Monday, December 29, 2014

Week 22: Happy New Year!

Hi everyone!
I hope you all had a great Christmas! We did too! It was super busy, but I'll tell you more about it later. 

On Monday and Tuesday night we got to ring bells for the Salvation Army in front of Wal-mart and it was super fun! Kinda cold, but still fun! And we sang Christmas songs and people loved it! 

Wednesday we had zone meeting and it was so good! We talked a lot about extending commitments to people and following up. Then we did this little activity and had a mini testimony meeting at the end. There were a few missionaries that were asked to share their testimony of the Savior, and oh my goodness the spirit was so strong! It was so powerful and undeniable! Then we had lunch and watched "It's a Wonderful Life." It was really weird watching a non-church movie, but it was approved and President Stoker wanted all of us to watch it on Christmas Eve! Then we went to the bishop's house for dinner, and he had all 10 missionaries for the Manchester ward over. We had lasagna, which was perfect, because my mom always makes yummy lasagna on Christmas Eve! Yay traditions! Then we went to our investigators' (Carmen, Victor, and Lorena) house for another dinner and it was yummy and a lot of fun! 

Christmas day was crazy busy but so much fun! We didn't have any snow and it was like 50 degress! It was so weird, but I'm not complaining! We had brunch at a member's house (Sis. Wheeler, she's the cutest little grandma!) and then another brunch at our neighbors' (Karen and Kathy). And then we went to a member's for lunch (the Goyette's). Lots of eating in a short amount of time! Oh my goodness I was so full! After we went a saw a member (Sis. Moody) and we sang a bunch of Christmas hymns with her and that was a lot of fun! Then we went a visited Sis. Connolly. She was a less active that Sis. Turley taught when she was in Manchester. And when we went to the temple in September it was for Sis. Connolly to receive her endowment. I love Sis. Connolly! She is so cute and sweet and has such strong faith! And then we went to a member's (the Williams) for Christmas dinner and to Skype our families! I loved talking with my family! It was so much fun and so good to see them! 

We got a new investigator on Saturday! Her name is Vanessa and she's 18. We were trying to contact her older sister and aunt, who are potential investigators, but then we got to talk to Vanessa. We introduced her to the Book of Mormon and talked about how we can receive answers from it, and she said that she would read and pray! We also talked to her dad, Hubert, for a few minutes, and he seemed interested. We're going to see them again on Thursday, so I'm super excited! 

Yesterday we had a lesson with Carmen and Lorena and it was so good! We read the intro to the Book of Mormon and talked a lot about how we can receive answers and what the spirit feels like. Lorena has been reading the Book of Mormon everyday! She's so awesome! Oh and she's like 15 and she loves coming to youth activities! And they said they would come to church next Sunday! Our ward is switching to 1:00pm church, so hopefully more people will come now haha. But I am so excited for them to come to church! 

This week was so much better than last week! I am more patient with myself and less stressed out and it's great! I'm still working on talking more in lessons, but I'm doing a lot better. One of my goals for this week was to listen better and I feel like I did really well with that. It's kinda funny, because I want to talk more, but when I listened, I talked less. But whenever I did talk 
I felt like what I said was what I needed to say and it was by the spirit. 

I studied a lot on charity and love this week and I found a really sweet scripture on it. It's D&C 88:125 and it says that charity is a bond of perfectness and peace. How cool is that?! I've been working hard this week to show more Christlike love to others and I've noticed that I've been a lot more peaceful and less stressed. Charity really is a bond of peace! 

Okay, well I think that's about everything for this week. Thank you for all your love and support! I love you all and happy new year! 
Love, Sister Harper

Friday, December 19, 2014

Week 20: Goodbye West Hanover

Hi everyone!
So we got transfer calls on Saturday night, and they're taking the sisters out of the Hanover ward, so Sis. Keown and I are getting transferred tomorrow. I'm really sad to leave my first area, but I'm also really excited for a new area! And I'm sad to leave Sis. Keown. :( One transfer together was not enough! But we had a great time together and we worked really hard! I'll find out tomorrow where I'm going, but they did tell me that I'm going somewhere really cold. Yay. Sis. Keown thinks I'm going to northern Maine, but we'll see what happens! And I'm also going to be serving as senior companion! Which really doesn't mean anything, except that I get to drive haha. So I'll let you all know next week where I end up and who my new companion is! 

Remember how last week I talked a lot about following spiritual promptings? Well I had an experience where I didn't follow a prompting and there were some not fun consequences. We were walking away from the car to go to emails at the Dartmouth library last week, and I didn't bring our phone with us, but then I had this thought that we should go back to the car and get the phone.If I had followed that prompting, I would have found the phone lying on top of the snow right next to the car. But I ignored it and we kept on walking. So then it snowed a lot while we were gone and we came back 2.5-3 hours later and I looked for the phone and it wasn't in the car. We spent like 20 minutes or something looking for the phone and we eventually found it buried in the snow next to the car. So that was awesome! But then we tried listening to a voice mail, and we couldn't hear anything! Everything else on the phone worked fine except for the ear piece. So then we went home and put the phone in a bag of rice while we shoveled for a bit. A guess what? The phone works like a champ again! So 2 lessons that I learned from this experience. 1) FOLLOW PROMPTINGS, even if they seem silly cause they could save you from digging in the snow and having to fix your phone haha! 2) If you phone is ever not working, put it in a bag of rice haha!

Then I had another sweet experience this week with following promptings. During my personal study one day I was thinking about our investigator, Ken, and what he needed to start progressing. And I felt like the lesson we planned wasn't right. So I started reading this really cool story in Preach my Gospel (page 113) on using the Book of Mormon. And then I read the section on The Book of Mormon Answers Questions of the Soul, and I felt so strongly that we needed to show Ken how the Book of Mormon answers questions of the soul. Only problem was I didn't know what his question of the soul was, so I didn't know what to prepare to read with him in our lesson. Sis. Keown and I talked about it and felt like we should just open to a random spot in the Book of Mormon and read with him. So that's what we did! Ken said the opening prayer and asked his question of the soul which was about forgiveness, and then we told him to open to a random page. He opened to Moroni 9 and we read 20-22 and it talks about how we can be forgiven and start new if we repent and return to Christ, so it was perfect! Then we read Alma 36, which is about Alma the younger's conversion story, and it was so perfect! We had such an awesome lesson with him and it was totally by the spirit! 

Then later that day we saw a less active couple, the Cambers, and we had no idea what to teach them! We felt like reading a devotional by Elder Bednar called "That We Might Not Shrink." But then we got to their house and a nonmember was there so we though we should teach the Restoration. But then we both felt like we should read the devotional with them, so that's what we did. I have no idea why we were supposed to read it, but it was perfect! The spirit was so strong and Sis. Camber asked for a copy of the devotional! Such a great lesson! Here's a link to watch or read the devotional. Please watch or read it cause it's pretty awesome! 

Heavenly Father definitely works in mysterious ways! We just need to trust Him enough to faithfully and confidently follow the promptings we receive! I have seen the blessings and the consequences from following and not following promptings and the blessings are so awesome! 

Shout out to my previous companion, Sis. Turley, who got engaged this week!!! She's getting married May 30th! Congratulations!!! 

I'm running out of time so I gotta go! But I hope you all have a wonderful week! Stay tuned until next week to see where I'm getting transferred to and who my new companion is! Love you all!
Love, Sister Harper

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Week 19: Does My Nametag Make Me Look Fat?

Hi everyone!
Sorry I forgot to tell you last week that Pday was switched again! But don't worry, everything will be back to normal next week! So transfer calls are this Saturday. There are 30 missionaries going home this transfer and only 7 coming out, and none of the new ones are sisters. So they're closing a bunch of areas, and an area in our ward will be one of them. Right now there are elders and sisters in the Hanover ward, and they're going to take one set of missionaries out, but they don't know which ones yet. So I have no idea what's going to happen! I really want to stay, because I love Hanover and the people here are awesome! But you'll just have to stay tuned until next Monday to find out if I'm staying or leaving!

Not a whole lot happened this week. I feel like the for the past couple weeks we've been really busy, but nothing's happened. We actually had dinner with 2 former investigators (Evelyn and Morgan) this week. It was really fun and we watched the "He is the Gift" video with them and they both became investigators again! But then they both dropped us a couple days later, so that was super annoying and frustrating! But they still like visiting with us, so we're going to see them again on Thursday. 

We had a super awesome district meeting on Wednesday! I always love district meetings! After the lesson, one of our district leaders, Elder Jones, got up and said that he had something to share. He said that that morning he prayed to know what he could do to help the district and he felt spiritually forced to share something from the missionary handbook. It was about loving and serving your companions and how to resolve conflicts in a companionship. It was so good and exactly what I needed! I'm not saying the Sis. Keown and I need to resolve conflicts or anything, because we don't. We get along really great and have an awesome companionship! But I just really enjoyed what he shared. I was talking with Elder Jones after district meeting and he said that he was so scared to share it. But I'm so glad he did! This got me thinking a lot about courageously following spiritual promptings. I feel like I ignore spiritual promptings a lot, which is really bad. Heavenly Father gives us spiritual promptings for a reason, and it's usually to bless us or others. And it's so important that we follow the promptings we receive! I love Acts 26 where Paul is telling his conversion story, and then in verse 19 he says, "I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision." Paul had an amazing conversion experience, and think of the all the things that would have gone undone if Paul didn't stay true to his heavenly vision. I remember when I got the answer to go on a mission it was so powerful and so clear! Maybe a "heavenly vision." But there were a couple times before turning my papers in that I started to doubt and I got kinda scared about how hard a mission would be. But, just like Paul, I could not be disobedient to my heavenly vision. I knew that I was supposed to serve a mission and I am so grateful that I stayed true to the answer I received! Going on a mission has been the greatest decision I've ever made! Yes, missionary work is tough, but it's so worth it! I've grown so much and I love being a missionary! So please don't hesitate to follow a prompting or an answer to a prayer! There are so many blessings in store for those who act on their "heavenly visions!"

So I had a very humbling experience on Sunday. I had been thinking for a couple days of why we weren't having much success and why I wasn't super happy all the time. And then when I was getting ready for church it hit me! Our investigators weren't progressing because I wasn't being exactly obedient. Sis. Turley trained me so well to be exactly obedient, especially with time, and I have let it slide the past couple weeks. But I'm so glad that I had that experience, because now I can see the amazing difference between the blessings and the consequences of being exactly obedient! I've been doing so much better the past couple days and I'm so much happier! I feel like Alma when he said that his joy was as exceeding as his pain and there was nothing so exquisite and sweet as his joy! (Alma 36) Repentance is a beautiful thing! I love Mosiah 2:41 which says, "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." It is so true! We are given commandments to help us be happy and happiness is one of the greatest blessings we can receive! 

Have all of you watched the "He is the Gift" video and shared it with others? Sis. Keown showed me something really cool this week! In Ether 12 it talks about Christ as the gift! It's in verses 8-11 which say, " 8 But because of the faith of men he has shown himself unto the world, and glorified the name of the Father, and prepared a way that thereby others might be partakers of the heavenly gift, that they might hope for those things which they have not seen. 9 Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith. 10 Behold it was by faith that they of old were called after the holy order of God. 11 Wherefore, by faith was the law of Moses given. But in the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way; and it is by faith that it hath been fulfilled." I love these verses! We are able to embrace the heavenly gift of the Savior through our faith. And Christ really is the gift that keeps on giving, because we can continuously exercise and strengthen our faith, and by doing so we can continuously feel of Christ's love for us. 

I hope all of you watched the Christmas devotional on Sunday night! It was so good! I really loved Elder Christofferson's talk! Please go watch it if you didn't already!

So a lot of times when we're tracting some people won't look at my face and they just look right at my name tag, and it's super awkward! So anytime that happens I say, "Sis. Keown, does my name tag make me look fat?" Haha! #missionaryprobs 

Well I think that's all for this week! I hope you're all enjoying the Christmas season! Love you all!
Love, Sister Harper