Monday, February 29, 2016

In the Mission Field with Sister Bartschi

Dear Frams,

Hola from the other side! Of the country, that is.

Silliness with Sister Carpenter from the ward
I have had a request to tell about my lovely companion, Sister Bartschi. She is tall and gorgeous! I forget how much taller than me she is until the end of each lesson when we stand up to go. Then I remember! 

Sister Bartschi is quite similar to my sister Sabrina. As such, it took us a good while to learn how to communicate because we are VERY different people. Loreen, Nanna, Mom, all the rest of y'all who watched Sabrina and I grow up together, you know that this transfer has been quite a journey of learning for both me and Sister Bartschi. This having been said, she has become one of my best friends. She makes me laugh on my grumpy, sleep deprived days, she rolls with it when I forget what we're doing and have to be reminded again, and she really is just a lot of fun to be around. She has big sexy hair (because that's the kind of hairspray she uses) and she is A LOT better at cardio than me. I have the upper hand in yoga. Between the two of us, we consume an average of two gallons of milk per week, largely by way of cereal consumption.#ClaireWouldBeProud  
Happy Birthday Sister Bartschi!

Sister Bartschi has a beautiful testimony, and you can see her sincerity in her eyes as she bears it. She gives me a hug when I'm feeling sad. She is always there to back me up (when my teaching falls flat) and I'm always there to back her up (out of the driveway). But I also back up her teaching (: 

In conclusion: I like her, she is cool, President Christiansen knew what he was doing when he put us together. Every valuable relationship is built by trying really hard and enjoying the company of each other I think, and such is the case here. It was her birthday yesterday, Yay!~

News Flash::  

Chong got a birthday cake for Sister Bartschi
We had asked her before if she would take this step, and she wasn't feeling it. When we went to see her last night, she brought up baptism, expressed her desire to have this opportunity, and asked if it would be okay if she were baptized. Miracles! Her faith is strong, and although she has been baptized three different times in other churches, she has come to know for herself that this is the next step that God would have her take in her life. She will be baptized by her LDS friend Jim on March 19 at 6pm and will receive the gift of having the holy ghost as her constant companion as long as she's faithful the next morning. This is what she's most excited for. She told us that she's been looking for this feeling of having the spirit with her for most of her life, ever since she moved here from Korea 40 years ago.

We have also been teaching a lady named Joyce! Joyce is having a rough go at things and has been for quite a while. She wants to change! Every time we go to see her, she has a more positive and clear view of herself, others, and the world around her. It has been remarkable to watch her realize what she is, what she wants to be, and to see her moving in that direction. She is a truly remarkable woman of strength and courage. I cannot tell you how much I admire her determination to stick with it and get back up even though things are so hard. She has taught me a lot about timing. She has also taught me much about recognizing people for what they truly are, and not what they appear to be upon first appraisal. It is phenomenal to be around her and to grow with her along this journey that we are both taking.

Sister Bartschi and Sister Rapier in the Mission Field
Funny story for the week: there is a lady in the ward who we're pretty sure is trying to marry one of us off to her son. She will occasionally walk up and interrupt various conversations we're involved in to laud his singing voice, his righteousness, et cetera. It's really funny!

Love you all, and be of good cheer!

Sister Naomi Lydia Rapier

Monday, February 22, 2016

The "Igle"

Dear Framiriendsy,

This week I send cordial greetings to you all!

My dear mother has pointed out that I've been quite neglecting to talk about the lovely people that I'm teaching and who I interact with every day! Time for a few stories which may or may not be in order and may or may not be related.

Yesterday, we were visiting this sweet old couple, Eugene and Dot. Eugene was telling us a story, and this is what he said:
"We seen an Igle flyin' over the moun'un, it was real nice, and Ahvy turned to me and said, 'Gene? Is that an Igle?' and I done seen its white head so I told her, 'Yep Ahvy, that's and Igle."
It took us a few minutes to figure out that he and his granddaughter Ivy had seen an eagle flying over the mountains.

One of our investigators, Arianna, is very much like Claire, for any of y'all who know Claire. She makes many of the same faces and she has many questions. She's so sweet. (:

Yesterday I took a leap of faith and invited a woman named Joyce to be baptized in our first lesson with her. The sisters who were here before us apparently taught her some of the restoration, but we hadn't been able to actually teach her until yesterday. She accepted! Joyce wants to be baptized when she knows that these things are true. It's been remarkable to see the change in her countenance as she contemplates truly turning her life around.

Okay, I'm running quite short on time.

No squirrel stew yet, I'm still hopeful. The weirdest thing I've eaten so far is meatloaf inside of a bell pepper.

Love you all, Bye!

A little basketball practice...

Yoga day
Pranked by the elders - all yarned up

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Another week we've watched fly by...

Dear Famiriends (Family+Friends -- get it?!),

Wow, it's been a great week! I was feeling tired today, but not any more. I ate some of the hottest hot sauce from Buffalo Wild Wings when we went there for lunch after District meeting; we'll just say that it woke me up. Whew!! Steele, you would be proud, the sauce had ghost pepper in it, and I ate a whole fry full of the stuff. It burned, it also did a really great job of clearing my sinuses out. Perks of hot sauce!

The work is flourishing!!!! So many in Martinsburg are super prepared for this message of happiness that we have, and I just feel like I can't move fast enough. 

Our investigator Arianna has so many questions! It's incredible, she says that we're answering simply questions that have been "confuzzling" her for her entire life, even though she's only 13. Wow, what a feeling it brings to teach her. It is so incredible to watch the light come into her eyes when she learns something new. She understands the importance of our Savior Jesus Christ, and even though she has a hard time reading the Book of Mormon because many of the words are new and unfamiliar to her, she keeps reading. It's amazing to watch how much belief she has that the Lord can help her understand if she keeps on reading. I watch her understand more every day! God truly does work miracles every day. I am so thankful to be here to see it. (:

Keep sending prayers. I pray for y'all too. love you!

Yours, Sister Naomi Rapier

P.S.- I know that my emails are posted on a blog and that the blog is linked to facebook, so many different people might see it. I don't know who sees my emails/blog, I also don't read minds to know what questions I have left unanswered. Maybe you want to know how red my face turned from the hot sauce (answer: VERY red) or maybe your question is more deep. Whatever it is, there is a simple solution: email me!! I love you people and I will respond, even if it takes me a few weeks. Click. Write. Send. Done. Enjoy the silliness or seriousness of Naomi'Sister Rapier's answer. It's that simple. Love y'all!

Feeling the love for Valentine's Day <3
Making Valentines
Heart Brownies <3

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Petunia the House Pig

Dear friends and family, dear family and friends:

Headquartered in Dallas, Reddy Ice has a plant in Martinsburg.
I have discovered something that I have been wondering about for most of my life. Ever since I was about six years old, a tender age, I have been wondering where Reddy-Ice came from. You walk into Walmart, you see Reddy-Ice. You go to a gas station, you see Reddy-Ice. You look at the label and wonder who would ever be so silly as to spell "Ready Ice" so terribly (or at least I always did) each time you see it. I come before you today bearing the answer to this question of the ages; Reddy-Ice comes from West Virginia. To my amusement, there is a Reddy-Ice plant in the area that I'm serving in. So there you have that.

As far as mission life goes, I'm enjoying myself! I'm starting to understand why many missionaries gain weight while serving in this area. The members are super on top of the "feeding the missionaries" gig. It's almost a competition to see who will get us for Sunday dinner! It makes me smile. Besides the great generosity of the members in their willingness to feed us, the food is reeeeaaaaally yummy. I've already collected about eight recipes! Mom, you would be proud. Unfortunately, no squirrel stew yet... Better luck next week.

Working as a missionary is difficult, but rewarding. In the past few weeks, we've been mostly just going around to meet as many people as we can because both my trainer and I are new to the area. Of the four missionaries in our district, there is one Elder who has been here for more than one transfer. Wheeeee! It's been a little bit overwhelming trying to figure everything out. Several small miracles this week told me that Heavenly Father is in the work with us. Once, we were going to meet an investigator but couldn't find her house. There were several houses in the immediate area that weren't labeled with any visible number. We prayed and were able to find her house almost immediately. The next day, we were going to visit another sister who had a house that we struggled to find. We looked and looked, but there was no 233. We knocked on the door of number 231 and asked where 233 was, and were told that the address we were looking for didn't exist. As we prayed, Sister Bartschi and I were inspired to try house number 223. Sure enough, 223 was the home of the sister we had been looking for. So amazing!

Another small miracle: I wasn't crushed by the closet door which I tried to open, not realizing that the hinges were unattached. It was barely within my periphery when it began to fall, I didn't notice it at first. It fell toward me. With agility which I am not usually capable of, I moved out of the way just in time. I don't really have a good way to explain how I felt at that moment; It was like my Daddy was there, telling me that I needed to move and how I needed to move. I landed gently from my leap at the same time that the door landed with a thud. I looked at the door on the ground and felt no fear. My angel Daddy guided me away from danger, and I felt safe. My Daddy is still with me.

I love to see how the people around me are so perfectly matched to meet my needs, and I to meet their needs. The perfect synchronicity of it all is uncanny! I've been missing Steele and Claire, those pesky people I like to call "younger siblings" (and everyone else, yes, but this story is about them (kind of)). As I was walking out of a dinner appointment, I was told to watch out for flying snow by the resident younger brother. I told him that he better not, or I would mess up his hair. Badly. Guess who threw a snowball at me? He also outran me when I tried to mess up his hair. It made my day! 

So, I had an adventure this week! A lady in the ward has one dog, two cats, three pet pigs,
Petunia the house pig with Sister Bartschi
sixteen ducks, and an undisclosed amount of chickens (they move too much to count accurately). Petunia is one of the pet pigs, and she is a doll! She's a house pig, the same way that the cats are house cats. She will hop on the couch and cuddle up next to you, and she'll sometimes let you pet her bristles. She likes carrots. For the record, pig noses snuffling at your hands looking for food feels really funny! I have always wanted to touch a pig nose! #wishgranted #PetuniathePig #cleanedthepigpen #serviceisthebest #SisterBartschihasmehashtagging

My time grows short. I love you all! This Valentine's Day, feel loved and happy! You are so loved, you are never forgotten or forsaken as long as you know where to turn. (: 
1 Nephi 11:16-17
Alma 26:35-37

All my love, 

Sister Naomi Lydia Rapier

Monday, February 1, 2016

First Area: Martinsburg, West Virginia

Downtown Martinsburg, West Virginia
Naomi has been assigned to the Martinsburg Ward in West Virginia. 

Martinsburg is in the Eastern Panhandle region of West Virginia It is the "Gateway to the Shenandoah Valley"  (according to the city’s website). Population is approximately 18,000.

She said her area got 3 feet of snow last week.

Her companion and trainer is Sister Bartschi from Idaho. A kind woman in the Martinsburg Ward sent me this picture. It was taken just in front of their townhome.

Sister Bartschi and Sister Rapier
She ran out of time to write much this week - probably because she was catching up with last week’s emails. But she did say, “No squirrel stew, yet” (it’s a running joke between us) and, “I get to go to the temple this week!”

Favorite advice she received from this week’s emails: Socks before shoes, laces are sometimes necessary to keep your shoes on your feet. Miles, Naomi said you made her morning :)

Sister Rapier's new address is: 1213 Grebe Ct, Martinsburg, WV 25404