Sunday, July 13, 2014

"She Only Speaks Liberian!"

Hola!

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) 

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