Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Holler From the Hill

Dear beloved relatives and kinfolk,

It has been a week. Some news! I will be staying in Woodstock with Sister Tait for another transfer! (: WOOO!

Update on Alex! He was progressing and then fell off of the face of the map. Apparently, went to the Bishop Youth Discussion about a week back! We're encouraging the young men to continue developing friendships with him, but we haven't been able to see him. We hope that as he keeps coming to youth dances, BYD and the like that he'll regain interest given time.


This week, we felt like we needed to go up a little road. The house that we felt inspired to knock on yielded no life when approached and knocked, but as we knocked the third time, we heard, "Nobody's home!" hollered from down the hill. We turned around and looked to where an older gentleman was sitting on his front porch. We walked over, introduced ourselves, talked with Harry (the older gentleman) a bit, and set up a return appointment with him and his wife Emmy for the next day.

We got to their house the next day, and guess who answered the door? Harry! Guess who greeted us when we came in? Emmy!! Guess who sat down at the table with us? Both of them!!! I love it when people keep appointments! We were just settling into our seats when their daughter, Cyrene, walked in. She sat down and said, "I hope it's okay that I didn't bring my Bible." We talked with them for a minute more, got up for Cyrene to show us out the window in the other room which house was hers, and when we came back in, guess who was there?! Emmy's sister Robyn, sitting at the kitchen table with her great big bible in front of her. I loooooove it when people not only keep their appointments, but invite their entire family!!!

We got started with a prayer and preceded to relate the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ to these four lovely people. They asked really good questions! They also told us where everyone else in their extensive family resides so we can visit all of them too. We invited them to read the Book of Mormon, pray to know the truth of it, and to be baptized. They said that they would read and pry about what they read! They don't entirely understand the significance of the priesthood or baptism by immersion yet, but we have an awesome convert named Brother Heishmann coming with us tonight to study with them. We're hoping that he can help us convey the importance of following the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized baptized by immersion by the someone who has the priesthood, or the authority to act in God's name. We will see how this goes! Hopefully there is enough room at the table if more of their family decides to come! ^-^

We also met other amazing people this week! We had met a young man named David a few weeks ago, and we decided it was time to visit him. When we got there, David and his wife Miranda were outside of their trailer home chatting and waiting for their son, Collin, to wake up from his nap in his car seat. We talked with them and got to know them a bit. They were high school sweethearts and he proposed while they were playing guitar hero. Family is hugely important to them. We talked with them about how the Gospel of Jesus Christ strengthens families.

We're going to be meeting with them again as soon as Miranda knows her upcoming work schedule. I am so super excited to go see them again. Their eyes lit up when we told them that their family can stay together for eternity. Their love for each other is so evident and obvious. It's amazing to see a young couple who has the courage to make that commitment of marriage and stick with it when so many of their peers are disinclined to commit to even an easy assignment. It warmed my heart to watch them together. David is very patient with Collin, who is hyper, and is kind to Miranda with his words and his actions. Miranda is gentle and encouraging with both David and Collin as the former fixes cars and the latter uses the cars as his own personal jungle gym. Collin is one lucky boy. I can't wait to watch as his life becomes even more full of light as his parents accept the gospel of Jesus Christ into their home. What a neat family!

Mom loves surprise photos that show up out of nowhere!
This gal randomly decided to take a photo and post it to Facebook.
Funny story of the week! As you may know, girl missionaries are called Sisters and boy missionaries are called Elders. We were at the home of a less-active Sister who has dementia. As we knelt in prayer with her before we left, she thanked our Father in Heaven three different times that the Elders had come to visit her today, that the Elders had shared such an uplifting message, and asked that we, the Elders, would come back soon and often!! Sister Tait and I thought that this was very funny. We've never been called Elders before! XD

Love you all to pieces,

Sister Naomi Rapier

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Goliath Rap and the Power of the Book of Mormon

Dear family and friends,

Did you like our rap? Did you like it did you like it huh huh?? (see below for link) We had so much fun making it! Bishop Wright suggested on Friday night that we write a rap, maybe about David and Goliath. We said yeah, great idea! We then wrote it in less than an hour and had it memorized by the next morning. We found out when we went over that Bishop was not expecting that it would be ready by then. Hehehe. We will not be underestimated again!

[ Link to Goliath Rap: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0HS1Aa_KFs ]

Apparently, our young friend Alex has a rare form of epilepsy. He has hundreds of seizures each day, each resulting in a lapse of memory of the time surrounding the seizure. Now we understand why he keeps not remembering everything we thought we explained well! We're starting over in the lessons and moving along at a much more steady pace. We'll be checking for understanding A LOT more this time. He is such a great kid. (:

Joe totally said family prayer with his family!!!!! He's also been reading everything we ask him to in The Book of Mormon. Now if we can just get him to come to church... hmm.

Doug, who we taught last week with Brother Lawrence, we taught again this week with Brother Lawrence! This time, his son Nicholas also sat in. Nicholas said the closing prayer! So cool. Nicholas is our newest gospel investigator, and we think he is ready to bloom, just needs to feel some TLC from the ward and to quit smoking. He's a freshman in high school, he really shouldn't be smoking anyway!

In our lesson that evening, Doug was expressing his serious concerns about how much of scripture was actually from God and how much was edited by man according to what man wants. Sister Tait threw down with Mosiah 3:19! She talked about how we're all working on overcoming the natural man and how you can tell the truth of all things by the power of the Holy Ghost. Oh, yeah. That's my companion!

Doug peppered us with questions that night via text:

Where did the golden plates come from? >> 1 Nephi 6:1-6, 1 Nephi 9:2-6, Mormon 8, Moroni 1:1-4
What language were they in? >> 1 Nephi 1:2
Did Jesus visit the American Indians? >> 3 Nephi 11-26
Were there people in the Americas before the Nephites? >> Ether (all of the chapters)
Did the Jaredites come over before or after the Ice age? >> *crickets*

We weren't really sure about the last one, but we were able to answer all of the others using passages from The Book of Mormon! I love having this vast store of valuable knowledge at my fingertips. Though I have read thousands of books that have shaped my perceptions of the world and my wonderings about life, no book has changed me as much as The Book of Mormon has. To say that I am better for having read it is a sore understatement. Having read it in times of joy and in times of sorrow, I now know in whom I have trusted like Nephi did (2 Nephi 4:19-24). Being able to see this light up those around us who we meet and learn alongside is probably the greatest miracle I have ever seen. Joy, I realized this week, is a true and lasting miracle. (:
Feel joy!

Love you all to pieces,

Sister Naomi Rapier

[Fun Fact: Turns out that the Woodstock Ward bishop is author Jason Wright - Christmas Jars, Wednesday Letters, and a Deseret News column: Wright Words.]

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Week in Pictures

Naomi emailed lots of pics, but got locked out of the mail server before she could write a letter. So we get to see this week in photos :)

Chong came to visit Naomi in Woodstock (an hour drive for Chong)

So happy to see each other!

"We are studying very hard"

Painting a chair for the CHAIRity auction.

Christ is the Light of the World <3

Uh oh, that's not good.

The beauty of God's creations!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Aww, Chong Came to Visit!

Family and friends, I love y'all!

I felt like such a silly last week when I forgot to write about this! Chong totally came to Woodstock just to see me!!! I wasn't able to attend her baptism on the 26th due to our investigator flaking out, so she and Jim, her member friend who baptized her, drove to Woodstock and treated Sister Tait and I to lunch. Chong's faith is so strong. I'll still be on my mission when she passes her year of membership mark. I'll probably get to attend her endowment!! I love her so much. I want to see the joy that I've seen come to her come to many others.

Right now, we're teaching a family. The fifteen-year-old, Alex, is especially fantastic. Sister Tait and I feel that it was a miracle that he broke his wrist. Before he broke his wrist, his schedule was about to get so crazy that he wasn't going to be able to meet with us with any amount of frequency. Since he broke his wrist, he had to drop football, track, and weight training. We have a return appointment to teach the whole family the first formal lesson we'll have had due to the freeing up of his schedule. Miracles!! Bobbie, his mom, is a super sweet lady. She's not as invested as Alex is, but we think that her interest will be firmly drawn to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as she watches it make positive changes in Alex, whom she is already so proud of for good reason. Alex reminds me of my little brother, Steele, who isn't little anymore. I see the same cosmic potential, and I hope and pray that I may be present to witness the same explosion of light that I watched Steele go through when he decided that the kind of man he wanted to be is a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. So proud of my brother Steele. (:

Funny story! We forgot the house number of a potential investigator, so we stopped at the bottom of the porch steps, which had the two townhouse doors at the top, to pray to remember the right one. We both felt like the left door was the one. As soon as we started toward the door on the left, we heard a crash and, "LAME IT!" from behind the door on the right. Sister Tait turned to me and remarked, "It's so disappointing when the missionaries don't pick your door." I laughed so hard!!!!!! Sister Tait is awesome. (:

CONFERENCE WAS SO GOOD!!!! #ldsconf Definitely check it out if you haven't already!


Sister Naomi Rapier