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 :)

Love,
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! :)

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