Monday, August 25, 2014



Last week Dad asked me how the weather's been this summer. I talked about how mild it's been, hardly even feeling like summer. Well, that changed this week! It is hot and muggy, but I'm glad it at least feels like summer :) And I've been woken up the past couple of nights from all the thunder and lightning! I love summer storms at night :)

This week has definitely had its ups and downs, and it wasn't as outwardly as successful of a week as last week, but it was still good overall :) Also, I was super blessed to get a lot of really great emails today, so thanks!!

Monday: We found a new investigator, who's from Ethiopia, and the next day set a date with him! He is super sweet - he said that after reading the Restoration pamphlet and praying about it, he had a dream and feels like he is close to the truth! The only downside is we thought that since he's a 17-year-old boy, he might be better with the elders, so we told the elders we'll let them teach him...but now I'm regretting it because we've lost so many of our investigators...but I feel like it's too late because we already told the elders. It will probably be for the best, I'm just selfish :) We also finally met with Bishop Dyer and his sweet wife in their home, which was awesome because now we feel like we're more on the page as him and have a good relationship with him! Because he's super intimidating at first haha but he's so awesome.

Tuesday: We had a sweet member-present lesson with a lady and set a baptismal date with her! When we met with her again yesterday, she said that she prayed about Joseph Smith and the Church and got a clear answer that it's true :) She's excited to be baptized!! We're excited too of course :) we just need to work with her on commitment. She's doing great testimony-wise, but she grew up in a very unstable home and so doesn't really know how to keep commitments. She also has a lot of health problems and gets sick a lot, so she didn't come to church yesterday, which was kind of frustrating. The mission is definitely teaching me to have more patience with other people though...hopefully one of these days I'll actually learn that lesson! :) But she's sweet.

In the evening, we had the sweet opportunity to take President and Sister Jensen's granddaughter out teaching with us! She is 18 and is starting at BYU this week, but she and her dad were here visiting for the weekend and she wanted a chance to go out with the missionaries to help her decide whether or not a mission is for her. It was fun to take her to a lesson, to a dinner appointment, to Oakridge (the apartment complex with all the Africans), and to a less-active girl whose family lives on top of the African This-and-That Shop. She was super sweet :) And of course, when we took her back to the mission home, we got to have root beer floats with President and Sister Jensen and their family members! I love it because I always felt like root beer floats are kind of a tradition in our family, and President Jensen is in love with root beer floats and always has them on hand :) One of the Jensen's other granddaughters was there too, and she just finished the accounting junior core at BYU and is starting the Tax MAcc this semester, so it was fun to talk to her too!

Wednesday: We had a couple of fun lessons, helped a super sweet older lady in our ward who was baptized a couple years ago with scraping paint, then in the evening...drove to Montrose, IA, right across the river from Nauvoo! Sister Pratt helped to reactivate a lady who was going to the temple on Thursday for the first time for her endowments, so we got permission to go! I am seriously so spoiled. It was a wonderful trip. We stayed Wednesday night at the Keokuk sisters' apartment (you can see the temple from their living room!), which meant that I got to see and talk to sweet Sister Browne again! I loved it.

Thursday: Went to the temple :) It was so needed! Every time I go to the temple, I feel so grateful. It is such a beautiful place, and I feel so much peace and love. It was also fun to go with the lady Sister Pratt helped to reactivate for her first time. It brought back good memories of my first time :)

We got back at around 6:30, and then at about 7, a sweet sister missionary was dropped off at our apartment. She has been really sick for a while and was finally going home to hopefully find out what's wrong and get better. Since we're here in Des Moines, she stayed for the night and was picked up by an office couple at about 4:15 the next morning (we were so tired the next day haha). She didn't sleep all night, poor girl :( But, we took her to a member lesson with us, which was perfect because it was on the Atonement, and the sister bore such a sweet testimony of the strength that comes from the Atonement, and the Spirit was so strong. I was glad we were able to be there with her for her last night.

Friday: It was a good day...we did service for a part-member family, had district meeting, and taught two ladies English. We invited one of them to church...and she came!! So awesome! The other lady and her cute family bustled around after our lesson and excitedly gave us...some food. No idea what it was haha because they had no idea what it was called, but it was some sort of squash fried in something bready and bad for you, dipped in some sort of peanut/soy/whatever other stuff sauce. It was delicious! We had dinner that night with a sweet couple, and then the wife came with us to a lesson at Oakridge, which was fun because she's a middle school science teacher, and a lot of kids running around Oakridge were excited to see her and came and talked to us. Then afterwards, we went by the house of the college student we had been teaching and said good bye, and she left for college the next day :( gah, I love her so much and am so sad she is gone! But hopefully I'll still be here when she comes back for Thanksgiving :) A family who has been AWESOME at fellowshipping her, went to say good bye too! It was great.

Saturday: um, kind of just a normal missionary day haha. We had a couple good lessons and a couple that fell through so did some contacting and such, but overall it was good. We met with a girl who was SUPER grumpy and angsty when we first got there haha...she's 17 and it'd been a hard couple of days...but it was cool because as we talked with her and read the For the Strength of Youth book together, she started to feel better and by the end, she said that she was feeling happier and that we had helped :) I was grateful for that, and grateful for the Spirit!

Sunday: Oh, what a day haha! Lots of things went one came to church, an investigator got offended, another investigator apparently was ready to go but no one picked her up (communication is so rough when they hardly speak English!), AND we got stuck behind a train haha...but then, a lot of miracles happened - one lady did come to church, as well as an inactive Burmese lady and the less-active husband of a lady in the ward, and a sweet part-member family who seem really excited to meet with us moved in and came to Sacrament Meeting! It definitely a lesson to me...I was feeling pretty discouraged, but these people kept walking into the chapel - not the people we had initially hoped would come, but people who needed to be there, and it was like one tender mercy after another. Heavenly Father really is in control, and He is so wonderful and so patient and merciful :) We had dinner with a family, and they let us bring one of our investigators as well, which was good! We taught her in their home, which is always awesome. Then we went to another lady's house and she fed us a whole Burmese dinner! (good thing I didn't eat too much at the the first family's house...) It was so sweet! I loved it. The picture basically says it all :) Then after we got home and had just gotten changed out of our proselyting clothes for the night, the zone leaders called us and said they had something for us. They gave us some cupcakes that Elder Davila had gotten from his sister, and asked if we could take a picture together with the cupcakes...I thought that was weird...but then realized why all the fuss. The picture included was taken right before they smashed the cupcakes in our faces. little punks. hahaha it was hilarious though, and Sister Pratt was super quick and totally got Elder Davila back!

Well, hope you don't mind my day-by-day replay. As for what I learned from Preach My Gospel this week...well, it was from Preach My Gospel and what I've been reading in the Book of Mormon. Basically just the Christlike attribute of Faith in Jesus Christ. It is so central to everything we do! It takes faith to have charity, it takes faith to have hope, it takes faith to stay strong as members and as missionaries. But as we have that faith, we receive strength beyond our own. I've been needing that lately, and am super grateful for a loving Heavenly Father and for my Savior Jesus Christ!

I love you all so much!!!!

Sister Whipple

ps i'll email on tues next week...labor day :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

a sigh of relief


This week has been...great! And crazy! But I think that's pretty much what it's going to continue to be like :) Highlights were that (1) we taught 32 lessons! By far the most I've ever taught! (one caveat though is that many lessons counted as if we teach a less-active member with a nonmember, it can count as a member-present lesson and a less-active member lesson) and (2), B.C. is officially baptized and confirmed! I breathed a sigh of relief when he went under that water haha...and then again when he got in front of the church and was confirmed even though he did NOT want to go in front of everyone. What a champ.

Here's the weekly run-down!

Monday-Tuesday: My first exchange as a sister training leader! It was fun. We went with the hermanas, so it didn't feel a whole lot different than when I went on exchanges with them all last transfer, and it was easier for me because I got to go to their area while Sister Pratt stayed in our area, so I wasn't the one in charge of planning the schedule and everything. I went with Hermanas Kimzey and Smoot (she's a brand new missionary!) and Hermana Foster went with Sister Pratt. On Monday we had dinner with their sweet Relief Society President, and I said the prayer in Spanish for the first time! (thank you Hna Foster for teaching me once during another exchange haha). I've had a lot of fun trying to talk to people in Spanish while with the hermanas. 

On Tuesday, we set a baptismal date with A, a really sweet Hispanic lady who speaks English! It was a sweet lesson. I think (hope) it went pretty well :) 

This is from the end of our exchange
In the evening, Sister Pratt and I were back together and had a really fun dinner with a family, which was my second experience eating vegetarian "meat"! It is actually really good. Another reason why being in a city is much different than being in the country :) After that, we went to a recent convert household that the assistants asked us to go visit. The mother has been stuck in West Africa because she went to visit and now the borders are closed because of the ebola virus, so the sister, who was very pregnant (she's in her 20's), has been in charge of all the other kids in the house. It was good to get to meet them, and actually turned out to be a little miracle that we did meet them when we did, as we realized later in the week!

Wed: We had lunch at a couple's house, and oh how I love them! They are the funniest, nicest couple, and are super involved in missionary work. Also I think I told you before about their super sweet Victorian house that they're restoring, and how everything in their house is an's crazy! I took a picture on their fainting couch. Enjoy :)  Afterwards, we visited Sister R, and her son who's 10, is now an investigator! I love that family. We had a few referrals to contact in the afternoon, which was nice, and in the evening we read the Book of Mormon with the another family, had dinner with Sister F, then took Sister B with us to teach our Sudanese investigator the Plan of Salvation, which she really seemed to like.

Thurs: We visited two girls in the morning before district meeting. Afterwards, we visited a lady in her home for the first time...bad news, was that she lives OUTSIDE OUR WARD! gahhh it was so disappointing haha! So now we need to figure out a way to hand her off to the elders in the Easterlake Ward. That has been something hard about this week - most of our investigators are dropped or about to be because they are moving, live in the other area, or just aren't keeping commitments. So it was a tender mercy that we were able to teach so much, despite losing so many people :) We had a dinner appointment and a couple other lessons the rest of the day.

Fri: In the morning, we received a call from a member of our ward, telling us that the daughter of the lady who is stuck in Africa (who I mentioned on Tuesday) was in the hospital having her baby! She wasn't able to visit her until later and felt like someone should go be with us, so she thought to ask we were super grateful that we had met her that week! We ended up getting there 15 minutes after the cute little baby boy was born (was I a little bummed that we missed it the actual birth? yes! and also very relieved hahaha)! It was really sweet being in the room with Hawa and her brand new baby boy - there was a really good spirit there. Her boyfriend was there too and seemed to warm up to us and appreciate us coming by to check on them. It kind of killed me though when she asked us if we wanted to hold him and we had to decline! :)

In the evening, B was baptized!!! Things were crazy at the beginning of the baptism because there was a mis-communication and our ward mission leader (who was conducting) thought that it was starting at 6:30, not at 6...but it all worked out :) B asked Elder Standage to baptize him, and he was perfect for him - he kept B laughing and didn't let him get too scared or anything. B's sister was supposed to give the talk on baptism (which B wrote himself!), but she got too scared so their mom ended up giving both that talk and her talk on the Holy Ghost haha...poor girl, she does NOT love public speaking. We were so proud of her though! Two girls who we gave lessons to earlier in the week came, as well as another mother and her two daughters. So that was awesome to have investigators there! Also, the elders had their investigator there, who is a 12-year-old guy (around that age at least) who is friends with B at school! And he's getting baptized in a couple weeks! They are such a good support for each other :)

Sat: We had two lessons with less-active Africans who ended up having nonmember family members there whom we were able to teach as well! That was sweet. The best one was when we taught a lady the plan of salvation. We brought Sister B (her visiting teacher) with us, and the lady's sister was there. They didn't have a lot of time because they were on their way to comfort some people who just had a family member die in Africa, so we just shared the scripture in Moroni 7 about how we can have hope in the resurrection.(Click here to readWhen we mentioned that we will be able to see and know and be with our family members again, they both perked up. They both have always thought that we will live again but won't remember anyone or any of the experiences we've had here! They literally lit up when we promised them that they can see their loved ones again, and that they will still remember and love them. It was one of the sweetest experiences! And the sister is now a new investigator :)

Sun: A cute young lady came to church for the last time before she leaves to Cedar Rapids. She said that she's planning on getting baptized within about the next month! So excited for her - she's so ready. Also, it was the funniest experience...this girl showed up with some less-active members. In gospel principles, we found out that she's not a member but wants to develop a relationship with God, and she basically taught the entire lesson! THEN, we realized that she's the same girl whom the assistants had found and then referred to us, but when we talked to her on the phone she was in the middle of moving and said she wasn't interested. When we made that connection, she was like, this is that church?! And we were all excited haha...guess she IS interested after all! We have an appointment with her tomorrow :)

Well, that's the end of my novel for now, sorry it was so long this week! Oh, about Preach My Gospel this week...I have been studying a lot of Chapter 10 about teaching skills, and the thing that stood out to me was the importance of truly listening. I know that when we listen with love and with the Spirit, teaching comes so much more easily! And I love how that principle applies in all aspects of our lives :)

I love you all!!!! The Church is true, the work moves forward :) Thanks for being amazing!

Sister Whipple

Monday, August 11, 2014

My Mission

(in a British accent...) "Helloooo, this is Sister Whipple!"

Alright, that was dumb hahaha...that's just how I've been answering the phone lately and it's been fun. Don't worry though, only when other missionaries call! When others call I turn off the British accent (thank you Sister Dixon and Sister Pratt for getting me into that habit) and am much more professional ;)

Thanks for all the emails this week! I love them. I glanced through them all and will read them once I finish this. Looking through those made me think about my "mission" in life...I've spent my entire life comparing myself to others and having to fight against envy, self-doubt, pride, etc. There's always someone who's better, smarter, prettier, more athletic, going to cooler places, getting married before me, getting more baptisms than me, going home at a better time than I am, etc. etc. etc....but you know what? That's OK! (Mom, I just sounded like you hahaha.) It's such a struggle for me, even now, to not fall into that habit of comparing myself to others, but then I think about how Heavenly Father has a mission just for me. Everyone here is serving in the Iowa Des Moines Mission, yet everyone has a very different mission experience...and it's the same thing in life. We all have a different mission, and it's a very personal thing, something between just us and Heavenly Father. Others are involved, of course, but He has a plan for each one of us, and when I trust in His love and care, it makes it almost easy for me to be happy - happy for others when they succeed, happy in my own circumstances, and so forth. anyways. I just need to remember that more often ;)

So, this week was crazy! Good though. I'll just go through the week :)
Monday: p-day, followed by volunteering at the YMCA. A hard-core Methodist couple who volunteer there sometimes too, took us out to dinner afterwards! It was delicious and we were able to talk to them about the Restoration of the gospel. They were super nice and receptive - not at all interested in converting right now, but open to the discussion and appreciative of our willingness to talk with them. Then we had a sweet lesson with another man and set a date with him and he told us how he'll stop drinking :)

Tuesday: MLC (Mission Leadership Council)!! It was sweet! We got up at like 5 and left early in the morning to drive with the STL's in Ames all the way to Iowa City. There we sat in stakes (I didn't realize until just then that they have an STL companionship for each stake haha, so we have the Des Moines Stake!) with our zone leaders. It was a really neat experience to be there and see how things work from that perspective. We went through each of our areas and talked about things that are going well, our goals, things that need improvement, etc. Then we had a nice little lunch, followed by trainings. Sister Jensen trained on enduring to the end (applied to both us as missionaries and those we teach), the assistants trained on making district meetings more effective and focused on individuals, and President Jensen trained on the Christlike attribute of diligence. We all went to Chili's afterwards, and Sister Pratt and I were "good" and split our dinner :) We got back to Des Moines at about 9:30. It was a long and tiring but great day!

Polka Dots at MLC :)
Wednesday: was CRAZY! haha we seriously just went and went and went all day. We didn't have time for lunch (ate a bag of trail mix in the car), hardly had any time to put together our trainings, and then had our phone break! So we had to also drive to the mission office and transfer to a new phone because we can hardly function without one (reasons why I'm grateful to be in Des Moines - close to the mission office!). We taught 8 different people/families. Wooh! It was pretty awesome though. We taught a woman about the restoration by drawing stick figures, keys (for priesthood), etc. on a pad of paper, since there's the language barrier. She seemed to understand it better :) And another lady was tired from working all day so even though she let us right in, she promptly fell asleep on the couch hahaha so we closed up pretty quickly.

Thursday: We spent about 7 hours in more meetings! We had our zone's zone training meeting, which was basically MLC on the zone level. Sister Pratt and I did Sister Jensen's training, which basically entailed taking her around 15 minutes of training and expanding it to around 45 (including a role play). We did that for the Des Moines West Zone as well, which was that afternoon. It went pretty well and was pretty fun, and I enjoyed seeing the other missionaries in the other zone. We also fasted on Thursday, for R and B. That evening we taught a young boy and his sister, and we gave him a box wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper (because that's the only wrapping paper we could find in our apartment). In the box were slips of paper with different blessings of baptism written on them (along with gummy worms, so he wasn't completely disappointed and so that we could get rid of the last of Sister Pratt's candy haha). We had him explain to us the different blessings (that kid is super smart), talk about some of his favorite ones, etc., and then asked when he would like to be baptized. He said he wanted to before his step-dad leaves to go back to S. Korea, so he is getting baptized on Friday! We took him into the font yesterday after church so that he's not as scared, and he just seems much more confident and happy about getting baptized now. After we set his new date, he started planning his service and delegating assignments to his mom and sister haha. We are excited :)

Friday: We drove to Osceola for the Oskaloosa ZTM! That was so fun to be there - seriously LOVE that zone (it's amazing to see how the attitude of the zone totally reflects that of their leaders!). It was also fun to see how the different zone leaders did the trainings, because they were all training on the same things but portrayed them each slightly differently. Afterwards, we went to the good 'ole Mexican restaurant and Sister Pratt and I split the shrimp burrito - just like Sister Etherington and I used to always do :)

In the evening, we taught CK English, had ice cream with a two girls (they are friends who ran track together; one is a member of our ward), and taught a man and his daughter on his front porch. the man comes to church sometimes to bring his daughter, who's a member, but he is not. He admits that he knows the Church is true, but he's scared to get baptized because his parents are Catholic and he feels like he needs to respect them, and other reasons like that. He's sweet though, and totally wants to get baptized so hopefully he will put aside his fears and do it :) As for the girl who we had ice cream with, it was happy and sad at the same time. She knows that everything we've taught her is true, but she leaves for school in Cedar Rapids on the 23rd, and she still feels like getting baptized before then would be too soon. We did all that we could to try to help her, but she prayed and feels like she should wait until she goes to Cedar Rapids, so we have to trust her with that decision. Thankfully we know the sisters there and they are awesome, and she pinky-promised us that she'll meet with them :) When we told her that we might be able to come to her baptism there, she got really excited! I love that girl.

Saturday: This day was...rough haha. We were still able to be diligent and get things done, but lessons kept falling through, we were just super tired, and things were just kind of hard! And then we both stepped in dog poop hahaha. We were able to laugh about it though, and for being a "hard" day, it really wasn't too bad. Plus we had a really good dinner appointment with a sweet member, Sister C, and a good lesson with her afterwards - and I've been having a hard time feeling effective with my member lessons, so that was good.

Sunday: Ward council and church were great! They felt really productive. The rest of the day was a little harder, but still good. We tried to do some weekly planning because we haven't had any time to plan out our week, and Des Moines continues to be overwhelming at times because there are soooo many people and it's hard to know where to focus at times! It is good though. We are so blessed to be here, and we love it :) And Sister Pratt made me dinner and it was delicious!

As for what I've learned in my study of PMG this week, the thing that's stood out to me the most is the importance of remembering our purpose! Sister Pratt and I actually received priesthood blessings after MLC because we had just been feeling very stressed and still adjusting to all the newness of everything (things have been much better now, and I love working with her! :) ), and one thing that I was reminded in my blessing was to remember my purpose. Then, we got the August Ensigns, and it has an article all about the purpose of missionary work! It truly is an inspired work. One thing that stood out to me was that we're not here just to help people join a church - we're here to help people be cleansed of their sins so that they can receive the Savior's mercy at the day of judgment! Kind of a big deal. So don't give up hope, keep moving forward, and know that Heavenly Father is so grateful for every loving act and service you all give to others - because you all do such an incredible job of that :)

Wow, that was the longest email I've sent in a while (I think)! Hope you know that I love you a ton and hope that you have a wonderful week :) The Church is true, Heavenly Father is working in each of our lives, and you all are the BEST!

Love always,
Sister Whipple 

Monday, August 4, 2014

"change is life, life is change"

well helloooo there!

wow, that quote (by sweet Sister G in Osceola) was as true as ever this week! I am glad the week is over and we are on to a new one haha. It was...interesting, to say the least.

So Monday - Wednesday was full of getting Sister Dixon ready to leave while still keeping the work going here. I officially had my first experience "killing" a companion (as in she went home)! It was fine and fun for the most part, but the last couple of days as it sunk in that she was actually going home, it was kind of sad...and just weird. It's hard to explain :)

Also, we had a baptism on Wednesday!! But her brother wasn't able to:( it was pretty rough...E was interviewed on Monday and passed easily, but B wouldn't come up for his interview. We went again the next day, and he let Elder Wardle interview him and passed, but still wasn't sure if he wanted to get baptized anymore. So we told him to pray about it and that we'd stop by that evening. When we went by, he was a lot happier and felt good and said that he would! So we planned for that, but when they arrived at the church Wednesday night, B wouldn't talk to anyone and definitely was NOT getting baptized. The hardest part was that a young man in the ward was asked to baptize him, so he cut his hair (it was really long haha) and was all ready in his white baptismal clothes, and then didn't even get to because someone else was already baptizing E :( I felt really bad. We're still trying to figure out what's wrong with B, it just seems like Satan is really working on him and making him doubt things. But, they came to church on Sunday and we're hoping that that will help get him on track, because he wasn't able to go to church the whole time he was in Utah, which I'm sure didn't help! He's a good kid, we just want him to be happy again because he used to reaaaalllly want to be a deacon and was super excited. His sister, E, is adorable though and was confirmed yesterday :)

E in her cute baptismal dress :) we didn't have a chance to get a better pic because we were stressed worrying about B. But she was so cute the whole time :)
Thursday was transfers! I've decided...I really hate transfers. Like, transfer meeting is fun and all but transfers are NOT fun haha. I think I might even prefer actually getting transferred better than bringing a new companion into the area, because I get stressed about having to know who everyone is, where we're going, etc., and I worry about the new companion judging me or the area, and so forth. So the first few days was really hard for me but they are getting a lot better now! Anyways, guess who my new companion is? Sister Sidney Pratt, from Mesa, AZ! Yeah...we're definitely related haha and she knows of the Whipple's and spent her summers down at the ranch in Mexico :) She's 20 and graduated in 2012 (I'm so old haha!) and has been out for one transfer longer than I have. She's a descendent of Parley and Mary, who apparently is the 4th wife. Her dad's name is Royal and I can't remember her mom's name, in case you're curious :)
My new companion!
We've been working hard though since transfers and found three new investigators this week, all African. Some of them came to church! That was a miracle. I still can't believe that they came to church haha! And it's nice because when Africans, especially Liberians, come to church, the other Africans usually are related to them in some way or another so they have automatic friends.

Two points of sad news (sorry): one, all the Liberians are freaking out about the ebola virus in Africa. Apparently it's super bad right now. Man, between sicknesses, wars, etc., it seems these people can never catch a break! And 2, I found out last week that Brother V in Lamoni passed away from a stroke! That was pretty upsetting. I wish I could be there for Sister V but I just have to trust Heavenly Father with that one!

Ok as for happier news, these past couple days have been fun getting to know Sis Pratt. It was kind of awkward at first but we've had some fun times when Sis Pratt almost had a head-on collision with a cop car. Don't worry though, we're all ok and it wasn'tcompletely our fault...the man walking his dog definitely laughed at us though haha. We also have been working out a lot more and have been suuuper sore these past couple of days! She's super obedient and diligent and I think we're going to have a great companionship :)

I read a week or so ago Elder Ballard's General Conference talk about following up. 

He mentioned how missionaries and their families can write each other about what they're learning in their studies of I thought I'd better try that haha :) So, for this week, the things that stood out for me are (1) humility is a sign of spiritual strength (having to work on that, especially since I get competitive easily, as you know :) ), and (2) the importance of companionship inventory! We had one last night and it was good to open up that line of communication and be open about some of our fears, goals, etc. :)

I feel like my letters have been kind of boring lately...if so, sorry! But things are good, we've been able to teach a lot of lessons, the area is building, the weather's been more or less perfect, the gospel is so true, and my laundry is already done ;) Thanks for being so wonderful. I love you all SOOOO much! :)

Sister Whipple

At Zombie Burger