Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Braille of Mormon

for Cali - I tried taking a cool picture with my nametag by the sign like one she sent to me, but it kept getting blurry, so I just took this pic instead :)

I feel like I don't have a whole lot to say this week, so sorry if it's boring! We had a good week and had more member-present lessons than usual, so that was good! Also, one lady is so awesome, and if her work schedule works out, she just might get baptized this Saturday! She is facing a lot of opposition but she is strong and knows that this is the right thing for her to do, even though others tell her crazy things. Her work schedule this past weekend changed, so she was able to come to church for the second week in a row! And one of her fellowshippers gave her a priesthood blessing, which was so sweet. We love her so much!

We also worked a lot with another lady this week, and it's been up and down like nobody's business. I can't really get into details and don't really want to, but it's been stressful and we're just really trying to figure out what to do to help her be truly spiritually converted. It's hard, but things will work out somehow!

We went on an exchange with the Walnut Hills sisters (Call & Chirinos), and I went with Sis. Chirinos to their area, which was fun. They serve in the Urbandale/Clive area, which is basically a bunch of developments and Des Moines suburbia...I am SO glad that I am in the actual city of Des Moines and not a suburb! They didn't really have any set appointments, so we went tracting/finding most of the day, which was fine, but tracting rows and rows of cookie-cutter houses with white, middle-class families who all go to Hope Lutheran Church is hard haha! We did find some good potentials and a new investigator though, so there were miracles! They are awesome sisters and have wonderful attitudes and work hard :)

End of Exchanges
We had a lesson with a super sweet but also pretty crazy lady! Haha I can't even explain it...we just meet the most fun people on our missions! We met her at Fazzoli's, and literally could NOT get out of there for over 2 hours! We could hardly get a word in, she just talked nonstop and literally hardly touched her food the whole time. It was so crazy. But, we got free lunch and it was delicious :)

Oh! One fun thing is the elders passed an investigator to us, who's 100% completely blind! She is super sweet! I don't think I've ever talked to anyone who's totally blind before, so it was fun trying to figure things out (for example, turning on the light when we walked in and turning it off when we left, because it doesn't make any difference to her whether it's on or off!). The elders got her a braille Book of Mormon, and it's HUGE - 6 huge binders with double-sided huge braille pages! It was so cool to see her reading from it - she said she's been reading braille since she was three! She's really sweet and has a baptismal date for December and should be coming to church this coming up Sunday!

We didn't have as good of a turn out at church yesterday, which was disappointing, but honestly a lot less stressful too haha. We went by one lady's to see why she didn't come, and she gave us a whole metal tin full of banana bread and some sort of African donuts, and she was like, "share with the other missionaries and tell them that it's from Sister P from the church!" She is so funny. We also were finally able to extend a baptismal date to her! She said that if it's God's will for her to be baptized then, then she will. We need to throw a big African wedding for all the people living with people they're not married to though...that is seriously my dream right now haha. But in the mean time, Sis Barker and I are making progress with our Liberian accents.

I had a mini piece of personal revelation this morning! Last night I was struggling a little (mostly because I was being dumb haha) because I was just feeling discouraged and feeling like we work so hard here and get SO close and then people fall through, and I found out that Sis. Barker has had 19 baptisms and multiple families and I was like, THAT'S LIKE THREE TIMES MY MISSION haha. Seriously, I'm kind of embarrassed that I still struggle with comparing myself to others so much and with things that don't "appear" to be "fair", so I hope you don't judge me too much for that! But, this morning as I was waking up, it hit me that this life is so short compared to eternity, and things that don't seem fair in this life won't really matter at all in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes we look at others and they seem sooo much farther along on the spiritual path or whatever than we are, and Satan uses that to bring us down. But Heavenly Father doesn't really care about all of that! He just wants us to do our best with the things we've been given. I have made so many mistakes and fallen short over and over again, but I need to trust that as long as I keep doing my best and keep living the gospel of Jesus Christ, then everything really will be OK. It reminded me of a quote from one of my favorite talks, "Laborers in the Vineyard" by Elder Holland: 

"God really is both just and merciful, giving to all who stand with Him 'all that he hath.'" That's really all there is to it. Heavenly Father just asks that we stand with Him, and if we do that, we will all receive "all that He hath" - and that's a lot more than the little things we seem to miss out on in this life.

I love you all so much! :)

Sister Whipple

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