Monday, February 8, 2016

Week 80: The Last Email

Hello everyone!
Wow, I can't believe this is my last pday! My mission has gone by so fast and I have loved it so much! I thank you all for your continuous love and support as I've been on my mission. 

I've learned so much while I've been serving. These are some things that have really helped me grow on my mission. 

1) Mosiah 2:41 "And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."

I have come to understand how important it is to be obedient to the commandments of God. Just as it says in that scripture, we will be blessed and happy as we keep the commandments. We will be blessed in all things as we put our trust in God and keep His commandments.

2) 2 Nephi 32:3 "Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do."

I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that it does answer the questions of the soul. As we prayerfully study the scriptures, we will know all things that we should do. 

3) 3 Nephi 13:31-33 "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."

We must put the Lord first in our lives. There is nothing more important than living the gospel and we will be so blessed as we seek first the kingdom of God.

4) Everything we experience in this life is pertinent to our salvation. God has a great plan for each of His children. He knows our divine potential and He will provide every opportunity we need to become who we truly are. All that we experience in this life will be to help us reach our divine potential. 

5) D&C 1:38 "What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same."

I've learned the importance of following the prophet. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a living prophet of God. Our lives will be richly blessed as we follow the counsel of the prophet, because it is counsel that comes directly from the Lord. 

6) CPR (church, pray, read)

Just like how CPR saves lives, spiritual CPR will save our spirits as we devote ourselves daily to it. And add weekly FHE and weekly temple to this. This is the key to continuous discipleship and conversion. 

Before missionaries go home they bear their testimony and share their golden truth, which is the main thing they've learned on their mission. On my mission I've learned this golden truth that has changed who I am forever: we are called to know the richness of His blessings, we are sons and daughters, children of a King. I've come to know more of who God is, and I know that He is real and is a loving Father in Heaven. I've seen His hand so much in my life that I cannot deny His existence. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that He is our Savior. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can put off the natural man and become a saint. Change is possible because our loving Heavenly Father blessed us with a Savior.

I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father who answered my prayers and called me to serve. Serving a mission is the greatest and most life-changing experience. I love New England, I love the New Englanders, and I love the Lord!
Love, Sister Harper 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 79: 18 Months.

Hello everyone!
This week has been pretty great! And the weather makes it even better! Today it's in the 40's and 50's! And it hasn't snowed in a long time! Last winter was so awful, so I'm very grateful that this year isn't too bad.

We had exchanges with the Burlington sisters and I was with Sis. Davies. We had a lesson with Jaqui at Samantha's and it went so well! And Jaqui committed to be baptized on February 27th! She's so excited for her baptism! She already asked Samantha to give a talk at her baptism. Jaqui said she talked to her parents about getting baptized the other day and they are not very supportive. But she said that she's going through with it anyways! She is so amazing and has such great faith! And she takes notes during our lessons! She's so awesome! 

We got a couple new investigators this week! One of them is the wife of a less active member and her name is Sis. Jewett. We though Sis. Jewett had been taught by the missionaries when her husband was taught, but she would sit in the other room and not participate in the lesson. We just assumed that she wasn't interested. But then we started talking about what happens after this life and eternal families and she got really interested! At the beginning of the lesson she told us that she didn't want to read the Book of Mormon. At the end of the lesson we told her that Alma 40-42 teaches a lot about the plan of salvation and she was so willing to read it! The spirit definitely softened her heart!

Oh also another reason why Samantha is the greatest member missionary ever! On Sunday she brought Jaqui and another friend to church, named Jessie. Turns out Jessie is a less active member. She goes to culinary school with Samantha and Jaqui and Samantha had no idea she was a member. Samantha is so great! She's helping a friend come in to the church and another to come back to the church!

Well, 18 months ago from last Saturday was when I entered the MTC. I can't believe how fast the time has gone by! I have loved my mission so much! I've met so many amazing people and learned so much! I love being a missionary! It's been a true blessing and privilege to serve alongside my Savior Jesus Christ in helping other receive the restored gospel. I am so grateful for one more week to be able to serve the Lord with all my heart, might, mind and strength! This will be the best week ever! I love you all!
Love, Sister Harper

The district! Me, Sis. Harward, Elder Benson, Elder Dortch, Elder Rappleye, Elder Andrew, Elder McCain, Elder Poe
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Us and the Burlington Sisters, Sis. Mill and Sis. Davies
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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Week 78: Samantha is the Best Member Missionary Ever!

So I thought that I wouldn't have a whole lot to write in this email,
since it's only been a couple days, since my last email, but lots of
exciting stuff happened this weekend!

Okay this first story needs a little background. At the beginning of
Sis. Harward's mission there was a new elder she served with. He
really wanted something exciting to happen so he prayed for it. Then
one day he burnt rice and the fire trucks had to come and their whole
apartment building had to be evacuated. So don't pray for adventures
or exciting experiences because something crazy always happens! Then
last week Sis. Harward got an email from the elder that trained this
elder and he asked her if she'd had any crazy adventures lately. She
said no and that she was afraid to pray for them because the fire
trucks might show up. Neither of us prayed for an exciting experience
but we still got one with an ambulance! We had just tried to see a
less active member and were walking back to the car, when we saw this
guy in a parking lot. His eyes rolled into the back of his head, blood
started dripping out of his mouth, he fell to the ground and started
seizing! We called 911 and an ambulance came and picked him up. He was
somewhat conscious when the ambulance came and hopefully he's doing
better now. Oh my goodness it was so intense and freaky! But I'm very
grateful that we were there at time time to help this man because
there wasn't anyone else around. Hand of the Lord!

On Saturday we found out that a less active sister, Sis. Blakeney, was
in the hospital, so we decided to go visit her. Usually when we see
Sis. Blakeney we sing for her and she really loves it. She said that a
couple days ago the doctors did some sort of test or procedure and she
was a little nervous about it. She prayed for strength and comfort and
the thought that came to her was of us singing. She said it helped her
to feel peaceful and comforted. It was my heart so much to hear her
say that!

Saturday night the elders had a baptism. We went and it was great!
Samantha came and brought her friend Jacqui (Jacqui also came to
Samantha's baptism). After the baptism we went back to Samantha's
apartment for dinner. Samantha has only been a member for 2 weeks and
she's already such a great member missionary! She's been talking to
Jacqui about the church and she invited her to church and institute!
We taught Jacqui the restoration and it was such an awesome lesson!
And it was so great to have Samantha there to bear her testimony! We
invited Jacqui to be baptized and she got so excited and said yes! And
she got really excited when we gave her the Book of Mormon! I so wish
I could extend my mission to keep teaching Jacqui!

We went to the Joseph Smith Memorial today with Samantha and Jacqui.
It was awesome! I love that place! There is such an amazing spirit
there! Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin said this about the JSM, "Next to
Bethlehem where the Savior was born, this site, the Birthplace of
Joseph Smith, is one of the most sacred spots on the face of the
earth, and if we are worthy, we would see the angels that hover over
the trees protecting this spot and those who are here."

I love you all and have a great week!
Love, Sister Harper

Friday, January 22, 2016

Week 77: Thursday P-Day!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Week 76: Samantha's Baptism!!!

Hello everyone!
Wow it's been a real crazy week! It all started when I woke up last Monday morning and my knee hurt real bad. I called the mission nurse that day and she asked me to send her some pictures and that she'd get back to me about it. Then we dropped our car off at a repair shop for the bumper to get fixed. After Pday we and the 2 sets of zone leaders in Vermont drove down Manchester to spend the night in the mission home for MLC (mission leadership conference) the next day. MLC was super good! I always love President Stoker's trainings! The only thing that was hard was my knee hurt super bad all day during the meeting! And I got to see 3 of my companions, Sis. Craig, Sis. Bee and Sis. McVey! It was so much fun to see them all! I love them! 

We drove back home after MLC and then around 9:30pm the mission nurse called and told me she was positive I had cellulitis in my knee. She said I needed to go to the ER before it got any worse. Only problem was our car was still in the shop! So we called the elders and they picked us up and we all went to the ER. Late night ER trip with the elders was quite the adventure haha! The mission nurse was right, I have cellulitis in my knee. Cellulitis develops when there's an opening in your skin and bacteria gets in and infects your tissue. My knee got really hot, red and swollen. The doctor asked me if I'd fallen or anything like to that to open the skin on my knee, but I hadn't. He said that the skin could've opening up even from kneeling, so I guess I got cellulitis from saying too many prayers haha! #missionaryprobs They gave me some antibiotics and we got back home around midnight. 

The next day, Wednesday, was rough. My knee hurt so bad and I forgot my ibuprofen! I could hardly bend my knee and I was limping around everywhere! The elders gave me a blessing which helped a lot! In the blessing it said that Heavenly Father has prepared a way for me to be healed, but that I would experience a lot of pain and it would be a slow process. But surprisingly my knee has gotten so much better since then! Normally when we experience things like this we always pray that the pain will go away and it will end quickly. When I got this blessing I realized that it wasn't the Lord's will to heal me right away, He needs me to learn to be patient and humble. So instead of praying that the pain will stop right away, Sis. Harward and I have been praying that my knee will heal properly and that I can continue to work diligently. And the Lord has blessed me so much! My knee gets better and better everyday and I'm still able to do normal missionary work! 

Saturday was Samantha's baptism! It was such a special day! She's been waiting for 5 years to get baptized! There were lots of people from the ward and stake, and even some of her nonmember friends, that came to support her. She bore her testimony at the end and it was so powerful! I'm so happy for Samantha! And she had an interview with the bishop yesterday after her confirmation and she got her temple recommend! She's going at the beginning of February to do baptisms!

Today we had our district Pday and we went to the Ben and Jerry's factory! We were going to do the tour but we didn't have enough time. We split this giant thing of ice cream called a Vermonster. It has 20 scoops of ice cream, cookies, brownies, 4 ladles of hot fudge and caramel, a bunch of topping, 4 bananas and a lot of whipped cream! We downed it pretty good between the 9 of us. It was so good!

Okay, so next week is even crazier than this week. Monday and Tuesday we have zone interviews and Wednesday we have a missionary broadcast. So we won't have Pday until Thursday the 21st. I can still read emails anytime throughout the week, I just won't respond until Thursday next week. I hope you all have a wonderful week! Look for the Lord's hand in your life everyday! Love you all!
Love, Sister Harper

All the sister training leaders at MLC. Back row l to r: Sis. Craig, Sis. Crook, Sis. Harward, me, Sis. Eddington, Sis. Duncan. Front row l to r: Sis. Evans, Sis. Pankratz, Sis. McVey, Sis. Bee
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Just chilling in the ER
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My knee! The circle is where the redness was on Monday night, the elephant looking thing is where it was Tuesday night, and the picture was taken Thursday morning, so the redness spread a lot!
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Samantha's baptism!
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The elder with the Vermonster. L to R: Elder Dortch, Elder McCain, Elder Benson, Elder Poe, Elder Rappleye, Elder Andrew
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Samantha, Sis. Harward and me with the Vermonster.
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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Week 75: 2016!!!!

Sorry this is going to be a short one today. We have to leave in a little bit for Manchester because we have MLC tomorrow! I'll get to see 3 of my companions there tomorrow! Sis. Craig, Sis. Bee, and Sis. McVey (Sis. Bee and Sis. McVey are companions now)! Super excited!

Nothing super excited this week, but it's been a really good week! Samantha is doing great and she's all set for her baptism on Saturday! We've also had really good lessons with our less actives! Bro. Prevost came to church again! He's progressing so well!

One night we were on the way home and I had the thought to stop by one of our investigators (Lisa) that we haven't seen in forever. I knew it was a spiritual prompting, but I didn't want to follow it because I was super tired and just wanted to go home. I knew I would regret it if I didn't follow that prompting, so we went and saw Lisa and had a great lesson with her! And she accepted a baptismal invitation! My testimony of following the Spirit has grown so much this week! We've seen so many miracles as we've followed the spirit. And the greatest thing about following the spirit is that is usually leads you to serve someone else! The Lord does speak to us and He will bless us as we act on the promptings we receive. I love 1 Nephi 4:6-7 where Nephi says, "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do. Nevertheless I went forth." We can always trust in the Spirit, because he will never lead us astray. 

Super funny/awkward story! We had dinner with this one family and their son just got home from his mission a couple weeks ago. The dad asked me when I go home and I told him the beginning of February. Then he said, "Well hey, my son's available so you two should go out when you get home!" Wow so awkward!

Have a great week! Love you all!
Love, Sister Harper

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Week 74: Last Transfer Here We Go!!

Merry belated Christmas! I hope everyone had a great Christmas! Our Christmas was really good and really busy! We had king crab legs for Christmas dinner! So good! It was so much fun to talk with my family! Definitely the highlight of my Christmas!

The past few Sundays this young woman, Samantha, has come to church. We introduced ourselves and she said that she just moved from South Royalton, so we assumed the South Royalton ward. Then before Relief Society 2 Sundays ago Samantha asked if we wanted to visit her that week. We said yes and thought it would be a great opportunity to get to know a new ward member. We visited her on Tuesday and found out that she's not a member and has been wanting to get baptized for the last 5 years! Her family is all less active and wouldn't let her get baptized, but she can now because she's over 18. A friend from the South Royalton ward invited her to church a few years ago and Samantha's basically been a dry Mormon since then haha. We invited her to be baptized on January 30th, but after the lesson we felt that we needed to move it up. The next night (Joseph Smith's birthday!) we went to the JSM with her and she saw a lot of her friends from the South Royalton ward. She told them that she was getting baptized on the 30th and then we asked her about the 9th and she said yes! She's super excited! She had her baptismal interview yesterday morning and she passed! She's so awesome and we're so excited for her! Miracle!

Bro. Prevost and Bro. Piko are two less actives that we're working with and they're both doing so good! We taught the restoration to Bro. Prevost this week and he started crying when we shared the First Vision. The First Vision always brings the spirit super strong! He also came to church on Sunday! Both of them have changed a lot since we started meeting with them. They are so much happier! The gospel is really blessing them! That's been one of my favorite things on my mission, is to see the gospel change people. It's changed Janice, Nick and Crystal, Bro. Piko, and Bro. Prevost and so many others. Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can all change and become more like Him.

On Christmas Eve we went to the JSM again to help the sisters. I played the piano for most of the time. I just love being at the JSM! So peaceful! And guess what? It was 65 degrees on Christmas Eve! I'm not even kidding! So nice!

Transfer calls were Saturday, but we didn't get a call! Sis. Harward and I are staying together in Montpelier! I'm so glad I get to finish my mission in Montpelier, I really love it here! And Sis. Harward is so awesome! She's helping me so much to stay focused and work hard! 

Have a great week and Happy New Year!
Love, Sister Harper

us and the South Royalton sisters at the JSM
l to r: me, Sis. Harward, Sis. Innes, Sis. Peterson
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