Tuesday, March 4, 2014

clever subject title...


You know what's crazy? Today I have been out for 8 months! Crazy.

We had zone conference on Tuesday! It was sooo fun!! Sister Etherington and I were asked to play "Savior, Redeemer of My Soul" with another sister, Sis. Brown. I played piano, Sis. E played violin, and Sis. Brown sang. It was super pretty (if I may say so myself ;) ) and I wish I had a recording of it! 

Since ZC started early and was in Des Moines (about 1.25 hr drive), we got permission to drive up there Monday night and sleep over at Sis. Brown's apartment so that we could practice together before ZC started to put the piece together, since that was the only time we'd have to all play together before we performed it. And, guess who Sis. Brown's companion is? Sis. Call, my mom (aka trainer)! Needless to say, it was so much fun. 
 they made us breakfast! sooo good.
Also the Des Moines apartments are REALLY nice haha. I hardly got any sleep that night - not from talking a lot, just from not being able to sleep - but the next day was still wonderful. We had lots of good trainings, and of course I had a lot of reminders that I'm really not so great of a missionary and I really should be doing better! Haha but I also had a lot of reminders that Heavenly Father loves me and will help me with the work as I do my best. I am trying to get better (again) at talking with everyone and being more bold, as well as being a "finisher" and helping our investigators be "finishers" as well. Anyways, ZC's are always so fun to see other elders and sisters as well as President and Sister Jensen! Love them.

 And guess what? Sis. Etherington and I got 2nd cleanest car! Which is funny because the outside is filthy...but they only checked the inside because it snowed. We were still really surprised though...but now we get 100 extra approved miles! yay. In addition to doing the musical number, I also played the mission song ("A Marvelous Work") while everyone sang. It was a little stressful, but really fun!

We had such a good lesson with a young lady on Friday! We went through the baptismal interview questions with her, and when we asked the 2nd question ("Do you believe the Church and the gospel of Jesus Christ have been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith? Do you believe that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God?"), she said yes! It surprised all of us, including her I think haha! It was so cool. She answered positively to all the questions, which was amazing - the Spirit was so strong as she talked about how she really has come to believe these things and she doesn't care so much anymore what her family will say. She is still hesitant to be baptized now though, so she said that she'd fast and pray about it. All the member students fasted for her yesterday too! :) We haven't been able to talk to her since, but we're praying a lot for her. She'll leave for spring break in less than 2 weeks and it would be so good for her to be baptized before then...but it will work out.

frantic pic of a horse and buggy. We can't let them see us taking a picture so it gets stressful trying to snap one while on the road haha (though from everything we hear, it's totally ok to take one from behind). also let me assure you that that buggy was NOT going 55 mph hahaha
Another highlight was "church" yesterday! I say it in quotes because church was actually cancelled. WORST thing ever - AND it was Sis. Etherington's birthday! So that was a really big bummer. But, we got permission from Bishop Bair to have church in Lamoni and for a couple of young college guys to bless and pass the Sacrament, so that's what we did - and it was amazing! The Spirit was SO strong. One of the guys conducted the meeting, and then they administered the Sacrament. It was both of their first time blessing it, and they did amazing! I was so grateful to be able to partake of the Sacrament - I needed it! (I don't think I've ever appreciated it so much as since I've been on a mission!) It is so amazing to see how these young men just step up to the plate in fulfilling their Priesthood duties - no one really told them how to do anything, they just did it. We watched Elder Scott's General Conference talk, "Personal Strength through the Atonement of Jesus Christ," then had testimonies  One of the young men talked about how happy the gospel makes him and how he just wants to share it with others and try to be more like Jesus Christ every day. Another also bore his testimony and talked about how he's so grateful to be able to hold and use the Priesthood. The other testimonies were so good too. There were only a few people there, but it was a special experience for all of us.

Other things that happened this week...
  • The lady who we set up the trampoline for last week is now a new investigator! We had a really neat first lesson with her - she had read most of the Restoration pamphlet beforehand, and as we went through it and asked her questions, she basically taught it to us! When we invited her to be baptized, she said "Sure!" and understood authority really well! The next visit wasn't AS good because she didn't read (makes SUCH a big difference!) and her 16-month-old was all over the place, but she has a lot of potential!
  • FHE was fun, and a young lady gave a lesson on budgeting and finances. So sweet because another student was there and she talked about tithing and how it's important...and we STILL hadn't taught her that lesson! Love that.
  • We helped out at "The Spread," a free dinner put on for the community at the Community of Christ church. Sis. Etherington had a hilarious super awkward moment when the guy in charge, who had asked us to help out and who is HUGE (seriously like 6'9"), tried to give her a hug to say thank you. I LOVE those moments as missionaries hahaha
  • We had dinner a delicious dinner with a family! We weren't able to teach as much as I would have liked (it's hard over dinner sometimes) but it was a good visit and we're hoping to be able to go back and teach them more and help them to find the truth for themselves!
  • We got permission to go to Liz's last home college basketball game! I was really surprised they let us, but I think it was good to go support her because she's done so much to help us. It was fun, and we got to get to know some of the members better. We also had dinner with her last night, and it was fun to talk about the amazing experiences we've all had together.
  • We had a really great lesson with a recent new member last night. We read the Book of Mormon with him and helped him understand some things better (such as what "righteous" means - I take these things for granted still sometimes!). We also watched a clip from hasteningthework.lds.org, which was awesome. Do you know about this website? It is seriously so great! It surprises me how many people don't know about it so it's been fun to share with people. Actually I think I told you about it last week haha my bad. But anyways, they are so inspired!
  • Heavenly Father protected us last night when our car slid a little on the ice and almost ran into a stop sign. We were both surprisingly very calm and I really felt Heavenly Father's hand watching over us as we came to a stop inches from the stop sign, and then were able to back up and get home with no problem. Remind me again why people live in snowy areas? haha. No but I was soooo grateful that nothing happened to the car!
we're super cute. also we love driving through the countryside of Iowa!
ever wonder how we look when we wake up in the morning? no? well here ya go! my eyes didn't want to wake up yet so they're still closed. but I did manage to get some "happy birthday" sticky notes up haha :)
  • Sister Etherington's 22nd birthday was yesterday! That was fun. I put sticky notes all over the apartment, which she had fun finding and reading throughout the day :) We also had delicious cake last night. It was fun being able to celebrate together!
Thank you for all your prayers and love and support! I love you all so much. This Church is true! It is amazing! 

Love always,
Sister Whipple

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