Elder Peper

My Mission Experience

Christmas Day

15" of Snow in Wichita Falls, TX

Riley was able to call home on Christmas Day–one of the two annual days on which the missionaries are allowed to telephone their families.  Mother’s Day is the other allowed day for a telephone call home.

After having spent just under three weeks in the MTC (Missionary Training Center), Riley flew into Oklahoma City on Monday, December 21, spent the night in the Mission Home, and then moved into an apartment with his trainer in Wichita Falls, TX.  This is Riley’s third time living in Texas, but first time as a missionary.  He is currently serving in a small town in Texas called Burkburnett.  It is our understanding that he is also serving the Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, which is within walking distance of his apartment.

Riley’s trainer is a young man from Henderson, NV (Las Vegas area).  His name is Elder Joe Harless.  When speaking with Riley over the phone, he mentioned to us that he really liked Elder Harless.  Although they had only been together 3 or 4 days at the time we spoke, missionary companions are basically required to remain together at all times.  Therefore, Riley would have quickly discovered any glaring challenges he might have with his new companion and I expect he would have shared his concerns on the call.  It’s a relief to know that he is getting off to a good start with his first companion.

It seems that the boys’ ability to get a good start to their work, however, was slowed by a massive snow storm on Christmas Eve day.  Wichita Falls and the surrounding areas received 15 inches of snow–a first in 24 years.  The city doesn’t own a snow plow and the citizens have no experience removing it or driving in it.  The two missionaries spent Christmas Eve Day in suit pants and inappropriate footwear digging stranded motorists out of their unfortunate predicaments.  Missionaries are not allowed to drive their cars in the snow or ice and were also unable to ride their bikes.  Therefore, they were unable to make their Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinner appointments, but were taken in and fed by a couple of nice investigators and member families nearby on those days.  How grateful I am as a parent for the kind and giving people out in the world who are caring for and feeding my boy.

Due to the bad weather, mail was also not making it to Riley and his companion.  According to an email we received from Riley on Tuesday, December 29, their mail truck was stranded on Thursday, Christmas Eve, and did not get out of the snow until Monday, December 28.  That truck contained only the mail it was carrying when it became stranded and no new mail had arrived as of Tuesday.  I know Riley was expecting several Christmas packages and am hopeful he has received them by now.

In any event, Riley sounds excited to be where he is and very enthusiastic about the work.  He is in good spirits and did not sound homesick in the least.  He mentioned again how much he loves receiving mail and he seems to be pretty good at writing letters in return.  We are expecting to get some photographs from Riley in the near future and will post them as they are received.

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January 4, 2010 - Posted by | Photos, Uncategorized

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