Monday, January 26, 2015

Week 26: Transfers! Dun Dun Dun!

Oh my goodness Brian got baptized yesterday! It was so awesome! He was so happy and the spirit there was awesome! Seriously, Brian is going to make such an awesome member! He's read the whole Book of Mormon, is reading D&C and is on section 83, and he's starting his family history! He's so great and I'm so happy for him!

​Left to right: Sis. Craig, Brian, Bro. Young (ward mission leader), me

We also got a new investigator this week! His name is Chris and his wife Lucia (pronounced Loo-she-a) is an investigator. They're from Sudan and they speak Arabic! But they're English is really good so we're able to teach them haha. We taught the Restoration and it was sweet! We're going to get them some Arabic Book of Mormons and share more about it tomorrow and I'm super excited!

So when we teach the Restoration we use Joseph Smith's account to describe the first vision. It goes like this, "I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me, I saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name, and said, pointing to the other, 'This is my Beloved Son. Hear Him!'" We've taught the Restoration a few times the past couple weeks and I've noticed that there is a very special spirit that comes when we say his words. It's such a testimony to me that Joseph Smith really is a prophet, that he did restore the fullness of Christ's gospel to the earth, and that he did translate the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God.

We did a mini mission with this girl in our ward name Hattie. She's been a member for almost a year and she wants to go on a mission! She came to district meeting with us and then we saw a less active that she's friends with and one of the Elder's investigators that lives with her family. It was super awesome and we had a ton of fun with her! 

We saw Carmen and Lorena on Saturday and had a really great lesson with them on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Neither or them have heard of the Atonement before, so it was really cool to explain it to them and just how amazing and powerful it is! And Lorena committed to baptism! She's so awesome! She reads and prays everyday and she's come to church a lot! She's so great!

So this week I have been praying to know which Christlike attribute I need to work on for the new transfer, and then answer that I got was diligence! I've been reading in the book of Jacob this week and it talks a lot about diligence! I love Jacob 5 and Jacob 7! Please read those chapters sometime this week! They're so good!

Transfer calls were on Saturday and Sis. Craig is getting transferred. :(  But she's not getting transferred until Thursday! Normally transfers happen on Tuesdays, but they postponed transfer meeting until Thursday because of this freak winter storm coming in. We're supposed to get like a foot or two of snow. Yay snow shoveling all day! I'm really sad that Sis. Craig's leaving, but I know that she's going where the Lord needs her and that our new companions are the ones we need to be with. So stay tuned til next week to find out who my new companion is!

Well I love you all and hope you have a super awesome week!
Love, Sister Harper

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Week 25: Brian's Getting Baptized!

Brian had his baptismal interview yesterday and he's all set to get baptized on Sunday the 25th! I'm so excited for him!!! 

I got to go on exchange on Wednesday with my Sister Training Leader, Sis. Burton. She came to Manchester for the day and Sis. Craig went to Canterbury, NH. It was a lot of fun! Sis. Burton is awesome!

So remember our investigators, Vanessa and Herve? Well we stopped by to see them yesterday morning and they weren't home. But we got to teach their mom, Helen, and their sister, Saundra, and they're both investigators now! They're native language is Swahili, so we picked up some Swahili Book of Mormon's from the mission office today. I'll have to read it side-by-side with an English Book of Mormon and maybe I can learn some Swahili! This family is so awesome! They love Christ and have such strong faith! And they've met with Elders before! We're going to see them this week and hopefully we can have a lesson with the whole family!

We also got to see our investigator Lorena on Saturday. We read 1 Nephi 1 with her in Spanish! I definitely had to look of my English Book of Mormon, but it was so much fun to read with her in Spanish! Sis. Craig and I took Spanish in middle school and we don't remember like anything. But we actually didn't do too bad on the pronunciation haha! 

On Saturday we saw a less active and her family and it was so sweet! So the less active's name is Hilda, her husband is Roberto (non-member) and the kids are Alicia, Veronica, and Joey. We had a lesson with everyone except Roberto and Alicia. We made paper boats and read in 1 Nephi when Nephi's commanded to build a ship and it was super fun! Then right at the end of the lesson, Alicia came home and she ran to her room and grabbed her Book of Mormon and came out to read with us! How cool is that?! I love this family! They're so great!

Thursday we had Zone Conference and it was so great! We learned a ton about the spirit and it was super cool! Here's some of my notes from it:

-the purpose of prayer is to have a heartfelt conversation with God
-"If we start to entertain temptations, pretty soon they entertain us." Elder Neal A. Maxwell
-Alma 57:21 the stripling warriors obeyed with exactness because of their faith
-obedience brings blessings, but obedience with exactness brings miracles
-you have to be obedient to have the spirit with you
-the most important commandment is the one you're having the hardest time living
-3 things to have the spirit=search, ponder, pray (Moroni 10:3-5)
-searching, pondering and praying are critical for an enduring conversion
-2 Nephi 31:19-20 to endure to the end, we must feast upon the words of Christ
-when you study the scriptures, you will see yourself and others differently 
-1 Nephi 15:24 reading the scriptures will help protect you from temptations
-revelation comes when you ask questions
-care more about the amount of time you spend in the scriptures than how much you read
-1 Nephi 4:15 your heart should ponder the scriptures continually
-thinking makes your mind wander, pondering makes your heart wonder 
-pondering is and should be a spiritual experience
-pondering allows revelation to occur
-BD Prayer ask for things that God is willing to grant you, find out the Lord's will for you
-answers to prayers will speak to your mind and to your heart; it will make sense and it will feel right
-teach the Lord's way by the spirit; you receive the spirit by the prayer of faith
-to be an effective missionary, be prayerful, personal, and powerful
-the spirit always edifies
-doubt your doubts before you doubt your promptings
-God trusts you, so trust God
-2 Nephi 32:3 feast upon the scriptures and you will know what to do
-if you're uncertain in your direction, be certain in your patience

Oh my goodness zone conference was so good! Spiritual feast! Pres. Stoker talked a lot about search, ponder and pray. They seem so simple, but they are so important! It's what will open the door to revelation! 

I love the Bible Dictionary definition for prayer and this is my favorite section!
"As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings."

I'm running out of time so I gotta go! I love you all and have a super awesome week!
Love, Sister Harper

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

week 24: you might live in New England if you have icicles inside your house

Hi everybody!
This week was super awesome! We saw a ton of people and had so many great lessons! 

On Tuesday we got to be in a trio with Sis. Pankratz, who was Sis. Craig's MTC companion! That was super fun! And Tuesday evening we saw Brian and he's doing so great! His baptism is in 2 weeks and we're so excited for him! And he finished the Book of Mormon yay!

On Wednesday we had a lesson with this girl named Kylee. She's 6 years old and she's so cute! She's technically not an investigator, because she's not old enough to be baptized, but she really wants to learn about God. The sisters taught her the Plan of Salvation a while ago, and Kylee remembered like the whole thing! She's so smart! Her mom isn't really interested, but is super supportive of Kylee learning more. I hope they start reading the Book of Mormon together and then hopefully her mom will get interested! :)

We got a new investigator this week! Her name is Aimee and she's awesome! The sisters found her back in October but have been kinda stuck in the friend zone with her. We stopped by on Thursday to say hi and to give her a Book of Mormon. Then she was telling us about how it's kinda hard for her working at the hospital, because sometimes her patients die. So we taught her a really brief Plan of Salvation and shared Alma 40:11-12 which says, "Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life. And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow." She loved it and said that we could share more! Yes! I love sharing the Plan of Salvation, because it applies to everyone and it really helps me to know that God lives and that He cares about each and every one of us. And because of this Plan, we can know who we are, what our purpose is in life, and eternal potential. It's so amazing!

I read a talk this week called "Lord is it I?" by President Uchtdorf. It's so good! Please read it this week! He shares a lot about how when we are humble enough to learn and to change, then we can feel the power of the Atonement in our lives. I love the gospel so much, because we can continuously learn and grow. The gospel is all about change, and it's possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 

This morning I read a really cool scripture in 2 Nephi 7:1 which says, "Yea, for thus saith the Lord: Have I put thee away, or have I cast thee off forever? For thus saith the Lord: Where is the bill of yourmother’s divorcement? To whom have I put thee away, or to whichof my creditors have I sold you? Yea, to whom have I sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away." God is constant. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. So if we ever feel like we're not close to Him, it's because we have moved away. God will never force us to follow Him, because we have the gift of agency. But it's up to us to choose to follow Him each and every day. And He wants us to follow him! He's given us the commandments, scriptures, and prophets so that we'll know how! He wants to bless us and those blessings come when we live the gospel! I love D&C 130:20-21 which says, "There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated." President Uchtdorf gave a really cool analogy in his talk "Living the Gospel Joyful." He said, "Part of our challenge is, I think, that we imagine that God has all of His blessings locked in a huge cloud up in heaven, refusing to give them to us unless we comply with some strict, paternalistic requirements He has set up. But the commandments aren’t like that at all. In reality, HeavenlyFather is constantly raining blessings upon us. It is our fear, doubt, and sin that, like an umbrella, block these blessings from reaching us. His commandments are the loving instructions and the divine help for us to close the umbrella so we can receive the shower of heavenly blessings." I love that! We can feel Heavenly Father's blessings all the time when we choose to follow Him!
This week I've been thinking a lot about how important the spirit is in missionary work and in the gospel. D&C 42:14 says, "And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith;and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach." The spirit is pretty important, because you can't teach without it! This is The Lord's work and the only way we are going to be successful is if we do it the way He asks us to: by the spirit. The spirit is the ultimate teacher and is what will help others to grow the most. I love 1 Corinthians 3:6-9 which says, "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building." It's so cool, because as we help others to feel the spirit and to grow, we grow ourselves. It's amazing how much I've grown in the short time that I've been a missionary! This is the greatest work ever, because as we help others to grow in the gospel, we then grow ourselves! 

I'm running out of time, so I gotta go! But I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week! Stay warm! 
Love, Sister Harper

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Week 23: It's 2015!!!

Hi Everybody!
I hope you all had a happy and safe New Year's! We went to a party with all the older people in the ward and it was a lot of fun!

We got another new investigator this week! His name is Herve, and he is Vanessa's brother. They both have met with missionaries before and come to church and they've seen the Restoration movie which is super awesome! He has such strong faith and he committed to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it! We also got to see Carmen and Lorena and we taught the Plan of Salvation. Lorena has been reading the Book of Mormon everyday! She's doing so awesome! And Carmen has been praying! 

I read this super awesome article this week called "Becoming Perfect in Christ." It's super great and you should definitely read it!

I can't remember if I shared this last week or not, but there's a line in the hymn "Come Let us Anew" that I really like. It says, "Our talents improve by the patience of hope and the labor of love." I love that! I've been working a lot on loving others and I've noticed that my listening skills have gotten a lot better! 

We've been sharing this spiritual message about Samuel the Lamenite with a lot of people this week, and I thought I'd share it with you too. Samuel the Lamenite was asked by Heavenly Father to tell people that Christ was going to come and they needed to prepare themselves spiritually (Helaman 13:1-5). The people wouldn't listen to Samuel, so he got up on the city wall. Then people started throwing things at him and shooting arrows at him, but he wasn't hurt, because he had the Spirit of the Lord with him (Helaman 16:2). There are spiritual arrows that are shot at us everyday, and I think the biggest ones are doubt and fear. But we can always pray to Heavenly Father for the strength and protection we need to stand strong and overcome our fears and doubts and the doubts of others. 

There's this awesome section in Preach My Gospel and praying with faith and there's this really cool quote by President Hinckley. "Every morning . . . , missionaries should get on their knees and plead with the Lord to loosen their tongues and speak through them to the blessing of those they will be teaching. If they will do this, a new light will come into their lives. There will be greater enthusiasm for the work. They will come to know that in a very real sense, they are servants of the Lord speaking in His behalf. They will find a different response from those they teach. As they do so by the Spirit, their investigators will respond under the influence of the same Spirit." What sticks out to me the most is that if missionaries pray with faith, there will be greater enthusiasm for the work. I love being a missionary and I love what we do, but sometimes I feel like I'm just going through the motions. But this past week I've been trying to pray with more faith, and I've found that I'm a lot more focused on the work. There is so much power in prayer! And when we pray for specific things, we get specific blessings! 

This week we got to go to two baptisms! There was one a convert baptism on Saturday for the Bedford ward, and then there was a 8-year-old baptism in our ward yesterday. The spirit is so strong at baptisms! It's so awesome! One of the Elders gave a talk on the Holy Ghost at the baptism on Saturday. And he said something that I really love. He said that if we can feel the Holy Ghost with us, then we know that the Atonement is working in our lives. I've never heard it said like that before, but it makes so much sense and I love it!

I read Moroni 7:41 this week, and I love this scripture so much! It says, "And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise." The Atonement gives us so much hope! Hope that we can be clean and become better, hope that we will live again. And it's all because of our faith! When we have faith, it motivates us to use the Atonement, and we truly can become better and more like Christ. 

Time's running up, so I gotta get going! I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Love, Sister Harper