Monday, October 20, 2014

when it rains, it pours!


Well, our drought finally seemed to come to an end - we had FOUR investigators at church, plus less-actives! Ahhh miracles!!! Here is the list (Names have been removed for confidentiality):
  • Lady 1: Bringing cinnamon rolls to her Sunday morning worked! So glad she came.
  • Our 9-year-old investigator...even more amazing, her inactive mom, brought her, along with her mother! It was incredible because when we first met with them, the girl's mom said she wouldn't come to church but would find her daughter a ride, but then she just brought her herself! And it was wonderful because she grew up here, so there were several people at church who knew and recognized her and just showered her with love, and she seemed really happy :)
  • Lady 2 came with her kids ages 9 and 5, and we didn't even have to go get her Sunday morning! And...she totally paid tithing - I didn't know you could do that if you're not a member, but she grabbed a tithing envelope, put some money in it, and was like, "I need to pay my tithes" (we haven't taught her the commandments yet!) so I just pointed out the bishop to her and let him take care of it haha. She said she hopes to come every week!
  • Lady 3, the sweetest inactive member I have ever met. Her records showed up a little bit ago so the Relief Society president asked us if we'd go check up on her. She lives in a group home, and Sis. Barker visited with her when she was on exchanges a few weeks ago, and then we went together on Tuesday. This lady is seriously incredible. I don't know the last time she's gone to church, but she served a mission years ago and was previously sealed in the temple, but that marriage ended and at some point she seemed to just lose contact with the church. Her most recent husband, who wasn't a member, passed away a few months ago, and she felt like she had been forgotten about...until Sis. Barker showed up last week :) We are teaching her the lessons again and she has the strongest, most sincere testimony. She will just sit there and say things like "I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know Heavenly Father loves me. I love Him so much" with tears in her eyes. It was such a spiritual experience to be there with her. She wants to come back so badly, and she is taking the steps to do so!
That's the most exciting news of the week :) Here are some other highlights:
  • Fall has been beautiful :)
  • We went bowling on Monday again and I had a good time :) Though, I was SO mad after the first round because I was SO close to breaking 100, but then my very last bowl went into the gutter and I finished with a 98! I couldn't believe it haha.
  • We had a "movie night" with a lady and her two kids and watched "The Testaments" with them. They are struggling a little - she is having to work every Sunday now so getting the two kids to church has been a really big struggle, and when they don't come to church, the struggles at home just escalade...I'm definitely gaining a testimony of the importance of church attendance, that's for sure! But, watching the movie with them was fun and will hopefully get them more excited about reading the Book of Mormon. Also, it's definitely one of the more quotable movies - Sis Barker and I have been quoting it all week now :) (she's a movie quote master)
  • We had a really good lesson with the family we met last week! We taught them English, then taught them about the Godhead using a cups and knives object lesson. They asked good questions and actually seemed really interested. Plus, I think my favorite way to teach is definitely with us all sitting on the floor - it just seems so much more comfortable for all of us!
  • We also had a good lesson with a lady. She is focusing in our lessons more and more, and seems to be really touched by how much her young kids are learning. She loves us and is always like, "come in, sister missionaries!" I highly doubt any African knows my name haha.
  • We've had some good lessons with another lady too. We've been emphasizing the importance of CPR (church, prayer, reading the scriptures). Little by little...She is seriously so sweet to us though. We love her a lot :)
  • Thursday evening had some cool little tender mercies. Our plans kept seeming to change/fall through all day, so we didn't feel like we had been super productive. So, instead of taking a whole hour for dinner and then going to a Relief Society activity, we just ate quickly, then decided to use our extra 15 minutes or so to knock a couple houses. We drove towards the church and then both felt just the slightest prompting to go down one street, so we did, and we ended up talking to a super nice man who was sitting outside his house! He goes to a Greek Orthodox Church (EVERY time I want to ask them about My Big Fat Greek Wedding and start quoting it haha), and he was super sincere, and we had a really good conversation! He's really busy but gave us his number. I'm not sure how much will come of it right now, but it was definitely a positive interaction! And then we felt much better going to the activity and interacting with the sisters in the ward and strengthening those relationships :)
Two cute girls at church - they became friends :) And it was perfect because Sis Barker and I helped out in Primary, so we were able to watch out for them a little :)
  • I love young kids, period. Especially when they are in rougher homes and I feel like I can be kind of a good older sister to them. We loved teaching a 9 year old who gets so excited when we come to see her! We also taught a man's three sons (less-active Sudanese family), and two of them said the cutest prayers (the 8-year-old was like, "please help me to be able to be baptized so I can have my sins washed away," and they both prayed for their mom that "her arms and legs and back will feel better" because she is always in a lot of pain). When we went to another family's on Sunday, and the two boys were super happy to see us, and when we visited another lady, her cute boys ran up to us and hugged us. Wow they make my heart melt :)
  • We knocked into a guy who talked with us for a while but said he wasn't really interested, so we just left him with our card, and he actually texted us...but definitely for the wrong reasons! He kept trying to ask us out. Super uncomfortable! Thank goodness after we stopped responding, he didn't try to text/call us anymore. And we walk reallllly fast whenever we have to pass by his house now haha.
  • We received a sweet referral from a man in Utah! They are a young couple and we finally got to meet them yesterday and they were SO nice. They were on their way out, but we are hoping they become new investigators this week!

We are constantly blessed here. Heavenly Father has been teaching me a lot and trying my patience a lot here, but it has been good for me, and the miracles are happening! I am so grateful to be a missionary. I am so grateful to have a companion whom I get along with so well! And I am eternally grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ, that allows me to return home to my Heavenly Father with my wonderful family :) I love you all so much!!!

Sister Whipple

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