Monday, September 23, 2013

a couple three things

my sweet Marshallese nametag! I don't know how to pronounce any of it, except that Jesus Christ is basically the same, just with a thick accent ;)

Hey familia y amigos! 

Thanks for your emails! It makes me so happy to see how well everyone's doing. You all amaze me :)

I noticed (well, Sis Call noticed, and pointed it out to me) a funny little saying here: "a couple three." Such as, "we only have a couple three minutes left," "a couple three years ago," "I learned a couple three things," etc. What does that even mean?! 2? 3? A couple of threes, so like 6? or 9? Haha it cracks me up! But I love the people here, for the most part they really are the down-to-earth kind of people who quietly serve others. They are great!

Some funny stories from this week...
  1. Last Monday, we got a kick out of what a mess I was! I couldn't decide what to wear that morning and threw on like 3 different outfits before I finally decided on one and ran out the door. I was struggling all morning with my slip because it kept showing underneath and I kept pulling it up but it kept peaking out anyways. When I got home, I realized that I was wearing TWO slips, and I had kept pulling up the short one instead of the long one! Haha I died! At least Grandma had the excuse of dementia when she wore multiple pairs of underclothing! Also in my hurry to leave I ended up with a spoon in my purse, but forgot my grocery list. We all had a good laugh.
  2. Thursday afternoon, Sis Call and I had several hours so we walked a couple miles to Univ. of Dubuque to contact some people over there. We were hot and sweaty, and I was thinking about how beautiful the clear sky was with the white puffy clouds. A couple minutes later, Sis Call comments on this dark cloud coming quickly towards us. So, we decide to head home and grab our raincoats before going to our appointment with a member couple we meet with regularly, just in case. It started sprinkling a little, but wasn't a big deal. Then some bigger raindrops came, but it still wasn't much, and Sis Call commented how "at least it's not like yesterday morning(Wednesday morning was pouring rain, so we got a ride to our service), and we laughed about how there were rivers of water going through the streets that morning. Almost as if on cue, this huge sheet of rain just started coming down, HARD. We were laughing so hard and running/fast walking the rest of the way home through this crazy rainstorm, singing "repent and be baptized" and jumping over the newly formed rivers of water that were now rushing through the streets, again. By the time we were back home, we were literally as wet as if we had jumped into a pool with our clothes on! We were soaked completely through and could wring out our clothes and have tons of water come out. It was so funny. It was also really sweet though because the other sisters texted us to make sure we were OK, the lady we had the appointment with called us to see if we needed a ride to their place, and that night when there was another thunderstorm, the elders called us to make sure we were OK :)
new tan lines and getting completely soaked,
all in the matter of a few hours
Drenched from the rain

On Tuesday we had zone training in Clinton (about 45-60 min away), and the assistants to the president were there. They gave a great training on President Jensen's new counsel to us! They also talked a lot about helping members to become "FFT's" - finders, fellowshippers, testifiers. If we get the members on board with us, we will be able to become like the ward the assistants serve in in Des Moines - they have had over 60 baptisms over the last 12 months, with 93% of them still active! That makes them the #1 baptizing mission in North America! And it's in OUR mission, and is all because the ward is SO engaged in the whole process, from finding to retaining. It was exciting to hear about. It is a little overwhelming because we have a lot to do and still don't really know HOW to do it all, but we are working and praying. 
in Illinois for the first time

boring picture, but it's of
crossing the river!
Tuesday night, Elder and Sister Thomas went with us to a family's house, which is across the river in Illinois! The lady there is a wonderful member who lives with her almost-16-year-old twin daughters in this crazy awesome house in the depths of these beautiful country hills. They have to drive about 45 min to get to church every Sunday and Wednesday! It was so fun to go there though. A girl in the ward who is leaving on her mission soon went with us too, so it was great being there with everyone. The house is made out of a Civil War-era silo and is super original. She served an amazing dinner and we went on a little walk through the woods around her house, so that was really neat :)
Spiral Staircase at the Silo entrance

me in front of the silo house in Illinois
Cow crossing the road...I'm in Illinois!
  view of the River and I think Galena, Illinois

We also had a really good dinner at the Beytien's last night. There were a couple non-members and one less active, and the message we gave was probably the best one we've done so far, especially since we had some good discussion/input from others. There was a really good spirit, and we were happy about that!

We also were able to teach a lady and her family, the ones we helped with their groceries! They are probably one of the most loving families I have ever met. The dad is Puerto Rican and the mom is black, and the two boys are soooo sweet. The 7-year-old said he doesn't like school - he loves it! They are so sweet. So far they don't seem to have a whole lot of desire to change - they say they're happy and they don't feel a need to go to church every week to be good people - but hopefully they will feel the Spirit while they read the Book of Mormon and will want to learn more! They laughed when we extended the baptismal invite - haha that was interesting! - but they said we can come over again next Saturday. He grew up Catholic and she grew up Jehovah's Witness, so it's a good time! But like I said, they are soooo nice. One thing I am trying to figure out is a good balance in my teaching - I feel like either we have a really well-planned lesson that is well-organized and everything but that doesn't do a great job at teaching to the individual needs and circumstances and following the Spirit and everything, or we have a lesson where we really try to follow the Spirit and listen to the individuals, but our lesson is all over the place and doesn't seem to make a lot of sense! It's frustrating. But I hope that this doesn't cause us to keep losing people. Like, one lady who hasn't called us back when she says she will, and we were so excited to teach her again. I get scared that we're never going to be able to teach anyone more than once! If we even get to teach them at all :P 

I got a really nice email from Pres Jensen this week, though! Here it is:  
Thank you for your letters. It was wonderful to see you at the Mission Tour Zone Conference. I am so pleased you learned so much and are using the principles in your teaching. I just know that Father in Heaven loves you. You have dedicated your life to being in his service as a full-time missionary. You are studying hard and you love your companion. He is training you and guiding you through the Spirit of the Holy Ghost. I know you don't think everything is going as well as it possibly could or that you are doing enough. But, please be patient. Father in Heaven is crafting you and shaping you to be a tremendously powerful missionary. This takes some time to polish you. I know he has wonderful people prepared for you to teach and baptize. I have great faith in you. Sister Jensen and I love you.
Why is he so awesome?! He is so good at just loving us.

Oh another thing: I'm kinda sick :( I woke up in the middle of the night two nights ago with a super sore throat, and then yesterday I was congested all day. So it's just a head cold, but I hope it goes away soon and doesn't go to my lungs AGAIN! I can't believe how much I've been getting sick - I didn't get sick once from the beginning of my sophomore year all through my junior year, even though those were crazy stressful years, and since then I got sick when I got home from school, when I was in the MTC, and now again. But I will get better soon :)

The other day Sis Call and I helped a sister in the ward make this delicious tomato soup, and then yesterday we took it and a loaf of homemade bread to her neighbor with her! She is an 83-year-old lady who was really nice and talked a lot. She was open to us coming by and seeing her again, so we'll try to do that and see if we can give little messages here and there and she how receptive she is to that. She has a Virgin Mary on her front lawn :). We had some soup and bread to take home for ourselves as well! It is delicious. It is a white sauce-based soup with fresh homegrown chunks of tomato in it, so it's not super tomato-y like out of a can. Sis Call and I also got to help on Saturday with the family history conference. We met lots of nice people and learned more about family history, which was good!

you know you're Mormon when you walk home carrying
homemade bread and tomato soup!

I love this gospel and I know that great blessings and joy come from sharing it! Thanks for your wonderful examples. I am so grateful for prayer and to know that Heavenly Father hears me and cares about little me and my concerns! I'm grateful to know that this Church isn't led by just anyone - it's led by God Himself! So we can't go wrong as we follow the counsels of the prophet and the gospel of Jesus Christ! 5 more days until the General Relief Society Mtg and 2 weeks until General Conference (and transfer doctrine!)!

I love you :)
Sister Whipple

PS Sis Beates said last night that Sis Call and I are like her granddaughters! yes! success! Grandma Beates it is! haha :)

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