Missouri – week #50

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HELLO EVERYONE I AM SO HAPPY!!!

GREAT news!!!!! Remember Alyssa? The girl who came to church on Sunday here in Iola? Well she is gettin’ dunked! Lemme give you the run down.

So Alyssa is 18 and was just adopted into an LDS family in Colorado. She’s got a pretty crazy upbringing but has a lot of faith. Like I mentioned, she came to Iola on a soccer scholarship and she wanted to learn more about what her adopted family believed. Her FIRST SUNDAY at church EVER was our first Sunday in Iola. The Lord is so aware!! This week, we taught her the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation. We had planned to invite her to be baptized in our second lesson about the Plan of Salvation. Sister Holt and I roleplayed the invite during our comp study and we were so ready to go. During our lesson, we read Alma 7:11-16 and replaced the pronouns with the name Alyssa. The Spirit was SO STRONG. I mentioned that the first step in her personal Plan of Salvation was to be baptized. I paused and looked to Sister Holt for the invitation. I wanted her to be the one to do it! She was way nervous, but eventually, she asked Alyssa, “Will you be baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God?” With tears in her eyes, Alyssa said YES!!!!

Something I really love is hearing how investigators describe the way they feel the Spirit. Alyssa said that although she was raised baptist and that this was all really new to her, it just “feels right, it feels familiar.” She also went on to explain that it feels like in the middle of the night how you flip your pillow over to the cool side…just very refreshing. Hahaha she is so sweet. Her adopted mom wants to be here for her baptism so the date is TBA but I am SO HAPPY. So proud of my baby Holt, too!!!

We got permission from Pres Love to go to Alyssa’s soccer game on Saturday and bring some fellowship with us. She also came to church again and dinner with us Sunday night at a member’s home. Alyssa is receiving a lot of negativity from some of her biological family members, but it has been amazing to see her push through it all and keep her testimony. ALSO super cool, we causally mentioned her transferring to BYU (she’s not the biggest fan of Iola hahaha) but then she told us a few hours later that she reached out to some soccer coaches at BYU! WOOOOO my dream is still to go to college with one of my RC’s. But ya! Keep praying for Alyssa :))

ALSOOO, my sweet lil friend Bella Stafford is getting baptized on Saturday!!! President Love is the greatest because he gave me permission to make the 2.5 hour trek to be there! ❤️️❤️️❤️️ my heart is so happy! Can’t wait to see allllll my fav Doniphan people!

We are slowly getting used to living in a small town. Sister Holt and I have had some interesting experiences walking around the town square in Iola and Chanute hahaha. Something I do love is that we see the same people ALL THE TIME so it’s easy to get to know the community! Everyone knows everyone! We actually volunteer once a week at a place called Thrive. It’s a non profit organization located on our town square and they basically try to promote healthy living in Iola. It’s so fun to get involved with the community and at the same time, change the perception of Mormon missionaries.

This place is so small, however, that people race against the speedometer radar box on the side of the road for fun to see how fast they are running hahaha #justiolathings.

I still really miss Liberty and the Jail and the luxury of being around other missionaries, but I’ve grown so much in the last couple weeks and I know that the Lord needs me here for some reason. I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but Sister Holt and I have been puttin in WORK regardless. A scripture that helped me this week I found in D&C 6:34 and 36:

“…Fear not, little flock; do good. if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail…Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.”

Love you guys! Till next week!

XOXO
Sister Draper

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Missouri – week #49

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Well family, this week has been absolutely INSANE. lemme tell ya about it. also srry beware this might be kinda long I’ve had a long week hahaha.

SO transfers came and I picked up my cute new mishy Sister Holt who is from Sacramento! We have a million mutual friends which is the best. She went to BYU, loves tswift and the bachelor, eats like 3 staple foods (ur twin @sisdaws), and sleeps in her watch and jewelry so she’s all ready to go hahaha I love her. BUT anyway. We got put together at transfers ANNNNND then we found out that we would be opening Iola/Chanute for sisters (which means there were NO sisters there before us). Iola is the running joke of the mission, actually :-)). We always tease each other how we are going to be booted to Iola (which is the farthest most booniest area from mission headquarters…over 2 hours away…the ward boundary is also larger than the Independence AND Liberty Stake put together) I even joked with the assistants on p day that they were Chanuting me. WELL IT LITERALLY HAPPENED!! (note2self never joke about areas w/ the assistants)

I felt so bad for my lil baby Sister Holt. Every time someone at transfers heard about where we were going, they immediately gave me a hug or consoled me hahahaha THAT is Iola for you. But surprisingly, I was actually really okay!!

The first day was insane. We finally got a car and a new phone and looked up directions to our new apartment. When we got here (BARELY found our apartment), OUR PHONE WOULDN’T WORK. So we were stranded in the middle of NOWHERE with no phone and we were whitewashing so I didn’t know what to do or where to go hahahaha. One of the assistants gave me his number before I left so I made some calls on a Walmart phone. And LUCKILY, a sister who served here before airdropped me a ward roster so we figured out who our bishop was. We drove on our lil unpaved roads to meet them and lemme tell ya, his family is AWESOME. His wife made us a dinner consisting of BLT’s, mac&cheese, fried green tomatoes, nachos, and tacos…. all in one meal #justiolathings (this hashtag will be trending because I’ll have a lot more of these). Poor Sister Holt had the craziest day of her mission and I felt SO BAD!!

But our third day was a huge tender mercy. We stayed the night in Olathe KS (bc we are so far away hahaha) with my fav hermanas and drove up to Platte City for an all mission conference. We got to hear from an apostle of the Lord, Elder D Todd Christofferson. I felt like he was speaking directly to me. And as soon as he walked in the room, a wave of emotion came over me and the Spirit confirmed to my mind and my heart that he really is one of the Lord’s chosen servants. Among other things, he said that we cannot live in fear and we need to persevere. I loved this scripture he shared in James 1:2-4

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into many afflictions (JST); Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

We are here to be perfect, so we HAVE TO be tried. He shared an experience from his mission when he was in a tough area (same elder christofferson, same) but he said that he would just tell himself, “if I can make it through this situation, I can do anything.” I LOVED THAT. It makes me want to work hard and be even more diligent. He also mentioned that “a halfhearted effort gets you a halfhearted blessing.” I am grateful for the testimony of Elder Christofferson. I know that God had answered my prayers and He did once again when we showed up to church on Sunday!

A girl named Alyssa came into sacrament and immediately everyone knew she was visiting (bc well…it’s a very small ward and very small town hahaha) BUT she’s the cutest 18 year old, was JUST adopted by an LDS family in Colorado, and is here in Iola on a soccer scholarship (don’t ask my why so many people move to Iola to play soccer). BUT SHE WANTS TO BE BAPTIZED!!!! I was STOKED and kept telling Sis Holt “this is a miracle because this never happens okay remember that.” We are meeting with her tonight, WISH US LUCK! The Lord definitely provides and hears our prayers.

No matter where I’m serving, I’m just happy to be a missionary and that I get to share this beautiful message of Christ’s restored gospel. Pray for me, Sister Holt, and the Iola Ward so that we can get some work rolling here! I have felt your prayers already, there’s no way I could be doing this all on my own. LOVE YALLLLLL

XOXO
Sister Draper

209 S Sycamore St
Iola, KS 66749

Missouri – week #48

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HELLO Y’ALL!!! happy 1 year mark to me !!! and alsooooo GREAT TRANSFER NEWS…..I’M HAVING A BABY!! aka i will be training a brand new sister missionary!

So many mixed emotions rn…SAD SAD SAD to leave Doniphan and probably the HLJ but also so excited to train a new baby missionary. I’ll most likely be whitewashing into an area so plz pray4me this week also probably pray4babydraper hahaha. I will keep y’all posted about where I go and who I train!!!

OKAY but can we talk about how CEDAE WENT TO SEMINARY THIS WEEK. She is amazing. I’m so happy about everything going on with the Stafford’s! Also, Bella went to a baptism with us this weekend! Everything is becoming so real. We were also able to receive permission from Bella’s dad for her to be baptized. The Stafford’s are one of the most special miracles I’ve had on my mission. I can’t wait to come back for their baptisms! Keep praying for my fav family ❤️❤️

Also, I took so many amazing tours through the Jail this week. If I leave, I’m going to miss this place so much!!! A man came in with his son and wife and I took them on a tour. He mentioned that the first contact he had with Mormons was when he went to the Liberty Jail almost 30 years ago. He said that the sisters here just gave him a tour and a Book of Mormon since he didn’t agree to meet with missionaries. Well, about 5 years ago he finally joined the church and the Book of Mormon that he read out of during his conversion was the SAME ONE that those sisters had given him. So hearing this, I run and grab the Jail scrapbook from 1992 and tell him to look through it to see if he recognized any of the sisters. He found the two sisters that took him on a tour and wrote down their information. We sat in the lobby of the Jail and he just wept. He said to me, “You have no idea what impact you make on people when they come through the Liberty Jail. It took me a long time to accept the gospel, but because of those sisters, I’m baptized and sealed to my family forever. I can’t wait to contact them and tell them that.” This brought me so much joy to know that although as a VC sister, I don’t always see the fruits of my labor but I am still helping people come unto Christ. It was just such a special experience!!

I’ve done a lot of reflecting recently about my mission as I approach my year mark on Thursday. My mission has definitely been the hardest thing I have EVER done in my life. But I am so eternally grateful for all that I have learned and what I have become so far. I think one of the most important things I have learned is that Christ’s Atonement is real. Not only can we be forgiven of our sins, but we can CHANGE. Sometimes I think that we forget that!! We can become better and so can the people around us. I have seen the Savior change lives and change mine in the process. I love this part in one of President Monson’s talks:

“During the 1940s and 1950s, an American prison warden, Clinton Duffy, was well known for his efforts to rehabilitate the men in his prison. Said one critic, ‘You should know that leopards don’t change their spots!’ Replied Warden Duffy, ‘You should know I don’t work with leopards. I work with men, and men change every day.'”

I can’t believe that I gave my last hugs and left my sweet family one year ago. It feels like forever ago some days and just like yesterday on others. It’s been a crazy year, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else doing anything else. I love my mission and I love my Savior. I’m excited to savor the last few months of being the Lord’s servant.

I’ll end my email with a scripture revealed in the Liberty Jail that has changed my mission and my life:

“My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.”

Love y’all so much. Here’s to my last 5 months!!!

XOXO

Sister Draper

Missouri – week #47

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hellllooooo!!! SUCH AN AMAZING WEEK. here’s a list of the tender mercies I saw!

-My brother, Blake and sister-in-law, Taryn, came into the Jail this week! I walked upstairs and just saw them sitting in the lobby! hahaha I think the other sisters were surprised when I gave him a big hug! I was able to take them on a tour of my favorite place in the world. It was a really great experience and it really felt like no time had passed at all! (besides the fact that my brother has long hair and they own a….leopard cat??) hahaha. I love my family!

-This week we saw Sister Green (the woman in our ward from california) and I mentioned to her that I haven’t eaten a lot of fresh fruit on my mission. WELLLL, she dropped by the jail that night to bring us dinner, which included fruit and a whole tray of veggies. love her.

-We went out with a girl from our ward who is heading out on her mission next week. She got her call three weeks ago and reports next week, so she was a little stressed. We showed her a couple videos from the District (shout out to Sister Voyles who is in my brother’s ward now), and got some dessert. Sister Bleak and I were a little stressed as well since we hadn’t had a ton of time this week to find in our area because of a ton of meetings. But when Kamilla gave her farewell talk on Sunday, she mentioned that talking with us was an answer to her prayers and that she could see the love emulating from us as we spoke. It was a humbling experience for me to know that the Lord cares so much about the One. Sure, numbers are a way of measuring our success, but sometimes as missionaries that’s all that we focus on. But that night I was so grateful to help her and be an instrument in the hands of the Lord.

-LAST BUT NOT LEAST……THE STAFFORD’S CAME TO CHURCH!!! ALL 3 HOURS PEOPLE!! I FELT LIKE CRYING TEARS OF JOY (and i did)!!! Sadly, Cedae had to work, but Marcy, Gabby, and Bella all came and stayed! and they LOVED IT. Marcy texted Sister Russell this morning and said that she felt so welcomed at church and that the people in our ward were not judgemental at all. PRAYERS ARE ANSWERED. The Doniphan ward is amazing because all of the members came up to Marcy and just loved her. Bella also loved church when all of the nine year old girls took her to Primary. cute story about Bella: she still remembers the word of wisdom! Cedae started to drink ice tea the other day and Bella leaned over to her and whispered, “we can’t drink that anymore…words of wisdom.” hahahaha I love her. Ahhhh it was the best feeling during sacrament meeting to know that our prayers were answered and Marcy’s burden was made light.

I was able to reflect during the Sacrament about President Love’s remarks he made during Zone Conference this week. He talked about the importance of partaking of the sacrament. Each of us carries rocks each day and they pile up throughout the week. We have a load of rocks that we bring in each Sunday to sacrament. He said that we must empty ourselves of these burdens as we metaphorically put them on the sacrament (or sacrificial) table. He pleaded with us to not leave sacrament meeting with rocks still with us. “Don’t continue to carry burdens that the Savior has already paid for.” As I remembered his words, I felt so comforted as I partook of the sacrament. I thought of Marcy and how her burdens have been lifted as she has been coming back to church. I am so grateful for the sacrament and that we can give our burdens to the Savior of the world.

love you all!
XOXO
sister draper

Missouri – week #46

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Helloooo family!!! happy eclipse dayyyyyy…basically a national holiday in Missouri.

Leave it to the universe to decide that Missouri would be the best place to watch the eclipse though. because now there are a MILLION people here and I’m not used to the crowds anymore hahahaha. Also of course today is really cloudy….classic Missouri… sry to all u eclipse chasers who came here for nothin ://

BUT I wanna talk about 3 miracles that occurred this week that I got to be a part of!!!

MIRACLE #1:
A few weeks ago, Sister Bleak and I were out contacting people in our area when this old pickup truck pulls up to us. The guy inside asks what Ward we are in so we reply and ask the same question back. He tells us that he’s less active but he’d gone to the YSA Ward for a while. Well, I got real excited because I just came from that ward and so we talked about how awesome the sisters were (ur so welcome @ sis daws) and invited him to go to church. AND HE WENT!!! NOWWWW he’s meeting with the sisters regularly and preparing to serve a mission! Sister Bleak and I saw him at the Jail this week yayyyyyyyy. So cool to see how one simple invitation can change someone’s life.

MIRACLE #2:
While on exchanges, Sister Greenwood and I were sitting on Teaching Center tryna spread the word. We took a chat from a guy named Caleb and he was asking us a few questions about the church. As we got to know him, he told us that he was getting baptized that weekend and had some last minute questions. He then asked if we could send local missionaries to his wife, who was separated from him and wasn’t supportive of his decision. Reluctantly, we agreed and asked for her info. WELLLLL it turns out that she lives in our mission boundaries!!!! AND SO DOES HE!!! When he asked for marriage advice, we told him we couldn’t help with that but that there was a video at the Jail that he could watch. Sooooo he came into the Jail two days later, on the day of his baptism to watch it!!! BUT WAIT!!!! THERE’S MORE!!! He brought his coworker to the Jail and she was super interested in meeting with missionaries. She went to church yesterday for all three hours and LOVED IT and the sisters who live with us are now teaching her! It was so fun because we never get to meet the people we chat with but this week we did. It was no coincidence that we took his chat that day :))

MIRACLE #3:
We taught the word of wisdom and law of chastity to a nine year old with extreme ADHD hahahaha yep that’s right. It was really cool though because sister Bleak and I were nervous about teaching Bella and Cedae together since they have such a large age gap. But Cedae had to leave last minute so our lesson was just with Bella! Huge tender mercy hahaha. Also we convinced Bella to move her bap date from December to sometime in September. We are just working on the legal complexities that go with that. Friends and family, PLEASE pray for them. They have been trying to make it to three hours of church each week but SOMETHING always comes up. Marcy texted us as sacrament was starting and said, “I feel like crying! We were dressed and ready for church when our AC broke and we now have to wait for the repairman. Every single week Satan works harder and harder on us.” Please please please pray for them so that they can come to all three hours of church. That would mean so much to me! Have I mentioned how much I love the Stafford’s??? ❤️❤️❤️

I’ve had such a great week though!!! and also today is the Prophet’s birthday!! When asked to describe his ideal birthday gift in 2008, President Monson said: “Do something for someone else on that day to make his or her life better. Find someone who is having a hard time or is ill or lonely and do something for them. That’s all I would ask.” In Oct 2009 general conference he also mentioned: “Too often we spend most of our time taking care of the things which do not really matter much at all in the grand scheme of things, neglecting those more important causes..” And so that is my invitation for you today! Neglect the things that don’t matter so that you can go out and serve someone else. Invite someone to church! Take cookies to your neighbors! Go out with the missionaries! Give out a pass-a-long card! It’ll make you so so happy I promise ya that

LOVE Y’ALL

xoxo
Sister Draper

Missouri – week #45

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OKAYYYYY such a great week! I love being a missionary even when birds poop on me; the narrations in the Jail stop working; people shut their garage doors as we are walking up to them; others tell me, “no thanks, we’re Christian”; and getting roasted by an anti while in my tour at the lib jail. YEP all those things happened to me this week hahaha but I just gotta laugh it off and remember that I love this work!

Cedae and Bella are doing super well. We had a lesson with them and talked about a couple of commandments. Funny story, we asked Bella if she prayed about baptism and how she felt. She said, “i felt peace, and like it was the right thing to do.” When we asked how else she felt, she said, “Christian.” hahahaha when u don’t know how else to respond. same. but yeah they are doing great!!! I’m actually borrowing a camera and taking family pictures for them on my p day today. They haven’t gotten a family picture in forever and I wanted to capture how much Marcy loves her three girls. I AM SO excited!

Other than that, not too much happened this week!! Lots of finding and a few exchanges with some of my favorite sisters.

Oh and also, I’m sure most of you have heard about the church disciplinary decision taken against one of the members of the Seventy. And you are probably wondering why I’m bringing it up…but to be honest with y’all it is something I’ve thought a lot about this week and have been able to compare to early church history in Missouri. Some leaders of the church in Far West, Missouri were excommunicated because of their dishonesty with church funds. To me, it shows that no one is exempt from Satan and his influence and that no one is perfect. But the Lord always provides a way back. He is loving, kind, forgiving. The trials and consequences we face help us to repent and turn to Him more. Of course, it doesn’t make sin okay and we need to make sure that we build a “sure foundation” to withstand those temptations. I have learned that as I am founded in Christ, nothing can shake me!

Liberty has probably been one of the toughest parts of my mission when it comes to opposition. Whether it’s on Teaching Center, or people coming into the Jail, or out in our area, I’ve met a lot of people who are pretty antagonistic towards the church. My faith has been tested and tried, but I know that as we have our foundation in Christ and His gospel, we cannot fall. A scripture that took on a new meaning for me this week is Helaman 5:12:

“And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.”

And the ICING ON THE CAKE was when my RC Brandt came into the Jail and on our tour, testified of the same thing. If we are confident in Christ, we will not shake. I know that through Jesus Christ, we can withstand anything! He is the head of this church and true peace comes through living His gospel. I’m grateful for trials, opposition, and adversity because it’s in those times that I have truly come closer to my Savior, Jesus Christ.

XOXO
Sister Draper

216 N Main St
Liberty MO 64068

Missouri – week #44

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hello friends and family!

I can’t believe it’s been another week…today I hit my 11 month mark and I think it’s CRAZY how fast time flies!!

We had a really good week though. Lots of meetings and shifts at the Jail, but we were able to see a lot of awesome things. I’ll give three miracles this week covering each of my areas!!!

FIRST OF ALL, CEDAE AND BELLA ARE GETTING BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We had L3 this week and talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ using videos and other visual aids :))) when we asked Cedae if she had any reservations about baptism, she said that she had felt the Spirit testify to her that this was true and just wanted to keep learning!! She was SO HAPPY when we invited her to be baptized. We helped her pick the day to work toward: September 9th. And then when we asked Bella about baptism, without hesitation she picked December 14th….naturally :)))) because that’s her 10th birthday. Still working on that one hahaha but we were sooooo happy nonetheless!!! I love the Stafford family with MY WHOLE HEART!! During our lesson, I just had the thought come to me, “THIS. this is why you’re in Missouri.” It was so overwhelming and I feel so blessed to serve some of the most amazing people here. I can’t wait for their big day!!!! Pleaseeeee keep them in your prayers!

Next, on Teaching Center, I called up my homie Collin Clark from Ohio who came on to Mormon.org and chatted with me a few weeks ago about what Mormonism was. He felt like he was “missing something.” Well when I called to follow up, he said that he had met with missionaries about 6 weeks ago and was baptized about 3 weeks ago!! He had JUST read Alma when I called him to see how he was doing. I was so excited!!!! I LOVE Teaching Center and talking to people everywhere. He said he got kicked out by his family and he’s moving to Provo to be around more members of the church… so I’m stoked that I’ll probably meet him someday!

And lastly, a man came into the Jail this week with his two adult children and they were so cool. I love when people come in just ready to be engaged and participate! It’s my favorite thing when tours are conversations and not rote presentations. But anyway, this guy had nine kids total and I was able to relate a story to him. Caleb Baldwin, who was one of the men in the Liberty Jail with Joseph Smith, also had nine children and so he was really concerned about leaving his family and coming to the Jail. He expressed his feelings to the judge at their hearing, and the judge actually had pity on him. He was told that if he would deny Joseph Smith as a prophet and renounce the church, he wouldn’t have to come to the Jail. But Caleb Baldwin, although I’m sure it was a hard decision, couldn’t agree to those terms. I asked the man who came in what he would’ve done in that situation. He started to cry as he reflected on how much his family meant to him, but he replied and said that the church meant too much to him to deny. The family who came in was so amazed by Caleb’s faith and so am I.

Although we sacrifice very menial things compared to Caleb Baldwin, I am grateful for the opportunities we have to rely on our faith and trust in God. My mission has seriously been the hardest thing I have ever done BY FAR, but in sacrificing time with my family in friends, I have learned to trust my Heavenly Father and His promises. Remember that when some things seem like a sacrifice. The gospel is just so worth it!!!!

XOXO
sister draper

216 N Main St
Liberty MO 64068

 

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