Metoyera Harper of Chicago, Illinois


Metoyera Harper of Chicago, Illinois

King Tut. Centipede. Helicopter. Swipe. Pop Lock. The Wave.

What do all those words have in common? Metoyera Harper (10) can tell you—and show you! They are all names of break-dancing moves, and Metoyera is an expert at them all!

Metoyera (pronounced Ma-toy-ah) lives in Chicago, Illinois, with his mother and his two sisters, Ericka (14) and Nicole (13). He and his family have been members of the Hyde Park Ward in Chicago since 1984. At a recent ward talent show Metoyera demonstrated his break-dancing skills. Children and grown-ups alike were dazzled by his fancy turns and footwork. His talent also earned him the Best Dancer award for his starring role in a production made and presented at the ward’s Youth Music Video activity night.

When Metoyera was eight years old, his Latter-day Saint neighbors, the Porters, invited the Harper family to come to church with them. Their Hyde Park Ward meets in a former apartment building in a pleasant city neighborhood. Shortly after that first visit, the Harpers listened to the missionaries explain the teachings of the Church. Metoyera and his family decided to be baptized.

Because the building where the ward meets was not originally designed as a church, there is no built-in baptismal font. So, ward members built a large wooden box, lined it with plastic, and used it for baptisms. Metoyera was baptized in that big box.

Metoyera attends Raster School in Chicago, and this is his second year on the honor roll there. He is in the fourth grade; spelling is his favorite subject. One time his class took a field trip to the DuSable Museum of African-American History in Chicago. Metoyera especially enjoyed the displays and information about Harriet Tubman’s work helping to free the slaves in America.

Like many Chicagoans, Metoyera loves sports. Whenever he can, he plays ball with his friends in the neighborhood. Though he has thought about someday playing baseball for the Chicago Cubs, these days he talks about being a basketball player for the Chicago Bulls.

Reading the scriptures is important to Metoyera. He particularly likes the stories about Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac.

“Joining the Church was very important to me,” Metoyera says. “I learn more about God. Once a speaker in sacrament meeting talked about the sacrament. I liked what he said about how we promise when we take the bread and water that we will follow all the commandments Jesus gives us.”

Whether he is dancing, playing ball, studying, or participating in church activities, it is clear to see that Metoyera puts energy and enthusiasm into all that he does!

[photos] Photographs by Linda Hoffman Kimball and Stephanie Skaggs

[photo] Metoyera Harper, age 10

[photo] Break dancing in front of one of Chicago’s colorful outside murals

[photo] Break dancing

[photo] Studying the Book of Mormon

[photo] One-on-one with his friend Taurus Hester

[photo] Being baptized by Elder Jones

[photo] Learning about Navajos at Primary Missionary Day

[photo] Metoyera with his mother and sisters