Monday, January 30, 2017

Schedule changes, endless miracles, and a greater focus

This past week was awesome! Since there are just too many things to list them all, I'll just give y'all a breakdown of what happened each day!

Monday- Nothing miraculous on the missionary work front happened today. But a member of the Holly Springs ward took us out to dinner and she is AWESOME! She is 70something and has so much energy! She is always traveling (although her kids often protest) and going on these crazy adventures. She reminded me a lot of my second companion, so it was almost like meeting the 70 year old version of her :) 

Tuesday- Miracle after miracle today!
#1: Kellie. We realized that most of our work was in Swift Creek so we decided to go tracting in Holly Springs. We met this amazing girl named Kellie. She doesn't really have a church that she goes to but she has incredible faith. She had a really difficult childhood but has seen Heavenly Father's hand in her life. She is so humble and grateful for all of her blessings. She was so open to the Spirit as we taught and wants to learn more. She was so excited at the idea that Christ's church could be on the Earth again. She was a little hesitant to set a baptismal date, but that was just because she wants to know more before saying yes :)
#2: Tom. So, back in December before I got here, the sisters had been working through this awesome member in Swift Creek to find people to teach. They invited her to set a date by which to find someone, rather than being so focused on a specific name. The date she set was Jan 24 (today). She had told us about her friend Leslie and her family. We hadn't been able to get up with them yet, but we had planned to stop by this evening anyway. In the morning, our member texted us saying that it was the miracle day and asked if we had been able to see this family yet. When we went by in the evening, Leslie wasn't home but her husband Tom was! We were able to have a great discussion with him and get to know him a little bit. He became a new investigator, proving that the Lord helps people when they set a goal and work their hardest to reach it. I don't think we could have found Tom without our member and I know we were supposed to meet Tom before Leslie. He was really open to learning more and wanted us to come back another time to see the whole family. 
#3: Tracy's prayer. Little bit of a back story, Sister Wall and I have been trying to be more consecrated. We have been focusing on doing the Lord's will and doing the work His way, not ours. It is a continual process of trying to purify our hearts and minds to be better servants out here. We stopped by to see Tracy because we were in the neighborhood and an appointment fell through. We didn't have too much of a lesson with her, but we invited her to pray at the end. She prayed that we would be led by the Spirit to those that wanted to listen and that our hearts and minds would be more in tune with the Spirit. It was such a tender mercy to know that Heavenly Father noticed our efforts and that He was going to help us. Tracy isn't a member, but that does not mean that she can't be influenced by the Holy Ghost. Her prayer was exactly what we needed at that time and I am so grateful for it. <3

Wednesday- Worldwide Missionary Broadcast. A lot of big changes were made to our schedule and what we report on. Now instead of planning at 9 when we get home for the evening, we do our daily planning in the mornings. All missionaries, even those who are new or learning a language, will be out working at 10 am. We can schedule our companion study/language study/12 week study during the day at whatever time works best for us that day. It is so much better! Planning at night is always kind of rough because we are always exhausted by the time we get home. Now we get to plan in the morning when we are actually awake and not falling asleep :) When we get home at 9, we can go straight to updating the area book and writing in our journals. That's a great one for me since I am about 4 weeks behind in my journal..... Also, our preparation day has been extended by 2 hours! It starts at 8 am instead of 10 am, which means we won't be rushing to do everything we need to do every week! The key indicators have also been changed. There used to be about 13 we would report on every week, but now we only have 4: baptism/confirmations, baptismal dates, investigators at sacrament meeting, and new investigators. The Missionary Executive Council chose these 4 to help us focus on our purpose and not focus so much on getting a certain number of lessons. We have noticed a huge change in our outlook, even just over the past few days. Rather than being excited because we had a lesson just to have a lesson, we are more focused on helping people prepare to be baptized. It has taken some adjusting since I had a year of the old schedule and key indicators, but I really really like these changes. 

Thursday- Barbara. She is by far the miracle for today. Sister Wall tracted into her when we were on exchanges last week so I hadn't met her yet. Barbara is from Brazil and is here as an au pair. She is so sweet! Similar to Kellie, she has incredible faith and knows that Heavenly Father answers her prayers. We taught her the Restoration and the member we had with us was perfect! Our member was so excited about Barbara and invited her to sit with them at church <3 We were telling Barbara about the Book of Mormon and she wanted to read it! She said reading in English is still hard for her, so Portuguese would be better. We were going to look into getting her a copy when the thought came to me to see if the app comes in Portuguese. IT DOES! She downloaded the app and guess what? It is in Brazilian Portuguese, not Portuguese from Portugal! Tender mercies are real! 
Side note: We texted Barbara on Saturday to see if she had been reading/listening to the Book of Mormon. She replied saying "not that much yet. I just finished 1 Nephi".....Ummmm, what? That's awesome! She has listened to 22 chapters in 3 days!

Friday-Samuel. I'm pretty sure I mentioned him in my last email, he is the Bible referral who is totally prepared. We went to go see him and his almost-fiancee (the ring is on its way! he's planning to propose soon!! <3) but she wasn't home so we couldn't go inside :( BUT we were still able to talk to him and he is still totally excited about learning more! He had been reading the Book of Mormon a little and was just about to pick it up and read more when we knocked :) 
Also, we had dinner with some members of the Swift Creek ward. As we were wrapping up our thought, the husband asked if we could do something for their family. Of course we said yes, hoping it was a request to go teach his friend. Instead, he asked us to bear our testimonies of the Savior. It was interesting to be a little surprised. We do that all the time, but not very often do we get asked. It was really cool to be able to bear our testimonies of Christ and it reminded me that that is the most important thing I can do. 

Saturday- Sister Wall and I have been trying to be more consecrated. After MLC and reading through the Fourth Missionary again, I realized that I often am withholding part of my heart from this work. I have no problem being out working all day, but I often feel like I'm only doing it because I'm supposed to, not because I truly want to. I made the decision to be more grateful for the privilege of serving a mission. When we were tracting, I would say a silent prayer of gratitude as we walked up to each door. I thanked Heavenly Father for the blessing of being here in NC and being able to have the opportunity to teach His children. This didn't change the amount of success we had (we didn't find any new investigators and only found a couple potentials) but it definitely changed my outlook. I was a lot more positive while we were tracting and I enjoyed it a lot more that I usually would have. Thinking of each door as a privilege and a blessing really put into perspective the work I'm doing. I truly am grateful for this time that I have to serve the Lord. It is going much faster than I would like it to, and I want to use the time I have left the way that He wants me to. 
Also, Booker. We met Booker last week while he was walking his dog. He was confused as to why there were so many churches and wants to find a good church for his family. Our ward mission leader came out with us to see him. Booker's wife was sick, so we couldn't go inside, but I'm definitely gaining a greater testimony of doorstep lessons. We shared the First Vision with Booker and I know he felt the Spirit. Our ward mission leader bore his testimony and shared how the gospel has blessed his life. 

Sunday- Well, no one came to church. We went to an appointment and found out our investigator has moved to Apex. And our investigator who was supposed to come to a fireside with our mission president got sick. BUT one of our recent converts was still able to go, so all was well! I love firesides with the mission president! This one ended up being all recent converts, two of whom got baptized the day before. It was so powerful to hear their testimonies and how much the gospel has changed their lives. I truly know that this gospel changes lives for the better. I am blessed to see light enter the lives of those that I teach and I know that I have had more light come into my own life as I come closer to my Savior. 

Love y'all
Sister Pyper

​This was Sister Ruske's reply to the picture of 'how to be saved'

Look, we're famous!!
​A member of our bishopric called us one afternoon asking if we had been tracting in his neighborhood the previous night. When we told him that we had, he read this to us. Apparently someone thought we were all kinds of strange :) I think the funniest part is that this person was so confused that our skirts were below our knees, shocking that 20 year old girls don't all walk around in miniskirts, huh? 
Some clarifications:
1) We tend to not ring doorbells after 7 because we don't want to wake up your sleeping kids. You're welcome. Also, we don't usually knock 3 times...unless we lose count and knock again :)
2) We did NOT say anything about a collection, and we never will. EVER. 
3) Yes, we are in fact missionaries. Yes, we will come to your door at 8 pm

Oh, we also made a neighborhood FB page in our other ward. People complained about us waking up babies by ringing doorbells at 4 pm. Hahahaha at least people know we're out working hard 😝

Monday, January 23, 2017

More than a piece of plastic

Wow, this past week was full of miracles!! Pretty much all of our lessons were with new investigators. We found so many people who are prepared and we are so excited about them!! We aren't really sure what we have been doing differently to find the elect, but we are going to keep it up :) We have noticed such a difference after changing the music we listened to, maybe that is part of why the Lord is putting so many people in our path. We are trying to be more consecrated and sanctified. I know that there are always things I can give up in order to more fully feel the Spirit. The Spirit is what makes the difference in this work, not anything I do. When I do all I can to have the Spirit with me, that is when the miracles happen. 

Miracle investigator #1: Samuel. We have been trying to get a hold of Samuel since my first day here. He ordered a Bible online and expressed interest in a copy of the Book of Mormon as well. We had called him but weren't able to set up a time to come see him. The past couple times we have stopped by no one was home. We were on his street on Thursday to go teach another investigator (who of course was sick and couldn't meet then). When we drove past Samuel's house, we finally see someone outside! So we stop to talk to them and find out that Samuel is actually home for once! We go around to the backyard to talk to him and oh my goodness he is so prepared! He is trying to come closer to God and is looking for a church that is closer than Clayton. Lucky for him our church is only about 10 minutes from his house :) Samuel told us that he hasn't drank or smoked in 8 years. When he first moved to NC, he just decided that he didn't want to smoke anymore. He prayed for the desire and strength to quit. His first day he smoked 1 cigarette, the second day he smoked half of a cigarette and hasn't smoked at all since that day. A similar thing happened when he decided to quit drinking. How awesome is that?? He is also currently living with his girlfriend, but is planning to be married by this summer. He even has a ring already. I have never taught anyone who already has a definite plan to get married in any time period, let alone within this year. His girlfriend also seems open to meeting with us, especially after we offered to come help with yard work any time she needs us :)

Miracle family #2: the Kearns family. The Kearns family was someone our bishop told us about. The parents are members but at least 1 of the kids hasn't been baptized. The family hasn't come to church in at least a year, since they moved from California but they weren't really active there either. The mom has met one of the ward members through football and they clicked really well. We took this member out with us to see an investigator who then cancelled. So we decide to drop by the Kearns and it was perfect!!! The mom was just walking outside and we were able to talk to her for close to an hour. She has been feeling prompted to come back to church a lot recently, especially since her son is on the high school football team and she is worried about the influences he is around. Sister Kearns told us about how she joined the church and some of her struggles connected to coming back to church. She really really wants to come back and she wants her whole family to go to church together. The member we had brought with us was absolutely the perfect person to bring. They both grew up Catholic and have had very similar feelings as new members. Our member bore her (very powerful) testimony about how staying in church has strengthened her family through some very difficult times. The whole time we talked to Sister Kearns I kept getting promptings to share Conference talks with her. Being a low-tech missionary, I had to borrow our member's phone to look them up :) I am so grateful for the promptings of the Spirit, I know that the talks that came to mind were inspired. They are the words of prophets and I know that Heavenly Father brought those specific talks to my memory to bless this sweet sister.  Her youngest daughter came outside near the end of our conversation and mentioned that she would love for the missionaries to come and teach them again. They had had the missionaries over when they lived in California and the kids really enjoyed it. I already feel so much love for this family and I am excited to help them find the comfort that comes through living Christ's gospel. 

Miracle/funny story #3: We were knocking one of the few apartment buildings in our area (oh how I miss all the apartments in Durham. Houses are not always a missionary's best friend, apartments are better.) and saw this teenage boy and girl walk upstairs. We said hi but they kind of ignored us. We had thought we would just take note of which apartment they went into and knock it another day. Well, we get to the floor where they were and couldn't remember which apartment they went into. So we decide to just knock every door anyway. We were a little worried about what was going on behind the door and that it might be awkward for them to open. Well, it wasn't. We knock on the door and the boy answers the door. He was really open and wants to come closer to God. It definitely strengthened my testimony of knocking every door. As a missionary, everything I do is awkward and I've just learned to embrace it. Once I realized that it was way more awkward for the people answering the door than it was for me, it made tracting much easier :) 

I don't remember why, but the topic of getting released from our missions came up when one of our members was out with us. She has had a couple kids come home and she was talking about what happened when they got released. One of her kids apparently described the feeling as 'having an immense security blanket being removed' when they were asked to take off their tag. Needless to say, that was not one of my favorite conversations. It's hard to explain the way it feels to wear my missionary nametag. Being a missionary is not something I expected to be doing, and sometimes it still surprises me that I am actually a missionary, but it is the best decision I have ever made. I am immeasurably grateful for the opportunity that I have to wear this nametag and its silent testimony of the Savior. This little black tag means so much to me. Wearing it is more than a habit now, it has truly become a part of who I am. Wherever I go, people can immediately recognize that I am someone who believes in Jesus Christ. It serves as a daily reminder of Him of whom I have been called to testify. Not only is His name printed on plastic over my heart, but He is also writing His name on my spiritual heart. I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know that this is His church. I know that the work I do is not my own, the work I do is the Lord's. I get to be His missionary for almost 19 months, but I also get to be His disciple for my whole life. I dread the day I am asked to take off this tag, but I know that that will not be the end of my mission. 

Love y'all
Sister Pyper

Sister Donaldson :)
​Sister Donaldson and I were in the same MTC district. She is also in this zone, which meant we got to go on exchanges! It was so fun to get to see her again and reminisce about the MTC! 

We volunteer at the library every week. I get a nametag and everything! Surprise, surprise, my name isn't spelled right :) 

If only my investigators had this mentality :)
​Also, the missionary in me first thought " I totally want Denny's for Valentine's Day too" 😝

Monday, January 16, 2017

"This 'no soliciting' sign means you"

Hmmmmm, I know good things happened this week, but I can't remember exactly what they were. So I guess I'll just talk about my tender mercies from each day and hope that jogs my memory. 

Monday- Well, everything was still covered in snow/ice but we still had a good day! A member from our ward came and rescued us from being inside all day by taking us to get Thai food for lunch. We went tracting in the evening. Even though we didn't find anyone to teach, we met some really nice people. They let us in, gave us water, and gave us a referral for their neighbors. #snowdaysuccess

Tuesday- Some random girl prayed for our families. (Oh how I love the South.) We were tracting and had taught her a little on her doorstep. She wasn't interested but wanted to pray with us. She said the prayer and specifically asked that our families would be blessed. 

OH! Miracle story! We had a couple referrals in one neighborhood, so we tried to contact them and then tracted around. No one was interested but we felt like we need to knock one more door. So we knock and the boy who answers isn't interested. Of course. But he did tell us that one of his neighbors might be willing to listen to us and that they could benefit from a message about Christ. Since we had time, Sister Wall and I decided to try it. The lady who answers the door is so nice. She is also Muslim ( I see what you did there, sneaky kid....) but totally open to hearing our message. We were able to teach her the Restoration and set up a return appointment. When we shared the First Vision and asked her what she thought, she told us it reminded her of Moses' experience with the burning bush. I love that the Spirit was able to connect what she heard to something she already believed in, hopefully that will soften her heart to believe that Joseph Smith was also a prophet, just like Moses was. 

Wednesday- Interviews. I love interviews, it is always wonderful to get to talk to President and Sister James. I just love them so much and I know that he is meant to be my mission president. 

In the evening we had a member come out with us. No one that we went to see was home (members, if this ever happens with you  when you're out with the missionaries, you are NOT bad luck! This happens all the time and it has nothing to do with the members) so we tried to see a potential. Sister Wall couldn't remember exactly which building they lived in, so we stopped outside of one to check her notes. We 'just happened' to be in front of the right building. We go knock on the door and no one answers. We are just turning to leave and check our backup plans when the potential walks up the stairs! After explaining why we were standing in front of her door, we were able to teach her a little! Heavenly Father truly is in the tiny details! 

Thursday-  "OH NO! There goes Jesus" ~Sister Wall Hahahaha this is the funniest story! We were going on exchanges the next day, so I was in the closet grabbing clothes to pack. All of a sudden, I hear  Sister Wall yell and say "OH NO! There goes Jesus!" We have this big picture of Jesus on our wall and apparently she had accidentally kicked it. It then started swinging and ended up falling onto her bed. Once I figured out what had happened, we couldn't stop laughing :)

Another Thursday story just to show that Sister Wall is not the only one that funny-bad things happen to. So, we are tracting in this little trailer park (we did a lot of that this week. That's where the humble people are) and we knocked this one door that was of course empty. On the way up the stairs I had noticed that one of the steps felt a little wobbly. Well, on the way back down the stairs, 'wobbly' turned in to 'completely falling off'. As I stepped onto it, the board came totally off and I fell down the last step. I'm totally fine, I just have a little bruise. It was just so absurd that something like that actually happened that we kept laughing about it the rest of the day! 

Friday- Authentic Vietnamese food, cute notes from Sister Xiong, biking with Sister Grimsman. We went on exchanges and I went with Sister Grimsman while Sister Xiong went to Holly Springs with Sister Wall. Sister Xiong wrote me sweet notes, wishing me a good day. 

Saturday- We found 2 awesome trailer parks! Trailer parks are the best as missionaries because the people are so incredibly humble and often have people who are looking for God. Oh, I also got complimented on my Spanish today :) I don't actually speak Spanish, I just know 5 sentences. I had the Hermanas in Durham tell me how to ask if Spanish missionaries could come over another time. So I pulled out the very limited Spanish I had and the man told me my Spanish was good! Hopefully the elders speak better Spanish than I do :)

Sunday- Finally able to go to church, Chad came and loved it, the youth speaker told everyone that it's their job to help find people for us to teach, and the sacrament hymn was perfect. For a few days now I have had this hymn stuck in my head, but I could only remember one line and I had no idea what the title was. Then it was the song we sang in sacrament meeting and it made me so happy! 

I think my overall tender mercy for this week is Chad. Chad is so prepared! I told y'all about him last week, but OH MY GOODNESS he is the best!!! He had asked us for scriptures about baptism to learn more, and he had had some questions about the pre-earth life. He came to church on Sunday and really enjoyed it. Then this morning he texts us to ask what we will be talking about the next time we see him 'so that he can be better prepared'. Ummm, what? No one has ever done that before! He is seriously the coolest! 

Love y'all
Sister Pyper

PS The title comes from a not-so-nice man who really did not  want to talk to us. Too bad for him we weren't soliciting. Also, thanks to the  Jehovah's Witness and the Supreme Court, we are legally allowed to knock on doors with 'no soliciting' signs. Thank you President James for being a lawyer and telling us to keep knocking doors :)

Snow day adventures with Sister Wall <3

I met someone famous!
​So this ( is one of my favorite Mormon Messages. I walk into church on Sunday and see this woman. I thought she looked familiar but couldn't place it. Then I realized she looked just like the mom in the video. After awkwardly starting for a few minutes, I decided to just go ask her if it was her. Turns out it was! The coolest part is that she is from Washington too!!! And she is a ward missionary and is excited to come out with us! How cool is that?!?!

Making new friends
​Some sweet girl let me hold her mouse while we taught her grandma. My favorite part is the look on the cat's face in the background :)

​"There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home" 

I love these street names :)

These are in the same neighborhood as 'Yellow Brick Rd'. And its' a trailer park, so 'Hidden Treasure' is accurate, at least for missionaries. 

Go home NC weather, you're drunk

​4 days after the snow storm, this was the 10:30 am. Craziness. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hello Holly Springs!

Well, I'm in Holly Springs/Swift Creek now! My address (for any of y'all that randomly want to write me 😊) is 1133 Vine St, Holly Springs NC 27540. I cover two wards and my companion is the lovely Sister Wall! She was trained in D2 when I was still in D1, so we were in the same district for 2 transfers. She left D2 when I came in, so it's been fun to talk about the people we both taught and how they're doing. Also, fun story! Sister Wall's first exchange was with me! Her first transfer, my companion was the sister training leader so we went on exchanges! Now we are companions and both sister training leaders! This is going to be such a good transfer! 

My first week here has been so amazing! There are so many wonderful. prepared people here! 
Person #1: Chad. OH MY GOODNESS HE IS AMAZING!! So, Chad is the boss of one of our (teenage) members. She felt prompted to invite him to church a few weeks ago and he actually came!! We were able to teach him in their home this week and it was so powerful. The lesson on Sunday when he was there was about the temple and he had some questions. He has had some family members pass away fairly recently and is interested in family history. We taught him the Restoration and he totally accepted it. He didn't want to set a baptismal date right then, but he texted us a couple days later asking for scriptures about baptism because he wanted to learn more. How cool is that?!?! Members are the best!!

Person #2: Zac. Zac was also found through a member (noticing a theme yet??) His stepbrother and sister-in-law are members. Zac is YSA age but wants to meet with us instead of the YSA elders :) We had dinner with his family this past week and before dinner he told us he had an announcement. He stands up and says "I have decided I want to get baptized" and sits down. !!!!!!! What? He is so great! He is already thinking about going on a mission and what he would have to do to get there!! He is going to South Carolina for a week or so, but he is going to get baptized when he gets back. 

Person #3: Travis. Travis is a little different, he just got baptized on Saturday. Well, rebaptized. He got excommunicated a couple years ago and the missionaries were meeting with him as he tried to come back. His baptism was so special! It was so powerful to see how far he has come. Even though the first time I met him was at his baptism, I felt how strong his testimony is. I am so grateful for the Atonement and the gift f repentance. Travis' road to baptism has been long and very rocky, but the Savior was by his side every single step of the way. 

If the people weren't enough, NC decided that my first week in Holly Springs needed snow :) We only got maybe 2 inches of snow, but everything shut down. To all of y'all who think that's ridiculous, it's not. It gets so icy here when it snows and no one can get anywhere. NC drivers are crazy to begin with, and adding snow just makes it worse. Then it warms up just enough to start melting and then it freezes. The roads end up covered in ice and it makes tracting an adventure :) That's why this email is a day late, we weren't able to drive until this morning. Weirdly enough, the roads were dry yesterday....except of course the parking lot right around our car. We did a lot of walking this past week. The neighborhood right by us apparently was complaining on Facebook that we were waking babies up, but we're going to keep tracting there. We just might stop ringing doorbells :) 

Something I have seen here more than I thought I would is how incredibly hard some people's lives are. I think I have met more people here in the past week that are facing awful tragedies than I ever did in Durham. So many people are dealing with things I have never even dreamed of, but they are still so strong. That is the power of the Atonement. Because of Jesus Christ, they can still find peace and happiness. I am so lucky to be able to teach people how to find the comfort they are looking for! 

Love y'all
Sister Pyper

Bye Sister Ruske, Hello Sister Wall
Awwww, look how cute!! I'll miss my 'daughter' but I know she will be just fine :) D2 is in good hands with this one <3
​LOOK! I get to be with Sister Wall now!!

Tracting in a Winter Wonderland
​Yep! We went out tracting in this! We couldn't drive so we spent this whole weekend tracting places we could walk to. Only one fall (Sister Wall) and a few slides (me), overall not too bad

Ice, Ice, Baby
Yep, those are icicles hanging from a bush. That's what most of our neighborhood looked like this weekend. This was the worst of it, but pretty much everything was coated in ice. 

Guess what? I got saved this week :)
Who knew it was this easy? 

Oh how I love the South

​Only in the South would a street named "Bibleway" exist. The fact that is intersects with "Optimist Farm" is even better!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Bye-bye Bull City!!!

Yep, I'm getting transferred! I have absolutely no idea where I'm going, President didn't tell me that much. All he told me is that I am going to be a Sister Training Leader. That is sort of like a zone leader, but for sisters (not quite, but that's the best way to explain it). I will be going to lots of meetings and going on lots of exchanges. Who knows, maybe I will finally get to go down South! :) Or I could go back to the Raleigh Zone, that would also be fun :)

Oh my goodness, what a wonderful last week in Durham 2!!! We found some incredible people this week and had plenty of tiny but wonderful miracles. I am going to miss Durham, but I am so grateful for all that I have learned here. I have grown so much and learned a ton in this area. Durham will always hold a special place in my heart, but I'm sure I will love my next area just as much. 

Awesome person #1: Tonya! Tonya was a little bit of a miracle find, but one we were searching for. Her cousin (someone we had taught for a while) just died a few weeks ago and so we wanted to find her. We have learned that tragedies often soften hearts to the gospel and we wanted to testify to her of the Plan of Salvation. We had done a little sleuthing and knew that she had chairs and flower pots on her back porch. That and a specific complex was all we had to go on. So Sister Ruske went 'targeted tracting' on exchanges and found an apartment that she thought was the right one. This week we had planned to stop by before another appointment. Our scheduled lesson ended up being earlier than planned, so we stopped by what we thought was Tonya's apartment after the lesson, around 8:30. Miracle #1- IT WAS THE RIGHT HOUSE!! Miracle #2- We showed up at the exact right time. She had been having a terrible day and was really struggling. It was the day of her cousin's funeral and she wasn't able to go. She was also struggling with some past addictions (triggered by the emotions of the day) and we knocked right as she was thinking about giving in. We had a wonderful doorstep lesson! We were able to bear our testimonies of Christ's Atonement and the Plan of Salvation. We were able to tell her that we knew, with certainty, that her cousin would live again and that she would see him. It was amazing to see how Heavenly Father made everything work together so that we arrived at the perfect moment to help one of His beloved daughters. I felt so much love for her as we listened to her concerns and bore our testimonies. 

Awesome person #2: Bessie! We went to go stop by a potential who had told us to come around 4. Of course they weren't home when we showed up right at 4, so we went tracting. We met Bessie, who is definitely one of my tender mercies for the week! She has had a few family members die recently and has been really missing them. We began teaching the Plan of Salvation but then she started asking questions about Joseph Smith so we transitioned to the Restoration. She has heard a little about the church but didn't know a lot. When we told her about the Book of Mormon and used the pictures to explain it, she told us she would love to read it! And when we had shared the First Vision and asked her how she felt, she said she felt it was true! She was hesitant to accept a baptismal date because she doesn't want to leave her family church, but she'll come around with prayer :) She is so open to the Spirit and I have no doubt that she will get an answer to her prayers very quickly!

Awesome person #3: Belinda! Apparently death is a major theme of this email, because it is something Belinda is dealing with too. Belinda is a former investigator that Sister Burkholder and I found and then dropped. She called us this past week and wants to meet with us. She just found out that she has breast cancer (which killed her mom, grandma, and several aunts) and *just happened* to see our card when she was thinking that she needed to get closer to God. We haven't actually been able to meet with her yet, but I am so excited to see what happens in the next few weeks with her!!

Awesome person #4: Corrie! Corrie delivers our mail. So obviously, she is one of our favorite people :) We had briefly talked to her a couple weeks ago, just said hi as we went out to get our mail. We had given her a #LIGHTtheWORLD card and told her about the video. She told us her name, but that was all we knew about her. Then this week we got home right as she was delivering the mail, so we decided to stop to talk to her. She is so cute!!! She asked us if she could show us a video of her daughter on Christmas. We of course said yes :) We ended up talking to her for half an hour and learned a lot about her. She talked about how she had found comfort through her church during a difficult time in her life and how there was this one sermon she listened to over and over. I had the thought "she is going to LOVE General Conference talks" :) It was awesome because I had just read a Book of Mormon verse in my studies that morning that related to what she was talking about. We were able to share it with her and it didn't feel awkward or forced at all! Even as a full-time, nametag-wearing missionary, I am still able to have 'normal person' missionary moments. I loved seeing how I can continue to be a missionary after I take off my nametag. Sharing the gospel doesn't have to be hard, it is as simple as saying hi to your mailperson and giving them a Christmas card (or Easter card, or a regular pass-along card). You can even just leave them a note if you're shy :)

I am so grateful to have this incredible blessing of being able to serve a mission and share Christ's restored gospel with all that I meet. I know that this church is truly Christ's church and that He is at its head. How grateful I am that I am able to represent Him and testify of Him every single day! I know that He lives. He came to suffer and die for all of us, but that is not the end of the story. I have spent the last week testifying over and over again that death is not the end of life or our family. The end of the story hasn't happened yet. Graves and headstones are not the end, the end is us living forever with our families and with our Heavenly Father. That gift is possible through the Atonement of His Son Jesus Christ. I testify that the power and authority to seal families together forever, not just 'until death do you part' was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that we will all live again and that we can overcome all of the heartaches of this life because of our Savior Jesus Christ. 

Love y'all
Sister Pyper

My district
​What a fun 6 weeks with these missionaries!!!

Bonita the lovely :)

​Her name means 'beautiful' in Spanish and I think it fits her perfectly :) She is wonderful and on track to get baptized on the 28 of this month! Hopefully Sister Ruske will send me pictures! 

This is a less-active woman that we have been working with a lot recently. She is so sweet and is working so hard to come back to church and be active! I am going to miss her, she has taught me so much over the past 12 weeks <3 She came to church yesterday for the first time in years and brought a friend with her!!! I am so glad I got to see this little miracle before I left! <3