Weekly letter from Ghana

[email sent Aug 1, 2016]

Dear beloved family and friends,

I will try to make this letter nice and long since I will no longer be using the dropbox videos for my weekly report.

My week was good. The end.

Haha, leaving it at that would make it easy for me! But I guess y’all might want to hear about my week as much as I want to hear about everything happening back home… This week I spent a lot of time pondering the effects of being positive verses being negative. Believe it or not, the decisions we make every day, either positive or negative, have an effect not only on our attitudes, but also our ability to feel the Spirit of God. Even the little negative things in life such as irritation, having distaste towards something, and self-consciousness disrupt our sensitivity towards the Spirit. Because if something is not uplifting us, it is not of God. And if we are focusing on something that is not of God, then there is no room for the Spirit to dwell. “No man can serve two masters…” It’s important to focus on what you might be doing that drives the Spirit away. This is no easy task, I know. Yet, it is necessary to always be making some kind of improvement every day to make it back to our Father in heaven. Make a list titled “Lord, what lack I yet?” and then write down anything that the Spirit tells you to improve on. Pray every morning about your list and promise God you will change those things on your list. Once you finish your day, pray and ask for forgiveness in the things you fell short in that day. Commit to be better every day. You will not change all at once, so do not give up. “Line upon line” you will change. It is almost like bearing our testimonies. The more we bear our testimonies, the more they will grow. Because the more truth you speak, the more the Spirit will be able to confirm it to you.

Along with that thought, I have been thinking about something President Cosgrave mentioned while speaking to our zone this last week. We read the scripture that talks about having the same spirit in heaven as we do here on earth. Then, he taught that that scripture can be applied to our lives right now as missionaries. We will have the same spirit after mission as we have now on our mission. It really struck me when he said that, because it’s true! I started thinking about who I am right now and if that person is the same person I want to bring home in 14 months. I feel like I have improved since coming on my mission, but I want to be better. I want to be the best for my family, for my friends, for my future wife, for my future children… My goal is that no one will recognize me when I come home.

I love my mission so much. I can’t even say how I have loved it so far. I went on an exchange with one of the assistants to the president this last week and while we were talking, he mentioned how his mission went from a job to a way of life. As he said that, I realized how true that was! When I first came out here, I saw every day as a work day to get through instead of a precious treasure to spend wisely. Now, there are not enough seconds in a day for everything I need to do. Before, talking to everyone seemed so hard and I was so awkward about it. But now I have no problem talking to anyone that will listen to me when I share the gospel. I have such a burning passion for everyone to hear the gospel. Elder Anderson and I have not had a single baptism together, which could seem like a hard thing since every other missionary seems to be baptizing tons of people, but it just means that we are planting the seeds for future missionaries. It pains me at times when I see people I love so much not accept the message we bring, but I will keep my commitment to “invite all to come unto Christ.”

Well, I guess that’s quite a bit to chew on this week… A few other notes before I go are:

–          I will be staying in the mission office for another transfer!

–          Elder Dudley’s area was closed. He and his companion were transferred.

–          I now have two companions. Elder Anderson still and now Elder Brandt from America.

–          “Lessons are better caught – not taught.”

–          The Ghana post is struggling right now, so it might take longer for packages and letters from home to make it to me.

Much love,

Elder Whipple

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