Monday, October 28, 2013

Seeing investigators at church is such a neat blessing!

Hello everybody!
This week was really good!  Thank you all for the letters/packages/Facebook messages that I was informed about. :)  Spending a birthday in the service of the Lord truly is a blessing.  It's so weird to think that I'm
This week we taught Yvonne (75 year old lady) about the Plan of Salvation as we read the pamphlet with her.  It all sunk in to her.  She said the closing prayer, and she cried!  We invited her to church, and she came yesterday!  They were short on deacons, and I was actually able to give the sacrament to her.  The Spirit was so strong.  I'll see if I can get a picture with her, she's so nice.
We also picked up a new investigator from the Hermanas named Jose.  He speaks perfect English, and he lives in our area so that's how we got him.  Our area is actually the biggest area in the entire mission.  It's about 150 miles from end to end, and it goes all the way over to the Bakersfield mission border!  We never really get to go out there, because we are only allotted so many miles a month in our car to use.
Anyways back to Jose.  He's had a rough past.  When he was younger he always had anxiety and was into drugs and felt like he's been possessed at times.  We would have never even thought because he's the calmest guy ever.  He's been reading the Book of Mormon, and has been praying to know if it's true.  He's recognizing questions of his that are being answered through the Book of Mormon!  He's been saying that it's hard for him to pray and that he feels too guilty to pray.  We explained that "the evil spirit teacheth a man not to pray" and that Heavenly Father wants you to pray when you feel guilty so He can help.  He's understanding really well and we're meeting with him tonight!  We are going to set him with a baptismal date too!  That's our plan!
Last Monday we almost died.  Elder Canzona almost got us in a car accident but we came out unscathed.  Thank goodness.  Thank you for the prayers.
I love you all so much!  Thank you for the support that you give me.  I'll send some pictures of the area next week!
Elder Harper

Monday, October 21, 2013

A-Town ain't finished with me yet!

Date: October 21, 2013

Area: Atascadero

Elder Canzona

Hello my dear family and friends,

I absolutely LOVE sitting down on the computer and emailing.  It's so great to see all the different pictures and hear from home.

This week went pretty well.  On Tuesday we had to drive all the way down to Oxnard to pick up our newish-used car: a 2011 Toyota Corolla.  It's about a 3 hour drive both ways, and honestly, it was one of the scariest drives of my life.  Elder Canzona, being from Montana, can't drive in traffic....I am thankful for angels that watch over and protect us. We needed every angel we could. :)

Well, now I can write home to say that I ate Vietnamese food on my mission.   We had dinner with a part-member family, and the nonmember wife was Vietnamese, so it was really cool.  We had Bon-Hoi (I think that's how you spell it).  It's nothing gross at all, just some white noodles, pork and cucumbers wrapped in a piece of lettuce dipped in fish sauce.  They told me how fish sauce was made, and I surprisingly held it together.  Try it out!  I'd be down to have that again when I get back!

Well, we also had some great service opportunities this week.  We helped a couple move out of their house into a new one, and on Saturday, we drove out to Creston and split some wood and cut down trees!  Just call me Elder Lumberjack.  It was pretty satisfying...we also had the chance to see the part-member family again there.

Well, the subject line says it all.  I'm staying in Atascadero, and Elder Canzona is as well.  Pray for us that we don't die in a car accident.  :)  Thank you in advance for all the things coming my way.  I love you all.

This past transfer, our district did something really cool.  Each week, the Zone Leaders would pick a color.  In our prayers, we would ask Heavenly Father to prompt those individuals whom he has prepared to be wearing this color, and that we would be able to see them and talk to them about the Gospel.  There have definitely been many miracles wrought from this method, and it was so cool to see all that came from it.  The zone leaders are going to give us a piece of paper with how many people were talked to that wore that color, and also all the names of the people who were invited to be baptized.  I'm so excited!

Yesterday at church was also really great.  Ward Council was better yesterday than it has been in a long time.  Our Ward Mission Leader, honestly, is kind of a pile.  He was chastened a little by the bishop yesterday, and we hope things will be better in the future.  

Well, I love you all so much.  Thank you for your love and letters.  I'm attaching pictures from the temple and the birthday party we had at the beginning of the month.

Elder Harper

Monday, October 14, 2013

Such a great week

Date: October 14, 2013 
Area: Atascadero 
Companion: Elder Canzona

€‹Hello everyone,
The title says it all.  This week was pretty cool.  Some downs, but some unexpected ups as well.  Obviously going to the LA temple on Tuesday was awesome!  The new SD card doesn't work with my card reader, so I'm going to have to buy a camera cable or something.   I'll send the pictures next week.  It was a 4+ hour drive from Atascadero to Los Angeles, depending on the traffic. We left at 6 o'clock in the morning and got there around 11.  We hit the distribution center and took some pictures.

It's amazing how soundproof the temple is.  Outside there is so many horns blaring and sirens, but as soon as you step inside, wow.  Can't hear a sound.  It was so peaceful to go to the temple. The first session a Japanese lady was there, so it was the old movie, but I didn't realize she was there until halfway through so I kept trying to see the difference, but I couldn't.  It was kinda funny.  So, we went through again, and I did get to see the new movie, it was AMAZING.  I'm definitely going to go to the temple so many times when I get home now.  We got back at 9:30 that night, it was such a great day.

Another cool experience to tell!  So Wednesday, we were running a little bit ahead of schedule, so we decided to go to the local park and talk to some people.  When we got there, Elder Canzona had to go the bathroom.  As we were heading that way, I spotted a lady sitting on a bench with her mom.  I felt horrible for doing it, since he had to go--but I said hi.  She said something back, and I pretended to not hear what she said so I could step closer and start talking.  Well, that simple "Hello" turned into a 45 minute lesson with this lady.  All we asked her to start off with was, "What do you know about Mormons?"  She kept telling us things that weren't true, (polygamy, etc.) and we corrected some of her thoughts.  We taught her about the Restoration, and a little bit about the Plan of Salvation, because she told us her father recently passed away.  We gave her a Book of Mormon, invited her to read it, and asked her if she would be baptized if she found out it was true.  We got her address, and set up a time for us to meet with her.  Time certainly went fast, and before we knew it, we were late for dinner.  We found out she lives in the other Elder's ward, and we told them about it.  They went by, continued to teach her about the Restoration and Plan of Salvation, and set up another appointment to meet with them tomorrow.  She is now a new investigator of their's.  And how did all of that happen? A simple "hello"!  I may never see Vivian again, but I will remember this simple experience that helped build my testimony.  This Gospel is true, and it is such a blessing to be able to share that with others!

This week is the last week in the transfer, so if any of you decide to send letters please send it to the address in Oxnard.  Thank you!

Well, time is getting short, but I just want all of you to know that I know that this Church is true, and God really calls people in their weakness and qualifies them for His work.  I've changed so much already by being out here on this mission, I can already tell.  Thank you all so much for your examples to me.  I love you all!

Elder Harper

Monday, October 7, 2013

General Conference was awesome!

Date: October 07, 2013
Area: Atascadero
Companion: Elder Canzona
Hello everyone!
It's great to be here in the Family History Center writing this email. I love preparation days for many reasons...

So yeah, this week went pretty good. We were able to meet with Mike and Robin at Burger King on Thursday and go over the last things they needed to: ten commandments, law of chastity, and review the baptismal interview questions. They have such a strong desire to be baptized!

General Conference was so good! I have never taken so many notes in a general conference before. All the missionaries in my district watched general conference in the stake center here in Atascadero. General Conference is like Christmas morning. Although I must admit, Sunday morning I was thinking a lot about crepes... It was so great to be able to hear the voice of the prophets and apostles, especially with uninterrupted times. I'm lucky that it's just an hour earlier here...Mike and Robin have such a strong desire to be baptized, but it's hard to get them to come to church. Since they are homeless, they are really hard to get a hold of, and all we have is their cell phone number, which was not helpful because it was turned off the entire time. They absolutely HAVE to come to church this Sunday. If they do, they will be baptized October 19th! (An early birthday present, might I add... :))
It's so crazy that Brittany's getting married tomorrow. Take lots of pictures for me! Get a cardboard cutout of me or something so I can stand in the line... :) It just so happens that Elder Canzona and I get to go to the Los Angeles temple tomorrow! I am soooo excited! General conference, preparation day, and a temple day; nothing better. I will take pictures when I get there and send some home.
There is a member who recently got the Melchizedek priesthood who has a friend who is not a member. Her mother is going to die very soon, and so we have been teaching her the Plan of Salvation. We didn't get to finish the lesson, and the next day she was nagging us about it. We take that as a sign that she's ready to take the lessons. I have been on 3 exchanges in the past week, and all three of the other elders couldn't believe she was not baptized, so we are going to be working on her soon, and she is a goal for baptism next transfer. Well anyways she held a triple birthday party for her mom, Elder Canzona and I this last week, and it was so nice of her to do. I can't believe I'm turning 19 soon...geez.

I love you all so much! Mom, thank you for the package! I will not starve this week. That's a really good thing....

Until next week,

Elder Harper G