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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Week 73: Merry Christmas!!!!!

Hello everyone!
Wow can you believe Christmas is on Friday? I sure can't! It's going to be a great Christmas! I'm super excited, especially to talk to my family! It's my last Skype before I go home, crazy!

We've had a great week! We've been so busy! My voice was gone at the beginning of this week so that was super sad! But it's back now, yay! We had zone conference on Tuesday and it was awesome! President Stoker gave a great training on the differences between sin and weakness. 

Sin--willful disobedience, encouraged by Satan, knowingly breaking God's commandments, leads us away from God, choice to trust Satan over God, Christ didn't have sin, overcome through repentance and forgiveness, we are cleansed and redeemed

Weakness--human limitations, mortal nature, fatigue, physical or mental illness, death, leads us closer to God, Christ had weakness, God will accept us with our weakness, overcome through humility and faith in Christ and the grace of God, we are strengthened and enabled

How to Access the Enabling Power of the Atonement
1) Pray--distinguish sin from weakness, ask for help
2) Ponder--scripture study and listen to the spirit
3) Plan--set goals, more than desire and discipline
4) Prioritize--decide what is most important now
5) Patterns--establish holy habits, righteous routines
6) Patience--keep trying, don't give up, be humble

President Stoker also announced the new mission vision for 2016 which is to have every member or family have an individual or family (nonmember or less active) in their home to be taught by the missionaries. We're going to start teaching the members the missionary lessons so that they'll be prepared to help us teach when their friends come over. We're super excited for this new vision! I know we'll see a lot of success from it!

At the end of zone conference we had a Christmas talent show and it was so good! I was really glad I didn't sign up to sing because my voice was totally gone that day! But I did get to play the piano for some interlude songs we had, so that was fun! After zone conference we had exchanges with the Lyndon sisters and I went to Lyndon with Sis. Hamilton. We had a good exchange! We did some service, saw an investigator and a less active. 

Sis. Harward and I have had a lot of success with less actives this week! We had 11 less active lessons! And a few of them are progressing! Yay!

Crazy story! We knocked on a less actives door and we heard someone calming the dogs down and coming towards the door, but no one opened the door. Then all of a sudden these lights came on and weird Christmas music started playing! Okay, I just read through this paragraph and it doesn't sound that weird, but seriously it was so creepy! We felt like we were in a horror movie haha! So yeah, we got out of there real quick like!

On Saturday morning we went out tracting and we showed "A Savior is Born" to this cute little family. After the video we asked the kids if they knew why we celebrate Christmas. They said no, then we asked if they knew who Jesus Christ was, and they didn't. That was so sad! This experience made me so grateful for my parents and primary teachers for teaching me that I am a child of God and Jesus Christ is my Savior. 

Saturday evening we were going around contacting more less actives and then we got a call from the South Royalton sisters. They had so many people at the Joseph Smith Memorial that night and needed extra help and asked us if we would come, so we did! We got to be visitor's center missionaries for the night! Visitor center missionaries don't have to be with their companion as long as they're with a group of visitors. It was super weird not being with Sis. Harward! I played some Christmas songs on the piano for a bit there, and some people came up behind me and started singing along! That was super fun! There were a lot of people there and most of them were nonmembers! Towards the end of the night there was a family there walking around and looking at the different picture and stuff. They started looking at the big timeline of Joseph Smith's life and the dad, John, said, "Wow, Joseph Smith saw God?!" Yeah he did! I got to teach them the restoration and it was such a great experience! The spirit was so strong as I quoted the first vision! John said he was feeling goosebumps! That's the spirit! He said that he's worked at the JSM before on various projects and he felt a very peaceful feeling while he was here. That's the spirit! They accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and agreed to have missionaries come over. They live in the South Royalton sisters area, so hopefully they have success with this family! It was so great to be at the JSM that night! I love the spirit that's there! I hope all of you have the opportunity to go there someday!

I'm so grateful for this beautiful Christmas season we have to remember and celebrate the birth of our Savior! I wish you all a very merry Christmas! Love you all!
Love, Sister Harper

at zone conference, back row l to r: Sis. Lewis, Sis. O'Bryant, Sis. Dastrup; front row l to r: Sis. Hallam, Sis. Bee, me, Sis. Harward, Sis. Bishop
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lights at the JSM!
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Sis. Harward and I at the JSM
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singing and playing at the JSM
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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Week 72: 11 Days Until Christmas!!!

I hope everyone's doing well and enjoying the Christmas season! Oh my goodness, the weather this week has been so great! It's been in the 40's and 50's and it hasn't snowed! (Knock on wood haha!)  
After Pday last Monday we drove down to Bedford, NH and spent the night at the Bedford sisters apartment. Then Tuesday we had MLT (mission leadership training) with all the sister training leaders, zone leaders, and district leaders. It was such a good meeting! President Stoker gave a great training on being a Christlike leader and 1 Samuel 15 about being exactly obedient. So good! MLT was a much needed spiritual boost! And I got to see 3 of my former companions, Sis. Keown, Sis. McVey and Sis. Davis! Sis. Keown and Sis. McVey are actually companions now and Sis. Keown goes home in a couple weeks! Crazy!

Wednesday-Thursday we had exchanges with the Burlington sisters, and I was in Montpelier with Sis. Rogerson. We had a great exchange! We saw a few less active members and had great lessons with them! One of the was Bro. Piko. He's doing so great! He's reading the Book of Mormon for 10 minutes everyday and he loves it! He also came to church yesterday and loved it! On Thursday night Sis. Rogerson and I went Christmas caroling in downtown Montpelier and it was super fun! We held up these posters, one said "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" and the other said "christmas.mormon.org #asaviorisborn" and we sang Christmas hymns. We got some weird looks, but it was still fun! Like Buddy the Elf said, "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!"

There's a really great article in this month's Ensign called "The Last Sacrament Cup." It talks about the importance of the sacrament and how individual and personal the Atonements is. I encourage you all to read this article and ponder ways you can make the sacrament a spiritual experience each week. I usually read the sacrament hymns, the scriptures or a talk and I really enjoy doing that. We read this article with the family we had dinner with last night. The oldest said while they pass the bread and water he thinks of things that Christ helps him to overcome, physical things during the bread and spiritual things during the water. I really like that and I think I'm going to try that! https://www.lds.org/ensign/2015/12/the-last-sacrament-cup?lang=eng  

In one of the Bible videos about the nativity it shows the angel appearing to the shepherds and then the angels singing and praising God. We watched this video this week and when the angels started singing Sis. Harward said, "Look! That's us!" We were all there praising and glorifying God that our Savior was born. How cool is that!    

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

The sister training leaders at zone conference (minus Sis. Davis, she was in an interview with Pres. Stoker)
back row L to R: Sis. McVey, Sis. Duncan, Sis. Eddington, me, Sis. Harward, Sis. Gillies; front row L to R: Sis. Pankratz, Sis. Keown, Sis. Crook
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Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 71: 18 Days Until Christmas!

Wow what a crazy week it's been! It's been good, not too exciting, but kinda hard too. Some days it's hard to go out and work and stay focused. But I've noticed that the Lord has helped me a lot as I've tried to be diligent. Heavenly Father knows that we're not perfect, nor can we be. He just asks us to do what we can, and He will make all the difference.

We had great lessons this week with some less active members. We met with Bro. Piko and Bro. Prevost and the spirit was so strong! We got the best compliment ever from Bro. Prevost! He said, "Sisters, I can see God in your faces." Isn't that the sweetest things ever?

On Friday we had our ward Christmas party and it was so great! I really love the Montpelier ward! We and the Elders wore ugly Christmas sweaters to the ward party, but theirs were definitely uglier haha. The primary kids acted out the Nativity while they sang "The Nativity Song" and it was the cutest thing ever! I felt the spirit so strong! Primary songs seriously bring the spirit like no other!

The most awkward thing ever happened on Saturday morning! We were reading the Book of Mormon with our investigator Sandy. Right in the middle of the lesson a car pulled up to Sandy's house and Sandy said, "Oh, it's a Jehovah's Witness." So yeah, our lesson was crashed by a JW. While she was talking, she said that what she talked about would either reaffirm what we believe or make us question. I've had a few experiences like this on my mission and I always walk away from them so grateful for the plain and precious truths of the gospel. I know that God is our Heavenly Father and that His Son, Jesus Christ, is our Savior and Redeemer. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true and that the church has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that Thomas S. Monson has been called of God as the living prophet on the earth today. 

I loved the Christmas devotional last night! Elder Bednar's talk was my favorite! If you weren't able to watch it, I encourage you to do so! Have you watched a shared "A Savior is Born?" And there's another cool video that the church put out about why we need a Savior which you should watch! https://www.mormon.org/christmas/purpose-of-a-savior  I love the message in this video! 

This week we've been sharing 1 Nephi 11: 13-23 with a lot of people. These verses are so powerful! This is a part of Nephi's vision and he learns that the greatest manifestation of God's love is His Son, Jesus Christ. I hope you all can feel of your Heavenly Father's love for you as your reflect on the birth of the Savior this Christmas season. God truly loves us. Christ was born to overcome all things for us. He is the Light of the World.

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

Last week was my 16 month mark ("sweet 16" haha), so I had a date with Ben and Jerry!
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Here's our Christmas card picture!
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Us and the Elders (Elder Williams and Elder McCain) at the ward Christmas party
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