It has been a CRAZY week. It feels that way every week but it is especially true this time.
On Wednesday my mission president called while we were in the middle of a lesson. Sister Campbell set her phone aside, but when she picked it up a few minutes later to pull up the scriptures, she saw a text that said, “Sister Whoolery, will you call me about your assignment to Norway?” My heart started beating really quickly. I knew that more news meant either that I was going to Norway right away or that I was never going at all!
The lesson went really well with Jamilla! She has been trying to get a copy of the Bible for two years and when she saw something from our page on Facebook, she messaged the page and asked if we could deliver a Bible to her. When someone responded right away, she felt like it was a miracle. She was excited to learn about modern revelation.
After the lesson was over, we called President Howell back while we were in the car. He answered the phone and said, “Sister Whoolery, pack your bags!” Apparently my visa to Norway was never canceled, just delayed. He told me I would be flying out next week. I will be leaving in four days and I still can’t believe it.
Sister Campbell and I had the chance to go to the temple in Bismarck on Tuesday. We drove there Monday night with another Sister from Fargo, Sister Murri. Sister Kropf, our companion, and Sister Call, Sister Murri’s companion, stayed in Grand Forks and they had both of the SIM cards. We had to make our way to the church without Google Maps. It took a long time to find it because I was driving and Sister Kropf always drives. At the church, we downloaded the map to the mission home in Bismarck. Then we had to get food at Chick Fil-A, which messed up our map. It took us to Crookston on a poorly maintained road where our car became stuck in the mud. There had been a huge storm in the area Sunday night, where a tornado even touched down!
We tried everything to get out of the mud, even putting straw under the wheels to absorb the water and give traction to the car. That only got us a few feet. As we tried to get out, cars passed us on a nearby road for over half an hour. Then a car pulled over and a man in black scrubs came out. He said, “Do you need some help, Sisters?” He was a member of the Grand Forks 2nd ward on his way home from work. He tried pushing the car with Sister Campbell, and when that didn’t work, he went to his car and got out a shovel and a plastic track made to get cars out of snow or ice. When his shoes got too muddy, he took them off and pushed in his socks. He shoveled away the mud, put the plastic track under one of the wheels, and pushed the car with Sister Campbell. The car would move a few feet, and he would do it again and again until we were out of the mud. He was so selfless and an answer to prayers. We were able to get to Bismarck past 11 pm and make it to the temple the next morning.
The temple was amazing! I will not be able to go for the 11-or-so months that I will be in Norway, so I am so glad that I had the chance to go before I left!
On Saturday, we helped clean out an old Methodist church in Crookston. There have not been proper services there for over 40 years. The roof caved in and the basement was flooded for 2 years. Then some people came in and vandalized it horribly multiple times, even bashing in some of the the organ pipes. It was devastating to see. There were also pigeons in the church, and one of the Elders actually caught one! Picture below.
While we were cleaning, I had an idea for something that might raise awareness for the church and its need for funding. So yesterday we got permission to film some videos in the church with Sister Campbell playing a piece by Bach on the violin and me singing Amazing Grace. We hope that we will be able to get people to share the finished video in the community and get donations for the needed repairs.