–The first 4 pictures are an exhibit by Julie Rogers in the Independence Visitors’ Center–
Hey Fam!!! This week was SO GREAT!!! Lots of fun memories and great lessons!
Fall is approaching here in Independence! And wow, I thought the Alpine Loop was pretty…well, it is BEAUTIFUL here. But the good thing is that it hasn’t gotten too cold yet thank goodness. Regardless, Sister Soto and I like to crank the heater up in our house for personal, comp, and 12 week studies. We light some candles and it feels so cozy!! It is starting to feel like home here!
Kind of a cool story this week…
On Tuesday, we were having a very long day. We visited (or attempted to visit) a few less actives and part member families but had no luck. And we were a little bummed because the elders in our ward were having SO much success. So before we went home for the night, we stopped to get gas. I saw this man getting gas in front of us and had a prompting to talk to him. Aaaaand I proceeded to ignore it haha. We had tried to street contact the whole day and nooooobody wanted anything to do with us so I did not have a lot of faith. But thankfully, the promptings still came, despite my pride. In fact, the thought popped into my head: “You will regret not following this prompting.” Talk about intense guilt trip right?! During this internal struggle in my head, Sister Soto goes “We need to talk to that guy.” Wow. The Holy Ghost is so real. So obviously I agreed as I shared my similar prompting. We got out of the car and approached him. We introduced ourselves and made some small talk. I tried to be bold as I said “For some reason, God told us to talk to you and here we are.” You can imagine the surprise and shock on his face but it needed to be said! Turns out, he has heard of the church before and has always wanted to check it out! So we gave him a Book of Mormon, got his phone number, and told him we’d set up an appointment for this week (he said he was busy that weekend watching the political debates haha)!! BUT we are meeting with him later this week. 👏🏼 It was a miracle and we were so excited!!! Each person is so important to our Heavenly Father. Out of all the people we talked to that day, Luke was the only one to care about our message. God cares about each individual. And if we have to be rejected by ten other people to find the one person who is ready, that is SO worth it to me. Reminds me of the scripture Ether 12:6. Blessings come AFTER the trial of our faith:
6 And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.
The Holy Ghost has been there for us EVERY DAY. I like to picture him as our third companion. There are times that Sister Soto and I receive the same promptings. In a lesson with Lisa, we had the same inspired question come to our minds word for word. That question led to an amazing discussion! As a missionary, I am learning to see the Lord’s hand in my life at all times. It’s the best part of being a missionary.
I loved being at the Visitor Center this week. For one, the people who come in are actually willing to hear your message (although we do get a few nonmembers who JUST want the history, “no preaching please!”), and two, I get to meet people from all over the world!! On Friday, I took through a man and his teen daughter who were members visiting from Kentucky (originally from Columbia). He was so involved in the whole tour! I love people like that haha. The worst is when people come in and say “ya ya we’ve been here before and we are members.” Gah. You can have converting experiences everywhere! Even if you have been there before. We go to church every week not because there is more information we learn but because we want to receive revelation from the Spirit.
But anyways, back to my story…after the presentation was over, he asked a lot of questions about if there was any info here about building the New Jerusalem in the last days. I told him that there wasn’t any info here about that. He asked if a lot of people move here to Missouri because of the second coming and I said yes! Although we aren’t supposed to do that unless asked to in the last days. He said that he knew someone who’s patriarchal blessing said that they needed to move here in preparation for the Second Coming, and after talking about this for a few minutes, he said “The person I’m talking about is actually me.” Woah. 😱 He said that he has talked to many apostles about it, especially Elder Bednar (because Elder Bednar’s son is this man’s bishop). He said that he hasn’t felt the prompting to move here yet, but when he does, he will move here. How amazing is that? Maybe he is one of them people who will attend that great meeting at AOA. His 12 yr old daughter was like “what the heck dad you never told me that?!” Haha. And he said that he wanted to take her on this special trip to show her the history and tell her. Crazy experiences like this happen on a daily basis!!! I wish I had time to write more of them.
Sister Soto and I have been a little bummed lately because we don’t have a lot of progressing investigators. But then, we thought about all the people we meet in the VC and all of the referrals we send out on teaching center. We sent 10 referrals on Teaching Center this week for people to have missionaries come to their homes, and they live all around the world! Just because we don’t have a ton of visible success here in Independence doesn’t mean we aren’t having success at all.
We also met one of the descendants of Joseph Smith at the VC this week too! I talked to him for about 30 minutes because his story is seriously amazing. It’s very long but I won’t bore with you with the details. (Read more details in next * paragraph because I’m her momma and the details don’t bore me! This is excerpt is from what she wrote to me)
“We didn’t take him on a tour, but I talked to him for forever because it was so interesting. He has prophesies written about him like ok no big deal?! He was a convert to the church at age 18. He found out about the church when he was assigned a family history project in high school. He went home and asked his dad who his ancestors were. His dad said “a controversial ancestor we have is named Joseph Smith. He started a church called the Mormons.” So they opened up a big trunk of photos and valuables from Joseph Smith, Emma, and their kids. And literally as they were doing this, the MISSIONARIES knocked on their door. When they answered, they recognized the photos on the table and asked “uhh where did you get these?” And he replies “oh it’s just for a family history project on one of my ancestors. I think his name was Joseph Smith.” UM can you just imagine the missionaries faces hahaha. They taught him all the lessons that afternoon and then he was baptized a couple years later. 3 months after he was baptized, he gets asked to meet with Bruce R. McKonkie. They tell him he needs to get his endowments taken out asap but told him not to serve a mission, because he would be given a call later in life. And three years ago, he received this call! Basically there was a prophesy/revelation given to Joseph Smith that the first Melchizedek priesthood holder since Jospeh smith (that’s this guy) would be the one to gather the descendants of Joseph together and that these people would convert like a flood. (Since most of them are no longer part of the original church). So that’s what he’s doing! He works directly with Elder Ballard and tries to contact his family members and convert them. Since Missouri has so many break off groups, he comes here all the time! His last name is Kennedy. Joseph and Emma had 11 children, 5 of them lived to adulthood. One of those boys had a few kids and his daughter married a Kennedy. That’s where the line connects. SO cool!”
It just makes me so excited to greet everyone who walks through the door because everyone has a different story to tell. I took through a member of an area seventy this week and his family, I was so nervous the whole time haha. But I just love all of these people I meet ❤️
Oh and I am very excited for the next few P-Days because I get to MAKE A VIDEO!!! During ward council, our Bishop was talking about next year’s theme–the Temple! Everyone was trying to come up with an idea to get the ward excited about going to the temple. I volunteered the idea to make a video! And I guess everyone liked the idea so I’m going to film some primary kids, youth, and adults bearing their quick testimony on the temple. I’ll throw in a couple conference segments on the temple and get some B Roll footage at the KC temple and edit it all together! I’m so excited to make a video again and to share my talents with the ward. I feel like Sister Soto and I are gaining the trust of the members. 🎉
We can’t wait for this week and our appt. with Luke! This gospel is TRUE. God is guiding me EVERYWHERE I go. I feel so close to Him as a missionary, and I hope that never stops when I go home. Read the Book of Mormon!! It is the truest book on the earth and will bring you closer to Christ as you apply its teachings. The early saints sacrificed so much for the things we have today and I want to continue to live their legacy. And remember that our Savior, Jesus Christ is the center of everything. I am so grateful for Him. I am forever changed already because of my mission. Being a missionary isn’t even a sacrifice because I am gaining so many blessings in return. I am so so so happy! love you all so much!! I will talk to you when it’s NOVEMBER.
Sister Draper 👩🏽💓
(Can you tell I like the new emojis hehe)
Ps. I forgot to mention this last week… but shout out @ Sister Morgan! She had her 21st birthday this week!!!!! She also visited me at the VC and brought Chick Fil A for lunch and I love her so much. Praying she gets transferred to Independence for her last transfer 🙏🏼