Monday, July 29, 2013

First Baptism...In a Swimming Pool??

This week settled down compared to adjusting to missionary work and the schedule of last week. One thing I've quickly learned is that everyone seems to leave for the summer, so it's been difficult to reach people. They all take off to Guatemala, England, Canada, California, or Utah. I bet there's even people who decide to settle on some random Island out in the Ocean for the summer and call it a vacation.  However, although many are away, the Lord has compensated for the struggles faced. We have been able to meet with some solid people in the ward, continuing to help them be the best missionaries they can be.

Home where Babe Ruth lived
I've also discovered how diverse Waltham is. There are many from Haiti (Guiriline and her family, for instance), as well as Uganda, France, and more. There are polar backgrounds and opposites in how much income people have. 

We've not only taught near Babe Ruth's old home and other nice areas, but we've also been in homes where families have unstable jobs, living on little food, and struggling to get by.

However, there are many of them whose faith amazes me. They still hold strong to the gospel in their lives with a brighter hope in Christ.

At our district meeting on Friday, we celebrated Christmas in July with Christmas hymns, Christmas decor, and talked about the gifts each of our companionship's could offer to Christ to draw our district closer together as a Zion. You may call us weird but Christmas in July is not a problem. :)

Christmas in July District Inservice Mtg
Sister Gledhill and I taught Sarah the Plan of Salvation. It took some time and energy but I'm glad she understands it now.

Remember how I mentioned we were going to attend Jose Smith's baptism? First of all, they found out his dad's name is Jose Smith. Ohhh mercy "Joesph Smith Jr.'s" baptism is one I will never forget...:)

The swimming pool where Jose was baptized

Sister Gledhill and I got to the church right before the baptism was about to begin. Elders Wilhelmsen and
Rushforth from our district came to us, with horrified looks. They woke up at 4 am and arrived at the church to fill up the font since it takes 3 hours to fill. So right at 9 AM, they checked the font to discover all the water was gone! The drain got sucked under somehow! 

After attempting to fill it up, not knowing what to do, Bishop White told us to all head to his house--Jose's baptism would take place at his swimming pool! Ahh I was actually thrilled to witness it! I had heard stories of baptisms in rivers or hot tubs but holy smokes this was real! 

We all headed to Bishop's shmancy backyard, where we all sat on cushioned lawn chairs in front of the pool. Sister Gledhill and I asked a worker with his loud machine next door to stop temporarily. So there at the bishop's pool, the baptism took place. We sang hymns and heard some remarks afterwards. The spirit was strong and Jose said how wonderful and clean he felt. So there, folks. Saturday morning I was able to witness "Joseph Smith Jr.'s" baptism in a swimming pool. :)
Bishop White baptizing Jose
And ohhh Guiriline...sweet joy. :) She truly loves the Book of Mormon now. We followed up with her on Saturday. She read her "homework" we assigned her (2 Ne 31-32) and brought up at first how it talks about baptism. She was amazed that she never realized that Christ was baptized as an adult, not a baby. She was raised Catholic while she lived in Haiti and asked us if her baptism went to waste. We explained how and why babies are not held accountable until age 8. We also taught about how faith requires action, repentance, what covenants are and their importance, and how baptism is the key first step to gaining eternal life. Guiriline knows the Book of Mormon is true and has felt the spirit in her life, so she wants to pray earnestly to know if baptism is the right decision for her, not for anyone else, and that it's truly what Heavenly Father wants for her. We tried to set a date but she wants to wait it out. We left her to read in Alma about faith and we are praying hard for her. She is on the right track! She even came to all of church for the first time yesterday and loved it :) She loved the spirit she felt and felt included by everyone in the ward. I'm sure she will come again.

Other quick updates:

I gave my first talk in the ward yesterday, which was on Charity.

Sister Gledhill and I are contacting members left and right, as much as we can, to help this missionary work progress. 

Much love,

Sister Roy

Good Ending toAnother Eventful Day

Ok, line of the week....

First of all, I have realized how crazy Guiriline's home can be. When we gave our lesson on Saturday, there were a lot of distractions taking place at once. When we started to read from the Book of Mormon, an annoying fly was buzzing around. Guiriline stood up, saying, "I'll take care of this." We thought she would pull out a fly swatter, but instead whipped out this large electrical cage to draw in flies and zap them. She said "That's better." as she placed it on the floor next to her.

We continued with our lesson.

When Sister Gledhill asked, "What do you think the Book of Mormon is teaching?"
Guiriline responded, "It's teaching about baptism."
"What do you think it's telling you?"
"That it's a good thing."
Then... "ZZZZZZZZ!!" the sound of a fly being electrocuted with a bright green flash, as a weird burnt smell filled the room.

Sister Gledhill then said, "What do you think the bug is telling you about baptism?"...
It was too great of a moment to not share! At the time it seemed a little awkward but looking back it was pretty funny.

Monday, July 22, 2013

My First Area (Waltham)

Hey everyone!

I am loving this place.  I am in a place called Waltham (It almost pronounced like "Well, Sam," while talking with a lisp; the cities and suburbs here have weird names with different pronunciations). It is a suburb of Boston. It is absolutely beautiful. The people who live here are from all over, mainly because many people are here or businesses or school, or their families moved here a while ago.

When our flight got off the plane, our group from the MTC realized we weren't in Utah anymore but were all stoked out of our minds.

The Boston "Greenies"

President and Sister Packard
We were greeted by President and Sister Packard and their family.  Their children Michael, Natalie, and Angela immediately offered to move everyone's luggage with huge grins. Their parents offered big hugs and handshakes. I will tell you right off the bat that as I got to know them, I knew I was supposed to go on a mission partly to know them and observe their examples and get to know them. President and Sister Packard are phenomenal. They are so kind and willing to work together. They are positive and upbeat, kind and charitable. Their children are the same. Michael is 12, but the others are around high school age. Angela's medical condition is also not doing so well, but she always smiles as much as she can and you can see it in her eyes. She is also always checking up on others' well being. Their family is rooted in the gospel, as they have family home evening and study out the scriptures in discussion. As we spent time with the Packard's, they emphasized the goal of our mission--to create a Zion between everyone. They explained how each of us, whether in a companionship or ward, needs to be pure in heart, willing to be open and submissive to each other, looking for ways to serve, bearing one another's burdens, and more. As missionaries, we hardly do any tracting. It is all through the ward, as we are incorporating ourselves in each outreach program--the Bishopric, YM, YW, Relief Society, Primary, name it. We are aiming to help the ward out and get them pumped for missionary work by finding those through each member.

Sister Gledhill (my new Companion)
I met my new mom! (That is a nickname for a Sister Missionary's new companion.) She is phenomenal and has been a huge help. She's only been out for 6 weeks but holds everything together well while teaching me about each Investigator, Inactive Member, those in the finding pool, and the ward members. We actually got assigned the day before everyone else was at Training meeting. Minutes after my first interview,  I was called into President Packard's office right as I heard, "Sister Roy, meet your new companion, Sister Gledhill," and before I knew it we were hugging and trying to keep it a secret that we were assigned to work together. :) She has been very understanding of all the CF matters and she thinks I'm cray for the Insanity sessions for exercise. Some morning she will want to join. :)

The work here is work, but it is going overall well. It's been overwhelming at times, and I am still meeting our Investigators and those Sister Gledhill has been teaching with her previous companion. It's been challenging and frustrating at times to get others to come to church and coming to understand the importance of certain doctrines and principles, but overall, it's been rewarding and has been teaching me more patience. The spirit has worked through us and been the true teacher.  We have a baptism this Saturday with Joseph Smith! Okay okay, his name is Jose' Smith. The Elders have been teaching him for some time but we are all excited as he is ready. :-)
One cool experience:  Our investigator, Guiriline, has been struggling to really come to know that this is the true church. The missionaries have been struggling with her for a while. All I knew before I met her was she would always talk for a very long time about her problems going on, since she lives a very chaotic, busy life. She loves everything that is good. She loves the missionaries and their messages on Christ and the spirit felt, but she didn't want to come to know more about the Book of Mormon because she had the Bible and didn't want to come to church. You get the picture. During personal study, I had to pray hard to know what Sister Gledhill and I should teach her.


I remembered how the Packard's wanted us to, while creating a Zion, revolve our missions around the Book of Mormon, so I wondered what passage could help her develop a love for it to the point where it could be her foundation. Nephi's Psalm came in mind. I looked on, making sure that would be the right one, but had the prompting, "I already gave you the why are you still looking?" Sister Gledhill actually thought Nephi's faith was like Guiriline's, so we went with it. Long story short, we read it with her. She was amazed by it's words. We read another verse in the Book of Mormon (Moroni 7: 28, I think), that explains how the faithful need to cleave unto every good thing, and how the Book of Mormon is another piece of goodness we need to cleave to to stay faithful. We then read Moroni's promise (Moroni 10:3-5), committing her to pray if the Book of Mormon is true.

Her response: "Oh, I don't need to pray to know if it's true. I already know, from what we read, that this this book is true." Our next lesson with her will be about baptism, so we assigned her to read 2 Ne 31-32 and she is excited to read her assignment before we next meet with her. We are praying hard for her and many others. Her faith and testimony, just from one visit, amazed me.

I am loving the area we are in. I always thought it would be more like Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco with the coast with busy streets and fish everywhere, but we almost literally live in an enchanted forest. We've seen chipmunks, bunnies, deer, and more.

There are bunnies everywhere
  The scenery here is breathtaking and I decided last night while visiting Sister Baer from the ward that I want to live in a cottage out near her place in Stonebury.

Sister Baer told us some cool things and showed us some neat sights last night on P-Day (day have off to write letters, do laundry, etc). For instance:
  •  She is a professional ballroom dancer, and she told us she taught the one and only Shaqueille (Shaq) O'Neill how to dance not too long ago.
  • Chris Evan's (Captain America's), family lives nearby. Sister Baer has worked with his sister with the high school plays and such. Yeah, you can imagine my excitement! I know who I want to track...jk. :)
  • We learned that the "Mary had a little lamb" was a true story and we went to the school where Mary took her lamb.  
    Schoolhouse where Mary took her liitle lamb to school

    Inscription on side of schoolhouse describing Nursery Rhyme
  • We saw Babe Ruth's home.
    Home where Babe Ruth lived
  • We went to a cool mill, where they ground things for the nearby inn, which they built around the very first pub in the country, where George Washington stayed.
The Old Mill
  • Martha and Mary's chapel is a church where many marriages take place. It was also the film location for the movie Ghosts of Girlfriend's Past starring Matthew McConnahay.

Sister Baer, as soon as she gets back from Florida, wants to plan a trip on our P-Day to Salem and a place in Rhode Island where many Daddy Warbucks live.  I'm pumped!

I've been blown away more and more each day with how the Lord works, his tender mercies, and this beautiful land and its fun things to do and see.

Much love,

Sister Roy

Line of the week: (Close quotes)...
While teaching Sarah, age 12, a new convert, she showed us a drawing of a heart with what meant a lot to her and what she believed. Somehow we got into the conversation about the Plan of Salvation.
Sister Gledhill asked, "And what happens to you after you die?"
Sarah excitedly explained..."Our spirit goes into another body. But how do we know which body we go into?"
Silence. Confusion. I wanted to bury my head in my hands.
Me: "We get our same body...our same spirit and body we had before come together but perfected."
Sarah still looked confused as I briefly explained what happens during the resurrection...
Oh merrrcyyyy we have a lot of work to do. Sister Gledhill and I will be starting more lessons with her tonight.

The Boston LDS Temple

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

MTC Moments

After the first day things got much better. After a long Thursday (the 4th of July) all the missionaries gathered in a large room for a celebration. We sang hymns for a while relating to freedom, and as I say, 'murca (“America”). The spirit was so strong. I felt utterly exhausted, but was strengthened by the lyrics sung. We also had the opportunity to watch 17 Miracles. Although my struggles were nothing compared to the pioneers', I was reminded of their great strength, perseverance, and unshakable faith. The examples shown in the film inspired me to keep going, knowing that everything will get easier with the Lord's help.

After the movie, we were so excited. Why? Well, first of all, we were disappointed because they told us (or there was a rumor) that we were going to watch the fireworks on TV. As soon as the movie ended, they instructed us to go outside because we were going to watch them right before our eyes! They handed out ice cream bars for us to enjoy as well. It was such a great way to end those first couple of days.

Sister Barney and me
  As time went on, I soon came to realize that my companion Sister Barney is a Saint. We both realized that doing treatments late, not getting exercise, and feeling that tired was not working, and that I was headed in a dangerous direction. We were able to work with our Branch President and teachers to figure out a game plan. Although it's still not perfect as we've had to miss class time for treatments/sterilizing the pieces, I have felt so much better and more able to do the Lord's work. Sister Barney has been patient, and sometimes I wonder how it's all okay with her, but she has been such a great support. But there's been more to our companionship than matters relating to CF responsibilities. For one thing, we have been able to be open with each other, give new insights while reading the scriptures, and have both hungered for more knowledge and insights while studying the scriptures. Sister Barney has a determination and willingness that continually makes me want to strive to stay motivated and committed. We've been able to set and accomplish goals and help each other out. Even more than that, though, we are often found laughing. 

Sniffing the tree that smells like orange soda (it's true!!!)
I am also so glad to be part of the best district. There are twelve of us either going to Boston, Michigan, or Jamaica. It's pretty sweet if you ask me!  We spend 6+ hours in one small classroom with 3 teachers that rotate throughout the day. The time here spent in classrooms can be very long and tiring (I won't even attempt how many times my eyes glaze over right in front of our teachers haha), but to be honest I truly love the lessons we are learning from Preach My Gospel and the scriptures. The insights and teachings shared bring a spirit and a unity between us. Yes, at times we get distracted with our short attention span, but those moments have drawn us together even more. :)

I cannot express how much I love what I am learning. What has stood out to me is how we are not to teach lessons, but people. We, as missionaries, are learning how to fully listen, come to their understanding, and show them how much our Heavenly Father loves them. We have had chances to practice with role-playing investigators as we've been adjusting what to teach according to their needs. We've been able to set goals of how we wish for the spirit to touch them by the time we leave. I've come to understand how important inviting the investigator to baptism and setting a date for them can be in the first lesson, as it gives them a goal to reach for, and that we missionaries will be there for them each step of the way. The spirit has been the ultimate teacher throughout Sister Barney's and my experiences of teaching our "investigators" Dometric and Ivalisa.

The Lord is guiding me and strengthening me each step of the way. I've come to see his tender mercies. One, for instance...Sister Barney and I were talking about how much we missed our families and friends. Literally about a minute or two later, here came the one and only BEN HUGO from around the corner!!
My cousin Ben
Holy crumb I was so ecstatic! I hadn't seen him in 2 1/2 years because of his mission in Japan!! Apparently he is a teacher here. There was nothing like having that talk and then seeing a family member :)

Another quick point before I log off:  I'm the second oldest in my district, behind the Elder that's 21 yrs old (all the other Elders just graduated from High School). It's truly incredible to see this many missionaries so set on the work and able to take this time out of their lives.

Line of the week:

While unloading luggage, I was getting help from a Sister lifting up a suitcase on a higher shelf..
"Sister, Roy, what in the world do you have in here?!"
Me: "Drugs."
Jaws dropped and the Sisters looked at each other.
"Yep. Drugs." I opened the suitcase. They all gasped. :)

Much love, take care, I love letters from anyone so write and send away.

-Sister Roy

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hello MTC

Hi everyone!!

My first official day as a Sister Missionary was Wednesday, July 3, 2013.  After packing up my bags, my family and I headed up to Provo.  Before reporting to the MTC, I went to lunch at Zupas. 


Upon arriving at the MTC, I was greeted by several missionaries who helped me unload my baggage, and a Missionary Escort.  I had about five minutes to say final goodbyes to my family. 
Saying bye to Dad
Goodbye, Sister

 My brothers will be on missions when I come home and my sister is moving to another state so it was hard to know it may be several years before I see them again.

Saying bye to Mom
Bye, Grandma
Off to a New Adventure!

After being dropped off at the MTC, I was led to my room (a newer one) and left my luggage. I was then led to the classroom to discover that my district, including my new companion, already left for the new orientation. I had to follow 2 sisters around since we can't be alone. We attended some teaching preparation classes, which were neat as many missionaries filed into one room with an investigator, as we all helped teach that individual. We were ushered from class to class, and I was still without my companion.

After a few hours I was finally able to meet my new companion Sister Barney! We attended a branch meeting until about 9:30 pm, and afterwards I rushed in my room, strapped on my vest, and threw the "pipe" in my mouth. It felt incredible, but I didn't have any time to explain to anyone what I was doing and why. Afterwards I had 10 minutes to get ready for bed.

I am loving the MTC! But holy smokes it's been crazy and it has taken some time to adjust.
I quickly learned that this mission will require the Lord and I to work as a team, and I would need to go to him often in prayer for extra strength and help.