Monday, December 29, 2014


Dearest familia (and friends)!

It was soooo great talking to you on Skype on Christmas! holy cow, I have the best family in the whole world. Thanks so much for being so fun and chill and awesome!

So I already told you over Skype about the beginning of my week, but seeing how I still haven't caught up in my journal for a while (surprise surprise), here is a quick run-down:

Monday we printed off our Christmas cards during p-day. Did you get them?! We also taught a cute little 5 year old the plan of salvation, because his parents are finalizing the adoption of his little sister (she's the little Indian baby who passed away months ago, and in Iowa, you can still finalize after they've passed away!) and are planning on going to the temple in the near future to have her sealed to them. So sweet.

I snatched this picture of watching "Finding Faith" on Christmas Eve before they turned off the lights :)
Tuesday was Joseph Smith's birthday. haha. We also were on exchanges with the hermanas (I was with Hermana Lundell in our area) and it was such a good day! We had an awesome lesson with our incredible new investigator Amber. The P family has been fellowshipping her, which was seriously so cool because Br. P's whole family was here in town visiting for Christmas, and they just took her right in! They drove her to church and had her over for FHE, and then when we asked Sis. P to go with us to a lesson on Tuesday, she said that she couldn't make it but that her mother-in-law would LOVE to go...and she was so awesome! There was so much love :) The girl we had the lesson with wants to be baptized on the 10th! Ahh! I sure hope that happens, but even if it doesn't happen before I leave, it'll be OK because she's so ready and prepared. Anyways, we also met with another lady on Tuesday and reset a date with her for the 10th as well...I don't think as of now she'll make it though. She's SO ready but she says we're pushing her and she wants to take her time.  I just need to be patient and love and help her, because she is still wonderful! Later we went to Sis. R's, which is where I passed out like I told you about hahaha.

Wednesday morning we had district meeting and did a fun white elephant gift exchange aka get rid of some junk that's collected in the apartments haha. Our elders are great, I love them. Then we had Christmas Eve lunch at the Cluff's, which was fun and really sweet of them, even though neither of us felt very good so that was a little hard haha. Then we taught a good lesson with a lady on the Restoration! We went to dinner at the Andelin's house, which was delicious (the dinner, not the house), and then acted out the Nativity with them! I loved it soooo much. And I got to play on their beautiful baby grand while we sang Christmas carols :) Then we went to a lady's and watched "Finding Faith in Christ" with her and her family, and it was the sweetest thing to do on a Christmas Eve night - helped me to remember why we even celebrate Christmas and why Christ came to earth for us! Then we dropped by a lady's house and wished her and her kids a Merry Christmas :)

 district meeting white elephant exchange

Thursday we got to stay in bed until 8am! We opened our gifts together and ate breakfast. Thanks so much for the sweet gifts! You guys are so sweet. I felt your love so much and loved that :) We visited a couple of ladies during the morning. They were both pretty lonely so I was happy we could see them. Then we had lunch at a cute family's house, then went to the mission home and had the best time with President and Sister Jensen, their family, the assistants, and other missionaries who came through. I am so blessed to be in Des Moines! Afterwards, we went to a lady's and had the most fun visit with her, where she talked about how excited she was to get baptized and how she's going to come visit us in Utah and Arizona someday haha :) And then she said the longest prayer of my life and her friend was soooo into it. I love her. It was fun talking to them about their language and culture and country :) Then I Skyped you and it was the best! Thanks!

On Friday we taught Amber; we went on a long walk while talking and finally ducked into a Dairy Queen because we got really cold haha. She is so sweet. 

Saturday we were a mess all day because it was the day of the baptism and we were so stressed haha! We saw a lady in the morning and planned her baptism because that's what she wanted to do! Then we scrambled making the baptismal programs (ward mission leader is out of town) and doing other last-minute things. We stopped by the lady who was getting baptized that day, and it was crazy because she told us that her kids almost didn't get back from their dad's, and she had been so stressed because she couldn't get a hold of him! But then she got a call from him saying that his phone had been off, and that her cute daughter had woken him up that morning and told him that they needed to get home that morning because she was getting baptized :) wooh! The baptism was beautiful. I still can't believe it still happened - 17 days after we met them! There was a good turnout for how many people were out of town. And even though the person who was supposed to baptize them fell through at the last minute, Br. B came to the rescue and did a wonderful job baptizing them both. The Spirit was so strong. I was sitting in between the two girls during the first part of the service, and they belted out the hymns ("I Believe in Christ" and then "When I Am Baptized") as if they had been singing those their whole life. The mom had tears running down her cheeks during the opening hymn, as she watched her daughter get baptized, and then as she entered the font. It was so sweet to be able to wrap a towel around each of them and give them a big hug as they came out. It was pretty much perfect :)

Sunday morning, the mom who was baptized on Saturday calls us and hurriedly tells us that she made African food for the ward and that we need to come pick it up and put it in our car to take to church so that she can get ready and drive her family there! Haha we were kind of confused but we went anyways and she proceeded to put big pots of rice, foofoo, soup, and stew into our car! We called the RS president on the way to church and told her what was going on, and she was a champ haha. We put it in the kitchen, and Sis A (Relief Society President) announced it during relief society. 

I will never get over the wigs of these sweet Africans. Look at her amazing spread!

Then after church, we opened up the divider between the RS room and the kitchen and pulled out the food, and it was a pretty amazing little feast she had provided for everyone! I was so worried that no one was going to eat it or would say things about it being disgusting, but everyone was so nice and a lot of people enjoyed it! It was so awesome haha. Sister Matley and I were true Africans and ate it with our hands :) The foofoo (don't know if I'm spelling that right at all) was some sort of plantain mixed with a kind of root that I forget what it's called, and you'd take some of that and dip it in the fish/shrimp soup and eat it...and the rice you'd take and eat with the fish/shrimp/chicken stew. I was so scared to eat it but it actually wasn't bad at all, and I really liked the foofoo! :) bucket list item, check :) Also, she and her family were early to church. Just have to throw that out there because that never happens with Africans haha (sorry!). Their confirmations were wonderful. They are such awesome members and I hope that they will stay strong and help the other Africans to be strong as well.

We had dinner with the Anderson's yesterday (RS pres and ward clerk). They are leaving this week for a sailing voyage and won't be back until late, we'll see how things go with them gone, haha!

Wow that was a really long email haha sorry. But I love you all so much! I'm so glad that you were able to have a good time together this Christmas. That is such a blessing :) I was just thinking this morning about how when I first came out, I'd often while finding say to people something like, "we teach people how to come closer to Christ," but I didn't really know exactly what that meant, because I felt like we taught people about Joseph Smith and the Restoration more than anything. But I realized that while I definitely do not have a perfect understanding still of the gospel (obviously), we really do help people to come closer to Christ because we help them to strengthen their faith in Christ, to repent, and to be baptized by priesthood authority so that they can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and enter to gate to eternal life. It is such a blessing! So now when I tell people that we teach about Christ and how to strengthen our relationship with Him, I get excited because I know that it really is true :)

Thank you for all you do! I love you!!
Sister Whipple

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Sister Waffle

stake Christmas concert
Hello there!

Well as you (well, at least you of the family) know, this week I decided to go back to San Jose after the mish and do the internship with Sister Gubler's company. And for any non-family members reading this, that was a last-minute change of plans and I should be back in Utah come spring term! It was super hard to decide. Maybe I made the wrong decision, maybe I made the right decision, but it's too late to change now!...and even though I am sad I won't be back in Utah, I am super excited for this opportunity in San Jose! I think it will be really great. Thanks for supporting me either way.

This week was good! The whole transfer honestly has been so crazy. It's definitely been one of the busiest, most stressful times of my mission, but it is good - Heavenly Father's not letting me off easy, and I am grateful for that.

MLC sisters - Christmas tree & gifts :)
So, Tuesday was MLC in Iowa City, which was fun! And that meant that most of our Thursday and Friday were spent at three different zone training meetings. It was the hardest ZTM set I've had to plan for, because the zone leaders each asked us to train on slightly different things. It was fun :) Depending on the zone, we presented Sister Jensen's training on some scriptures about missionary work and the "He is the Gift" initiative, as well as President's training on Jesus Christ and also some of the attributes of Satan and how they are opposing. It was interesting, especially since at MLC the report and items of discussion took SO long, so the trainings we received were super short and summarized! But the Spirit was strong and Heavenly Father helped us for sure :)  

Christmas decorations 
Two girls we are working with are still doing great and are excited for their baptism on Saturday!! One of them totally stood up in church when they announced her baptism haha...I LOVE when unconventional things happen at church. They were both interviewed by our district leader on Saturday, and then we faced the daunting task of filling out the baptismal record when she doesn't know how to spell where she came from or her children's names or know her parents' birth dates or anything like that...haha, gotta love it :) We are so excited. Oh also, they call me "Sister Waffle," which is super cute and I kind of love it :)

We also found a sweet new investigator on Friday! We are super blessed in Des Moines and seem to receive more media referrals than other parts of the mission (at least, than my other areas!). Amy (name has been changed) was one of those, and her friend in another part of Des Moines (not in our ward) has been talking to her about the church and apparently told her that when she was ready, that she'd "stick the missionaries" on her. Well, after about a year of studying, Amy said that she was ready! So we've only taught her once but she came to church on Sunday and seemed to really like it :) We will set a baptismal date with her this week!

closest thing I can get to holding a baby!
On Saturday, both two ladies came to a baptism that the assistants were having, so that was really good. We had four investigators at church yesterday. With everyone leaving for Christmas, it was crazy trying to find them all rides...and then Sister Anderson, our RS president, texted us at about 10:30 and said that her car battery died! And she was the one taking one of the investigator's family of four! We were at the church already, and sweet Br. Vela, who was also there, jumped into his car and went and picked them up. We were so, so grateful. With their baptism on Saturday, it was so crucial for them to be there! 

I'm so excited to talk to you guys on Christmas! 

I love you all so much! Thanks for everything you do. I am so grateful to be a missionary and I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and everything that comes along with having the restored gospel of Jesus Christ on earth today! Talk to you soon. :)

Sister Whipple

Monday, December 15, 2014

more miracles

Well hello!

I guess I better get down to business and crank out this letter. Sorry that I spent so much time on the other stuff (figuring out school, etc.) that I am running out of time for this!

Well the week before last, our numbers were pretty low with transfers and everything...and this week went up again! It was exciting. We found a lot of investigators and also had the hugest miracle! It started on Wednesday, when we were on exchanges with the Winterset sisters. I was with Sister Robinson, who is just the greatest! We went to go contact a media referral. Turns out that she is the sister of a lady we know, who has been in the hospital from her stroke...and we had just visited her that day that we went and saw this new lady! She told us that she was taught in Arizona and had a baptismal date but had to move last-minute (Africans do that so much) and came here. She has three kids, the oldest being 9 years old - so she was like, "my daughter will baptize with me too!" On that first visit, she explained to us why we need prophets and how she knows that Joseph Smith is a true prophet. The next day, Sister Matley and I went over and reviewed the baptismal interview questions and invited her to be baptized on Dec. 27!  We called the Mission President to see if he could give her an interview but it took a while to get a hold of him because he was in Nauvoo and the service is terrible there, so finally we talked to him on like Friday and found out that he will only be in Des Moines for a couple days. So he called us Sunday morning and was like, "will she be at church? Can I come interview her at 12:45 today?" We couldn't say no, so during gospel principles Sis Matley took her out, taught her the law of chastity and tithing and Sabbath day (she already knew them all, thankfully), and she was interviewed and passed! So in less than a week, we found a new investigator who already passed her baptismal interview :) It's been crazy, but so amazing!

Tuesday was the Christmas zone conference :) It was amazing - those are the best ever! I was asked the Saturday before to accompany a musical number...naturally :) Sister Barney (serving in Ames) was asked to sing, but we didn't have anything specific in mind and only had a couple days...thankfully I had "O Holy Night" from playing that last year with Sis Etherington, so she sang that and it was beautiful :) We also watched "Ephraim's Rescue" again and I cried haha - since getting closer to the end, my tears run more's weird ;) We also did skits, and I helped with two of district did a really fun one of Ammon and Aaron. Two of our elders changed the words to the song "Tribute" (don't know it) and made it fit perfectly with the story, so it was a lot of fun. I also helped with my previous district...they did an epic spin-off of Star Wars (I don't even like the word epic but it's really the only word that fit it haha!) in which Anakin was Nephi, etc., and I played bits and pieces of the Star Wars music that one of the elders obtained and gave me. It was really fun.

I've been stressed about a lady we've been teaching, but on a lighter note, have you all seen the "He is the Gift" video? I'm sure it's all over social media haha. We have a bunch of cards promoting it that we've been handing out, and it's awesome! They are the easiest pass-along cards to hand out. We walked around Drake University and handed a bunch out, which was a lot of fun. It's such a non-threatening thing that I'm super grateful for!

I think that's about all I have time for. Except one funny lesson we had Saturday night when we taught three Muslims from Iraq and they were all yelling over each other in Arabic and were spraying Febreze because it smelled like fish and were just soooo funny. Sister Matley and I struggled to not lose it and crack up during the lesson! :)

I love you all so much. I know that Heavenly Father is blessing us a ton and I am so grateful to Him! Sometimes I just can't get over all the miracles that happen all the time. The gospel is true! I'm so grateful to be sharing the message of Christ during Christmas! I love you!!

Sister Whipple

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Hello loved ones!

Well, it's crazy to think that it's come down to this, but I went to my last transfer meeting (not counting when I go home) and got my last companion! She is Sister Devyn Matley, she's from Holiday, UT, and she is a doll. She reminds me so much of Sister Etherington, it is out of control haha! Good thing I love Sis Etherington, so it's all good :)
 Sisters Egbert, Matley (that's my new companion! haha), Browne, me, Pratt, Rogers, and Barker :) I look super funny haha.

The last few days with Sister Barker were great. I miss her already! We FINALLY got to see a lady we've been working with, and she is still wonderful and wants to get baptized! Things got complicated with her son's dad coming back into the picture, but she came to church and BORE HER TESTIMONY. It was so cool. She is the sweetest person ever! Also she's like the best fellowshipped person - the ward loves her. Sister M, a lady in the ward, has totally taken her under her wing, it is incredible. She even took her to Thanksgiving dinner with her last week! I'm so grateful.

On Monday, the Craypo's took us to Indian food for dinner. It was delicious.

Thursday was transfers. There were 21 missionaries returning home, which is the largest group they've ever had coming from here. We returned home just in time to drop off Sis. Matley's things and go straight to the church for the Relief Society Christmas activity! It was a really nice event, and was fun for Sis. Matley to go on her first evening in Des Moines.

We worked with our investigator, J,a lot this week. She finally opened up about some struggles she's been having. She's so sweet but she's just feeling really confused about everything. Sister Call (bless her heart) drove her to watch the Christmas devotional with us at the stake center, which was awesome. It was crazy though because J had a panic attack during the broadcast, and I've never really seen anything like that before. I just put my arm around her and held her hand and tried to calm her down until she was OK again. I am learning a lot from her, that's for sure! She probably won't be getting baptized on the 20th, but hopefully will get there soon.

Church yesterday was perfect for me - the Spirit was so strong. I was really grateful for the opportunity to fast too - it didn't even seem hard, which is a big deal for me haha! I had been struggling with feeling like I'm not fulfilling my purpose or doing well enough or setting a good enough example, and just having faith and not getting discouraged. And everything at church just seemed directed towards me and my needs (funny how that happens). I also asked Elder Curless, one of the missionaries in the ward, to give me a blessing, and it was wonderful. I really am happy and I'm doing fine, I just felt like I needed an extra boost to help me in my last transfer. I am excited to give it everything I've got, because I have nothing I need to hold back! I am in the final sprint now, and I am going to do my very best and have faith and believe in miracles :)

Yesterday after the devotional, we decided to swing by the mission home to say hi because it is literally just around the corner. We debated a little whether we should or not, but we decided to just go for it. It was awesome haha! President Jensen came to the door holding a fudgesicle and was like, "come on in and have a fudgesicle with me!" In my letter from President today, it said, "It was great to see you tonight and to share a fudgesicle in the cold Iowa winter." haha I love him and Sister Jensen so much!

I'm so grateful for the Atonement and I know that it's real! I'm grateful for this Christmas season. It's a wonderful time to be representing Jesus Christ. I love you all so much :)

Sister Whipple

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

live in thanksgiving daily


I've aged a lot on my mission...haha we took this at the Iowa Historical Museum last Monday! :)
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Ours was good. And we have been living in Thanksgiving "daily" by eating leftovers basically every single day since Thursday haha :)

There was a lot that happened this week, where do I start...

We found two new investigators! The first is really sweet and when we invited her to be baptized, she said she's already been we started explaining to her how we invite people who've already been baptized to be baptized again, only by priesthood authority, and she jumped all over that! What a relief, because that's always hard haha. :) The other new investigator is Chin and is a refugee from Burma. He is really sweet and has a hard time with the language, but he's really sincere and is really trying to understand and to find an answer about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and everything. And, he came to Sacrament Meeting yesterday! :) The other lady didn't come because her two kids were sick, but she wants to so hopefully she will soon :)

Sister Barker went on the departing temple trip on Tuesday, so I had with me Sister Chirinos from Walnut Hills and Sister Howard from Winterset, because both of their companions were also on the trip. We had a good day, which I was super grateful for. We got to see a lot of people and have a lot of good lessons, including one with our Sudanese grandmother, in which we set a baptismal date for February 21 and she asked us if she can come to church! She was out of town this past weekend, but hopefully she'll be at church this coming up Sunday :)

"You ought to give Iowa a try"
On Wednesday evening we had dinner with Sister Strayer (a member who feeds us about once a month), which was awesome because a recent convert in the West Des Moines Ward, was also there with his two daughters (one is 8, the other about 14). It was fun because their family has been going through a lot, and the two girls were excited to meet "girl" missionaries and really seemed to enjoy spending time with us. There are so many moments when I am so grateful to be a missionary! We put on these nametags and suddenly we become superheroes in some people's eyes, and it's not us at all - it's just Heavenly Father giving us this amazing blessing of being able to serve His children in whatever small way that we can :)

Thanksgiving was fun, and interesting haha. We had district meeting in the morning, which was really fun. Then we had plans to see all these different people who are single or who we thought wouldn't really have anyone to spend Thanksgiving with...but everyone was busy and no one was really available to visit, so it kind of made us laugh! But finally we went over to the Burgess family's home, where we celebrated their cute daughter's birthday and enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner and games with them. I feel like the Burgess kids are my younger siblings, and it's fun because the oldest is on a mission. They remind me of you guys :) It was a fun dinner too because they are vegetarian, so it was my first and probably my last vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner! It was good though - we had amazing rolls, carrot soup, potatoes, green bean casserole, pie, and the works. Basically everything minus the turkey (which was fine because a bunch of other members have been feeding us turkey and ham!) :)

On Friday night we had a cool little tender mercy too - we were at Oakridge (the "little Africa" apartment complex we're always at), and we decided to go visit a family there we've only visited once before (kids are active, but mom isn't because she's had a ton of medical problems). We'd never actually met the mom, Christine, but she opened the door and welcomed us right in. They are from South Sudan and she hardly speaks any English, but there was another Sudanese lady there who has been in the states since she was 8 so she has perfect English, so she translated and we had a great conversation. We asked her if she goes to a church, and it turns out that she has really been searching for one and trying to figure out what she really believes. Then they both laughed and the friend admitted that she had told her that she should talk to the missionaries, but she was hesitant not knowing who we were; when we knocked on the door and came in, the mom had said to her friend in their language, "that's them!" Perfect timing :) Her friend wants to come to church before she meets with us, but she said she'll come this Sunday and she gave us her number and is totally down for learning about the Church :) It was so sweet!

Saturday was awesome too. The night before, we had the idea to text a less-active member whom we haven't contacted for months. It turned out to be perfect because they were totally needing our help, and we were able to help them! We went over Saturday morning and helped them move 48 77-pound sheets of drywall from the garage to the basement - meaning up some steps, around two corners, and down a flight of stairs that included a wicked turn that we could barely fit through. Heavenly Father gave us strength for sure, because that was the hardest physical labor I've done in...a very long time, haha! I was so grateful that we were able to do it though, because we had really good interactions with her and her husband, as well as with a recent convert from Ames who was also there helping.

After doing service, we quickly got changed, went with a member to pick up a lady, and took her to a baptism! Get this...the baptism was for a 95-year-old man! He was so awesome. And the lady came! Yay! She has been reading her braille Book of Mormon more and also came to church yesterday and said she really enjoyed it! I love teaching her - she is opening up to us more and we have a good relationship with her :) She is excited for her baptism on Dec. 20! It is coming up quick and we're praying that she's ready and sticks to it :)

This morning we finally saw our sweet friend again, who was supposed to get baptized last Saturday. It was SO good to see her, as we haven't been able to catch her for about 2 weeks and it's been really discouraging. She's going through some hard things, but she's still really committed to being baptized! She is such an incredible young woman, and she's also opened my eyes, yet again, to how blessed I really am to have been brought up in my family. I am so blessed to have been raised with good standards and with good examples to look up to! Thank you so much!

Also, I bet you didn't know that I starred in "It's a Wonderful Life"!
I can't believe we're to another transfer week already! Sister Barker is going home, and I will get my last companion on Thursday. I am so grateful for my mission. It has brought me so much closer to my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for them and for their everlasting mercy and love towards me and all of Heavenly Father's children. The gospel is so true!

Love you all a ton,
Sister Whipple