recorded us singing the mission song, it's legit! And I'm playing the piano! Ignore all the mistakes..... I'll work on it. :)
We then also got to see a slideshow of all the pictures of the baptisms that happened in 2015, and the people that went to the Temple for the first time! So it was fun to see Taylor, Arthur and Eli up there!  :)
I love Christmas.
I love my Savior.
I'm so happy I get to give Him my heart this year, and that I can devote all my time and attention to this work. That's what I'm giving him this year. What are you giving him?
I LOVE YOU ALL!!! And I hope you have the BEST Christmas EVER!
Sister Whitcomb
All of Sister P's (in the middle in red blouse) companions that are still in the mission

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Bitter Sweet

This Christmas time has brought many joyous moments, many moments of growth, and it has been surprising! So as many of you know, tomorrow is transfer day.... AND I AM BEING TRANSFERRED!!!!!!!!!  :( :( :(  I'm sad.
Missionaries eat FREE at the Golden Spoon
I love my fantastic trio! I love this YSA! I love my investigators! Some like Tony who I've been with from the beginning. It has definitely been too short. Only three months!!! I feel like I'm just getting this area; just getting it down. But that's when the Lord moves you. I'm excited to see who my new companion will be, who knows; I might be in another trio! But let's focus on how fun this week was!!
On P-Day last Tuesday we got to play laser tag in the church gym with some obstacles, and that was sooo fun and soo intense! And something CRAZY happened Tuesday night! We got a phone call from a former investigator, nothing out of the ordinary because he usually asks for rides. What was strange was that he wanted to meet with us ASAP to go talk about "holy things" as he put it. So we did.
We were able to meet that night, and he has changed since I've seen him last. So we were able to invite him to baptism and shoot for a date! He still has some obstacles so I'm not sure how it will go.... BUT BEANS IS GETTING BAPTIZED FOR SURE!!!! Yes, his name is Beans. Yes he's pretty cool. We also met with Tony. Tony, Tony. That guy is chugging along and I'm super proud of him. Sad that I don't get to see him grow anymore but I'm really excited for him!!!!
Wednesday we met with Beans again. Cool progression was seen and made. I'm really excited for this area!!! And I know my two companions will work their hardest while they are here!!! Christmas miracles here we come!!!! We also met with Caleb. We're probably going to drop him soon. Not keeping commitments. And then the rest of our appointments fell through, but that's okay! I LOVE THIS AREA!!!!
Thursday was weekly planning, but weekly planning got interrupted because we had like three appointments! IT WAS AWESOME!! Because we have been trying to get a hold of these people forever!!! IT WAS AWESOME!! To hear all of their stories, such a privilege! We then of course weekly planned!  :)
AND FRIDAY WAS THE BEST!!!!!!!!!!!! It was the the first day of our mission tour!!!! We had the privilege of being trained by Elder Whitney L. Clayton and his wife Sister Kathy Clayton. We had a Sister Meeting with all the Sisters and Sister Clayton. The Assistants asked me if I could play the piano for all the meetings. So I stood up when she walked in. She wanted to hug all the Sisters, so she did. And as she got to the end, she forgot me because I was at the piano. Haha but then the Sisters all told her so she gave me an extra long hug and told me to thank my mom for making me practice the piano. SO THANKS MOM!!!!
The meetings were so good, I can't even describe. After the Sister meeting, and no, it was not about marriage, we all gathered together to be taught by both Elder and Sister Clayton. And we all stood up when the Claytons walked into the room. And I played the piano while everyone shook his hand but thankfully he and his wife came up on the stage and shook my hand. Sister Clayton gave me another hug, and we chatted for a bit! IT WAS SOO COOL!!!
I learned so much, we talked about the importance of our name tags, language, companionship study, weekly planning, and role play. There were even a couple of companionships that had to role play in front of everyone. I was sweating bullets. Haha.
Elder Clayton said we are a FANTASTIC mission. And he told us to write that in our letters.  :)
The mission tour happened both on Friday and Saturday. And we actually added someone right before the mission tour on Saturday! Beast mode! 15 minute restoration in someone's garage WITH a member! It was awesome.
Then we got a referral from some visitor center saying it was a YSA. We stopped by and it was not a YSA. He's 43. Hahaha it was funny, but we added him as an investigator for the Elders!! And then as we were walking back to our car, I felt a prompting to cross the street and then we found a new potential investigator! TENDER MERCIES!!!!
 Our District!!
Two of the Elders went home today....

Sunday, my last Sunday in the branch WAS WAY GOOD!!!! The talks in Sacrament were on point, I LOVED THEM!! Too bad there were no investigators in church that day... We tried, but they will come!! We then were able to teach the branch mission plan and then come to the Stake Christmas program, SO MANY NONMEMBERS!!! And one of our YSAs even brought a nonmember! He wasn't a YSA, so we had the Elders talk to him. It was great.  :)
And also during Sacrament Meeting and the stake Christmas program it was so funny to see the YSAs try and make moves on each other. I WAS DYING!!!!
Then Monday was also a great day. We taught three less active lessons and one lesson with Beans. He isn't quite ready for baptism but his heart is softening! And also it was a miracle we taught all those lessons. Inspiration by specific prayer!
I know I didn't write that many details in my letter today but just know that I love you all, I love this area, and I really love my international trio! And I love my new companion(s).
REMEMBER, I'm cheering for ya!
Sister Whitcomb
with two of my favorite members, Kimmee & Denise

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

All I want for Christmas... is to hear from YOU!

Getting a Christmas Card from YOU would make me
JUMP for JOY!!
(mission address in side bar --->)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

God is aware of me and loves me

My dearest family and friends,
What a week of ups and downs and all arounds.
But can I just say how grateful I am for the gospel of Jesus Christ!
How grateful I am for my mission president, my family, my two wonderful sweet companions and everyone I have met in between!
This week has brought a lot of reflecting and testimony building experiences for me. But let me start at the beginning.
Guess what we did last p-day??
We went to Cabrillo National Park!!!
Also known as Sunset Cliffs!!!
I am so full of joy and love for being in a trio.
It was a great p-day. When we were driving home all of us were talking about how we need to bring our loved ones back!!! It's amazing!
While we were driving over there my Phillipina companion kept saying, "How can people not believe in God?"
How true! I mean just look at everything around you! God loves us! He's given us this beautiful earth!!! And for that I will be forever grateful.

Wednesday was full of service. We found out one of our investigators doesn't have permission to get baptized, we taught recent converts, less active members. It was an amazing day! Even though of our investigators, a couple actually, won't get baptized for a while I'm grateful to have the faith that they will! We missionaries love them too much to leave them alone! One of my lovely companions was also struggling adjusting and wasn't sleeping so she got a beautiful priesthood blessing by our Branch President. He is such a nice man, and he even wrote a book on the Atonement! It's on Amazon! Check it out! Dave P. Fisler! It's called "His Redeeming Power." I can't wait to read it when I'm able to!! But I love priesthood blessings as well, so powerful, God's love is real! And I'm so grateful to know worthy men who hold the priesthood.
Thursday, a day for sure that has changed my life. We started off with weekly planning, a dinner appointment with some burgers, teaching a wonderful girl of our branch and then Tony! (Tony's so cool!! He's trying so hard to change! It amazes me!) Along the way we got a call from President Schmitt, very unusual, and he set up a time to meet with one of our investigators and then he said he wanted me to call him when the day was over. So I did. When I first heard him tell me that I just had a gut instinct of what it would be; I think it was the spirit. So we got home, I sat down and I called him. And might I just say he is the nicest man ever! He has obtained so many characteristics of Jesus Christ, I will always look up to him and be grateful he is a part of my life! He asked me about my day, how our investigator is doing and then he told me that earlier in the day my beloved Grandfather had passed away. Of course I was very emotional, and he just talked to me. He read a letter that Mom wrote to me, touched me so much and I was so grateful for it. President Schmitt even told me when it was in all caps and with all exclamation points! That made me laugh. :)
And then he bore testimony to me about the plan of salvation, how we have cause to rejoice that a Savior is Born on this earth! I'm so grateful for how the news was delivered and how it was with such compassion and love. He then suggested I get a priesthood blessing to be able to help me. HE offered but them also suggested my district leader, Elder Clark, who just two days earlier lost his Grandpa as well. Right then it was confirmed to me that Elder Clark is my district leader for a very specific purpose and is it. Just more evidence to me that God is looking out for me and he loves me.
After the phone call the tears kept coming but so did my companions. They gave me space during the phone call but then swooped into my rescue soon after. It is also confirmed to me why I have two companions this transfer, and specifically these two. They are so loving, and they make me laugh! And Heavenly Father knew I would need it! And it's no coincidence that earlier that day for my weekly goal, I set a goal to be more positive throughout the week and smile more. I'm happy to report I've been able to do that. I'm also happy to report that I've been able to rely on the Lord a lot. I prayed a lot. I did cry, but something President Schmitt pointed out to me is that it's okay to cry because that shows how much you love him. I do love Bop. I loved how he also asked how my non existent boyfriend was, how he'd always sing "Here she comes, Miss America!!" as I walked into the room, I love how he makes those little side jokes and then always winks at you. Bop is one of a kind and I miss him dearly but I know he's close. And I'm so grateful for that!
The next day I just had a determination to work harder and it seemed like more people had a determination to reject us, but that's okay. Because I gave them a chance to hear this message and God will give them many more chances!
At the end of Friday I was able to ask Elder Clark to give me a blessing. He gave it to me Saturday night. One of the most spiritual experiences ever! Right before he gave me the blessing he shared a scripture with me, 3 John 1:4. It says,
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."
And he said, "Your Grandpa loves you especially now, because you're walking in truth! And you're not just in a trio, you're in a quad. He's with you!"
Words I needed to hear and so appreciated. Then when he laid his hands on my head, instant warmth, instant feelings of the spirit and I knew Bop was there. I know he loves me and he will look after me for the rest of my mission. How grateful I am for the knowledge of this gospel!
Sunday was also a wonderful day, a cause to rejoice. We were able to fast for our baptismal goals before Christmas. I have full confidence and faith that if it is the Lord's will, the Lord will make it happen. I have full faith. And if it doesn't, that won't put a damper on anything, he's just trying my faith! But I know it will happen! Fast and testimony meeting was great and I had to get up and share my newly confirmed testimony of eternal families and how we have cause to rejoice in Jesus Christ! Something I couldn't pass up.
And our investigator Tony was at church and bore his testimony!!!!!!!! IT WAS SO AMAZING! I'm so PUMPED for him!!!!!!!!!!
We worked through the Christmas devotional because we knew if we are to reach our goal of five baptisms we need to grasp every minute and have no fear. We started watching the Christmas Devotional during our dinner hour. (Since we don't get too many meals and since we now have wonderful iPads to access it on!) we are blessed. And from what I heard of Sister Reeves talk, I knew it was for me! Another way God is showing he's aware of me and loves me!
Monday went by so fast! Full of lessons, full of laughs and family home evening at the end with the YSA! I'm so blessed and I have such cause to rejoice! I hope all of you find cause to rejoice as well!
I love you all!
Sister Whitcomb

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

a GREAT day to be a missionary

Life has been so good!!!!! Food is so good and so are the people in PQ! I love my trio as usual, they keep me laughing!!!!

Soooo time is crunched and I forgot to bring my journal to reference from for my letter... I'll try my best. :)
SO Wednesday we went to a class for missionaries, LDS Services, not for me but for one of my companions. It was awesome, and so cool to see how the church truly looks out for all their missionaries. I can see why it would be so helpful, I learned a few things myself as well!
We met with two of our investigators that day, Tony and Caleb. Good guys. Our miracles are starting to narrow out, we had to drop two of our investigators this week , Rodney and Alexis. :(
It was sad for me. But definitely necessary, they haven't been in contact with us for like three weeks. Nothing. Apparently the Lord wants us moving on to bigger and better things. I'M SO READY AND I'M SO PUMPED!! (btw my companions now say that ALL the time and they even told me they write it in their letters haha I love it!)
Speaking of Tony, we've seen him a lot this week, it's been so good! He has been improving so much and has opened up to us A LOT! He has told us how we met him at his most vulnerable moment, perfect timing. (you're inspired Sister Chan) :)
He came to church, had so many questions during second hour. He's on his way. Not sure how long it will be, but he's on his way.
Thursday, THANKSGIVING!!!!! No worries, we only had one dinner. And it was so awesome and so spiritual!!!!!! We had TurDuckEn! A chicken, in a duck, in a turkey!!!! So good--their family reminded me of mine! Crazy, fun and loud! They were even building a fire, couldn't handle that 60 degree weather! haha Sadly I'm becoming a wimp as well, becoming acclimated!!
We also had weekly planning on Thanksgiving so that took a good chunk of time. We also had an appointment with a less active, that was so nice! And we found out she didn't have a Thanksgiving dinner so we just gave her ours!! It felt good. :) We then drove around and handed out Happy Thanksgiving cards. It was a GREAT day to be a missionary.

On Friday we met with Tony again adn also our investigator Bharat. YSA are SO fun to work with but they tend to be a bit sassy. haha It's an adventure for sure! We've been teaching A LOT! Which I am SO grateful for, we generally just run around to try to find people to teach but the Lord has been blessing us and allowing us to find people at the right time!
On Saturday we were able to do service for Caleb's family, setting up Christmas decorations! PQ decks out!!! Even before Thanksgiving! My foreigner companions LOVE it!!!
Sunday again was the BEST! We taught third hour, about the new "A Savior is Born." The church even prepared a whole slideshow for the missionaries to show all their wards/branches. IT WAS SO FUN! I LOVE teaching, it's sooo fun!!! And we had three investigators come to church! THIS AREA IS BLOOMING! My first transfer here we had like one investigator, now we have FIVE!!!! And three of them came to church!!!
Tony was basically our week this week, we taught him everyday! He came to church and he came to family home evening!!!! This guy is ready! He's been through too much and I know a lot of it. My life is such a huge blessing. I can never complain! HEY AND GUESS WHAT?!!! This morning we went to rehearsal for the Christmas devotional, they are having me play piano. AND I GOT TO SEE SISTER CARLSON AND NOW I'M SITTING NEXT TO HER!!!!!!! She's the best! She's still in her first area!!!
CRAZINESS! No room to breathe as a missionary, but I wouldn't have it any other way! Sorry there aren't too many funny details! Next week for sure!! :)
I LOVE YOU ALL AND PLEASE ENJOY THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON!!! It's my favorite and it's gonna be ten times better as a MISSIONARY!!! Miracles here we come. :)
Sister Whitcomb

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Your weekly dose of ALL CAPS AND !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!s (E-N-T-H-U-S-I-A-S-M!!)

My Dear Family!!!!!
Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!! And Happy Anniversary to Roger and Kristine!! That was fast. :) And Happy Early Birthday to my favorite Bop!! What are you now, like 25? You're awesome regardless! I hear everyone is gathering for Thanksgiving. I hope you all eat a ton, walk around the golf course and take lots of pictures! I love you all!
This week was great. The international trip is great. Lots of laughs and me trying to explain very simple things. American things. It's quite funny.
They noticed I say "I'm PUMPED!" a lot. So they asked what it meant, and now that I explained it they like to say it occasionally to pick on me. ;)
Did I mention that both of my companions are converts? Sister Leyva was baptized when she was 14 and Sister Espanto was 12. They are sooo cool!!! Sister Espanto's laugh cracks me up. I'll have to send you all a video with it. She's so funny!

And so far I've been taller than ALL my companions, can you believe it? Especially my current companions, haha. Sister Espanto is 4'11". She's the best! Sister Leyva is just a little bit taller than her. Good times!
Do you want to hear something funny? We were getting out of the car and we see this guy. He's painting the inside of his garage. We asked if we could help, and he was a little hesitant.  But he asked us questions about the gospel! So you know what Sister Espanto does? She just walks up to him and says she wants to try, grabs the roller and starts painting the walls. I died!! It was so funny!!! We even taught him the whole restoration. We talked about a lot with him. And we even invited him to be baptized and he said yes! We have to pass him off to other Elders becauswe he lives in Chula Vista. (Where "The District" was filmed, btw...) And Sister Espanto got ALL of his contact info, down to his email! She's legit. :)
That same day we were also able to contact a referral from some Elders in LaJolla. Her name is Chala. We met up with her at a McDonalds with a member who is a RM who served in Salt Lake City. She's awesome. Anyway, we met with Chala and she has a scary background and she's paying for it right now. But she so needs a change, and she recognizes this is it. And she's grateful for where she is now because she believes without it she would be somewhere much worse! Talk about gratitude right there! We invited her to read from The Book of Mormon and her response was "But I don't have one." It was cute. So we of course gave her one! And then we invited her to be baptized and she said yes!! She talked about how she was almost baptized in another church but it just didn't feel right so she didn't. But she's feeling good with us so far! We set her with a date of December 19th. Sooo cooooolllll!!!!!!! And also that night we found a YSA in our area who is being taught by other Elders. But it's okay, forgiveness is real. And they were totally fine with passing him off to us. Thank goodness we walked on that street and had the courage to talk to him or we never would have found him!
Then we had a lesson with our investigator Bharat at our Branch President's house. He was a lot more serious this time and we were able to teach more. Amazing what the presence of older people can do! ;)
And unfortunately Rodney stood us up.... again. But that's okay! I'm gonna keep trying and maybe the Lord wants other missionaries to contact him. I'm grateful I was able to have a part in it, but don't worry, I'm not defeated! Never will be! But guess what? We have four investigators with a baptismal date!!!! Only one is truly on his way but the rest will be soon!! Rodney, Chala, Tony and Alexis all have baptismal dates! They have all got a glimpse of the gospel and love it!!! So many people need it! And it's our responsibility to share it! :)
And we texted a potential investigator, the one we taught at church last Sunday. She said God answered her prayers in a way she was not expecting!!! How cool is that? We haven't been able to meet with her and she wasn't able to come to church but I'm excited to meet with her soon so we can figure out what exactly happened!!! Yeeeeee so much anticipation!! We had a relief society activity where we all split up and tried to reach out to some sisters who we haven't seen in a while. It was so fun and so nice!
Then on Friday we added a new investigator! His name is Narish. He's an Indian man we met in the parking lot. He really wanted to come to church, so we invited him. He didn't show up, but everyone deserves a second and third chance so that is exactly what we are going to give to him! :)
We have an appointment with him on Thursday. I'm excited to teach him! :) And this week president asked us to invited 10 people to be baptized and we were invited again to do it this week! So you know what that means, being bold in street contacts!! It happened. It was legit! Baptism is the greatest gift we can give anyone so might as well let them know the greatest blessing they can get!
On a funny note, you know what foreign companions tend to say when they have to use the bathroom: "I have to go poops." IT CRACKS ME UP.
I know that might not be completely missionary appropriate but I love them so much I had to share! :)
On Saturday we went to a baptism in Sister Leyvas old area. We got permission. I love baptisms! Tony was supposed to come see but it didn't work out. It just made me more pumped for his baptism! We reset him with a date of December 5th. He had a cool experience with the word of wisdom too! I'M PUMPED!!!! :)
And we also got dropped by Raj.... Oh well. She'll be ready soon!!!
And then of course my favorite day, Sunday!!!! And it was great. Before Sister Chan left one of the counsellors in the branch presidency asked if my new companion and I would give a talk on this past Sunday. I said of course. And he also asked if we would stand at the pulpit together and speak. Okay. Little did he or I know, that I would be getting TWO companions!!! It was so fun, I stood in the m iddle and we gave a talk on adversity on and before our mission and how our faith in Jesus Christ helped us get through it. We just took turns sharing our experiences and go figure, I cried a little.
When I was done with my part Sister Espanto was supposed to go next, so she turned and whispered to me if I needed a tissue. I said I was good, and then she turned to the congregation and said "My companion is crying." SHE'S SO FUNNY!!! That put a smile on her face. I love my international companions. They make me laugh. :)
We only had one investigator at church but one is soooo much better than none!! Bharat came, and when he saw me cry he was so concerned and confused. Oh well. Haha. We also had a firmer investigator come as well. Sure, he slept through sacrament meeting but he was there!
Good times in the branch. :)
THEN we had MTEs (Missionary Training Experience) where we had some training from our Mission President and his wife and some of our other leaders and then we switched up companions so we could go apply what we were taught. Then this morning we talked about the miracles we saw from it and got some more training. So I stayed in my area with Sister Espanto. Sister Leyva left and guess who joined us.....

Ohhhh I was sooooooo pumped!!! I still can't believe it happened, just like old times. :)
And Sister Espanto made it even more fun. :)
It was a great day.
Sister Stewart is so bold, and it was so fun to teach with her again!!! We had some funny times, too... So this guy was at a mail box; we got out of the car and said hello, he ignored us, we gave him the benefit of the doubt and thought he might not have heard us, so we said hello a little louder and he kept walking. I thought he might have been Chinese, so trying to make Sister Chan proud I yelled "NIHAO!" Nothing.
Haha, just a door slam. We laughed. Good times.
Then when we were planning the night before, Sister Leyva felt impressed to go visit this less active member. Well we tried, he wasn't there, but a really cool girl was!
Her name was Ann. We taught about the Book of Mormon, we invited her to be baptized and to a Thanksgiving church-sponsored party. She said yes to both! She's so cool and sweet.
That was definitely a tender mercy and a miracle!
The funny thing was when we were trying to contact her these sprinklers kept on attacking us, and when it first happened Sister Stewart and I both freaked out. We thought it was a snake!!! Ohhhh Sister Espanto laughed at us. Good times. Then when we were teaching Ann they came on again! And then when we were getting into the car they came on again! Those sprinklers had something against us Haha but it was so fun. I loved it!
Some of the things I took from the training was that it's important to be grateful. When you are grateful your faith increases, they are interconnected. When you show more gratitude in your prayers you're showing Heavenly Father that you recognize him in your life more, therefore faith increases. And also how I fear no man. We all walked up to president, shook his hand, looked him in the eye and said I FEAR NO MAN. So now, miracles will happen. For sure. I just made a commitment with President! And the Lord! I'm not backing down. :) Oh and also they had me bear my testimony at this big mission meeting; heart racing but testimony strengthened for sure!
I LOVE YOU ALLL SOOOOOO MUCH!!! I miss you a lot, I think about you a lot. I'm so happy to be where I am, I hope you are too!
Sister Whitcomb

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A salty crew on Potato Chip Rock


Hey Everybody!!!!
Are you as shocked at the title of my letter as I was?! That's right! I'M IN A TRIO!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHH!!! And not just any trio, an international trio! My companions are Sister Espanto and Sister Leyva! Sister Espanto is a temple square sister (can you believe I've had two companions from temple square???? Who would have thought?!)
Sister Espanto is from the Phillipines and she has been out on her mission for ten months. She's so cute and tiny! :) She always makes me laugh! And guess what? She's 31! She has the coolest story. She was less active for most of her life. And she decided to serve a mission! Her English is really good! And it's great because we have a Tagalog Ward in our Stake! She's teaching me a little Tagalog, likes to yell this word a lot, "kalabaw," she says it's caribou in English. I'm gonna have so much fun this transfer!
L to R: Sister Espanta, Sister Leyva, member friend, Sister Whitcomb

Sister Leyva is from Mexico. We actually came out together. She was in the MTC with me but she was in a different district so I never saw her until the airport. She also speaks very good English and I now find myself saying "Hermanas" a lot. I love it. We can street contact the whole world! Especially with the little mandarin I learned from the amazing Sister Chan! ;)
The miracles started happening right away after transfer meeting! We went to go teach a recent convert, and it went really well. We are pretty great at teaching! Especially in a trio!
But we walk out, see these two girls and start talking to them. One, Alexis, is really interested. A golden street contact. These maybe happen once a mission. We taught her a little bit of the Restoration, showed the Because He Lives video and gave her a Book of Mormon! She was so excited and so were we! We set a return appointment for the next day, said a prayer, gave each other hugs and ran to have sushi for dinner! It was so cool!! We were solo pumped we added someone on our first day!!!!! And the sushi was pretty delicious, treated by our Relief Society President. I tried eel! It was good. :)
Then when we came back to teach her, such a powerful lesson. She was eating it all up! And when baptism came up, she wanted to do it! She said that she would have with another church, but something physical stopped her and might still stop her. I whipped out Moroni 7:33 and said if she has the faith, it will happen, and she accepted for December 12th as her baptism date. Even in the closing prayer she asked Heavenly Father to help her reach her baptismal date. She unfortunately didn't come to church but she said she had an emergency. She's the best. She reminds me of Taylor McDaniel. Love her!
Then we had a lesson with the guy who came to last week's family home evening that got a church tour! The member, Devin, that set up the return appointment for us opened up his home and Bharat and Sunny (his room mate) came. A great restoration lesson filled with lots of questions, a commitment to be baptized and the spirit. No baptismal date yet, but soon! He came to church too! And he stayed at the linger longer!! We reset his baptismal date for December 12th! He didn't come to church but we called him and he seemed really sorry and we will see him on Wednesday. Don't worry, it will all work out in the end.
We also went to Chinese class. They said they needed us for groups. It was fun, definitely not the same without Sister Chan. Miss her!
And then our car did not have a good week. Our engine has been overheating a lot, and on Saturday we got a flat tire! I do not like spending three hours in pep boys or the car dealership. But patience was for sure developed. We might or might not have a video or us on the side of the road trying to fix our car, courtesy of Sister Espanto.
We also met with Raj, the girl who walked in on the member dinner. She was also prepared and eating the lesson up! She did not come to church, but she's so sweet and has great things in store for her!
Tony is Tony. He came to church for the second week in a row!!! When we went to teach him he said he was thinking about his baptism.... YEAH!!!!!!!!! He's cool, he needs the gospel too.
Then Sunday was awesome! We had two investigators and we taught a recently returned missionary's friend during second hour, it was awesome! She had so many questions and we had a great member present!! We didn't get to add her as an investigator but she texted us the next day asking some questions! I LOVED ALL THESE PREPARED PEOPLE IN PQ!!!
Then we went to a Spanish Mission President's Fireside because I was asked to play the piano, a last minute thing, so I got to practice once, it could have gone better but I did realize something really important. I shouldn't be more concerned about how many right notes I play but whether I'm doing a good job at bearing my testimony through the music. I'm working on it. But I also got to sing in Spanish! That was fun! People came up to me thinking I spoke Spanish and I was like uhhhh.... Sister Leyva! Haha

Then today for P-day we hiked potato chip rock! It was so fun! Really steep but it felt so good! I LOVE LIFE!! I hope you all do too! :)
Sister Whitcomb

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

In my raincoat, you may call me Sister Everdeen.

!Hola mi familia!
HOW AREEEE YOUUUUU??? I love you so much! How is the fall weather? I'm loving this San Diego weather! Especially since it's been raining!!!!
I LOVE RAIN! I love wearing my rain jacket. My old companion would call me Sister Everdeen because she thought I looked like Katniss in it. Haha so I always think of her. :)
BUT HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MOM AND DAD! Your trip to DC looked super fun! Also can I give a shout out to Elizabeth Jeffrey?!?!?? WHO GOT HER CALL TO THE CALIFORNIA SANTA ROSA MISSION!!!!!! California is the place to be!!!! I'm so proud of you and I know you'll do great! You're already the best missionary ever!!!
Anyways, this week was awesome!!! One reason was we got to go to the Temple for PDay. We went later than usual. We went to the 3:00pm session, so when we got out it was dark and we were rushing back to our area to start working. We made it, have no fear. We had an appointment with Rodney, but he wasn't there!
We called him and he said he was out of town. But every time we knock on Rodney's door we meet a new person. They are all YSA age, too! So we get tons of referrals for other YSA missionaries just from that one house. It's awesome! :)
Then on Wednesday we had a street contact with this certain older man that just made my day. We were talking to this guy on the street and he referred us to his neighbor who was sitting outside; possibly that he would be interested. So we go and talk to him. His name was Gary.
Let me tell you about Gary. He is quite the character. He sees us and we say hello and he goes "Oh I know all about those Jehovah's Witnesses!" Then we corrected him and he goes "Oh let me tell you about Joseph Smith!" So we are like "Okay, you tell us. And then he goes on to tell this story that Joseph and his dad were in a field, and he saw a rock, he prodded it with a stick and then he saw something gold. He touched it and it shocked him with electricity.
Don't worry.
We corrected him. That is not the story of Joseph Smith. Just to clarify.
So we decided to show him the four minute Restoration video. While we were watching he started to cry and started to say everything he was grateful for, including us, so that me me tear up. It's nice to know you make a difference, even in a street contact. We referred him to the elders. Hopefully we will be hearing about Gary's baptism soon. ;)
Then on Thursday we had our last Chinese class! Because this was Sister Chan's last week. That's right, Sister Chan is officially on a plane, to Seattle, then to Beijing, and then to Hong Kong. Total travel time is 23 hours.
At the airport this morning... Sad.... can't believe she's gone! We got up at 4:00 am
I'm gonna miss that Sister, she taught me so many things, all through example. That's the best kind. Everyone please keep her in your prayers as she travels. She needs to be safe! :)
But anyway it was the last Chinese class, so I made sure Sister Chan got a picture with everyone. There were a lot of people there! More than usual! And it was exciting because a lot of them were asking about The Book of Mormon and church and how Sister Chan car to know it was true!!
MISSIONARY WORK FOR THE WIN!!!!!! But it was funny. When we were trying to take the picture, one of the gentlemen took charge, just ordering everyone around in Mandarin, and two of the ladies very nicely but very sternly plopped me and Sister Chan in chairs.
Good times at Chinese Class
They are the sweetest! I'm gonna miss them. Unless I get a new Chinese speaking companion!! We shall see, I'll find out tomorrow....
Thursday was also awesome because we added someone as an investigator!!!!!!! His name is Tony. We street contacted him in our apartment complex a while back and we were following up. Totally got a return appointment! And then when we taught him on Friday we set hi with a baptismal date of November 28th!!!!!!! And guess what? He came to church last Sunday and LOVED it! That was such a miracle for me! I haven't had an investigator in church since my first Sunday here! I was playing the piano for sacrament meeting, so I could see everyone. When I saw him walk in I had the biggest smile on my face!!!!!!! It was awesome!!!! But funny note, when we had a lesson with him on Friday, we had to bring a female because of our mission rules. So we brought a very pretty YSA to the lesson. Bad choice. I felt so bad for her. Awkward moves. Not good.
But great laughs for sure afterwards! Oh man. YSA. SO FUN.
Then on Friday Sister Chan had departures, where the departing missionaries go to the Temple with President Schmitt and his wife.
So I had to drop her off and I got to be in a trio for the day! So I got to go with Sisters Stewart and Purcell in their area, which is Poway! Right above PQ. It was so fun! I got to go to their district meeting which was AWESOME, all about faith! And you know how each companionship set a goal for how many baptisms by Christmas? Well they added all the companionships goals up and it's 622 baptisms for the mission by Christmas! Faith! It can happen! Through Jesus Christ it can and it will.
In fact, it already has. That was referenced in their district meeting, how in the Book of Mormon several prophets had so much faith that they used things in the past tense. When Lehi was ON HIS WAY to the Promised Land, he said he already obtained the promised land! So we have already baptized those people! Faith can work miracles! These are going to be the best two months EVER!!!!!! Being in a trio was so much fun and we got to go to dinner at our Relief Society President's house because she invited a non member to hear the discussion! She intently listened, didn't necessarily want to be involved but she was there.
Hopefully we will set up another appointment soon! Member referrals are the best!
Then on Saturday we had our district meeting where the Elders decided to guess Sister Chan's ETM!! (Estimated time of marriage!) Not cool!
District Meeting
Man it's so weird, one of my companions is gone! And soon it will be two! Sister Wardinsky leaves tomorrow for temple square! AND YOU LOCALS ALL BETTER GO VISIT HER!!!!! SHE'S THE BEST!!!
On Sunday Tony came to church so that was fantastic! One of the YSA gave a talk because he's leaving on his mission to go to the Phillipines!! So cool, he reports tomorrow!! So exciting!! But besides that, appointments fell through. But that's okay! We will help them find the gospel eventually!!
Then Monday! BEST LAST DAY EVER FOR SISTER CHAN! We had zone meeting which was all about having that missionary fire! Being master planners, finders and teachers.
Zone Meeting
And we have these things called S.T.E.P.P. talks where you write a talk on a certain subject and then you'll possibly get picked on to give it at transfer meeting or zone meetings and guess who got picked on? Me. Of course. It was good for me. I always love bearing my testimonies about gospel subjects. This one was on how to be master planners, finders and teachers. Good times.
Then Sister Chan and I got to work! We were able to add an investigator on her last night!!!!!!!! We went to our dinner appointment and we were teaching a lesson on the Book of Mormon when all of a sudden a girl walks out of nowhere. She starts to listen to our lesson then asks for a Book of Mormon!!!!! Soooo cool!! So background on her, her name is Raj, she is a former investigator and while she was investigating she became friends with this family, and now she is renting a room from them. Not sure why she stopped but she's starting again! I'm so pumped!!!!!!! Then we had family home evening where Devin Dahlburg, an awesome member missionary, brought a nonmember! We talked to him and he didn't seem too interested but we had to run to an appointment that sadly fell through, but Devin gave him a church tour and gave him a Book of Mormon and set a return appointment for us! Coolest thing ever! Devin said he is really open and really searching for answers! I'm ready! Bring it on this week! Once I get my new companion it's just going to be go go go!!!!!!!! :)
I love the mission, I love this life and I never want to leave! Always missionary focused! That's how it's gonna be! :)
I love you all! Can't wait to tell you who my new companion will be!!!!! I LOVE YOU ALL SOOOO MUCH!!!! :) :) :) :)
Sister Whitcomb

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Church is so awesome people!

!!!!!MI FAMILIA!!!!!
First off, HAPPY DAY LATE BIRTHDAY DADDDDDD!!! AND HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!!!! I love you both so much, I hope you got my letters. It doesn't even begin to describe how much I love you!!!! Are you all just loving the fall winter? I hope so! I always enjoy when a cold breeze comes up, and it's now sweater weather! (Sort of, as much as it can get in San Diego).

ANYWAYS, can I just start off with how amazing missionary work is? So do you remember Rodney? The one we had a specific prayer for and we awesomely street contacted him?? Well we had a return appointment a week ago, right after PDay. We had it in our Branch Mission Leaders home since he lives right down the street. Spirit was strong, he had a lot of questions and he said an awesome prayer at the end. And guess what..... HE COMMITTED TO BAPTISM FOR NOVEMBER 28th!!!!!!!!!!!! He is so prepared. I'm so excited! But he didn't come to church this past Sunday....... Church is so awesome people! You're denying yourself so many blessings if you don't go!!!!! But we are meeting with him again tonight to see if we can help with anything and see what his concerns are. I'M PUMPED!
Another cool specific prayer that was answered during nightly planning: after the prayer I felt impressed to go to a less active's house. So we did. We set up a return appointment and Sister Chan had said that she didn't think he was interested. In the past he avoided the missionaries. But we went back and taught him and he told us that he was reading in the scriptures and it just stuck out to him that he should come to church. And then we showed up on his doorstep and then he really knew. But guess what--after our beast lesson he didn't come to church. But he will, I have faith. He's a good guy.
Then we taught Caleb, he's such a nice guy. So close to baptism, not quite there. We are going to the temple with him this week, so hopefully that will help him become motivated to work for this wonderful gospel!!!!!!
Then the classic English class; I love that class! We split up into little groups again and I had two of the same ladies from last time and an older man. We had so much fun! I truly love them. This time we were teaching them words that we use in association with the scriptures. So The Book of Mormon was there and we learned some dialogue having to do with reading the account of Christ coming to the Americas. They nailed it! And at the end the guy in my group said, "Miracle Day!" It was so cute, I love cheering them on. (Which I literally do after they say something right; it's the best! :))
We have been doing a lot of street contacting recently, it's so fun to be bold to people, but of course in a loving way. :)
So, as missionaries you can't back up the car without your companion getting out and "backing you." Mission rules. So as she was doing so she started talking to this guy and started talking about Jesus Christ and he just shouts out "I LOVE JESUS!" I always enjoy a good laugh and meeting a fellow who loves Christ as much as I do. But then he goes on to say, "oh wait, but not the Mormon Jesus."  Wait, what?
Oh how I love people!
SATURDAY! Halloween! And being Halloween we had to be in by 6:00, and I loved it! But funny story--Sister Chan and I did not have ANY candy, so therefore we could not give any away to trick or treaters. So as not to trick the little kids we shut off all our lights, outside and inside. Except one inside so we could plan. We were even whispering as we planned and then all of a sudden BANG BANG BANG. "TRICK OR TREAT!"
It sounded like an army of kids out there. Sister Chan mouthed to me "Don't move."
I felt so bad; lesson learned: be prepared with candy next Halloween. We never got any more trick or treaters but for the rest of the night we were like ninjas trying to avoid those little kids. We laughed, silently, a lot! I love Sister Chan! Speaking of Sister Chan, this is my last week with her! :(
She's going back to Hong Kong. I'm going to miss her so much. It won't be the same without my Asian companion!

The Sabbath is always a good day. Especially when it is Fast Sunday! This Sunday the whole branch was fasting for missionary work. And since church starts at 1:00pm we always do what we call Search and Rescue before church, to unite people who we haven't seen in a while to come to church and join us for our break the fast after church! Sister Chan and I went on splits and I went with a recent convert of one year; her name is Jessica. Sweetest thing. We stopped by this house and we had no idea who he was. But we were so lucky we stopped. His Grandma was there and she told us his whole situation. Jessica connected right away and was just so Christlike. I know we will see that guy in the branch soon. Jessica will work miracles; I just know it.
During Sacrament meeting the counselor who started with his testimony encouraged everyone to go up and just say what they believe. And literally the branch is so so small that everyone could bear their testimony. So Sister Chan went up there, it being her last fast Sunday. And then she pushed me to go up. So I did. And I'm glad I did. I love this branch so much, and I wanted them to know how much I love my Savior and how I know they are all there for a reason. (Shout out to Cherstin Parsons for helping me figure that out!) :)
It was awesome.
And we had crepes for break the fast! SO GOOD!!
Monday. So first off President had us set goals for how many baptisms we want by Christmas. We've been talking about faith a lot recently too. So Sister Chan and I prayed for our goal and we both got five. Five baptisms before Christmas. It will happen. I can see the people being prepared already. Then President Schmitt asked us to set a goal of 10 new investigators this week. When I heard that it just felt right. We've been so close to adding people this week, but have so many new potential investigators! It's awesome! Sunday night we had an appointment and we needed a female so we brought a recently returned missionary. Her name is Arianna. She just came back from Mexico! She is so cool!! Unfortunately the appointment fell through BUT she had set up a time with a less active to see and so we went with her. She also didn't end up being there, but her roommate was. He invited us in and we started teaching him the Restoration. Apparently we had met him before. He was there at my first night in the transfer, at a YSA activity. He is prepared. It took him a while to accept the Book of Mormon, but the spirit was too strong for him not to take it. When he finally took it, he said his heart was racing. Things look good for him. He would not set up a return appointment but when we left he said we could come back anytime. Okay--we will! ;)
On Monday we had jus planned to see a lot of YSA whose records had just been moved into the branch. We didn't see any of them and most of them had moved again or their addresses were nonexistent. Along the way we met two solid potential investigators! We tried to add them right there but it didn't quite work out. We gave them both a copy of The Book of Mormon and one of them even has relatives who are members of the church. No such thing as coincidences! And I know we will be able to go back and add them as new investigators this week! MISSIONARY WORK IS THE BEST! I hope you all get to experience it someday. I'm the happiest I've ever been, and I love you all! Remember to always smile and know that I'm cheering for you!
Sister Whitcomb
P.S. We are going to the temple today! I'M SO PUMPED I LOVE THE TEMPLE!!!!
:) :) :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Not gonna lie. I was like, "really?"

Isn't life just awesome? God is soo good and I love him! This week has been super fun, full of laughter, the spirit, miracles, and people I have grown to love! YSA IS FUNNNNN!!!!! I love the branch I serve in, I love my companion. The weather is cooling down which I am sooo grateful for! I miss Fall but I love San Diego, wouldn't want to be anywhere else!
So to start off the week we went on exchanges with our Sister Training leaders.... SISTER STEWART IS ONE OF MY SISTER TRAINING LEADERS!

It's so fun to see her, I miss her and she is killing it in Poway! And her companion is SISTER STARR!!! SISTER CARLSON'S TRAINER!!! I got to go on exchanges with Sister Starr, she's the coolest! I love her and she kept me laughing!
She would always say "oopsy poopsy" and it cracked me up!!! We had several appointments. Two of them fell through, but two of them didn't! Yay! So for the longest time I've never quoted the first vision in a lesson. At the beginning of my mission I didn't fully know it, and then we just used the Joseph Smith video. I did memorize it in my second transfer but never got the chance to say it in a lesson. Well that happened on Wednesday. We were teaching a new member lesson for a recent convert who moved from Vegas. And man, when I said Joseph Smith's words of his experience, INSTANT spirit. You should try it some time--of course in the right atmosphere---but they are POWERFUL!!! I got to use it again in a lesson yesterday. I LOVE SAYING IT!!! Because I love feeling the spirit. :)
So exchanges were fun, just trying random people, Sister Starr giving me killer advice since she works in a YSA too. I now fully embrace the YSA life, only as a missionary though, I appreciate the lessons the Lord is allowing me to learn.
Thursday was interesting, full of weekly planning and surprise lessons. And what I mean by that is a former investigator generally calls us frequently asking for rides, to which it's hard to provide because it's very often and our poor branch has jobs and school. So we do the best we can. We can always get him a ride to church though! ;) Anyway, he called us and it started to turn into a doctrinal discussion. He brought up points that weren't necessarily important, he was just trying to argue. But you know what shut it down? Testimony. My testimony. They are so powerful, no one can deny it and they always bring the spirit. We then taught a lesson with him that night, talking about baptism.
We also did the PQ service again with the fancy farmers hats. Didn't get a picture. I will someday! They are legit hats.
And throughout the day it can be easy to get bored, so Sister Chan is good at finding ways to entertain us. One is to ask a question and have the Book of Mormon answer it. We ask the question, then the person flips to a random page, says left or right, then the person who asks the questions picks left or right, for left or right page. Then they pick L or R again for the column. Then the person with the scriptures looks at the verses in the column, says what the verses are and the person picks a verse. Sounds complicated but I promise it's not. It brings quite a few laughs and some good insights from our loving Heavenly Father. :)
Recently someone from the missionary department came and instructed our zone and district leaders and the sister training leaders. The other missionaries who did not attend then got the counsel during district meeting. Man, it was good counsel! All I can really sum it up in is specific prayers lead to specific answers from our Heavenly Father. Of course all according to His will and not any greedy or selfish prayers. But for example some missionaries were challenged to do this, specifically finding investigators. They prayed that they would find a family of five with a car and a job. And guess what, they did that day. So cool! But anything is possible through our faith and the Lord's power.
So on Saturday right after district meeting, Sister Chan and I tried it out. We had no scheduled appointments. So we said a prayer, asking where He wants us to go to find a YSA. Sister Chan got an impression to go to our branch mission leader's street. So we did. We started walking, talked to a family, not interested. Then right after there was a guy walking. We stopped him, started talking. And like one minute into our discussion he said "This is exactly what I needed." I WAS LIKE OH MY GOSH THIS WORKS!!!!"
Specific prayers people: we now have a lesson with him tonight. I'm SUPER PUMPED!!!!!!!!! I can't wait! Also Sister Chan got another impression, on Sunday to go to our branch mission leader's house again, specifically at 7:30 and we went, on time (can't be late for the Lord). We were walking around, nothing. We decided to stop and say a prayer, asking for guidance. I got the impression to turn around. I did, and saw a big (looked empty) house. And then Sister Chan told me she thought of some numbers, 8,1,1,4. And the house I was looking at was #11824. I just instantly thought "Okay, there is no way we are not knocking on this door!" So off we went! Knocked, no answer, so we decided to use members! Super key in missionary work. We walked over to our branch leader's house and told him our experience. We must have sounded crazy but we asked who lived there. He said it was an old lady with a son. Okay. We encouraged him to share the gospel with them. He said he would see what he could do. Then Sister Chan felt prompted to leave a note, explaining that we felt prompted to stop by, and if they needed any help to call us.
Now fast forward to the next day, Sister Chan got another impression to go over there, at 4:30.
Not gonna lie. I was like, "really?"
The same street, three days in a row?
But okay, off we went. Now as I type this out it makes me feel like Laman and Lemuel going to get the brass plates. Thank goodness repentance is possible! Anyway, we go over there, nothing. We say a prayer again. All of a sudden I look at the house we left a note at and someone is watering their bushes. We walked over to a Philippine old lady. Super sweet. We talked to her but we don't think she understood what we were saying. She just kept saying "In the Philippines I have an Aunt. She's an old maid, and when you go over her house you can't sit down, you go to church." She said the same thing like five times or more! I was like Okay, we will send over the Tagalog elders. Wonder why the Lord wanted us there. Hopefully someday I'll figure it out.
Also, benefit of being a missionary, you get free frozen yogurt if you go to Golden Spoon! (Owned by a member.) You just walk in, flash the badge, no question. ;) God is good.
Sister Chan has taught me to never go to a meeting without a question you can receive revelation for. So this week to Sacrament Meeting I brought "How has the atonement affected me everyday of my life?"
It has stumped me for a while. I was just looking for such a specific answer with each of my experiences of life. But then during sacrament meeting it hit me: Jesus Christ's atonement makes me who I am! I'm happy all the time because of the atonement. Truly. I don't think I'll be able to explain it more than that. But it was a great sacrament meeting because of that.
We met with Caleb this week. Baptismal date doesn't look like it will hold. That's okay! Never give up!
And we painted pumpkins last night at FHE! Being a missionary, I made a missionary pumpkin! And yes, there were investigators there. ;)
I truly love this mission, I love the people, the members, the missionaries, my mission president and his family and more important, I have such a close relationship with my Savior and Heavenly Father, that alone just makes my mission!
I love you all!
Keep being awesome and sending me stories about YOU!
Pictures are also nice. :)
Sister Whitcomb

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Positive, Persistent and Patient in Penasquitos

Hello Loved Ones!!!!!!!
Boy, things are picking up more in PQ and I feel like I have more things to write about! I'll just say right off the bat that there is probably no way I'll be able to see Elder Schenewark on Halloween if he comes to the San Diego temple.  Major holidays are generally nights we go in early for safety reasons. While he's at the temple I'll either be working or in our apartment. If he's coming to San Diego that's sooooo cool!!!! It's the best place ever!!!!!!!
This past week has been pretty eventful, for which I am eternally grateful.
On Wednesday morning Sister Chan and I were trying to find some referrals, and just talking to people on the street. We literally talk to everyone, no matter how awkward it can be. So this guy was walking by, pretty fast, and we asked if we could share a card with him. His response was "If you can keep up with me." Okay--challenge accepted. So we speed walked up this hill, keeping up with him, all while sharing our testimonies of the gospel and Jesus Christ. We even asked him if he'd ever consider becoming a member of the church. He declined and did not know anyone who could use the message. But it was fun to show our efforts and how much we love this work! I can only imagine what people thought as they were driving by in their cars... "Who are these girls dressed up and speed walking with someone who clearly doesn't want to talk to them?" Yep, that's us!
This week we taught the Chinese class again! It was SOOOO much fun! This time Sister Chan really took over and had us split into groups, the Elders were there as well and each of us took three or four Chinese adults and helped them learn to pronounce English words.
It was so fun! I got to help three sweet old ladies. Some are sooo good at speaking English, others not so much. It was so much fun to work with them. They kept saying thank you to me, over and over again. These people are heaven sent. I feel so lucky to be able to help them! Can't wait for next week!
That same day I taught a lesson I thought I would never teach--the importance of dating and marriage. Sister Chan said she has taught quite a few of those lessons since being in PQ. Oh boy! It went well, and definitely was directed by the spirit. We've also taught quite a few family history lessons... like really getting into it, especially with less actives and recent converts. Every lesson we finished you could see a light in their eyes and a desire to know more about their relatives. I even got excited! SO DO FAMILY HISTORY, YOUR RELATIVES ARE AWESSSOOOMMEEEEE!!! And watch the video "Family History: What I Found." It's legit.
This past Friday we also had interviews with our mission president, President Schmitt. He's an inspired man and left me with so many thoughts and so many new ways to help myself, my companion and this small YSA branch. The lessons I got out of my interview were:
Be positive.
Be persistent.
Be patient.
These are three things I struggle with, but I am definitely improving! I for sure needed that interview with him. It helped me so much and I will forever be grateful to him for it. Also to Sister Schmitt, who I can actually hug and I love doing that! She sat down with Sister Chan and I and we went over who we are teaching, what they are struggling with, and she gave us different ideas on how to help them progress towards baptism. She's a genius! I know now to see if any YSA members are dating non members, to teach the Restoration right away, The restoration is a powerful lesson, I suggest everyone request the missionaries to teach it to them, especially if you haven't heard it in a while. Have them over for dinner. Then ask them to teach that specifically! We need to make sure we aren't being selfish and keeping this glorious message to ourselves. SHARE IT WITH THE WORLD! But of course follow the spirit, but act as well. Take a step in the dark, a leap of faith. I do it everyday and it's the best thing EVER!
In my interview President Schmitt also emphasized how this work can not go on without the members. It can't. Especially YSA. So I brought it up at branch council. We'll see what happens. Sometimes when I say things I'm like "Did I really just say that? Why was I so bold?"
I know the answer. The spirit told me to say it so I said it. So don't resist the spirit, act upon it.
Also we taught a really powerful dinner lesson with some members. It was about The Book of Mormon. We had them go around the table and bear their testimonies of The Book of Mormon. So powerful. Then we watched a video I'm pretty sure I've referenced before in my letters, "Testimony of The Book of Mormon."  So good. Then we said a prayer and asked who could use this book. They got a name--a less active girl who is in a family ward, but is supposed to be in the YSA branch. We will find her and rescue her! I'm so excited!!!!!!
Also we again experienced the importance of talking to everyone. We were trying to find a less active late at night; to invite him to various activities and trying to meet with him. No luck. The complex was gated. But we were walking by the parking lot and saw a woman with a baby and some groceries. We walked over and asked her if she needed any help. She then asked us if we were Sisters. It turns out she is a member! And she gave us the code to get into the apartment complex! And she told us she's doing missionary work with her neighbor! So we told the elders, since that's their area. SO COOL! Gated communities are truly never gated. You just have to wait around enough to let the Lord help you.
Last Saturday some Elders in the zone had a baptism so we decided to bring Caleb to show him what it is like. After the baptism we were asking how he was feeling. He then proceeded to tell us that he had a dream that President Monson baptized him! Alright!!!! Sweet!!! So after the baptism we had a lesson with him and set him with a baptismal date. Legit. On my mommy's birthday, November 7th! Hopefully it will happen. I know through Christ anything is possible.
On Friday we had a moment while exercising. We were walking through a park next to our apartment which is next to a college campus. We turned the corner and all of a sudden we saw this big guy laying on the sidewalk. I thought he was not alive. Scared me. But then all of a sudden we see his big belly moving up and down and then we heard the snoring. Nice. As we passed by he reeked of alcohol. Oh college.
And since it appears we love to run after people, on Saturday we were in another complex trying to contact potential investigators. No luck. All of a sudden Sister Chan spots a young woman dragging a big hamper of laundry. We ran over to help her, and then end of the story is that we ended up teaching her and adding her as an investigator! We learned that when you show the Lord you're willing to run to people, he will prepare them to hear the gospel!!! It's awesome!!!
We had a Relief Society get together that same night. We were asked to teach a small spiritual thought. We killed it! We talked about the blessings we have through prophets and service. We showed them the video "Have I Done Any Good in the World Today." The spirit was so strong, and after the video our Relief Society President interrupted us to tell us that she had asked her less active brother's girlfriend to listen to the missionary lessons. SHE SAID YES!!!!!!!! I'm sooo pumped! And I'm so glad she told us in front of everyone, so everyone can see how easy it is and how much joy it can bring! I sure showed them it brought ME joy because I got SO excited!
Now the Sabbath Day: a day I love and a day I always desperately need. At the start of sacrament meeting there were literally only five people in the congregation, including us. Of course some people still came in late but I think we only had 20 total people in sacrament meeting. So sad! Especially since the talks were KILLER! One from a high councilman and the other from the Stake Young Men's President, and even the stake president was there! I sure hope to leave this branch a better place than I found it! But it definitely requires more than just me to help. We also taught the Relief Society Lesson. It was entitled "Feed My Sheep." Really fitting. We showed the video "Reach Out With Love." So good, you should all see it and then do what it shows! The lesson was so good. Everyone participated. The spirit rocks! Then that same night we got to attend the Mission President's fireside in EL CAJON!!! Oh my goodness, on the ride over I got SO excited as I started to see familiar land marks from my old area. Sister Carlson and I auditioned last week to perform a musical number there, the same one we did in the MTC, "Come Thou Font of Every Blessing." Sister Carlson KILLED it. She was even the last one to perform she was so good! It was fun to see the other missionaries I served with including SISTER WARDINSKY!!!!!!!!! It was so good to see her and get updates on my previous investigators! LOVE HER! Also I got to see members that I love from my previous area! Sister Krage, Sister Hixson, The Seileys, the Goodriches and Ivars Bezdechi. It was awesome! Spirit is always so strong and I love singing in a missionary choir!The best!!!!
Then yesterday a cool thing happened at 8:55 pm. Five minutes before curfew, we didn't want to waste those five minutes so we decided to walk around our complex. We saw this YSA guy sitting on a bench typing on his phone and listening to music. We went up and talked to him. And boy, were we meant to. He told us about his whole life story! Very sad. But awesome that we got to share this wonderful gospel with him! I truly felt at that moment that Christ knew EXACTLY what he was going through at that moment. We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon and Sister Chan was AWESOME and invited him to be baptized. He was clearly shocked by how bold she was, but he said he would eventually. LEGIT! God's preparing everyone. We just don't know who, so we have to talk to everyone! Give them all a chance! Ten chances if they need it!
I love you all. I know this letter is so long but so many things are happening and it's SO AWESOME! Never forget that I love each and every one of you. I root for you everyday! Keep being the best people EVER!
Much love,
Sister Whitcomb

P.S. Another of the many reasons I LOVE Sister Chan: She cooks for me!!
And I eat.