New and Peachy

Thanksgiving is coming but nobody cares...

Hola Familia, Amigos y Cualquier Otra Persona que lea este Email, We went into Walmart today and I couldn't quite determine the emo...

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Peed on by a squirrel! Alex Boyé was at church!

Family, Friends and Loved ones,  

Sorry for the weird subject line, but those were my highlights this week in a glance. I hope you all are doing wonderful as March is winding down! I love you all and am so grateful for your support :) 

I find that the more I talk in Spanish, the more weird things I say. Oh well. Makes it entertaining for everyone else :) The members and investigators will crack up when I mix up words with totally opposite words that sound the same to me. Or I just stare blankly at people and they repeat themselves 4 times. I am grateful for the endless patience of these wonderful people I love. 

Amanda. The name of a squirrel that had been caught and tamed by a member in the Chamblee Spanish Branch. The member had given Amanda to the elders and they brought her to District meeting so we could see her! She sat in my pocket and slept for a short bit, climbed on my head. And she became really still while sitting on my shoulder.... yup, my shoulder felt really warm and when I looked down there was a large wet spot on my shirt and some little squirrel poops. We ended up releasing her to the wild (right outside the temple grounds) and as soon as we set her down, she started walking into the street. Goodness. We picked her up and stuck her in a tree to help get her animal instincts kicking back in. 

Saturday was beautiful. Ya, the weather was great, but so many wonderful experiences happened as well. First, I GOT TO SEE SISTER LUNT!!! We arrived at the Atlanta Temple to meet Juan there (a recent convert) for his first time inside the temple and as we were walking towards the front of the temple I saw this sister waving/walking toward me. Let's just say I had a freak out moment when I saw Sister Lunt's face. Oh it was like hugging a piece of home! For those of you who are wondering who on earth Sister Lunt is, our families used to live right down the road from one another, her younger brother is great friends with my older brother and I love the Lunt fam to death. I knew she was in the Georgia Atlanta Mission too, but I didn't know when I'd get to see her. Such a blessed day! And seeing Sister Lunt only kicked off an incredible experience with Juan in the temple. We all felt the spirit so strongly as Juan did baptisms for the dead for the first time. He was baptized for and in behalf of his dad! So neat. 

This week we had General Women's Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!!! It was so wonderful to sit in a church here in Georgia and watch the broadcast from Salt Lake City, Utah. You Utah folks, you are so lucky that the times are normal for you... it feels so late watching the broadcast at 8 pm instead of 6pm! Our mission president counseled us to write down questions that we had, and then watch as they are answered by the Conference Messages. So, I wrote down a question that has been running through my mind and low and behold!! It felt like all four of the talks Saturday night during the General Women's Conference were directed specifically to me and what I needed! Wowsers. So inspiring. The Spirit was so strong during that meeting and I felt the unity of the millions of fellow women across the globe who are striving to be holy and good, right alongside me, in this world. If you didn't get the chance to watch the broadcast, don't fret: has it. And I invite every single one of you to watch General Conference THIS WEEKEND!!!!! I am so pumped to hear from the Lord's mouthpiece on the earth today and receive direction from the living apostles and prophets! Goodness gracious I'm so excited if you can't tell. 

I was playing the accompaniment for the congregational hymns at church on Sunday and  GUESS WHO I SAW SITTING IN THE BACK ROW OF THE CHAPEL??? ALEX BOYE!! He only stayed for Sacrament Meeting then left, so I didn't get a chance to obtain a picture as proof (sorry, you'll just have to trust me). I don't think he speaks Spanish... but I'm guessing a Latino congregation would be not at all likely to recognize him... so smart thinking on his part. 

We got transfer news. I don't like saying goodbye to the missionaries that are leaving our area and going to somewhere else in the mission. It's sad. But I know they will do marvelous things elsewhere in Georgia :) 

God is aware of each and every one of us. No matter what stage of life we are at or where in this world we are. He loves you. He loves you as much today as he did last month, nothing you do can change that. Christ is always there with His arms outstretched to us, bidding us to come to Him. His infinite Atonement is for us to use daily, to grow, repent, and progress. To become like Him. Take that leap and ACT on your faith. 

Yo se que nuestro Salvador vive!!

Con Amor, 

Hermana Draper

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Bet you wish you had sunsets like these...

Hey y'all!

This week went by faster than the others! So many wonderful people, delicious food, and of course, sharing the light of the Gospel. 

Zone Training was on Tuesday and it was just what I needed! The Spirit was so strong as we focused on having faith to find those who are searching for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We gained some new ideas on how to be more effective and pretty much how to just be better missionaries in general. Also had my second interview with my Mission President! President Foote has a heart of gold and so does Sister Foote. They are wonderful examples to me of true servants of the Lord and I love my "mom" hugs that Sister Foote gives since Mom is over in Utah.  

One thing I LOVED from Zone Training is the emphasis on who Christ is for you every day. The words JESUS CHRIST were written on the chalk board and we all brainstormed different titles associated with Christ. Some were: Son of God, Shepherd, Savior, Prince of Peace, Teacher, Lord of Hosts, Mediator, Emmanuel, Messiah, Example, Love of God, Light of the World, Great Counselor, Only Begotten Son, Redeemer, Master, Brother, and my favorite among all of them was FRIEND. Christ is our Friend. He is there for us every moment of every day. Not only when we are struggling and brings us to our knees or when life comes crashing down, but through the ups and the downs. Through all of it. He is the One who calms our troubled hearts, who wipes away our tears. Hit Atonement makes it possible for us to become clean from sin and have clean slates, second chances. I invite each of you to think about Christ's role in your life. Is he someone you only think about on Sunday or once a year at Christmas Service? Or is He someone who you know deeply, and are striving to have His image engraven on your countenance? I know He lives and loves each of you.

We had exchanges! Since the two sisters we live with are the Sister Training Leaders, it was pretty simple to "swap" companions for the day (that also means we'd be in the "english speaking" areas). I went with Sister Welch! We had quite the fun day walking through parks and contacting/meeting people and sharing the Gospel with them. Most of the time I would see a dog, run up, ask if I could pet it, and start playing with the dog while talking to the owner about Christ. It was quite the fun combo-two of my favorite things, dogs and the Gospel of Christ. At one point we were contacting potential investigators, who are people who they had previously met and might be interested in learning more about the Gospel. We knocked on this door and a cute Latina opened it. Sister Welch started talking and she looked so confused. "No english, no english." I instantly lit up and said "Habla espanol???" So I proceeded to talk with her and ended up setting an appointment for a later day to meet with her! I don't know 100% of what I was saying... or what she was saying... but I was talking and she was responding... thank you Gift of Tongues! 

Peeps, I am improving my cooking skills in the realm of Latino food. One of my favorite members named Gio taught me how to cook these fried rolled up taco things that are delicious and make my taste buds and stomach so happy :)

I love each and every one of you and pray that you are doing wonderful! I hope your families are healthy, safe, and happy! *HUGS*

Hermana Draper

Mosiah 14:3-6  A scripture from the Book of Mormon that paints the Atonement of Christ so beautifully. 

Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all.
A Georgia Sunset

Thursday, March 16, 2017

I'm wearing fleece lined tights in Georgia?

Family and Friends, 

Another week come and gone. And at the moment it is quite cold. This humidity thing makes the temp feel a lot worse than it does in Utah. It chills you to the bone. It's so weird. I can't believe I had to pull out my tights to keep my legs warm. 

For Preparation Day we went to... wait for it... THE AQUARIUM! I was in heaven among all the animals and learning more about them and their habitats. Basically a kid in a candy store. The ATL Aquarium is the only one that has WHALE SHARKS. Yes. I'm serious. Huge whale sharks in a tank. It was fabulous to see those huge bests swimming around and just enjoying life. We went to a dolphin show and I basically had a freak out moment as my favorite animals in the entire world splashed around and did flips in the air. Hey, along with all the missionary work you gotta let your kid side out right? 

We had ZONE CONFERENCE!! It was so wonderful to meet so many more missionaries in my area and learn more about how we can be better missionaries. President and Sister Foote are basically my parents away from home. They are constantly smiling and being examples of charity. We focused a lot on having the faith to find those who are searching for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

We had a touching lesson with Juan Carlos, who was recently baptized in December. We were talking about the blessings of the temple, one of them being baptisms for the dead. We set a date in two weeks to go with Juan to the temple! Juan had his dad's birth/death information and Sister Ewell was able to help him input the information into so that when we went to the temple in a couple weeks Juan would be able to be baptized for his dad. There was such a spirit of peace and joy in the room as we thought about the opportunity we were offering to Juan's dad on the other side in the spirit world. An opportunity to accept the ordinances done on his behalf. Because so many died without the knowledge of the Gospel of Christ, this gives EVERYONE a chance. God is fair. People aren't going to be condemned just because they didn't have the chance to learn of Christ here on this earth, they will have a chance to be taught the Gospel in the spirit world after they die. We have such an opportunity to serve them by doing those saving ordinances for them on their behalf!  

I pray you all are doing well and that your families are safe, healthy, and happy!

Usually I'd put my testimony in Spanish, but I figured I'd save you the Google Translate trip: I know that this Gospel is true. That Christ is our Savior and that through His Grace we can make it back to live with our Father in Heaven again with our families. There is such sweet peace this knowledge brings and I am so grateful for the countless blessings God continually pours down on us. 

Con Amor,
Hermana Draper

Monday, March 6, 2017

All is Well in Atlanta, Georgia

Familia y Amigos!

Oh how I love this work that I am about! I love the opportunity that I have to be here in Atlanta sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all that will hear this glad message. Even though I still trip over my own tongue with Spanish and I sometimes have no clue what people are saying, I know that the Spirit is constantly with us as we teach and helps carry the words unto the hearts of many. 

Just to give you a peek into my daily schedule, cuz I know a few of you are wondering what on earth I actually do all day :) We wake up at 6:30 am, go work out for 30 minutes and then have an hour and a half to get ready and eat breakfast. We have 30 minutes to plan out the day. From 9:00 am to 10:00 am we have personal study (scriptures and other Gospel resources) and then we have 30 minutes to an hour of companionship study. Thank goodness there is an hour in our schedule to study Spanish! We have another 30 minutes of a special "The First 12 Weeks" training for new missionaries that Hermana Ewell leads us through. Lunch for a half hour then the rest of the day is out and about Atlanta! We have teaching appointments or meetings. We go knock doors. Have meals at members houses and share spiritual thoughts. Service opportunities. Busy busy :) The day ends at 9:00 pm and then we head to bed between 9:30 pm - 10:30 pm. Sometimes conferences are thrown in. Every Monday is when we get to email and do things like laundry or grocery shopping. 

BTW: if you have any questions about what exactly I do, or what members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe, or anything at all, don't hesitate to shoot me an email :)

We went to go visit a less active member named Juana (same one I told you about last week). I love her to death. She sent us home with a couple containers of soup that we put in the back of our car. As we were arriving home, we noticed that one of the containers was broken... Yup. You can guess what happened next. I'm sitting in the passenger seat with creamy milk-white soup all over me and the seat with small chunks of corn. Looked like baby spit-up to give you a visual (cuz I'm nice like that :) ) It wasn't the most fun thing to clean up. 

A homeless guy showed up at church. That was interesting. So, he used to be blind and an Atheist. And have cancer. But now, he has regained his sight and the cancer has disappeared. So, where do those incredible experiences bring him to? A church. He thinks there might be some kind of God instead of the nothingness he used to believe in. It was touching to be able to testify to this man that THERE IS A GOD. And He is our Loving Heavenly Father and we are His children. That He sent us here to our earthly families to learn and to grow so that after this life we can return to live with Him again. 

Mini miracle! Tender mercies are all around us and happen each day, but one that comes to mind to share with you right now is what happened yesterday! Hermana Ewell and I were out knocking on doors and inviting all to come unto Christ. We also had the name and address of a person we were trying to find, so we decided to go find them. We arrived at the address and knocked on the door. A man opened the door. "Um... Esta Veronica?" (translation: Are you Veronica?) He shook his head and we proceeded to introduce ourselves as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He smiled and said "Soy un miembro" (I'm a member). Well, come to find out, this gentleman had recently moved to Norcross, GA with his cute family a couple months ago (so evidently Veronica must have moved) and didn't have any idea where the church building was or what time church was at for the Spanish Branch. And then looky there, a couple sister missionaries showed up on his doorstep and were able to give him the Church address and meeting time. I love seeing the Lord's hand in all things. 

I love you all so much and hope this week was wonderful for y'all! Know that you are in my prayers. Constantly be sending up prayers of gratitude for all that God has blessed us with :)

Yo se que Jesucristo vive!

Con Amor,
Hermana Draper

Picture: A cool mural we found in Atlanta!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Every street is named Peach-something...

Hey Everyone!

Coming from the cold tundra of Utah, the weather Georgia has is marvelous. So marvelous. I don't think I'll be saying that in a few months once the humidity hits, but for now... I LOVE 65-75 degree weather! 

This week has been full of ups and downs---with the language, with people, with myself. I am beyond grateful for an understanding Savior who walks this road right beside me.

So, every week we have a District Meeting and for my very first one I was asked to give a 5-10 minute training on Charity and Love. Ok, a few things A) 5-10 minutes is IN NO WAY ENOUGH TIME to even sort of cover that topic B) Thank goodness it was in English C) I am SO grateful for FFA and the facilitation background it provided me D) In our District there are 3 companionships, two sets of Elders and one set of sisters (me and Hermana Ewell). It went well! I picked a couple points of my topic and expounded on those. Plus, an Elder in a different district dropped a box of donuts off. Yes. 

I taught Bible Class on Wednesday. In Spanish. Now, did anyone understand me? Mmmmm... LOL... good question. Not quite sure of how much they understood from me, but the Spirit is the true teacher and I'm grateful for its guiding presence in our discussion of 2 Samuel. The other Elders and my companion said I did great and that people got what I was saying, sooo... better than nothing! 

Hermana Ewell had some type of 24 hour bug this week, so we spent one day in our apartment. While she rested, I studied. Even though it was disappointing to be indoors and not out sharing the Gospel, it was honestly a tender mercy of the Lord to spend a day simply learning more of Him. Part of my studies included reading the talk "His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox. Read it (the full version). Oh my goodness it is marvelous. Marvelous is an understatement. It puts so simply what Grace is, and how it can help to transform us. I know that Christ lives! And that the Atonement for the sins of the world was not a 'favor' He did for us, but an investment He made in us. He desires us to become like Him, in our thoughts and actions and we can do that through using the gift of the Atonement. How can we better be His hands here on this earth? How can we better do what He asks? 

At church yesterday I found I was able to understand quite a bit of what was being said! The Gift of Tongues is slowly taking hold! Still can't understand everything, but hey, progress is progress. A less active member named Juana (she's from Guatemala and in her mid 70s or so) who we had visited this past week came up to me and started rattling off about how I looked like an angel. She's really eccentric and calls me Princesa or Cinderella :) LOL 

I pray that each of you look for the blessings that God so abundantly rains down upon us! I love y'all so much and hope this week treats you wonderfully!

Yo se que Jesucristo es nuestro Salvador y que mediante Su Expiacion, podemos llegar a ser limpios de nuestros pecados. Tenemos la mejor bendicion en todo el mundo! El Evangelio! Necesitamos compartirlo! 

Con Amor,
Hermana Draper 

PS: I found out that I am one of 5 Spanish Speaking Sisters in our ENTIRE Georgia Atlanta Mission of about 200 missionaries. 

Picture: Last P-Day we got to go to the temple! Hermana Ewell and I, and the other set of sisters who lives with us.