Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Letter home - May 31st 2011

hey family

So yesterday being memorial day the library was closed so i am emailing now at 4 on Tuesday, yesterday we lost our phone somehow hahaha its not fun and we have no idea where it could be cause we were pretty much at home all day so we think it might have gotten stolen at Wal-Mart but we don’t know how. anyway lately we’ve been in a big finding stage we have been biking a lot and knocking a lot, we’ve found lots of cool people but they for some reason aren’t progressing at all so its been hard trying to teach them, this last week for some reason we ran into a lot of people who have hated Mormons and wanted to bash us one guy called us the false church of Jesus Christ and said hes studied on the Mormons, but i wonder what he been studying from? those people are pretty common down here. funny story so last Monday after i emailed we always ride past a Baptist grave yard that is raised about 4 feet above the ground and we decided to go jump our bikes off it so when i got close to the edge my tire caught the bricks on the edge and i just fell off the 4 foot drop and i tore up my white shirt and my hand and elbow got all scratched up, my backpack also got a little hole in it which im pretty mad about, so that was fun and i bruised my thigh really bad, so its hurt all week and still hasn’t gone away completely. Then  i also one night somehow lost my pocket nametag and so had to wear my clip on one and that one broke off cause it caught a door so now i have a ghetto nametag that has tape on it hahah it so funny, so i have to order new ones now. 

its starting to get really hot the last 3 days its been blazing and the thing is when you sweat here you stay sweaty all day even when you go inside so we’ve also been biking far distances lately so we have just gotten so stinking soaking wet from all the sweat, i hope i get a car soon, maybe next transfer cause it really is just almost unbearable.

we get lots of member meals but when we aren’t being fed we make good stuff sometimes enchiladas or we eat left overs from our lunch on Thursdays with bro Wilson he takes us to lunch after we go out with him. its hard to just make like healthy meals but we usually make smoothies every morning and put spinach in them or we eat oatmeal so we eat as healthy as we can its just money is so tight .

something i would like is a red marking pencil that is specifically for scriptures cause the ones you sent me are good but they won’t mark very well and it makes the pages all wrinkly, so you might be able to find them at deseret book, also could you guys print the inconvenient messiah by president Holland, and act in all diligence by pres Eyring from the may 2010 conference  

 i got the letter with the pictures in it but i never got the memory card and i thought it would be in there but idk, ya im going to need more shirts haha plus since my other one got ripped from my crash. We didn’t have to talk this week, the wards over here are way different they like aren’t as focused on missionary work really and really do much to help our converts out so its really hard trying to get the ward involved, but i did speak i think it was 3 weeks ago, i forgot to tell you guys and it was on the gift of the holy ghost, it went really well. who are the missionaries who are in the ward? so is mom gonna drive my car then? after you sell the sequoia. i cant really wrap my finger up in a straight position cause im always writing things down and so if i do that i wont be able to write so i really dont know what to do about it haha plus yes i do write things down i write in my planner all the time about our investigators, i tried wrapping it Sunday and it felt better after but i cant do that all the time. oh and can you send my muscle rub stick, that would be really nice haha cause my legs are so tight, i sent you guys a package today with the shirts and grants birthday present, it is SWEET! ;) 
 That’s sweet that the dbacks are in 1st place, how did they manage to get so good so quickly, who on the team is playing good?
In your letter you guys said that the coyotes are staying for another year? what’s the details on that? i got really excited to hear that, and is the matt hulsizer guy still wanting to buy them? what happened to the thrashers? that is a little weird that they would move to Canada, anything else going on in the sports world

i love the pictures you sent, keep sending some i like having them to look at all the time. hows duncan doing, is he still thinking of a mission, what is eric thinking about on his decision to serve a mission or not?

well i dont know what else to say so im gonna go, im working hard and doing my best, keep praying for me cause i really need it to help me get through each day, i havent prayed so much in my life then now, each morning we have sacred grove time where we take turns going into the bedroom and praying outloud like in the sacred grove ha its so awesome maybe you could tell dylan to do that cause its so awesome, oh we get our new mission president at the end of june so that is in this transfer its gonna be interesting to see the changes and what happens, i love you guys and i love the gospel.

Elder Harper

Monday, May 23, 2011

Letter home - May 23, 2011

so this last week was crazy we had interviews with president McConkie on wednsday, mine was good and short he was just like so how are you doing adjusting and stuff, its still normal to be homesick still and stuff and he told me that i have great expectations, so i hope i can soon live up to those expectations. it was my first and last interview with him cause president Holm comes in at the end of june. sister McConkie has a scrapbook page for every single missionary they have had so i got to up date mine of coarse it was the last time doing it so im only gonna have one are and one comp on my sheet, we also get our ties cut at zone conference next month so i got figure out which one to wear haha.
ohh haha so i finally crashed for the first time on my mission! tuesday it rained all day so we had to ride our bikes in the rain and my pants and shoes got soaked, anyway since it was raining to road was slippery and we were riding kind of on a busy overpass on the freeway and i got to close to elder laws tire and clipped it and i just lost my balance and skid on the ground i braced myslef with my left hand, but to my suprise i was fine and nothing was scratched, then 10 minutes later we were going fast down a hill and there are no sidewalks so we ride on the edge next to the grass, i went a little off on the grass and tried to get back on the road and my tire slipped and i just ate it bad, both my hands hit first and my fingers poked holes in my gloves but they are still good but my left wrist was sprained a little and it hurt. after that i got mad i was just so upset cause it was raining i was wet and cold and now i crashed twice so haha that was dumb.
we baptized (name) on saturday, everything went well. she even invited her nonmember friends and family and we watched the restoration video. she is an awesome lady has a strong testimony.
transfer calls came on saturday night and me and elder law will be together for another 6 weeks which we kinda already knew because of the new training program. but one of our spanish elders, elder allred is being transferred to myrtle beach we think so thats a bummer but its normal, one of our zone leaders elder larsen goes home on Wednesday, kinda funny seing him get all trunky, its just a little weird seeing guys go home and see them come back after, it doesn't help me with being homesick either.
this week was hard, i had a stressful week, i dont know. i work hard and i do what im supposed to do, its not that im worried about my teaching skills or anything its just that im so worried about not knowing the area well enough not being as happy as i want to be or know i should be because im dong the lords work, like i think since everything is so different and the people are so different i have a hard time loving them. its like i just want to be in my own shell and not be bothered, and it doesnt help that we are always in akward situations when contacting. Ive read lots of talks to help me try and get over homesickness but like i am just always thinking of home and family and what i could be doing back home and it just gets me so depressed and i get discouraged, and i dont want to be depressed or discouraged. its so hard for to just forget about home completely and focus on my investigators and  the people in the ward and it makes me feel like im a bad missionary or something haha. i would really like some help, and maybe its just that im still a new missionary but i thought i would be over it by now. and sometimes to be honest i get bored with doing the same thing everyday. but i do it regardless cause i know its my duty, it is hard sometimes not knowing how to help people or what to teach them.
Grant: sounds like you had a great time at spring football practice, and also with baseball, your doing a great job with baseball keep working hard and trying to always get better, home runs are sweet, keep crushing them. ya send me some pictures printed out and send them in an envelope with some of the pictures you guys have already put up on the emails so i can look at them when i want, i cant believe you will be a junior when i get home that's crazy you'll be so much older and be driving dude thats crazy. some advice for your talk is to start preparing to be a missionary now start reading the book of mormon and preach my gospel chapter 3 all the missionary lessons thats what you need to know cause in the mtc they don't teach you bout the gospel they teach you how to teach the gospel so you need to know about it before you go on a mission. also i need my sports update on asu and stuff
alli: sounds like your science project went well. excited for school to be over?
hey how is duncan doing and all my friends?
hope you have a good week this week and i hope mine gets better too, keep praying for me please.
Elder Harper

Monday, May 16, 2011

Letter home - May 16, 2011

 hey home, fam and everyone
so this week was crazy we went on exchanges with the spanish elders again and the zone leaders haha it was some good fun. first i went with our zone leader elder nelson and worked in his area i slept at his apartment and we ate pulled pork peices for dinner and diped them in pork sauce stuff ahhhh it was soo good, and then woke up the next day and worked in his area it was fun i was basically like a zone leader for a day we just drove everywhere we only had like 4 appointments for investigators but we just had to cover so much ground we drove an hour to get to a baptism interview and we were there for a long time but we had fun we blasted alex boye and chruch music in the car all day and wore sweet sun glasses it was funny then. met back up with elder law that night and thrusday me and elder law were together and went out with bro wilson like we do every thrusday he took us to mannys. well have to go there after i get home. then we had to help a family move for a couple hours and had a lesson that night with wanda the lady we are baptiseing this weekend. then friday i went on exchanges with elder allred in our district who is a spanish elder so i went and did spanish work all day haha since i dont know spanish he would teach all the lessons by himslelf and i would kinda get bored and stare off into nowhere haha i kept falling asleep during lessons cause we just sat there for like an hour and a half and i did nothing lol we had one guy we knocked into a guy who was grilleing carne asada and he had his door open so he let us in and we went in and he closed the door and the air conditioning wasnt on either so no AC and the house is filled with smoke that smells like carne asada and earlier this week it rained a lot and its been super humid all week so we are just baking in this guys trailer for like an hour and a half we forgot about our dinner appointment and i just started falling asleep and wakeing up and i understood when he told the guy the first vision but other then that i didnt know what was going on but aparently he commited to be baptised. that was a fun day just cause i said nothing during any lesson and i was way tired. then on saturday it was really overcast and was going to rain so we were biking and almost to a place were a kind of investigators house and it just started pouring on us all of a sudden so we had to bike really fast up this hill around the corner down the street and dropped our bikes and sprinted under the porch adn sat there for an hour haha we were souked  but we biked a lot saturday up lots of hills and we went to go see a lady who we gave a pamphlet to but we got there and she had looked at like anti-mormon stuff and thought joseph smith was a murderer and stuff so we knew we were going to drop here cause her heart was hardened and she kept asking questions and then i just was like started tlking about the book of mormon and were it came from and how i knew it was true, i basically didnt know how i was saying all this information it just started coming out and after we walked away i told elder law that that was the spirit speaking threw me cause i dont remember a single word i said other then "the bom is a record of the gospel in the ancient american contenant"  it was pretty sweet to see how god works thruogh us when we least expect him too and how if i just keep studying and working hard each day whether i might want to go out and do it or not if just keep being obedient he will help me. I really have been straing to have a lot more fun this week has been the best week of my mission so far i learned how to be simple when i teach to have fun and always make a situation seem better then it really is, like on saturday me and elder law just had fun even tho we biked a lot we joked a lot rode down a muddy hill and got all muddy and elder law rode off the trail into the bushes it was a crazy fun week and i grew a lot this week. yesterday we had a fast and testimony meeting with 2 other zones and president McKonkie and every missionary bore their testimonies, mine was just on having fun and if you dont have fun on your mission then you wont enjoy it cause thats what i learned cause for the last month of being out here i havent really been having fun its been a struggle but ive learned that i just need to find a way to make it fun every day.

well thats all i hav for now i got to go i love you all and its hard but im starting to have a lot more fun.

Elder Harper

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Boiling Springs, South Carolina

Harper/Law area - Boiling Springs. On the South Carolina/North Carolina border.

Weather proof bike seats

Working hard. Notice the plastic bag on the bike seat. Working that seat tooo hard.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Letter home - May 9, 2011

so ya i loved talking to you guys yesterday, it made me feel a lot better kinda made me feel at home, cause ive just been having a really hard time just trying to adjust. i still am having a hard time, like its really hard to get up every morning and work out and stuff and just study for 3 hours, it almost gets to the point where im like ahhh i don't want to study hahaha and the same with proselyting like we only have one investigator and there are so many baptists around here and everyone we talk to is never really interested so it gets super annoying cause all we do all day is visit maybe 1 or 2 leads and most of are leads are kinda lame cause they say ya i guess you could call me or come by next week so its hard to discern whos really a good person to see and other then that we pretty much knock doors all day and that gets old really fast cause we pretty much know what people are going to say to us even before they open the door and we might even get lucky if someone even say anything to us, a lot of the time they open the door see that we have a book of mormon in our hands and say nooo! and slam the door, so thats really regular for us and so i like dont want to go knock doors cause i know whats going to happen and it just stinks, but at the same time we have to cause we only have one investigator, so i try to be happy and stuff but im just so bummed every day cause nobody ever wants to listen to us, and also we contact a lot of people in so many awkward situations where you dont know what to say or how to say it and that makes it hard too.
but i thought since i started telling you about my daily schedule yesterday and i never got to finish i would out line it for you, 6:15- 7:00 workout, eat breakfast. 7:00-8 shower, dress.8-9 personal study. 9-11 companion study (only for this first 12 weeks then its normal 9-10) 11-8 tracting, visiting appointments, eat lunch at 1 or 2, if we have a dinner appointment its normally at 5 or 6 then we go out contacting till 9 or if we dont have a dinner appointment we come in at 8 and eat and then stay in and plan for tomorrow and get ready for bed, write in journal and stuff, its lights out at 10:30 but we can go to bed as early as we want as long as we are done planning and done with everything. and thats my day usually every day.
jared anderson is the guy in our ward that bishop knows hes super cool, hes only 27 i think so hes young and hes paula's home teacher so hes helping us do the new member discussions on monday nights.
um every morning during comp study our zone leaders send out a popnot or like a motivating  scripture and one of them this week was DC35:13-14 it was pretty cool and helped motivate me a little.
well thats my letter for this week being a missionary is superrr hard i never thought it would be this hard but i know im learning everyday and i work hard and do my best everyday even when i dont want to go to work, cause thats how you get through each day, its hard to remember stuff cause my mind is going a hundred different directions but i try to do my best and thats all i know how to do it. i love the gospel and i know this is what im supposed to be doing and i know the lord will help me do this work 
Elder Harper  

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Letter from week of April 24, 2011

all has been going pretty good so far with my 3rd week in boiling springs, we are doing lots of tracting and have found a couple new people to teach but its funny yesterday on easter we found this lady and she wasnt interested at firts but she liked the history of the book of mormon and started talking to us a little we tried to tell her what we believe and everytime we would try to answer a question she would ask another so we knew she was bashing us, we learned about that in the mtc haha it was funny she said a prayer and asked god to help us find the truth lolol we were just laughing as we walked away, anyway thats a side story.
yes we did baptize both times this week, i got to baptise tatiana on saturday that was super cool we got into the font and we knew the water was hot but we got in and it was pretty scalding haha cause there is no temperature gage its just a valve off and on switch and when i said the prayer i started to say the baptism for the dead prayer because on thursday we went down to Columbia for a training meeting and all the trainers and trainees got to go do baptisms and i got to baptize so i still had it in my head aha, funny thing is after the baptism of tataina that night we called pres McConkie to ask him a question and he asked us how the baptisms went and elder law told him about my goof up and pres said that we would make it into his journal that night hahaha so now i can say i made it into an apostles sons journal.
we have to ride our bikes everywhere and there are like no sidewalks so we ride on the road with the on coming traffic ( haha pray for me that i dont get ran over) and we have to ride on the highway that goes through town everyday and i think i have seen more dead animals on the roads here in 3 weeks then i saw in 4 years of running on the roads at home and stuff haha like every 5 minutes there is a dead bird or dead squirel or something yesterday i almost ran over a full size posum ha i was too close behind elder law and he hoped over it and i just bairly missed it, it freaked me out lol.
the weather has been really good since ive been here not to hot, we dont get that much humididty cause we are far away from the beach but its still pretty humid, now its starting to get hotter and we ahev made plans to ride out to landrum and inman and down to spartanburg so we might be sweating like a pig in a souna pretty soon. last night we got a less active guy named joe to come over to our ward mission leaders home for easter dinner haha it was such good food home made bread and honey baked ham, first real somewhat southern meal i guess its not really southern. oh there is a place called zaxby's out here its like a southern fast fod joint pretty yummy chicken and seasoned fries, we will go to it when im done with my mission. anyway about joe i saw him at church and didnt know why but i kept thinking about him all day and we had to invite someone over for dinner with our ward mission leader so i suggested joe and it ended up being a really good experience for him cause hes been getting more active but doesnt have any friends so he looks like hes become good friends with our mission leader and more comfortable with us he gave us some referrals. i think it was cool i followed the spirit and when i acted on it there was a great outcome.
we dont really make our own dinner we normally have members feed us but we make our own breakfast and lunch, haha we have soooo much candy.
being a missionary is sooo hard i thought we would just be teaching some people and planning out there lessons and just some routine stuff but its crazy well at least its harder when your being trained cause they just changed the training curriculum its more then just following the example of your trainer now they have like this whole mapped out schedule for comp study each day for 12 weeks ( we are now supposed to be with our trainers for 12 instead of just 6 weeks) and there is so much stuff i have to learn its set up to where i should be able to traina new missionary by the end of the 12 weeks i think thats kind of crazy but whatever cause we most likely wont be doing that. anyway it is really hard learning how to properly plan out your day and the upcoming week and trying to remember all the people who you contacted who want to you to come back or who are kind of interested um trying to remember the needs of like 8 or 9 different investigators remembering what you taught them and what they need to be taught next, and all the little things and everything is so important or else you might lose there interest or something soo getting used to that has been hard and im still having a hard time. i know the area a little better i think i know which way is north haha i need to buy a gps though cause they dont provide us with them. its still been hard to be happy all the time, like getting up and wanting to study all the stuff for about 4 hours  its been hard but i know it will come sooner or later, it kinda has to so that has been kinda frustrating and i know thats what satan wants is me not to be happy so ive trying to force myself to be happy and just not think about home and stuff cause that gets me off focus. 
Grant: we had our leadership training meeting with a bunch of the zone leaders and district leaders and i was there cause my trainer had to be there. they talked about how the kids who will be going on missions in the next years to come and from now on basically need to know about the doctrine we teach at church and in seminary and stuff because they dont teach you it in the MTC they teach you how to teach it in the MTC so befroe you go in you need to know the doctrine so what you should do is get a preach my gospel from bishop or someone and start reading through it especially chapter 3 it has all 5 lessons they we teach out here and we have to have those pretty much known so it would be good for you and dad to start reading those maybe and make sure you pay attention in seminary cause i didnt that much, and when you come out you need to know more then i did when i came out.