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

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