Missouri – week #4

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Hi family!!!! I cannot believe that it’s already P-Day again. Also, I have been out on my mission for TWO MONTHS!! Time really flies. I am loving it here! And we had an AMAZING miracle this week so stay tuned…

Halloween was so fun yesterday. We had a shift at the VC last night and it was EMPTY. So we got a ton of teaching center time. A girl called in and had a ton of questions about our basic beliefs. I shared with her our belief on eternal families. She believed, however, that families were just meant for us to learn and grow with on earth, and that in heaven, families wouldn’t exist. The only relationship that mattered, she believed, was between the individual and God. No matter how many times I tried to explain it differently, she didn’t want to accept it. She was so nice and very willing to learn, plus, I was able to mail her a Book of Mormon, but I was still pretty sad. My family is SO important to me and I know that I will be able to live with them in the next life. We have a family presentation here at the visitor center called “God’s Plan for His Family.” If you live near a VC, go watch it! There’s a line in it that I love. It says, “the family is how God shows His love.” I know that to be true!! I am so grateful for my family today and for the chance I have to create a forever family in the future! Family is truly the center to God’s plan of happiness. Just a little thought I have been thinking about since then ☺️

Another fun halloween festivity happened on Saturday!! There was a HUGE parade here in Independence around the town square aka in front of the VC. Our parking lot was full of kids and parents in costumes setting up their parade floats. So since we had shift, we were productive!! We found some candy and Twinkies in the VC kitchen and taped pass-along cards to them. We handed out about 100 pass-along cards to the people surrounding the VC! After we ran out of candy/food, Sister Soto and I stood out front and waved people in. A few people came in after the parade was over!! It was so SO fun. Independence takes Halloween very seriously.

And now to this week’s miracle…it happened just yesterday actually!
So before our 3pm shift at the VC, we usually have about 2 hours of proselyting time (after studies and lunch). And of course, our two appointments fell through. At this point, we only had about 30 minutes and our back up plans didn’t seem promising. So we prayed!! In my prayer, for some reason I said “help us to teach the restoration today.” The words just came out of my mouth. I wasn’t meaning to say that! Sister Soto and I thought that it was a prompting. We decided to start on our way back to the VC and just pray along the way that we would know where to go. While we were driving, I imagined this situation in my head. The person that we needed to talk to was a middle-aged woman and was very interested in the first vision. I don’t even know how to describe what I was feeling but I knew that this woman was out there somewhere. I told Sister Soto, and at first we were like “no way,” but we stopped to say another prayer anyways. Sister Soto prayed to know which neighborhood to go to. After the prayer, she had an idea! We drove to a nearby neighborhood and parked down the street. We decided to knock on the door of a brightly colored blue house. No one was home. We looked across the street and guess what we saw! A woman, sitting on her porch. We walked over and saw that she had been crying. We introduced ourselves and started to teach THE RESTORATION! I recited the first vision and she was in awe! She was very lonely because her kids were spending Halloween with their dad, and she was recently trying to establish a relationship with God again. It was all too perfect. We have a return appointment with her tonight!! Sister Soto and I couldn’t believe it. It was such an amazing miracle and again, showed us that God was working WITH us.

We had stake conference on Sunday and I just wanted to share a really cool story! President and Sister Vest represented the mission and gave amazing talks, but one that I really loved was from our stake president, President Cato. He is THE MAN! I think I mentioned it before but he is a convert to the church from the RLDS faith (along with half our ward haha). He told the following story about missionary work:

“My close friend, who was a nurse, was getting ready to leave his shift for the night. He went into a room where a sick lady was recovering from an intense surgery. As he was cleaning up some of the equipment, this lady grabbed her whiteboard and wrote ‘please hold my hand.’ So although his shift was over, he stayed and held her hand. 5, 6, 9 o’ clock passed and he was still there holding her hand. His supervisor came in at 10pm and asked ‘What are you still doing here? You have a shift in the morning tomorrow. You gotta go.’ The woman proceeded to write on her whiteboard ‘Just 15 more minutes please.’ The man then looked at his supervisor and the supervisor said, ‘Sorry, you gotta go.’ So the man left. When he returned in the morning, he went to go check on this sweet lady. Her room was completely clean, the sheets were washed and put back on. He learned that she had passed away during the night. He was completely devastated and felt so guilty. Now, as a supervisor to other nurses at their hospital, he keeps a sign on his wall that says ‘Just 15 more minutes please.’ It is a reminder to him that he needs to use every ounce of his energy to help Heavenly Father’s children.”

I loved that. Whenever we are tired at night, I think “what if one of these people are prepared to hear the gospel, and if I don’t talk to that one more person, what if I miss out on teaching them forever?” It also reminds me of President Uchtdorf’s talk from the General Women’s conference. Go listen to it! It makes me motivated to push just a little harder each day.

To end my email today, I thought I would share some Independence history! I’ll share bits and pieces each week 😌

Did you know that the first missionaries were called to serve here? In 1830, Joseph Smith called Ziba Peterson, Oliver Cowdrey, Peter Whitney Jr., and Parley P. Pratt to serve a mission to the Native Americans on the edge of the American frontier! Aka the border of Missouri and Kansas. They traveled through Ohio and converted Sidney Rigdon, Frederick Williams, and 127 others BEFORE they even got to their mission! Frederick Williams then joined them. But when they got to the border of Missouri and Kansas, they realized that they didn’t have the government authorization to preach. So they traveled back into Independence and started teaching here! To be continued next week…

I feel so blessed to be serving here. This place is truly so so sacred. I don’t know what I did in this life and the life before to deserve such a special mission. I learned that I have ancestors who were some of the pioneers that came here to Independence. I’m grateful for them and their motivation to follow the prophet’s voice. I know that they are looking down on me, helping me in all of my efforts to teach these people. I know that this church is true. And because it is true, there has been so much persecution against the church and our teachings, especially the Book of Mormon. That book is true. I know I say this every week but when I read it, I know that it comes from God and that it testifies of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith was a true prophet called of God to restore the church. I know that. My testimony is strengthened every day as I take tours and share it with others. I love you all, make sure to say your prayers, read the scriptures, and go to church. Because by small and simple things, great things will come to pass.

Xo
Sister Draper

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