Monday, September 8, 2014

I'm Going to be a Mom!!!!

I'm Going to be a new Mom!!!!

Yes, that's right; I'm going to be a mom for the first time!! :D To clarify, a brand new greenie will be arriving in the Massachusetts Boston Mission this week who I will train for my last two transfers here. I have no idea who she is yet, but will find out at the "Forces unite" meeting this Wednesday right before transfer meeting. It's a meeting where all the trainers and new missionaries gather in a room. Everybody introduces themselves and then President Packard calls out each new missionary one at a time and tells them who they are being trained by. I'm pretty excited! 

Quote by Sister Scott: "You're having a baby just like everybody else in this ward." ...Ha.

As for Sister Scott, she will be heading over to Scituate, Rhode Island, where three now four of my companions have served--Sister Gledhill, Sister Nielson, and Sister Harris, as she is there now.  That's right; Sister Scott will be companions with Sister Harris!!! It's a little crazy how much companionship's can switch around. 

As for other matters this week...

Wednesday: It was not cool.

"Benny, I'm being baked like a toasted cheeser; it's so hot in here!" --from the Sandlot.
The bug exterminators finally came over after we woke up earlier and headed to the Moore's for the morning, then we went about for the rest of the day. When we came home, it was HOT. They cranked up large heaters for the heat treatment to about 140 degrees!  It took some time to bring our apartment back to normal and cool it down. We are so glad it's DONE.

On Friday, our Zone had the best Zone Conference. No really, it was the best. Before Zone meeting, we gathered for a "Cinco De Septiembre" scone fiesta. One of the members had over 20 sombreros in her home, so she offered them to us. We all enjoyed a freshly made scone buffet while wearing them. During zone meeting, one of the trainings answered my prayers that morning on how to have more faith in finding. A few missionaries from our zone created a last-minute video as an intermission. One of the Elders is talented with film editing, so it was mind blowing. It was too great and really was funny. Sister Scott also did a musical number. It was hitting that she was being transferred but I tried to hold back tears because we were the only ones that knew since President Packard called the previous night to tell me I was training. T-Texts came in following Zone Meeting.
The downside of this week was that our investigator, Kunal, completely dropped us. We and his fellow shipper had a very difficult time getting a hold of him over the past few weeks. When he invited him to church, he gave a little bit of an abrupt response. I was pretty heartbroken.

However... the good news is that Kyle and his family are progressing so much. Kyle had his baptism interview yesterday. In the past while being taught, he didn't make it a couple of times, but he finally did! He was beaming the rest of the day. We're so happy for him and we're going to set a baptismal date soon.

Great things continue to happen here in Cambridge, which I am grateful for. Over the past couple of months, my Book of Mormon study has been focused on identifying the ways people were "Strengthened by the Lord" or "In the strength of the Lord" they were able to accomplish much more, in contrast to relying on their own talents and wits. I'll have to end this soon since President Packard extended a new challenge for us to highlight all references to the Lord's tender mercies shown throughout the Book of Mormon over the next 2 transfers. However, this study has reminded me how when we rely on the Lord for his strength, He never lets us down and everything ends up better in the long run.

Hope you have a great week. 

With love,
Sister Roy

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Baptism by the Ocean

Dearest loved ones, 

I sure hope I can describe as well as possible, how what happened this weekend had to be in the very top experiences of my mission.

Before I get to that (now I have you hanging! :) )  the rest of this week was so great! A few things:

Many of the missionaries here (more Sisters, to be exact) hit our "99" mark--that is, 99 days left. It's a tradition here in the MBM to go to a restaurant called "the Ninety-Nine" when we reach that point, so our Zone headed there for a good lunch. It was a lot of fun, but it was just plain weird we were at that point.

We've been slightly in touch with Krystal. She still wants to go to church and take part in another discussion, but is literally all over the world for her job as a flight attendant.

We will be having the bug exterminators coming out tomorrow morning--it was the earliest time they could get, and it usually takes them longer to find an open day. As for now, they instructed us to make "bug-islands".
Bug Island - complete
Our beds are still encompassed by duct tape taped to the legs for the bed bugs to stick to, which we set up after vacuuming the bed area and washing our sheets. Sorry for the gross details...we're just glad this is almost over!

Sister Scott and I are focusing more on visiting with more members and are still striving to work together with our Auxiliary leaders. We are still teaching Kyle. Kunal has been out of town so hopefully we'll teach him later this week. Mark is now being taught by just the Moore's and the Elders in Arlington, since he lives in those ward boundaries and lives close to that church. We sure miss teaching him, but his baptism date is still set for September 19th.

On Labor Day, we went to the temple with a recent convert who just moved into our ward. Later Sister Scott and I explored Boston Commons and the Boston Gardens, with a little bit of the freedom trail. I uploaded many pictures you can see. :)

Ok, now back to what I was talking about before...

I am bewildered, stunned, and immensely grateful. This Labor Day weekend one of the happiest, most fulfilling series of days on my mission, and I mean that with all my heart.

Although I may have failed to mention it in my past letters, I was thrilled to attend Chris's baptism back in Plymouth. I would be back in Plymouth, where I would see Sister Harris again (she was coming from Scituate, Rhode Island), many branch members, and most importantly, Chris be baptized on his Birthday, being reborn right by the ocean. Needless to say, I had been looking forward to this day.

It must have been one of the most beautiful days of the summer--bright and sunny, in the low 70s with a gentle breeze. We drove to Plymouth with the Moore's, as more trees came into view as they were already changing colors. They dropped us off at Grey's beach while they grabbed lunch. As soon as we approached the beach, I was so happy I honestly didn't know what to do with myself. There was Chris in his white jumpsuit, with is dad who traveled from Georgia (who sounds like he lives in Josh's mission.) His Aunt was there as well. There were the Sister Missionaries (Sister Miller was Sister Scott's previous companion), as well as Beth and Amy who have been helping him along with his conversion. It was so great to see them! Sister Harris then came! Of course, we took some more pictures.

Chris with his Dad and Aunt

Sister Scott with three of her companions
Afterwards, we headed to the church for the program portion (the Moore's and Sister Scott were in awe at how the church used to be a grocery store.) It felt so good to be back! Honestly, I was fighting back tears as more members arrived. Many hugs were exchanged and we were all excited to see each other. The baptism program was beautifully done. The Relief Society room was packed, with everyone wearing the coordinated colors blue and white. The talks were given by Brother and Sister Hovey. Chris, his family, and Chris's roommate Danny Capella (who was inactive, which led to us meeting Chris when we knew we should find out who he was) were all front and center. There was true Zion there in that room between everyone, as there was great peace and Christlike love felt. The Intermediate song was When I am Baptized, and when we all sang Chris's favorite hymn How Great Thou Art in closing, his tears triggered the rest of ours.

What a beautiful moment, especially as Chris couldn't stop, as he tried to get words out about how grateful he was. Once Brother Germinaro said, "It's not over yet," we all filed out to drive to the beach.

The Moore's, Sister Scott and I, and Caitlyn Zeller (I continued to get a kick out of her bold comments) all drove together, following the precession line of cars, which included Brother Berry riding his Harley Davidson in his white shirt and shorts. Ha-ha it was great!
Brother Berry, headed over to the baptism on his Harley...nbd!
 When we arrived at the beach, more pictures were taken. When it came time for Chris to enter the water, he, Brother Cornwall, who was baptizing him, as well as Brother Berry and Eli Hovey entered. 

We all couldn't help but marvel. The spirit entered in even more powerfully as the water rose higher up to them, their white suits standing out. Nobody filmed or took pictures at this point. We listened carefully as Brother Cornwall performed the ordinance. Chris was submerged and brought back up. Cameras and smart phones were whipped out, as his paparazzi took pictures, as Chris's dad put it, a fan must have been blowing behind them. We closed with a prayer once things got settled down again. Chris changed in the tent Sister Zeller brought. The rest of us headed to the pavilion where dessert was provided.

me, Chris, and Sister Harris (my old companion who helped me teach Chris)

When Chris returned, we all sang "Happy Birthday" to him. We all enjoyed ourselves, wrote notes for Chris and took more pictures. As Chris said, "There was no better way to be reborn" on his Birthday. After the crowd dwindled, it was hard to say goodbye. The Moore's said they wanted to move to Plymouth; they and Sister Scott could most definitely see how the Plymouth Branch is one-of-a-kind. The joy felt that day was so wonderful, exhausting, and fulfilling. I was reminded how hard Sister Harris and I worked when we found Chris. It led to miracles, and they've only begun. The next day, he was confirmed, and then on Monday-- only 2 days after his baptism-- he went to the temple with his grandfather's name. (I was able to see him be baptized for him at the mission's recent convert temple baptism day on Labor Day.) His family had a great time at the baptism and was very supportive. In addition, his roommate Danny is now active in the church, and I found out while talking to Chris and the Sisters yesterday that he is now preparing to receive his own endowment. I was reminded how much joy hard work can bring. I feel more motivated to continue on here in Cambridge--to trust in the Lord and not give up.

It truly has been a wonderful week. I have once again been reminded our Heavenly Father's love for us as he hopes for us to look for the simple pleasures and blessings He provides. He desires for us to be happy, as we find great joy and satisfaction. I hope you can all find what He places in your life that brings the greatest joy, as the gospel of Jesus Christ most certainly helps us do so.

Life is truly beautiful.

With love,
Sister Roy

Here are some other pictures from this week:

Plymouth Rock

With Sister Scott and Sister Moore at Plymouth Rock

Going up the longest escalator I've ever been on

Monday, August 25, 2014

Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite

Matching shirt day!
You know that phrase, "Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite?" It's now our companionship motto. Yikes! Remember that experience about the "fleas" that I was telling you about? Well, they weren't fleas. By the time both Sister Scott was wearing bug spray to bed and I started to get bites, we finally had a bug inspector come to our apartment. He looked around, and lifted up our mattresses. Nothing. Then he lifted up my box spring...surely enough A BED BUG WAS THERE!!! So gross!!! I never thought I'd see this happen, nevertheless, I've never known what they look like. We are in the works of getting this worked out between the missionary over all the apartments and our landlord (who is being pretty stubborn about taking care of this sooner than later.) So, Sister Scott and I are becoming champs at wearing bug spray to bed. Such is the life!

Well...other than that, it's been a pretty good week! We had a mind-blowing experience happen--it was definitely a mission highlight! We continued to have more teaching appointments, which is always a good thing.

The rest of the week went pretty well. We had another lesson with our investigator Kyle, as we reviewed the Restoration. His family is working on some personal matters, but it's wonderful to see them grow closer through the work they are putting in as they are centering their lives on the gospel more. We provided a chart for chores to help around the home and a chart for spiritual matters, including family home evening, scripture study, and prayer. Our deal for them is that once they complete it for a month, we're going to provide an ice cream sundae party for the family. We also taught Kunal again. He's taking the lessons a little bit slower now since he's very busy as he works at MIT, so we're not sure about his baptism date being at the end of September, but at least he still wants to learn and we're still teaching him.

Remember that miracle I mentioned? Here it goes! Sister Scott and I originally planned to head to our dinner appointment a little early once weekly planning would be done to do a stop by at a less active's on the way.  However, since it was a little far away we decided to continue planning instead. Later on the way to the members' home (the Swans) we hopped from station to station, switching lines for the train. On the last train while standing, a lady noticed our tags and asked where our church was located. When we told her, she was so excited! She has wanted so badly to go to a church again since she has been craving spiritual strength as she travels a lot as a flight attendant. When we got of the same T stop as we continued to talk, we saw how truly grateful she was. This was a missionary's dream moment! Sister Scott and I walked along both sides of her, wanting to pinch ourselves to see if this was actually happening! We found out the lady's name was Krystal. She kept throwing her hands up in relief, exclaiming how we were an answer to her prayer that day to send a church her way!

As Sister Scott and I tried to maintain our giddiness, we told her where the church was as we gave her our card. Krystal promised she would come this Sunday if she didn't get called in for a flight for work. We asked if she'd be alright if the members nearby (the Swans) gave her a ride, which she accepted! Sister Scott geniously then mentioned how we were actually headed to a dinner at their place and asked if she'd like to come, which she agreed to! She had a quick errand to do beforehand, so as we waited, we decided to change our dinner lesson plan to the Restoration. We called the Swans, asking if Krystal could come to dinner--yes again! It was a solid plan!

The three of us had dinner with the Swans as Krystal told more about her life. The best comparison I can give for Krystal is Princess Tiana from the Disney Movie "Princess and the Frog." She is very bubbly and dramatic in a sweet, fun way. She has an open heart and moves forward with her ambitions and what she knows is right. She shared about her family, her life as a flight attendant, and her wedding plans for next year to a man she knew back from middle school. We could see Krystal's faith and courage as she is willing to do whatever the Lord would have her do.

When the time came when Brother Swan mentioned we usually do a lesson after dinner, we asked Krystal if we could teach her the basis of what we teach for our church. She openly agreed to be taught it. The lesson flowed so smoothly as we used the pamphlet, opened the scriptures, asked her questions and bore testimony. Krystal listened carefully to everything as the feeling in the Swans' apartment was unbelievable. She's had her foundation built by going to her church and studying the Bible, but she's intrigued with it all. She gratefully accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon at the end. She described how God gives her answers and how she acts on them which led to us reading Moroni 10: 3-5. She wanted to pray to know if what we taught is true and if the Book of Mormon is true. She wanted to attend church, and the Swans offered to drive her, but unfortunately she did get called in for work at the last minute. The good news, however, is that we heard from her again and are planning on teaching her again this week. :) I am stunned--absolutely bewildered with this experience. There was absolutely no coincidence how it all worked out. The Lord led every step required to meet her right there and then on that part of the train. I sure wonder where this is all going to lead but it's definitely been one of the neatest experiences here in the mission.

I want you to know that the Lord continues to pour out his tender mercies every week. Some are more evident than others, but there are simple ones that can be shown as well. The tender mercies and simple pleasures carry us each day. Over here, it's been the cooler summer weather this time of season, when passerby's actually smile back when you smile and say hello (even better when they accept a pass-along card). It's in the feeling after a good workout in the mornings, having the spirit direct and carry words while teaching, and seeing less actives come to church more frequently.

Another tender mercy was having the sweet experience of laughing to tears with a member in the lesson in Relief Society from some things that happened in the lesson (we received weird looks from everyone else who just didn't understand the good time we were having). That's when I realized how much I a good laugh for a while. I encourage you to continue to look for the Lord's tender mercies in your lives.

I love you all so much as I pray for you daily. I still cannot believe how quickly the mission is passing by (I don't even recognize many of the missionaries here--Sister Scott and I are getting old!)

With love,

Sister Roy

Fun Fact:  There are flower carts at about every T Stop.  Sometimes we'll see a young man on the train carrying flowers for someone. :)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Relying on the Lord

This week was still great but wasn't quite as busy as last week, and we had some plans fall through. To be honest, I've had to greatly rely on the Lord to help me overcome personal barriers. He has most definitely answered prayers while strengthening and enabling Sister Scott and I to do what we cannot do on our own. He has helped us see others for who they really are and who they can become through His mercy and grace. All in all, I've just been thinking more lately about the importance of relying on Him, having Him fill in the gaps, making up for shortcomings and helping with what cannot be done on our own. 

Unfortunately Kunal cancelled our appointment for this week and wasn't able to make it to church as he's become busy with work. We also were planning on "heart-attacking" Al this week but it's been a little tricky trying to figure out where he's at since he's planning on going back to rehab from the hospital soon. 

With our new investigator Mark on his Birthday with his new present :)
Although those were a couple of bummers, we had a great and powerful lesson with our investigator, Mark. I don't know if I ever told you about him. It's been a little difficult to relate to him since it's been hard to figure out his needs as he learns differently and has his mind set on some philosophies. However, the more we've met with him, the Lord has helped me see how awesome he is. I'll have to say, when he came in for our lesson with him on Saturday, with his 10 pages for each of us as his homework answers, wearing his large cross chains over his shirt, I just could help but think how awesome he is! He has great potential as he has a yearning desire to learn more of what we teach. The lesson flowed so smoothly, as it was focused only on prayer. The most powerful part of the lesson was when we used President Clayton M. Christensen's advice from his book “The Power of Everyday Missionaries”--we demonstrated how to pray, as we had him pay attention to the similarities and differences to the examples of a group prayer and a personal prayer. First, Sister Moore offered the group prayer. Afterwards, I knelt down and offered up a few concerns, desires, and informed Heavenly Father what I was thankful for. The spirit was so strong by that point and remained that way for the rest of the lesson.

Our investigators are facing their own personal trials, some which we are not sure if they are preventing them from being more receptive to the spirit that is felt. It's been difficult at times to be patient and understanding. There was one morning this week where I opened my Book of Mormon, hoping it would turn to a scripture I needed or could use. That's when I turned open to Moroni 3:9-12.

In this story, Moroni is struggling with the Nephites. They boasted in themselves, wanted avenge, and became wicked as they found success in their battles. Although there is a definite line here, as the people we are teaching are at no means wicked, I've found myself at times feeling more like Moroni in the description he gave, as he "did utterly refuse from (that) time forth to be a commander and leader of (the) people." (vs. 11) Then I read on to verse 12..."Behold, I had led them, notwithstanding their wickedness I had led them many times to battle, and had loved them, according to the Love of God which was in me, with all my heart; and my soul had been poured out unto my God all the day long for them..."

This hit me--although Moroni wanted to give up--perhaps because they didn't grasp what he tried to teach, because they were prideful, or many other reasons--he still chose to lead them. He depended on the love of God which he knew was deep down inside himself, with all his heart. And, he continued to pray--to pour out his soul--on their behalf, all day long. What a great lesson this exemplified to me--to do these things even when it's not easy, to grow in charity and gain understanding.

There is oftentimes a great need to "pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that (we) may be filled with this love." All I can say is that as we do so, we see marvelous blessings with added capacity from on high to do and become what we desires us to. There is just no way we can do these things without relying on the merits and mercy's of our Savior's Atoning sacrifice, as we leave it all in His hands.

With love,
Sister Roy

Monday, August 11, 2014

Miracles Happen

How do I best say this?...Here it goes...


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.

with Brandon at CF Cliinic
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.


Sister Roy

Random pictures from this week:

Cupcakes...why not?

a neat building at MIT