Monday, January 25, 2016


Well, this has been an interesting (and very exhausting...) week! 

Tuesday was possibly one of the best days so far! We had a lesson with our investigator Earnest in a member's home. We taught him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and led into temples. Earnest is looking for truth and a way to find more knowledge and understanding so temples were perfect for him! We read Alma 26:22 "Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing-unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God: yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed: yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls unto repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren unto repentance" and he was really interested in the promise of being able to know the mysteries of God. The members explained a little bit about temples and what they are and what they are for. The Spirit was so powerful as we were able to testify to Earnest that the answers he is seeking can be found in temples and in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We extended a baptismal invitation to Earnest for February 20 and he accepted! Most people when they accept are kind of casual about it, like 'oh sure I'll get baptized, why not?' but Earnest was so sincere in his acceptance. He understands what it means and the commitment it entails. I am so grateful to be able to play a small part in his conversion and journey closer to Christ. I know that the Spirit is the real teacher, I don't do much. It is incredible to see how the Spirit guides us to say exactly what people need to hear. 

Wednesday was interesting, in a good way. We had zone training, where Sister Workman and I were instructing on how to find by the Spirit. It went pretty well, it is always a little stressful to teach, especially when I am so new and still trying to figure out what I am doing. There was a missionary broadcast that afternoon that was broadcast to all the missionaries worldwide. I love being able to learn from our leaders and hear things specifically about how to be a better missionary! I came away with lots to work on, which is wonderful!  After the broadcast, we began exchanges. Twice a transfer (although we only did it once this transfer because one of the other sisters had the flu) we go on exchanges with our sister training leader. They last for 24 hours. It was strange to be in a different area with someone who isn't my companion. I felt like a brand new missionary all over again. Sister Park, the sister I was with, is also from Washington and went to BYU-I as well! We hadn't ever run into each other there, but it gave us plenty to talk about :) I learned a lot from her and got some good ideas for things to start doing in my area. 

I'm sure you heard about the storm that hit the east coast. Lots of snow and ice. Which actually was pretty helpful for missionary work, since everyone was home :) We have been tracting. A lot. We were able to find 6 new investigators these past few days! We were finally able to see an investigator, Regina, who we had been thinking of dropping. She is always out taking people to class or running errands, so we hadn't seen her in almost a month. Due to the snow, she was actually home so were able to teach her! She has a baptismal date now too! Like Earnest, she has a great desire to find truth and come closer to God. (Fun fact, Earnest just lives 3 doors down from Regina. Maybe they can start carpooling to church :) ) It is amazing to see how Heavenly Father leads us to the people He has prepared to hear the gospel. 
We also ended up tracting into members we hand't met yet. We were very surprised when they invited us in before we even introduced ourselves. It was a little disappointing to realize they were members, they would have been golden investigators :) They referred us to their friend Candace and we will hopefully be teaching her soon. Candace said she has lots of questions, which is great! I love questions!

Well, that's about it for this week! I am officially halfway through training as of yesterday, which is surreal. I feel like I have been here for longer than 6 weeks, but also like I just got here a week ago. 

Love y'all, 
Sister Pyper
We found cacti while tracting and thought that was just so weird. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The power of simplicity

This week was full of meetings. We had zone conference on Thursday, first transfer training (for all the missionaries who are in their first transfer, so everyone I flew out with) on Friday and a special stake conference yesterday. It was a regional stake conference, so it was broadcast from Salt Lake to the entire Southeast region. I have spent the last three days learning ways I can be a better missionary and a better person and I absolutely love it! I came out of all of the meetings with a long list of things I need to do better but an equally long list of specific things I can do to improve! I love having things to work on and knowing that I can always become better than I am. We spent a lot of time in training working on teaching simply. We did an exercise where we taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ without using the words faith, repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost, or endure. It was surprisingly easy. 

I love the simplicity of children's testimonies! Bernard, the 9 year old we are teaching, comes to church every single week and reads the Book of Mormon faster than I did as a 9 year old. He is already in 4 Nephi and he has only been taught since October! I get so used to teaching adults and thinking about the deep, complicated reasons behind things that I sometimes lose sight of how simple the gospel really is. Asking Bernard why we should be like Jesus ("because he is a good person")  or why we should serve others ("because it is helpful") or why he likes going to church ("because I learn about Jesus") always put things into perspective. The gospel really is that simple. We do the things that Heavenly Father asks us to because they make us happy, because they are good. Mackenzie, the 8 year old son of a less-active member we are working with, got baptized on Saturday! He wasn't ever technically an investigator of ours but we still taught him, so it is just as exciting. In our last lesson with him before he got baptized, we were going over what baptism is and why it is so important and talking about the Holy Ghost. When we asked him why he wants the gift of the Holy Ghost, he told us that it is because "it makes me happy and I want to be happy all the time". 

Earnest, one of our most promising investigators, taught me a lot this week. I am the one called to teach the gospel but I learn just as much, if not more, from those I teach than they do from me. Earnest was so excited to see us this week that he had been watching for us to come and opened the door for us before we even got to his porch! That was a very different response than we usually get :) We were about two minutes late and he said that he doesn't usually watch for people to come but he was waiting for us. It is amazing to see how the Lord is working in his life and changing his heart. Earnest is a very strong Baptist and was not completely sober the first time we met him. Not someone who seems like a 'golden investigator' but he is! He is so open to the Spirit and knows that what we are teaching him is good. His main concern is whether or not what we teach will bring him more understanding and bring him closer to God. Which of course it does, otherwise we wouldn't be out here teaching :) He is so humble and he just wants to do what is right and what God wants him to do. 

Quotes of the week: 
"Sacred things change you. You leave a different person than you enter." 
"We go to school with the goal of getting a diploma. We go to the temple with the goal of getting an eternal diploma." 

Love y'all
Sister Pyper

Lauren and Sister Workman (they were very cold)
Duke Chapel

Archway at Duke Chapel

Monday, January 11, 2016

Week 4: A week of miracles

This week was really good! We found 5 new investigators (we have about 30 total now....) and committed some more to baptismal dates! It is so great to see how the Lord is preparing people to hear the gospel! Most of those people have been found through tracting, which is slightly unexpected. We apparently did so well that we have been asked to teach in zone training on 'Finding by the Spirit'......Yay??
One of those people we tracted into is Earnest. We were tracting in his apartment complex and someone slammed the door on us. He was sitting outside and saw what happened and said "well, that was rude!" We of course had to talk to him after that :) Earnest is Baptist (of course) and has a very strong love of God and is very open to what we have to say. He is so great! He is definitely able to feel the Spirit when we teach him, he just doesn't always recognize it, which we are working on. He does what we ask him to do and he wants to come to church! He is very interested in the gospel and I know that his testimony is growing. I love being able to see the joy the gospel brings and how much it blesses those we teach. Earnest has gone through some really hard times and still struggles with that but he understands that it is through Christ that his pains will be erased. He has some addictions but he knows that he needs to get rid of them and that they keep him from being able to fully communicate with God. He said that God can't understand 'cloudy prayers' which is what happens when he smokes/drinks. 

I love being able to testify of the power of the Atonement and that it covers everything. We have multiple investigators who are working on overcoming addictions and it is so powerful to see how Christ and His Atonement give them the strength they need to do that. 

One of my favorite things this week has been the dictionary I got in the MTC. No, really. I have learned so much just by looking up words, especially ones that I have an understanding of. Something my companion did this week that I also started was reading her patriarchal blessing and looking up the words. I started that too and have already learned more and understood more of what it is telling me. I would invite all of you to do the same thing. I promise you will learn new things and understand it in a new way. 

Personal revelation is amazing! I love knowing that I can get personal answers to questions and that God is aware of me as an individual. Ask Him for understanding, He will give it to you. 

Fun story from the week:
We had gone to an appointment with one of our investigators but the house was dark. We knocked anyway. Her mom yelled that it was open, so we went in. The house was totally dark and we stood in the living room for a little bit trying to figure out what to do. The member who was with us wondered if the girl we were visiting was even home. We called her name and she didn't answer. Her mom apparently assumed we were her daughter, so she came downstairs. Completely naked, apparently. The member with us made eye contact with her and then the mom realized we weren't her daughter. Yikes!! It was a very awkward few minutes while we stood in the living room waiting to see what would happen.....

Love y'all, 
Sister Pyper

Durham 1st district

Monday, January 4, 2016

A new start

With the new year, we have church at 11 instead of 9. I usually prefer morning church, but having church later means that we actually have time to study before church! It is so great to have that time to study the scriptures and begin my day by feeling the Spirit. I have been reading Jesus the Christ (with a dictionary by my side) and I am learning more of who my Savior is and coming to love Him even more. I am so grateful that I can learn about Him and for His sacrifice that allows me to continually improve and come closer to Him. 

I think a lot of people made New Year's Resolutions to read the Bible. We got 6 media referrals (from Salt Lake, people who order something online and we deliver it to them. They are usually for Bibles) last night, and all but 1 of them ordered a Bible! We only had one, so we had to get more from the elders. They only had one too, so hopefully we get more soon :) It is great that so many people are looking for the word of God, that opens so many doors to the message of the Gospel. 

Apparently a new year means a new home, at least for one of our investigators. Amanda is on-track to be baptized in a month and she had been looking for another place to live so that she could move out of her boyfriend's house. She found a great place to live! In Rockingham. Two hours away...... She is still in the mission, but not in our area. I am so happy that she found a place to live, but it's sad that we can't teach her any more. We were able to get in contact with the missionaries in her new area and tell them about her. They promised to take good care of her and teach her well :)

One thing I really realized this week is how important it is to have a testimony of the Restoration, which is why it is the first thing we teach people. We had two separate investigators this past week, Deborah and Frances, who have incredible faith in God and want to do the right thing. They are both Baptist (surprise, surprise) and love God very much. We invited both of them to be baptized and they didn't understand how their baptism before "doesn't count". It was a great opportunity for me to bear my testimony of the Restoration and of the priesthood, although neither of them accepted :( The Restoration is key to everything else we teach and invite them to experience. Without the restoration of the fullness of the gospel and the priesthood, we wouldn't have the Book of Mormon, sacrament meeting, temples, blessings, ordinances, anything. It is essential to have a testimony that the Gospel has in fact been restored if you are going to have a testimony of anything else. 

Right before the new year, we were able to find another great investigator! We had actually met him before, my first night here, but we hadn't been able to find his apartment. We had gone tracting and his was the first door that we knocked on! He told us that he had been struggling with something that day and had been thinking about the short message we had shared with him that first time. It was incredible to see how Heavenly Father had led us to someone who had been prepared to hear our message. We were able to talk to him about prayer and the power that comes from it. His schedule is a bit irregular so hopefully we can find a time to meet with him again and share the Gospel with him. 

We also taught a family that we found before Christmas, Stevie and Will. We taught them about the Restoration using cups to explain it. Their two-year-old really enjoyed knocking them down. Stevie and Will are both very strong Christians and very open to our message. I am so excited to keep teaching them! I can see how much Heavenly Father loves them and is blessing them and I know that the gospel is what they need to come closer to Christ and Heavenly Father. 

New Year's Eve is weird as a missionary. It felt like any other day, with the exception that we had to be home by 7 instead of 9. That was our weekly planning day, so we were inside most of the day anyway. We went to visit a less-active, Sister Scott, who lives in an assisted living home near us. She is so fun! She always gets so excited to see us and we always sing hymns with her before we leave. 

In the spirit of the new year, I learned a new skill last night. Sort of. We had dinner with a member and her husband plays the accordion. He pulled it out and just handed it to me and told me to play it. I think that is one of the weirdest things someone has given me so far. 

All my love, 
Sister Pyper