Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bishop Visits Elder Whipple

Last month, our bishop and his wife took a trip to Vancouver to visit their son and his family. I loaded up a box of some of Wesley's favorite things (green chile, pineapple chunks, gummy worms) and some of the things he hates spending money on (shampoo, toothpaste, deoderant) and asked them if they would drive through the Seattle area and deliver a package to my missionary. They were gracious enough to accomodate me. They returned with pictures and stories!
Here you see Bishop Wells visiting with Wesley and his companion. Their rendezvous was at a meetinghouse. Sister Wells reported that the first thing Elder Whipple did when he saw their car drive into the parking lot was run over and take a picture...not of the kind people bringing him goods from home. No, this NERDY missionary took a picture of their New Mexico license plate!
Here's Wes with Bishop Wells. Bishop actually took a short video of Elder Whipple telling his family about the people he was teaching, but the Stake President didn't think it was appropriate to post it on the blog, so I didn't. Suffice it to say it made us all (brother, sisters, nieces, mom, dad) miss him ever so much. Still, it was good to see and hear him so happy doing the Lord's work. Before they left, Bishop asked Elder Whipple if he hugged his mom and dad. When Wesley said "yes", the bishop had Wesley give him a hug, which he passed on to Wesley's dad upon return from their vacation. Sister Wells had a similar gift for me. Thanks to the Wells for taking a little love to Elder Whipple and returning some too!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

News from Elder Whipple

We've had a few letters from Wes since the empty mailbox. These pics were included in one of his letters.

This is Elder Mclaughlin. He and Wes were not companions, but serving near one another in the Lynnwood area.

Elder Ashdown and Wes were in the MTC together and in the same district in Bellingham.

Here you see Wes putting all his experience with video games (eye-hand coordination) to good use! This picture was taken in Blaine on Wesley's last P-Day there. He says: "Brother Ford let me and my comp play on his tractor, throw rocks and logs around, and dig a hole." Boys and their toys! They seem to never outgrow the love of machines.

Taken in Edmonds, this is a view of the mountains from Wesley's house in Edmonds.

Another view from his house, only these are of the Puget Sound.

Here Elder Whipple is with his companion in the Lynnwood ward (Edmonds area), Elder McGalliard, the ward mission leader, Brother Fellers, and their newest convert Kelsey Duff. Sister Duff was Wesley's first confirmation. He said "Holy crap was I nervous!" I reminded him that it was supposed to be "Holy Ghost". I hope he gets it right next time.

Before leaving the Edmonds area, Wes was able to baptize Wayne. Wes said: "It's kinda weird to be in all white outside the temple, but it was awesome baptizing Wayne! The water was really warm, so when we opened the doors so people could see, it fogged up the glass! It was really funny!"
Wes was transferred on May 18th to Monroe. He said: "There was an emergency transfer that involved about 6-7 companionships. I had to leave my area and now I'm a senior companion to Elder Dunn. The transfer had nothing to do with my doing, so don't worry! (Honestly! Did he really think that I would think that an emergency transfer had something to do with him?) It was tough to leave on such short notice. I found out at 7 am and left at 11:30 am. I really did love the Meadowdale Ward but it's okay cuz I'm back in a car, I'm senior companion, and my stake President's name is President Whipple! How crazy is that? When I meet him, I'll take some pictures for you to see. This ward I'm in now has a lot of potential. There is a non-member who has a calling! That's nuts AND there are alot of people who are ready to baptize, so I'm pretty excited." And then at the end of the letter he added: "I need some money because I left all my groceries in Edmonds."

In the next letter, dated May 30, Wes tells about their reactivation efforts with a man in their ward who struggles with substance addiction. Wes told about the lesson they taught on having faith in Christ and how He can free us from sin. Wes said: "About 5 times while we were there I asked if I could help and take the temptation away and he said no, but the last time I asked he had us take the beer from his fridge, but I was taking it regardless. It was pretty cool. Some missionaries take cigarretts, we took alcohol. Yes, we were quick to dispose of it! It was an extremely awkward feeling holding it! Good thing I'm not an alcoholic, cuz I'd be an awkward drunk! Elder Dunn was in shock when we took it! He's shy, and I'm not, so he's getting out of his shell a bit! It's good!"

In this same letter, Wes describes his living arrangements: "So we live in a members basement, Bro and Sister G. Bro G is nuts! He has a 3 year food supply, wood burning furnace and water heating system, and a year's supply of ammunition for all his guns! He randomly shoots his guns at targets, has an annoying pet peacock, is constantly splitting wood, and ALWAYS has at least 2 guns on his person at any given time! Yes, even at church its tucked in the back of his pants and covered by his suit coat! Then usually one on his rib, hip, or leg! He has another 4 in his truck! I do feel safe here except if it caught fire we'd better drive fast before the ammo and supplies go BANG! When they left for a trip to see their kids, he wanted to leave a shotgun with us. Only reason he didn't is because we're missionaries and we have God's firepower! Bro G is a great guy!" As usual, Wes is a crack-up!

Here you see our Elder Whipple showing off his new Washington Everett Mission ring. Is he flashing missionary gang signs?
9 months out! It's going by fast!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

No News is No News

This blog is my way of documenting Wesley's mission. He has not written in over a month. For the whine, see my blog. Feel free to chastise him! I have, and it hasn't worked.

Monday, February 15, 2010

1st Transfer

Wesley was transferred last Tuesday, February 9th, just after seeing the Olympic torch pass through Blaine. He is now in Edmonds, Washington, a suburb of Lynnwood. From the map, it appears to be near the southern boundary of the mission. I've yet to hear from Wes since the transfer, but in his last letter, dated February 4th, he sent some pictures and news about the people he was teaching. Of course, we are anxious to hear from him again and see how he likes the big city!
One family he's been working with are the Craigs; the mom, Jackie, and two children, a 14-year-old boy and a 19-year-old daughter. Just before leaving Blaine, Wes cooked bean burritos for them with "legit" green chile, AND they are still interested in the Church! Jackie is reading the Book of Mormon, so keep your fingers crossed that she recognizes the truthfulness of it.
Another family Wes was working with was a mom going through a divorce with her three children. The mom is young and is a less-active member of the church. Wes challenged her to stop smoking, and she took his challenge. He also challenged her to dig out her Patriarchial blessing and study it. She did that too and was able to discuss it with the elders.

This is Wes at the Seattle Temple in January. Twice each year, the missionaries get to attend the temple. The other two are Elders McLaughin and Ashdown, but I don't know who is who. Sorry the picture is grainy. Wes is forgetting that we bought two SD cards for his camera for this very reason: scanning pictures makes them grainy.
Wesley's new mailing address:
15631 70th Ave. West
Edmonds, WA 98026

Thursday, January 28, 2010

January 24, 2010

If you are counting, it has been two stinkin' weeks since we've heard from our missionary. Finally, a letter today! Here are a few of the highlights:
  • Wesley admits to being a 6th-grade stinker. (I complained to him about my students and asked for his advice on how to get them motivated.) He had some advice, but the best part was him owning-up to his stinkerness!

  • He is concerned about his friend, Brady Fourr, who will soon be leaving home to serve in the Los Angeles California mission. He's not worried about gang activity or earthquakes. No, Wesley is thinking that the real danger for Brady is getting lost on the LA freeways.
  • He is walking and biking everywhere now.

  • People in Blaine are renting out their houses getting ready for the Olympics, which are just 20 miles away, just across the Canadian border.

  • Transfers are February 9th.

  • Mission baptism goal for 2010 is 1000. According to Wesley, "very do-able". If every companionship has 1 baptism/month, it they would surpass the mission goal. They want at least 84 baptisms each month, but 1 per companionship would be 94. Very do-able!

  • Wes and 12 other missionaries SANG at the adult meeting of Stake Conference! They sang "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy" to the tune of "If You Could Hie to Kolob." According to Wes, it was "waaayyyy legit...even made a few people cry...THAT GOOD!" (Should I tell him that some people actually tear up when they are laughing really hard?)

  • Sunday session Stake Conference was packed, so Wes and his companion sat in the back of the cultural hall and had quite an interesting experience. Halfway through the meeting Wesley heard a "drumming" noise. He said the noise got louder and louder until a lady with "bushy black hair" jumped up and started hitting the guy next to her. In addition to pummeling the guy, she was shouting profanities. An investigator from another ward who was sitting in front of Wes turned around and said "Looks like the front row seats were in the back!" It turns out that the sister is schizophrenic and the people who know her understand, but it was quite a show for our small-town elder.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

January 10, 2010

I'm not ignoring this blog, but written communication between Elder Whipple and the family has been sporadic since the middle of December. We had a telephone visit on Christmas Day, which was NICE! Wes was upbeat and very positive. (His mommy was worried that the phone call would make him homesick, but that was not the case.) We gave Wes a Garmon GPS for Christmas. Apparently, a GPS is THE gift to give for today's missionaries. Both Wes, and his companion, Elder Cramer, had just received the same Garmon GPS. When we talked on Christmas Day, they were having some fun learning how to make this technology useful for their work. Also during our conversation, Wes asked his Dad and I to attend a baptism on January 2nd. One of his high school buddies, Colton Kennedy, had been meeting with the missionaries and was ready to take "the plunge."
This is Colton on the left (winking) and Josh Davis, another buddy, before the baptism. They thought the "thumbs up" picture was just what Wes would want to see, and sure enough, Wes was thrilled. It's good to see your friends accepting the gospel.
We received a letter today, dated Sunday, January 10th. Here are a few of the highlights:
  • He claims not to have a weight problem. His new companion, however, is under doctor's orders to lose some weight, so they are walking and biking everywhere. So long to the car!
  • His sporadic writing is due to being a busy missionary.
  • Some investigators are "flakey" and don't want to make and keep committments, so they haven't had a baptism lately.
  • Wesley has had lots of opportunities to bear his testimony about the blessings that the gospel brings into our lives. (He sounds almost APPRECIATIVE of his upbringing!)
  • The missionaries in the Everett Washington mission all get to go to the Seattle Temple tomorrow. This only happens twice a year, so it is exciting.
  • And as usual, Wes has a list of things he wants sent from home, including a pair of football cleats. What in the world does a missionary need with football cleats?