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 

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