Monday, August 11, 2014

Miracles Happen



How do I best say this?...Here it goes...
CAMBRIDGE IS ON FIRE!!!
Ladies and gents, miracles are happening here, and I'm just hoping and praying they continue. The Lord is being so good to us, as he is pouring out blessings. Ever since we've been working with the Moore's when they arrived the night before I did, we've been receiving more member referrals and having more members come out with us. In fact, we had 10 this last week, as well as 3 new investigators, as well as a baptismal date!
On Friday, Sister Scott and I headed over to Boston Children's for a clinic check-up appointment. First of all, I got a 100 % PFT again!! I also fasted for the glucose tolerance test they require every year, and knew they were going to do other yearly tests...and I soon found out they weren't kidding. It wasn't that great with all the blood work, but luckily enough, my good friend Brandon was able to work on my labs. While he was there with us, Sister Scott and I couldn't stop laughing. Since he did my labs, he kept going on, as he did before, about how tough my veins are and when any phlebotomist sees patients with veins like mine, they run the opposite direction. Since we had a tough time with my veins once again, Brandon jokingly said, "He would punch my nose" since my veins were refusing to give anything, but since I'm a Sister he wouldn't. He also offered to take Sister Scott's blood and label it mine. What else did he do? He played a prank during the blood draw. He said that my insurance only covered 25 minutes of heat in the room, since I was cold from drinking a lot of water, trying to stay hydrated. He turned up the heat and said it would come out of his own funds. He admitted much later on he was only joking! Ha...ha. We also transitioned the jokes and prank into another awesome discussion with him, this time about tithing. There came the point where the spirit was so strong in that hospital room. He is drawn to this church and agrees with everything it teaches, so we will see where it goes.

I am not getting my hopes up that it will be crazy busy every day, but I am grateful for how our schedules are becoming more packed. We're having to figure out who--the Moore's or us--go to which appointments, and are on the verge of having to do splits with the members soon. On Saturday, we once again visited Al. He seemed on the verge of falling asleep at times since his health is wavering, but we could tell our visit with him brought him and his wife peace and comfort. His wife has been coming to church more often, and as we've been doing so, we see her countenance changing as she carries a new light about her.
We also began to teach a lady named Megan (pronounced Meegan) who a member began talking to at a park when she saw her reading some scriptures (which we found out later was one of the books for the Christian Science religion.)  Sister Raymond offered to have her come over for dinner and said that we could be there, so she set up the appointment. Megan had a sweet, peaceful presence about her. We all got to know her and began the first lesson. She already has a deep faith and knowledge of God's love, and was intrigued with Joseph Smith's experience and the first vision. When we read Mosiah 18:8-10 and extended baptism, she said she's been thinking about being baptized by being fully immersed. She looks forward to reading the Book of Mormon and meeting with us. We're a little nervous because she has been so devoted to the church she's a part of, and wants to ask them if she can meet with us, but she wants to go to church and learn more so we are hoping for the best.

We also had our first lesson with Kunal, and it was incredible. He loves this church (he's come before and was taught the first lesson by the missionaries a while back.) He has felt the confirmation through the peace he feels and how it all makes sense that the church is true. He flooded us with very good questions, since he has little Christian background as he's from India. He loved the scriptures we read in the Book of Mormon as we began the Plan of Salvation. He is enthusiastic to learn and is very positive. When we extended for him to be baptized, he gladly accepted. We chose September 27--the day before his Birthday--so he could receive the greatest gift on his Birthday--the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Moore's and the member that came were a tremendous help for the lesson. We are excited to teach Kunal!
During church yesterday, the sacrament meeting talks were centered on the topic: joy. Sister Moore was one of the speakers, and she shared a simple, yet profound acronym that I loved and will never forget. She thought about what our joy can be in: J for Jesus Christ, O for Others, and Y for yourself. As we first find joy through the relief and blessings that come from the Atonement by remembering all that He's done for us, then we learn what true joy is. As we rejoice in others and help each other out, then we continue to feel a greater fulfillment in our lives. And last but not least, we can remember who we are and walk with confidence that we are children of our Eternal Father in Heaven. As we appreciate the gifts He's given us, and accept who we are with all the strengths and weaknesses we have, then we can continue to find joy in this life and in the world to come.
I am so thankful for the Lord's tender mercies and all that He gives. Although hard times and trials come along in our lives, they allow us to greatly appreciate the many good times and miracles that are provided.

I love you all and have a great week.
Love,

Sister Roy

Monday, August 4, 2014

Keep Moving Forward



Hey everyone!
Sorry this will be a little bit of a shorter letter since we have to get off soon. I still am shocked with all of the changes happening back at home but I know everything will work out according to the Lord's will.
I'm adjusting to all of the new changes of being here in Cambridge. I'm growing to love this ward! At first it was a culture shock to see all of the young couples and many kids around, but yesterday it hit how much of a party it is. :) For instance, there will be kids left and right trying to free themselves from their parents as they try to run up the aisles before their parents grasp hold of them. It may seem irreverent, but I honestly couldn't help but enjoy it. There were several parents who brought up their son or daughter to the pulpit when they bore their testimony. There was even one boy who kept putting his hand up to his eye. He was looking through it to all of us, when he called out, "I see you mommy!" We couldn't help but laugh :) It's a great joy to be here and the people here are very loving. As there are many wise people here, with various degrees, professions, and skills, it's been wonderful to already learn from them and we feel loved into the ward.
What has also been wonderful to see is that there have been many less actives coming back to church. One, for instance, stopped coming for a long while, but came back. Many members approached her, telling her how much they missed her and were glad to see her. She loved all that was said at church and felt spiritually strengthened; she committed herself to keep coming from now on. :)
As for a couple shindigs that took place this week:
-Our zone had a mini party for lunch before the transfer took place when a few were transferred. We had crepes, and surprised the Moore's with a huge card that Sister Scott and I created for everyone to sign for their anniversary.
-There has been a Haitian Baptist priest that has continually been calling us, since Sister Scott and Sister Miller (the Sister who was with her previously) promised him they would come to his church if he came to ours. It turns out we can't because his church takes place during my treatment time every Sunday morning, so we've been telling him why we can't go (even with the simple explanation "She's sick!" referring to myself as the best way we could tell him to help him understand) but he still doesn't seem to get it. Anyways, during one of his calls this week while we were at the church as a zone, he blurted out to Sister Scott, with the Haitian speaking Elders right there in front of us, "But I love you!" Our jaws dropped and we were speechless. Good gravy...the things that happen here near Boston!!
To top the week off, we had another sweet visit with Al on Saturday at the rehab center where he is at. We were going to do a Restoration review, but before we headed over there I felt we should begin by reading 3 Ne 11:3-7 when Christ appeared to the Nephites. The plan with that was to focus in on how the Lord speaks to us, and how Heavenly Father introduced Christ with the same words when He was baptized. When we discussed this with Al, the spirit felt as peaceful and breathtaking as before. Sister Scott did a beautiful job describing how Heavenly Father was proud of Christ, even when He was baptized, as He would continually be proud of Al for his decision to do the same and follow Him. We extended September 14th as a date if his health improves, since it hasn't been the best lately. Al wanted so badly to listen to us more, but his meds that caused him to be drowsy given by the nurses were kicking in. He has a pure heart and wants to be baptized, as he said, "We cannot move backward, only forward." He also cannot wait to come to church when he is well enough to attend. I know somehow it will work out for him--to move forward to his heart's yearning desires. I could feel while we were with Al how understanding the Lord is of his desires and condition. This strengthened my testimony of how understanding our Heavenly Father and Savior are for all that we face, with all of the hardships, pleadings and yearnings in our hearts, all the situations that we encounter, and the hopes that we wish to be fulfilled.
Always know how much I love you all and have a wonderful week. :)
Love,

Sister Roy

Monday, July 28, 2014

#Ilovethismission



Hello!

Serving in Cambridge is a lot of fun. :) There is much to see and it's been fun to talk to so many people out here. We had a crazy week as well as a very uplifting and spiritual Zone Conference. (If the length of this letter is wearing out your eyes, at least scroll down to the main points from Zone Conference.)

Well, as I mentioned, there was more craziness last week! To sum up the beginning of last week (I mentioned we had to take care of some apartment business) we noticed Sister Scott was being bitten all over. We met with the mission doctor and found out our apartment had fleas! It was disgusting. We arranged for exchanges to happen so I wouldn't be exposed at all to the bug bomb fumes. So, the week started off with me spending a day with Sister Bailey as Sister Scott and Sister White finished up the preparations, sprayed the apartment, lit the bomb and ran. Sister Bailey and I had a pretty good day as we taught one of their investigators at Harvard Yard, had more appointments, and personal contacted for a while over at Harvard Square. The other Sisters then headed to the apartment we were at, where we all had a sleep over before Zone Conference. :)

While at Zone Conference on Wednesday, I couldn't help but feel tremendously blessed and grateful to be part of this mission at this time. Even though it lasted all day, I wanted to soak in every part of the meeting. It was spiritually exhausting but incredible, as it always is here. After a presentation was given on how to take care of our health out here, the Packards began with how the MBM (Massachusetts Boston Mission) is at an all-time high, as personal contacting has been a greater focus, even though it's still the mission's 5th out of our 5 priorities. However, there have been more baptismal dates lost, so the majority of Zone Conference was focused on the 3 venues of Conversion (lessons, church attendance, and personal worship.) They shared "the 10 Commandments for Baptismal Dates" they came up with to make sure they still take place. We attended workshops held by our mission presidency--President Christensen and President Haight--as well as President Packard's assistants. To be honest, I couldn't help but feel the sense of Deja-vu as it was similar to my first zone conference here in the mission (and I heard last year that there was a zone conference a year before that that was similar.) However, the breakout sessions this time were still wonderful and I took notes of new ideas. 

After lunch and practicing for the musical number, a question and answer session was held. When, President Christensen humbly, with tears in his eyes, choked up, bore his testimony, the room was filled with a sweet, peaceful, powerful feeling. He is sure one wise, loving, sincere, and humble individual, as he does all he can to serve the Lord and build up His kingdom on earth, despite all the hardships he has quietly faced in life.

After we heard his remarks, we filed back into the chapel to hear from the Packards and some musical numbers. Sister Packard gave a presentation called "Sacred Time, Sacred Place" which went over the history with the church here in New England, and how special of a time it is to be serving now. She also shared more on how we need to love, support, and show confidence in one another, how we need to continue Zion as we should celebrate together as a mission and those we are with.

President Packard's turn came. He prayed deeply on what he needed to share. He began by quoting Ezra Taft Benson's "Beware of Pride" talk from 1989, as he said, "We must prepare to redeem Zion. It was the sin of pride that kept us from preparing Zion and consecrating ourselves" and how "Pride is the great stumbling block to Zion." President Packard used quotes, scriptures, and more to tell what pride is, how we live in a scarcity mentality, and how "we are born and socialized into a world of competition." He taught more on how we should always view one another as Children of God, what pride causes and how to prevent it. He too spoke about what humble people do, how to constantly learn from others and all around us, including our infirmities and hardships as the Savior did. He spoke on what humility is, and although he has by no means found the answers on how to be humble, he provided insights he received on how to gain humility. There was more on how gratitude is part of humility, which seemed to stand out more to me.

There was so much I learned and was touched by. Once again, the chapel was overwhelmed with the immense presence of the Lord's love, love for each other, and desire for self-improvement. After President Packard concluded, it was time for Sister Shields, Sister Scott, and I to do our musical number, accompanied by Elder Moore. My heart wouldn't stop beating rapidly, but we were able to do it together. The words of "Be Still My Soul" and the spirit carried seemed to touch hearts and triggered tears as we all were in deep thought, soaking in how we felt. Many missionaries complimented us after. I faced the fear and finally did it with the Lord's help. I learned a taste of how it is to be the Lord's instrument by carrying His revelations and love for others through song.

Here are some pointers and things said that stood out from Zone Conference:
-"We are looking for converts, not baptisms."
-"We are not waiting on the Lord; He is waiting on us."
-"There's one thing we can give to the Lord, and that is our will."
-"The door to reading the scriptures isn't at the beginning or the front. It opens with a question."-President Christensen
-"You can either serve a mission or build the kingdom."-President Haight
-"You specifically are meant to be here at this time."
-"When someone falls out of the lifeboat, we don't hit them with their oars. We give them a life jacket and pull them back in." (Sister Packard quoting President Packard)
-"We must prepare to redeem Zion. It is the great sin of pride that keeps us from preparing Zion and consecrating ourselves."
-Pride is the great stumbling block to Zion.
-Pride is the sin of comparison. It is the great sin of personal elevation. 
-"You are valuable because you are all children of God and you have the seeds of deity within you."
-"To me, every person is my superior in some way, and in him, I will learn something." -quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
-"A humble person doesn't just look up for answers...they look sideways and all around them in every direction for answers."
-"A proud person is ungrateful. A humble person acknowledges how others play part in their success and what's around them. Acknowledge the contributions of those around you."
-"Your priorities change as you see others as children of God."
-"Suffering is not wasted if we learn from it."
-"How are we going to learn faith if we never had to wait?"
-"Humility is not self-abasement."
-"Humility and meekness is not weakness. The Savior was not weak."
-"Use compliments as a spur of self-improvement."
"You all have spiritual gifts in your life given based on the need. It is God who gives them."
-Every gift, every lesson, every miracle, every insight, every breath and capacity is from God."
-We see miracles all the time--miracles of healing, miracles of transformation."
-"Humble people are happy people."
-"You can live a life of new discovery if you're humble enough to learn.
-"Let us humble ourselves voluntarily. Let us wear out our lives in His work and stand still.""
The Insights to gain humility:
-Being self-aware is half the battle->as pain is a sign that something is wrong for the body, frustration is a sign of selfishness.
-Recognize the source of all your gifts--it is from the Lord.
-Gratitude is one of the most successful antidotes for pride.
-Listen. And be teachable.
-Let the spirit change your heart (Mosiah 3:19)
-Love

Now do you have a slight sense of why I loved this Zone Conference and why I love this mission? :)

There are so many changes that have been taking place. We are still working with the Moore's to continue creating Zion in this ward. It's been requiring patience to get to know everyone, figuring out the "T" system, how to become more involved with the auxiliaries here, and much more. Church on Sunday was awesome. Sister Scott and I invited many less actives and people we met and told them we'd be singing in Sacrament Meeting. We even invited our neighbors (yes, one of them was the one who kissed my hand...). When they told us they usually go to the beach on Sundays, we made an agreement that if it rained, they would come. So, we prayed for rain, and our prayers were answered! #makeitrain :) There were also 6 other non-members who came to church, 4 or 5 of whom the other Sister we were singing with invited, as well as 4 people who haven't come in a while. The members here have a fire and drive for sharing the gospel. We and the Moore's have already felt welcomed in by them. :)

I hope you all had a great Pioneer Day and are doing well. 

I love you!!
 -Sister Roy

P.S. I got the text on Thursday...CHRIS IS BEING BAPTIZED AT THE END OF AUGUST!!! I'm so happy for him! Sister Harris just got the news she is now being transferred out of Plymouth this week, (we pretty much shot gunned Plymouth) so I feel we both needed to be there to help his conversion come along and up to this special moment. :) And he wants to be baptized out on the ocean! I know this moment will be one of the highlights out here!