Elder Peper

My Mission Experience

Elder Peper Phones Home

So, yesterday was Mother’s Day, which is a big deal for missionaries and their families because they get to speak on the telephone.  Riley had arranged with us to call after 5 pm, so we planned our dinner early in order to be free to focus on the call when it came in.  We were not sure what time after 5 he would call, as his companion also would need to call his family, but the call came in right on time at 5 pm.

Speaking on the phone after 4 1/2 months was interesting.  Riley has been very good about communicating via letters and email, but the telephone call allows for questions and details about things that don’t necessarily come up in the letters.  We learned a bit more about how things work with regard to Districts, Zones, District Meetings, etc.

We found out that, as of last Thursday, Riley has another new companion.  This makes his fifth companion in five months!  He and Elder Whitaker were together for only one week when Elder Whitaker ended up going home.  His new companion is Elder Stokes.  I have forgotten where Elder Stokes is from, but Riley says they are getting along fine.  It’s interesting to me that Riley rarely says anything negative about his current companions.  It seems he’s able to find the positive in all of his companions while they are working together and I admire that. I am sure it benefits him greatly in staying positive and accomplishing the work.  He’s had a couple of companions that he has been particularly fond of and who I am sure  have added greatly to the positive experiences Elder Peper is having in the mission field.

His last district in Texas had 10 missionaries.  His new district has only 4 missionaries, and the other pair of Elders in this district is situated about 25 minutes away from Riley and his companion.  They still meet every Friday for District Meetings, but they do not get together on P-Days (their day off).  Riley loved P-Days in Texas because there were so many guys to play basketball with our go biking with.  He’s pretty sure his P-Days in this new area will be fairly boring, since there will only be the two of them.

Riley mentioned that the last couple of missionaries serving in the Shawnee Ward were not really working or adhering to the mission rules, etc.  It seems they burned some bridges with the ward and some of the members are very unhappy with the missionaries.  Riley says that he and Elder Stokes are going to have to work hard to get the members’ love and trust back.  A member in the ward told Riley on Sunday that he was glad the new Elders were here.  The member stated that he and his wife had stopped having the missionaries over for dinner, but they might start doing that again now.  Riley tells us  that he is not fed nearly as often in this ward as he was in the last ward, but that the ward is really nice and caring.

One evening, the boys were at a restaurant eating dinner and a woman walked by and set a $20 bill on their table.  Another day, someone in the ward handed them a $20.  Riley told the man that they are not supposed to accept money from members, but the guy said that it was for a meal, so the boys went out for a nice big breakfast the next morning.

Riley has developed a philosophy on his mission that whenever anyone offers him something, as long as it is appropriate, he will accept it.  He mentioned that many people offer them drinks of water or things like that and he always accepts, even if he doesn’t want it.  He feels that accepting service is as important as giving service and that it makes people happy when you accept their service.  He told us that one time a woman in the parking lot of Wal-Mart was filling her cooler with ice and didn’t use the entire bag.  She saw the missionaries walking by and asked them if they wanted her leftover ice.  Riley said, ‘Sure,” and put it in his freezer at home.  I am betting it makes him happy to open the freezer and see that half-used bag of ice.  That story warmed my heart and taught me a little about loving your fellow man.

I could go on and on with little stories that were shared over the telephone yesterday.  It was a lovely conversation.  Madi was thrilled to talk with Riley, and Delaney also spent some time on the phone with him.  What was most enjoyable to me was hearing in his voice and his words how he truly knows that he is doing the Lord’s work and that it is important.  He knows what it takes to be a successful missionary. And he knows beyond any doubt that he is exactly where the Lord wants him to be, and striving to do exactly what the Lord wants him to do.  He is truly happy in his work.

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May 10, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. I am so glad that you were able to talk with Riley for such a long time. I’m also happy to hear that he is so happy! Bless his heart that he is always trying to find the positive in all of his companions. I’m sure he will encounter a few that he has to bite his tongue, grit his teeth, count to ten and say a quick prayer for patience with!

    Comment by Denise | May 11, 2010 | Reply


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