March 31, 2014 Los Angeles, California

Dear Family and Friends!

I have survived my first earthquake! It was sooo cool! My companion and I were at home sitting down finishing planning and the family in the apartment beneath us was getting a little rowdy and yelling. Then the shaking started and we just looked at each other because we couldn’t figure out how they were shaking our walls; then it hit us that it was an earthquake! It was intense too! things were falling off of our shelves but nothing super major was hurt. It lasted for 10 seconds at least and was a 5.4! I was super excited for a bit then I realized I had no idea what in the world to do haha. Our district leaders called us with earthquake preparedness shortly afterward thank goodness. It is also pretty funny that you see who really loves you! Our Bishop was the first to call and to check up on us, then a recent convert, then one of our investigators! ┬áIt truly was a crazy experience to feel your whole world shake.

In other news, California is as beautiful as ever; I seriously cannot figure out how a city can be so beautiful. The weather is gorgeous and the yards are out of this world. We’ve been to several different members houses and people actually grow coconuts, lemons and lots of oranges (I’ve never seen that before in my life! But it smells heavenly). We visit so many people and we have quite a few investigators. I am so in awe about how people are willing to hear our message and at the same time… I am in awe to how many people will act deeply interested then play the avoiding game :/

I have also finished the Book of Mormon! I set a goal to read all of the works on my mission through a missionary’s lens, and I am so excited to move on to the Doctrine and Covenants. I feel like I’m plowing through it though, I should probably set a goal to read them all in Portuguese as well! It’s a lofty goal but it would be so wonderful I know! I also had the opportunity to teach the Gospel Principles class this last Sunday ( they have the missionaries take turns). I was able to talk about my most favorite gospel topic ever ­čÖé the atonement ­čÖé . I feel like my time as a missionary has taught me how to teach slowly with more power and spirit behind my words, and as I applied that method to my class beautiful things happened. I truly love to teach church classes and the skills that missionary work has given me has made my teaching so much better! I can testify with a greater conviction and I always find that I am teaching myself when I prepare for a lesson. It is so beautiful how everything in the gospel is intertwined and builds up to one beautiful truth. I love this work and am being shaped into something far better than I could have ever planned.

Missionary work is so incredibly demanding, but rewarding. I am SOOOO grateful for all of your letters and support! I am serving with all I have and anxiously awaiting my visa ­čÖé

Love,  Sister Dean

 

Also! spread the word! here is my new address ­čÖé

Sister Whitney Dean

California Los Angeles Mission

1591 East Temple Way

Los Angeles CA 90024-5801

 

MTC Provo, Utah

Image

Dear Family and Friends!

I made it past the first week! I have to admit I was a little shell shocked the first few days, but I am loving the MTC now! We still are working extremely hard, but we have adjusted and are learning to love the work. I have lots of cool stories to share! Guess who I saw this last Sunday? I’ll give you a hint: ┬áhe’s an apostle…his name starts with an ‘H’ and he strikes fear into the hearts of the sinners everywhere! Yup, Elder Holland came to the MTC! He and his son spoke to us during devotional and it was really great. They testified of Joseph Smith and I was in the choir and we were able to sing Praise to the Man for the apostle and his family and I swear we were one step below the Mormon Tabernacle Choir :).

I know I mentioned it before, but I am in a trio and the three of us make up our district lol. We have two teachers, Irmao Lefevere and Irmao Neilson and they both bring so much to our learning. We still teach lessons about every day, and it is crazy how far we have come! We are able to teach lessons without any notes now! I admit, we take a while to think and conjugate and then to speak, but it is so nice to be able to communicate what I want to say, even if it is slow and sometimes difficult. My companions and I have been setting some awesome goals and we are memorizing 10 new words a day (5 verbs and 5 nouns) and 2 phrases. It doesn’t seem like much, but we already have 100 new words memorized and at least 20 phrases! (Memorizing phrases is super useful because you memorize the grammar and sentence structure of that phrase and it is easy to substitute out words and make similar phrases, which makes speaking a WHOLE lot easier).┬áImage

My companions are super fun! Sister Mobley has a very loving, yet matter of fact demeanor and she always references her cats in our lessons (when we have to make sentences etc.) Sister Horn is a very sweet and outgoing individual as well; we are all different, but I am so grateful to have them in my life. We have found our niche and are all able to get along and laugh with one another all the time! I always have Sister Mobley stories, (she gave me permission to share these ­čÖé ) #1) I was talking to an elder and he asked me how I felt about the Vikings, and I was like ‘I’m not a fan, mostly just because of where I grew up and the support I have to have for my team” Sister Mobley chimed in eventually and said “I like the Vikings! They were a very commanding people with good war tactics” lol. “Sister Mobley we meant the football team, not the people.” Another of my favorites was just the other day when we all were home getting ready for bed. We were talking about dehydration and sister Mobley told us that she heard about a woman who was stuck in her car for weeks and survived dehydration by sucking on a button! We told her we just couldn’t believe it and we all laughed. A little while later Sister Horn and I said “Sister┬áDean, found dead in a ditch. She choked on a button, but her body was hydrated” LOL, this may not be so funny to you, but we were all bent over with laughter! After a long day of Portuguese we get very silly at night.

Not only is the language coming along wonderfully, but the spiritual growth I am witnessing is crazy! I know that this year and a half is not in the least bit my time, but it is all His time. I want to be as obedient as I can so I can be privy to His guidance and to be an instrument in His hands for bringing happiness to all of my brothers and sisters. It really is indescribable the things that are happening to me as I turn my cares over to the study and to the work :). One of y companions is having a slightly more difficult time with the language, but we set goals and practice HARD ┬áand pray HARD. We were going into teach our first lesson to a new investigator, Thaigo, and I was worried for her because me and our third companion had been advancing more rapidly and I was afraid she was discouraged. We had been planning for this lesson for quite a time and we said a powerful prayer before we knocked on the door with pleas to let the language come smoothly so we can convey our love and our message to Thiago. We met Thiago and as it was this sister’s turn to speak I looked over ready to help her, but she didn’t need it! She looked him in the eye and delivered her portion of the lesson and the spirit was there and touched me immensely! I know she worked so hard to deliver her part of the lesson, but that was a witness of the aid Heavenly Father gives to His missionaries.

We were also able to go the Temple in Provo! Every P-day we get to attend ­čÖé . I love the temple so much and am so thrilled to have it in my life. I love all of you and cherish all of the family and friends who took the time to go to the temple with me over the past few months!

I love you all so much and pray that you will find missionary opportunities in your daily lives because they are wonderful and make me happy beyond explanation! Keep your letters coming! I cherish them while I can!

Love,

Sister Dean

Image

MTC Provo, Utah

P1000021 (1)
Dear Family and Friends,
┬á ┬á ┬áI made it to the MTC (or CTM as you would say in Portuguese)! ┬áI’m trying to type as fast as I can to get in as many details that I can, but the p-day computers have been typed on so vigorously that the letters are half faded off of the key board and it is really psyching me out and interrupting my WPM.

I got the the MTC Wed. night and I was absolutely loving the orientation and all things missionary. Day 2 was our first lesson day and there we found out that we were expected to plan our first 30 min lesson for an investigator the next day IN PORTUGUESE!!!! I was freaking out at first and it was super stressful, but we’ve been teaching lessons to investigators in Portuguese every day since and I feel sooooo much more at ease! Our investigator’s name is Leandro and he is such an insightful man, it is really cool seeing how the Gospel works on people (even if the investigator is paid to be there, I know we all can feel the Spirit). It’s kind of funny, in our district there were only 4┬ásisters! (Imagine a district all of┬ásisters┬á­čÖé . My first companion was┬áSister┬áTaylor from Florida and she didn’t speak any Portuguese (or Spanish). During our lessons with Leandro he would ask a question that we would understand, but our Portuguese is so limited that we didn’t know how to answer. I’d look to┬áSister┬áTaylor and she just shrugged her shoulders, then I racked my brain to try and use words and hand signals to convey an answer lol. It’s kind of funny, but I’m pretty proud of myself for using my Spanish and little Portuguese skills to create a comprehensible answer.

I had heard so much about the MTC and I can testify to two truths. 1) You are busy busy busy and 2) the food is fantastic. You hear stories of people gaining so much weight at the MTC and it is totally possible!! There are SOOO many different extravagant dishes and it’s all free! The problem is they stick a starving college student with a tray in a Mecca of food with a billion different options and let her loose… there is no end to the possibilities. Don’t worry though, I like to think that I have a handle on it… even though It kills me sometimes to show self restraint and choose between the cheesecake and the super deluxe mouthwatering brownies :).

I love you all so much and know that this is an inspired establishment ­čÖé The work is hard, but it comes with more ease every day; especially as I am learning to identify my blessings and commit this learning to the Lord! This is a beautiful work and I pray earnestly to be a better instrument in my Heavenly Father’s hand!

Todu Bem!! Tchau!

-Sister Whitney Dean