Monday, April 28, 2014

blossoms, green, rain, and...tornadoes!

aka springtime in Iowa. yesterday had some crazy weather and a tornado warning, but so far we're in the clear! Also Joseph Smith III blessed Lamoni and a tornado hasn't hit the town since, so we should be good ;) 

non-posed missionary picture. this is the real thing, folks. hahaha I was standing outside talking to Liz and Sis Browne was in the car right next to us with the window down, and she snapped this picture. maybe I get into what we talk about a little too much?? :)
Hey family!

Sister Browne and I had a good week. At the end of last week I was kind of feeling like we needed to just get out and work and teach harder/more, and we really worked to be more diligent this week, and it felt great! And guess what we're doing tomorrow...road trip to Nauvoo!!!!! I am SO ridiculously excited. I'll tell you about it next week :)

the cross at the CoC church
Yesterday we got a new ward mission leader (WML), and it is...our previous bishop who was just released last month! We are so excited to have him as our WML. He is one of the most spiritual people I know, and I loved our coordination meeting with him yesterday - I just learn a lot from him. Sis. Browne has been struggling a little lately with homesickness and such, so she asked for a priesthood blessing from him afterwards. Then, he turned to me and asked me if I wanted one! I wasn't going to say no to that haha, and it was actually just what I needed. I love the priesthood so much! In the blessing I was reminded that Heavenly Father prepared people here for me specifically to come and teach them, and that He is preparing people in other areas as well. That was a comfort because I have been dreading transfers...I don't want to leave!! But I know that Heavenly Father has everything under control. I just need to trust in Him :)

 one moment we're teaching in the sun, then next moment it's pouring...
teaching outside
Saturday was an interesting day. We didn't teach a whole lot, but we were able to serve and help people a lot, and it just felt good to feel needed. In the morning, we helped with some weeding with other students at Graceland for arbor day...reminded me of Saturdays working in the yard with mom and dad:) Later we had a lesson with a student, and taught her outside on the grass because it was beautiful. 

Then, we went straight to the CoC church for a memorial service. Two members from the ward drove all the way down to support the man's mother, which was awesome. We really felt like it was good for us to be there - the mother didn't have a lot of support and seemed relieved to see us. We helped serve drinks afterwards during the luncheon, and then talked with the family for a while. There were lots of tender mercies, like when another lady said that she told the mother she'll take her to church next Sunday, and when that same lady said to us, "I need to work on my kids" because none of them are active at all and she is finally starting to see that church is important! We were there for quite a while, and then walked over to "downtown" (that makes me's sooo tiny!) where there was "Livin' on Linden" (the name of the street) - basically a town spring festival kind of thing. We were able to talk to people there and have a nice time. Then, that evening we went on a walk with a student around town and out in some beautiful fields, then took her with us to our appointment with the another family. It was nice to have her with us in a home where there's a family and you can feel the Spirit. 
so, maybe we had a wear-pj's-while-watching-the-Joseph Smith-movie party with two ladies we teach, and maybe I wore one of Sis Browne's onesies? haha it was so fun.

One thing that was hard for me this week was when we went to the a family's house and they pushed back their daughter's baptismal date again. The mom said that she thinks her daughter needs to go to church more before she gets baptized, which I totally agree with! But I was just frustrated because they've had months to go to church and could have gone many times and be totally prepared for this Sunday (when she was planning on being baptized), and now there's a good chance I won't be here. I know it's not about me, but I've been teaching them the entire time I've been here, and I really love them and really want to be here for that. But I'm again, I'm learning a lot more about being patient and trusting in Heavenly Father, because there are so many ups and downs of a mission and while there are so many miracles there are also so many disappointments, and we just have to do our best and leave the rest to Him. It's a good lesson to learn...maybe someday I'll actually get it :)

I made curry the other day! It was delicious!

weekly planning in the GU library
OK funny story time. When we volunteered at the nursing and rehab center, Sis Browne talked a while with a strong RLDS (well, now CoC...but lots of the older people still call it RLDS) man who has an amazing testimony of the Book of Mormon, and who is 101 years old (and amazingly spry for a man of his age haha)! Anyways he agreed to have us come the next day and talk with him more about the Book of Mormon. When we came the next day, we sat down and he immediately started yelling at us! Well, his talking is basically yelling because he can't hear, but anyways, he was NOT happy. He started telling us all about how our church changed the original doctrines and how we still practice polygamy and how we don't know our own doctrine, etc. He started coughing and I seriously was scared he was going to have a heart attack and die right there or something! A worker had to come up to us and remind him not to talk about religion or politics...which was awkward because religion is what we talk about...and he was kind of mad about that haha but we just got out of there as quickly as we could. It was so awkward but also kind of funny. 

at the boxcar by "central park" 
We had an amazing lesson last night with the crazy but sweet couple who live in the boonies in Missouri. We basically just asked the wife questions about her relationship with Heavenly Father, and she told us about some experiences she's had. Sis Browne felt really impressed to ask her what the last spiritual experience she's had is and if she's followed the counsel she received...and the lady immediately said no, she hasn't. She said she was fighting the direction she received from the Spirit, but that she knows she needs to follow it now. She didn't want to say the prayer at the end but then she did, and the Spirit was really strong. It was just a really cool experience to be there and be able to feel like we could actually help her a little :) 

Well, I think that's about it for now! I'm learning a lot and with everything I learn, I realize how much more I still have to learn - but that's what life's about I guess! You all are amazing and I have never been more grateful to have such wonderful parents and a wonderful family. Thank you so much! I love you all!!
dropped "little pink tote" in the mud haha

Sister Whipple

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