Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Our trio's down to two (post this one)

Yes, that was a Lion King reference. It is perfectly applicable. We got our mini missionary Tuesday night and she went back home yesterday. Her name is Sister Andrews and she is from another stake in our mission. She is only 18 and is already planning on going on a mission! She is just about the sweetest person I have ever met. She is not even 5 feet tall and she has a super soft voice. It was impossible to get frustrated with her around (which was a great blessing. We met a lot of anti people this week and got dropped by some investigators. More on that later.). Being in a trio was very different at first, but I got used to it quickly and now it feels a little strange to only have one companion. Sister Andrews has a great desire to learn and to serve and she sincerely loves people. It was really sweet to get to know her and to remember what it was like to be a brand-new missionary. I think I could totally handle being in a trio for an entire transfer. 

So....sometimes as missionaries you find someone who seems really prepared and you fall in love with them. And sometimes those people end up dropping you. That happened to us this past week. We had been teaching an older couple named Larry & Donna. They are super sweet and were so open to listening. Donna had read about 14 chapters of the Book of Mormon in a week and we were so excited! Last time we saw them we committed her to pray to know if the Book of Mormon was true. When we went to see them on Friday, we sat down and Donna says "So I prayed. I got three different answers. I don't think they are the answers you hoped for". *cue Sarah McLachlan music* She wold us that she prayed three times and got a different answer each time. Each time she felt drawn to a verse in the Bible that talks about Christ and how He is the only way to Heavenly Father. To her, that was her answer that she is good where she is and that her path is different than ours. It was so sad to see that she had prayed for an answer with an answer already in her heart. Hopefully something will change in the future and they will want to meet with missionaries again. We were kind of bummed about it until we talked to our district leader. He said that, even though it's sad that they dropped us, we have that time that we would have seen them to find those who are ready. That helped us a lot. We are going to work hard to find a lot this week and pray that we will have the Spirit to guide us. 

Missionary work isn't always depressing though!! There were so many wonderful moments this week where we knew that we were in the right place at the right time. One of them was Nancy. Nancy is being taught officially by the elders, but we sit by her in Relief Society and she will often ask us questions. She wanted to take us out to dinner this week, so we met her at a local pizza place. She had had a baptismal date for this Friday, but that isn't going to happen this week. At dinner, she told us about how she had 'cancelled her baptism' and explained why she felt that she isn't ready yet. We were able to listen and help her resolve her concerns. She really understands how importance baptism is and she does not want to take it lightly. We were able to help her understand the commitments she is asked to make and helped her to feel less worried. I couldn't love her more if she was actually our investigator. Although we weren't the ones to find her and we aren't the ones officially teaching her, I know that Sister Bobbitt and I are both meant to be here to help her. In district meeting, someone said once that each of us has a purpose in our area and that we each have a specific person we are in our area for. Sometimes that person is an investigator of yours, sometimes it is not. I love seeing how the Lord puts in where He needs us to be and allows us to be His instruments in blessing the lives of His children. I know that He is intimately aware of each and every single one of us. 

Love y'all
Sister Pyper

Our mini missionary :)

I miss Sister Andrews already :( But she promised to keep in touch and let us know when she gets her mission call!!

Monday, July 18, 2016

And I'm.......staying in Wake Forest!!!

Guess who's training? If you guessed me, you would be half-right. Sister Bobbitt and I are hosting a mini-missionary this coming week!! I had never heard of mini-missions until I was a missionary, but it is an awesome idea! Priest/Laurel age youth (at least in this mission, not sure if other missions do this) can spend a week with full-time missionaries and do everything with them. They have to follow all the same rules and standards that we do and they get to participate in every part of missionary work, from district meeting to weekly planning. I'm really looking forward to meeting whoever she is and giving her a taste of missionary life! The best part is that I totally joked that Sister Bobbitt and I could be trio training, and we kind of are! We didn't get transfer news until Sunday morning (we usually get it Saturday night), so we were both a little anxious. A member of the mission presidency called us and said that we had been recommended to host this mini-missionary and asked if we would be willing to do that. Of course we said yes! We are both excited to stay in Wake Forest and stay together.

Remember the miracle investigator we found a couple weeks ago by calling a wrong number? We were finally able to meet her in person this past week! Her name is Keisha and she is amazing!! She is a single mom of 3 and sets such a good example for her kids . She has never been baptized before (that alone is a miracle!!) and really wants to come closer to God and learn more about him. Good thing we can help her with all of those things :) 

Wise quote from my companion: "Walk towards God, don't just face Him" We have to do more than simply claim to believe, we must live our lives in a way that shows our belief. Just like we don't plan a vacation and never get on the plane, we can't be prepared to live with Heavenly Father if we don't practice now. We show our faith as we take a step forward, not knowing exactly which way the path is going to take us. Having faith in the One who marked the path allows us to move forward into the unknown. 

We had a great lesson with our investigators Larry and Donna (I kept mixing up their names and saying "Darry". Luckily it was only in front of Sister Bobbitt)  this past week. Donna has been reading the Book of Mormon and read about 8 chapters in 4 days. That's better than I can do right now! She read in 1 Nephi 13 about the different churches and asked us what was meant by 'the great and abominable church'. Oh boy, that was a slightly scary question. I really did not want to offend her, but I also knew that it is my calling to testify of the truth. We were able to explain to her that there are ultimately only two churches: Christ's and the devil's. We explained that only Christ's church has His authority and the fullness of His gospel. She was really humble and wanted to learn, which meant that she was able to feel the Spirit as we testified of the Restoration and the priesthood. 

Love y 'all
Sister Pyper

Yep, another day, another storm here in NC. It's almost like clockwork how often it storms. Of course, that meant that I had to go outside to enjoy the rain. Everyone thinks Seattle gets lots of rain, but it is nothing compared to here. 

Once upon a time, Sister Bobbitt decided to pick out my outfit. I love not having to decide what to wear :)

Exchanges with Sister Macrum

Monday, July 11, 2016

Can I use the scriptures to banish bugs?

Well, summer has definitely hit here in NC. Thunderstorms are a regular occurrence now. At one point, I was keeping track of which days there was a storm. For about a week and a half, there was one every single day. The storms are a nice way to bring down the temperature, but they also increase the humidity. And bring all the bugs out of hiding. Some days I wish NC was one of the missions that allowed pants to keep the bugs away:) I came home one night with 35 bug bites (probably because that was the one day I forgot to put on bug spray). Poor Sister Bobbitt though. For some reason, the bugs like her better. She has consistently had double the amount of bites I have. Another fun side effect of all the storms: the roads steam. It is a bit strange to see steam coming off the roads after a storm, I'm not used to it that warm after it rains. It looks pretty though. 

I have spent a lot of the past week trying to memorize scriptures. The mission recently created a list of scriptures for us to work on memorizing. The purpose is to help us be more familiar with the scriptures, be more prepared for lessons, and be able to teach better. As I looked through the list of 187 scriptures, I realized that there were a lot that I had memorized in seminary that I still remembered. Take seminary and scripture mastery seriously, kids! It is a huge blessing to be able to have the words of God immediately come to mind. There have been multiple times when I was able to remember a scripture in the middle of a lesson, and I was only able to do that because I had been trying to memorize it in my studies. Memorizing is a great way to do as it says in D&C 84:85 and "treasure up in your minds continually the words of life". I have found that as I ponder and review the scriptures that I have memorized or am trying to memorize, I feel the Spirit more. 

I don't know if I've told y'all about Nancy or not. Nancy is someone the elders are teaching, not one of ours, but she is incredible! She comes to church every week and has a baptismal date for the 29th! I couldn't be more excited if she was one of my investigators. I kind of feel like she is because we get to sit with her in Relief Society. She has amazing questions every week. Yesterday the lesson was on the importance of studying the scriptures. Nancy asked how we would respond to the scripture in Revelations that says "If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book" and how the Book of Mormon can be valid. Well, luckily for her, we get asked that question all the time :) We were able to explain to her how the Bible as we know it today came about and that John was speaking about the book of Revelation, not simply the Bible as a whole, partly because 'The Bible' didn't exist at the time he was writing. There were very sweet testimonies borne as the other women listened to her concerns and helped her understand. I had the distinct thought that this lesson was exactly what she needed. Heavenly Father was aware of her questions and gave her that opportunity to ask them. She felt safe enough to express her concerns and was given a greater understanding. The rest of us in the room benefited, but I feel that that lesson was divinely guided for her as an individual.

I guess that's it for this week. I can't think of a whole lot that happened this week, so I will end with the wise words of my hilarious companion. "I can't wait for the zombie apocalypse when there are no more speed limits"

Love y'all
Sister Pyper 

Welcome to summer in NC. Yep, 102. At 6 pm. So. Hot. All the time. And humid. The humidity is worse than the heat. Luckily, there was a big storm later this day that brought it down to 72. 
I may have killed Sister Bobbitt.... This is what happens after a long day of tracting. It takes too much effort to stay awake :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

I wonder if Noah sang on the Ark

There were many times this past week when we saw the Lord guiding us in His work. One in particular stands out. On Tuesday we had planned to go tract a street near our apartment, but the weather was bad enough that we didn't feel comfortable going out. We decided to go through our area book and call former investigators and try to set up appointments with them. We called one and it was a wrong number. A few people later, we came across the same phone number listed for another person. Sister Bobbitt and I both felt like it wouldn't hurt to call the number again. The second time, the woman on the other end asked us if we were from a church. When we told her what church we were from, she asked us if we could pray for her and her daughter. She told us that her 12 year old daughter has a rare form of cancer and has to go in for chemotherapy every week. We were able to pray with her over the phone and bear our testimonies about the Plan of Salvation. We asked if she would be interested in hearing more about God's plan and she said yes! When we got her address, we realized that she lives in our ward and so we can teach her! I know that Heavenly Father led us to her and that we were in the right place at the right time. 

I am in Alma 52 of the Book of Mormon and I am learning so much more than I thought I would. I don't usually enjoy the war chapters, but I have been learning a lot about how important preparation is. I had the thought this week that the war chapters were included through revelation and are necessary for our day. We might not be physically at war, but we are fighting a battle every day against Satan. Our battles are more spiritual than the ones the Nephites fought, but the lessons are the same.Our leaders today are just as inspired for our protection as Moroni was for the Nephites. Our families are still the most important thing we can fight for and we should protect them with everything we have. 

I got to see a Polynesian show, for free, 3 times this past week. The Ahuna Ohana (they performed in the 2002 Olympics, look them up) came and toured our mission. The family is from Hawaii and the grandma is President James' sister, which is how they picked NC. They tour all around the world and put on these shows in different missions. It was an awesome show! There were dances from different parts of Polynesia and the whole family is incredibly talented! They do this as a missionary opportunity and have found a fun way to share the gospel. At every show, they bore their testimonies about families and shared what they do to strengthen their family. Not only was it fun to watch, but they brought a very sweet spirit with them. It was cool to see how they have taken something they love to do and made it into a way to share the gospel. 

Their first show was sadly cut short due to a storm that broke. Everyone in the audience ran for cover in the garage of President's house and all of us missionaries were frantically trying to get the equipment inside and dry. Of course, in the process of this, we all got soaked :) While we waited for the rain to stop, we all sang hymns in President's garage. The Spirit was very strong and it was wonderful to feel the love that was there. (This is where the title of my email comes from)

Something that I realized on Sunday was the importance of individuals. During testimony meeting, our bishop talked about home/visiting teaching and he said that "ministering is one to one" and that really struck me. I thought about that and the program the church has to minister to the needs of each individual. Home and visiting teaching are inspired and directed by a Father in Heaven who is aware of each of His children. I know without a doubt that that God I worship loves and knows each of us personally. He knows your name, He knows the things you have never told anyone, He knows your hopes and fears, and He loves you perfectly. He sent His perfect Son to suffer for each and every single one of us. Christ knows and loves you just as much as Heavenly Father does.You are engraved on His perfect hands. In the eyes of God, you are not just another face in the crowd. You are divine and glorious. You are worth the blood of the Son of God. You matter. The things that you care about are important to the Creator of endless worlds. Never forget that. 

Love y'all,
Sister Pyper

Fire dancing. Don't worry, this isn't me :)
​This past week we were able to see a Polynesian show put on by a family from Hawaii. The highlight of each show was the Samoan fire-knife dance. So not only is this man dancing with fire, there are knives at the center of each flame. And I thought dancing over swords was impressive....

Warning:bug ahead

​I have dubbed Wake Forest "the beetle area" for this reason. There are tons of these Japanese beetles everywhere and they seem to really like me. Seriously, I have found a beetle in my hair or on my clothes almost once a week. Luckily they don't bite or sting, they just sit there.