I hope conference was sweet?

**Note from older sister: I’m not quite a year behind in posting Elder Whipple’s emails, but I’m back on track to post – that way I can make his mission blog into a book upon his return!!

[email sent Oct 3, 2016]
Giant tree at an investigators house…DSC00972

Brother Amoah is an excellent leather maker.DSC00967

Scripture bags, anyone?DSC00970

Zone council in Tamale a few weeks ago.SAM_8936

Maxwell is one of the most powerful members I have ever met. He is only 15 and was just baptized, but he speaks straight doctrine. He has a powerful testimony and he loves to share it. He told us the other day that God has given all of us “talents” and he wants to share his. He also told us that when he reads the scriptures, he closes his eyes and ponders the words. When he does this, he just sees what the Lord is trying to teach him with the scripture he is reading. Future apostle?  DSC00974

Zone activity in Tamale with my powerful companion, Elder Ulu.SAM_8921

Weekly planning… SAM_9012

They got me.SAM_8963

Apartment P-day lunch!SAM_9084

Weekly planning…SAM_9012

Another powerful member named Lydia. SAM_9019

Gotta work for our dinners sometimes… I am stirring banchu at a members house. It was awesome.SAM_9150

This is Gifty!!! Everything is cool between us and her mom now. She will be baptized this Saturday!!!SAM_9125

​This week was wonderful! Even though we were not able to watch or listen to general conference, I know that I will get to watch general conference one day. As I have served my mission, the lord has continually taught me to be grateful for the things that will be readily available to me when I get home. I will not take general conference for granted, I will visit the temple as often as possible, and I will use my Sunday’s (and any other free day) to visit the sick, needy, and elderly. Missions are great places of learning.

The youth here in Bolgatanga will do miracles one day. They are wonderful young people with some of the the most powerful testimonies I have ever heard. Future leaders and missionaries for sure. We will be baptizing 4 of the youth this coming Saturday. They have been coming for the past 6 months.

I love it here. The is no end to the work here. Elder Ulu is the best. This would be a powerful place to train… 🙂

With tons of love,
Elder Whipple

P.S. I have been stressed out lately trying to respond to everyone’s emails, so I probably will just read your emails and write you hand written letters from now on… I love your emails and read all of them. I just don’t have any time to write back. Keep writting and know that I will read your emails. 1 hour to write to the mission president, report my numbers, read emails, and then write back to everyone… I just can’t do it. I love y’all though and will gladly talk when I return. Or you can write me letters…
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Faith

[email sent Sep 26, 2016]

Dear family and friends,

My heart is soft as the Lord continues to teach me. All this week I have been trying to study and apply the principle of humility. The more I showed that I was willing to submit and trust God, the more He taught me. This week He taught me so many things, but the one principle I noticed Him teaching me the most of is faith. All throughout this week, as I taught one family or individual after another, I was bearing my testimony with all the energy of my soul. Even though I could feel the Spirit strongly, a lot of those I taught this week took no action and did not progress. We cannot force people to believe our message and use their faith. It does not work like that. We have to act for OURselves and then OUR faith will grow. I wish I could talk more about faith, but my time is short.

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Faith is like a seed.

Last Saturday, as my companion and I were finishing a lesson with some of the youth in our branch, they told us that Gifty’s mother would not let her come to church, because pastors told her we do bad things at church. Gifty is one of the young woman that has been coming to church for 6 months and is preparing to be baptized. We went to see Gifty right away. When we found her, she was crying. She told us that the church is true and that she is heart broken her mother will not let her come. I wanted to go speak to the mother right away, but she doesn’t speak English… So, we sat in silence for awhile. I opened the Book of Mormon and read in Mosiah chapters 23 and 24 where it talks about trusting in the Lord. When I tried to read it to her, I couldn’t because I was crying… It took me forever to finally finish the scripture and bear my testimony about God’s love for her. I love her and the other members here. I told her that Jesus Christ will never give up on her, so neither would I. Through much prayer, seeking for an answer, and convincing, Gifty’ s mother softened her heart and let Gifty come to church. God loves us. Trust Him and He will deliver you.

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A seed must be nourished to grow.
Much love,

Elder Whipple

New Area

[email sent 19, 2016]

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Took this pretty shot while trying to keep up with my companion on my bike.

Dear family and friends,

My new area  is the promise land of the Ghana Kumasi mission. Everyone here speaks English, not many people lie when they say they will come to church, and there are so many wonderful youth here.

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The youth are probably one of my favorite parts of serving here. They have the most powerful testimonies I have ever heard from people so young and they are so willling to sacrifice for the truth.

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Yup, back in the village.

The Africa west area has a rule that youth without member family support have to come to church for 6 months before they can be baptized, so about 10+ youth have been coming to church here for almost 6 months and will be baptized next month.

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There is so much to be done here. The Lord has assigned me to be companions with one of the best people for this area. My companion from Nigeria, Elder Ulu, is probably one of the most hard working missionaries in this mission. From the time we finish companionship study in the morning to the time we walk through our door at 9 o’clock at night, we are teaching. I have never worked as hard or taught as much as I have here. Elder Ulu is humble and loving and I love him.

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Top of my apartment complex.

Now, I am sorry, but I am no longer in the mission office with its nice computers to email… I am back to cafes with terrible keyboards, so I cannot write as much as I would like to this week.

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This is my apartment staircase.
I love all of you tons,

Elder Whipple

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Another week down…

[email sent Aug 29, 2016]

Dear family and friends,
I have now been away from home for 10 months. Mind blown. It doesn’t even feel like ten months. I love it so much here. 
Now, it has just been brought to my attention that I have not written much about the people I have been teaching. My bad. I try to write as much as I can in the short amount of time I have. I will repent though. I will make sure to write about at least one investigator each week now.
For this week, we have two young men named Thomas and Kojo.
There is a young man in our branch named Ernest and he loves working with the missionaries. He was just recently baptized, but is not afraid to refer people for us to teach. One day 2 weeks ago, while my companion and I were working in the office, Ernest called us and told us “You should come over to my compound (people here in Ghana live in big compounds with lots of other families.) and teach a young man here. It’s an emergency. He really wants to know the truth.” Well, I am not one to pass up a wonderful referral like that! So my companion and I quickly jumped into our car and rushed to meet with this young man named Kojo. As soon as we got to Ernest’s compound, Ernest introduced us to Kojo. We began our lesson with a prayer and then asked Kojo what he wanted gain from learning with us. He instantly responded with the answer “I want to find salvation for my soul.” I was blown away! I forgot to mention that Kojo is only 14… After finishing one of the most spiritual lessons I have probably had on my mission, I was deeply touched by Kojo’s desire to know the truth and the fact that I get to be apart of this young man’s journey. Kojo came to church that Sunday and is still learning with us. He is super excited to be baptized.
Now, one night this last week when visiting with Kojo, we met Ernest’s little brother who is schooling in Accra right now, but is home for the next few weeks. His older brother Ernest had been sharing the gospel with him for awhile, but now we have had the pleasure of meeting with him. He is only 15, but so powerful as well. At the end of the lesson, he was asking to be baptized. He also came to church yesterday and had the opportunity to view a baptism. During the baptism, he leaned over to me and asked “When is the earliest I can be baptized?”
Man, God has blessed me with such wonderful souls.
Now, my time is up, but I want to share one last thought. I love the Atonement so much. I am so imperfect and mess up so often, but the Savior still reaches out to me. I was reading in 2 Nephi this last week when I came across a scripture talking about how quickly men turn away from the Lord and forget Him. After saying that, the Lord tells us that He will never turn away or forget us. Jesus Christ really does love me. He loves all of us.
I get upset sometimes because of the bad decisions I make, but then I remember that I can change. I can change and become better because of Jesus Christ. I don’t have to roll in the mud tomorrow, because of the choices I made yesterday or even today! I can say, “Starting now, I will change. I won’t make that same mistake again.” And then, I’ll mean everything I say. I will act upon the words I speak.
As I partake of the sacrament, I am given strength to act and reminded of the promises I have made. In the strength of the Lord, I can do all things.
Much love,
Elder Whipple

This week

[email sent Aug 22, 2016]

Dear beloved family and friends,

The weeks are flying by right now. I am so grateful for the counsel of the wise men and women in my life. Ever since I received an email a few weeks ago to stop making excuses and start creating success wherever I go, with the Lord’s help, I have been working for success every second of every day.

I have always kind of worked hard since coming on my mission… But that’s the thing, I have only “kind of worked hard.” The Lord knows us best. He knew that I wanted to give my whole heart to the work, but He also fully knew that I had perfected the art of excuse making. He helped me understand that if I don’t make excuses when problems arise and instead engage all of my faculties into finding a solution, He will open another door. Each day, as I give everything to the Lord, He takes my desire and He does much more through me than I could relying on my own strength. Now I go about always looking for opportunities to be like Jesus Christ, no matter what happens. Instead of giving up when everything is hard, we just work harder. There is too much work to be done in the Lord’s vineyard for us to just sit back and relax. Because of the effort my companion and I are putting forth, the Lord is truly blessing us. Right now, we have way more people than we have time to teach. We had four referrals in one day last week and all of them really want to know the truth. My companion and I had not had a ton of success in our area when we first got here, but now we are preparing one person to be baptized next Sunday and more the following Sundays. Last week we had three investigators come to church. Next week we plan on having six or more investigators at church. The Lord really blesses us when we learn how to “create success” and we do this by involving the Lord and then doing everything we can on our end.

A fire has grown in me and it gets bigger every day. The missionary work I have started here in Ghana is only the beginning. I have seen how this work I am doing has become less and less like a job and more and more like a way of life. “Line upon line” my love for the gospel and for our Father’s plan is growing. The thing that excites me the most is that this work that I am doing will never end in my life time. I will continue to always share the gospel, wherever I go. I used to think it would be weird if I just talked to anyone about my religion and the gospel, but now I think it would be ridiculous if I didn’t share what I know with everyone! The gospel is sweet. And… just like delicious chocolate, I want to share it with everyone!

I think the most important thing I have learned so far on my mission is that “we are people to act and not objects to be acted upon.” I have helped the people I teach understand that they are agents unto themselves by teaching with questions, listening, and then expounding their answers. As I have done this, I have felt the Spirit more often and have understood the Plan of Salvation a little better.

The Lord is great. He loves all of us and knows us by name. I think the reason I have come to love bearing my testimony so often is that the more I do bear my testimony, the more I know it’s true. When I speak truth, the Spirit confirms it to my heart. God lives and I know it.

Much love,

Elder Whipple

Best days ever!

[email sent Aug 15, 2016]

Dear family and friends,

I got to meet an apostle. So, like, this week was epic! Elder Bednar is incredible! The whole week was awesome with teaching people, office work, health, and just everything. This week built from sweet level on Monday to code best day(s) of my life on Saturday and Sunday. I was so excited when I woke up on Saturday! It was like being a kid all over again and waking up on Christmas morning. My feelings of excitement kept on building until to the moment when the assistants to the president lined us up for a picture, and even then my excitement grew.

Our whole mission stood breathlessly still while waiting for Elder Bednar’s car to pull into the stake center’s parking lot and for him to join us for a picture. Then, his car came around the corner of the building, parked, and out hopped Elder Bednar! I couldn’t help but give the biggest, most cheesy smile I ever have in my life.

Elder Bednar joined the missionaries for a photo and then we all moved inside the building for our devotional. To begin the program, we had an opening prayer and then our small missionary choir preformed Elder Bednar’s song “One by one” to invite the Spirit. And… I was to solo for the first verse. Haha, not gonna lie, I was terrified. As the pianist played the intro, all I could hear was the blood in my ears and all I could taste was my heart in my mouth. Thankfully the Lord looks out for His children, because the fear went completely away as I began to sing. It felt really good to use my talent. 🙂 After the song, Elder Bednar stood up before anyone else could and congratulated our little choir personally. He told us we did a fantastic job. 🙂

Before Elder Bednar spoke to our little mission, the Africa area presidency spoke first. Wonderful talks, of which I took notes on, but forgot to bring them to emailing time today. Sorry! Gonna have to wait until next week for my notes! But I couldn’t forget Elder Bednar’s instruction. Elder Bednar is a man just like the rest of us and he teaches simply enough for everyone to learn, but he teaches with power. I will never forget the way he taught. One day, I want to be able to teach like Elder Bednar. His secret, he let everyone in the room speak, he listened to everything that everyone spoke, and he helped us all become agents unto ourselves. Every time someone asked him a question, he would ask “Now, can I ask you a question?” He didn’t force the discussion at all, but he let the Holy Ghost guide. I have never been taught so much in such a short period of time before. Also, never has time gone so fast! We had 3 hours of instruction from him and at the end I thought, “What?!?!?! It’s over already?” But at the same time, I felt refreshed. I felt renewed. He also invoked an apostolic blessing on us, that if we were to feast on the scriptures every day of our lives and always look outward towards the needs of others before our own, we would never fall into the destructive power of pride. He also taught about the power of the Atonement in such a simple way. He told us that most of the members of the church think the Atonement is nice, but does not apply to them personally. He told us that if we are thinking that the Atonement doesn’t apply to us, we should stop right away. That if we are thinking the Atonement doesn’t apply to us, we believe in Christ, but we don’t really believe Him. The Atonement happened “One by one”, meaning Jesus Christ died for each one of us, personally.

Really, I just have too many thoughts about Saturday to put into one letter… So find me after my mission for a full story and notes. At the end of the meeting, we got to shake Elder Bednar’s hand, which I got really excited about! He was mostly just smiling while he shook everyone’s hand, but when I got to him, he stopped me and ask “where are you from, elder?” Which I responded, “I’m from Missouri.” After that he said, “It was really nice to meet you, elder.” Now, I’m not saying that I’m special or anything… I’m just saying it was really cool that he stopped me. I loved meeting Elder Bednar.

Oh yeah! I almost forgot to write about the Sunday meeting! This meeting was held for the 2 stakes that are in Kumasi. It was also awesome. You will have to get my notes letter. The main message was look more outward at others and you will start to love the gospel and the Savior more. You will also understand His Atonement more. At the end of the meeting, he said something that blew my mind… Currently, there are 2 stakes in Kumasi. Elder Bednar said that soon, like 25 years soon, there would be 50 stakes in Kumasi. Mind. Blown.

Well, sorry for such a short letter after so much awesome, but my time is short… I love all of you very much!

Love,

Elder Whipple

P.S. Make men agents unto themselves, to act and not to be acted upon. That’s how you teach with the Spirit.

 

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

Going back to old things…

[email sent July 25, 2016]

Well, I have decided that there are too many troubles with large dropbox videos, so I will be going back to my long weekly letters! I will upload little videos here and there, but no more long videos… Sorry if you liked those. You can see my face when I get home. 🙂

I know I say this all the time, but time flies in the mission field. I LOVE IT HERE!!! SO MUCH! Mission is great.

I don’t have a lot of time this week, but I will give a quick update. My sensitivity to the Spirit is growing and I feel happier then ever before. Elder Dudley and his companion got emergency transferred to an area that needed missionaries badly, so that makes me kind of sad… Elder Anderson and I took over their area, so now we have a million people to visit and love. We will know on Saturday transfer news, so we will find out if I am leaving the office or staying.

I love y’all tons!

Love,
Elder Whipple
p.s.
Oh sorry, I forgot to say something… I said it in my dropbox videos, but some of you were not able to watch them. Elder Bednar is coming to our mission in August and he will meet with all of us missionaries before he meets with the people of Ghana. I get to sing a small solo for him when he comes. Shout out to everyone who helped me learn how to sing. Also, no one in our branch here knows how to play the piano, so I give the starting note to every hymn we sing. Ha, who needs a piano? 🙂

Weekly letter to y’all from the States! or wherever else you might be…

[email sent July 18,2016]

Dear beloved family and friends,

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To help build unity in my district, I decided to do a web of gratitude. One person will hold a piece of string and pass it to someone else. When you pass it to someone, you have to say something you are grateful about that person. Repeat until you create a web.

My health is excellent. My family is blessed by the Lord. My companion and I are still working hard. We are blessed by the Lord in this part of the vineyard. Sometimes it may not seem so, because we have been working harder and harder with little show of success. Our area has only 2 members from our branch in it and both are males who work often and are trying to give us referrals, but are not having success themselves. So, that leaves my companion and I with a whole bunch of contacting ourselves. We have not found anyone that has been serious enough to progress towards baptism, which can be very difficult at times, but it has been a great lesson on patience and faith. Our blessings come in the form of being taught by the Lord.

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Elder Dudley bought some sugar. I got really excited, until I tried some and almost died from overdosing on sugar.

Also, ever since I read the talk “Thy confidence shall wax strong in the presence of God”, I have desired with all of my heart to have the Spirit in such great abundance as did the missionaries in that talk. I worked hard on trying to be as positive as I could, but I still felt like I wasn’t doing something right.

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I harvest corn like a boss.

Finally, I decided to fast and pray. During my fast, I started making a list of things I would change to better invite the Spirit in my life. Once I made my list of things, I covenanted with the Lord that I would do the things I had written down. As soon as I finished praying, I felt instant opposition. Never before in my life have I felt such darkness and doubt work to destroy the faith I love so dearly. I know that the adversary as no power over me, except that I willingly give him, so I continue to pray for help. I know God lives. I know that through Jesus Christ I can change.

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I tried making eggs in a waffle maker… Haha, it worked.

I have never seen my Father or my Savior with my eyes in this life, but I lived with them before and I can still feel Their love now. As I have prayed every morning for strength to accomplish the list of promises I made with God and then ended my day with a report, my faith has grown. My love for God has grown. The power behind the words “I know that my Redeemer lives” has grown and the Spirit I feel when I say those words has grown. I may have felt the greatest darkness I ever have before, but I have also felt an abundance of God’s Spirit in my life. The secret, pray for mercy and to know the truth and then read the scriptures.

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Still taken from his 7/19/2016 dropbox video.

I love all of you. May God’s love be with all of you.

Love,

Kamron

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Anyone want water?

P.S. I have had one or two complaints about the dropbox videos… I hope mostly everyone is able to view them? I will post them either later tonight or tomorrow morning.

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Back to Mcdonalds days… “I think you’re ready for fried bread.”

Weekly letter!

[email sent July 11,2016]

I would like to thank everyone for their birthday wishes this last week! I had a really quick week full of learning experiences and love. If you want to know about my week, then tune into my dropbox videos for the weekly report! I am sorry if you like reading my long letters instead of watching my dropbox videos… The videos give me more time to send personal emails. If you have any questions that you would like to be answered in my next video, please send specific questions via email!

I love y’all! Stay true to the faith!
Love,
Kamron
P.S. I forgot to mention in my videos about sister Cosgrave making me a birthday cake on my birthday! It was pretty special. Maybe she wanted an excuse to make a cake? Either way, my first cake in 9 monthswas dang good!
[at this season of his mission, Elder Whipple sent videos describing his week and showing us where he lived. I can’t upload the videos, but I do have a screen shot from his July 11th video.]
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Elder Whipple just turned 19 years old and shared a lot about the gratitude and attitude has changed. He is learning pure love for others.