Monday, April 21, 2014

Spring is Here!


How was everyone's Easter? I couldn't believe I forgot to mention Easter in my last letter! Ahh oh man some days come up so quickly and I sometimes forget which week it is. :)

It's finally looking and feeling like spring here in Plymouth. :) The weather has had its spurts of being chilly every now and then, but it's finally warming up here. :) 

Last Monday, Sister Nielson and I went to explore Plymouth Plantation. It was a very windy day and I discovered it wasn't the most exciting place, but hey it was alright for the discount we got as residents and we decided to have our own fun. We still spoke with "pilgrims" and "Indians" and found broomsticks that look like the ones in Harry Potter so we took pictures on them. Ha oh was great. :) The rest of the day as some members took us out to eat at a Brazilian Steakhouse (there's not a Brazilian of them around here) which you may know is one of my all-time favorite places to go. Oh be still my soul it was divine! I also didn't dare look at the cost but we gave the members our load of thanks. 

Plimoth Plantation

Be prapuh
Do I look anything like Harry Potter playing Quiddich?


There's been quite a few members moving out, (and yet there's been more moving in. :)) Last week Sister Nielson and I bade a tough goodbye to Brother and Sister Hopkins. 

Saying goodbye to the Hopkins
Although I've only met with them a few times, they are one couple I'll never forget. They are in their 60s-70s and were baptized about 2 1/2 years ago, so we have been helping them with temple prep lessons, and then Sister Hopkins would take us out to eat. There have been people I've met on my mission who are very vocal about their opinions on everything--other people and what they dislike about them, what they dislike about their lives and what's happening in the community. However, although the Hopkins face many challenges, including how Brother Hopkins is paralyzed from the chest down as he is also blind and nearly deaf, they are vocal about the good things happening, the love they have for guests when they arrive, and their love for each other. Brother Hopkins still keeps a sense of humor as I've often seen him smiling (and he really is funny.) Sister Hopkins stays positive as she does everything she possibly can to make sure Brother Hopkins knows she's there for him. I could go on about how she orders him his favorite meals, how she always says "*Brother Hopkins* and I," makes sure he hears what others say and includes him in everything. During all this, they strive to learn more about the gospel and live it. The Hopkins are one strong example of a couple who surely demonstrates pure Christlike love. I've admired their positive outlook and example, as they are an example of how awesome the members are here. 

On Saturday we stopped by the McGill's for dinner. It turned out they also boiled eggs for us to dye Easter eggs, so we joined their family for the event. After we ate quesuhdiluh's for dinner (as in "Come on, Napoleon, just make yourself a dang quesuhdiluh!") we had to hurry so I could get home for treatment (I had an even greater motivation to get home for it after one of their sons spilled the news that their close friend with CF has been in a terrible condition to the point where he's been in a coma for 2 months. It was a little upsetting to hear and made me wonder how two CF patients' lives can contrast so greatly, but it made me more grateful for all the Lord has allowed me to do thus far. I don't know his names but prayers his way would be helpful.) We prepared an Easter message based off of Joseph B. Wirthlin's "Sunday will come" talk on how we "all have our Fridays" but we can look forward to "our glorious Sunday" as we have times where we may feel in our absolute lowest state, but that Christ is "the light that is endless, that can never be darkened." (Mosiah 16:7-9)  The McGill's have been awesome with sharing the gospel, too, so we invited them to think of how they could allow the Atonement to transform their lives, as well as the lives of those they love. Sister McGill then gave Sister Nielson and I a bag of surprises to open on Easter Morning. Sister Nielson and I felt a little extra spoiled. :) We have felt loved and welcomed in their home countless times, and they continue to serve not only us but those they know and meet.

"Now that's what I call red-eye!" - Brother McGill
Church on Easter Morning was wonderful, and Beth and Amy were finally confirmed! Seriously, it was the greatest. The spirit was strong and the blessings given to them were beautiful. At the end of Sacrament Meeting, Beth told us that she and Amy came to church for the first time eight years ago on Easter Sunday. She pointed her finger at us and said, "Even though it took us this long, the seed was planted then, so don't give up as you're planting seeds!" (close words). It was exactly what I needed to hear! Beth and Amy have come a long way since then as they've gained desire at one point, which led to a course of miracles. After church yesterday, Beth approached our Branch President and asked for a temple recommend interview. Last that we heard, she was planning on going today with one of the members (Amy has a couple of months before she can go.) Truly incredible.

To be honest, it's been a little bit of a slower week and Sister Nielson and I have been struggling a little bit to figure out how to best use the time we have. I really don't like not having many teaching appointments set or let along many investigators to teach, but I'm still trying to see things with a new perspective and as we visit media referrals, following up with members, and more. We're still seeking those who are ready. We know that there are many ways in which we can improve, but we are taking things one step at a time and are doing our best. I'm just having to remember to keep a broader outlook on how to hasten the Work of Salvation here. I also won't forget Beth's advice that she gave us yesterday. 

I hope you can all feel the spirit of the Easter season and remember how it all came to be. Being out on the mission has allowed me to ponder and reflect more about our Savior's life and Atonement. Perhaps it's been the progressing years that has allowed me to realize more how precious life is as I hear others' stories (i.e. the McGill's friend in a coma), or it could be my eyes have been opened a little more as a missionary, but either way I've been able to reflect even more this year how precious the Atonement is as it allows us all to live forever and to be forgiven. It can heal our wounds and we do not have to do anything alone. I know that my Redeemer, Savior, and Advocate lives! And I am so grateful for it. :)

With Love, 
Sister Roy 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Aunt Rachel?!

Hi Everyone,

I'm already an Aunt?! Oh man, I don't even know what to say...I'M SO THRILLED!! :) I began to wonder yesterday if Connor was born, it turns out it's now truth. :) I cannot believe how many changes are taking place. Brandon, when will your album be completed? What kind of music have you been recording?

It's been a very eventful but good week. :) On Tuesday Sister Nielson and I headed to Boston for a follow-up  CF Clinic visit. There's no need to worry because I'm doing well, but I've still been getting over the after effects from the cold in February/Tobi Podhaler's side effects. Since I got permission to go onto the Cystic Life website again, I've noticed that the Podhaler has not only affected myself, but many other patients as well. I'm grateful that it hasn't been as bad for me as other patients--I've just had more/thicker gunk and it could be worse. I'm still debating on whether to switch to the 30 minute version of Tobi since it will cut even more time for proselyting and we'll have to be home even earlier each day, so I'm going to talk it over with President Packard more when I next meet with him. However, I also know (and what he'll probably say) is that I have to take care of myself. :/ Aside from that tangent though, the PFT numbers were higher than I expected. :)

On Wednesday Sister Nielson and I headed over to good ol' Weston for an all-day conference for all the Sisters in the mission. It was great! We attended presentations, workshops, heard testimonies born, as well as wise words from President and Sister Packard. It was a little bit of an investment, but I am so glad I bought a recorder a couple of days beforehand to record any bit that stood out, (especially the Packard’s talks because I keep regretting not having them recorded--notes can only do so much!) I will do my best to see if I can send out a copy of the last two talks along with other parts of the day as soon as I get the chance.

Beth and Amy
 Beth and Amy continued to face a lot of opposition this week--to the point that their baptism was almost cancelled. With all of the fasting, prayers, all came together and they were finally baptized! Seriously, though, I've never had any investigator face that much opposition along their journey towards baptism before. Sister Nielson and I have definitely had to use all of our heart, might, mind, and strength to help them all, and we couldn't have done it without Heavenly Father's help.

Robin and all the Missionaries to helped teach her
The other highlight of this week was on Saturday. Sister Nielson and I had the sweet opportunity to join one of our members, Robin, for her big day. She was baptized last year, and has been ecstatic to receive her endowment. Weeks ago she invited all of the missionaries who every helped her---beginning with the missionary discussions and lessons to the temple prep lessons.  We all got permission and came from all over the mission to support Robin for this memorable moment. Her cousin also flew in from Utah, as well as our Relief Society President and Branch Mission Leader, all came as well. In preparation for her endowment, Robin completed a lot of her family history work and brought a stack of names with her. She handed each of us a family member's name, including her mom, dad, baby brother, and grandparents. The whole time, we could all feel Robin's excitement, and there were many times she would not stop beaming. The spirit was so powerful during the entire session, and all of the workers we saw said they had never seen such a sight with all the missionaries who were there for her. After Robin's endowment, we all filed into the sealing room to seal her parents, then she to her parents and baby brother all together for eternity. It was an incredible moment I will never forget.

To top it all off, church on Sunday was incredible, especially fast and testimony meeting. I even fasted that it would turn out right since we were expecting many less actives and non-members to attend. Surely enough, five less actives and nine nom members came--whether they were investigators, one of our investigator's parents, non-members of part-member families, and friends. We were blown away as each person came in. Never before until yesterday in this branch had I seen about every chair taken--they even had to grab more chairs after the sacrament to create another row! Testimony meeting was so powerful that there were some tears shed across the chapel. I won't forget the spirit that was there. The Lord is definitely guiding and preparing those who may be ready to hear more at the right time.

It's definitely been a great and memorable week! I still want to wish Alicia congrats and I cannot believe I'm an Aunt! Beth and Amy are now baptized, as we'll help them continue to progress. Robin received her endowment and is now sealed to her family. I wish I could fully express how fantastic this all is. :)

Sister Roy

P.S. You remember Darryl who I wrote about last week? Well...he cancelled on us for both appointments saying he was overwhelmed with work...and we got a message from him on Saturday (right after we got out of the temple) that he moved to Cape Cod (which was exactly what one of our recent converts Dave did not too long ago. First of all, Sister Nielson and I both agreed Darryl and Dave should become best friends. Second, we wished the absolute best for him and we left him with our testimony of the Book of Mormon, promising that once he decides to read it more, he will feel closer to Heavenly Father and how he'll gain a better sense of how a knowledge of Jesus Christ and what He did when He was on earth can help him overcome addictions and anything else in his life that may be hard, as well as gain a better sense of his purpose in life.

When I walked out of the temple though and received the text, I couldn't help but feel (yes, disappointed as well) completely peaceful as I was able to look at everything with an eternal perspective.

P.P.S.  The house we're helping Habitat for Humanity build is coming together!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Another Awesome General Conference Weekend and other Shazam :)

Hi Everyone,

#postconferenceblues #isitalreadyover ?   Wasn't General Conference amazing? It was another powerful weekend full of bold counsel, uplifting, hope, and encouragement. Once again I had personal questions that I wrote down and prayed about throughout the week, and as they always are during Conference, they were all answered. Some of the answers I received were resolved in unexpected ways, but the Lord knows what is best. I won't go into full detail of the questions and answers provided, but a few of my favorite talks included Russell M. Nelson's, Richard G. Scott's, Dieter F. Uchtdorf's, and David A. Bednar's--only to name a few! It was all incredible. :) I know that President Monson and each of the church leaders were called of God to address us all according to the world's, and our very own personal needs and desires as well.

On April Fools Day, I asked for it--to have more funny moments stand out. Surely enough, that prayer was answered. :) (I think part of it was the joke on how oblivious I was with a miracle that was right there in front of us.) That day was incredible--more teaching opportunities came along my and Sister Nielson's way. We had been so desperate to find more who were yearning for better success, listening hearts and ears, and more chances to share His word. The Lord compensated through His infinite love to show that not although there were some very difficult situations to handle and work out, there were also more good opportunities to come (and maybe a good laugh as well at some irony.)

In my journal at the end of the day, I was describing the best parts of the day. I described those we met and the messages we shared with others in more lengthy detail, even if they weren't interested. After these longer stories, I wrote, "Sister Nielson and I also met a man at the library today, who said we could share more with him!" That's all I wrote. Ha-ha I'll get to that soon. :)

After feeling good after a lot of success on Tuesday, Sister Nielson and I joined a member family for hibachi food at a Japanese restaurant. When we sat down at the U-shaped table around a large cooking setup, our assigned seats were right next to a nice-looking family. I was thinking about how great of a teaching opportunity this could turn into. (Also, my seat was closest to theirs and the family we were with and Sister Nielson couldn't hear our conversation too well.) As the waiters began to bring out the soup and salad, the mom of the family asked us what church we belong to (as they saw the black name tags), which we responded, and they didn't seem to be familiar with who were were. Once the member we were with cleared that we are Mormons, she nodded. Then, she asked what we do as missionaries and what we teach. At that point, so much filled my head that I stumbled over some words, but gave a basic summary of the Restoration. As the mom and I continued conversing, she spilled the news that I almost had to do a double take on...

There I was, teaching a family of Jehovah's Witnesses! (I was wondering if they would be receptive.)

The family really was sweet and considerate. Luckily they weren't aggressive or anything like that. As the mom and I continued our conversation, she began sharing her beliefs and what their church teaches about what they believe God's kingdom to be and what will happen to us all as I continued to listen. They emphasized how " they teach exactly what's in the Bible and stick with the Bible" but it made no sense at all as to what I know to be true from the Bible.
We all enjoyed the cooking show, then I began to tell about Heavenly Father's plan for each of us individually--why we're here, how we lived with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ before, as he then chose to atone for our sins and transgressions when He would come to earth, the Creation and Fall, our earth life, what happens after we die as we go to the Spirit World, the Resurrection--when our bodies and spirits come together in its perfection before we meet God again, and how we'll be judged and placed into one of the three kingdoms, but how we're all striving for the Celestial Kingdom where God will dwell and our families will be together for all eternity.

The mom and 13 year old daughter listened the whole time as I used the small diagram in Preach my Gospel, (and it was one of the only days I carried it with me.) The daughter seemed to take interest about the part of how each of us has a purpose to live with God again when that time comes, and how the plan all centers on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, as it enables us to live with Him again.

Once the mom asked if we believe this because of what's in the Book of Mormon, I explained how the Book of Mormon clarifies what's unclear in the Bible, and how it's another witness of Jesus Christ. As soon as I said that, we all continued to eat, but there was silence from them. Dead silence.
Sister Nielson, the member family, and I all continued to talk and eat. When the family left, we bid friendly goodbyes.

Okay...I thought that was the greatest part of the day, but it wasn't.

Now remember the man I mentioned who "we met at the library, and he said we could share more with him?" On Tuesday Sister Nielson and I were working on Digital Mission online proselyting, and this man named Darryl thought Sister Nielson and I were librarians as he saw us hopping back and forth to read over each other’s comments before posting them. He asked for help with his Excel document, which I was able to help out with since I had a little bit of experience with it at work before the mission. We told him how we were missionaries for our church, and then when I needed to take a break, Sister Nielson was boss at obeying the prompting she received as Heavenly Father urged her to talk to him. She told him how he seemed very nice, and explained more about what we do, as we teach of Christ and provide answers that people cannot find anywhere else. That was when he said he would like to meet. :)

We met with him on Friday, as we hoped for the best, wondering how in the world it would turn out. We based some questions and our discussion off of "How to Begin Teaching" in Preach my Gospel, but knew the Holy Ghost would definitely have to guide it along. As soon as we arrived at the table at the library where he was sitting, he greeted us friendly. We noted immediately the articles right in front of him from Real Life Answers that he found, all marked with notes he made. He had the pass along card Sister Nielson gave to him, a briefcase, planner and more set right there.

We hardly had to say much. Darryl jumped right in. He told us his background, the struggles he's gone through, and how it's sparked an interest about religion in him, which he had never experienced before, as the idea of God strengthened him. We explained how God is not a powerful, almighty idea--but his very loving Eternal Father of his spirit--guiding his life along.

Darryl wanted to continue to heal and not step away again, and he knows he needs religion in his life but has been searching for what's right. He kept saying how open he is at this time. He wanted to know what our church is, where we meet, and what it teaches. He asked what we do as missionaries, wants the lessons, wanted to schedule them out (along with a church tour before he attends church next Sunday). He also offered to have all the lessons taught in a week because he is ready to learn. Right as I was about to mention how he'll want to keep commitments as he learns more, he asked, "What commitments will I need to make?"

I couldn't believe everything was happening as it was right then! Was this real?! I had never experienced anything like this, and it was very difficult to not look like a goon smiling from ear to ear.

He asked about General Conference's times and where to watch it since church wouldn't be held this Sunday. We also gave him a Book of Mormon with an index card that had "Questions of the Soul" (from Preach my Gospel) he could look at and pick which ones stood out, and refer to the scriptures given as answers. However, he wanted to read them all.

I am still bewildered. It would be impossible to express how merciful the Lord is. With all of the discouragement that we faced shortly beforehand, Heavenly Father was watching. He helped turn one of the most difficult times for us into a very memorable moment that may lead to something more incredible.

Honestly, I feel like one of the three Nephites was sent to us to give us a boost.  But I have to be real with myself and know this is a huge blessing from our loving Heavenly Father.
A few other things that happened this week:

I hit my hump-day mark on April 3rd. :) The mission has been going by slowly but very quickly at the same time.

A police officer died for unknown reasons on his motorcycle right in front of our apartment complex. They don't know if it was from a heart attack, brain aneurysm, or what. It's been hard to see and it's affected a lot of people in Plymouth and Boston, but the whole town has come together to show their respect and honor for him.

I found success holding a chicken!!!

We celebrated Sister Nielsen's 21st birthday.  

Sister Nielsen's Birfday.  Now she can driiink...water!
On the way home from Beth and Amy's missionary lesson, we had a flat tire
flat tire

flat tire fixed (thanks to Good Samaritan)

Well I better get going. I love you all very much.
-Sister Roy

Monday, March 31, 2014

Tearing Down or Building Up?

Short walk on beach with investigator
Hi Everyone,

This last week was pretty good. Sister Nielson and I are still working on finding those who are interested in learning more, so it's been a little bit slower lately, but is still going well.

We're still keeping in good touch with Beth and Amy, who will be baptized in only 2 weeks! This week we helped them clean their old home, studied the scriptures and continued lessons with them, and watched the LDS General Women's Broadcast with them (and with quite a few of the girls, Young Women, and women of the branch.) I am thrilled for Beth and Amy. It's been bewildering to see them grow and rely on the Savior and His Atonement over the past while, during both the good times and their storms of life. Although we are not teaching many people, I am amazed by their faith and example as they're pressing forward, clinging to the rod and holding fast to their faith that they have.

On Saturday, there was a New England Family History Conference at the church out in Franklin that Sister Nielson and I helped with. It turns out there were at least 50 members and 400 non-members who registered and came! People came from all over New England and attended workshops for all age groups. Our Stake is focusing on working on family history and taking names to the temple, as it seems that it is a greater focus for many members. It's awesome to see and to help others prepare for the temple and see individuals feel connected with their ancestors.

Speaking of which, I received an envelope from Aunt Florene on Thursday. Enclosed was a bunch of information on "the Mayflower Ancestry" through the Roy side. I never knew before I had several ancestors who boarded the Mayflower, including John Tilley, John Howland, and his wife Elizabeth. There were stories included on their adventurous lives that I never knew about. It's a cool opportunity to serve where they landed on the Mayflower, signed the Mayflower Compact, and fought for religious freedom. Ha-ha to be honest I was pretty stoked out of my mind to learn more about them and can hopefully as time goes on learn more about those I'm related to.

Also, I enjoyed the Women's Broadcast on Saturday night. As mentioned, we watched it at the church with many of the girls, youth and women of our Branch. The Broadcast was pretty different from what I expected it to be like, but I was touched to see the choir of girls and women of all ages singing together. I hope its main focus on how we're daughters of our loving Heavenly Father, and how we are to embrace our differences and strengths to lift and build up one another around the world strengthened many. It inspired me to do always strive to do better at reaching out and showing the Lord's love for others, as well as always staying true to the covenants I've made, both for now as the Lord's representative and also for the rest of my life.

Sister Nielson and I also had a great visit with Sister Blackwell from our branch. As we talked while we had dinner together, I cannot remember exactly what we were discussing, but she mentioned 2 top phrases she would always use for her children and family:

1. "Are you tearing down or building up?"
2. "Remember who you are and what you stand for."

I decided right then I will remember these wise words. Sometimes we may find ourselves tearing others down through negative thoughts, feelings, or words. At times we may even find ourselves thinking negatively of ourselves. Instead, we can seek what is wholesome and uplifting as we reach out to and build up one another, including those we don't know so well. We can hold onto the fact that we are Sons and Daughters of our loving Heavenly Father, and that we stand as His witnesses. We stand for our Savior who stands beside us, as He is our Redeemer and Advocate. There have been many twists and turns in life that can lead to disappointment. As for hastening the work, it may include an increasing amount of investigators not progressing, less people at church, or other things which are needless to mention. However, I know my Heavenly Father does not want me or other missionaries to feel discouraged as long as we're doing our best, as He is guiding His work along.

The other night I also came to a journal entry I wrote a while ago back in November, which had some occurrences very similar to what's happening now. And, of course, I wrote advice to myself that I needed the moment I read it again:

-Don't lose faith in the Lord and His timing.
-People have agency.
-Remember there are miracles we don't see.
-Think of all the things that are going well, even if they seem so small or insignificant.
-Growing doesn't come when we're in our comfort zones.
-Give your all, but then know that you're giving your all, and that's all the Lord expects.

This advice may not only be applied for other missionaries serving around the world (including the all-time hard worker I'm giving a shout out to--Elder Roy) when discouragement comes, but for anyone who may need a little boost. :) I know this upliftment was not from my own thoughts, but most definitely from the Lord to lift me up at that difficult time, so I find no problem in sharing it. And, not to mention, the journal entry after that one consisted of many miracles that took place, so as always, faith precedes miracles.

I love you all and want to hear from you! Tell me about your lives even if you think it will bore me!

Sister Roy

P.S. #1 I cannot wait for General Conference.
P.S #2 It seems like Josh is using the scriptures from my letters each week in his letters. Just saying...jk, it just means they're good ones. :)

the Founding Father's Monument

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Preaching Through Pinterest

Hey all!

To start off,  I wish I had more time to write than I do this week. I'll do better at responding more next week. We ended up getting a blizzard today (more like less than an inch of snow but strong wild winds) so we mainly stayed in our apartment today. But hey! I'm now writing this. :) I am also writing on Wednesday since it's once again transfer week, which also brings me to say that Sister Nielson is staying! We're both pretty certain she'll leave after this transfer since by the end of this transfer it would have been 7 1/2 months for her in Plymouth!

 Last week started off a little slowly and there were a few disappointments, including having one of our investigators drop us saying he's no longer interested. There are a few we've taught (or Sister Slater and Sister Nielson) who have been difficult to get a hold of. However, this only meant we were able to look at different avenues of what we could do to use our time to its best effect. We've been helping out the members more, and they've been helping us. :) Sister Burgess, for example, approached us, asking what is going on with Missionary work these days. We were glad to help! ;)  She wanted to become more involved, and expressed interest in helping us improve the collaboration sign-up calendar, where members sign up to come out with us. She came up with ideas on how we can make it more clear that members can come with us not only to lessons with Investigators, but to visit less actives, to help with home teaching, visiting teaching, Faith in God, Personal Progress, and more. She even committed herself to promote the improved collaboration chart to all of the auxiliaries this week! More members--not too many but it's definitely getting there--are coming with us to lessons and asking for help.

We've had a couple of auxiliary interviews lately as well. We were even invited to attend our Branch's Primary Presidency meeting. I mentioned to our Primary President Sister Mormann (greatest name, especially since she's a convert! And her husband's name is Jack. Not kidding! Pretty fantastic if you ask me ha-ha oh the irony :) ) the idea of primary talk invites, since it was something we began in the Weston 1st Ward. Whenever someone would be assigned to give a talk in Primary, they would receive an invite to hand to a friend. Sister Mormann loved the idea; especially since their main concern/ problem for a while has been the kids giving talks in Primary since it's been a struggle for the parents and kids to remember. She felt this would motivate them more to give a talk as long as it didn't seem intimidating. We agreed to make a small poster for the idea. We made invites, and as soon as we shared our idea with the Primary, they would call out, "Can I bring two friends?" "Can I bring eight friends?" Ha-ha they got very excited. :)

Our numbers were a little low with teaching appointments this week (again we are still seeking out those who want to be taught) but with the member helps and service done, I'd say it was a great week. :) We also helped Beth and Amy move (into our Branch area) and there was a great turnout for members who came to help. People loaded and unloaded, cleaned up, and more. It was an incredible sight, especially since Beth has a difficult time moving things around with her physical limitations.

I don't know if I ever mentioned, but Sister Nielson and I are a couple of the digital missionaries for this mission, meaning that we help proselyte online. Last week, all the digital missionaries came together in a WebEx Conference online, hosted by President Packard. We received the exciting news that our digital mission now includes Pinterest! We're now able to log on our personal Pinterest accounts and comment on others' pins that relate to religion to express our thoughts/share the gospel through Real Life Answers blog posts and more. It's incredible to see how the gospel can be spread online. The head digital missionaries told us that they've had 6 online discussions through Skype just from using Pinterest. We're not allowed to re-pin or do anything else on Pinterest, but this is still a neat opportunity. It's pretty exciting if you ask me!

I know the spiritual topic I'm about to introduce may not seem to be as on-topic, but Mom I loved the message you included in your letter last week about the hymn "Brightly Beams our Father's mercy.”  Do you mind if I include it on here? I have liked this hymn for a while, but to be honest, I've never fully understood the full meaning behind it.

The story behind the Hymn Brightly Beams our Father's Mercy (as told by Spencer Kinard in Music and the Spoken Word on March 16, 2014)….

"A noted preacher Dwight Moody, told his congregation a story about a boat, helplessly rocking and plunging on a stormy, starless night near the Cleveland harbor. The mariners on board could see the lighthouse, but they needed to find their way through the narrow passage in the treacherous rocks that surrounded the harbor. Normally a light on the shore, aligned with the lighthouse, marked the passage to safety. But on this night, the lower lights had gone out.

Finally, a desperate captain decided they had no choice but to proceed into the harbor without the guidance of the lower lights. "With a strong hand and brave heart" -- but in almost total darkness -- "the old pilot turned the wheel." Tragically, he missed the channel, crashed the boat upon the rocks, and lost the lives of his sailors.

Moody then explained the lesson to be learned from his story: the Master will take care of the great lighthouse, but He depends on us to keep the lower lights burning. Philip Paul Bliss was directing the singing in the meeting that night and was so inspired by Moody's story that he wrote what would become one of his most popular hymns, "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy."

Most often, God uses us to rescue those in peril tossed by the storms of life. If we can keep the light of faith burning in our hearts, if we align our light with the Light above, we can guide an exhausted mariner safely home. We can be the lower lights that "send a gleam across the wave. Some poor fainting, struggling seaman (we) may rescue, (we) may save."

I loved your thoughts that you included about its (quote) "We should remember to keep our low lights burning with the light of Faith, for even if we may feel like the seaman struggling at sea, in actuality we may be the opposite; we may be the lower lights that others are looking to follow in faith to lead them back to our Heavenly Father and we never know who needs our help or who is needing our strength or faith to lean them on. We have always been watched over by the Lord and He has directed our steps. Remember He will ALWAYS get you through your trials if you keep the commandments and follow Him; and although there may be storms and rocky times, keep your light of faith aligned with the Lord."

I know there are times where I most definitely feel like the seaman struggling at sea. There are countless times I feel unable, even physically incapable, to do all the Lord places in my path. Yet even though we have our struggles, we may be the lower light that others are looking to lead them back to our loving Heavenly Father. We are most definitely always watched by the Lord as He continues to guide our steps. He also knows who He can rescue with our help as we keep our light burning and aligned with His. 

I will write more on Monday. Have a great week!
Sister Roy

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Power of Deliverance

Hi everyone!

To start off, there is a scripture that perfectly fits for this week. In fact, it was on the cover of Joe's baptism program on Saturday, as it is his favorite scripture…

1 Nephi 1:20 reads "But behold, I Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom He hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance."

I'll tell more about how this scripture fit this week, so keep that in mind for now...

This week was eventful. First, I have to share some of the most downright funny experiences from this week. In fact, Sister Nielson and I are already laughing right now thinking about it, so I'll try to get through it and explain them as best as I can. :)

On Wednesday night, Sister Nielson and I went with our Branch Mission leader and one of our recent converts Dave for his first time to do baptisms at the temple. However, in order to go, we needed an adult female chaperone to come with us since we'd be with two men. Before we knew it, we arrived at a family's home to pick up Caitlyn to be our chaperone. She's 32 and has Downs Syndrome, and is by far bold and hilarious.

For example, in the car on the way to pick up Dave..."Yes! I know Dave! I just need to get his number!" As soon as we picked him up (6'6"-ish Dave in his 60s or 70s) she was dead silent, but later on asked if he has any sons...

The temple trip was very memorable. Sister Nielson and I just did confirmations, as well as helped Caitlyn out. First of all, we were not sure what was going to happen because last time Sister Nielson went with her, as soon as the baptism was finished, she started swimming in the water! Never have I heard of anyone doing that! This time, she did not want someone she did not know to baptize her, but then she said, "Fine, I'll give you a try" to the man who was going to do the baptism.

After the Priesthood holder instructed her how to bend her knees to help her (and she's done baptisms many times before), he began doing the proxy. As he was reciting the words, there went Caitlyn, slowly bending her knees and leaning back. She was trying to baptize herself! He would gently use his hands to bring her back up. This happened several times as mine and Sister Nielson's faces turned bright red as we held in laughter. We had to step out for a moment to contain ourselves. We felt bad afterwards, but we all enjoyed Caitlyn's company. After she was baptized for a few names, she exclaimed, "Let's do that again!" As soon as Dave went, we met in the chapel, where Caitlyn began singing, and then a lady joined in with her, and soon enough we were all joined in as Caitlyn led us. The spirit was very strong at that time.

On Saturday, I prayed that the Lord would open up funny experiences that we would notice. On Saturday night, we visited a lady who doesn't go to church very often. As I got to know her, she reminded me exactly of a couple I knew from the Weston 1st ward--they were both from Lima, Peru, spoke the same way, same accent, gestures--everything. When having dinner with her, I mentioned how much she reminded me of this couple I knew from Lima, Peru in my last area. I told her their last name, and asked if she knew them by any chance. She asked where they lived, then how many kids they had.  As soon as I mentioned their one son studies at Harvard, the Sister exclaimed, "You're talking about my ex-husband!"

Silence. Dead silence. Jaws hanging. Oh man...I believe Sister Nielson slapped her hand to her mouth as I was sitting there, honestly not knowing what to say. Haha :) The best that I could come up with was, "Well, we don't have to talk about it if it makes you uncomfortable."

Goodness, can you believe that happened?! Haha! :)

To be honest, I know the Lord knew he could provide these experiences, along with many others, for me to get a good laugh this week. After Sister Packard's message on Tuesday that Grandma was dying, then getting permission to call you, Mom, then struggling to say my last goodbyes to Grandma over the phone, I had to accept all that was taking place. At first I felt torn, but I was so thankful to be able to thank her for everything. Her support, her cards and letters sent, her acts of sacrifice, spunk, drive, humor, encouragement, faithfulness, determination, perseverance, and love have helped me become who I am today. I see a lot of her in myself, and I still look up to all that she ever has been and still is, as she will always be one of my eternal best friends and someone I hope to become more like. I know she was facing a lot of pain and suffering, so it was not fair for her to go through that any longer. I know that she, her sisters, and Grandpa must have had a joyous reunion in Paradise. :)

A large tender mercy took place the following morning. The lesson we taught our investigator Grace the morning after Grandma passed in the middle of the night was about what happens to us after we die, what Paradise is like, and how angels continue to spread the gospel, including How angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost (2 Nephi 31:3). She had been waiting for this lesson since she was very close to her grandpa who passed away a while ago, but it most certainly was what I needed as well at the time. We taught about and discussed the peace and comfort the Plan of Salvation/Happiness brings and allows us to gain eternal perspective, and how we are all striving to live as eternal families in the Celestial Kingdom. It was most certainly the perfect lesson for that morning, and I've never taught the Plan of Salvation focusing that much on angels before. 

Joe's Baptism
On Saturday, I had the sweet opportunity to attend the baptism for Joe, who Sister Patterson and I helped teach, out in Weston. There was a family from this Branch that was heading to Boston, so they were kind enough to offer a ride to get us there. There was also a family from Weston 1st who had friends in Plymouth, so they offered to bring us back. When Sister Nielson and I arrived at the Weston chapel, I couldn't help but feel every ounce of giddiness and joy! When we came in, we were greeted by our previous companions--our dear Sister Patterson and Sister Slater! We saw more ward members come in who I have missed as well. I was so happy for Joe and his family and could once again feel their pure, meek, loving spirit fill the room.

I wasn't sure if I would share this experience as I hardly ever share them to many people, but I feel that it's alright this time. At Joe's baptism, as we all sang I am a Child of God, about halfway through the song, I could feel Grandma's presence right next to me. It was unexpected, and when I looked at my watch as it read 2:10 pm (12:10 pm Utah time) I realized her funeral had either just ended or she may have left it to spend this moment together. At that point, I lost it and the tears came.

I felt her stay when Sister Patterson spoke on Baptism, as I remember her having great respect for Sister Patterson, and she admired her words. She stood beside me as Joe entered the baptism waters and was immersed, and then walked beside me as we all left the room. I am not sure how much longer she stayed afterwards, but I could feel her rejoicing with me at that very moment. I couldn't believe she may have left her very own funeral to join me at this moment. I fought tears the entire time (haha poor Grandma) but I could feel she wanted me to know she was there, and wanted to see someone I taught and celebrate this moment together. It was a very sacred and special experience I will never forget.

The remainder of the baptism was incredible. Joe's wife sang a couple of beautiful solos with one of their daughters. As Joe was welcomed into the ward, I could see how much support he had--even his new home teachers sat by him. He was also confirmed right then and there since his work schedule does not allow him to attend church many Sundays.

I'll now go back to Nephi's words..."But behold, I Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom He hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance." This week, the Lord has most certainly delivered me from some sorrow carried, as He's graciously shown a few tender mercies through humor, love, and feeling my grandma near.

There's been a remaining feeling of peace that's stayed with me. It took some courage to keep going at first, but I know it's what she and the Lord would want me to do. The work here is going well and we have another busy week lined up. I know I've said this countless times but I truly am grateful to be here to spread the knowledge and fullness of Christ's everlasting gospel. I'm grateful to have the Book of Mormon to turn to and learn from and to have a living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, here on the earth to guide us. I'm thankful to know how families can be together for all eternity and for the joy that comes through this entire wonderful gospel.

Keep your head held high and remember who you are. Continue to count your blessings and know how much you are loved.

With love,
Sister Roy

Monday, March 10, 2014

His Work is Ever Hastening

Hey everyone!

March Madness is on fire! Sister Nielson and I set more specific goals the other day for ways we can work more fully with each auxiliary of the branch, and starting with the basics of having auxiliary interviews to see how we can help fulfill each presidency's vision, how we can involve the youth, and more. Our Branch mission leader is also working on a Facebook group for our branch that is focused in on how to hasten the work here. Our sacrament meeting attendance was higher than before yesterday, too.

The Lord is definitely hastening his work. In fact, President Packard said this month has been "March Madness" for the mission, as numbers are higher than they've ever been before in this mission, and continue to grow. I feel so privileged to be part of this mission to work with some of the most hard-working missionaries as we feel more moved to give our all and do our best. :)

Sister Nielson and I are still teaching Beth and Amy. Their baptism day was actually scheduled for yesterday, but there were scheduling conflicts with their fellow shippers, so we sure tried but unfortunately it didn't work out. However, Beth and Amy prayed about it more and April 13th came to mind and they felt very good about it, so we are supporting their decision. :) They are actually moving into our area soon so it will be after their move when everything has calmed down for them. They are truly amazing, as their faith and testimonies are continually growing. At one recent lesson with Beth, I complimented Beth on her testimony that she shared with Amy in the lesson. She responded, "Oh! I guess I do have a testimony!" It's been neat to watch them progress. :)

This week we had a great lesson with them on Faith in Jesus Christ and Repentance. The member who came (and she didn't know them too well) was so gracious enough to offer to buy Amy a vanilla milkshake nearby before we began the lesson since she was having a rough day. They were all able to connect through similar experiences throughout the lesson, too. I seriously love the members here and see how there's that importance of having them help those we teach. :)

This week we also had a great exchange for a day with our Sister Training Leaders, Sister Blair (who I was in the MTC with and am fully convinced will someday become the Relief Society General President or the prophet's wife), and Sister Layton. I had the sweet privilege to serve with Sister Layton! She's always uplifting and is honestly pure sunshine, and I was able to learn a lot from her that day. We brought a member with us to teach Shawn and Raina, who began coming to church, and it went very well. It was mainly a "how to begin teaching" lesson, and we were able to answer a lot of questions that they, (and Shawn's mom who was there as well) ended up having. Shawn actually had to leave for Tennessee for work and they didn't say when he would be back--anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, but we will continue teaching him when he returns.

After our appointment, we headed over to a referral's place. However, we realized we didn't know where we were. Before we knew it, the road we were on overlooked the large outstretched ocean extending from the shoreline. 

It was a beautiful day, and we drove along the road, passing coastal shops and found a parking spot. We noticed a large ship to mimic the Mayflower right by the coast, 

a few statues,

Immigrant Statue
and a monument in front of us, which we realized was, from what we understood, a burial spot for some of the Pilgrims. It was crazy! 

The Pilgrim Gravestone

After we visited our referral (who wasn't home), we had a lady take our picture (she turned down our invite to learn more about the church but was still nice), and then pointed down to a set of columns down a flight of steps, saying that Plymouth rock was right there! Haha we felt oblivious. :) Just picture 2 girls from Utah looking all over, wide-eyed, repeatedly exclaiming, "This is so cool!" Since Sister Layton was there for just that day, we decided to quickly head down and look at it. 
Surely enough it looked like a normal rock haha.  Who knows if it really was Plymouth rock, but it was neat to see it. 

Plymouth Rock

Rock on!!!  Get it?  ;)
Sister Layton and I felt so blessed to be there at that time, as it was a tender mercy for both of us, and especially for her since it could be one of her only times there. It's really so cool to be here in Plymouth. :) Sister Nielson and I headed to the same area again today to get a better look at it. I'm looking forward to this weather warming up so we can see more here on Mondays!

Anywho, the work is doing very well here. We continued teaching another new investigator last night and are still seeking ways to hasten the Lord's work here. It's great! We have an almost-packed week planned for this week and are still filling it up.

I was recently reading a talk from the last General Conference called "Drawing Closer to God" and there were a couple of quotes that stood out. The first relates to the the neat experience that I shared with a few that I am working on. Although I don't know all the answers of what to do, it most certainly is allowing me to rely on Him. 

"Rather than solve the problem Himself, the Lord wants us to develop the faith that will help us rely upon.Him in solving our problems and trust Him. Then we can feel His love more constantly, more powerfully, more clearly, and more personally. We become united with Him, and we can become like Him. For us to be like Him is His goal. In fact, it is His glory as well as His work." – Elder Terence M. Vinson (LDS General Conference Nov 2013)

And as I've been seeking ways to improve how I teach, invite, and abide by the Lord's will, I thought this quote was absolutely perfect:

"That’s exactly how I feel about the Savior. He is always near, especially in sacred places and in 
times of need; and sometimes, when I least expect, I feel almost like He taps me on the shoulder to let me know He loves me. I can return that love in my own imperfect way by giving Him my heart."

As we give him all of our Heart, we will feel Him near as we continue to do His work here on the Earth in the ways that we can.

I love you all! 

-Sister Roy

P.S. Here are some pictures from the week:

The very first Parrish formed in Plymouth
Turkeys!!!   Right behind our apartment complex.

Plymouth Rock