Monday, May 2, 2016

Testimonies and growth

I have a new companion! Her name is Sister Skalla. She is very different from my last companions, but just as wonderful. I am excited to get to learn from her. 

Someone was mentioning that it is a bit strange to be in an area for so long. At the end of this transfer, I will have been here for 6 months. That is a bit strange, most sisters are usually in an area for 3 transfers (4.5 months) or less, but I am apparently still needed here. I am very happy about that though, I love it here! 

Staying here also means that I get to see more people progress. I am most excited about Earnest. I feel like he is part of the reason I am supposed to stay here. He has made such amazing progress since I first met him and I know he will only continue to grow! Yesterday was fast and testimony meeting and it was one of the most powerful testimony meetings I have been in. All 4 of us missionaries in the ward got up and bore our testimonies, pretty close together. About halfway through the meeting, Earnest asked me if anyone could get up to talk. I explained that usually speakers are assigned in advance, but testimony meeting was open to anyone who felt prompted to get up. He then asked if you had to be a member to get up. When I told him no, he said he wanted to go up. A couple minutes after that, he got up and bore his testimony. He talked about his experience learning about the gospel and how much it has blessed him. He said that he knows this church is true. I felt so strongly that Heavenly Father is personally aware of Earnest and how much He loves him. I know that Heavenly Father is aware of all of His children and that He wants us to be happy. It was such a powerful experience to be able to hear the testimony of someone I have been teaching and see the effect the Atonement has had on him. 

Toshy, our recent convert, is also doing wonderfully! We just started the new member lessons with her and she talked about how much the Book of Mormon has helped her and blessed her. Hearing her simple testimony and her love for the gospel made me realize again how grateful I am for the Restoration. I am so grateful for the knowledge of Heavenly Father and the Savior that have come because of the Restoration. I know that they are real and that they love me. I know what my purpose here on Earth is and what is required of me. That knowledge brings me so much peace and direction. 

A member of the ward yesterday mentioned that she has seen me change since I have been here. I have been thinking about that and realized the reason I have changed. I am spending all of my time thinking about the Savior and how I can help others. As a missionary, I have to rely on the Savior for everything. He is the only reason I am able to do any of the things that I have to do as a missionary. That complete reliance on Him has changed who I am and I am so grateful for that. I am not the same person I was when I left and I am not even the same person I was a week ago. At the risk of sound cliche, a mission really does change you. I have come closer to my Heavenly Father and my Savior. I know that nothing I do is truly my own, it is all Heavenly Father. This is truly His work and I am so thankful that He has allowed me to have a small role. This gospel is the greatest blessing that I have been given and having the opportunity to share it with others makes me so happy. 

Love y'all
Sister Pyper

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