Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas week!

Hello everyone!

Well, I'll just start off by saying that because it's holiday season, I only have about 10 minutes today, so here I go!

It was so great to talk to all of you on Christmas!  Everyone sounds like they are doing so well, and the phone calls were something that I really needed.  Thank you everyone for coming to talk!  I would like to also thank everyone who sent Christmas cards my way.  They were much appreciated.

So, Christmas we had breakfast and dinner with the Berman's, and it was so fun.  We watched Ephraim's Rescue and had some prime rib.  It was great!  

Ahh! I got to go!  Catch you all next week!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas is already here??

Hello everybody!

This week was awesome!  Like I said, we went to the temple on Wednesday on the temple bus.  We woke up at 3:45 and we drove to San Luis Obispo to catch the bus at 5:30.  Us, the elders in the other ward, 2 Hermanas, and a set from Arroyo Grande were all on the bus, with some members of course.  

When we got to the Los Angeles temple, all of the English speaking missionaries from the San Fernando mission were there.  When we arrived in the session, there were about 175-200 people.  It was so powerful!  The seats were filled all the way to the back.  The spirit was so strong, and it was cool to see how powerful the missionary force is.

The missionary Christmas devotional was awesome!  We, as a district, sang "What Child Is This" and as a zone we sang, "Joy to the World" the Spirit was so strong and we watched clips about the Nativity.

Well, I won't really be saying much in this email, because I will be calling this Wednesday!  I can't wait, it's going to be so nice to talk to you all again.

Love you all!

Elder Harper

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting FAT!

Hello everybody!

Man I LOVE this time of year!  It's so great to be able to get to email the ones I love back home at this wonderful Christmas time.  

Well, I guess I'll start off with the bad news first.  Soooo...this past week we met with Michael once, and everything went really well and the Spirit was strong and everything, we read the children's Book of Mormon with him, and said a prayer and left.  He seemed extremely happy.  About 2-3 days later, we stopped by again, and there was a note on his door that said, "DO NOT DISTURB, MISSIONARIES DO NOT DISTURB."  Elder Navarrete and I looked at each other and we were super confused.  We knocked on the door anyways, but nobody answered.  Michael didn't go to church, and we got worried.  We've been trying to go by with his new home teacher but have been unsuccessful.  He won't answer the phone or anything.  This is what we think:  We think that because of his autistic state, he was really angry that Elder Canzona was no longer here and the whole change of the routine threw him off.  We've been trying to get his new home teacher there and everything, but we've just never had the chance.  We're sorta stuck with it all... and that's where we're at with him.

Well, now that that's out of the way I want to share a cool story with all of you that that happened this week.  We were tracting out some adjacent apartment complexes, and we saw a man walking down the street in the distance.  We had the feeling that we should talk to him.  So, we ran down the stairs and met him on the sidewalk.  We stopped him and asked if we could leave him with a card, and he said no.  Elder Navarrete got kind of discouraged and I told him that sometimes the Lord just gives of promptings to see if we'd follow them.  As we were walking back to the complex, there was another man who was walking down.  His name was Jesus (Hey-Zeus) and we talked with him for 20 mins!  We talked about baptism with him and he gave us his number.  We've been unable to contact him but we're still trying!

Jose has been sick with the flu all week and we've been unable to meet with him. :(  We saw him a few times though and gave him some scriptures to read.  He is set, however, to be baptized January 9th.  I'm crossing my fingers and praying that it all works out.

We invited Yvonne to our ward's Christmas party and she came!  It looked like she had a lot of fun and she sat with some members.  It was cool to be able to go to the ward Christmas party because it reminded me EXACTLY of our ward's back home.  It was just so awesome to feel the same spirit there.  Speaking of Ward Christmas Parties, I got a letter this week with letters and pictures from OUR ward!  I loved it!  Thank you to all who helped with that!  22 Missionaries?? Wow.

OK, so to answer questions about the Christmas call.  I'm not allowed to do it.

Just kidding. :)  We will be calling from a member's house around 10-10:30 ish so be ready!  Sorry, we are not allowed to Skype unless it's to another country.  I don't know why...but oh well.  We were told to try to keep the calls short, but yeah...we know how that works. :)  Let's still try though. haha.  What number am I calling?

I'm glad everyone had fun at the Progressive Dinner.  I was thinking about that yesterday.  Just for kicks and giggles, was it the Survivor finale too? :)  From the looks of it, Lincoln had a blast!  Thank you for the video, Cam and Lex!  

This week is going to be great!  On Wednesday, we get to take the bus to the temple!!!  It's Elder Navarrete's birthday this month, and we're super excited!  On Friday, we have a Christmas devotional in Santa Barbara and it's going to be great!  

Thank you all so much for your love and support.  Other missionaries do not have that same opportunity and blessing, and so I am that much more grateful for all of you.  I love you!  One more email until I call, mommy!  One more!

Elder Harper

Monday, December 9, 2013

What can I say? Missionary work is AWESOME!!

Dear Family and Friends,

It is such a blessing to be able to sit down and email each week and to tell all of you how my mission is going. This week was a really good transitional week to allow Elder Navarrete to get accustomed to the area and to the people.
How is it being a senior companion you ask? Great. :) It has been nice to see how much I've grown and how much my testimony and confidence has increased. I'm [starting] to feel old in the mission, even though I also feel relatively new (It's kinda weird...). It's also nice to feel like I've gained trust from the Lord and from President Castro to be able to serve in this position of leadership.
Elder Navarrete is from West Plains, Missouri and he's a cool guy. He has been out for seven weeks now, and he does all he can to contribute to the work. At times, he seems a little cocky and boastful in his abilities, but we are all working with him and helping him. Of course, nobody's perfect, but it's important not to dwell on the negative traits of people. Each companion I receive I try and make them my new favorite companion. Looking for the positives and just finding ways to have fun is very important.

On Wednesday, I was feeling a little overwhelmed and incompetent, but then I prayed, I wrote in my journal for a little bit, read the scriptures and read the letter Cameron gave me when I went into the MTC about adapting yourself and finding ways you can improve. After doing these things, I felt so much better about everything and we were able to go our and have a good day. I know I say this a TON, but I have developed a greater love and testimony of scripture study and prayer. Truly just going to the Lord in times of need and reading the scriptures can answer ANY question we may have. It is such a blessing to be able to have the scriptures in our lives and to be able to turn to them when times get rough.

Oh, so about transfer meeting. Monday night (the day before transfer meeting) we couldn't find a ride from anyone to get down to Ventura. We were doing our laundry, and the ward clerk who lives in the same complex as us came in and talked to us. He called his boss (who coincidentally is a former bishop) and explained the situation to him. He was able to get work off the whole day just to drive us to Ventura. It was truly a miracle. We are bringing him a Dutch Apple Pie today.

Another thing that I have been appreciating is the feelings of love and trust that we have been receiving from the ward. I feel like this ward is a lot more missionary minded and focused than when I got here. What a blessing that is. Last Monday, we were able to go to Jose's house with a member from the Elder's Quorum and he was able to connect with him really well and show him some of the gospel library app's. It was really cool. The bishop trusts us a lot, and I just feel like we are doing good work here.

We have arranged to go to a member's house to do our phone calls on Christmas! They have unlimited minutes, :D and we were planning on going there around 9-10 (my time). I'll give you more details in the future. I can't wait to talk to all of you on Christmas!

Another thing that I have really appreciated this week is just simply receiving letters. I often reflect on how other missionaries don't even have the support of their families. Thank you so much for everything, and it was great to receive the letter from all of the Wards! Thank you!

Dad, it was also really cool to hear about that experience you had in the temple. Thank you so much for sharing that with me. It truly brightened my whole day. I know that I didn't find Sarah Jane Dunham's name on accident, and it was really cool that you were able to feel her presence there. Thanks again.

Well, my time is just about up. There is no doubt that the Gospel is true. If you don't believe me, then just read the scriptures. 'Nough said. :)

Love, Elder Harper

Monday, December 2, 2013

Here we go!

Hello everybody!

Well, this week was pretty good.  Thanksgiving was really good.  We got together with a member from our ward, and they took us out to lunch that day with some of their family.  Afterwards we got together and played a little bit of pool at their house and everybody just had a great time.  The member's grandson got his mission call to go to Washington D.C., and so we had the opportunity to help him set up his Missionary Portal.  He's really cool.

This week was really hard to meet with people, so as far as missionary work went, it was ok.  We were unable to meet with Michael, but with Thanksgiving and everything it's ok.  We will be going over there this week to catch up on things.  The Elder's Quorum president already has a home teacher for him too so he's in good hands.  We have an appointment with Jose tonight and we have been seeing him off and on the week.  He has been taught everything but the law of tithing.  He's living all the commandments so far, and so he is definitely on the track for baptism.  We'll probably set him with a date tonight.

This week was the last week of the transfer, and transfer calls have come!  I am staying here, so my address will remain the same. (Next transfer ends January 12).  It is weird to think that this transfer will take us into the new year!  I can't believe how fast time is going.  Also, I have officially now made it to senior companion.  I will be follow-up training a missionary named Elder Navarrete.  I don't know much about him yet, other than he's a tall redhead. :)  Elder Canzona's going to Oxnard and training a new missionary there.  Great things are going to happen this transfer, I already know it.  There are a few people that we are going to focus on, Jose being one of them.  I think that we can expect a baptism this transfer from him.  

We were talking to the Nursery leader from our ward yesterday, and she said that because Jose has a daughter, he is ineligible to attend the YSA ward.  But, the bishop seemed OK with it so we will probably talk to a member of the stake presidency about that.  When it all comes down to it, it's all about what's best for Jose. 

I don't know if I have told you about Carolann.  Carolann has been seeing missionaries for a long time.  She is a Lutheran and is such a nice lady.  She absolutely loves the missionaries and enjoys it when we come over.  Lately, she has taken a slight interest in our beliefs and agrees with much  of them.  We have been watching a lot of movies with her, including the Prophet of the Restoration, the Testaments, and we watched Joy to the World with her a few days ago.  She lives next door to two members, and they all get along really well.  A few of her friends gave her a large print triple combination and they wrote their testimonies in it.  Yesterday she told us that she has been reading the Book of Mormon and she loves it!  She doesn't want to rush things, but we hope to be able to bring her into the waters of baptism this transfer.  All in her and the Lord's time.  She and others threw a Christmas party and there was turkey, ham, macaroni & cheese, mashed potatoes, candy yams, and a lot of other good food.  There was music and we all sang Christmas songs.  It was great.

On Saturday we saw the Gold's!  It was awesome to be able to see everybody there and get a little taste of home.  Thank you so much for the package!!

I love you all so much.  Thank you for all you do.

Elder Harper