Monday, September 29, 2014

the joyful burden of discipleship





Hello dear ones :)

Well, I have been feeling pretty discouraged these past couple of days, and then I logged onto my email and read so many encouraging words from so many of you - things that were just perfect and exactly what I needed to hear! So thank you so much for being an answer to my prayers :)

Sister Barker and I actually had a really good week, we've been happy and working hard and found a ton of new investigators, but it's just been so hard because we do everything we can all week to help people come to church and progress, and then Sunday comes along and no one shows up and it feels like the whole week was for nothing, and it's hard to start up again and keep trying! And then last night I found out that one of our sweet Lamoni converts has been struggling a lot and told the sisters that he's not ready to go back to church right now, and that was so hard to hear and made it even harder to keep having hope that things will work out! But then this morning I was looking at Elder Holland's talk from last General Conference (it's actually not the one entitled "The Joyful Burden of Discipleship," but I liked that title better haha), and I felt like he understood exactly what I was feeling: 

So here we have the burden of those called to bear the messianic message. In  addition to teaching, encouraging, and cheering people on(that is the pleasant  part of discipleship), from time to time these same messengers are called upon  to worry, to warn, and sometimes just to weep (that is the painful part of  discipleship). They know full well that the road leading to the promised land  “flowing with milk and honey” ofnecessity runs by way of Mount Sinai...

But, he of course always keeps the hope!

Be strong. Live the gospel faithfully even if others around you don’t live it at all. Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, butdefend them....thepath of  Christian discipleship....is a strait path, and it is a narrow path without a  great deal of latitude at some points, but it can be thrillingly and  successfully traveled, “with … steadfastness in Christ, … a perfect brightness  of hope, and a love of God and of all men.” In courageously pursuing such a  course, you will forge unshakable faith, you will find safety against ill winds that blow, even shafts in the whirlwind, and you will feel the rock like strength of our Redeemer, upon whom if you build your unflagging  discipleship, you cannot fall.

I guess the point of all that is that is to say that yes, it is hard! But it is also worth it, and we must always have hope - and that hope can only come through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful for that :)

Elder Holland's full length talk

Anyways, I'll actually tell you about my week now :)

Monday: Sister Barker and I went downtown and took pictures :) In the evening, we had an awesome lesson! We showed "Finding Faith in Christ" and they loved it, and we got two new investigators. And we set baptismal dates with all five of them for November 8

"Finding Faith in Christ" video

Tuesday: We had a crazy lesson with this man and his wife. He was pretty arrogant and seemed to just want to prove us wrong, even though he kept saying that he wants to learn and have us come back to discuss more. We invited them to be baptized and set up a return appointment, so technically they're new investigators, but if he's still just kind of argumentative at our next lesson, we'll drop them. I have definitely learned that people need to be humble in order to actually learn! Oh but it was kind of funny because at the end of the lesson he handed us some pens that were in his pocket, which had his name and number on them and we realized that he's totally a pastor of some sort haha! We also helped another lady around her house some more and had a good lesson with her, as well as with a less-active family and a sweet family we ate dinner with.


Wednesday: Had exchanges with the Winterset sisters; Sister Barker went to Winterset with Sis Howard, and I stayed in Des Moines with Sis Stapley. It was interesting. But, I had a great time with Sis Stapley and we had a really good day! We taught a new investigator, whom we found on our last exchange with the Lamoni sisters (Sis Froerer and I were driving and saw this lady outside with some kids, and decided to pull over to talk to them. We did, and she was freaking out because there was a bee inside her house, so we went in and killed it for her haha! Then she said she's been looking for a church!). We had a member there, and she said she wants to get baptized! She cancelled our last appointment though so hopefully she doesn't fall off...
We also found another investigator, a teenage girl we talked to while knocking some doors. She was super sweet! And we had good lessons with another investigator, a couple of less-actives, and a member family we ate dinner with. :)

Thursday: was kind of a hard day, but we made it through haha - sometimes it feels like when we go on exchanges, Heavenly Father qualifies us and gives us extra super-powers or a cape or something, and then we finish the exchange and we're exhausted and have to readjust to working together in our area again! It was good though, and we were still able to teach some good lessons and make progress with people (hopefully).

Friday: We were excited to have a good, solid weekly planning session in the morning because we've been so busy that we haven't had a good one in a while...but then Sis Barker got super sick out of no where! It was so weird...we were having companionship study and she started to feel dizzy, but was doing OK and pushing through. But it seriously just hit her like a ton of bricks and I could see her body just shutting down, so after a while I was like, "I'm going to write this list we have to make for the Relief Society really quick, so you can rest while I do that" and then she was out for a couple hours. There was no way I was going to wake her up - I knew that if she was out like that, she was definitely sick! We were really blessed though and she was still able to make it to our appointments that afternoon/evening. And we had a really fun dinner at the Burgess' house - I seriously love that family so much!

Saturday: We helped the W family paint their kitchen - they are the couple that we taught a while ago who attend the Unitarian Church. I think it was good to help them and build that relationship though - the dad, seemed really grateful and a little more open to the truths that we have! Later we taught another investigator, and a member came with us. Then she came with us to the women's broadcast! So that was sweet. Though, it was also frustrating because there were tons of problems with the technology at the stake center, so it didn't even start working until halfway into the first talk, and a lot of the broadcast was out of sync, so it was kind of distracting. But at least it worked for President Uchtdorf's talk, which was wonderful! I'm excited to watch/read it again.

Sunday: was a hard day haha. One of the ladies we have been meeting with didn't come to church, even though she had promised she would - she just doesn't have a testimony of the Sabbath day yet and lets other things get in the way. So we will probably have to push back her baptismal date a week, and pray that I don't get transferred :( An entire family was going to come, so we found rides for all of them, which was quite the feat...and then they cancelled last-minute because one of them was sick or something! And the reason why we had to find rides for them is because earlier in the week, one of their boyfriend hit her and then ran away with her car keys, credit card, phone, etc., and is now on the run in New York or something (what a way to lose an investigator!). It's been so sad and frustrating! and kind of stressful because she comes to us for help, and we can't help with financial things, which puts us in an awkward situation sometimes. 

Sister Barker and I sang "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need" in Sacrament Mtg., which was fun because this time we actually had someone (Sis Helton) playing the flute part, which is super pretty. I messed up one part with the harmony though and was kind of frustrated...but overall I felt the Spirit and it was fun.

"My Shepherd Will Supply My Need"

We left after Sacrament Meeting and rode with the Peterson's (the cute Spanish senior couple) to Keokuk for a couple of baptisms of people Sis Barker taught. First was a baptism for the sweetest old man who was SO happy to be getting baptized - he's been struggling with smoking for a long time but finally has been smoke-free for over a month! Honestly it was probably one of the sweetest baptisms I've been to. Then there was another service for the Herrera family, which was awesome. Sis Barker and I taught the Restoration while they were getting changed, and I really felt the Spirit and felt a lot of love for this family I had just barely met, which was really cool - and a tender mercy because I was really trying to not be jealous of all the success others were seeing or get discouraged at the lack of progress we've been feeling in Des Moines. Feeling that love for them helped me to feel Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ's love for all of us, including for me, which is what I needed :) It was fun to go and be there, and to see Sis Browne who's serving in Keokuk, as well as Sis Monroe who's serving in nearby Hamilton (we served together in Dubuque and were in the MTC together).

Oh we also fasted on Sunday about Moroni's promise and to know how to use the Book of Mormon more effectively/powerfully in our teaching. It was really sweet this week studying exclusively from the Book of Mormon during our personal studies and having that fast together as a mission. I love the Book of Mormon so much and know that it is true!!!

Thanks again for all your love and support! It means so much. We sang "Called to Serve" in Sacrament Meeting yesterday and the chorus really stood out to me:



Onward, ever onward, as we glory in his name;
Onward, ever onward, as we glory in his name;
Forward, pressing forward, as a triumph song we sing.
God our strength will be; press forward ever,
Called to serve our King.

"Called to Serve"

We really are all called to serve Heavenly Father, and you all are such wonderful examples to me of that service! And, I know that "God our strength will be" as we "press forward ever" :) This Church and this gospel is true! I love you all so much!

Love,
Sister Whipple





Monday, September 22, 2014

Alfie Boe

Harvest is soon!!

Hello!

Thanks for your emails, I love them! Sorry I didn't respond to some of them last week - there were a few that I didn't get until today. Sometimes myldsmail doesn't work very well and emails don't come through for a while. But I promise I love you all ;)

Also, CONGRATULATIONS to Chantelle with her engagement! Gahh I am so ridiculously excited for her. Does she have a date? Also her fiancée looks awesome, I am so excited to meet him!

It was a good week, nothing too crazy but lots of good stuff, and I love working with Sister Barker here in Des Moines! Also the weather was better this week, which helped a lot haha. Not to mention we also started listening to Christmas music already and Alfie Boe's heavenly voice has been gracing my ears...hahaha. Gotta love having a companion who's mom is in MoTab (Mormon Tabernacle Choir) so she has all the good CD's! :)

So, as for my week...

Monday: It was a fun p-day, and Sis Barker and I have a plan to go see/do one fun thing in Des Moines every p-day! I love it because I love going to see artsy/historical things but lots of times other people don't, and she totally does :) We saw the St. John's Basilica last week, which was really pretty and neat. This week we're going downtown to see the shops and sculpture garden, since she hasn't seen that. In the evening we also visited with a family because Sis Y asked us to come and share the "word" with her and her family...I love African families so much! :)

Sister Training Leaders at MLC...each companionship had a different "color," and ours was green...thus all the green between the two of us haha
Tuesday: We went to Iowa City for Mission Leadership Conference! It was a short one this transfer (only a half-day) because the whole transfer was planned around a mission tour, but then that mission tour got postponed until November, so we had to kind of make do! It was a really good meeting though, and MLC's always give me a little kick in the pants (uh, skirt?) to be a better missionary haha! I think I'm realizing more how short time I have left, and I really want to do my best these last couple of months! In the evening we had dinner with the Gardner's, visited a less-active/part-member family, and visited Sis. Z, another African lady who asked us to come see her because she's having to work a lot of Sundays and hasn't been able to come to church. Lots of Africans here can't read, so they rely on others to read to them. She is so super sweet and we love her to pieces!

Cake!
Wednesday: We helped a lady with some things around her house. She is really sweet. Also it was really funny because I guess I had told her I'm from Arizona, but then as we were talking I mentioned being from the Bay Area, and she was confused at first...but when I explained it to her, she was like, "oh, I knew you had a sophisticated air about you, and I was so confused when you said you were from Arizona! because I've been there before and I was wondering if I missed something...now that makes sense!" hahaha I thought it was so funny because (1) I'm pretty sure sophisticated is NOT the first word I would use to describe myself, and (2) her comment about Arizona just cracked me up. I hope it doesn't offend anyone, because I LOVE Arizona...I just thought it was hilarious. Later in the afternoon, we walked to Drake University to try to see if we could get involved there at all, but it seems like it'll be harder than we thought without being students ourselves. Cities are a little different than tiny towns :)
we stopped by the Graves' house right by the Osceola bldg. while waiting for the other sisters to get there at the end of our exchange, which was sweet because I got to see Sis Graves! And take pics with their corn because I don't see a lot of it in Des Moines and harvest will be here soon!

Thursday: Highlight of the day was teaching M, because we ended up teaching more of her family and making them investigators as well! You never know who's going to be there when you go to teach Africans. So we ended up teaching her and her boyfriend (she initially introduced him as her husband...but then when we asked when they were married, she said they're not...gah! we'll work on that haha), their two daughters, and then a little bit her sister and her boyfriend. It was sweet! I love them so much! Then after that we taught the lady we helped on Wednesday in the Christensen's home and had a really good lesson, and she is excited about her baptismal date for October 11! Then for dinner we went to another part-member family's home. The wife isn't a member and is a med student, and the husband is somewhat active. They were super fun and dinner was amazing!
Des Moines Stake Missionaires

Friday: Zone Conference! Again, it was a shortened one, but it was still great. I played piano for the hymns and mission song, and Sis Barker and I also did a musical number! We sang "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need," and Hermana Kimzey accompanied us. Let me tell ya, I'm a lot more comfortable behind the piano than singing, haha! It was a lot of fun though, and even though it wasn't perfect, I think it went well and we could definitely feel the Spirit - it's such a beautiful song! I feel super grateful every time I'm able to help with the music, because I feel like I've definitely never been the best, but Heavenly Father has magnified my talents in situations when that's been needed. And it brings me so much joy :) After ZC, we went on exchanges with the Lamoni sisters, only this time I stayed in Des Moines while Sis Barker went to Lamoni. I usually get really stressed staying in our area with another companion because then I kind of have to lead everything out myself, but I actually wasn't that stressed this time! I think I'm finally feeling more comfortable in Des Moines (finally, after already being here for over 3 months now!) :) We had a good exchange, I love being with Sis. Froerer. We taught Sis. R and are going to help her with her goals of going to the temple and getting her kids baptized before the end of the year, and visited a handful of other people who are doing very well! And, one of our girls is totally on date to be baptized in Cedar Rapids on October 11! If the timing works out between her baptism and another one we have scheduled, I might be able to go since we taught her basically all the lessons before she moved for school. It was so sweet to see her, I love her so much and missed her when she moved!

 the end of another exchange with Lamoni...check out how the companionships totally matched, NOT on purpose! :)
Saturday: We finished our exchange in the afternoon, which meant driving about 55 minutes to Osceola to meet up with the other sisters. That was fun...then we drove back to Des Moines and were about to go into another appointment, when Sis Barker was like, "OH NO!" and pulled out the Lamoni sisters' cell phone! She had been carrying it during the exchange and forgot to give it back to them haha! So that was a little crazy, but after dinner we drove to Truro (still about 40 min south of us, but not as far as Osceola, let alone Lamoni) and met up with Sis Arzani from the Osceola Ward, and gave her the phone to give to the sisters at church the next day. It was crazy getting it all figured out haha...we use our phones a ton!

Sunday: An investigator came to church with her boyfriend and son, and drove themselves!!! It was super exciting. But, their 2-year-old got sick in the middle of Sacrament Meeting and they had to leave, so that was disappointing. We also saw another less-active couple who talked to us about wanting to work towards going to the temple, and we had dinner with the Simon's and had a really good lesson with them. Overall it was a good day :)

The IDMM is focusing on the Book of Mormon this week and strengthening our personal testimonies of it, so we're all studying it exclusively during our personal studies and will be fasting about Moroni's promise on Sunday! I'm excited. I love what it talks about at the end of Ch. 5 in Preach My Gospel, that we should all regularly put Moroni's promise to the test to renew our testimonies of the Book of Mormon. Even if we already have a strong testimony of it, it can always be strengthened! I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and the peace and guidance it's given me in my life! I know it's true and I love it a ton :)

I love you all! Thanks for being the best!!!

Love,
Sister Whipple






Monday, September 15, 2014

"Are you Liberian?"

Yes, I was actually asked that question this week, and I must say I was pretty flattered! :)

Anyways, how are you all?! I have had a good week. We had transfers on Thursday, and my new companion is Sister Kira Barker - and I couldn't be happier! If I had been able to pick another Sister Training Leader to be my companion, I would have picked her :) She is always so happy and I asked her how she stays so happy all the time, and she said she is just super grateful. I am going to try to work on being grateful in all things more. But yeah, she's from Salt Lake City area (I think she said Cottonwood Heights, or something like that), did two years at BYU (Lauren Meese, my previous roommate, was her resident assistant her first semester at BYU), and is the youngest of 5.

Getting my journal written in has been super hard, especially since becoming an STL, so if you don't mind I'm just going to go through the highlights of my week, so at least I have it somewhere!

Monday: We found a new investigator! She is awesome and is the sister of one of our other investigators. She committed to come to church and when we called her Sunday morning she was getting ready to go and sounded really happy...but then about 15 min or so before church started, we got a call from her daughter saying they just found out their dad died so they wouldn't be coming to church :( noo!! It's seriously been so hard to get people to church...but anyways, she is super sweet. And is Liberian.

Wet hair (and everything else) from rainstorms!
TuesdayWe did a lot of service in the morning, which was nice because it was inside and it rained a ton all day (though not as much as it did in AZ, apparently!). When we were out and about, we got super wet just running from the car to the door! We had a really good lesson with B and E C. and their mom, and showed them a couple of the Work of Salvation clips. Those are so awesome. We also had a good little lesson with A, who's Muslim but used to be Christian...we had to ask her if she would be in any danger at all if she ever chose to convert, because otherwise, we're not allowed to teach Muslims. But she said she would be OK, and since she's American and used to be Christian, she should be fine. She had to cancel her follow-up appointment, so I hope we get to teach her again soon!

Wednesday: P-day, followed by dinner at the Christensen's with their "dinner group." It's fun to see how lots of the med students in the ward kind of band together and support one another. We also got a call from Sister S, a sweet lady in our ward, who asked us to come by her apartment before Sister Pratt left...and she gave us a delicious chocolate PB cake with a frownie face on it haha! (because she was sad Sis Pratt was leaving) We shared it with the elders...and put chili powder on the zone leader's slices to get them back for the cupcakes. It was hilarious because theirs were the only ones with the chili powder so their faces were so confused! But we gave them good slices too :)

Thursday: Transfer meeting! It was so fun to see everyone there. Then we had a good dinner appointment in the evening, followed by a lesson with the W family...I don't remember if I told you about them or not, but they're a super interesting couple/family who attend the Unitarian Church. The dad talked a TON and ended up not really being super open to actually learning the truth, but we left on good terms and I think they felt the Spirit, so that was good :)

New District
Friday: We helped a recent convert and new member of the ward, with wedding preparations! It was fun (and a little out of my comfort zone!) being "creative" and tying ribbons and tulle onto chairs, lamps, etc. We had a great lesson on the Plan of Salvation with a less-active recent convert; had a fun little lesson with a sweet girl we met in the coffee shop when we stopped in to use the bathroom haha; and found and taught a new investigator who is the 20-year-old daughter of a less-active lady. She didn't come to church either...darn agency! But she said a sweet prayer at the end of our lesson and basically told Heavenly Father that if He tells her the Church is true, she'll get baptized. :)

We decorated those chairs :) haha
Saturday: Had a fun get-to-know-you district meeting, then helped with and attended the wedding we helped prepare for yesterday! I think it was good that we were able to help because he's not a member and she is super nervous about being in a new ward. It was a sweet wedding and was super classy (I wish I took more pictures! especially of her dress...it reminded me of how much Jenessa and KJ and I loved going to wedding receptions and checking everything out and eating the food ;) ). It was also super interesting because he's Buddhist and she's Mormon, so her previous bishop walked her down the aisle, and a Buddhist monk/whatever it's called did the actual ceremony! It was fun. Then we had a sweet lesson with that lady from Colorado who came to church last week! We taught her in the Christensen's home, and it was great. She now has a baptismal date for October 11!

Sunday: Church was good, and a less-active recent convert came to church and had her sweet baby blessed! Later in the afternoon, an awesome family in the ward hosted a BBQ to raise awareness about (and funds for) the health crisis with ebola in western Africa, since we have lots of members who have friends and family in Liberia/western Africa, and there is tons of misinformation about ebola. So they had a couple little presentations about it, with things like, "tell your family in Liberia to not touch the dead body at the funeral" because those kinds of things are part of their tradition...and also part of how the disease keeps getting passed around! It was awesome because we were able to see a lot of the Africans whom we've been having a hard time getting ahold of.

That's it, thanks for putting up with all my talking! Today during comp study we read in Preach My Gospel page 8 about helping people make and keep commitments, and I realized (again) just how important it is to "declare repentance" and how I need to pray and follow the Spirit to do so more effectively, especially in helping our investigators to keep commitments and progress. This really is "the most important path they will ever walk" and "eternity hangs in the balance"!

I love you all soooo much! I love this gospel. It really is a gospel of joy, and I am so grateful for that!

Love you,
Sister Whipple

One of the many crazy walls in Des Moines

Monday, September 8, 2014

Platinum Kutz


One of the many graffiti walls in Des Moines
Hello there!

Well, this week has been...quite the week! I feel like at the end of each week all I can say is..."oh, what a week!" Honestly it's been pretty discouraging at times, but then there are so many miracles. Also, let's just start with the crazy news...transfer doctrine calls! President Jensen called us at 8:15 this morning and told me that I'm staying in Des Moines and continuing to serve as a sister training leader, which we were expecting...and Sister Pratt is getting transferred and released as a STL so she can whitewash and train a new sister! So crazy. She has had the craziest mission - this will be her SEVENTH area and her second or third time only being in an area for one transfer. I am a little worried about bringing yet another sister into Des Moines, especially with zero progressing investigators here...but it will be good, miracles will happen :)

Speaking of miracles...let me tell you about yesterday! We were sitting in church singing the opening hymn, and I could barely sing because I was frustrated and discouraged and just wanted to cry. We worked so, so hard this week, doing everything we know to find investigators and help them to progress - yet not a single person whom we invited or who said they'd come to church showed up. And all these investigators of the elders kept walking in, and it was killing me! haha. But, then right after the Sacrament, a member couple walked in and walked past us, and the Sister looked at us and pointed at the lady walking in behind her and made a face like, TALK TO HER. haha so after Sacrament Meeting, we talked to her and found out that she moved to Des Moines this week from Colorado, and had met with the sisters a little there and basically wants to get baptized as soon as possible! Her name is T, she's probably like in her 40's, and she's so sweet! The members were awesome at making her feel really loved and welcomed, and she is basically super pumped about the Church. Yet another testimony builder that Heavenly Father will help us as we do all we can, and that this really is His work, and He's the one who makes the miracles - not me :)

Oh also, fasting totally works! At the beginning of my mission, in my second transfer, President Jensen set a goal for each area to have one baptism per transfer. That seemed crazy at the time, but ever since Daniel got baptized, I've been super blessed and have been able to reach that goal! But, here with every single person dropping off the map, Sister Pratt and I have been pretty worried that we won't be able to get a baptism this next transfer, especially since it's only a 5-week transfer instead of the usual 6. We really want to reach this goal, especially with it being a sister training leader area that's supposed to be a model for others to look towards. So on Thursday, we fasted to find someone who will be ready to be baptized before the end of next transfer. Then T showed up at church. We haven't actually taught her yet, but we think she might be the answer to our fast and prayers! :)

Other than that, things have kind of just been moving along fairly normally. Or, as normal as missions get haha. Remember that awesome miracle man who waved us down at the sculpture park last week? Yeah, about that...we had a sweet lesson with him in a member's home on Tuesday and set a baptismal date with him for Sept. 27. He was pretty excited and asked if we could meet every day, and he was super committed to our next day's appointment. When we got there the next day, he was no where to be found. He doesn't have a phone, and he didn't give us his address, so all we knew was where he works - Platinum Cuts (or "Kutz," as they like to spell it) on University. We had a member look up the address for us, then we went to go find him. We walk inside this barbershop, and it's like full of these black guys shaving crazy designs into people's hair and rocking out to crazy loud rap music...and we're these two little white girls in skirts haha! They all turned around and looked at us and were like..."can we help you??" We were so intimidated, haha! We told them who we were looking for, and they said they'd never heard of a him and he definitely doesn't work there. They told us there was another Platinum Kutz, so we tried to find it but couldn't...so we decided to GO BACK to this crazy barbershop to get the actual address. When we walked in yet again, they were like...do you want a hair cut?! haha they were actually suuuper funny and nice. They thought we were Amish at first haha but asked if they could have some of our business cards (and asked if we could pass out some of theirs.) When we were talking to the owner, he yelled at the man across the room and was like, "THIS IS SISTER WHIPPIE, AND THIS IS SISTER PRATT!" then turns to us and is like, "That's Brother Mikey, you gotta pray for him." I wish you could have been there. They were awesome. It was great. But, no miracle man from the park. No idea who this kid is or why he said he works there, but no one knows anything about him. Sad day!

Wednesday and Thursday were terrible haha...especially Thursday. Three member-present lessons in a row set up, three member-present lessons fall through. We had to laugh, it was just ridiculous :) But actually, Thursday morning we had a fun experience - we got permission to go to Indianola to help out the elders there with an inter-faith fair at Simpson College! They were invited to have a booth there, and the elders asked if we could come so that there were both elders and sisters. I was super impressed with the elders, they did a great job! Not a lot of students came, which was a bummer, but we did get to talk to some cool people and found a couple potentials for the elders there. It was a fun experience :)



The Mormon Booth :)
We also taught a whole lot of less-active and recent-convert/new-member lessons this week. It's hard to find a good balance because there's TONS of less-active work to do here, and it's super important, but of course we still need to keep finding and working with investigators. It was good though :) We also taught a lady the Restoration after our English class, and this time we had another person there who could translate for us, so it went a lot better :)

We met with the Relief Society president, during the week, and she went through every single woman in the ward whom we didn't know anything about, and told us what she knows so that we have a better grasp on the ward and whom to focus on! It was super helpful and we feel like we have some more direction now. She's awesome.

As for my Preach My Gospel studies, I read a little bit about preparing people for baptism and confirmation and how to make sure they're prepared. I think what stood out to me was how crucial the ordinance of baptism is, and how even though the standards are fairly high - Word of Wisdom, law of chastity, etc. - it's more simple than we sometimes think. I think we sometimes think that someone has to be a picture-perfect Mormon to be ready to be baptized, and that's not it at all! Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want us to be baptized - it's the first thing Jesus Christ teaches about when He visits the Americas! I'm so grateful to have been baptized and have the gift of the Holy Ghost in my life, and I want to be even more committed to extend that blessing to all others.

That's about it! Wish me luck this week with transfers! It feels so weird getting yet another companion after having two comps in a row whom I've only served with for one transfer each...I must be scaring them off...haha but it should be good. I know that Heavenly Father loves all of us soooo much and that He wants to bless us! I also know that we go through hard times for a reason - "whom the Lord loves, He corrects" (something like that, in Proverbs 3 or sometimes like that :) ). I love being a missionary! And I love you all!!!

Love,
Sister Whipple

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

like having grandchildren!

Hello!

Hope you all enjoyed your labor day! :) Our's was great. Though Sister Pratt went to bed last night and then woke up today feeling pretty sick, and now I'm feeling sick too...so hopefully it'll blow over quickly!

This past week we went on two exchanges! It was actually a lot of fun, and the week went by really quickly. Our first exchange was with the Lamoni sisters!!


 We met in Osceola where they were having interviews, and then I went down to Lamoni with Sister Froerer! Ahhhh it was sooooo great, and really quick healing and therapeutic in a way, though I know that sounds a little weird. It was super fun because Sister Froerer is pretty new to Lamoni, so she wanted help and advice, and I loved being able to help her a little. The sisters have done amazing down there. Do you remember Sister V, the inactive lady we found by some miracle who started coming back to church? Yeah...she's getting MARRIED and her fiancée is getting BAPTIZED like the day after the wedding! And he's AWESOME and has already read the ENTIRE Book of Mormon AND Doctrine and Covenants! I can't get over that. It's incredible. We also got to say hi to the sweet Slayton's, met with another lady who I love, and read the Book of Mormon with a dear young woman I had worked with when I was in Lamoni! She has had some hiccups but is pressing forward and doing great - we are so proud of her! It was fun laying in bed in our apartment and thinking about all the memories there. Anyways, I decided that going back to your old area is like having grandchildren - you can visit and have fun for the day, then leave and let the parents take care of the dirty work ;)

We also had exchanges with the Winterset sisters! 


This time, Sister Pratt went to Winterset (the birthplace of John Wayne) with one sister, and I brought the other back to Des Moines with me. It was a good exchange, but a hard one too. While on the exchange we got a new investigator, and set a baptismal date with J, which was a sweet lesson! So that was good :)

Tuesday we had interviews with President and Sister Jensen. They were wonderful. I needed those! Oh, speaking of interviews...guess who the new assistant to the president is? ELDER CLEVERLEY, one of my favorite zone leaders from Oskaloosa! Yeah, we're pretty pumped.

On Thursday we had a Relief Society activity, which was really fun because we got to meet and get to know better a lot of the women in the ward. I love them! It is crazy because there were three of them there - all married, two with kids - who graduated in 2010 with me. I'm getting old!

Yesterday we had a sweet miracle! We've really been struggling with investigators lately - we find them, and then they drop so quickly or just don't progress. (oh speaking of which, one lady we've been working with dropped us, hard!) So at the end of the week, for the first time in a very long time, we didn't have a single investigator on date (we can't count them as "on date" unless they've come to Sacrament Meeting, and none of them came except for R, but we're waiting to set a date with her because of some different situations). So that was a little discouraging, especially since we're trying really hard. But then yesterday during our p-day, we decided to go walk around the sculpture park downtown. As we were walking, a man waved us down and came up to us, asking what church we go to. I started saying the name of the Church, but he was like, "I know that, I'm a Mormon - what church building do you go to?" He said that he just moved here and wants to know where to go to church. We talked for a bit, and then Sis Pratt asked him when he got baptized...and he said that he never actually got baptized because he didn't feel he was ready, but now he wants to be! We had a lesson with him right there on a park bench and went over the baptismal interview questions, almost all of which he already knew and had great answers to! My favorite part was when he asked if we could kneel and say a prayer, right there in the park in downtown Des Moines on the concrete...it was great :) We met with him again today and set a baptismal date for September 27. We're hoping he's committed and is able to progress...he's had a rough past and is a little different, but he seems really sincere and will hopefully stick around! We're having faith! :)

My favorite thing to study in Preach My Gospel this week was the section on bearing testimony. It doesn't really matter how smart we are or how well-spoken we are or whether or not we cry when we feel the Spirit...it just matters how much we really internalize the doctrines we teach and then bear testimony of them! I love that because it makes me feel empowered to be able to fulfill my purpose as a missionary - because sometimes, it's so overwhelming :) Thank YOU all for sharing your testimonies with me. You mean so much! I love you all!

Love,
Sister Whipple