Monday, January 27, 2014

when my left nostril starts twitching...'s because we have five investigators at church and the topic in both Sacrament Meeting and Relief Society is tithing and welfare and we haven't taught a SINGLE investigator there about tithing and I am STRESSED out of my mind! hahaha church is the best and most stressful thing ever.

Hey family/friends!

So yes, this was a really great week! Lots of miracles, big and little. I really do feel so blessed to be able to see and be a part of miracles just about every day. I'll start out by telling you about yesterday, seeing how I kind of started that already haha. We had five - FIVE - investigators at church! I couldn't believe it. Shoot, when I was in Dubuque we didn't get a single one there for 3 months! And we lived 10 minutes from the church! And then...they talked about tithing. And welfare. alllll church long (almost). Sister Etherington and I were going crazy, we were stressed out of our minds haha! My perspective on church has forever changed since being a missionary! 

My favorite part of church was during second hour, when our recently baptized man was set apart as a ward missionary. Seriously, every time he is given a blessing, it's like the most powerful thing! I can't wait to see where life takes him.

After church, we had a baptism! She is the cute 8-year-old we've been teaching, whose parents are inactive but who comes with her aunt and uncle. So, not technically a convert baptism, but Bishop Bair asked us to teach her as if she were a convert. So that was really fun :) So many miracles there too! Her parents came to ALL of church, not just her baptism, which is a really big deal, and it was sooo sweet to see them all there. Her aunt gave the talk on the Holy Ghost. That took true courage. She has major anxiety when it comes to public speaking and she basically had a panic attack at the pulpit. I thought she was going to pass out. Her husband went and stood next to her. I wasn't sure if she'd make it...but she insisted on pushing through and she gave a beautiful talk! I was so so proud of her. The girl's dad gave the closing prayer, which is also a big deal. One of our investigators and her two boys stayed for the baptism, which was awesome because there is always a really good spirit at baptisms!

One of our new investigators is about as golden as golden gets. We taught him the word of wisdom and the law of chastity and he makes it so easy - we're like, "Will you live the word of wisdom?" and he's like "well I already am, so that's easy." His grandma and girlfriend have tickets to be here for the 8th! We're praying for his parents to be able to come too because they aren't members and he realllly wants them to be here!

Paula (Name has been changed)! She is a big miracle for the week. We taught her twice when we first got here, but she sort of disappeared. She is Samoan and is the one who once attended the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price institute classes. Anyways, one night we had an appointment fall through so we stopped by her house and it was an answer to her prayer the night before when she was asking if this was the right path to her! We've been able to meet with her twice since then and she said she's not as stressed about it as she was before (she was VERY scared because her family wouldn't be very happy about her being baptized) and she has a baptismal date for Feb. 22 :)

We also had exchanges with the sister training leaders this week! OK, exchanges are really awesome but they are also REALLY hard for me sometimes! Exchanges are still really great and I learned a lot! I spent the day with Hermana Stroud and we went to Davis City (TINY, dying little town) and did some contacting/tracting (it was SO cold!). We found some sweet potentials. That night, we stopped by at a potential family's house and they were getting ready to leave for their Restoration church meeting and invited us to come. We had invited them to church, so we thought that maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea for US to go to THEIR church, since it was a weekday night and we didn't have any set appointments. So we did! It was a really cool experience. It was just at a house here in town, and was a prayer/song/testimony kind of meeting. It was really interesting being there where they have testimonies of the Book of Mormon, of Joseph Smith, etc...they are SO close to the truth, they are just missing a little bit! Best part, though, was that Hermana Stroud and I both bore our testimonies! It was awesome! I said how much I love serving in that town where so many people already have testimonies of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, and how I know that we have a prophet on earth today - because they don't have a prophet or really any strong organization in the Restoration branch. Super cool experience!

Sister Etherington and I did another training in district meeting. It was OK, but I didn't feel at my best. But, the Spirit was still there so hopefully they learned something!

Another cool little experience: we visited with another Restorationist who is going through some REALLY hard things right now. We gave her a Spanish Book of Mormon, which she was really excited about, and sang "Abide With Me, 'tis Eventide" to/with her (she'd never heard it before). She really liked that :)

Updates on others...we finally met with another student again last night, which was good because she had some hard questions and one of our member missionaries was there and helped answer them (such as, "what do you mean when you say you know it's true? What does true mean? What is truth?"). She's such a powerful missionary; I'm still learning to appreciate her gifts and still be confident in myself and not worry or fret too much that I'm not as powerful as she is. Also set a date for baptism with another student for March 8. We also have a new investigator who lives in Davis City (our first in DC!) and is the sweetest man. The problem is it's hard to get a member with us out there and we had to teach him on the porch, which isn't going to fly well all winter when it's freezing haha. We also found a new investigator from the Restorationist meeting we went to! We had a lesson with her last night. She was really excited to learn more about Joseph Smith. We also told her about Thomas S. Monson, and she said that yes, if she knew that he is a true prophet, then she'd be baptized! She said the closing prayer and said, "please help me to know if Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet and if I should be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." Sooo cool! It's so hard sometimes to get people to ask specific questions in their prayers, so that was sweet. Only problem there? She and her husband don't have a car. So...getting everyone to church is getting harder and harder! We're praying for miracles in that realm here in Lamoni!

A member of our ward cooked us a delicious Venezuelan dinner last night! We had "arepas" - some sort of corn meal (I think) biscuit-type thing that you fill with a shredded chicken-avocado-mayo mixture. Super yummy. We had a really fun time all being there together :)

Anyways, like I said, it was a week of miracles. I am so grateful to be a missionary, and I am so grateful for this Church! I am very happy. Sometimes I'm sitting in church or in a baptismal service or whatever and I look around and I see these wonderful, imperfect families who are just strengthened so much by the gospel and the Church and I think, this is what the Church is for. This  is why it is so true! And so many other testimony-building experiences, big and small. I'm so grateful! I love my Savior, and I love my family so much!!

Love you all,
Sister Whipple 

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