March 24, 2014 Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California  (Norwalk and Santa Fe Springs, CA)               March 24, 2014

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Family and Friends!

I made it to the California Los Angeles mission! It is absolutely gorgeous here. I seriously cannot believe how nice it is; also I have not seen so many exotic plants in my life! Everyone’s lawn looks like a manicured Amazon jungle! I made it safe and sound on Monday and they put us right to work. I am officially serving in the Downey 3rd area which includes most of the city of Norwalk and part of Santa Fe Springs. We are on the far east edge of my mission.

My trainer/companion is Sister Matheson from Texas who…. is a visa waiter to Brazil too!!!! This never happens, but it is such a blessing to be around someone who can practice Portuguese with me. I admit that I am not practicing as much as I know I can, but I am practicing infinitely more than I would have on my own. She is wonderful; when we first met we were so excited to be together. I asked her how long she has been here and she told me I didn’t want to know! lol, she has been waiting 7 months for her visa!!!! Every time we get a call from the mission office she gives me this petrified look…it took me 3 or 4 calls to realize that that look of very serious anticipation is her waiting to hear if there is any news about our visas (which there hasn’t been yet). It’s kind of like getting a call and expecting to win the lottery… or picture Packers at the super bowl, tied game, with minutes left in the last quarter… that’s kind of how we feel when we get mission calls…except the Packers never win. Did that make sense?

Mission life is wonderful! Miracles are everywhere and I am so blessed to be here! In my first in the field I can say I’ve just about experienced everything there is for a missionary to go through! I’ve been chased by a dog, had some very psychedelic religious discussions, been rejected, been welcomed in etc. I did have a pretty neat experience my first day. We were out contacting and one of the first people we met we started to chat with and he agreed to take our number and call us back. We were skeptical, then 10 minutes later he called and told us to come teach him! We taught him, offered a baptismal date and he accepted! My very first lesson! We are still working with him, and there are some family concerns we are sorting through, but it was a tender mercy to me to know that I am representing Heavenly Father and He wants me to know I can be bold. The mission is shaping me so drastically already. I love it and love you all! Tudo Bem!!!!!

Com Amor,

Sister Dean

 

New Address:

Sister Whitney Dean

1591 E Temple Way

Los Angeles, CA

90024

 

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March 11, 2014 MTC Provo, Utah

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Why Hellloooooo Family and Friends!

Guess what I got this week??? My reassignment!!!!! I am so excited ( of course getting a visa is pretty darn exciting too but I’m settling)… Soooo I hope that ellipses was enough time for you to solidify your guesses! I’ll give you a hint…its somewhere west… somewhere coastal, somewhere with lots of movie stars… California Los Angeles!!!!! I will be serving in areas such as: Beverly Hills, Malibu, Bel Air, Hollywood, Santa Monica etc. Talk about visa compensation!!! If anyone has any requests, I’m making a list of movie stars to baptize! We have our reassignment, but we don’t know exactly when we leave, I have my suspicions that we will be leaving at 4 in the morning on Monday the 17th. I may be  completely wrong, but I will get my travel documents by the end of this week and shoot you a quick email detailing what my travel plans are! Try to be awake and alert then because I can call you from the airport and say hi if you answer!!! You might be in class, but this is important too haha.
I also have more exciting news concerning Brazil visa waiters! Apparently there are so many Brazil waiters in the US that the church travel office is giving the elders and sisters who have been waiting the longest a temporary visa (about 2 weeks) to fly down to the Brazil MTC to hardcore review the language! It is super crazy and kind of confusing, but there have been elders and sisters waiting MONTHS and they get the opportunity to fly down to Brazil for a short time to review Portuguese! We’ll see if I’m out long enough in L.A. to need a temporary visa.
In other not as exciting news, I got my last shot this week and am all prepped to go foreign. I also got a hair cut at the MTC barber shop! I have to admit that I was scared to get a free hair cut here (I wasn’t so sure how it would turn out) but it is great! Nothing drastic, just a couple inches and redefining things, I’m really relieved!
I forgot to tell you last week, but I am the Sister Training Leader over the zone and it has been an AWESOME experience. I am in charge of training new sisters that come into our zone and this last week I had a really neat experience. There were 3 districts in my zone, one of which were missionaries who were headed to Cape Verde in Africa. They were really awesome, but they left this last week and we miss them! Also, every Wednesday some elders and sisters are chosen to welcome the new missionaries to the MTC. I hosted a few sisters, but the last sister that I hosted, we started talking, and I found out that she was the one missionary coming into the MTC who was headed to Cape Verde! I got really excited and brought her to meet the district in my zone who were leaving and they talked forever. Then I realized that she was one of the four sisters that I was training that night! It sounds silly, but it was an awesome coincidence and I was so grateful I was able to ease her fears and introduce her to a bunch of missionaries going to her mission   before they left and she felt alone!
 In other news, my time at the MTC is coming to a close! I am so grateful that we don’t have to try and learn more Portuguese grammar rules this week! Just LOTS of review. We even had the opportunity to Skype with real Brasileiros last friday! We talked to this adorable couple who just got their mission call to Mozambique. They talk very fast, but they were wonderful! The wife was talking to us and we figured out that she was trying to ask us if we knew any African music. We shook our heads no and told her we didn’t and she kept saying “yes you do!” we were so confused, then she broke out into the opening of the Lion King theme song lololol “WAAAAAAAA SAVENYAAAAA” We all laughed so hard. She told us that as soon as she and her husband walked off the plane in Mozambique she is going to sing that at the top of her lungs 🙂
The last update I have is kind of a funny one too. Our zone is very small since the last district left we’ve shrunk even more. The bishopric wants our zone to have musical numbers every sunday during sacrament though… so guess who has done one every Sunday? haha. Yup. It’s kind of silly, but a wonderful opportunity. I sing to my companions, 6 elders and the mission presidency and their wives. I’m kind of glad I’m not very good at playing the piano.
Sorry if this letter seems really scatter brained, I am multitasking and running out of computer time! I’d love to leave you a message though! This week and very recently I have been thinking about all of the callings we have in our lives. We are called to be and to do so many things in this life. Do you realize that in our deepest and most important calls, we are called of God? We are called as sisters, daughters, mothers, fathers, students, teachers, primary teachers, relief society presidents, visiting teachers etc. This is intimidating and overwhelming, I know! But I have the epiphany this week that God does not set us up for failure. We are his children and he will ALWAYS provide a way for our ends to be met. Sometimes not in the ways we expect or want, but I testify that He knows what He is doing. I love Him and I know that I am called as a missionary and although it is hard at times, I can only succeed when I turn it over to Him.  I love you all and can’t wait to write you from Cali!
-Love Sister Dean
ps. make sure to take note of my new address! I love getting letters and would cry if letters were sent to the MTC and I was not there! I don’t have my new address but I will share as soon as i get it!

March 4, 2014 MTC Provo, Utah

Dear Family and Friends,Image

Bom dia!  I am starting my 5th week here at the MTC and I am learning so much! Tomorrow marks my one month… it’s crazy to think I’m 1/18 of the way done!  My mission is seriously going to fly by so incredibly fast.  I have news about my reassignment!  My companions and I will be reassigned this next week if our visas do not come through. There have been so many rumors floating around about visas and the Brazilian government.  I’m just hanging on tight and I know whatever happens is where the Lord needs me.  I do have to admit though that I am secretly excited to get a reassignment!  It’s like a second mini-mission call. I hear that California is a big possibility, but there really is no guaranteed way to guess (trust me, I keep trying!)  I will most definitely (hopefully) have my reassignment by next Tuesday and will share it in my next email. Guesses are welcomed 🙂 .

I also have some exciting news about Wisconsin missionaries!  I met a pack of sisters going to serve in Wisconsin and I am sooooooo excited for them and for all of you who get to spend more time with them, their names are:  Sister Elkington, Hunter, Wood, Cosgrove, Osmond, Woods, Oscarson and Matteson!  How’s that for a ton? They are all lovely ladies who are so excited to finally get to the midwest. I told them there is a very high chance at least one of them will make their way to Green Bay 🙂 make sure to say hi from Sister Dean again!

I also have some pretty exciting news that ties into the Wisconsin Sisters. Yesterday I broke the all time female record at the MTC for wall sits! (haha) What a silly thing to claim, but I am very proud of being able to push myself.  One of my companions and I were training to break records ever since we got here; Wall sits for me and pull-ups for her… she can’t do one yet but she is very determined to get three before we leave, and although we think it’s a long shot, we help her work!  So I made a record of 9:07 and the MTC worker who timed me told me all about her family and she has a sister serving currently in WI!  Her name is Sister Blood. How neat is that?  From this week, I have definitely been realizing what a wonderful and occasionally small world it is we live in.

Image I secretly envy the sisters serving stateside a little because they are only at the MTC for 2 weeks. There are benefits to being here 6 weeks though! This past week I was a host missionary to all of the incoming missionaries! We wait by the curb side and as my slightly cynical companion puts it “we are ripping families apart one elder/sister at a time… don’t heed the tears, it’s for the best”.  I was chosen to help with a few of the international sisters which was an amazing experience.  I hosted a Sister Osa from Samoa and thankfully she knew enough English that we were able to communicate without a hitch.  It was very funny hearing her complain about the 65 degree sunny day as cold though! My companions and I are super lucky to have the opportunity to welcome new sisters again tomorrow!  It is really such a wonderful thing seeing families hug and send their son or daughter off into the Lord’s hands.  One of my favorite things is looking the mom and dad in the eye and thanking them for their missionary. Image

Of course there have been many wonderful spiritual experiences since my last letter and I would love to share another quick thought!  Our purpose as missionaries is deep, but summarized, we are to “invite others to come unto Christ”.  I’ve thought about this so much lately and I had a precious epiphany yesterday. Who are these “others” I am inviting?  The more appropriate word would be “All”.  As a missionary, I am not simply bringing the good news of Christ and His gospel to those who don’t know about Him,  I am inviting members of the church and even more importantly I am inviting myself. This gospel is beautiful and it is not stagnant; it is alive!  Being invited to Christ means constantly developing and growing the desire to live a better life; the life He wants me to live. Being invited to Christ is an eternal pursuit of happiness.  My purpose in life this next year and a half is to invite ALL to come to Christ, to invite ALL to grow.  It is not enough to have knowledge, we must act upon our beliefs and change who we are to become better and that journey of growth will never cease. I love the Gospel so much and I am here because I have a sincere desire to share the beautiful message of hope and love with ALL. I love you all so much and am so grateful for the love and support I receive 🙂   HURRAH FOR ISRAEL!

-Love Sister Dean

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