Tuesday, May 27, 2014

the urban life vs. the hick life

Hi family!

Did yall have a good Memorial Day? Sorry I couldn't write, the whole town was shut down :) It was a fun day though! It has been a good, busy week. As you know from last week's email, we went to Des Moines for zone conference! I ended up using some music that Liz found for me online, and it worked pretty much perfectly, so that was a relief :) It was fun - Elder Cleverley sang "Come Thou Fount," but the second verse he sang lines from "Joseph Smith's First Vision," and the third verse he sang a version of "Called to Serve" that fit the song and sounded great! Zone conference was amazing, as always.Those are the best :) It was fun talking with President and Sister Jensen too. I used to wonder if they and the AP's knew who I was (it didn't bother me, I just knew they have tons of missionaries) but I realized this time that they really do know who I am, and they even know of a lot of the people we teach. It made me love them even more :) I really liked the training by the assistants, which was on remembering our motivation for why we decided to serve missions, and finding that motivation to serve every day. I needed that little reminder :) I also loved President Jeppson's (counselor in the mission presidency). This was his last Zone Conference before being released, so his talk was kind of his "last words" - and it was SO powerful. Reminded me of Elder Holland. It made me want to serve better and develop greater faith in Jesus Christ! Of course President and Sister Jensen's trainings were awesome too. President is hilarious, and I love how he is growing more confident in his calling and his personality is totally coming out now :) 
At Zone Conference
After zone conference, we went on exchanges with the Des Moines sisters for that evening and the next day, which was fun because it was my first time doing exchanges with the sister training leaders in their area! Des Moines is a fun city...but Sister Browne and I felt super overwhelmed at times haha! We were like...why is everything so big and busy?! You'd think we lived in the country/in little towns our whole life...we'd try waving at people and they'd look at us like we were crazy! (ok not ALL of them...but many!) One fun thing was on Wednesday, when I was with Sister Dixon and we went to a big apartment complex where a ton of African refugees live. There were little African kids running around everywhere, and we got to talk with/teach a Sudanese mom and her daughter, and a Liberian man and his daughter. It's crazy how different each area within the same mission is! Oh and Sis Browne and I also got to spend some p-day time in Des Moines, so we got to see the capitol and go to the mall to run some errands, which was kind of fun.

At the State Capitol

But, we were happy to get back to Lamoni :) And it was funny because the next few days, we had so many "hick" moments! During our lunch hour on Thursday, we dropped in at the sale barn and watched the cattle auction for about 20 minutes. It was so cool! We stuck out like sore thumbs - two girls in brightly colored skirts among a bunch of farmers and Amish men haha. I loved it though. We also helped put up a bunch of American flags at the Rose Hill Cemetery, commemorating veterans from Lamoni for Memorial Day. Then we went to a couple's house just outside of town, where they showed us their sheep, including their baby sheep, and their HUGE dogs. Then a day or two later, we happened to drive by a truck mud racing event that was going on. We watched from our car for like 2 minutes. It was fun to see :) Oh and we helped Sis VanDerLinden put together her new lawn mower, mow her lawn, and trim her trees :) 

We have still been talking to a special investigator of ours on most nights, and she and her mom went to church again!! On Sunday she texted us this: "SHE GAVE ME THE OK!!!! I CAN BE BAPTIZED!!!!" So hopefully we'll be having a baptism on Sunday!!

We also started teaching a nine year old. She has been coming to church with her grandparents ever since they were baptized last month. She went to church with another friend last week, and said she didn't like it as much so she's coming here from now on haha. She came up to us at church and said she wants to be baptized, and her parents are fine with it, so we are teaching her! Hopefully her parents will come around too, it would be nice for them all to be unified. 

Apparently I sang in my sleep the other night haha! Sis Browne said that I took out my retainer, sang an entire verse of "Onward Christian Soldiers," and then said something like, "I really like that song because you can really feel the Spirit when you sing it" hahaha. Missionary dreams are so strange sometimes!

Like I said, Sis Browne and I had a fun Memorial Day yesterday. It was p-day, which always makes it fun haha, and the Slayton's invited us over for lunch. That was delicious and so fun to be with them. But then we were also invited to another couple's home, where they had a BBQ with a bunch of other people from the town. So we were getting pretty full haha. We played some softball, which was fun except that we were in our skirts so that was not so fun haha. THEN, in the evening, we went to the Bishop family's house, where we had more grilled food and had an FHE lesson with them. I was SO full! Between that and Des Moines, it's been a bad week of eating. We're starting over again today :) (but of course, right after we decided that, we went to a lesson at Kaleigh's this morning and she had donuts just for us hahaha. We split one :) )

Other things...Sis Browne and I talked with a young woman in the ward, on Sunday during third hour. She finally opened up to us on Sunday and let us help her a little! It was so good. We visited a couple of families that evening too, and were able to have cool experiences helping them too - for example, one of the sister's inactive son was home for the weekend, and we were able to just listen to him and testify of Heavenly Father's love for him. I wasn't sure how it went, but she texted us later telling us how grateful she was for that. It is such a tender mercy every time I feel like we are able to fulfill our purpose and that I really am following the Spirit, because sometimes it's hard to tell :) We also went on a walk with another member Saturday morning, and were able to talk about some of her goals, like going to the temple, and how we can work towards those!

I love you all so much! Thank you for your letters and love and support! Things are warming up here (went from freezing to sweating haha) and Sis Browne and I are trying to talk to more people now that they are out in their yards more. I've also loved reading the General Conference talks lately. They are the best, and strengthen my testimony of the restored gospel so much! I love you!!!

Sister Whipple 

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