December 19, 2016


Durham 2


Sister Ruske


MERRY CHRISTMAS Y'ALL!!!! By the next time I email, Christmas will have passed. Weird. (Sister Ruske has been telling people 'Merry Christmas' since Thanksgiving. She's so cute <3)

Once again, I have absolutely no idea what to say about this past week. Things have been pretty normal. It still doesn't feel like Christmas, so it is always weird to hear people say they are going out of town for the holidays. It always takes me a second to figure out which holiday they are leaving for :) The weather hasn't helped it feel like Christmas. The past few days were cold, but yesterday was 70 and humid. NC just can't make up it's mind about what it wants to do.

OH! Something cool that happened this week! We contacted a woman named Betty, who had ordered a Bible online. Full disclosure, sometimes I am not as excited about Bible referrals as I should be. I sometimes think they are only interested in the Bible and won't want us to share anything more with them, but not Betty! She is super sweet and really interested! We were able to teach her about the Restoration and the Spirit was so strong. The member that was with us helped teach and she bore her testimony. I have learned that few things invite the Spirit as much as a sincere testimony.

We had another Bible referral this week for a man named Alex. He was also interested and wants to keep learning about our beliefs. I think Heavenly Father is trying to teach me to have more faith in Bible referrals :) He is super cool! He is from Nigeria and all of his roommates are from Africa as well. Too bad they don't speak French, if they did I would get to use the awesome members from my first ward again. Oh well, I guess teaching in English is good too :)

We have been working with a less-active woman for the past couple weeks. She has such a sincere desire to come back to church and is working hard to overcome some struggles in her life. We have been reading the Book of Mormon with her and doing service for her. I just love her so much! She is one of the sweetest women I have met. She has gone through a lot in her life but still laughs a ton. She always thanks us for coming to see her and tells us we don't know how much it helps her. It is always a little awkward to have her thank us so much, but it is sweet to see the difference we are able to make in her life. We really haven't done anything that special, we just come and talk to her and tell her we love her. It's the little things that make a huge difference in people's lives. We don't need to do something huge or impressive to touch hearts.

Tender mercy from the week: We were tracting before a lesson and no one was home or interested in listening to us. We met this cute family and they invited us in out of the cold. They weren't interested, but they gave us hot chocolate to take with us as we kept tracting. I love people so much! There is always good in the world, no matter what else is happening.

Saturday was the ward Christmas party, themed as a night in Zarahemla. The Primary had a little skit about Samuel the Lamanite and we all sang carols after. It was so cute! The best part though, was Christina. She was absolutely loving it, she spent most of the time taking a live video to put on FB (side note: I did not know you could do that!) and was so happy. We sang kind of a karaoke version on 12 Days of Christmas and she helped. She was so excited to be involved and she couldn't stop smiling. She is so cute <3

Transfers are coming up (Jan 1 is the last day of this transfer) and we have no ideas as to what will happen. I'm really hoping I get to stay here in Durham, but who knows?

I had a thought yesterday while sitting in sacrament meeting. A recently reactivated member was there (and she brought her neighbor!!!!) and she is still trying to quit smoking. She was sitting near us and I could smell the smoke on her. It was a little distracting at first, but then I realized how grateful I was to smell smoke in church. To me, it shows that this woman is trying. She is not perfect, but she doesn't let that stop her from receiving the blessings of the gospel. No one in that chapel was perfect, but we were all there to take one more tiny step closer to the Savior. Every single one of us was there to partake in the Atonement. Yes, she smelled like smoke and that isn't normally a good thing. But her coming to church is a good thing. Church isn't a place for perfect people to say nice things, it is a place for the imperfect (us) to become a little better. To me, smelling cigarettes during sacrament meeting shows the power of the Atonement. Repentance is so much more powerful than we recognize. It is incredible to know that we have infinite opportunities to change, to become better. We do not have to stay the people that we are. We have the ability to change our very natures through the sacrifice of the Savior. I know that He lives. I know that Jesus Christ came to Earth to suffer for our sins, our pains, our heartache and our sadness. I know that this is His church and that He stands at its head. I am so unspeakably grateful for my Savior and the opportunity I have to testify of Him every single day.

Love y'all
Merry Christmas
Sister Pyper


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