Missouri – week #54

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HAPPY FARM CITY DAYS!

Iola’s world famous and long awaited Farm City Days happened this weekend and it was SO FUN! People set up booths for their businesses on the square and there was a huuuge parade around the town. Sister Holt and I helped a lady in our ward set up her booth for her business (“Leaha’s Adorably Cute Creations” check a sista out). We got there at 6:30am to help her set up, then we did our studies and went back out during our lunch time to eat (we made sure to pick up some homemade apple butter…I love the Midwest)! Because the WHOLE TOWN was out, we tried to contact people there instead of knockin on their doors. We also supported members/investigators that participated in the parade! You know you live in a small, rural town when half the parade was just various farm tractors hahahaha. But it was sooooo fun. I love Iola!

We had another humbling experience this week (not really, just kind of funny). We drove an hour out to another town YEP STILL IN OUR AREA to try to contact some members. Our bishop told us to visit them because he said it would be “eye opening” for us “California girls” and eye opening it was! When we got there, the driveway was too muddy to drive on so we parked at the bottom and walked alllll the way up. in the mud (pretty sure this moment is why the Lord inspired President Love to transfer us here…I’m sure it was pretty entertaining to watch haha). When we made it inside, it was insane haha I wish I could describe to you what I saw. No electricity, no indoor plumbing. They had built their own house and it was all one room, no walls to separate the bedroom from the kitchen. They also only live off the land and they showed us their food storage room. It was nuts!! It’s been so interesting to experience different cultures and lifestyles here. There’s never a dull moment in the Iola Ward!

Alyssa is still doing really, really good and is all set for Oct. 28th!!! We are finishing her lessons this week!! Your prayers are really working, so keep praying for her! Also please pray for my other bff investigator Bailey; her husband is a member and she is sooooo close to accepting a bap date!

Lastly, I’ll just mention something that I learned at Zone Conference last week. Elder Larry Echo Hawk of the Seventy came to speak to us! Something I loved that he said was, “If you are having a perfect life or a perfect mission, the Plan of Salvation is not working for you.” My mission has NOT been perfect, it has been SO hard but also so good. He also mentioned the talk “Rise To Your Call” by President Eyring and it CHANGED MY LIFE. They talk is about church callings, but it fits so perfectly with missions too. Here’s my favorite part from it:

“Your call has eternal consequences for others and for you. In the world to come, thousands may call your name blessed, even more than the people you serve here. They will be the ancestors and the descendants of those who chose eternal life because of something you said or did, or even what you were. If someone rejects the Savior’s invitation because you did not do all you could have done, their sorrow will be yours. You see, there are no small callings to represent the Lord. Your call carries grave responsibility. But you need not fear, because with your call come great promises.”

I have seen the blessings come from serving the Lord and carrying out my calling. I invite y’all to read his talk too and see how you can magnify your calling :))

LOVE YALL

XOXO
Sister Draper

 

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Missouri – week #53

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Hey y’all!

Another week down in Iola Kansas! Some fun things about living in a small town: it’s super awkward when we see people we tracted into while we are in other public places. Like when they are ringing up our groceries…or when we sit near them in restaurants. hahaha also whenever we tell our Bishop in our weekly meeting who our new investigators are, he knows them already! Hahaha and lastly, kind of unrelated, but for the first time in my life, I ate dinner at a sit-down Pizza Hut restaurant #justiolathings. It’s been such a crazy adventure but I have the BEST compy ever she’s like my lil best friend and we’ve bonded over being Chanuted together.

Anyway, it was a week of high highs and low lows but as always, we saw a lot of tender mercies!

My good friend and homie John T Davies (my ward mission leader in Inde 4th) drove alllll the way down to Iola and took us and the elders out to lunch!! One of the elders serving here with us also had served in Inde 4th. And as we were at lunch, I realized that EXACTLY a year ago that day, I went to the temple with my trainer Sister Soto and we saw the sealing of John and his wife Betty!! Love my Missouri family. I also love my Kansas family hahaha I mentioned this a few months ago but I have a ton of Dokos relatives in Olathe, Kansas! John Dokos, my mom’s cousin, also drove down to Iola this last weekend and took Sister Holt and I to dinner. So many tender mercies.

Alyssa update: still love her, she’s still so solid. She texted us this a couple days ago and it made my whole week!: “I can’t imagine how hard it is being away for so long. Often times your labor goes unnoticed and it’s under appreciated. But I’m so grateful that you were sent here! I can’t even begin to say how much I love and appreciate you! I don’t think you know how much of an impact you’ve had on me!” Love love love her. Keep praying for her and her family pleaseeee. ❤️

Our comp studies this week have been 10/10 because #ldsconf. I have LOVED studying each of the talks we heard last week. Something that I’ve been focusing on lately is using the Book of Mormon more in my teaching. I wanna share an experience I had with the Book of Mormon from this week!

We drove to a little town one evening about 30 minutes away from our house #boonies. I was feeling pretty discouraged because no one was answering their door and we couldn’t find the people we were looking for and I just felt like we were wasting time being there. While we were driving around town, Sister Holt yelled “STOP THE CAR.” She saw two HUGE pigs in an outdoor pen and wanted to go see them hahaha. So naturally, we did, and got back in the car and headed towards our home. I had a thought to knock on the door of the pig house and kind of brushed it off. I knew that I would regret not following the prompting so I turned the car around and we tried the house. Tammy answered and let us RIGHT IN. We asked her if she believed in Jesus Christ and how she knew that He existed. She replied “well I almost died two weeks ago and He saved me” (actually the most common answer we get to that question next to “well He got me outta bed this mornin” hahaha). But we talked with her, shared a scripture in the Book of Mormon and testified how the Book of Mormon helps us come unto Christ and how our relationship with Him can be way more personal than that. We told her that we knew God was so aware of her and that is why we felt prompted to knock on her door. I know that is exactly where the Lord needed us that night.

The Book of Mormon brings so much POWER into our lives. I’ve begun to follow the counsel of President Monson and President Nelson by reading, pondering, and making lists of what the Book of Mormon teaches us. Here are the promised blessings of doing so: “I promise that as you prayerfully study the Book of Mormon every day, you will make better decisions–every day. I promise that as you ponder what you study, the windows of heaven will open, and you will receive answers to your own questions and direction for your own life. I promise that as you daily immerse yourself in the Book of Mormon, you can be immunized against the evils of the day…”

I invite y’all to do the same and see how your lives can change through the Book of Mormon.

Have a blessed day!
XOXO
sister draper

Missouri – week #52

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HAPPY OCTOBER! I’ve officially lived in the mission field for a year woooo!

Anywayyyy I feel like I always talk about Alyssa so I’ll update y’all on a couple other things before!

We are also working with the sweetest old black lady named Lillie! She was a former investigator and we’ve been trying to help her quit smoking. She’s 69 years old and started smoking when she was 10, so it’s been rough to quit! We are going through the addiction recovery program with her to help her quit before October 22nd. She is hilarious hahaha never a dull moment at Lillie’s. She’s your classic southern baptist girl but I love her so much. We are really happy because she watched Conference too and loved the MoTab hahaha

Another cool experience we had this week was finding our new investigator, Louis! We were out contacting people in Chanute with the Pennington’s, a young recent convert couple. They are AMAZING but yeah, Sister Pennington saw Louis sitting on his porch and said to US that we all needed to talk to him. Come to find out, Bro Pennington went to high school with him! This guy let us right in and we met his special needs son, Larry as well. Because we saw all of his family pictures on the wall, we started to testify of eternal families and perfected resurrected bodies. This softened Louis’ heart. Bro Pennington then testified how he would never regret investigating this church. Wow, it was so cool to see how having members with us totally allowed us to have a better opportunity to share the gospel.

And lastly, I still really love Alyssa! Haha. We were able to watch General Conference with her at our relief society president’s home, the Guernsey’s! The first day we met Alyssa, she asked us if she could drink coffee. We said no, but that we would teach and explain it in a later lesson. Well, Alyssa’s been living the word of wisdom from that day forward….a month now!!! We finally taught it to her yesterday and she was able to receive a priesthood blessing of comfort and strength. She said that she felt a burden lifted from her shoulders as Bro Pennington gave her a blessing. I’m so proud of her and I think she is amazing and so so special.

This general conference, I felt the underlying message of God’s infinite love for each of us. I’ve met a lot and taught a lot of people on my mission who worship God out of fear or feel hopeless because of past mistakes they have made in their lives. But I am so grateful to know that God loves us and often shows that love through modern day apostles and our beloved Prophet. I will never forget the experience I had with my first convert I taught, Amanda, who wept as she heard the voice of the apostles for the first time when they testified of God’s love. No one had ever told her that before!

I love and sustain God’s chosen servants on the earth. They are who they say they are and really, by their fruits we know them. During conference weekend as we drive around to different places, I just want to tell everyone that apostles and prophets are speaking to us RIGHT NOW!! Hahaha. I can’t wait to study these talks for the next 6 months until we hear from them again. God lives, He still speaks to us today, and through His Son’s gospel, we can have joy!

XOXO
Sister Draper

Missouri – week #51

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Greetings from Iola, Kansas! Home of the largest town square in the nation (YEP for real) and also the birthplace of THE General Funston (I don’t know who he is either but I love how Iola advertises their town to get more visitors hahaha Pawnee anyone?)

You wanna know what’s super strange here though? Kids can get farm licenses. When kids turn 14, they can get a farm license which is like a limited use license to drive to and from school and also to and from work (their family farm). So it’s super casual for me to see 14 year old kids driving cars/tractors on the roads hahaha. sometimes I still wake up and think to myself “wow…I can’t believe I live in Iola…” but I’m starting to really love this lil town!!!

Anyway, Alyssa is just on fire you guys. I feel SO blessed to have met the most prepared people on my mission. She is receiving SO much negativity and backlash for her decision (I will never understand why people hate Mormons so much!), but she is SO STRONG. She knows it is true and doesn’t need approval or a confirmation from anyone besides the Holy Ghost. I was studying and praying this week for her and looking for talks that might help with her situation. Well, during General Women’s session message from President Uchtdorf stood out to me:

“The promises of praise and acceptance by the world are unreliable, untrue, and unsatisfying. God’s promises are sure, true, and joyful—now and forever. I invite you to consider religion and faith from a higher perspective. Nothing offered in the great and spacious building can compare with the fruit of living the gospel of Jesus Christ. …
You cannot allow circumstances to make you sad.
You cannot allow them to make you mad.
You can rejoice that you are a child of God. You can find joy and happiness in the grace of God and in the love of Jesus Christ.
You can be glad.”
-President Uchtdorf

Nothing else matters to Alyssa besides her relationship with the Savior. PLEASE pray for her and her family. Can’t wait for October 28th!!

And speaking of baptisms, Bella’s baptism was so great! I missed the Stafford’s and the Doniphan Ward so much so I was so happy to see everyone!! Bella was so sweet and excited before and after her baptism. She kept telling us, “I got baptized today!” Also, on their way to the church building, Marcy and Bella were stuck in some traffic and pulled alongside a police officer directing traffic to see what was going on. Bella told the officer, “I can’t wait in this traffic. I’m getting BAPTIZED today don’t you know.” Apparently he moved the cones to let them through and they were on their way! Hahaha. But I just love them all so much and was so glad to see their special day. Working with the Stafford’s was such a huge miracle and has definitely strengthened my testimony of how the Lord cares for and reaches out to the One.

Lastly, I wanted to invite y’all to come listen to a prophet’s voice this weekend! I love General Conference so much and I am grateful for the Lord’s servants on the earth today. Write down a few questions and pray about them, I can promise you that they will be answered this weekend! Love y’all so so much!

XOXO
sister draper

209 S Sycamore St
Iola KS 66749

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

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