Monday, February 24, 2014

"thank you for our SOULS"

beautiful Iowa :) I wish you could see just how pretty it is!
Happy Monday!

I hope that Mom, Dad, and KJ are enjoying the 70-degree weather! We had a few very warm days of a balmy 50 degrees, and now it is snowy again :) But it's all good! Spring is in the air, and everyone can feel it :) Nothing super earth-shattering happened this week, just everyday good 'ole missionary work. 

Actually I take that back...we had zone training meeting, which was awesome and somewhat earth shattering on a small scale! The assistants to the pres were there, which was fun - they are awesome. They trained about helping investigators to learn by faith (see Elder Bednar's talk: http://www.lds.org/ensign/2007/09/seek-learning-by-faith?lang=eng). It is hard, but good! Throughout the past several months, we have been instructed many times that we need to be using the pamphlets they give us in our teaching, but it's hard to know how to use them more effectively. At this training, we learned a lot more about using the pamphlets not so much to teach the Restoration, but to teach people how to teach themselves. Or, to teach them how to actually LEARN the Restoration, by the Spirit. it's hard to explain exactly, but we have been praying and studying and working to try to implement this better in our teaching! It feels a little like I'm back at the MTC because in a way we're re-learning how to teach, but it's good. It keeps us humble, it forces us to rely on the Spirit and not get into a rut of teaching, and as we learn to implement these principles better, we'll be much better teachers!

We also saw a bald eagle. That was pretty awesome. I love Iowa!

On Saturday we went to Davis City because we had an appointment with a sweet potential investigator. She has three boys and her husband works away from the home so she is very busy. When we got there, she was trying to set up a trampoline. She was super nice and let us talk with her and teach her a little while standing outside, but she was really trying to put it together while it was somewhat warm and sunny. And she was really struggling haha. So, we basically put it together for her! We got super muddy but it was fun and felt good to help her out :) She was very appreciative, and her cute little boy was so excited! We set up another appointment, and hopefully we'll be able to teach her more and make her an actual investigator :) We just get a good feeling every time we're with her!

OK, I have to tell you about Thursday. It really was a terrible day haha! I know it's not good to write about negative things, but we can laugh about it now, and it's pretty funny. It wasn't all bad, and we had miracles that day too - the biggest one of which was setting a baptismal date with a lady! It seemed to go downhill from there though haha. Of course we decided to walk to that appointment, and it started POURING and was still raining hard when we walked back home. Then, as we were getting the car out to go to another appointment, I was a stupid California driver and got the car stuck in the one snow bank in our parking lot (we do almost anything to avoid backing, because of the missionary backing rule, and sometimes that gets me into even more trouble...). We were NOT going to get it out. So, we called a sister from church, who took us to our appointment, and then afterwards I sheepishly called Daniel, who came over with his friend and they pushed and shoveled our car out for us. Of course, that was AFTER Daniel took two pictures of the car because it looked so ridiculous, and he had to add it to his collage of the other pictures has of my terrible parking jobs hahaha.  By the end of the day, we only had a few minutes left so we decided to make one more stop. On the way there, we see a police car and Sis. Etherington says, "I hope you weren't speeding, that would just be the cherry on top." Right while I was saying that no, I wasn't speeding...we see flashing lights behind us. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! And guess who the police was?! A REFERRAL from the Restoration branch! Lamoni is crazy and the speed limit switches between 25 and 35 all over, and I was driving 37 in a 25 zone (I thought it was 35). Thank goodness he only gave me a warning, but I felt AWFUL. Here I was, a representative of Jesus Christ, and I was caught speeding by the same man who had tried to pull us into church history debates when we visited him and his wife! Naturally, while he was writing out the warning he says to us, "While we're here, let me tell you the history of that hymn" (a Restoration hymn he had told us about) and went on to tell all about that and about Emma Smith and all kinds of fun stuff before he finally let us go. I was so embarrassed, and just felt like such a failure. Anyways, the next morning we both felt much better and it was a much better day ;) 

Here's a sweet story! We went to a family's house last night and showed them two clips from the hasteningthework.lds.org site. LOVE that! It was actually a really spiritual lesson and they were all so sweet! After watching one of the clips, their cute 11 year old girl said, "while watching that, I thought of a family you should teach." And she gave us a referral and made a plan to invite her friend to church with her! She's amazing! It was a sweet experience seeing her respond to a prompting from the Holy Ghost and helping her to recognize that. She told us a funny story too...she said she was in her social studies class, and one of the key words was missionaries. Some people didn't know what they were, so they were talking about what "missionary" means, and she told the class about us and how we visit them! And then the 13 year old said, "yeah, they come talk to me all the time!" And apparently the class discussed Sister Etherington and me for a good solid 5 minutes haha! We're getting pretty popular around here, apparently ;)

Church yesterday was SO good.  We sang funny hymns in Sacrament Mtg. though and Sis. E and I had a hard time keeping ourselves composed...and Bishop Bair saw us and had to work to  keep from laughing himself. It reminded me of being in church with my cute sisters :) (don't worry, we weren't disruptive though!) I sure do love Sis. Etherington and the wonderful Osceola Ward! I love going to ward council (yesterday when we were sitting in ward council, it smelled like campfire...I seriously LOVE these people :) ) and being part of this ward with these amazing people!!

During a lesson last week, a cute little boy said the CUTEST prayer: "Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for prophets. Thank you for hot chocolate. Thank you for our SOULS. In Jesus' name, amen." hahaha :) 

KJ, Dad, and Jenessa - thank you so much for the letters! They made me so happy :)

I'm so grateful for this time to be a missionary. Even though sometimes we get pulled over by referrals and run through the rain in skirts and drive into snow banks, I have never felt so close to my Heavenly Father before! I know that this is His work and that when we are doing our best, He won't let us fail. I'm so grateful for that. I'm so grateful for this gospel and the happiness it brings, and for the true joy that comes from sharing that with others. Thank you for being my wonderful family - I love and appreciate you so much!

Love, 
Sister Whipple

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