Monday, June 2, 2014

IT'S RAINING FISH....

 With the Pinhrees at their last Zone Conference. I love them!

 Dear Arturo before he left for Seattle. With Hemana Sandoval.

My sweet, sweet Maria Nunez. This woman is so incredible and so converted. She just can't be baptized because her husband will not give permission. One day he will.

5/27/14
Hola familia!
Well whaaat a week it has been. I am just so grateful to know that we have a Heavenly Father that loves us so, so much and has a perfect plan for each of us... we just have to find the courage to give up our will and follow His!
Well to update you on our golden investigator from last week... he moved back to Seattle... I know right?? Ah. But it is okay. Because the church is in Seattle too! This last week we had the chance to have three awesome lessons with him. After teaching him about the plan he was actually a little mad... "how did I reach 50 years without anyone ever telling me this??". But he was so grateful and humble. And in the last prayer of our last lesson he said one of the sweetest things that really changed my perspective. He thanked God for having put people in his life to pull him out of the darkness. He had felt that his whole life he had been lost, and finally for the first time he saw that there was a light. How bright and happy is the gospel?? How can we not share it??
We also saw a huge miracle with one of our potential investigators. We had met her over a month ago, outside sweeping her porch, and she really seemed super interested! But every time we had an appointment she never had time or was never home. So this last week we said a prayer and said that it was the last time we were going to try for a while, so if she is prepared, let us have a lesson. Well, we get there and she let's us right it! We dove right in to teaching the restoration and she ended up teaching us what a prophet was! And then after she asked that if they were so important back then, why don't we still have prophets?? Well… we are getting there! When we talked about Joseph Smith and Thomas S. Monson she said that it only makes sense! She agreed to be baptized and is so excited to read in the Book of Mormon!
Well we have to get going, but just in reference to the subject of the email... it is literally raining buckets here... but also we met the most amazing man on the side of the road and he shared the most incredible latter-day manna story. He started by asking us if we believed in the story where the fishermen hadn't made a single catch, and then the Lord commanded them to cast their nets on the other side and they had too many to bring in. We agreed, and then he shared his story. So he grew up in a little pueblecito in Mexico, and his family was at the point where they literally had only a few beans left to eat. After praying and praying a rain came in... but what fell from the sky..? Well water obviously... and fish. He said they gathered nearly 2 baskets of fish. What? Whoever says that miracles have ceased is wrong. I know that God is a God of miracles, and that He can do anything according to our faith. 
I hope you all have a wonderful week! I love you all so much! Keep reading in the Book of Mormon. Keep praying. Keep replacing fear with faith. Life is just so good.
los quiero demasiado,
Hermana Draper


TRUE CHARITY IS TO LOVE INFINITELY--- NO MATTER WHAT

 With dear Hermana Sandoval!

Celebrating 14 months! How amazing is that?

5/19/14
Hola Familia!
Wow.. another week has already flown on by. Well this week has been so full of miracles; the Lord really helping us find those who are prepared!! So Hermana Sandoval (see the picture) is the most amazing member missionary ever. She is inviting everyone and their dog to learn about the restored gospel, and she always goes with us to visit them! Well we were visiting one of her neighbors and we were walking back to her house where our car was parked and out walked the new man who is renting one of the rooms in Hermana Sandoval's side house. Well she introduces us and he said that he would be super interested! Unfortunately we were already running late for another appointment (shocker) but we set up a time on Saturday to come back. Well, Saturday rolled around and again... we are running twenty minutes late this time. But there he is sitting out front waiting for us! He said he didn't know why he waited, but he just felt like he couldn't leave. Wow, tender mercies. So we ended up having an awesome first lesson with him and he really seemed to understand why it is so essential to have a prophet with the authority, and how great it is that we have one today! We explained a bit of the structure of the church too, how it is the same as when Christ was on the earth with 12 apostles and the 70, and that the next day he could hear one of the 70 speak!! (conveniently, it was stake conference...) He was so excited and he committed to come! Well he loooved it. I can honestly say it was one of the best stake conferences I had ever been too. There were so many loud children... but the spirit was still so strong. They obviously focused a lot on the importance of the family, which was a bit difficult for him to listen too since he is here in Houston while his wife and kids are in Washington (long story... work... money... etc). But they did mention something interesting how the biggest blessing of living the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is the promise of eternal life, which includes the blessings of eternal families! So those blessings that aren't granted in this life, will be in the next life. So for the single parent, or the unmarried woman etc, if they continue to faithfully live the gospel in this life, those blessings will be fulfilled in the Lord's time! Then the Stake President gave an incredible talk about the power of repentance and accessing the infinite power of the Atonement. He said something interesting that "weakness enables us to use our agency to become sanctified". It really is all our choice. Discipline leads to discipleship, but no one is perfect. That's why we have the Atonement to help us out on that path. But it was really Elder Rhein's talk that hit. It was all about loving thy neighbor... all of thy neighbors. It's easy to love those that are kind, thoughtful, friendly, lovely, etc... but it's something else to love those who are obnoxious, rude, disrespectful, etc... but the thing is that the Savior suffered for us all equally. He loves us all equally. So as it says in the title of the email, TRUE CHARITY is to love infinitely, no matter what. Well, our investigator loved the conference and we have another appointment with him tonight!
Also, the other day we were walking down the street on our way to visit another friend when we started talking with this nice man working in his garden, we not so smoothly transitioned our five minute flower conversation into comparing a seed to faith! But he really was interested in learning more! So we set up a time for yesterday. We have some members who live on the same street, and the hermano came with us! Unfortunately Hermana had to watch the grandkids, so we couldn't go into his house... but we had a lovely lesson out front in his garden. Hermana Zabriskie and I were on lawn chairs, the investigator was on a five gallon bucket, then poor little hermano Herrera was sitting on one of those little "fisher price" plastic yellow chairs with the back legs buckling under him... It was quite the sight. But it went to well! The member really helped him seem to understand how all of this related to him and his life. I love this gospel!! It is perfect for everyone!!
I am so grateful for the privilege to be a full-time representative of the Lord. This is truly the Lord's work, and I know that He is hastening it! I invite you all to really pray about those you know that could be ready to receive the infinite blessings of the gospel! How can we keep it to ourselves??
I love you all so so much! Have a wonderful day! Replace fear with faith and remember that a grateful heart is a happy heart!!
Los quiero demasiado,
Hermana Draper


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

feliz Cinco de MAYO!!

Greetings from Aldine! With Hermana Zabriske.
I LOVE TEXAS!
5/05/14
FELIZ CINCO DE MAYOOO mis queridos.
Espero que tengan un dia lleno de felicidad y Milagros. Well. This week has been so great! Real fast, remember how back in Westgreen there was one night that our appointments all fell through (well... one of the times :)) and as we were praying to know where the Lord needed us, the elders called us randomly and asked us to go to one of their appointments for them? Well the appointment was a bit awkward, but in the end when we asked for referrals they actually gave us the name of their inactive niece's family! Then we went to them and they were so excited to have us and said they wanted to come back to church and for us to teach their daughter to prepare her for baptism? Well.... She got baptized!!!! How crazy are the ways of the Lord? His plans are so intricate to make everything all fall right into place! We just have to humble ourselves and call out for his help!
Another awesome miracle... so a few weeks ago we ate lunch with one of our investigators and afterwards she gave us all the leftovers... We tried explaining that we wouldn't be back to our apartment until late, but she insisted that we take them. So since we had a minute before our next appointment we decided to try and find someone that could maybe use the food. We talked to quite a few people on the street and they all turned it down (but did accept a card!) until we found this darling little family. We offered the leftovers and they humbly accepted them. Then he asked what book I had in my hand. We explained a bit and he said he wanted to read it! But when we asked for their address so we could stop by they weren't interested... Well we gave them the book and the food and prayed that their paths would cross with missionaries again somewhere down the road. WELL. We were going to an appointment with a new investigator and there sitting at the bottom of the stairs was this nice looking lady and she greeted us so cheerfully! ... I didn't recognize her... and then she reminded us that we gave her the delicious food. Ohhhh! Wow. Well they've been reading the book and they really want to learn more! She was so grateful for the miracle that day to have received food and the word, because God had really answered their prayers. Again, God works in the most mysterious ways!!
Also we have a new investigator!!... who has a sister who lives in a convent in Peru... (shout out to Jill!!) The family is very active in their church. Well, when we first starting teaching, I'll be honest I was a bit hesitant to jump into the whole "great apostasy" thing... but with the spirit we just boldly testified of what we know to be true, and she actually agreed! (not that I had any doubts). But it just shows how there are really prepared people! They have parts of the truth, but they are searching for the fullness.
Ah. I could just keep talking. There are so many miracles happening every day. We truly are seeing the hand of the Lord and it is just so evident how much he loves his children and desires the best for each one of them. I love my Savior and I am so grateful for the privilege to be a full time representative of him, to share this love that he desires to share!!
I love you all so much! Have a wonderful day! How are you all coming on the Book of Mormon enabling power challenge? I really hope you all do it. I can promise you so many blessings if you do!
REPLACE FEAR WITH FAITH! I'll talk to you on Sunday :)
los quiero,
Hermana Draper
 

"I AM ISSUING A CHALLANGE..."



4/28/14

Hola Familia!!
The weeks are getting more full of miracles, and the time is just flying faster-It must be the Lord's work or something like that :) This past week was no exception. Prepared people are everywhere!! But I think one of the biggest lessons that I really have been learning is the importance of listening. Just listening, but more importantly, listening with love. Elder Holland promises us that if we listen with love we won't have to wonder what to say, it will be given to us.
This area is extremely different from where I have served, and a lot of the people we have the opportunity to teach come from backgrounds that I can't even imagine. I know that there is no way that I can really relate my experiences to theirs, but Jesus Christ can. There is a recently activated member in our ward who we decided we should teach about family history! As we began to talk about her family tree she said that she would never do the work for the 'woman that brought her into this world'. She had gone through a very traumatizing childhood and to imagine serving her mother was unbearable. Just to see the pain and anguish in this hermanas eyes as she reflected on what had happened, nearly broke my heart. We just sat and listened. And then we sat there for a while in silence. And then we began to talk, but I know that it wasn't Hermana Zabriskie or I speaking. We testified of the Atonement, and just how truly infinite it is, and that's about all that I remember. The path of forgiveness and healing is long and difficult, but nothing is impossible with the Lord.
Then just last night we were leaving a lesson with an incredible new investigator and just about to get into our car when Hermana Zabriskie saw a lonely guy sitting on a park bench a little ways off. His back was to us, but we felt like we should talk to him. As we got closer and walked in front, we saw that he had two big black eyes, blood shot, and a nose that was all stitched up and scabbing over. He looked so desperate. We just asked if we could sit down and we slowly began to talk. I was praying so hard in my heart that we would know what to say to help him, but then I just started to listen. He had been racing motorcycles and crashed with his friend. He survived but his friend died. He felt guilty, and didn't understand why he had to live. Again we had the opportunity to testify of the Atonement, but it was interesting as he took it differently. He said that he didn't want to be a hypocrite and just call out for God's help now, because once he got better, he would just go back to the same. He didn't want to abuse the gift and just pull God through it for nothing. But the thing is... the price has already been paid. He's already suffered it. We don't pull him through anything new. He already knows. And that is the best thing you could possibly do, is use it. He wants us to! He was still a little stubborn, but he slowly answered his own question as to why he was still here. He has the chance to use the Atonement, but not just use it... but to use it right; to truly use it to change his life. As we were leaving he said that he knew that God had sent us to him that day. He didn't know why he had felt the need to walk to the park that day, but he did. Then there we were just shortly after. I know that this is the work of a perfectly loving Heavenly Father. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a full-time servant of the Lord. 

So as you know, June is fast approaching and my dear Mission President and his family are heading back to Utah! If there is one thing that President Pingree has drilled into our heads (aka taught us lovingly and through the spirit), it is the absolute necessity of the Atonement in every moment of our lives. Well, a few weeks ago he attended a Mission President seminar with Elder David A. Bednar and he gave them the following challenge...

1. Find a paperback copy of the Book of Mormon.

2. Read the book cover-to-cover and highlight any passage that helps you answer the following question: “How can I use the enabling and strengthening power of the Atonement?”

3. Write a one-page summary of what you learned.

They were promised that if they would do this, they would come to know the Savior better, learn to access added strength from the Atonement, and become more effective servants of Jesus Christ. In turn President Pingree gave this challenge to us, his missionaries, and to finish it before June 30, when they will be departing. I wish I could even express how much this challenge has truly opened my eyes to how great of a part the Atonement plays in everything!! Nephi is an incredible example of truly accessing this enabling power that the Lord has to offer us. Therefore... I would LOVE to invite EVERY single one of you to participate in this challenge as well, and to hold September 3 as a deadline. I know that as you do this, you will feel a greater abundance of strength from the Lord in every part of your life; school, work, family, or personal. What could be more important than understanding and applying the Atonement in our own lives and helping others do the same?

Well..... this is a long one... but if you get anything out of it, I hope you know that His arms of mercy are always there. I love you all so very very much and hope you have a wonderful week!! Replace fear with faith!

los quiero demasiado,
Hermana Draper