Monday, June 27, 2016

Light and grace, what else do you need?

This past week was so great! There were lots of spiritual moments and amazing insights from lots of people. 

First awesome thing: Lynda. Lynda is someone we are teaching and she is amazing!! She used to attend the Baptist Seminary, but is on track to get baptized. She had an LDS friend growing up, but her friend moved away to Idaho when they were in high school. About a year ago, Lynda and her friend got reconnected and her friend sent us her information. Lynda is so ready for the gospel and has an incredible desire to learn and come closer to God. We taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ this past week, and she said something incredibly insightful (she is very in tune with the Spirit, so there will probably be more Lynda insights in future emails). She said that "you never have less grace than you need". Her point was that Heavenly Father is intimately aware of each of us and what our needs are. He will always give us exactly what we need for a specific trial. Sometimes we may feel like we are not able to go through what is in front of us, but that couldn't be more wrong. Our Father in Heaven will always be there for us and will give us the strength we need to endure. He will not give us more than we need, but neither will He give us less than we need. 

Second awesome thing: Savior of the World. The Raleigh stake put on a play titled Savior of the World and we were able to go see it with someone the elders are teaching (thank you elders for giving us your tickets!!!). This play is a musical that is about Jesus Christ and the impact His life had on the world. It was written by a member of the church and has been approved by the First Presidency. At the beginning, there was a narrator who talked about the play. The play didn't focus on the Savior's life, but on the time before His birth and what happened after His death. The narrator described it as ripples on a pond. He said that, like the ripples that occur when a rock is thrown into a pond, the effect of the Savior's life spread much further than the area where he lived. He said that everyone on the Earth has been affected by the ripples of the Savior's birth, death, and resurrection. 

Third awesome thing: my studies. I decided to study 'light' this week and I learned a lot! In the dictionary, light is defined as something that makes vision possible. I started thinking about that and how Christ is referred to as the "light of the world" in the scriptures. I thought about how light, and the ability to see, is connected to our level of understanding. If we are in a dimly lit room, we can see the outline of objects in the room and can have an idea of what is there. Without more light, we can never know for certain what is there and the truth of our situation. It is only when the lights are turned on that we can see things as they really are and understand our surroundings. That light also allows us to safely navigate our way through what could otherwise be a dangerous path. Similarly, it is only because of Christ that we are able to see the things of eternity as they truly are. It is His light that guides us as we walk this very treacherous path. 

There are many names for Christ; Savior of the World, light of the world, Redeemer, Friend, Counselor, Advocate. He is all of them and more. One of my favorite hymns is I Know That My Redeemer Lives. I do know that He lives and that He is always reaching out to us, to lift and guide us, to strengthen us, to purify us, and to love us. As we strive to develop our personal relationship with Him and follow His teachings, His light will burn more brightly in our lives. We will be able to see things as they really are. We will be able to avoid the dangers that lie in our path. As we draw closer to His light, we will be able to reflect that light to others. 

Love y'all
Sister Pyper

Yes, this is an actual plate on a car. We go past this car every day and I love seeing it :)

There was a huge thunderstorm as we were planning one night, so I of course had to go out in it. I got completely soaked in about 2 minutes. 

We were visiting a less-active member of the ward and this is her dog. I'm pretty sure there is 3 times as much fur as there is actual dog. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Week....Something. I have lost track, I just know I am loving NC

Things here in Wake Forest are still going well. We actually found two new investigators this past week and met someone else who wants us to teach his whole family! I love working with families! The gospel really is designed to do the most good for families. We are not meant to be alone, our families are gifts from Heavenly Father that He intends for us to keep forever. 

Happy Father's Day to all the men out there, whether you have children or not. In sacrament meeting yesterday, one of the speakers said that "fatherhood is a calling from which you are never released, it is one that lasts into the eternities". I am so grateful for all the men in my life who have been fathers to me in any sense, but especially for the man who is my biological father. He has taught me so much, probably more than he even realizes. Thank you for your constant example of what it means to be a good person, Dad! The most important thing my dad has taught me is how to have a good relationship with my Father in Heaven. I know that God is truly our Father, in a very literal sense. He knows each of us intimately and individually. He knows and loves you, exactly the way you are right now. He is watching over you and wants to give you everything. His love is perfect and unchanging and it is all for you. 

I got to go on exchanges last week! And for the first time in months, I actually got to go somewhere on exchanges! The past couple transfers I was always the one who stayed in the area for exchanges, so it was kind of nice to see another area, even if it was just a different part of Wake Forest. Sister Peterson, the sister I was with, is awesome!! We went tracting and we were able to find a new investigator in the ward they are trying to build up! Of course, it was the last door we knocked and it was right as a thunderstorm was moving in. We wouldn't have found her if we hadn't been willing to stay out until 9 and have faith that the Lord would lead us to someone who was prepared. I know that the Lord will bless us as we do all we can and give Him every effort we have. Sometimes we have to wait until what we think is the very last moment before we see the blessings come, but they will always come. I know that Heavenly Father keeps His promises to us and that we simply have to do what He asks of us. 

I was asked to give a thought at our zone conference this coming Wednesday about something that Jesus Christ taught. The first thing that came to mind was His invitation to "come, follow me" and what we can do to follow our Savior. I thought of 2 Nephi 31:10 "And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?" Obedience to the commandments is how we follow the example of the Savior and how we come closer to Him. We don't obey to make God love us, but our obedience is how we show Heavenly Father we love Him. What better way to show our Father that we love Him and want to be like Him than by following the commandments that He has given us? Any blessing that we are given is contingent upon our obedience to His laws ( D&C 130:20-21) and we are blessed more for greater obedience. 

Love y'all
Sister Pyper

​I went on exchanges last week with Sister Peterson! She's awesome! <3

Monday, June 13, 2016

A new area means new things to learn

Hello Wake Forest! Every time I see Wake Forest, my brain wants to say Lake Forest Park. Hopefully I don't say it out loud :) I am now companions with Sister Bobbitt. She is from CA and has been out a transfer longer than I have. I guess I have been out long enough now that that's normal.  I am excited to learn from her and work with her. My new address is 1219 Appleberry Ct, Wake Forest NC 27587.

The best thing about the apartment is that is has two bathrooms! It makes getting ready in the morning so much easier. It is also brand new, the sisters moved in a few days before transfers. We had the elders and the ward mission leader come over to dedicate the apartment on Friday. It was a neat experience. 

The only thing I don't like about Wake Forest are the bugs. I'm pretty sure I get bitten every single day. Although I'm not sure there is a single part of NC that is bug-free this time of year. Time to break out the bug spray, I guess! Too bad I don't live in a mission where sisters are allowed to wear pants (then again, it's already hot and pants would just make that worse...)

Wake Forest is very different than Durham/Chapel Hill. For one thing, our ward covers about 6 towns, so our area is a lot more spread out. There are also a lot more NC natives here than in Durham. It is fun to talk to people who have lived here for generations and hear about what it was like. Wake Forest is also home to the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, so there are aton of hardcore Baptists in our area. There are still many people who are prepared to hear the gospel, we just have to get out and find them :)

Of course, the easiest way for us to find those who are prepared is through members. Our investigator with a baptismal date, Lynda, was sent to us by a member. We would not have been able to meet her on our own. I know that it is only because of this member who is friends with Lynda that we are able to teach her. Lynda is amazing! She is so ready to hear the gospel and wants to do everything she can to come closer to her Savior. 

I love this gospel and I know that it is true. I am so grateful to be able to be here in NC sharing it with everyone I can. This gospel and being a part of Christ's church have brought me so much joy that I can't imagine not sharing it with others. 

Love y'all
Sister Pyper

Lauren and her new companion, Sister Bobbitt

We met Santa!!! ​No, seriously. This man is Santa. He is a Disneyworld Santa. How cool is that?!?!

​My view for the past week. A member in our ward is getting ready to go on a mission and she loves to come out with us. She has spent pretty much every day with us since I got here, often for the entire day. She's the best! I'm excited for her to go on her mission, but I'm going to miss this. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Goodbyes, hospitals, and miracles

Bye Durham, it's been a wonderful ride! I'm getting transferred, to somewhere around Raleigh (unless that changes in the next 24 hours). Hey! My blog title might end up being accurate! So I'll still be in the northern part of the mission. All of my companions so far have been in the southern part until Durham, so maybe I'll be the opposite of them. I am sad to be leaving Durham but excited to go somewhere else and be where the Lord needs me. 

Miracle story from a less-active we are working with! She got baptized five years ago and went pretty much inactive soon after. We have been working with her for a few months and going over the lessons again. We taught her the Word of Wisdom a couple weeks ago and she committed to live it. She knew that it would be hard to give up coffee and tea, but she committed to it and told us she would pray for Heavenly Father's help in keeping His commandments. She had been drinking two cups of coffee a day and loved sweet tea. When we saw her on Saturday, she told us that she hasn't had coffee or tea in two weeks! She told us that it doesn't even taste good to her anymore. She had made a cup of coffee, took one sip, and then left it alone for the rest of the day because she didn't enjoy the taste. She isn't tired and actually has more energy than she did when she was drinking coffee. She also promised to tell her boss at work that she will not work on Sundayanymore! It is wonderful to see the Lord working in her life and helping her to come back to church. 

For a slow week numbers-wise, there was a lot that happened. We sat in the emergency room for three hours (not for me or my companion, more on that later), went apartment hunting, got caught in a couple thunderstorms, sat at a bus stop at a mall for an hour after just missing our bus, I packed, I also gave the instruction at our district meeting. Oh we also got a lot of bug bites. Thank you NC summer and people who talk to us outside. 

Okay, so the story of why we were in an emergency room for three hours. We had a lesson set up with Earnest and we were going to have it in a member's home. We went with the member to pick him up and he comes out and says he thinks he broke his collarbone. He still wants to have the lesson and just go to the hospital afterwards (awwww, what a sweetie!). We of course told him that was a bad idea and that we would take him to the hospital first. So we went with him into the emergency room and called the elders to come give him a blessing. While we waited for the elders to arrive and for Earnest to get looked at, we had a really good lesson/discussion where we talked about trials and how we can rely on the Lord to get us through hard things. The best part of that lesson was Earnest telling us he is ready to commit to a baptismal date, he will just have to look at his calendar to make sure it doesn't get scheduled for a day he is busy! He has had a baptismal date before, but this time he is completely ready. I am so excited for him to take this step to come closer to his Savior. 

Also, we went apartment hunting on Saturday. For an apartment that I will not be living in, although we didn't know that at the time. We have been wanting to move closer to the boundary between our two wards so that we can cover both more effectively. Our housing coordinator called us and said that our lease is almost up and we can possibly move in July/August. It was fun to go look at apartments. Except every single one kept telling us about their pool and their free wifi. Which would be great selling points if we weren't missionaries :)

Well, I still have to finish packing. That is possibly the worst part of transfers. Next week I will be in my new area and should have more to write about. 

Love y'all, 
Sister Pyper

Earnest makes me think of that Winnie the Pooh quote, 

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying good-bye so hard.”

Once upon a time a few days ago, Sister Skalla and I went to get ice cream with our member after a lesson. In the middle of a huge thunderstorm. Nothing like torrential rain to make ice cream better :)