Elder Peper

My Mission Experience

Summer is Upon Us

Hey Dad,

How are things going? Mom tells me that you’re golfing a lot. That’s really cool. Who do you golf with? I’d like to go golfing. I guess I’d have to get pretty good at it if I lived in Oklahoma because there’s not too much else to do.
The summer has been upon us for the last month, and it’s only supposed to be getting worse. It’s about 100 today and tomorrow and 90s the rest of the week. The humidity varies. Some days (like today) it’s about 50% or less and other days is between 80% and 90%. You just never know. Anyway, it’s supposed to be hotter than normal all summer. Cool! 🙂

We have set a baptismal date with an older lady. She is set to be baptized on July 17, but she has to quit smoking. One thing that was cool about her is that she had already prayed about the church before we ever even met with her. She was all ready open and willing to take the lessons. She was facing some opposition from her family, but she got over that pretty quickly. She is a super awesome lady. She has come to church every week since we met her. So, we’re pretty excited about that.

We’re also working with some other pretty good investigators. One guy basically made up his own religion. He reads a lot and draws a lot from Buddhist beliefs. He said he was basically a melting pot of all the worlds religions. He believes in God, but doesn’t believe that Jesus was the son of God. He thinks he was an enlightened guy (a semi-Islamic belief.) He basically believes the same things that we do, but just views them from different angles. One thing that differs is that he believes we come back to this earth until we reach a point where we are fully enlightened, and then we become a part of God. It’s a difficult barrier to breach because we are used to dealing with those that already believe that Christ is the Savior. It’s interesting, but is coming along. His girlfriend is a member so I think that helps. He seems to be open minded though.
Well, not sure what else to say in this letter. I hope your calling is going well, you should let me know how you’re doing. Thanks for your support! I hope to hear from you soon! I miss you!

Love,
Elder Peper

June 23, 2010 Posted by | Letters from Elder Peper, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Good-Bye to the Gees

Dear Parents and Families,

Well, I guess we have come to the end of the road. President Gee and I have been packing up all day in preparation for the movers to come tomorrow. We will be leaving the mission on Tuesday, June 29th. This is what will happen. The Taylors will arrive at around 2 p.m. President Gee and I, along with the assistants will greet them at the airport. We will visit with them for about three hours and then we will be headed for Idaho. They plan on meeting all of the missionaries Wednesday and Thursday. They are excited and prepared to begin their mission. We support them and wish them every blessing.

It has been a delight to communicate with you through e-mails. We have appreciated feeling tied together and hope you have felt the spirit of the mission even more by knowing what is happening here. This has been one of the highlights of our lives. We feel priveleged to have been able to serve the Lord and to get to work with your missionaries. Our hearts are filled with love and admiration for them. We will miss them but we are happy to be able to see our family and friends again. Life is good. The Church of Jesus Christ is again on the earth and it is an honor to help spread the word. May you all be blessed in every way.

Love, President and Sister Gee

June 21, 2010 Posted by | Letters from Mission President/Wife, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Coming Soon: A New Mission President

Rhonda H. and Nolan S. Taylor

(From LDS Church News – April 3, 2010)

A new Mission President and his wife have been called by the First Presidency.  They will begin their service about July 1.

Nolan Scott Taylor, 50, and Rhonda Henderson Taylor, five children, Oklahoma Oklahoma City Mission; Woodbriar Ward, North Salt Lake Utah Stake. Brother Taylor is a former bishop, ward Young Men president, high councilor, Aaronic priesthood adviser, branch president and missionary in the Belgium Antwerp Mission. Partner (attorney), Dorsey & Whitney. Born in Detroit, Mich., to Richard Duane and Hattie Gail Glover Taylor.

Sister Taylor is a former counselor in a stake Relief Society presidency, ward Primary and Young Women president, ward Young Women adviser, ward choir director and stake music chairwoman. Born in Idaho Falls, Idaho, to Elden Dale and Larna McDermott Henderson.

June 18, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

And the Rains Came Down

June 14, 2010

Dear Parents,

First let me tell you that all missionaries are accounted for and reasonably dry.  This has been the strangest six months. We have have blizzards, extreme cold, ice storms, wild fires, massive hail storms, tornadoes, an earthquake or two, and now the rain.  The missionaries will brag about the spring of 2010 the rest of their lives.  We woke up this morning to thunder and lightening and then the rains came down.  We are used to heavy rainfalls and I couldn’t tell that this storm was unusual until I went out in it.  The heaviest rain fell in a limited area with close to fifteen inches falling throughout the day.  Other areas only got abut seven inches.  For a while we told the missionaries to stay in their apartments and when they ventured out to avoid low places.  The city officials helped by closing several streets and roads.  The heavy rain was restricted mainly to the metro area.  Many parts of the mission got little or no rain.  It is still raining tonight and there will probably be a little more flooding, but the forecast is that the rain will be lighter and won’t impact travel tomorrow like it did today.  None of the missionaries live in areas which are prone to flooding so they should be in good shape tonight.

Sister Gee and I are in the process of traveling around the mission and saying goodbye to the missionaries.  That will take most of our remaining time.  Collectively, the missionaries are working hard and striving to improve.  We love them and will miss them.  We appreciate your prayers in behalf of the missionaries.  I see evidence of God’s protection every day.

Best wishes,

President Gee and Sister Gee

June 15, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

In Shawnee for Another Transfer

June 10, 2010

Hellooooo–La . . . La . . . La!

Transfers were last Wednesday, and Elder Stokes and I are both staying in Shawnee.  So, now I know a bit of my future: the next transfer date is July 21, and Elder Stokes will be leaving Shawnee for sure (because he is going home).  So, I’ll be here for one more transfer, at least, after that.  The next transfer date after that is September 1.  So, I get to be in a car area for the summer. 🙂  We have a good supply of miles here, as well.  I haven’t been on my bike since March.  (I’m sure I rode the bike trail in April on a P-Day, but that doesn’t count.)

Let’s see . . . We have some good investigators who are progressing towards baptism.  If all goes well, we should be able to have three baptisms this transfer.  One is a 9-year-old, one is a 30-ish-year-old and one is 80.  So, all differet age ranges.  This next transfer should be a good one.

I’ve been reading the Bible, and I’m now in Joshua, which is way better reading than Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.  I just read the story where Joshua and his army circle Jericho and the walls crumble.  It’s interesting to read it in context with the rest of the Bible.  For instance, when they take over Jericho, they kill everyone except for a harlot, Rahab, and her family.  It explains that in a couple chapters previous.  Just some really interesting stuff.

I also downloaded some talks onto my MP3 player.  I got a few good McConkie talks, and a good one by Hugh Nibley.  I’d certainly like to read some of his stuff, but I guess I’ll have to wait until I’m home.  Oh well.

Things are going pretty well.  We’ll have our new Mission President, President Taylor, at the end of this month, so that should be interesting.  I wonder what kinds of things are going to be different around here.

Ah, the next time you send a package my way, I’d really appreciate a bag of Dill Pickle & also a bag of BBQ Spitz Sunflower Seeds.  I can’t find Sptiz here.  I can only find David, and David’s are gross.  So, if you don’t mind, that would be awesome.

I can’t think of too much else that’s going on.  Sorry I missed you on Tuesday.  I’m not sure what happened there.  I did get your letter on Monday, though, so that’s nice.  Thanks for that!  I love how the mail takes two days to get from here to home.  I still hear quite often from G&G Peper, which is awesome.  Also, I haven’t written Brian Hunt back because I don’t have his address.  Could you get that for me?  Thanks!

I’m sure I told you this but Janice (from Burk) got baptized.  I emailed Elder Jackson and I also get a letter from Brother Ferguson with a baptismal program included.  Apparently, she’s doing quite well.  Elder Jackson got transferred from Burk to Lawton, and Elder Crump got sent to Burke.

Well, I hope everything is good.  I love you! Thanks for everything.

Love,

Elder Peper

June 14, 2010 Posted by | Letters from Elder Peper, Photos, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cheering Section

June 7, 2010

Dear Parents and Families,

I remember chuckling at a Calvin and Hobbs cartoon because it is so descriptive of mortals.  Calvin promised to start doing his homework when the minute hand was on twelve.  Somehow he missed it and it was one minute past twelve.  He concluded he would have to wait until the minute hand got to twelve again before he could start his studies.   President Gee and I have been discussing the reality that there is no perfect time to start homework or to do missionary work.  In the winter it is too cold and holidays interfere.  In the summer it is too hot and people go on vacations.  In the spring there are tornadoes and in the fall there is football.

This week the summer heat started in earnest.  For some it is absolutely draining to be in the heat.  Those on bicycles are earning their bragging rights for the rest of their lives.  Today as we were finishing our morning walk I started to think about the movie, “Iron Will.”  Will is almost to the finish line of the dog sled race and he collapses.  He just can’t make himself go any further.  Then we see the people lined up on the side who are cheering and cheering, trying to help him get moving again.  Finally he drags himself up and wins the race and lives happily ever after.  It is a real “feel good ” movie.  Right now would be a great time to be the cheering section on the sidelines for these missionaries.  Give it all you’ve got to encourage your missionary to just keep moving.  Praise him or her for being such a hero to be doing this work.  I will tell you again they live for the e-mails and for real letters that come in the mail that they can open.  Thanks to everyone, families and friends, who keep the encouragement coming.

We want to remind you again that we are concerned that the missionaries don’t create a financial burden for their families by asking for extra money.  There are enough who make their mission money last that it proves it is possible to live on their missionary support fund.  If you have any concerns about this, please feel free to let us know.  We could keep if confidential if necessary.

Several missionaries have mentioned that their parents might be interested in attending our mission report and are wondering when it will be.  We are scheduled to report on July 11th at 9 a.m. in the Sugar City, Idaho, 4th ward.  We meet in the large gray church located on the main road going through Sugar City.  We will try to arrange a place where we might visit and have a light lunch after the meeting.  We would be delighted to meet anyone who has any interest in attending.

Again we hope you have a great week.  We have been so grateful for the well-being of your families as well as that of the missionaries.

Love, Sister Gee and President Gee

June 9, 2010 Posted by | Letters from Mission President/Wife, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stomping Off (In a Wheelchair)

A representation of Elder Peper hand made by a church member.

May 28, 2010

Hello!

Today is Delaney’s Birthday, so tell her Happy Birthday for me!  I was able to get the endowment done in the Oklahoma City Temple and I’ve included the temple work card with this letter.

Things are going pretty well here for us.  We were tracting yesterday and had a really good chat with a guy.  He is really interested in what we had to say, and he wants to learn more.  Elder Stokes and I are setting up a scripture study class at the church on one weeknight a week and he said that he would be interested and willing to come.  We end up tracting the same streets that salesmen tract, but they usually end up being returned missionaries.  Weird.

Yesterday was a crazy day.  We went to go check on an old lady in the ward, and she sent us to get her some groceries.  She gave us her checkbook and then informed us that she was overdrawn already.  She also told us that she had a stroke a few days ago, which ended up not being true.  We were concerned about her, as she didn’t seem good.  We called the Bishop who sent her Visiting Teacher to go check on her.  He also told us to give her back her checkbook (she had more than enough food to last until her pay day on June 1).  We went back with her checkbook and explained that  she didn’t need to pay $60 in overdraft fees.  Well, that caused her to get upset and she told us she had overdraft protection which gives her immunity any time she overdraws her funds, but then she said that her bank charges her $15 for going over.  She also stated that she had family that worked at the bank (which I’m guessing isn’t true, but it doesn’t matter).  Anyway, she informed us that she didn’t like to be doubted and she stomped off (or, rather, wheeled off in her electric wheelchair which almost didn’t make it up the ramp in her house because the battery was dying).  Eventually, she let us go to the store for her.  She’s a nice lady and all, but her whole goal in life is to get you to feel sorry for her.  If something bad has happened to you, she will top your sad story.  Her reason for never coming to church is that she is only sealed to one of her sons, and she can’t sing about families being together forever.  We just don’t know what to do for her.

Shawnee is doing well.  It’s actually not too bad of a town.  I like it here, which is good because I’ll probably be here until September 1.

It’s always good to get letters from you.  Keep them coming.  I miss you guys a tons and 100 pounds!

Love,

Elder Peper

PS:  It’s a long story about the doll, but a lady made it by hand and it’s supposed to be me.  Madi can keep it in her room or whatever, but don’t let it get ruined.  Thanks!

June 3, 2010 Posted by | Letters from Elder Peper, Photos, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Getting Back on Track

June 1, 2010

Hey Dad,

Wow! It sounds like a lot has changed in that last month. So, you’re a high priest now. Does that make you feel old? Keep me updated on your new calling. That’s exciting, and I’m sure you will do fine. That doesn’t sound like an easy calling, but it will be good. I’m learning more and more about this ward, and you should be grateful you’re in a wonderful ward like Colville 1st.

The ward here is good, but it wasn’t a few years ago. The bishop from a few years ago left the church. Then, the next bishop was called. He is a really good guy (still in the ward) . . . . This brings us to our current Bishop.  He is an awesome guy. He seems to be quite the good bishop.  The only problem is, he doesn’t belong to the Shawnee ward. He technically lives in another ward, and since not a single person in the Shawnee ward would’ve fit the…um…personality to be bishop he was called, from another ward, to be the Shawnee Ward bishop. I had no idea that that could happen. There are a bunch of normal families in the ward now, but all of them have moved here after Bishop Meyers was called. It seems to be working out now. I think that that whole deal had a lot to do with the activity rates here. The first bishop I mentioned, was actually the Oklahoma City Temple President before he was called to be bishop, and he had a lot of problems with the church. Apparently, a lot of his problems had to do with changes they made in the temple. Anyway, the ward (which is close to becoming a branch) seems to be slowing getting back on track. There really are a lot of wonderful people here.

So, these golf clubs that you bought. What kind are they? If they are Nike or Callaway I’m going to be very upset. (Just kidding, but those are super nice clubs.) Sounds like you’re having fun out on the golf course. I never had the patience to get good at golf.

When I get home, we are going mountain biking. That sounds like fun. I hope you find some cool places to go. You need to find someone else in town who likes to mountain bike and go with them, but I don’t know of anyone.

Things seem to be going pretty well here. We have a lot of less-active and part member families to teach, so that’s good. Part members are usually good, because you know that they have (usually) reliable information and (usually) good support from the members of their families. It’s nice to see when familes become members, and it would be great to see them get sealed.

It’s really awesome to hear that the King’s are going to be sealed together in the temple. I’m so happy for them. Tell them I said hi.

I’m not sure of what else to tell you about, I’m sure glad to be in a car area for the summer months 🙂 . I hope that doesn’t change come transfers. It’s really humid here, but not like Houston. Still, it’s straight 90s and decently high humidity. The humidity is a little lower today, it’s only around 45%, so that’s nice.

Congratulations on everything. Good luck with your calling. I love you!

Love,

Elder Peper

PS (from June 1 email message to Mom)

I’m sending off [in the mail] a missionary doll that a member in Manti, Utah made by hand that is supposed to look like me. (Long story, I guess I’ll have to tell you on Christmas 😉 )

Anyway, Madi can keep it in her room or whatever, but it took her a while to make, so I don’t want it ruined.

Also, Janice  [the minister from Burkburnett who was struggling with committing to the gospel] got baptized on Saturday!

June 1, 2010 Posted by | Letters from Elder Peper, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Battles

May 31, 2010

Dear Parents and Families,

Today was Memorial Day.  President Gee and I had been vaguely aware of raindrops on the roof for much of the night.   He first went to the computer this morning to check the weather.  According to the weather map, there were no clouds at all above the nearby park where we do our early morning walks.  Even though the sky was full of dark clouds we decided to walk our usual three miles because the computer said we would have no problems.  When we arrived we were the only ones in sight, except for one lone walker way behind us.  He was smart enough to bring an umbrella.  We weren’t.  We had only gone a little way when it started to rain.  I wished I had brought my rain coat.  Before long we were both soaked, including our feet.  We probably made a tactical error in coming.  We were going to be cold and wet.  However, we started to laugh.  We did a short rendition of “Singin’ In The Rain” and even purposely splashed in some of the puddles.  We decided to go around again since we were already as wet as we could be.  It didn’t turn out like we had expected, but now we have a memory that will make us laugh for years to come.

I started to think that this little experience is symbolic of what happens on missions.  Companions start each day with a plan of how things should be and usually it ends up being different.  Sometimes it is miraculous and sometimes it is just frustrating.  No one really plans on getting  doors slammed in their faces, or being told their religion is evil.  However, these experiences, good or bad give them ammunition for stories for the rest of their lives.  It is fun to listen to them chatting about their adventures and misadventures while they are waiting for interviews.  Usually there are a lot of chuckles.  They build each other up with their stories and probably convince each other that they are all having challenging experiences.

One of the training CD’s we listened to as we were preparing to come on our mission was a talk by Elder Wirthlin.  He called it the “Band of Brothers.”   I admit that sometimes I drowsed off as I listened to it because I didn’t understand yet what a bond would form among those who serve together in a mission.  Even if there are frustrating times we will always be connected because we were “soldiers” together and we will always love that feeling of being together.  One of our astute sisters put it this way:  “We are battles.”  It is a quirky little way of describing the Band of “Brothers “(and sisters.)  A lucky few of the missionaries get to go to Fort Sill and help teach the young soldiers who are going through army basic training.  Non-members are often brought to church by their member “battle buddies.”  After the difficult experiences they go through during the week they find comfort in going to a place where they feel safe and loved.  Going to Fort Sill to attend Sacrament Meetings will be a treasured memory for the Gees for the rest of our lives.  Those soldiers are so young.  Anyway, I have thought many times about missionaries being “battles” and the bonds that will last through eternity.

We treasure the bonds we have with the missionaries and their families, including those who have returned home and those who are still on their missions.  We hope they will last forever.

We hope all is well with you.  Have a great week.

Love, sister Gee (and President Gee)

June 1, 2010 Posted by | Letters from Mission President/Wife, Uncategorized | Leave a comment