Sunday, December 22, 2013

"Do it again, but better!"

Hey everyone,

So you won't even believe it. I was on a work visit with another elder and his pensionista (the person that cooks for us) had a Bop-It 2. Yeah, that was super crazy. It was probably last on my list of things I thought I would see here in Perú. Well, it was just awesome to remember all those times we played as cousins and I'm looking forward to some more fun times when we're all back together. It was just so funny for me and I hope you all appreciate the awesomeness.

So this week was super weird and crazy and I don't really know what else. I've been trying so hard to be a better missionary. I'm really trying to study for the investigators, I am praying for them so many times a day, and I am just thinking about them all day long. I fasted for a family this week because the two daughters are more than ready, but just kind of hesitant to actually act on their answers. The other daughter and the mom feel good and know it's true. The dad is the real hard one. He's the guy I told you about that lived in Vernal, well I think I told you. He's super cool, but he just doesn't really want to believe and it's hard because we only get to meet with him once a week. It's really going to take a miracle. I guess my prayers were answered because the two daughters finally said they had come up with a date for their baptism and it's some time in January.

That was still kind of hard for me because I was really hoping they could be baptized in December, but that was the will of Elder Wheatley. I'm learning so much more about trusting and accepting and submitting to God's will. I know that He knows best and will give us all EXACTLY what we need.

I was reading about the ''successful missionary'' in Preach My Gospel for like the hundredth time and I feel like I am doing my best. I feel like I am completing with almost every point it says, but I am feeling a little down. Like it says, it's hard when people don't do what's right even when they know it's true, but I'm doing my best not to get too far down that path. I know Heavenly Father has so much prepared and I'm just going to trust in Him and His timing.

We had a lesson with that family yesterday and I cried. I think it was the first time in my mission that I cried in a lesson, but the tears just didn't fit inside me anymore. I'm doing ALL I can and I know Heavenly Father is watching over me. I know He is preparing the way for all of us to return to Him and I am grateful I can be a part of His plan for these people.

So a cool thing that happened was no one could accompany us one day and we needed someone to go visit this girl. We knelt down to pray as we were leaving and I just prayed that someone would be able to accompany us and at that exact moment we got a text. It was this returned missionary in the ward who said he could accompany us. That was absolutely amazing. It turned out that all day we were just walking, but it was still an answer to my prayer and one of the fastest answers I've ever seen. Kind of like ''The Best Two Years'' super cool and still makes me laugh.

Probably the other coolest moment this week was when I had a dream about Sufjan Stevens. I have no idea where it came from, but it was awesome. For those of you who don't know who he is...go look him up. And if you're on a mission, put him on that list of things you have to do after the mission.

We had a really cool service project where we cleaned the beach. It was so dirty and we picked up so much garbage, but of course after we finished it still looked so dirty...welcome to Perú. It was really cool to see so many people show up though and I'm grateful that we can serve all over the world.

I love you all so much and hope you have the best week ever!!!!!!! You are all in my prayers!!!! For those of you in school, enjoy finals and finishing up before Christmas!!! Enjoy the break too, it goes by way too fast!!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love your bestest friend learning and growing in Perú,
Elder Aaron Micah Wheatley
P.S.  I'm so excited to Skype next week. I love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have the best week ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cleaning up the beaches in Lima!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Singing on the Mission

Oh yeah,

So first off, thank you so much Mom, Dad, Mariah, Brianna, Aunt Julie, Aunt Kimber and Aunt Stacy for the package. It is absolutely amazing and I'm excited to open the rest for Christmas. The advent calendar is so awesome.  And thank you Oma for the best cookies in the entire world. I love Special-K Cookies so much.  They bring me such great memories.

So the first night my companion (Elder Herrera) and I sang the hymn and it was really cool. (Note from Dayna:  We sent him an advent "calendar" in his Christmas package with little pouches to open up each day with his companion.  They have a song and a scripture and a little treat to enjoy.)  I've been meaning to write for a while about my companions singing abilities, but this one just took the cake. We sang and then I started writing in my journal and he decided to just sing every song in the hymn book. Well, almost every song. He would just sing a couple of notes and well, he really struggles with the tones, like real bad and I love him for it. He sings so loud and proud and it makes me happy just to know that he loves music. So he starts singing a song and then moves on to the next one after like one line. And he keeps saying ''I know this one'' then he sings for two seconds and says ''I don't know this one''. I was cracking up so bad and we laughed for a while because he did it like 30 times. He was mixing up tunes and just going all over the place and it was so awesome. I sure do love Elder Herrera, he's such a funny guy.

One cool experience this week was when I was on splits again (dangerous I know) and was just walking with the member. I felt like I should talk to this old couple who were just sitting on the park bench. I said hi and kept walking by, but then felt it again and thought, that could be a pretty cool family. I told him we needed to go back and we started talking. The guy asks what state I'm from and I tell him, then he says that he has been to Washington and Oregon and has seen pictures of Salt Lake. That was cool, and then the lady asks us if we're Mormons. Then it all comes out that the guy is a member, but she isn't because she's kind of dark skinned. We talk for a little and then I ask if we can sit down. We say a prayer right there and I open up to Official Declaration 2 (first time in my whole mission using that in a lesson) and try to explain what happened. So the guy is still really offended and says he knows God just reading the Bible. The lady is super duper cool though and accepted a Book of Mormon and we went and talked to her another day too. It's gonna be kind of weird, but that was just so cool how God knew and how I finally listened. One of those too cool to be true moments. Who knows if it will lead to anything, but I followed the Spirit and know the Lord directs His work.

Another cool thing actually happened a week ago where we were in the church waiting for a member to accompany us. He got there and it was all just so perfect because someone started knocking on the gate. We were all confused, but went out and looked. So there was this lady knocking and she asked us for a Book of Mormon. She lives in the hermanas area, but she has a baptismal date and it was so awesome.

Another cool guy we met is super crazy. He asked us like 100 questions in 1 minute. He wants to learn so much and we are just praying that he prays. If he just lets himself feel for a second he'll get his answer and his mind can rest easy. His mind goes like a million miles an hour and reminds me of some other great people I know. He's super cool and I'll let you know how it goes this week.

My favorite quote of the week was ''To clean is good, but to not get dirty is better.'' I saw it in a park here and no one follows it, but it's the thought that counts. It made me laugh and at least some people are trying.

Thanks so much for all your support. Have the Merriest of Christmastimes and enjoy all of the lights. I loved the Christmas Devotional last night.

Have the best week ever!!!!!!!! And know I'm praying for you all!!!!!!!!!

Love your Christmas loving pal in Perú,
Elder Aaron Micah Wheatley

Oma's Special K Cookies -- Yum!

Monday, December 2, 2013

''When the Dog Bites, When the Bee Stings''‏


What a story,

Yeah, so I assume you all just want to hear about the pictures so I'm gonna start there. First off, everything is fine and no, I'm not gonna turn into some kinda werewolf or freaky Peruvian dog, I'm doing great. It's kind of a cool bruise now though.

Alright, so my companion and I were on divisions with two guys preparing for the mission. I was with Alexis who is a cool guy here, that actually lives in Connecticut, pretty crazy. We were walking around the base of a hill trying to get to some less actives who are a part member family. I was super excited because we had just found a super awesome family too. So we're walking and this UGLY looking dog starts barking at us from the stairs on the hill and then runs at us. It's owner called it so I thought it was all good. It was a super mean dog though, it just hated everything. Well Alexis was closer to the dog so I thought I was double safe. I just kept walking like nothing happened because dogs always bark here. They also say that if the dog barks it won't bite so I was all cool. It barks once behind Alexis and then I just hear and feel my pants rip. Definitely not cool! I mean, that was my third time being bit in the mission. The other two just nipped my pants, but this one destroyed my pants!

My leg was good, just a scrape that bled later. Well, the owner was looking at us and then like 30 seconds later decides to come over when I don't move. She asks if I'm alright and I say I'm fine. She apologizes, probably because she is so afraid her dog just bit a gringo. Alright, I don't really know her intentions, but you catch my drift. I decided this could be a cool mission experience so I try to contact her and she just kind of leaves in a hurry apologizing. Well, I tried at least. I was pretty mad I didn't kick the dog at least so I hucked a rock at the next dog that barked. Well, I guess people were looking and maybe it wasn't the best decision to take it out on another dog, but its over and done now. A friend in the mission suggested that I chop up some ají (peppers) and go throw them in the dogs face. I think that's a bit drastic, but I mean, come on man, I didn't do anything to that dog. Oh well, I'm laughing now and it's all good. 

My companion called the offices for me and they said I should be fine because the dog shouldn't have rabies and I'm just on some anti-biotics. Crazy stories from the mission.

This week was super cool about meeting new people. The Lord really blessed us.  I just know He is preparing people all over the world to hear His message. He loves every single one of us.

We had the longest lesson of my mission yesterday. We got this reference from some members and it's a pretty cool family. The daughters are awesome and have gone to church for months now. The parents are really hard to find and are only there on Sundays. The dad is pretty cool too because he lived in Vernal, Utah working on a ranch for like 3 years, but doesn't know any English. Well the parents have listened to the Jehovah's Witnesses before and that was super crazy. Well the lesson just got hard when we said ''God is our loving Heavenly Father''. I think they are starting to understand, the hermana at least seemed to understand pretty good, but it's so hard to undo so many years of teaching and thinking.

More than anything I am just so grateful for ''the plain and simple things'' that we have as members of the Church and for the Book of Mormon. I love that book so much. I finished 3 Nephi and 4 Nephi this week and loved reading the words of the Savior. I'm so excited to finish for Christmas and give this present to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. It's been cool to read in Spanish for the first time and reading it twice in one year is awesome too.

Oh yeah, so the Hermana Lucy is so awesome. She made it to church yesterday with her son Alex who is getting ready to be baptized too. She has so much going on in her life right now, but she's doing all she can to hold on to the peace that she has found. It was so amazing to see her walk in without anyone that brought her.  I love her so much. I just am so grateful to be here in Perú and for these amazing people.

Thanksgiving was good, but just nothing compares. It was cool to eat turkey, but I miss just being absolutely STUFFED after eating with the family. I'm so excited for next year and my stomach is preparing itself already.

I hope you are all enjoying December and the fun weather you are  having. This year has just flown by and I'm excited for all the next one has in store for me.

Thanks for all your love and support. I love you all so much and pray for you all everyday. Thanks for being the best family (friends are family too)!

Love your dog-bitten (finally not fleas) amigo in Perú,
Elder Aaron Micah Wheatley

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Thanksgiving you guys,

I hope you all have tons of fun eating turkey, or whatever may be offered in the case of missionaries. At the request of Elder Jacob Jespersen I think I'll be eating a double helping of rice. Well actually, we were invited by a member to eat with her, so maybe she has some tricks up her sleeves. The elders lived in her house for years so I'm pretty excited.

This week was just wild.  I am so grateful to be here on the mission. Monday we got to play tennis, which was amazing (shout out to Elder Tanner Christensen), and I'm even getting better. I made it over the net a couple of times. I guess my problem all along was that I was playing on a real court. I'm actually not half bad if there aren't any lines and no rules too. It was tons of fun. Then we went and made picarrones at a members house which are like Peruvian donuts and that was awesome. She said I needed to learn so I could feed my family when I get home. Well, the good news is I know now, the bad news is we'll all be super fat.

Oh yeah, embarassing moment of the week. Monday night we were walking to a noche de hogar (family home evening) and this guy says ''how ya doin'?'' and I knew that he didn't learn that in some English class. I asked him where he learned English and then he told me he lived in New York and was here visiting. It was in the hermanas area and they went to visit him and it turns out his wife and kids are members. That was pretty cool (shout out to Elder Jeremy Sherman repping it in New York. The guy lives on Long Island. So, the embarassing part is that he spoke better English than me. Well, his accent was horrible, but he actually could think straight. Maybe it was just his accent that threw me off, but I couldn't put together a coherent sentence. I just opted for Spanish and he kept rocking the English. Well, that's how Elder Wheatley got beat in an English contest by a Peruvian. You guys are all gonna laugh so hard when I get home.

Then I had a great work visit this week where I saw a two year old drinking some beer. His mom didn't even flinch until I said something and then she acted all surprised. Gotta love Perú and everything, but it's getting to a whole new level. That work visit was awesome because I remember something I heard at the beginning of my mission. ''It's never too late to have a happy childhood'', well now I can say ''It's never too late to have a happy mission''. It hasn't been at all like I expected, but I can decide now. Even looking back I can be happy for what happened and I encourage you all to do the same. If you have some scars from the past, look back and change them into happy times. It's not easy, but I know it's possible and it's so amazing to me the power we have in our hearts and our brains to change things.

Another funny story was this old guy that kept calling me ''monka uma'' which means ''pot head'' in quechua. That was just funny to me.  I hope you know I don't do drugs, although he was literally talking about like a cooking pot.

I read a great article this week that was suggested by Sister Aannaliisa Moulton entitled ''That ye 'might not...shrink'''. It's by Elder Bednar and it's amazing. It definitely tugged my heart strings and I am learning so much that Heavenly Father's will is so much more important to accept than our own ideas. He really does know what is best.

The highlight of the week was definitely the baptism of Hermana ________ this week. It was one of the most special for me. I was kind of doubting if she was ready for the baptism and I couldn't shake it all day. I don't know why I'm so reserved, but I just want people to be ready so they will stay strong. Well the thoughts kept coming all day long, but I knew she was ready. The Spirit kept testifying to my heart that she was ready. Then I would pray and feel good, but the thoughts would come back. Pretty much I was getting ''cold feet'' for someone elses baptism. Well, I prayed and asked Heavenly Father to stop things if they weren't right, but I was going to continue forward because I felt she was ready. I was able to baptize her and it was so special, she said she felt like she was flying with the birds. Well, I was changing and then it came to me that I hadn't had a single thought contrary to her getting baptized. A warm feeling came over me and I knew we had done what was right. I don't know why those thoughts kept coming, but I told Satan to get lost. He doesn't get any room in my brain.  I'm so grateful for that lesson I learned. If any of you are getting ''cold feet'' about doing a gospel ordinance or making another decision (it used to happen when I went to the temple), just tell Satan to get lost. Listen to the Spirit and it all works out. Remember that the Spirit speaks to our mind AND heart. That's what I was reminded of this week.

Oh yeah, flea situation. I'm doing pretty good, but one attacked me while I was sitting in the church yesterday. There's no safe place for Elder Wheatley and his sweet blood.

Once again, Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!! Please tell everyone hi and how much I love them. Just give them all hugs and kisses. Have the best week ever and know I'm praying for and thinking about all of you.
This year I'm grateful for my family that can be together forever, for my mission that has changed my life, for my Savior, Jesus Christ, and for the chance we have each day to come closer to Him. I'm so grateful for the Book of Mormon and for a living prophet. I'm so grateful for each and every one of you and am looking forward to many more Thanksgivings to come that we can all spend together.

I love you all so much and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Les amo mas que palabras,
Elder Aaron Micah Wheatley