Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Exchanging it up

Hi family!

How are y'all? I've decided that springtime is an analogy for missions: you never know if it's going to be warm or cold, sunny or dreary, windy or peaceful, and it could change any second...but you always know that something good is coming :) haha pretty good, eh?!

 super sweaty but happy after our district p-day!
This week flew by, which was good because with it being spring break, we were nervous that there wouldn't be enough to do because so many people leave! It was good though. Last Monday, we had a district p-day. We were going to have it up in Osceola, but we don't have enough miles to get there so we suggested coming down to Lamoni and the elders were all game! It was a BLAST. We were going to play soccer and sand volleyball at Graceland, but it was too cold and windy so we went inside the gym and had the whole thing to ourselves! We played knock-out, basketball, indoor soccer, and "chair soccer". Sooo fun - which was good because we were a little nervous that it would be somewhat miserable being these two old ladies playing with a bunch of little boy elders :) But they are awesome and so good to us, so it was a ton of fun. And I fell during soccer and got two HUGE bruises on my knees that I have been very proud of. Unfortunately it got cold again so I have to wear tights again and can't show them off. ;) but don't worry, naturally I took a picture!

They're better in real life :)

On Tuesday, Sis. Etherington went on the departing temple trip to Nauvoo since she'll be leaving the mission soon, so on Monday night we went to Des Moines and slept over at Sis. Call and Sis. Brown's apartment, and then I spent the day in DSM with them! It was really fun. I learned so much just from being in a different city with different missionaries - it's crazy how different the mission is depending on where you're at! We went on the "skywalks" downtown and walked around there for a bit (they are these indoor sidewalks that connect all the buildings so that you don't have to go outside to get from place to place...they're super sweet!). It was pretty overwhelming, especially being used to serving in a tiny town! The sisters kind of laughed at me because at first I was trying to say "hi, how are you?" to every single person but hardly anyone said anything back, let alone look up at me! They were all in their fancy business outfits and walking really quickly and plugged into their ipads and smart phones and such. It was hard to get anyone to talk to us, to say the least haha. We visited three less-active people, and that was fun and interesting. Then we had a dinner appointment with this couple (they are super nice but talk SOOOO much!) that lives in a BEAUTIFUL house that was built in the 1890's and is full of antiques! It was a fun day but I was surprised by how exhausted I was - even though I didn't have to plan anything (which is one of the hardest things about day-to-day mission life, at least for me), it was just tiring having so many new things in my day! Sis. Etherington didn't get back until about 9:30 so we slept over again and left the next morning.

 cows by the Iowa state fairgrounds in DSM
Des Moines really isn't very pretty haha...but I took this from a skywalk. There's the beautiful state capitol, and the arches on the left!

That next day (Wednesday), the hermanas (our sister training leaders) from Des Moines came down to Lamoni for exchanges! It was stressful planning for that, especially since we had just gone to DSM the day before, but things worked out really well. I went with Hermana Howell. We had a lesson with four students on prayer, then went to Leon and had an awesome lesson with another couple. They are sooo sweet! They basically compete with each other as to who can read more from the Book of Mormon haha! Holy cow, they are so fun to teach. They eat it up! In the evening, we went to some apartments and ended up having a little lesson with a girl we met outside, so that was fun. It was a really good day. And mostly I'm just proud of myself (slash really grateful to Heavenly Father!) that I didn't cry and I didn't feel overwhelmed or super stressed like I often do during exchanges! Anyways, by the time the hermanas left the next morning, Sis. Etherington and I were very happy to be back together after two days of serving with other sisters :)

Oh, on Monday night we also had another little miracle! We didn't have a lot of proselyting time before we had to leave for DSM, and I just really wanted to teach a lesson before we had to go. We went to those apartments to talk to a potential, and as we were leaving, this young man (I think he said he's 24) opened his door and asked us what we were doing. He kept asking us questions so we stopped to talk to him more. We asked if we could set up an appointment to come back, and he asked us if we had time right then! We said that we couldn't go inside, but we taught him on his porch (it was so cold haha) and he was so sweet!And guess what? He and his brother were adopted from Russia! It was so cool to have that connection! He was adopted when he was 11, and he said that it was really hard to adjust to being in a family after being in an orphanage for so long, but he seems like a really good kid and plays baseball at the university. He LOVES his parents (the ones who adopted him) :) Hopefully we'll be able to teach him more!!!

On Saturday morning there was an additional Relief Society meeting (they only do them quarterly, since everyone lives so far away) and a lady we have been teaching came! It was so great to see her there and to see the sisters fellowshipping her. She told us that she and her husband went shopping for church clothes the day before! She is so sweet - she leaned over to us at one point and said, "You know how you asked me if I've seen changes since coming to church? Well, this morning my husband complimented me. He said 'You look very nice!' That is NOT like him." So sweet :)

At our Relief Society Meeting
Saturday evening, we went with a family to the Community of Christ building in Pleasanton (TINY town...like Lamoni is really big compared to it!) for a dinner fundraiser for their 4th of July parade. People were giving us really funny looks - looks like we need to work that area a little more, people here in Lamoni are totally used to seeing us haha! It was really fun being there with the family. We also went to the "beach" at the nearby Nine Eagles State Park for a couple minutes before heading back. So beautiful!
With a sweet family at Nine Eagles

Yesterday Sis. Etherington and I taught sunbeams - which was really easy because there was only one boy! He was SO cute. The topic was "I am grateful for animals." Gotta love sunbeams haha! Church was pretty good, and I love Bishop Graves - he is so great :)

We're getting transfer calls today, though we haven't heard anything yet. But we pretty much already know what should happen...Sis. Etherington goes back to Nauvoo on April 9th or 10th, so we'll be getting a third sister on Thursday! It will be interesting being in a trio, and we both know we're going to have to work hard to make her feel really comfortable and welcome, because we are so close and don't want to make her feel like a third wheel! I am going to miss her so much when she leaves!

Like spring, I definitely had my ups and downs this week, but it ended on an up as we skipped home in the dark singing hymns last night hahaha. We are so weird sometimes. I love it! I love being a missionary and sometimes get scared of it ending - but I don't worry about that too much :) I just love the Spirit that comes from sharing the gospel and serving Heavenly Father's children! I know that we are all part of His family and that He loves all of us and wants us all to return home to Him. I love Him so much and am so grateful for a knowledge of His plan for us! I love you all - thank you so much for being the best family ever!

Sister Whipple

1 comment:

  1. So good to read about your adventures in the mission field and to read your testimony. You are so awesome.
    We are doing well, still teaching Primary and fixing up the house. Did spend a few days in Las Vegas. Do not like that city. Take care and keep up the good work.
    Val (Sister Thomas)