Elder Peper

My Mission Experience

Christmas Packages Finally Received

Here's where I'm going!

We received a lengthy hand-written letter from Riley yesterday.  It was dated January 1. He reported that he had not yet received our Christmas package as of that time.  However, in his email today, he noted that the package arrived on January 2.  He also received the packages sent by both sets of Grandparents and was very appreciative–noting that Grandma Peper made and sent her delicious cookies.  It seems he and his companion have received a lot of cookies.  Riley advises that they have a bench press in the apartment and are using that, so I needn’t worry about him gaining weight.  Hmmmmm.

We received several photographs today in Riley’s email.  I am unfamiliar with this blog site and all of its inner-workings, but will attempt to upload/post a few of the photos here.  For those of you on facebook, there are a large number of photos posted on Riley’s profile.  It is really fun to see him in his new surroundings.  He looks good and always notes in his letters and emails that he is doing “excellent” and/or “awesome.”

He says the weather forecast in Wichita Falls is calling for more snow (oh, those poor Southern folks), but that the forecast changes constantly so they just never really know. He and his companion are traveling to Oklahoma City tomorrow for meetings with the Mission President. He was bemoaning the trip, as it would cost them 300 of their precious allotted 1100 monthly miles.

He notes that they have 4 baptisms slated for January, and he’s very excited about that.  One of the women that they are working with is an ordained minister and is torn between what she believes to be true and losing her ministry.  She’s a very strong woman, but this is quite a difficult choice for her at this time. She wants to continue meeting with the Elders and working through this challenge, though, at least for now.

He closes his letter with the usual statement, “I love hearing from everyone, so be sure and write often!”

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January 5, 2010 Posted by | Photos, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

A Letter from the Mission President’s Wife

President and Sister Gee

It seems, perhaps, that periodically the Mission President’s Wife, Sister Gee, sends a letter to the parents of all the missionaries in their area.  We received her lovely letter today.  I’d like to share some of her letter with you:

One thing we learned last Sunday [as church services were canceled due to the snow storm] was how much it means to have church meetings to attend.  There was a lost look in the eyes of missionaries who were facing a sabbath without church.  Yesterday President Gee and I were excited to attend our regular ward.  As Sacrament Meeting began the bishop announced we were only having Sacrament Meeting because there was ice damage to the Stake Center where we meet.  It seems that during the blizzard last week the wind blew snow into the “attic” of the church and there is now a ton, literally, of ice that somehow has to be removed.  A chunk broke off and fell through the ceiling of one of the classrooms.  Part of the church is barricaded so we can’t use it.  We looked at each other and whispered that we would find another ward to attend.  One hour of church just doesn’t cut it.  It was Fast Sunday yesterday.  In our meeting the Elders gave the prayers.  One of them bore a gentle but powerful testimony.  He talked about the responsibility of wearing the nametag with Christ’s name on it.  He said, “I have never felt completely adequate since the moment I put this nametag on in the MTC.”  His humble reverence for what he is doing touched my heart.  I have to admit I have had the same feelings.  We did attend another ward later in the day.  Two very tall Elders were at one of the chapel doors, being so friendly to the members who came into the chapel.  At the other door were four beautiful Sisters.  (Two were just there for a few minutes.)  They were greeting members as well.  When it was time for testimonies suddenly all four missionaries were coming forward to bear their testimonies.  I am sure I was glowing like the proud parent that I am.  I was edified by the power of their testimonies.  Two of them have only been in the mission field for a week and a half.  You would love to see those Elders.  They are both about six feet, six inches tall.  I laughed when they were paired up.  I said, “Either nobody will answer their doors because they are afraid or they will just open the doors and do exactly what you tell them to do.”

Sometimes missionaries are a bit overwhelmed by the things they have to do which go against their natures.  Just because they have put on a suit or a skirt doesn’t mean it is suddenly easy to talk to perfect strangers about such a sensitive subject as religion.  One Elder said to me, “I like to talk to people but I just can’t go up and knock on doors.”  I smiled and said, “You can do it for the Lord.”  He nodded his head and agreed he would do it for the Lord, but the strength comes from knocking over and over again.  Eventually they overcome their hesitancy and become strong messengers.  There are many things we will do for the Lord that we would never do for any other reason.

Some other challenging things are rolling out of bed before the sun gets up, exercising to stay flexible and toned, approaching study time with enthusiasm and desire, and putting on the suit and tie.  Yet the consistent obedience to the outlined schedule produces a disiplined and prepared missionary.  These next days are going to be challenging because it is going to be bitterly cold.  They will know what it means to “suffer” for the Lord.  We will, however, give them advice to be sensible and careful in what they do.  Here’s hoping they have good hats and neckscarves.  We will take good care of them.  I just have to remember that many of them would be happy to be out on the ski slopes in sub-zero weather and they are pretty tough.

There was a lot of shoveling snow and doing service during this last week.  Our neighbors almost got emotional for the help the assistants and President Gee gave them in cleaning off their driveway.  Oklahomans were kind of stunned at the magnitude of the job to remove the snow.  Perhaps these small acts of service will open some doors.

Well, I guess that is enough for now.  To the parents of the new missionaries I will just say they are doing fine.  On Wednesday we will spend the day with them and their trainers.  It is always a fun and rewarding day.  The funny thing is that the trainers almost learn more than the new missionaries do.  We appreciate all the good that these missionaries are doing.  We hope they can feel our love and approval.  Sometimes they have to be prodded a little.  That is President Gee’s job.  Mission Presidents have to follow the Lord’s example when he said, “Those whom I love I chastize.”  When the missionaries are teachable they experience remarkable growth.  Your encouragment is vital to their happiness and diligence.  Have a good week.

Love, President and Sister Gee

January 5, 2010 Posted by | Letters from Mission President/Wife, Uncategorized | Leave a comment