Wednesday, December 16, 2009

December 10

Now we can all believe that Wesley was telling the truth when he said he'd gained 20 lbs.

Another amazing sunset!

Same foggy road as last time, but this one with two elders. Wesley is on the right.

Wes says, "The sign says it all." Elders have a weird sense of humor.

Weird sense of humor explains this picture.
A neat experience from the last letter: "We were tracting and talked to a lot of people, but not very many were interested. It was time for dinner, so we decided to knock on one more door. We knocked and nothing happened so right as we were about to leave I pushed the doorbell and someone answered the door. He invited us in (which never happens) and we sat and talked for quite awhile. His name is Wallace Chin, he's from Hawaii. He survived Pearl Harbor when he was 17. He is really cool and we are actually going to see him again."
I have been worried about Wesley riding a bike in the Washington rain. (My nephew Brandon ruined his suit pants as I remember!) Wesley's reply to my concerns was "I'm always careful and I can get wayyyy nice suit pants for like $10 at this Thrift Store if that happens." So, I'm wayyyy less worried about him wrecking his bike and ruining his suit pants.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Letter dated December 3rd

Wesley loves the area and loves the ward where he is serving. He says that the Blaine area is famous in the mission because the members spoil the missionaries there. The ward mission leader gives the missionaries $100 of Subway each month, so that explains this:

A twenty pound weight gain! Which is really crazy, because even if he is eating a foot-long meatball sub everyday for lunch, he still has to walk there! Wes is very proud of his weight gain. He was working on this before he left, but to no avail. Ahhh, the blessings of serving a mission. (Personally, I think it should work in reverse for his mother!)

The mission set a goal of 1000 baptisms for 2009, and so far are at 600. Although it doesn't seem that they will reach that goal in the next few weeks, Wes and his companion are teaching a man in his 50s who is very close to baptism and a lady, also in her 50s, who is struggling with her testimony of Joseph Smith. Still, he is very optimistic that they will both be baptized soon. Much of their work is with part-member or inactive families.

We (the family) are looking forward to Christmas day and getting to talk to Wesley on the phone. Christmas cards or packages need to be sent to the mission home and marked "Christmas". The mission home address is:

Washington Everett Mission

PO Box 13390

Mill Creek, WA 98082-1390

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blaine, Washington

Here's Wes and his first companion in the field, Elder Cramer. We don't know much about Elder Cramer yet, except that he is "awesome" and "really cool".

Our sports fanatic, Wes, took his first pictures in Washington of Safeco Field, Home of the Mariners. Go figure!

And here is the scenery our desert rat has to deal with daily...views of the ocean.

In his first letter from Blaine, Wes commented on the beautiful sunsets. Wes rarely comments on nature, so he must be really impressed with the scenery.

Notes from Wesley's letters:
  • Send stuff! (We sent small cans of green chili and he loved it.)
  • Send pics.
  • He's happy to know that KK and Reed are keeping his X-Box 360 safe for him.
  • They taught the Plan of Salvation to a nine-year-old using SpongeBob. Can't wait to see that one. He promises to draw it out and send it home.
  • Blaine is a small town, like Kirtland. It's raining a lot lately and has been cold and windy. The coat his dad sent from Missionary Mall is keeping him warm and dry.
  • One baptismal date fell through because the investigators weren't coming to church.
  • If he doesn't get transferred, he will be having Thanksgiving with the bishop's family.
  • There are a lot of Russian people in Blaine. Wes is wishing for his brother-in-law Reed's language talent so he could teach them more effectively. They have limited supplies of teaching material in Russian.

A couple of weeks ago, DeWayne got a call from Brother McInnis, Wesley's ward mission leader. Brother McInnis was in Albuquerque on business and decided to call and let us know that our missionary was doing great. He was in his own plane and even offered to stop over in Farmington to pick anything up anything that we might want to send back to Wes. We didn't take him up on it, but it was very nice of him to offer. It was also great to hear from a third-party adult that our son was okay.

MTC Friends

Yes, Wes has been in Washington for about 6 weeks, but I'm just now finding time to update his blog. Seeing these pictures makes me think that you can send a boy on a mission but it doesn't necessarily mean he will be any less goofy!

This is Wes and his MTC companion, Elder Salas. Elder Salas is from Layton, Utah. Besides being companions at the MTC, both of these two young men worked at an ice plant to earn money for their missions.

Wes was district leader at the MTC. This was the district from left to right, Elders: Thornburg, Lamb, Furphy,Riley, Joos, Williams, Whipple, Salas, and Johnson.

See what I mean about goofy? On the temple grounds, no less! Wesley's comment for this picture is "We're flying!" He did say that some of the LARGER boys at the MTC enjoyed picking him up. Weird missionaries.

This is Sister Sorenson. Wes met her on his Last Hurrah trip to California just before he went in to the MTC. Wes and 3 friends lived in a van for a week on the beaches of California. However, they did go to Institute while there and that is where Wes and Sister Sorenson met. Small world, huh?

ANOTHER(?) Elder Whipple at the MTC. Wesley's cousin, Chantz, entered the MTC one week after Wes, but this isn't Chantz. Wow! 3 Elders Whipple at the MTC at one time. Yikes! However, this kid looks pretty tame.

These are Wes's LARGE friends. Elder Harral on the left and Elder Weight on the right. We have dozens of pictures of them carrying Wesley around. Maybe they wanted to show off their physical strength as well as their spiritual might?

MTC companion, Elder Salas.

Have badge, will teach.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

1st Area

Wesley arrived in Blaine, Washington last night about 8pm PDT. He and his companion are living with a member couple...actually "empty-nesters" with a son on a mission. The sister called last night to let me know that he had arrived safely. It was a relief, as I had worried about him all day. I've included two maps here to give you some perspective on where he is actually located. Blaine is the northern-most, western-most area in the mission. Any further north and he would be in Canada, any further west would put him in the Pacific Ocean. It is about 110 miles north of Seattle and the average precipitation in Blaine is about 36 inches per year.
Unfortunately, email is not available in Wesley's mission, so all contact is done snail mail. His current mailing address is: 4453 D Street, Blaine, WA 98230.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Letters from the MTC

Wes has his 2-week anniversary at the MTC tomorrow. We've received a couple of letters and here are the highlights:
  • First couple of days were difficult adjusting to the food, but all seems okay now.
  • His companion is Elder Salas from Layton, Utah. Elder Salas was also an "ice-monkey" this summer, earning mission money by working at an ice plant.
  • Another elder in Wes's district is from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Wes says they talk about the "Land of Enchantment".
  • Wes was made District Leader. This is basically a leadership role. For all who know Wes, he's a natural leader.
  • All the food seems to give him gas, but this is not something new. There is a reason his nickname is GasMan. Apparently, apple juice is deadly.
  • Was able to attend the Provo Temple. It was awesome!
  • Got "checked out" by a group of young women at the Provo Temple.
  • So far, most of the devotional speakers have talked about being bold. Good messages for new missionaries.
  • He sorta feels bad that he left his room in such a mess.
  • He's looking forward to getting to Washington next Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Departure Day

The trip to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah required an early start. Here is Elder Whipple checking in at the Farmington airport at 5:15 am.

One last goodbye with Mom and Dad.

Security took about 5 minutes.

Loading the plane, Elder Whipple was the only passenger with luggage. Departure time: 6 am. From Farmington to Denver, on to Salt Lake City, and then a shuttle bus from Salt Lake to the MTC in Provo. Elder Whipple is on his way!