Monday, October 31, 2016

So, ummmm, baptisms are the best


Just kidding! That is the most exciting thing that happened this past week, but it is by no means the only thing. But oh my goodness it was SO GREAT to see her get baptized and confirmed this weekend! One of the cutest miracles was that Sister James, our mission president's wife, was able to come to the confirmation. Lisa had met President and Sister James a few times before and just loves them (not a surprise, they are some of the sweetest people I know) and hoped they could come to her baptism. They weren't able to, due to their crazy busy schedules, but Sister James was able to be there on Sunday when Lisa got confirmed. They waved to each other as Lisa walked up to the front and it was just the cutest thing <3 Anyway, Lisa's baptism was AMAZING! She was just so excited and the Spirit was there so strongly! There was a great turnout from the ward ( please please PLEASE go to baptisms in your ward. Especially when it is a convert baptism. It doesn't matter if you have never met them. Just go. Seriously. It will mean so much to the person getting baptized to see how many people are there and supporting them.) and it was so sweet to see how many people already love Lisa. This ward is the best! Yes, I know I say that about all of my wards, but that is because I keep getting put in the best wards. 

OH! LAURA! Laura is an investigator sisters have been working with since about May. She has had a baptismal date a few times, but there were always some issues getting in her way. Long story short, those issues have now all been dealt with and she is making incredible progress! She has always struggled with reading in general, so reading the Book of Mormon (or any scriptures) was hard for her. But recently she has been reading every single day (and reading more than just the one verse we asked her to) and she has been understanding it! It has been miraculous to see how much the Holy Ghost is able to help her. She has been living God's commandments and she is being blessed for it. We were kind of at a point with her where she needed to keep her commitments or we were going to stop teaching her. Obviously we were hoping for the former option. Something finally clicked for her and she started keeping her commitments! Her whole attitude has changed and I can see things are making sense to her! I have loved teaching Laura and being forced to adjust my own perceptions and opinions. There have been times where I didn't think she understood what we were teaching at all or that she didn't care, but I am so grateful to be wrong. She doesn't understand things the way I do or even the way I think she should, but she does understand. Heavenly Father knows her and what she needs so much more than I do. He knows how to teach her and what will help the gospel make sense to her. I am so grateful that the Holy Ghost is the one that teaches her, not me. If it had been all up to me, I would never have been able to teach her the way she needed to be taught. Teaching her has been such a blessing to me. Oh yeah, she's getting baptized on November 12th. Sorry I didn't mention that earlier :) 

So Drina (the miracle investigator from last week) said something that struck me. We had another lesson with her this past week and we ended up explaining how we came to be here in Durham. We told her that an Apostle of the Lord assigned each of us to the North Carolina Raleigh Mission and that President James prayed and felt we needed to be here in Durham 2. As we told her that this is what we do all day, every day, she was so impressed. She was amazed that we are making such "huge" sacrifices to give up work, school, and our normal lives for 18 months. It seemed strange to me while she spoke and I couldn't figure out why until I was talking to Sister Ruske later that night. I realized that I don't see my mission as a sacrifice, not even a little bit. I have seen too many miracles and grown too much to see these 18 months as a sacrifice. What I get to do every single day is worth far more than anything I left behind. Yes, of course there are days when I miss home and all the people I love, but sharing the gospel that I love so much brings me more joy than anything else I have found. Seeing people like Lisa find the truth and knowing that Heavenly Father prepared them is worth it. So no, my mission is not a sacrifice, it is the greatest blessing I have ever been given. Yes, there things that I have had to give up or put on hold, but those things will never be more important than my brothers and sisters. 

Oh, another small miracle. This one I will probably never see the end result of. We got to a lesson early and had about 20 minutes to tract. So we prayed that we would be able to find someone to teach and help them feel the Spirit. No one was home in the building that we felt we should knock (except for a lady who spoke Spanish. In my very limited Spanish and her equally small amount of English, we figured out that she is already meeting with the Hermanas), until one man walked out of the apartment. So of course we started talking to him and asked him who he knew that we could teach. It turns out that he didn't live there, he was just the repairman. He lives in Cary and is meeting with the elders there! We talked to him about the Atonement and bore our testimonies to him. He told us that he has been meeting with the elders for a while and we asked him if he had ever thought about getting baptized. He told us "I think that's where I'm headed, it feels like the next step". We invited him to pray about the Book of Mormon and to know if he should be baptized. I wish I could see the look on those elders faces when this man comes to them and tells them he wants to be baptized. Even though we didn't find a new investigator, I know that we were supposed to meet and talk to this man. 

Moral of this email: miracles happen when you share the gospel. "The thing which will be of most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. " (D&C 15:6) I testify that this gospel is the greatest blessing that we could ever receive. Sharing it is not a burden, it is the greatest source of joy. Sharing the gospel is not being pushy or rude, it is loving your brothers and sisters enough to invite them to come back home with you. Our home is not here, it is with our Father in Heaven who loves each of us so much that He sent His Son, our perfect older brother, to suffer and die for us. Something will be required of you, something you will have to leave behind or change, but at the end of the day, we are promised to be blessed far more than we can begin to imagine. 

Love y'all
Sister Pyper

​Oh my goodness, this was one of the most beautiful baptisms I have ever been to! She is just so happy and excited to be a part of Christ's church. Y'all are going to keep hearing about her because I cannot express enough how incredible she is. I feel so blessed to have been able to see the changes in her over the past 4 weeks. 
Also, Nate (her grandson) is such a goofball! I love these kids so much!!

I found cotton!!!
​We were tracting and this person randomly had a cotton branch in their front yard. Since I am apparently destined to spent my whole mission in the North, I knew I needed to take advantage of this tiny piece of the South :)  (Side note, all of my apartments so far have been 30 miles or less from each other. Maybe one day I'll get to leave the greater RTP area)

Yes, Sisters ride bikes too!!!
​We also kinda of matched today, not at all on purpose :)

Monday, October 24, 2016

When you have a birthday, Heavenly Father gives you the best gifts

Well, this is officially my first email as a 21 year old. Having a birthday as a missionary was a unique experience, but it was one of the best days of the week (more details later). Between my family, friends, and the ward I was well loved and very well fed :) Apparently when people know it's your birthday, they all decide to bake you things. So I have plenty of treats to last me a long time. Thank you so much for the treats/cards/emails and for all of your love! Y'all are the best and I love each of you!

Okay, since I'm sure y'all are dying to know why my birthday was so great, I'll tell you :) It had almost nothing to do with the fact that it was my birthday and everything to do with the people we are teaching. Wednesday was just full of miracles and the fact that they all happened on my birthday made it a million times better! sadly, we were on exchanges today so Sister Ruske missed out on my birthday miracles. But lucky Sister Fisher got to meet some wonderful people! 
Miracle #1 was Lisa. For those of you just tuning in to the weekly Sister Pyper update, Lisa is honestly the most prepared person I have ever met/taught! She is amazing!! We met her on October 4 and she is getting baptized on Saturday, 25 days after we first met her. I just can't even put into words how incredible she is. Anyway, we went to teach her the last few commandments that we needed to teach before her interview on Friday. I had planned on checking her tea to make sure that it was all okay, and then when we got there she asked if we would make sure everything she had was in line with the Word of Wisdom. She unintentionally had a few that weren't but she gave them to us right away and had us get rid of them for her. That right there is repentance in action! 
Miracle #2: Drina. After dinner we had about 30 minutes before we got picked up for dinner, so we decided to go knock some doors in the cul-de-sac at the end of our street. Drina was walking over to the mailboxes right as we walked into the parking lot. Sister Fisher said hi to her and she said hi back! So we went over and started talking to her. She is awesome! She was raised Methodist but is currently looking for something to help her strengthen her personal relationship with God. She has wondered why there are so many different churches and why they all teach such different things. She said that it always feels divisive and not like how she imagines Christ's church to be. So we taught her the Restoration. Outside, in front of the mailboxes. It was so great! She told us she has a lot of questions for us and would love for us to come back and talk to her more! We gave her a pamphlet and a copy of the Book of Mormon, committing her to read it and to pray about it. She thanked us for asking her to pray, that really impressed her. She said that people usually tell you to believe what they say just because they told you it was true, but we didn't. We asked her to pray to know for herself if what we had told her was true. Meeting her strengthened my testimony that the Lord puts people in our path who are prepared to hear the gospel. All we have to do is get out, do the work and talk to as many people as we can. All it takes is 5 seconds of courage to say hi to someone and then the Spirit takes over. When you are doing what the Lord wants you to, He will literally put people in your path who are searching and He will give you what to say.
Miracle #2.5: The Book of Mormon. So, the fact that we even had a Book of Mormon to give Drina shows how involved the Lord is in this work and that He is aware of all of the details. Sister Fisher is a Spanish missionary, so she doesn't usually carry around English scriptures. She had forgotten her English scriptures at home that morning and so only had her Spanish ones. There 'just happened' to be an English copy of the Book of Mormon in the car (thank you elders), so she grabbed it to follow along in lessons. I totally forgot she had it until we were talking to Drina and Sister Fisher reaches into her bag and pulls it out! It is amazing to see how every single detail worked out perfectly for us to meet Drina and to teach her at the exact moment that we did. 
Miracle #3: Dawn. Dawn's husband is a member of our ward, but she is not. Her husband had told us a few weeks ago that she was going to have a minor operation on her heart and he would love for us to come visit her while she was recovering. We haven't been able to go over, due to conflicting schedules. Then, while we were sitting at dinner, I looked across the room and saw someone who looked a lot like him. Not being sure it was him, I tried not to stare. The next time I looked over, he waved and then I realized it was actually him. I went over to say hello and it turned out he was there with his wife! I was able to finally meet her and introduce myself a little bit. We had been texting her husband to ask him how her surgery had gone and offering our help for anything they needed. She was so grateful for our kindness and kept thanking me. They are going to sign up to feed us some time soon, so we will get to be able to talk to her more. Even if she doesn't get baptized right now, I love knowing that we are able to help her have positive impressions of the church. (Side note: her husband is amazing! He is the only member in his family, and one of his daughters is going to be at our ward's fall festival this weekend. He called us a few days ago to let us know and asked us to come introduce ourselves to her. This man is doing all he can to help his family become eternal and it is wonderful to see <3)
Miracle #4: Chris. Chris is another non-member married to a member of the ward. They live right by the church, so we stopped by to try to see them before a meeting we had in the evening. His wife wasn't home, but he was and he was very polite and friendly. He was in the middle of making dinner, but took our card and said he would call us when his wife got back in town. When we asked the bishopric what they knew about this family, they told us that the husband is apparently pretty anti. He was not at all that way when we stopped by, so we have full permission to try them again in the future! Baby steps, people, baby steps.

Okay, apparently this past week was just full of miracles, because Friday was great too! Another testimony of talking to everyone and obeying the commandment in D&C 28:16 to "open thy mouth at all times, declaring my gospel with the sound of rejoicing". After dinner, we went tracting around the member's apartment. We found a very solid potential investigator who wants us to come backtonight to teach her family and have a family home evening. BUT the miracle of the night was Mario. We had stopped by to see a less-active member but they weren't home. We were freezing (don't worry, it was only 65. Summer here has just made me wimpy when it comes to the cold.) so we were walking back to our car to go grab our jackets. We passed this man sitting outside, smoking. I said hi and felt like I should stop to talk to him some more. So I asked him some questions to get him talking and he opened up to us. He told us about how he is trying his hardest to quit drugs (to the extent that he called the police on himself a few nights before instead of calling his dealer) and turn his life around. He has a belief in God but doesn't really go to church or have a strong faith. We testified to him about the power of the Atonement and how it can take away all of his pain, heartache, addiction and misery. I have been kind of confused about why I came back to Durham, and especially right next to where I spent 6 months. As we talked to him, I saw a glimpse of why I am back. I remembered that, in my first planner, I had written down the phone number for the LDS addiction recovery program. I have no doubt that Heavenly Father brought me back here to Durham (at least in part) to help this man take the steps to lead him back to his Father. The Spirit was so strong as we testified to him about the healing power of the Atonement and that, through the Savior, he could be cleansed from all of his past mistakes. Again, even if he doesn't get baptized now, I know that Heavenly Father put him in our path that night. He needs what we have and he is searching. 

OH! Fun story, explaining the Girl Scout cookies. One night the elders call us and, with no explanation, ask us what our favorite kind of Girl Scout cookies are. After being confused and asking why they wanted to know, they told us that a member had given them 45 boxes of cookies. Yep. Forty-five boxes. So, obviously, they needed to share them and make sure they weren't the only ones gaining weight :) So they brought us 10 boxes of cookies the next day at church. So now our kitchen is full of all kinds of treats. Sister Ruske and I are very grateful that this week is bike week again. We are also glad that most of our skirts are elastic :)

I know that this work is the Lord's work. There is absolutely no way that all these miracles would happen if He left me in charge. If this work were being carried on by 18-21 year olds alone, it would not work. But it does. It works because God has called us here and what we share is the truth. I know without a doubt that this church is true, that the fullness of the gospel has been restored by Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that the Book of Mormon is divinely inspired and that it is evidence of the truth of what I teach. The men who wrote the Book of Mormon were prophets, as was the man who was given the power to translate it. This gospel is a gospel of hope, joy and love. God is not mysterious or distant. He is close and He is our Father. He loves us. He loves you. The most important thing I share with people is the knowledge of how to return to the Father who loves them perfectly and infinitely. This gospel and the priesthood authority, found only in Christ's restored church, are what enable us to make the necessary covenants. 

Love y'all,
Sister Pyper

P.S. For those of you who are worried, Sister Ruske is doing much better! Still coughing a little, but she has a lot more energy and feels like herself again. The poor girl had a rough first week in the mission field but she refused to let it get her down. She is so positive and bubbly and cheerful about everything! These next 10 weeks are going to go by way too fast. 

Yay cookies!!
Long story short, we acquired 10 boxes of Girl Scout cookies this week. 

Things I have missed
​To celebrate my birthday/have district bonding, we all went out to a little Thai place for lunch after district meeting (which was the same day as my birthday). I was so excited to have Thai food again! There is a disappointing lack of good Asian food here, even in Durham, so this was even more exciting!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Training, teaching, and visiting hospitals. All in a week's work.

Well, this past week was quite the whirlwind! I met my fresh off the plane companion and had a 5 hour meeting on Tuesday. Her name is Sister Ruske (pronounced Rusk) and she is my first companion from Utah. She is so excited about being a missionary and is always willing to do anything, even though she has been sick. That is why this is a day later than normal. She started feeling sick when she got to NC and it slowly got worse. She thought it might be pneumonia, so yesterday we went to the doctor to get it looked at. After 2 hours in the urgent care, they sent us to the hospital. After being there for 5 hours, the official diagnosis is indeed pneumonia. So any extra prayers sent her way would be much appreciated. Sister Ruske is so awesome though! Even with pneumonia, she didn't let that get her down or stop her. She is always cheerful and positive about everything! We also realized that we will have most of our holidays together: both of our birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. So these next 12 weeks will be fun and full of hard work!

Training is going well. I have heard, from other people who have trained, that training is a call to repentance. I now understand why. I am constantly aware of everything I do and say, because I know that she is going to learn from the example I set. It has been really good for me to look at the things I do and habits I have developed and evaluate whether or not they are good. It is also a little exhausting to train, but in the best way possible. I am constantly watching out for her and making sure she is doing okay, especially when we are biking on roads that have no bike lane (thank you NC for that). In a very small sense, I am getting a taste of what it means to be a parent. Maybe that's why our trainers are our "moms" in the mission field. Of course, parents do so much more than what I am doing. I am so incredibly grateful for all parents who sacrifice so much for their kids. Thank you for the sleepless nights, the tears, the fear, the constant watchful eye, and the never-ending love. 

Update on Lisa! She is still so excited for her baptism and is inviting everyone she can! We had a fireside with our mission president on Sunday night and she loved it! These firesides are always very spiritual and powerful. It is an opportunity to investigators, recent converts, and returning members to share their experiences and testimonies. As Lisa stood to share her experience in meeting with us, she teared up and wasn't able to speak because of how happy she was. She knows with all her heart that this church is the only true church on the earth and will not let anything get in her way. After the fireside, she was talking to everyone she met about her baptism and inviting them all to come. She is so cute! It is amazing to see how happy she is about the gospel and her desire to share it with anyone who will listen. She is teaching me how I should be approaching missionary work. Even though she doesn't know everything about the gospel or the church, that doesn't matter to her. She has received a witness from the Spirit that this church is true and that is all she cares about. Her testimony is so sincere and pure that she can't not share it. That is the kind of missionary I want to be, the kind of member I want to be. Teaching her reminds me that this gospel is the greatest news anyone on earth could receive and that sharing it is joyful. We are helping her meet more members of the ward and she just makes friends immediately. She is so excited about being at church and learning about the gospel that everyone around her can't help but feel it too. 

OH! Fun story! So, recently I have been challenging members to ask us questions we haven't been asked when they feed us dinner. I am totally fine answering the standard where are you from/how long have you  been out/how many siblings do you have/what are your plans when you go home/etc but it's fun to get other questions too. So we challenged a family to ask us unique questions. The questions we got were "if you got asked a riddle, who are the three people you would trust to help you?" "if you had to invade a small country, would you use a tank or a jet?" and "if you could have any superpower, what would it be?" So if you're ever feeding the missionaries, feel free to ask them these questions. Chances are they have never been asked how they would invade a small country :) 

I really don't know what else to say.....

Love y'all
Sister Pyper

My brand-new companion: Sister Ruske
Isn't she the cutest?? She's even sick right now and still adorable. I'm so excited to be her companion for the next 11 weeks!!

Monday, October 10, 2016

All sorts of exciting things. I don't want to ruin the surprise so you will just have to read the whole thing

First of all, yes I'm safe. I don't know if any of y'all have heard about/been keeping track of Hurricane Matthew, but Durham is fine. The southern areas of the mission have been hit worse, some places are flooding and have higher winds, but all the missionaries are safe. Each set of missionaries has a designated safe house and some companionships are in their safe house rather than their apartment, but all of us are fine. Durham is far enough north that we are just barely getting the outer bands of rain. On Saturday it was raining for about 24 hours straight, so there was some minor flooding but we weren't affected. Strangely enough, the elders were, even though they only live about half a mile from us. Even then, it wasn't too bad, their carpet is just a little squishy :) Sunday (the day after the 24 hour rain) was gorgeous though so I think the worst has passed. It was pretty funny to go tracting on Saturday in the rain. We got a lot of concerned remarks and questions as to our sanity. When we explained that we were out in the rain because everyone else was home, that seemed to make more sense to them :) Yep, only Mormon missionaries would go out in hurricane rain. Why? Because no one else in their right minds will and so we can find lots of people to teach (also meet people with some.....interesting..... beliefs.)

Next up, transfer news. I'm not getting transferred.  Any and all birthday presents can be send to 88 Justin Ct, Durham NC 27705 as I will be here through Christmas :) No, a transfer is not that long, they are only 6 weeks. So, how do I know that I will be here for 3 more months? Because..........................................I will be training!! So I will spend (at least) 7 of my 13 transfers in Durham. Crazy huh? I will hit both Christmases, 9 months, and a year in the same city. It's a good thing I love Durham :) I have no idea who my new companion will be, I won't find out until tomorrow when I meet her. Right now, she is on a plane to NC and is probably just as nervous and excited as I was. There are only 4 sisters coming out this transfer, so I have a good chance of guessing right. 3 of them are from Utah, so I might get my first companion from Utah. Or I could have 3 in a row from California, that would be fun! I am more than a little nervous to train, I don't at all feel ready, but I have faith that President James prayed about it and this is what Heavenly Father wants me to do. 

This past week was amazing! We found Lisa, Corinthia's mom, and had the most incredible lesson with her. It was by far the best Restoration lesson I have ever taught on my mission. We had gone to see Jarek, but due to a miscommunication, he wasn't home. Corinthia and Jarek have slowly been working with Lisa without us, telling her what we talk about and she had even read some of the pamphlets. When we taught Jarek the Word of Wisdom, Lisa decided to quit smoking and start living the Word of Wisdom. All without ever meeting us. When we showed up on Tuesday to see Jarek, she told us she was planning on coming to church with them on Sunday and that she had read the pamphlets we left. We asked if she had any questions but she said no. When she mentioned church we asked if we could come in and explain a little about what we believed. She invited us in and we taught a powerful Restoration. We had her close her eyes when we shared the First Vision and she had tears in her eyes when we were done. When we asked her how she felt, she couldn't speak at first. After waiting a little bit, we asked her again and she told us that she felt calm, peaceful, and happy. We testified to her that that was the Holy Ghost bearing witness to her of the truth of what we shared. She told us she knew that's what it was and continued to have tears in her eyes for the rest of the lesson. When we gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon and invited her to read it, she hugged it to her chest and continued to cry. Sister Burkholder and I both felt that we should invite her to be baptized and we set her date for the 29th. She was so happy that all she could do was nod yes. She has been so prepared by the Lord and I have no doubt that we were meant to be there that night. It was not an accident that Jarek was gone. I am positive that Lisa will make it to her date. 

Well, I guess that's about it for news from NC. I'm still in Durham, the Church is still true, and I still love all of you. 

Love y'all
Sister Pyper

Some of my favorite people
​We had a multi-zone conference this past week. 3 of my 4 companions that are still out were there!
Sister Bobbitt, Sister Burkholder, Sister Pyper, Sister Workman

The lovely Miss Mariah
​I love this girl so much! Hopefully she will get baptized soon along with her whole family!

The incredible Lisa
​Lisa is Corinthia's mom. She is the most prepared person I have ever met my entire mission. She will be getting baptized on the 29th. (Also, ignore my crazy hair. Thank you NC humidity and rain)

Monday, October 3, 2016

"We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet"

It was kind of a slow week, but it ended with Conference, so all is well! We have been trying to find more people to teach, most of the people that we met or were already being taught when we got here aren't really progressing. So that means lots of tracting! Yay! We literally spent our whole day on Friday knocking on doors and trying to contact former investigators. Did we find any new investigators? Of course not! BUT we found people whose hearts we were able to touch. We didn't find the three new investigators we had hoped for, but at least three hearts were opened to the Spirit. Success is not defined by the numbers, but by our efforts. We worked hard this week and I know that what we did was what we were supposed to do. There was one woman in particular that I know we were meant to meet. She opened the door and I could tell something was wrong. After introducing ourselves and asking how she was doing, she told us she was fine. I knew she wasn't. As we talked a little more about what we do as missionaries, she told us it wasn't a good time. Both of her parents had died within the past couple weeks and she didn't want to talk. We asked if we could pray for her and she said yes. As I prayed on her doorstep, I felt so much love for her. We gave her a pamphlet for the Plan of Salvation and we testified of the peace that comes from knowing God's plan for us. I felt like I should give her a hug, so I asked if she would be okay with that. She was slightly hesitant at first, because she wasn't fully dressed, but then she said yes. As I stood there and hugged her, I knew that I was literally standing in the Savior's place, doing what He would do. I couldn't make everything better with just a hug, but for that moment, she knew that she was loved and was not alone.

I will try to make this a weekly thing, but no guarantees. Here are fun things/tender mercies that happened each day of the past week.
Monday- Our investigator Jarek, who won't be able to make his baptismal date of October 8, understood the importance of the priesthood and what he needs to do to be ready for baptism. Since that is something not a lot of people here in the South grasp easily, it was amazing to have an investigator who does!
Tuesday- The member we brought with us to our first lesson connected really well with our investigator and helped her understand what we taught!! I love having members with us!
Wednesday- RAINSTORM!! I love the rainstorms here, they are so much fun! 
Thursday- Someone we tracted into said "I'm kind of interested but I don't know why" (We know why: the Spirit :) ) Also, one of our investigators is now living the law of chastity and on track for baptism!
Friday- I experienced a knock-knock joke in real life. We went tracting and one person had their screen door closed but their solid door open. Sister Burkholder said "knock knock" to get the persons attention. The man inside said "who's there?" and we told him it was the missionaries. He said "who?" It was the funniest thing!
Saturday- General Conference!!  
Sunday- General Conference pt 2!!! Also, between sessions we went through the phone and called people we didn't know (which is still pretty much everyone). Someone somewhere was playing bagpipes and I could hear it. Totally made the bug bites worth it :)

A few weeks ago was the Primary Program and they sang a song that perfectly describes what I love most about General Conference.
"I hear a living prophet speak the things that Christ would say
If He were here upon the earth to talk with me today,
The prophet teaches how to live in righteousness and peace,
And if I listen with my heart I hear the Savior’s voice."
 When we listen to the prophet, apostles, or any other divinely called church leader, the Holy Ghost is able to speak to us individually. Each person who listens to the prophet will have a different thought come to mind. Those thoughts are personal revelation, direct communication from a loving Heavenly Father for your specific needs. 

There were a couple insights I had from Conference that I wanted to share with y'all. The first came from President Uchtdorf's talk on Saturday morning. At the beginning of his talk, he spoke about the importance of keeping our sense of awe and wonder. He used the analogy of technology, saying that we have come to take our incredible technology for granted and become frustrated when information is not instantly available. He then applied that to the gospel, saying we can sometimes forget the incredible miracles of this restored gospel. That is something that I have thought about before on my mission, how easy it is to take for granted the incredible things we experience every day. As missionaries, we teach the message of the Restoration hundreds of times. I noticed that it is very easy to get into a rut when we teach, but when I stop to think about what I am sharing, it is the most incredible news I could give anyone! Every day I have the opportunity to tell people that God loves them, that their family can be together forever, and that Christ's true church is on the Earth again, never to be taken away. How incredible is that?!?! I see miracles every single day and sometimes I think that those miracles are just a normal part of life. They are, but that doesn't mean I should stop seeing them as miracles. Take some time today, tomorrow, in the next week, and every day to notice the many small ways the Lord has blessed you. I promise that when you start paying attention to them, you will realize just how many miracles happen in your life on a daily basis. 

The greatest miracle of all is of course the gift of the Atonement. The second thing I wanted to share with y'all that I learned from Conference came from Brian K. Ashton's talk on Sundayafternoon. In teaching of the Gospel of Christ, he spoke of the Atonement. I'm not sure if this is an exact quote or just the words that stuck out to me, but he said something about how Christ's scars signified the completion of the Atonement. As I thought about the scars the Savior bears, I thought about the time between His death and resurrection. When Christ appeared to his apostles in Jerusalem, and later his disciples in the Americas, He showed them the scars in His hands and feet to testify of His reality. I realized that the wounds left by nails through His hands, in only 3 days time, would not have turned into scars unless He himself chose for that to happen. In a normal person, wounds that deep would be barely scabbing over in 3 days. However, the resurrected Christ bore scars to signify His suffering for us. He chose to be scarred. As the Son of God, He had the power to heal His body and take up His life again. He did not need to keep the scars that came with His death, but He loved each of us enough to carry an eternal reminder of what He did for us. His scars are what allow ours to be erased. His eternal wounds serve as a constant reminder that all of our hurt can be taken from us. 

Love y'all
Sister Pyper