Monday, June 1, 2015

The Best Two Years

Dear family, friends and loved ones,

First of all, I give my love and appreciation for Elder L. Tom Perry.  What a great apostle and man.

Well, what can I say?  The title says it all.  These past two years have been the best ​for my life.  My mission has taught me so many life skills and habits that will bless me all throughout my life.  I truly feel that I have come to know the Lord on a deeper, more personal level.

I want to thank all of you for the love and support that you have each given me.  Missions are tough, but thanks to the Lord and all of you, I have been able to endure through my trials and challenges.  I have seen the Lord's hand working through many kind and wonderful people on my mission, and it is my hope that I have been able to reciprocate that love to those that I have contacted.  I have learned how to love people of all sorts.  I have learned how to appreciate and respect people and cultures that are different than mine.  I feel that I have become a different person through the Atonement of Christ.  I can't wait to "meet" all of you all over again.

To conclude, I just want to bear off of you my testimony that I KNOW that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation.  That life-giving Gospel has been restored, and ANYONE can find peace, comfort and true, lasting joy when they apply the Gospel in their life.  The Book of Mormon is God's word, and it was written for us in our day.  Joseph Smith did in fact see God the Father and Jesus Christ in that grove of trees.  I know that he was chosen before the foundations of this earth to be that prophet, seer, and revelator.  President Thomas S. Monson is that same revelator right now, and he holds all of the keys, powers and rights to his office of senior Apostle. 

I urge all of you to know the Lord more.  To really get to KNOW the Lord.  He wants to know you, and he wants your heart and whole self to be aligned to His will.  May we all resist that urge to fight back, to resist, or as Paul would say, "to kick against the pricks".  The Lord's way is the only way.  I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Now, I'll see you all in two days!

With Love,
Elder Corey David Harper
California Ventura Mission

Monday, May 25, 2015

"...He cannot walk in crooked paths..."

Hello my amazing family and friends!

This week has been quite a week of learning.  The work was a little bit slower, but we did have some cool experiences.

First of all, with Laura, we still weren't able to meet with her this week, but we have been keeping in contact with her through the phone.  She is still recovering, and she has also been able to listen to the Book of Mormon in the car wherever she goes.  She told us that she's been loving it, and that "the Book of Mormon is captivating!"  We were so happy to hear that she's going well, she's planning to meet with us this week, and that she's still reading the Book of Mormon, even though it's been crazy for her this last little while.

So this week, President and Sister Felix put on a zone conference/activity that we were all able to go to.  We went on a hike and learned more about the Spirit and unity in our companionships.  We each took turns being blindfolded, and our companions were there to guide us along the way.  Our companions acted as the Holy Ghost and we were to follow the "promptings" that we received, having complete faith and trust in what they were saying was right.  The theme for the whole day was Alma 7:19-20.

19 For I perceive that ye are in the paths of righteousness; I perceive that ye are in the path which leads to the kingdom of God; yea, I perceive that ye are making his paths straight.
20 I perceive that it has been made known unto you, by the testimony of his word, that he cannot walk in crooked paths; neither doth he vary from that which he hath said; neither hath he a shadow of turning from the right to the left, or from that which is right to that which is wrong; therefore, his course is one eternal round.

It was a great hike and activity, and I learned a lot.  The only bad thing about it was when they handed us popsicles that had been stored in dry ice.  I opened it right up and started to lick it, but it was too cold and my cheek and tongue froze to the popsicle!  Everybody started hurt.  Eventually they poured water on it and I was able to break free.  Just a fun memory to have. :)

Well, this next week will be my last full week as a full-time missionary.  I have high hopes and I hope that I'll have many opportunities to bear my testimony like we did this week with random people.  A testimony is a very special, precious thing; and what an opportunity it is to share that with others.  I have learned so much from my mission.  I will forever be changed because of my mission.

I love you all and I'll write you one last time next week!

Elder Harper

Monday, May 18, 2015


Hello my amazing family and friends!

This week went pretty well!  It was a great week and we got a lot of good work done. 

So here is the update on Laura:  We got a voicemail from Laura on Wednesday and she told us that she's been through a lot and she was in the hospital.  We were super confused and we didn't get ahold of her until Thursday.  So last week, on Tuesday or so, Laura went to the doctor's office to get a checkup/physical done.  The doctor's noticed this abnormal "lump" by her collarbone, examined it, and told Laura that she needed to get to the emergency room immediately.  She had to get an emergency surgical procedure done to get the cyst or something removed.  I guess that when she went to the ER, the doctors told her that it was a lot worse than they anticipated, and that she was in danger of a heart attack because it infected one of her lymph nodes and got into her bloodstream.  She was put onto antibiotics, but then had to switch to other ones because the bacteria was immune.  Yeah, pretty scary...

But right now, she said that she's recovering well and she's glad that everything went OK.  In all honesty, it doesn't look to optimistic about the baptism on the 30th as of right now, but that's the least of my worries.  She'll get there. :)

We had quite an influx of new investigators this week as well.  One of the members of our ward brought his co-worker/friend to church named Elisabeth, and she loved it.  She's an active Catholic, and said that she liked how we applied the teachings from the scriptures to our day, rather than just studying the history of the scriptures.  We're working hard and I want to work hard to the very end!  I have learned so much on my mission, and I am anxious to apply these things to my life outside the mission field.

From my personal studies this morning  (3 Nephi 9:14,21)
14 "Yeah, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life.  Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me."
21 "Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin."

The Book of Mormon is true!  Anyone who reads, ponders, and sincerely prays about the truthfulness of this sacred record will gain a knowledge of the truths contained therein.  Scriptures such as this from the Book of Mormon give me comfort and peace knowing that God's hand is over all things.

I love you all, and I hope your week goes great!

Elder Harper

P.S.  Here's a picture of me and my rabbit fascinations... :D
And also here's a picture of my district.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Miracles through Dreams!

Hello everybody!

First of all, it was so great to be able to talk to my family yesterday on Mother's Day.  Happy Mother's Day again, Mommy!  Love you!

Well, I don't have too much more to add, but I will tell the story about Laura.  We had a lesson with Laura this week, and she told us of a really cool experience that happened to her.  Laura had a dream that she got baptized.  She relayed to us every detail about it.  Laura said that for some reason, she was wearing white and she didn't know why.  She told us that the members of the YSA Ward were there and they were really happy for her.  She told us that she got baptized and she felt so happy.  She also told us that she felt in her dream that her baptism felt like a re-birth and a fresh start.  Laura was baptized into a non-denominational Christian church when she was 12 or 13, but she didn't feel anything special about it, but in the dream it was different.

After she was done, we told her about how we wear white when we are baptized, and she was blown away.  We then asked her directly whether or not this dream was an answer to her question about baptism.  She said yes to that.  We then asked her if she wanted to get baptized.  She paused for a moment and said, "Yeah, I guess I do...--no--take off the 'I guess I do'.  Yes."  We told her that we would be holding a service on May 30th, and she told us that she felt that it was pretty soon, but that she would think and pray about it.

Laura has been reading from the Book of Mormon and she's almost through The Book of Jacob.  We read 2 Nephi 31 with her one more time and she absolutely loves the Spirit that the Book of Mormon gives.  She knows the church is true, now she just needs to move forward!  Please pray that she can have confidence with the answer that she has received and to move forward.  She is more ready than she realizes she is.  We hope that she can gain that confidence.

I love you all!  The days are just counting down, and it feels so weird to think about that.  I am going to do my best to put my all on the table and to go and do.  I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Corey David Harper

P.S. Here's a picture of Elder Rasband and I.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Christian Arreolo--The Miracle Former

Hey everyone!

Yep, it's me again.  I'm still alive and still teaching this glorious Gospel.

So as far a the week went, it was OK.  There were a few ups and downs for me personally, but it looks like it's smooth sailing from this point on.  It's been really beneficial for me to learn how to manage my stress levels as a missionary.  Most times it goes amazingly well, but every now and then it just needs more attention.  I guess the main thing that got me through it all this week was prayer, fasting and a good ol' study about the Atonement.  I've definitely gained a much deeper testimony about all of these, by the way. :)

SO!  Unfortunately we were unable to meet with Laura this week--she had a fever and it made it pretty difficult.  Hopefully we will be able to meet with her this week!

We did have a pretty sweet miracle.  This week, while we were planning for our next day, we were looking through some former investigators, and we felt prompted to pick one of them named Christian (go figure).  When we went by the next day, and he opened up the door and we started talking to each other.  Supposedly he had a dream about a month ago where God appeared to him and told him that he needed to spend his time more wisely and stop playing as much video games.  Ever since then, he has gained a deeper love for reading, although he mostly was reading conspiracy theory books...yeah.  He said he wasn't enjoying it much, and he wanted to read something more uplifting.  Boy did we have the book for him!  (Do I even need to mention it?)

We walked into his house, read a bit from the introduction, watched #BecauseHeLives, said a prayer, gave each other "bro hugs", set up a return appointment, and left.  We went back a few days later, read from 1 Nephi 1, and when the chapter ended, he just started reading the next chapter.  After we finished the 2nd chapter, he said that he wanted to read the 3rd chapter before we came back again.  It was pretty cool!  We didn't even have to commit him to do it!

I guess that his main concern before was that he was more converted to the missionaries, rather than the Gospel.  He didn't necessarily feel the Spirit from the Book of Mormon the first time around.  He said he still didn't quite feel it yet, but that it was a lot better than before.  We invited him to church and activities, but he said he wasn't quite ready yet.  Fellowship is going to be the key to get him to church!

So that's our miracle of the week!  We're still trying to find new investigators in any way that we can.  We've been trying our best to follow-up with the members--we're being patient with them. :)

The CES Devotional by Elder Lynn G. Robbins was really good yesterday!  If you didn't see it, I encourage all of you to watch it!

I love you all!  Have a fantastic week!
Elder Harper

Monday, April 27, 2015

Weekend O' Service!

Hello my amazing, wonderful, awesome (Insert positive adjective here) family and friends!

​This week has been pretty good!  To start, Elder Rasband and I have been doing great!  He's from Draper, but his family moved to Virginia while he's been out, so he'll be going home there.  He's pretty soft-spoken, but he has a spirit of calmness and meekness about him, and I like that a lot about Elder Rasband.  He's a great last companion for me on my mission.

As far as the investigators and the teaching pool is going, we are still trying to get more.  We have been putting a much greater emphasis on working with the members.  We had five member lessons this week, and we have been asking them about who they're "working" with to share the Gospel.  We will not let those members forget their duty!

Stake conference was this weekend, and Elder Call of the Seventy came.  He held a meeting before the Sunday session, and all investigators, less-actives and recent converts were invited.  A couple of recent converts from our ward came, and it was great!  After the session, I had the opportunity to stand in the circle of to confer the Melchizedek Priesthood upon a fairly recent convert.  It was a great experience!  Definitely a first for me; I've given the Aaronic, but not the Melchizedek until now.

On Saturday, there was a "Mormon Helping Hands" project that we and the stake attended.  There were several groups doing different projects, but the YSA Ward went along a riverbed and picked up trash.  It was surprisingly pretty fun!  There was some pretty cool graffiti along the underside of the bridge too, so that was sweet.

Today has been a pretty good day so far.  I'll be honest.  Mom, I took your gift card that you gave me and spent it on clothing that I could take home.  We live right next to some outlet malls, and I just couldn't resist.  Two years ago, I never thought I would voluntarily go to a mall on P-day, but now I love it!  (That was probably just very dangerous of me to say...)

I love you all, and I want to say "Happy 2nd Birthday to Lincoln this week!"  I'll talk to you soon!

Elder Harper

There's a street in Oxnard called "Elder Street".  It's a famous missionary landmark, and I couldn't resist.

Here's also me right next to the beach.  Probably the closest I will ever get as a missionary.  One of the members lives right along next to it.

Monday, April 20, 2015

'Twas Glorious

​Hello my wonderful family and friends!

Wow, this week, especially Sunday, was fantastic!  First of all, for transfers, I will be staying here and finishing my mission in the Camarillo YSA Ward.  Elder Gerber is leaving to go home in 2 days, and my new companion's name is Elder Rasband.  I've talked to him a couple of times, but I've never served around him before.  From what I've heard, he's a great missionary and other people say that we have similar personalities.  Should go well then!  I'll keep you posted.

SO.  Sunday was amazing.  Laura came to church for the first time!  She absolutely loved it.  She is definitely progressing in the Gospel.  It's kind of a slow progression, but it's a progression nonetheless.  Personally, this is what I believe.  She knows that the Book of Mormon is true and that the church is true, but she's afraid to act on that belief.  She knows baptism is necessary and essential, but she seems to lack the faith to pray for whether or not she should be baptized.  She will keep moving along I'm sure, and I really want to help her with that. 

I think I mentioned it, but she has been bringing her friend Jennifer to the lessons too and we've been teaching her.  She's pretty shy and doesn't speak much unless we ask her a question, but she has been liking the lessons so far too.  They both have great fellowship as well.  I love the YSA Ward because people are just awesome fellowshippers!

So this lady in the picture I sent is Karen Crawford:  the second person that I have been privileged to interview for baptism!  The other missionaries we live with taught her, and Karen is a great lady.  She has a strong desire to serve others, and after a lifelong search for God and Christ, she feels that she has found Them with this church, despite her husband's lack of interest and some less-than-supportive friends.

The best part of the week happened last night though.  All the missionaries in the mission met in Ventura for a meeting, but it was a mystery who was going to be there.  We gathered and waited, and to our surprise, David Archuleta walked into the chapel.  Apparently he was going to be in Los Angeles that weekend, and he wanted to speak to the missionaries on the way down.  We were the lucky ones (being the mission right above LA).  He talked to us for a good 2 hours and sang great hymns such as "Come Come Ye Saints", "Be Still My Soul", "Amazing Grace", "I Believe in Christ", and "Glorious"--a 2012 EFY song.  He shared stories with us about his mission and he also talked a lot about grace, and the experiences that he had on American Idol.  He said that even though he never got a lot of sleep while he was on the show, he always made the time to read the scriptures, and it made all the difference in the world for him.  He has a great voice!  He doesn't need any computer touch-up programs.  He is legit!

I'll be honest, he was a lot more humble, genuine and spiritual than I thought.  He really is a great person and he chose to speak to us out of the goodness of his heart.  I really gained a lot more respect for David Archuleta yesterday.  We got pictures with him as zones, and I'll send those next week or whenever President Felix sends them to us.  It was great!

Well, that's about it for me.  I hope that everybody has a great week, and I will talk to you soon!

Elder Harper