Elder Peper

My Mission Experience

Movin’ On

Tracting in the Rain

It has been a couple of weeks since we received a letter in the mail from Riley.  However, I did have a chance to communicate with him via email this morning and get the transfer news.

Elder Peper is being transferred to Shawnee, Oklahoma.  This city is located about 45 minutes southeast of Oklahoma City.

His new companion’s name is Elder Whitaker.  They have not yet met, but will be meeting tomorrow. Riley must be packed up and ready to go by 7:30 am Wednesday, April 28.  His companion, Elder Jackson, will remain in Burkburnett and it sounds like Elder Whitaker”s companion, Elder Jaynes, will be moving to take Riley’s place in Burkburnett.  So, the two Elders are basically just trading locations and companions.  Elder Jaynes was Riley’s companion in the MTC.

Riley mentioned that the baptism they had last Saturday was awesome and he really enjoyed it.  I am not sure if his upcoming letter will talk about it much, as I have no other information, but he did share a photo:

We are looking forward to the Mother’s Day telephone call next week and also to receiving a letter about his new location, companion, etc.  He is doing very well, although he was under the weather today.  He had started packing late last night because he couldn’t sleep (says he wasn’t tired and was coughing a lot).  The guys plan to play some basketball today and then Riley said he would finish packing at some point after that.

As soon as we hear anything new, I will surely post it here.  In the meantime, you may continue to write him at the address listed.  Thank you all for your support, love and prayers for Riley.  And keep writing–he loves mail!

April 27, 2010 Posted by | Photos, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Miracle Moments

Dear Parents and Families,

Last week we held Zone Conferences in the Stillwater, Oklahoma City, and Lawton zones.  We practiced getting better at teaching the second lesson, “The Plan of Salvation.”  This was another exercise of drawing names out of the hat and giving them the topic to teach.  It is quite a miracle in itself that they can do this.  I have so much admiration for them.  If you ever want an exercise, try teaching the entire plan of salvation.  It would make a great home evening lesson.  It would also show the challenge of articulating the doctrine.  We also studied the Pre-Mortal Existence along with various other things.

I have mentioned before that I ask the missionaries to send me their little daily miracles.  President Gee also invites recent converts to share their testimony and their conversion story.  I will share a couple of examples:  The first is from a twelve-year-old girl who was just baptized.

“The reason I joined the Chruch is because I know the church is true and I think that if you feel comfortable somewhere and you believe the same thing that what your church tells you, then you should not be scared of what other people tell you and that is why I chose to get baptized at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I felt like I was as clean as I have ever been when I got baptized.  I felt like I was the only person on earth at that second.  I felt like I was the only one and God was holding me and telling me that he loved me and that I wouldn’t have to worry; that he would always be there.  I would never have to worry about being alone.  That is what I also loved about reading the Book of Mormon.  It taught me so much and I believe that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and well he is just awesome.  That’s how I feel.  Sincerely, Chelsey”

“Our new investigator is Angelia.  She’s a single mom and she has been waiting to know what God wants her to do.  Then we knocked on her door–twice!  The first knock, she said she wasn’t interested.  Then we talked to a guy in the parking lot.  Going back to our tracting we accidently knocked on her door again, but this time she asked for a Book of Mormon, and we made an appointment.  She says that the Holy Spirit told us to knock again.  Tell Sister Gee that God works miracles, even through stupidity.  Oh, and she came to church and hopefully we’ll start teaching her daughter this week.   Sister Goodell”

This is just a taste of what your missionaries are doing.  The weather is near perfect.  The Elders are in their shirt-sleeves.  The redbuds are blooming everywhere.  The redbud is the state tree and since I love magenta I think they are gorgeous.  Flowers are blooming.  Spring has sprung.  We all wish it could stay like this for a few months.  Have a great week.

Love, Sister Gee (and President Gee)

April 26, 2010 Posted by | Letters from Mission President/Wife, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Don’t Knock It ‘Till You Try It

I’m thinking of starting a Category for Missionary Recipes.  I’m sure with this entry you all will be so excited about the offerings that you will be clamoring for more.  Our first featured recipe from Elder Peper & Co. is as follows:

SAUSAGE EGG & CHEESE RAMEN SANDWICH

1 Package Beef Ramen

2 Eggs

1 Sausage Patty

Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Place ramen in boiling water for 10-15 seconds to slightly soften.  Slice ramen noodle block in half the long way.  Break eggs into bowl and stir in beef powder packet from ramen package.  Scramble eggs.  Heat sausage patty and lay patty on one half of Ramen block, add scrambled eggs, sprinkle cheddar cheese, and top with second ramen block.  Enjoy!  Elder Peper comments that this is very delicious! And added, “Don’t knock it ’till you try it.”

Please feel free to include your comments begging for more delicious recipes like this so that I can encourage the Elders to continue to photograph and offer up there fabulous concoctions.

In other news, Elder Peper says that things are still going very well.  They have a baptism scheduled for April 24 and their transfer date is April 28.  Riley mentioned that he is feeling ready for a change and would like to be transferred.  We will not find out until April 27 whether he is staying or going.  In the meantime, the work continues.

April 13, 2010 Posted by | Missionary Recipes, Photos, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Highway to Heaven

Highway to Heaven portion of the Wee-Chi-Tah Bike Trail

The missionary work in Burkburnett, Texas continues to move forward, although Elder Peper did have some disappointing news about an investigator they have been working very closely with for months.  She recently contacted the Elders and asked them to stop meeting with her.  Here is a bit of the story from Riley:

Elder Jackson and I were at Serviceman’s Group on Sunday and the Group Leader, Brother Chavez (coolest guy),  was giving a talk.  He was talking about when he was on his mission and shared how sometimes he would be teaching lessons and the Spirit would kind of take over, so that he and his companion couldn’t remember what they had said right when it was over.  I was wondering when that was going to happen with me.  Well, it happened with us at Janice’s this week.  We watched the restoration video with her, and she cried a lot. We set a baptismal date with her for April 10 and she accepted.  She admitted that the Lord had been telling her all along to get baptized, but she was ignoring the promptings.  We said a lot of stuff, and it was exactly the same situation that Brother Chavez had spoken about:  we couldn’t remember what we had talked about with her.  Right after we left, we couldn’t remember what we said, but we knew it was the best lesson we had ever taught.  So, Saturday morning we get a call from her. She tells us that she is sick and that she doesn’t want us to come over anymore. I’m not worried about her, though. She will miss having the Spirit around, and she’ll be baptized eventually, when she is ready.

Last P-Day, Riley’s District spent the afternoon on the Wee-Chi-Tah Bike Trail.  It is an 11-mile trail in their area that turned out to be a lot of fun.  They loved it so much, they are going back out again today.

We’re hitting the mountain bike trail again today. It’s 11 miles long, and it’s pretty fun. We hit all the double diamonds no problem (that should tell you how flat it is here.) It’s not terribly easy, but easy enough that I have no worries or problems. It’s fun stuff, and having a Camelbak is really nice as well.

Riley mentioned a portion of the trail called the Highway to Heaven (pictured above).  He said that it was really fun but “if you fall off, you are toast.”  I’m glad I’m not the worrying type.

April 6, 2010 Posted by | Photos, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Land We Belong to is Grand

Hello Again to Parents and Families,

Conference was wonderful as you know.  Here in Oklahoma City it was 84 degrees.  The wind came sweeping down the plain with a bit too much enthusiasm but we had a nice Easter weekend.  We have had a chance to visit with a few of the missionaries who all agreed that they loved conference.  It is like the Balm of Gilead to these missionaries to go into the security of the churches and just sit at the feet of apostles and prophets and soak in the Spirit.  Okay, it is possible that now and then someone nodded off for a while but they can read the messages later.  The music was heavenly.  When we first arrived here almost three years ago I greatly missed the easy contact with the influence of the church.  Sometimes I felt like I was “wandering to and fro to seek the word of the Lord” if you know what I mean.  Lately the Cox Network has included BYU Television on their listings so it makes it easier for members to tune in when they want to.

A while ago President Gee and I were traveling to Alva, Oklahoma and I was thinking about what I might tell you.  I started carefully watching the landscape and made a few notes to pass along to you.  I would bet not many missionaries tell you about the details here. I hope this will create a picture in your minds.

The leaves were not on the trees yet.  The skeletons of the trees were all that were showing.  They are strange looking trees but there are thousands and thousands of them.  They are squaty trees that look gnarled, tangled, cluttered and messy.  There is so much undergrowth that it almost looks trashy.  However, by now the leaves are coming out full force and in a few more days there will be a wall of thick and lush green.  We saw watery chocolate ponds all over the place.  Most of them are man-made.  The dirt here is red.  It is really quite pretty but it makes the water look contaminated.  There were many fields of brilliant green fall wheat.  Herds of Black Angus, and Charolais, populate those fields.  Sometimes there are Red Angus as well.  Once in a while there are Texas Longhorns who carry their heavy burdens on their heads.  There are also many herds of horses. The homes are mostly brick and there are many red barns.  The homes seem to be about 30 to 40 years old.  They are substantial and well kept.  A ride through the countryside is really picturesque.  Flags fly briskly, often straight out.

The highways and the medians are wide and the grass on the outsides and the medians is mowed and manicured.  In the summer we often wonder if they mow the whole state.  Eventually the trees thin out and leave massive fields with only a lonely tree now and then to dot the horizon.  Sometimes the only thing that adds variety are the telephone lines.  We even discovered there are some Great Salt Plains that are as white as snow.  We have loved going in any direction all over the mission.  We find every variety of landscape interesting and beautiful.  However, we along with everyone else who grew up around mountains really miss them.  I finally figured out the way to be happy is to enjoy what you have and try not to compare it with what you left behind.

Well, I guess that is enough of the travel-log.  We hope all is well with you and that you have a good week.

Love, President and Sister Gee

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

A Really Good Day (on a Really Long Street)

We just received a wonderful, and rather long, letter from Riley.  How exciting it is for me to hear that my son is working so hard at serving the Lord and loving it so much!  He truly loves the work and the people.  Here are some excerpts from his most recent letter:

Hey Everyone!

Things are going really well for us here.  Last week was a really good week.  Some good stuff has been happening here.  We have a baptism coming up on April 24, so that’s exciting. . . Today was a long day.  No, it was actually a short day, but it was hard work.  We’re out of miles for March, so we were on our bikes all day today.  It got up to about 80 today, but it felt good.  (Tomorrow is supposed to be 86 and Wednesday is supposed to be 92.)  But anyway, we tracted for quite a while today, and ended up getting a lot of success from this one street we tracted (a long street).  I wish I could compare today’s numbers with something you are familiar with, but I can’t.  So, just know that they are awesome.  We got five potential investigators today.  A potential is someone who asks us to come back at another time.  The good thing about these five is that they all set up specific appointments  for us to come back (which hardly ever happens).  We usually set a contact goal for a week at 90 contacts.  Today alone we were able to get 50.  It was just a really good day.

Also, on another note, I finished reading the Book of Mormon this morning.  You should see my scripture study journal now.  I wrote a summary for every chapter and also my thoughts on each individual chapter in the Book of Mormon.  That thing is cool!

The members here are really awesome.  One particular family told us that they would take us to the Wichita “Mountains” before this transfer is over.  So, that should be fun.  “Mt.”  Scott is the highest point in the mission.  I think it is a little over 2000 ft.  Haha.  That family is really cool, though.  They are both returned missionaries from a Switzerland mission.  They insist that they didn’t meet on their mission.  They have two young kids (a 7 and a 2-year-old, I believe), and they feed us about every other week.  The husband usually comes and plays basketball with us and some guys from the ward.

Let’s see . . . President Gee says that he is really impressed with our area, and how it’s progressed.  Brother Ferguson said that people have talked about how much they notice the work picking up in our area.  I love hearing things like that.  Not to make me feel good about myself, but to know that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

I’m going to be ready to get a new area, so I hope I get transferred on April 28.  I’m not sick of it yet, but I’m sure I’ll be ready for some change by then.  I wouldn’t mind staying for one more transfer if I ended up training a new missionary next transfer, but I doubt that that will happen.  Who knows.  Elder Jackson trained on his fourth transfer.  Maybe I will, too.  I so hope that I don’t stay Junior Companion next transfer.  I’d like to move up to Senior.  I’ve never been good at the “loser stages.”  It’s like the bunny hill of the mission, and I would like to move up.  Whatever happens is supposed to happen, though.

Tell Madi thank you so much for the letter.  It’s in my binder! Tell her I love her tons and tons and 100 pounds! . . . Oh, tell Laney that she needs to write me back, please. 🙂  . . .

All is well here, though.  I’m loving it!  My companion and I are anxiously waiting a tornado.  We hope to get one on film, so pray for that.  (Just kidding.)  We do want to see one, though.

Be sure to keep in touch.  Also, take those fat dogs for a walk!  Lucy doesn’t still sleep in my room, does she?

Well, I love and miss you all.  I can’t wait to call home in a little over a month!

Love,

Elder Peper

April 1, 2010 Posted by | Letters from Elder Peper, Photos, Uncategorized | 1 Comment