Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Nametag Kids


 Sis Dixon is in her last three days here, we got transfer calls, I'm staying here (duh), and I'm going to be a sister training leader (STL) after all! soooo that should be interesting! I'm excited for the challenge though :) 

Des Moines East district :) oh, and Elder Wardle is getting transferred and got called to be a zone leader! woop woop, way to represent Saratoga Stake (even though neither of our families live there anymore haha)
It was an interesting shake-up, there are tons of missionaries leaving and lots coming in, so Hermana Kimzey was released from being an STL for two transfers so that she can train one of the hermanas coming in, and I will get a STL companion to serve with me here in Des Moines. The thing I'm most afraid of is just taking over the area when Sis Dix leaves...it still seems so big and overwhelming (we figured out the other day that it's at least 100 times bigger than Lamoni, so no wonder I've been 100 times more stressed hahaha) and I still have a hard time remembering everything and knowing where I'm at! I know Heavenly Father will help me though, because I'm doing my best :)

Two cute ladies from Berma! go English lessons
This week's been a whirlwind! I was with Hermana Kimzey and Hermana Loureiro (from another area) on Tuesday because all of our companions were on the departing missionaries temple trip. We ended up doing a lot of Spanish stuff, which was both fun and humbling haha. Oh yeah, and I had my birthday! That seems like forever ago haha...but it was fun! Thank you so much for the package, I loved it! You guys are the best. It definitely had its ups and downs...we had an AWESOME lesson with a girl who I seriously love. Sister M, a cute new member, came with us, and she is the best. We talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the girl said that she's felt her faith grow a lot as she's read and prayed, and that she's feeling better about being baptized! She has a lot on her shoulders though because she takes care of her mom and family a lot since her mom had brain surgery, so we offered her and her mom priesthood blessings, and she started crying when we did. Our sweet elders came with us on Friday and gave them both amazing blessings, and the Spirit was super strong! Anyways, I digress...so that was the high of my birthday, and we had other good lessons too, but then we got dropped by our investigator and had other things fall through, so that was a bummer haha. It's life though, and even though it was discouraging, things always work out :) And Sis Dix and I had ice cream together at the apartment, which was fun :)

Sis Dix lost her camera. We prayed so hard to be able to find it. We did...crushed into a million pieces. Somehow it had fallen out of the car or something onto the road, and run over...thankfully, we found her thumbdrive and one of her SD cards mostly in tact!

Another thing that's been crazy this week is that two investigators, B and E, returned from Utah! They were supposed to get baptized before they left, but things didn't work out and it didn't happen. And their situation in Utah with their dad isn't a good one, so it was stressful for R while they were gone. But, they came back Tuesday of this past week, so we've been teaching and reteaching them, and they should be getting baptized on Wednesday - like in 2 days! E is 9 and B is 12. E passed her interview today and is excited to be baptized...but B wouldn't come up for his interview. He was seriously SO excited to get baptized and be a deacon, but he's having fears that he's not really opening up about, and in general he's having a hard time adjusting being back here in Iowa. We're praying that he'll overcome those fears and be baptized, because he is SUCH a happy young man when he's living the gospel, and he's super smart and he KNOWS it's all true. If he doesn't get baptized on Wednesday, then he might have to wait until September because of scheduling conflicts. So that's been kind of stressful. Pray for him, por favor!

Guess what we got to do on Saturday? Go to Osceola for a baptism!!! It was SO fun. 

Since Osceola isn't very far, we got permission to go, and Sister M - I seriously love her! - took us. Sidenote: she's MY age (graduated in 2010, and is like 2 months older than me) and she's married and has a 2-year-old. That blows my mind sometimes hahaha. Anyways, the girl who was baptized is the one who, quite a while ago while I was in Osceola, came up to me at church and was like "if my mom says yes, and I think she will, I want to be baptized" before we ever even taught her anything. She's super committed and I love her to pieces. It was awesome to be able to be there, and to see some of the people I love so much again. I played "I Feel My Savior's Love" as a musical number...so seriously, that Paul Cardall music came JUST in time! They didn't ask me to play until the last minute, so I was super grateful that I had that music and that I've played that song so many times that I was able to practice it once like 2 days before the baptism, then play it there and have it go decently haha. Oh and her grandpa baptized her! It was so sweet :)

We went to ward council yesterday for the first time in quite a while (I've never gone while in Des Moines), and I was so glad we did. I feel more connected to the ward and to the leaders now, which is super crucial. One thing they discussed was how home and visiting teaching is more of ministering and relationship-building than anything, and we can fulfill those callings in many ways. I also wrote down a quote from Bishop Dyer: "there is beauty in the struggle." So true! Life is a struggle, but there is beauty in that. I love you all sooooo much! Thanks for being amazing!

Love always,
Sister Whipple

PS Sister M calls us "the nametag kids." I died.
A couple from church.
He let some kids braid his beard. welcome to Iowa...

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Mission Vacation

Hey all!

Wow, was I spoiled this week! Seriously...it was so fun! But it's good to be back and working again :)

So, Monday was p-day, and it was pretty stressful haha because we were trying to do a lot of things. The sisters from Lamoni got to come up and spend p-day with us because they needed to be up for zone conference the next day, so that was a blast to be with Sister Browne and her new companion and hear all about Lamoni! For example...A husband and wife couple who were baptized recently are now gospel principles teachers! ahh I'm so proud of them :) Anyways, at 1 we took a tour of the Iowa Capitol Bldg, which was AMAZING!!! Seriously...Sis Dixon has been in three other state capitols and she said this one was definitely the most beautiful. Br. Schultz in the Osceola Ward is the secretary of state, so even though he was out of town, he hooked us up with his secretary/assistant and she gave us a pretty sweet tour. 

It was fun to see his office and see the big picture of Christ by his desk, pictures of his kids, and his eagle scout stuff up on the wall, along with all the Iowa and patriotic stuff :) He seriously has a sweet gig there haha (apparently it's the nicest office in the capitol, next to the governor's!). Afterwards, we got our hair cut. The lady who cut my hair was NOT shy about chopping it off haha...so it's pretty short. I'm kind of regretting cutting it so short, but at least (1) it's nice with the hot weather, and (2) I'm on a mission and not in the dating pool so I have 6 months to grow it out again ;) The rest of the day was pretty normal - errands, proselyting in the evening, etc. Since we had the Lamoni sisters we went on splits, and it was super fun being out with Sister Browne again.

[I think her short hair is cute!]
Tuesday: Zone Conference!!! We usually only have one once every 3 months, but they had to switch things around so we had ZC two transfers in a row - which I was TOTALLY fine with haha. I played piano for a musical number...again haha. Elder Wardle sang "Be Still My Soul" and I accompanied him. It was super stressful because I hardly had any time to practice because our p-day was busy and I didn't want to take a lot of proselyting time to practice, so it wasn't my best but it was OK. Then in the evening we decided to drop by a house, and it was perfect! It was the home of a girl who used to live in Lamoni so I knew her then (she was less-active), and she lives with her less-active sister, and they were super happy that we dropped by. She even asked us to teach her the lessons because she really wants to go back to the basics and find her testimony again, as well as help her boyfriend to understand the gospel. I am excited to help her, and was super impressed by their humility to ask for that help.

Wednesday and Thursday were our only two real, full working days. We had lessons with our investigators and also started teaching a new girl. They are all super sweet, polite girls.

Friday-Saturday: NAUVOO! As you already know, as per Lori Flake's phone call hahaha :) Anyways, it was seriously such a treat not only to be able to go, but to go for two days! The Craypo's (senior couple) took us, and we went on Friday to see the pageant, because we're all allowed one trip to the pageant during our mission. This year they are showing the Nauvoo and the new British pageants, so we decided to go to the British pageant...I had heard that it's even better than the Nauvoo pageant, I will hopefully someday be able to come back and see the Nauvoo pageant, and Sis. Craypo's British so I thought it would be fun for her (she LOVED it). It was amazing! The pageant talked about the different reformers that prepared the way for the Restoration, and a lot about how the Book of Mormon answered the questions of the soul that people have had for centuries...it seriously strengthened my testimony! And it was so cool because at the end, all the missionaries got to be part of the finale, so we all walked on stage 2 by 2 singing "Called to Serve" :) It was such a sweet experience!
this was fun...
I ran into Sister Call AND our "mini missionary"
 from a year ago while in Nauvoo!
It was a happening place 
Friday night :)

On the way to Nauvoo, we stopped in Pella, the cutest little Dutch town you ever did see, and a town that Sister Dixon served in (only four sisters served there between when they opened it and then closed it again...tons of anti- influences there with all the Dutch reformists...but, it IS a cute town :) ). We got the famous "Dutch letters" from Jaarsma's bakery, which was fun. We also stopped at Ft. Madison, and the Craypo's treated us to lunch there. Then we got to Nauvoo, and enjoyed walking around the shops in the town, then went down to Historic Nauvoo and saw a bunch of the sites there, which was awesome. And, we got to see Sister Etherington!!! And she even received permission to sit next to us and watch pageant with us :) Such a special experience! 

Oh and it was there around the sites that I met Lori Flake, and she asked if I knew Virginia Whipple from Mesa and I was like...THAT'S MY GRANDMA!!! haha I was so excited! She said she went to Grandpa's funeral, which made me happy. She asked for your number and was super excited to call you :) And I loved the hug, thanks! :)

So the reason we got permission to stay the extra day is because  a member of our ward who's from Burma, is going on his mission soon to LA and was receiving his endowments Saturday afternoon, so the Craypo's asked for permission to stay! Which I was SO grateful for because otherwise we would have had to drive home Friday night and literally wouldn't have gotten home until like 2 am. So we stayed with the sisters in Hamilton, IL, which was super fun. We went to the Visitor's Center Saturday morning, then got to go with the ward to the temple session at 2. It was so incredible! I feel so blessed every time I'm able to go to the temple. And I got to see the other new video for the first time, which was so sweet. I loved it!

Then I slept in the back seat on the way home. Am I spoiled, or what?!

Sunday was a pretty normal, good Sabbath. We taught an interesting lesson to this new guy, who was like, "there's something I'm missing here...either I was sent to you to teach you some truth, or you were sent to me to teach me some truth, and I'm not sure what it is yet!" That was fun haha - he committed to read the Restoration pamphlet and pray about it, and we will teach him more this week!

Since we went to the temple last week, we don't get a real p-day this week, but (obviously) we still get to email. So we will be working hard this week, but it will be good! I love you all. We are so, so blessed to have the Book of Mormon and the Restored gospel and temples and everything that goes along with all of that! Thank you for being amazing!

Sister Whipple

Monday, July 14, 2014

put a shirt on, Iowa.

and pants too. I can understand no one wearing shirts with the muggy summers, but having to pass by an undie run on the way to church? Now that's just inappropriate hahaha

Hna Foster tried popping popcorn in an itty bitty frying pan. It did not go well hahaha
How was your week? Mine was...good! terrible! fun! tiring! haha...it was another week full of exchanges, and I got sick, but we taught 26 lessons, which was awesome!! And three investigators came to Sacrament Meeting - yay!!! And I am super excited because tomorrow is zone conference and Friday we're going to pageant (!!!!) :)

Anyways, I'm just going to go through my week again. Sorry if that's boring :)

Monday: Sat in the dentist office for 2 hours. It felt weird being in the waiting room by myself without a companion haha! Served food at the YMCA, and had coordination with our Ward Mission Leader (WML), who finally returned from a trip. We loved having him back...and then he got released yesterday to serve in the bishopric haha. So we don't have a new WML yet, but it will be my 5th one! Long live Brother P., the most hipster WML yet.

 that one time we had Spanish, Twi, and Thai copies of the BoM to give away :)
Tuesday: Actually this was kind of a turning point day for me...I had really been struggling with Sister Dixon leaving and everything, and just feeling really bogged down and stressed. In my studies, I read in Helaman 10, and verse 4 especially stood out: 

"thou hast with unwearingness declared the word...and hast not sought thine own life."

For some reason it was just a perfect reminder to me that I needed to forget myself and go to work, and to serve with unwearingness - and that Heavenly Father will bless me for it. I really needed that :) Especially since Sis Dix left me that day and went to Lamoni without me haha. So Hna Foster and I covered the area again. We found a new investigator. We definitely found him outside next to a less-active member smoking her cigar haha. But it was fun teaching him while it lasted! We also met with some other less-actives, had supper with Hna Amaya from the branch, and met with an AWESOME family, who are new investigators of the hermanas! They have two girls (like 11 and 15 or something around those ages) and have come to church several times and love it. It was fun to be there teaching that whole family, even though I wasn't able to contribute much. I slept over at the hna's apartment.

Cute Sister Shelley at the mission office (one of my favorite things about being in Des Moines :) )
Wednesday: When Sis Dix returned in the afternoon, we went to the Iowa Genealogical Society and got to volunteer there for a bit, which was fun! We also taught a lesson, had supper with the Allen's (Sis Allen's Thai and let us try jackfruit, which was delicious!), and then had a super cool experience trying to contact a referral! She was a referral from the elders in West DSM, and they've been trying to contact her since before I got here. We were about to give up for a while, but decided to try one more time since we knew she didn't work Wed or Thurs. When we went, she was home and came outside and let us teach her, and we invited her to be baptized and she said yes (once she receives an answer to her prayers, etc.)! She is Sudanese, is 18 and just graduated from high school, and is really smart and polite and good at English (which is a relief haha). 

Sister Allen with Kingfruit

Thursday: Had district meeting, after which the elders really wanted to go to a Chinese buffet for lunch. I drug (dragged?) my feet because I always feel sick/too full after eating at those, but they really wanted to so I went. Guess what? I got super sick that evening haha...it was miserable, and honestly I don't know if it was from the food because it didn't seem like food poisoning, but either way it was kind of funny (slash ridiculous!). Luckily I was able to make it through the day. Sis Dix had exchanges again and brought one of the other sisters to our area (they had a church tour with Receva and set a baptismal date with her for August 16!!!), so Hna Foster and I focused more on the hermana's area. I went to bed early that night, feeling super sick.

Des Moines River
Friday: Threw up in the morning. Yeah, that was fun haha. Pretty sure I had a fever all night, I felt awful. We ended up staying in for most of the day. I've never had a sick day before on my mission and I kept trying to get up and work, but when I finally felt like maybe I had enough strength to take a shower at like 1pm, I barely made it and when I finished I just wrapped my towel around me and lay on the bathroom floor for a little before I had enough energy to get dressed and back into bed haha. Our companions were gone most of the day on exchanges and thankfully we didn't have any appointments until about 4, when I was able to go with Hna Foster to see some of her people until our companions came back. Sis Dixon and I had one appointment, which I survived and was finally feeling a little better for. I slept much better that night and the next day (with just some mild queasiness and achiness the rest of the weekend).

Cute random Chinese thing
Saturday: Good day with a few good lessons, not much to report...except that a sweet member from the ward brought her adorable daughter (who's like 18 months) on a picnic with us at the park for our dinner appointment! I loved it.

Sunday: I spoke in church! My talk was on the covenant path. I used our hike in Hawaii along the lava fields as an analogy, with the mile marker lights being like our covenants on our journeys back home, which was kind of fun. I also used Sis Wixom's (Click here) and Pres. Eyring's (Click here) talks from the General Women's Conference, which were so great to read and study. A handful of investigators we are teaching came to church! After church we went to a sweet family's house, where we taught and set a baptismal date for September 13 :) She's so great! We taught her in the backyard and then had grilled pork chops for lunch. I also got 5 mosquito bites, including one on my lip (I have a fat lip now haha) and two other on my face, just in time for zone conference! Then later we contacted another referral who's also a new investigator! She's 16, Catholic, Nigerian, and her dad's an inactive member. She's great.

Hey Nathanael!! Happy half birthday on Friday ;)

I'm super grateful for scriptures and for prayer and for our covenants. I can't find it right now, but there's a quote I love by Elder F. Enzio Busche that goes something like,

 "Embrace each day with enthusiastic welcome. The covenant with God to which you are true enables you to become enlightened by Him, and nothing is impossible for you." 

It's true! I love you all!

Sister Whipple

Sunday, July 13, 2014

un ano luego...

hey fam!
End of the 4th of July

Can you believe it? I hit my year-mark on Thursday! Soo crazy. Also don't judge if that Spanish is totally wrong, I'm not a real Hermana jaja

Anyways, this week has been insane, I don't even really know where to start! I'm doing fine and am happy, but there were definitely lots of ups and downs, and let's just say I was grateful for a fast Sunday yesterday! It is hard having a companion who's a sister training leader with someone else, because she is gone a LOT and when she leaves I feel like I have to carry the area on my own - and I don't even know the area well yet! So that has been stressful. And I don't know why, but I've just been having a hard time with staying positive and upbeat here...I always feel tired and like my days just stretch out ahead of me, and I get super frustrated when things cancel, even though we're staying busy and miracles are happening - so that is my goal this week, to keep a more positive attitude :) Sister Dixon is amazing and is always trying to find ways to help and support me, even when she's not here. She was gone all day Tuesday for MLC (missionary leadership council), half of Thursday for another zone's zone training meeting (it was the Oskaloosa zone, ie the zone I just left!), half of Friday for yet another ZTM, and all day Saturday for exchanges in Waukee. She has two more exchanges this week. Honestly, when I first came here to Des Moines and heard that I'd be her companion, I was kind of excited because Sister Jensen told me at transfers to pay attention and learn how to be a sister training leader from her, so I thought I'd probably get called to be one when she goes home, which I was kind of hoping for because I thought it'd be a good experience and I always hear about how much fun they have at MLC's, how they get to travel the mission, etc. But then this week when we realized how hard it is to have a split companionship, especially when one person is being trained how to be a STL (it's Hermana Kimzey's first transfer as an STL), Sister Dixon said she'll probably recommend that that's not super ideal. And the more I think about it, the more I think they'll just call another Hermana to be an STL so she can be with Hna Kimzey (I'll be livid if they call another STL to be with me haha)...and even if I were called to be an STL, I wouldn't really want to do that to my companion because I know how hard it is to be left so often! So lots of emotions and stuff I was dealing with this week, but finally I came to terms with it (hopefully :) ) and decided that even if I don't ever get called to be a sister training leader on my mission, that's OK and I can be OK with just being a "normal" missionary for the rest of my time here, even if every single other sister I came out with gets called to be an STL - it's OK! I'll just be the best normal missionary I can be, and give it all to the Lord. Anyways sorry that was long and confusing, but there ya go. :)

Anyways, let me tell you about the fun stuff for this week (and thanks for listening to the other stuff too!)! ...

First of all, I'm like a semi-Hermana! That has been a fun part of serving with Hermana Foster when our companions are gone. We had a dinner appointment one night with Hermana Amaya, who actually is fluent in English, but it was fun trying out some Spanish with her. Then on the 4th we were out and saw a couple out on their porch grilling, so we went and said hi and they are definitely NOT fluent in English, so I really did have to try communicating in espanol! SO fun...and they are very patient and understanding when I butcher it all :) I loved how he asked if I wanted water and I said I was fine, so he immediately got up and got us each one haha. They also made us quesadillas and grilled corn :) We went back and taught her the next evening, along with one of the Spanish members. I was quiet most of the lesson, but I could kind of tell what was going on and figured out most of her concerns and most of the gist of what they were saying. And it was a really neat experience because I felt like I should bear my testimony so I did so and it was sooo rough and the more I think about it the more I realize how butchered it was haha...but the Spirit was so strong! I felt like Heavenly Father was like, ok I need to help her out a bit haha! And it seemed to really touch her that I cared enough to try so hard to tell her how much I wanted her to come to church. She didn't come...but it was a sweet experience :) Oh and then, we got to go to a baptism they had at the Spanish branch yesterday because we brought an investigator, and they had a break-the-fast fiesta afterwards! So fun. I love Spanish people so much.

4th of July was fun :) We had zone training meeting, which was super good! Also, there are big changes! According to the First Presidency and Quorum of the 12, we now teach lesson 5 BEFORE baptism (as well as after), full-time missionaries now take the lead in teaching the new member lessons (still working closely with ward leaders and members), and we were told to keep close contact and still work with and teach our recent converts for at least 3-4 months after baptism and keep in contact for at least 1 year afterwards...which means that President is now giving us 15 extra minutes of email time to keep in contact with them :) yay! ZTM was super great in general. And all of us sisters had fun wearing red white and blue :) In the evening, we went to the Salt's house (members) and had a delicious grilled dinner outside. We had to be in by 6 unless we were with members (and then we could be out until 10), but we came in at about 8 or 8:30. We've been pretty tired, so we wanted to go to bed :)

Other stuff:
  • I made and gave away two baptismal calendars this week!!
1-year lunch celebration
  • Cute Hermana Foster insisted on treating me to lunch on my 1-year click day. I kept thinking this week things like, "one year ago I was set apart!" "one year ago I entered the MTC!" "one year ago I was freaking out because I was at the MTC and was past the point of no return!" haha :) I feel so grateful to be here and I know that Heavenly Father has carried me every one of the over 365 days since I left home! I have learned so much and feel so grateful for that.
  • The members here are incredible. I have loved getting to know them better :)
  • We had to go to the mission office in Urbandale twice this week, which was so fun and so great to see the office staff! Cute Sister Shelley introduced us to "tender mercy cookies": if you come into the office and write a tender mercy on a sticky note for her, you get a homemade chocolate chip cookie out of the cookie jar! So fun.
  • We found two new investigators this week - both referrals from an incredible 16-year-old member who was baptized a little over a year ago and is here living with her mom for the summer! We taught her mom on Wednesday (she's super tied to her church though, I don't know how far that will go), and her friend on Saturday. Her friend is solid. She's gone through a ton of abuse and really rough times and doesn't know if there's a god or anything like that, but the thing that's incredible is that it's obvious that she wants to know and she trusts us and seems to know that she can find the answers in this Church. It's a little overwhelming knowing how to help her, but I know the gospel works miracles in people's lives. The biggest hurdle probably for her is that her mom doesn't know she met with us and doesn't really like the church...so that could be bad. We'll tread carefully and pray for miracles! Oh but she came to church two weeks in a row! :)
  • I bore my testimony in church yesterday. Then last night Bishop Dyer called and asked if I'll speak in Sacrament Mtg next week. Rats. haha I mean, yay! I've never spoken in church so much in my life. Wish me luck (and prayers)! :)
(Part of) the Des Moines Zone!

Thank you so much for writing me so often! I appreciate it SO much. I couldn't have come to where I am without your help and support. The gospel's true! I'm so grateful for my Savior and my Heavenly Father and their continual love and patience. Thanks for being the best family. I love you :)

Sister Whipple

I don't get as many pics now that we seem to be in the car so much...hopefully that will not always be the case! :)

"She Only Speaks Liberian!"


After exercising in the rain one morning.
First full week in Des Moines = soooo long, but great haha! We found three new investigators and set two baptismal dates (extended three), so that was awesome. There are things I love about DSM and things I'm still having to get used to...things I love are the members, the crazy but beautiful African dresses and headdresses that people wear to church, lots of people, actually getting fed by members, etc. Things I'm trying to adjust to are being in the car a lot getting around the city, having to pay for parking downtown, not seeing corn/fields in general, being with a sister training leader (STL) companion so having a crazy schedule but not actually being an STL, and getting fed by members (and thus getting fat). And of course there are a bunch of other things that I love and that I'm trying to get used to, but those are the first that come to mind :)

Anyways, I realized last week that I didn't really tell you anything about Sister Dixon, besides that she's been my STL in the past and is in her last transfer! So anyways, she's from Ryrie, ID, grew up on a farm, is the oldest of 5 kids, graduated from Utah State in science teaching (and has her teaching certificate and everything), and...yeah! She's great!

Love these girls!
Here are highlights from the week:
  • On Monday, we volunteered in the dishroom at the YMCA soup kitchen. Reminded me of Aspen Grove/girl's camp :)
  • For p-day last week, we went to the church and played zombies with the hermanas and the elders. Haha it's the silliest game and I was definitely skeptical when I heard about it, but we had a blast. Basically it's a game of shooting nerf guns at each other and trying to "kill" the zombies while they try to make the rest of us zombies, and goes until we're all zombies. Wow, now that I write that it sounds so dumb...I feel so sheepish telling you that I actually enjoyed that game hahaha!
  • New investigator! She is 17 and she is great! She is from Liberia but is very much Americanized, if that makes sense...oh, about the subject line. There's this older lady who lives with her. We try to talk to the older lady but the 17 year old is like, "she only speaks Liberian!" which made us laugh because Liberian is English...but they speak it in SUCH a strong dialect that we only catch every couple of words. I've never prayed for the gift of tongues so much in my life! Anyways, she came to mutual and we gave her a chapel tour afterwards and set a baptismal date for August 9. Then she went to youth conference the next few days and loved it! It was cool because she's always super hyper and talks a ton but when we took her into the chapel, she was (relatively speaking) really calm. Thank you, Spirit!
  • We contacted a referral, who's 16 and from Egypt/Sudan. We started teaching her but then her dad came in and told us that they're Muslim and not interested. He was super nice though and we were able to talk to him for a while about the gospel. I was glad I had spent time in Jordan and could talk about that a little :)
  • I gave a training at district meeting on Thursday. For some reason I kind of struggled with it though and didn't feel like it was super powerful. It wasn't bad though, I just want to get better at that! I am getting to know the district better, which is fun. I love that I am still in a district where we are the only sisters haha (the hermanas are in another district)!
  • We fasted on Thursday for a girl we taught in Lamoni...turns out her dad isn't giving her permission to get baptized, so it didn't happen on Saturday after all :( I feel bad because I thought they only had to get permission from one parent so I never even addressed that, but I guess the week before her baptismal date they must have realized it, and it was no bueno. Her dad thinks the church is a cult, etc. But, her mom does NOT want her to wait until she's 18, so she's pretty determined. It was hard though, we had our schedule arranged so that we could go to Osceola for it, and I was SO looking forward to it. When I found out Friday night that it wasn't happening, that was the first time I cried about not being in Lamoni anymore because I just felt so separated from those people I love so much, and realized that there's really nothing I can do to help them except pray! I kind of let myself be sad that night as I went to bed, but the next day I had a much better attitude, and I know that things will work out and that I am learning things from this experience that will help me to become more like my Savior. Heavenly Father will take care of those people, and the sisters there will too, and now I need to focus on the people here. I'm still hoping for a roadtrip to Osceola before I leave though :)
  • The weather has been crazy lately...hot and humid with on-and-off thunderstorms all the time! I never know how to dress haha
crazy clouds in downtown Des Moines.
  • We taught a Daily Dose English class to a few people this past week. I was exhausted but it was fun. They are Kar'en (sp?) and are from Burma/Myanmar. My favorite part was taking off my shoes when I walked in and sitting cross-legged on their straw mats - reminded me of Dad serving in Japan or something :) One of the girls is a member, but lots of times she brings nonmember friends to our weekly lessons, so that's good!
  • We had an awesome dinner appointment with a new couple! They invited their neighbors, a really sweet couple who's also new (both doing their residencies), so we switched our lesson plans and showed the "I Am a Child of God" Mormon message. That video is pretty cheesy, but it ended up being really good for them because there were a LOT of little kids there, and some of the little girls were singing along with the video, and I think it helped them see how the gospel teaches even very young children who they are and where they came from. We had really good discussions and gave them a Book of Mormon and invited them to the baptism, because they were really curious about how we do baptisms, etc. They didn't come, but hopefully they will in the future.
  • On Saturday, we helped out at a funeral at the church for a little baby girl. This family adopted a little Indian baby, but she died a few weeks later :( super sad. They bore amazing testimonies though and there was a sweet spirit there. I'm so grateful for the Plan of Salvation! 
  • Like I mentioned, the elders baptized an African boy Saturday evening, so that was fun to attend, especially since an investigator came.
  • Church was great yesterday! We worked hard to get investigators there, and it was frustrating when everything seemed to be falling through. But then, our new investigator from last week walked in with her cute daughter shortly after the meeting began, another lady got her work shift changed and made it, and another person's daughter came! Sister Dixon and I helped out in Primary. Oh but speaking of primary, I think it's funny how quickly we've gotten roped in to it already. We taught sharing time, and I played piano during singing time. Sharing time was on family history, so we brought pictures of our families and I brought my family tree and fan chart, we taught them "Family History: I Am Doing It," read them a story, and had them draw pictures. It was fun.
  • Last night we had dinner at the Robinson's, and they invited another lady from church over as well. It was so wonderful for her to have that fellowship! She is an incredible lady and has been coming back to church after a LONG period of inactivity and many, many hard times.

what happens when we don't have time to eat dinner and a member gives us tortillas and cherries...dinner in the car!
I always feel like I have so much to tell you guys the first few weeks after getting to a new area haha. So, thanks for caring! I love you all so much. I know that this is the true Church and that the gospel brings us so much peace and happiness! I'm so grateful for it and for the power of the priesthood. It's amazing! Love you!

Sister Whipple (aka an assortment of other names, including Sister Flower, because the Africans can't pronounce my name. They call Sis Dixon Sister Cupcake haha)