Like Burnt toast…

[email sent Jan 25, 2016]
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Pretty

I am not going to lie this weeks letter may be a little pitiful in means of length. Also, I guess I forgot to give an update on the whole malaria thing, didn’t I? As soon as I came back from the hospital with a positive reading for malaria, the mission nurse started me on the special medication. I got a hundred times better after starting the medicine. The experience was hard, but I have added it unto my “profit and learning” section. Thus it was, the end.

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“What are all of these people doing in my picture?”

You know, I wish I could write longer emails. I want to keep my readers happy with long, intricate details of my life here… But alas, I only get one hour and no other hour in my life has ever gone faster than emailing time on a mission.

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“Better.”

It’s just preparing me for writing my college papers in one hour. Just kidding, but really.

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Can you see Mowgli?

So I’l get right back to how camping in Africa was this week. On preparation day (the day we do all of our shopping, cleaning, emailing, etc…), my zone, the area I’m in, went to the Kintempo waterfalls.

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That is Elder Peterson.
The trip there was about an hour and I spent the entire ride, there and back, talking to Elder Peterson (one of my favorite elders ever) about one of my favorite subjects, life.
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We love our selfies.
I could spend the whole email talking about the trip and the beauty of the falls, but I’ll just post pictures today and let them do the talking. The trip to the waterfalls was on Monday. On Wednesday, my zone traveled to the near by town of Sunyani for another special training. This training was centered on how to plan and set goals effectively with faith and then working with diligence to achieve them.
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My sweetly awesome zone.

It was spiritual and informative. The next day I went on another exchange, but this time with Elder Snow’s companion, Elder Porritt. We didn’t just have a good day. We had an incredible day. We talked. laughed, and had one of the most successful days of teaching I have probably had since entering the field. It was an awesome day.

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Only one of us got the “make a funny face” memo. The far left elder is Elder Madsen from America. Elder Botha is next to me. He is from South Africa. They are my zone leaders and they are the best.

Other then those days, this week hasn’t been too exciting. My training period ends this coming Sunday though! 🙂 Then I’ll be a semi experienced missionary. Also, my companion and I find out this Saturday if one of us is going to be transferred to a different area! That’s exciting. I’ll let you know next week what’s going down here in good old Africa.

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Peace homies.

Until next week my most loyal reader’s.

Your most devoted writer,

Elder Whipple

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Different angle.

For the first time in forever:

[email sent 1-19-2016]
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We found a sweet gym.
“For the first time in forever” I got to go and proselyte with a white missionary this last Thursday. It was companionship exchanges (a missionary leader takes the spot of your companion for 24 hours to measure your progress and help train) and I was able to go with Elder Snow, a really cool American missionary who loves the same things as me! Namely, guns, camping, good food, etc… So the entire day was a blast! He goes about his day the way I wish it was done, so we really got along. Even during contacting/finding time, which is really hard in the area I am assigned.
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Hammerton got really rough. I had malaria when this photo was taken.
All of the experienced missionaries I have talked to say that [my area] is the hardest area in the whole mission… So during contacting time my companion and I walk in the heat, in silence, for hours without teaching a single lesson. The time with Elder Snow flew by though. By the time we were heading back to the apartment I thought, “Dang, this day went too fast.” At least I got to have that break for one day. It was nice.
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The first wave of kente ties came in… You bet I ordered more. Pure white ones for the temple too.
This coming Thursday I will be going on an exchange with Elder Snow’s companion though! He is a super sweet Elder as well, so I am excited. Being in the companionship I am now is a learning experience to the max. I am learning what it means to have patience and charity with all men. One of the zone leaders in my apartment said I was one of the most patient people he has ever met, so that gives me courage to keep being the best I can be.

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Behind my big head is where we buy our koko some mornings.
Speaking of growing, I would like to give an update on my night time readings and learning. So far I have read about half of the “Teachings of the presidents of the church” books, the “Our heritage” book, “True to the faith”, “Gospel principles”, both “Duties and blessings of the priesthood” books, most of both of the “Latter-day saint women” books (have to be prepared to teach the women too), half of the Book of Mormon again, and many other books here and there… I love reading, so now that I have directed my readings away from other books to all church books, my understanding of things is a little brighter. Still a long way to go. Good thing I have all eternity to learn.
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My companion loved his package dad.
On the weather side of things, hammerton in Ghana ended way early this year! Yay! So now instead of really dusty, dry, and warm, it’s not so dusty, wet, and superman’s laser beam eyes kind of hot! Haha, as long as I don’t think about the heat and sweat it’s not that bad. Even during personal study before leaving the apartment I was sweating. I know I am earning my meals though! Because “by the sweat of [man’s] brow [we] shall eat…”
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Somehow this package of beef jerky got exposed during it’s trip to Africa and this is the surprise I got.
Anyway, this week was just as unique as the last. My zone went to a waterfall yesterday for P-day, but I’ll tell that story next email… Stay tuned if you want to know more.

Also, I have been receiving your letters and packages and I am very grateful indeed. I just found envelopes after a long search this last week, so I’ll make y’all a deal. If you send me letters, I will send you a letter back.

That’s all for now, folks!

Love,

Elder Whipple

Endure it well…

[email sent Jan 11, 2016]

 

I am sorry last weeks emails were not many. My companion and I had many delays throughout the day, so by time it was time to email the cafe was closing.

crying-face-dawson1

 

Haha, this week was one heck of a ride. Imagine if I just ended my email of the week there and you had to wait until next week to hear the rest? Cliff hanger. The only problem is it would bug me if I had to wait a week to tell you… I’ll spill the beans. This last week I officially scratched something off on my “unwanted bucket list.” Here is the wisdom I will impart to you at this time. Don’t get malaria, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Unless you just really want to spend tons of personal time with your pillow, in pain. Then malaria is for you. I have faithfully taken my malaria preventative medicine since I arrived in Ghana, but it seems I was destined to experience malaria. The funny thing is that I didn’t even know I had malaria for most of the week, so in between feeling like garbage and feeling less like garbage, I still tried to proselyte. I can proudly say I still met some of my weekly goals, while suffering from malaria. Scratch that off my “like a boss” list. Also on the bright side of things, I didn’t eat almost the entire week, so I lost a lot of MTC weight. 🙂 Really, that was my whole week. You know, nothing too exciting.

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I would feel bad if my weekly letter was only this long, so I’ll share a spiritual thought I had this week. During personal studies this week, I came across Jacob 7 in the Book of Mormon. In Jacob chapter 7, a man named Sherem is going about the Nephite people “that he might overthrow the doctrine of Christ.” and “he labored diligently that he might lead away the hearts of the people…” As I read this, I thought about my own service to God. I then thought about how the adversary has his own servants working to do the opposite of what I am doing. We are fighting in a war. The war in heaven is still being fought here on the earth and we are all enlisted. Are we doing all we can to save our brothers and sisters in this war? The adversary is laboring diligently to destroy us. When we fall in this war, because we will, look for the ultimate medic. The Savior. His hand is stretched out still.

 

I love all of you. Peace out until next week! Remember, trials and sacrifices are essential for our salvation and exaltation.

 

Love,

Elder Whipple

*You can send written letters to:

Elder Kamron Whipple
Ghana Kumasi Mission
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
P.O. Box PMB Ks 16333

Kumasi, Ghana

Write?
I’ll be watching the mailbox…

Kumasi and the sugar OD

[email sent Jan 4, 2016]

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Fourth and fifth baptism’s
I just received the news that I have a new baby brother. I could end my email now by saying I am blessed and that’s the best news I have received since coming to Africa, but since I have been given good news I should share some of my own.

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First of the packages to arrive. Thanks Kaylan and Dad!

Chapter 1: Packages and food

I almost didn’t survive to the year 2016… You know all of that candy I asked for? Yeah, we received many bags of that deadly candy. I want to thank all of you for your support in my requests, but please for the rest of my mission could you send healthier choices? After consuming the majority of the candy, I remembered how much I dislike the feeling high amounts of sugar have on me. Oh, how quick I am to eat sugar! And how slow I am to remember to take care of my “temple”.

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Can you spot the huge rat in the trash?
I am very grateful for everything I am receiving, but I need to take care of my health, especially in Africa. The dentists here are not super great, so I really need to watch my intake of sugar… I don’t want rotting teeth 6000 thousand miles from home! Speaking of food, I found couscous here in Techiman!!! I am really happy, that’s all.

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Mine is the chicken/pineapple one. They were good, but they lacked… Being as good as American pizza’s.

Chapter 2: Training in Kumasi

This week my companion and I, along with all of the other missionaries in training, went to Kumasi for a training conference. The conference was on how to teach more effectively and obey with exactness. After the conference finished, I spent a good hour talking to my MT’s (999Other elders how went through the MTC with me.) I thought I had it rough in my area… I know God has blessed me with starting in this area! I at least have power everyday! Most of my MT’s were sent to area’s where the power goes out every single day and when the power goes out, so does the water. One of my MT’s has had no running water for almost an entire transfer, and so he fetches water every 2 days!!! I would’ve lost a little sanity if I started there… I know I will be sent to 1 of those area’s sometime during my mission, but now I feel better prepared for it. Eventually, Sister Cosgrave( Mission president’s wife) told us that if we lived in a area that was far away we should leave soon. I on the other hand only live 2 hours from Kumasi, so 2 of my MT’s and I decided to spend some time in Kumasi and maybe even go shopping.

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Welcome to Kumasi! I felt like I was in a Jason Bourne movie up on this balcony.

Chapter 3: The streets of Kumasi

Where we started our adventure it was less crowded, because we started on the UST college campus. On campus they have a ton of nice little shops and other buildings. 1 of these said buildings was a pizza shop… So, Elder Peterson(MT) and I decided to do what any needy American would do… We bought a bunch of pizza. The pizza took forever to make though, so while we were waiting we went into the campus shopping center. That store is a spider web for American’s. It had peanut butter, honey, snapple, oreo’s, and many other items rarely found in this country.

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Tro-tro ride from Kumasi back to my area. I am sitting as far back as you can go and there are 3 other elders and a sister not in this photo. Don’t ride in tro-tros if you are claustrophobic…

Chapter 4: I’m sorry

I am out of time and cannot go into any more detail… That will have to wait for when I come home and write a full, more detailed version of my time here.

I love all Y’all and can’t wait to hear from you again! It’s been a long week, without you my friend(s) and I’ll tell you all about when it’s P-day again.

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It’s supposed to say “2K16″… It was still awesome! We may have stayed up a little later then we should have that night… I still woke up at 6:30 sharp though.

Love,

Elder Whipple

No snow in Africa yet…

Is everyone excited for Christmas?!? I know I am! And it’s not because of how much snow has fallen here in Africa… It’s because I get to call home! So get to my parents house and wait for the call! They said we would be able to skype home, but the internet cafes here are terrible. Either way, I’m happy. So, my companion and I have our side of the apartment all decked out for Christmas decorations and we are ready to start filling the stockings with candies and other goodies… I’ve been collecting Christmas gifts the last few weeks. Too bad y’all have to wait a few years to get them…
 
"Hey Elder Ambanya! Have you found lunch yet? I'm starving!" [is this where he found our Christmas gifts??]
“Hey Elder Ambanya! Have you found lunch yet? I’m starving!” [is this where he found our Christmas gifts??]

Most days fly by here, because we are busy most of the time. There are quite a few slow days though. I really dislike slow days… Usually it means bad planning, but sometimes it’s God testing to see if we are willing to push harder.

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One thing I have seen for myself now is how living with someone , not family, 24/7 can bring out true personality. It’s weird. I expected things to be different living with another 18-26 year old who hadn’t been raised in the same house hold, but I had to experience it to actually know. If you want to know all the personality types and which you work better with, go on a mission.

Bro Peter
Bro Peter

Not only will you learn that, but you will learn a billion other things. Things like, “Does chocolate spread taste good with rice and banana? Because I don’t have a lot of money for nicer treats…” To really feasting on the scriptures.

My favorite meal here in Ghana. Koko
My favorite meal here in Ghana. Koko

It’s so dry and dusty here. The weather gets harder each passing day. My companion coughed up dust the other night… Gross. This season they call hammerton.

That's not mist and fog... That's dust.
That’s not mist and fog… That’s dust.

It’s caused by the winds blowing the sand and heat from the Sahara. The weather will be like this until March. It has started to get cooler at night though. I can’t stand taking showers in the morning, because the water is so cold. So I bathe by heating water on the camp stove we use to cook with. Then it’s a rag bath for me…

Modeling my new African wear...
Modeling my new African wear…

Mission life baby. Nothing like it. Especially the GKM life… Because our mission is the best.

Second baptism.
Second baptism.

Haha, I was talking to one of the zone leaders last night about the GKM and while we were talking the subject of “things we are grateful for in America” came up…

African food at an investigators house. Yes, we all ate with our hands out of the same bowl. Yes, it was a really bad idea.
African food at an investigators house. Yes, we all ate with our hands out of the same bowl. Yes, it was a really bad idea.

The zone leader (Elder Madsen) brought up the scripture that talks about opposition in all things and said that the GKM is that opposition to first world mentality.

Delicious.
Delicious.

And when we get home we shall have a fullness of joy and gratitude for first world things…

Washing clothes and dishes.
Washing clothes and dishes.

You really don’t know what you have, until you don’t have it. Or in other words, you can’t know true joy without opposition.

She just called us over to peel and eat purple sweet potatoes. Also yummy.
She just called us over to peel and eat purple sweet potatoes. Also yummy.

Some things I learned or relearned this week are… You don’t realize how “hungry” for the scriptures you are, until you actually start feasting upon the word instead of snacking.

Selfie.
Selfie.

There is so much to learn. Don’t waste the time you have. If nothing else, pick up a book and read.

No matter what we sacrifice for the Lord, He will repay a hundred fold.

Just another day in paradise!
Just another day in paradise!

Time with family is gold. Spend it wisely.

When you don’t have money to blow on food… Rice, chocolate, and banana make a delicious treat.

I found American chocolate!!!! And a Manchester United outfit. [Hershey's chocolate spread!]
I found American chocolate!!!! And a Manchester United outfit. [Hershey’s chocolate spread!]

Also, in order for me to be exactly obedient to the 1 hour emailing rule, I must cut my time and emails even shorter than they were… Sorry.

I love all of you.

Love Elder Whipple

I’ve got Joy Like A Fountain in my Soul…

Beautiful Temple. Accra, Ghana.
Beautiful Temple. Accra, Ghana.

“Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;”  Doctrine and Covenants 18:10

First day we jumped right into classes and I hadn't slept pretty much at all the entire plane ride...
First day we jumped right into classes and I hadn’t slept pretty much at all the entire plane ride…

November 4th, 2015

Sorry about such a short email last week, we didn’t have enough time to send long emails. But here it is, my second email from the MTC! It is also my last… Because next week I’ll be in Kumasi!

This is my MTC companion. He is from Texas. He talks a lot... It bugged me the first couple days, but I've grown out of that now.
This is my MTC companion. He is from Texas. He talks a lot… It bugged me the first couple days, but I’ve grown out of that now.

The MTC has been great.

18 year olds can be messy... My stuff are the two neat bags in the bottom right corner.
18 year olds can be messy… My stuff are the two neat bags in the bottom right corner.

Every morning we wake up, shower the sweat off, brush our teeth, and dress for the day. After which we spend an hour in personal study trying to plan for our “investigators”. Once we finish study time we move onto breakfast, which is usually beans, cabbage, bread, and fruit. Then we spend all day in classes teaching us how to teach and effectively use the materials we have been given.

Super awesome African missionaries :) I gave one of them an extra pair of my shoes and then he said he had to get a picture of me.
Super awesome African missionaries 🙂 I gave one of them an extra pair of my shoes and then he said he had to get a picture of me.

We eat lunch at noon everyday, which almost always consist of chicken, rice, fruit, and a roll. After lunch and several more classes we get an hour to go outside and play football (soccer). An African actually complimented me on my football skills!!

Taking a walk in Africa.
Taking a walk in Africa.

Once we are nicely cooked on all exposed areas, looking like glazed donuts, we head back inside for another shower before dinner.

The road is right next to us... Skechy walking these roads.
The road is right next to us… Skechy walking these roads.

Food consumed, usually [consists of] some kind of strange looking food [that] mom would make during one of her ovo-vegetarian diets, it’s more classes. With my head full of delicious knowledge for me to digest, I head off to bed. Repeat day for another 6 days as of now.

Drove passed the president's houses.
Drove passed the president’s houses.
It’s just straight up hot and humid here. I’ve gotten used to by now… It’s just like putting on a semi-wet blanket 🙂 The missionaries here are super awesome! There are 16 American elders in all and 13 of us are going to Kumasi.
The Africans nicknamed one of my roommates "bishop", because he looks like a bishop.
The Africans nicknamed one of my roommates “bishop”, because he looks like a bishop.
The African elders are some of the coolest guys you could meet! I love it here in Africa. It was really weird and different the first day, but now I am getting used to it.
Temple trip!
Temple trip!
I love all of you very much and I really hope I get to answer questions and write more, but I am limited on time… Hope I have cooler stories to tell next week!! Until then, peace out.
Love,
Elder Whipple
One of my room mates had this quote on his bed, so I added it to mine.
One of my room mates had this quote on his bed, so I added it to mine.

A prologue to The Best Two Years…

On October 28th, 12:30pm central time, Kamron Whipple was set apart as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints by President Jones, of the West Plains Missouri Stake, and by his father Peter Whipple.

Pres. Jones (Left), Elder Whipple hugging his Mama and Dad (Right)
Pres. Jones (Left), Elder Whipple hugging his Mama and Dad (Right)

He later departed for Springfield, MO with his parents, as he had a 6am flight to Ghana (by way of Atlanta, GA/New York/London) departing on October 29th.

He said all of his goodbyes before bed on the 28th…

Elder Whipple (Right) pictured with younger brother Konnor.
Elder Whipple (Right) pictured with younger brother Konnor.

I will not deny nor confirm the shedding of tears, but I will say if there were tears, they were tears of happiness and well wishing.

Elder Whipple left for his mission the day before his Grandfather’s funeral. Although both he and grandfather are missed, we know that they both are where the Lord wants them.

Elder Whipple has chosen the scripture from 3 Nephi 5:13 to be placed on his mission plaque:

“Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.”

Several months ago, Elder Whipple was asked by friends where he wanted to serve his mission.  He said, “I don’t really have a preference, I just hope there are a lot of black people.”

When asked why he wanted to serve in an area with a large number of black people his response was, “they have this joyful spirit that I love to be around.”

Well, the Lord sent him to the best mission ever. He will indeed find joy in Kumasi, he will undoubtedly find trials, but this is the start of the best two years.

Elder Whipple (far Right)
Elder Whipple (far Right)

His first email home, sent October 30th:

2 days ago in a country far far away… With every emotion known to man running rampant in my system, I said goodbye to all of you, family and friends, and stepped on a plane headed for Atlanta. When I arrived at the airport it took me awhile to make my way over to the right terminal. When I found it I was the only missionary there… I was hoping someone else would show up.Thankfully I met up with 3 other missionaries and we waited 4 hours for our flight due to a delay. We made it to New York just in time to sprint to our plane where we joined 10 other missionaries headed for Ghana. The plane was cramped and uncomfortable, so I didn’t sleep at all… But it’s alright, I’m way to excited to be tired right now! At the airport in Ghana we were swarmed by waves of people wanted to help so they could take our money. We just had to push them away and struggle through the crowds to our van. Once we made it to the van it wasn’t a long ride, it was just crazy. People walk along and across the highway, other cars would come into our lane head on, no stop signs, and no speed limits. It’s so hot here… The sunshine will always be in my soul. 🙂 I love all of you.

Love, Elder Whipple