Monday, November 25, 2013

Jose's Baptism

Jose and family at his baptism

Dear Family and Friends, 

Jose is baptized!! Ahhh Sister Patterson and I are so proud of him! It's been such a treat to teach him these past few months to see him grow spiritually, as he's gained a better understanding of the teachings, who he is and what his purpose is here, and how the gospel can once again bless his and his family's lives.

Preparing for any baptism can be stressful, but it turned out very well. Half of the room was full of his extended family, many who have been less active for a while. As Sister Patterson and I sang "I Stand All Amazed" before everyone joined in at the third verse, I could see Jose, his mom, sister, aunts, uncles, and cousins in tears as they remembered his grandma's influence in their lives. Everyone in the room could feel the spirit's powerful witness. When Jose was baptized, his family was still in tears. The Deacons welcomed him into the ward and presented him their surprise--a leather bound quad of scriptures with his name engraved. He still fought back tears, and once he sat down behind Sister Patterson and I, he whispered, "I'm still going to use the one you gave me," referring to the unbelievable duct tape scripture case she made him.

The remainder of the baptism was incredible and the spirit remained. His mom gave her first prayer out loud in English for the first time in a while. She and Jose's sister came to church the next day for the first time in a while. It's been difficult for his mom to come because of work, but they were glad to see him be confirmed and receive the Aaronic Priesthood. She told us that she wants to keep coming, that his grandpa also came to his ward for the first time in years, and how much of an influence Jose is making in his family's lives. Jose has been a powerful example of how one life can touch many.

With Thanksgiving coming up, Sister Patterson and I will eat at the Tardiff's in our ward. They are so awesome and invited us over for Christmas morning as well. Haha there was a rumor that they serve steak on Thanksgiving, so we'll see what happens. Christmas morning will be fun as well, as they said that they don't let their kids eat many sweets throughout the year, so on Christmas morning they not only prepare breakfast foods, but pile up every sweet that could be imagined--shakes, brownies, ice cream...haha oh mercy it will be a fun treat. :)

Since this week is meant to be focused around what we're grateful for, I could go on and on, but you would most likely get bored. Something I am thankful for is how well my health has been overall. My CF Dr.'s appointment on Friday at Boston Children's went very well. It started off with the Pulmonary Function Test. I was actually very proud of the numbers from this visit!  My FVC was a 98, FEV1 was a 99, putting me in the 100th percentile for my age group.  It's requires a lot of work to stay high up in the numbers, especially with what the mission requires. A physical therapist also came in to examine how I do treatments to make sure everything I do is at its best, including all the huff coughs every 5 minutes. She said it was a good chance to still check and make sure everything was right since many patients don't complete the full regimen, or even skip treatments/do only a couple a week! That thought to me is unbelievable that they wouldn't care how they take care of themselves when CF is a serious condition. Starting about each morning off with cardio exercise for 40-45 minutes every morning in the living room to the same 6 songs over and over, making sure I get adequate nutrition by eating well, and not skipping a single treatment or pill...the hard work pays off. :) However I know that there are still many patients that still work hard and keep fighting but struggle greatly. I don't know if I will ever be at that point, so I'm just thankful that everything is going well. It's truly a blessing.

Josh, I am sooo excited that your mission papers are finally submitted! It's about time! Also, just to let you know about the black car... when I drove it the speedometer was about 15 miles ahead of what it really went. I hope it's still not that way but be careful if it's the only option. It would be good to get it checked out! Driving on the free way was scary at first when it took me a while to realize what was happening.

Alicia, I am planning on writing you back today. Did you hear the results from last week? I look forward to hearing from you again.

Whaaaa...Brandon, you are already applying for colleges?! Oh man! Well what schools are you planning on trying for?

Mom, thanks again for Tyler Robinson's talk. It's neat that Carmen read it in sacrament meeting (and tell her congrats on her mission call). I still haven't forgotten of Tyler and Millie, as they have played an influence for the mission here.

Yes dad, I shook Elder Nielsen's hand three times and told him you said hello. :) It was a neat opportunity to hear from him, meet him, and talk with his wife afterwards.

Everything is still going well and I hope all is going well for all of you. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

I love you and thank you for being such a wonderful, supportive family, for all that you do and who you are.

Talk to you next week.
-Sister Roy

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Hey Everyone!
Sister Patterson and I survived transfers! We are staying in this ward. It's crazy to think that by the end of the transfer, 1/3 of the mission here would already be completed. The length of transfers can sure vary...for instance, Elder Wilhelmsen, who has also been serving here in the ward, will have been in this area for 10 1/2 months by the end of the transfer. Haha we'll see what will happen. I really do love this ward we are serving with, and Sister Patterson and I have bonded during this last transfer. She has been such a great help and is always offering to serve any way she can. One tradition that she has passed onto our companionship is to end the day off with "appreciations." Each of us starts with "I appreciate" followed by a list of what the other has done that day that we appreciated. It's something I would love to continue each day.

The weather here is surprisingly not too cold yet. As the usual for Fall and Winter, there are illnesses and virus's going around. Whenever someone opens the door, and we find out they are sick with a sore throat, coughing, nausea, etc, we say that it will be a quick visit and speed out of there within milliseconds.
One of the highlights from this week was Zone Conference with Elder S. Gifford Nielson, the former BYU Quarterback and current member of the Quorum of the Seventy. Before he and his wife spoke, Sister Packard gave a powerful presentation on what true faith in Jesus Christ is, as it leads to righteous action and sincere and lasting repentance. President Packard then spoke on Repentance, and how it's a process of transformation (I sent you the power point that I suggest looking more into when you have the time.) The spirit's intensity uplifted everyone as we gained a better understanding of what true repentance is. The light and joy flooded the chapel and I began to feel the same intensity that I felt a few years ago during one of the most spiritual experiences. This may seem boring at first by just looking at what I'm about to write, but these few key points that stood out to me about the true meaning of repentance:
The Hebrew Translation, shub, means to turn, to turn back, or return. The Greek formation comes from metanoeo, where its root, meta= to change and nous=mind, which makes it come to mean "a change of mind, thought, knowlege, spirit, and breath that is so powerful that it changes our very way of life."
President Packard also mentioned that when Christ taught about repentance, He was referring to the Greek form.
In quick summary, when the Bible was translated from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, Metanoeo was translated into poenitere, where its root poen is used in English words punish, penance, penitent, penal, and repentance. Its original concepts of shub and metanoeo were changed in Latin to literally mean "to punish." It is so sad to know that the word "repentance" often scares or intimidates individuals, as they misunderstand the word of repentance. I'm so grateful to know that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ helps us understand how we can repent daily, by seeking ways to return to our Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ through our thoughts and actions. I've seen throughout my life and mission how having that "new mind" or "new perspective" as our eyes can be opened during difficult times, can help us understand all the blessings that Heavenly Father offers to pour out as we obey His will.

I wish I had enough room to write about all that was spoken about at Zone Conference. Elder Nielson spoke on the importance and divinity of this calling as a missionary, how we must give our all, and how we are sharing hope in a hopeless world, as well as shaping our own generations. He also reminded us that we are a prophetic priority--a priority to the prophet. There were more messages throughout the day on real growth through all the saving ordinances with their associated covenants and powers, how we can connect with those we teach, even with all our brokenness, and much more.
After the conference ended, President Packard's assistants pulled me aside, telling me I had to wait for an interview. I tried to pry out more details, but they just said it was to be checked on and see how I was doing. I waited for some more time, but then they said they had to wait for Elder Nielson so we could all head to the same room in the church building. I realized they hadn't asked Sister Patterson and they weren't grabbing people left and right for this, so I was wondering what was going on!
So from that point Sister Patterson and I followed the AP's, the Packards, the Apostle and his wife to the opposite side of the church.
A couple of other companionship's were there, and the AP's split us all off. President Packard took Sister Nielson and I aside into a room.
"Sister Nielson, this is Sister Roy. She has severe Cystic Fibrosis and doesn't need to be on a mission, but she has done amazingly well and gives her all as she has made a lot of effort here." (close quote.)
So maybe my CF isn't severe and I may have been melting inside, feeling immense gratitude for the care President Packard has shown. Then he left, leaving cheerful, hilarious Sister Nielson--the apostle's wife--and I 'to chat.' We both didn't know what was going on, so we opened with a prayer and had a great conversation. She was very caring and gave extra advice and encouragement. It was a very special opportunity to talk with her.

With President and Sister Packard, Sister Patterson, and Elder and Sister S. Gifford Nielson

The rest of this week went very well. We had our primary program, which is pretty much another Christmas morning, (as the Nielson's put it) the sweet darlingity "cherubs" got up one by one, sharing their testimonies and singing loudly. I believe I was grinning from ear to ear the whole time. :) Sister Patterson, the Elders, and I all got up to sing "The Golden Plates" with them after they shared about how they could all be missionaries. The spirit was strong during the program, and there were a lot of non-members that attended. I enjoyed every minute of it. :)
We are almost done preparing for Jose's baptism, which will be this Saturday. He is beyond stoked. He is also helping us teach a couple of young investigators in the same town. After he helped us we used Preach My Gospel to point out some advice and ideas for teaching. He is progressing very quickly.
Sister Patterson and I also visited the family that we found from tracting--the Morales's. Since our initial appointment fell through earlier and we had a hard time finding a member to bring, we planned on it being a short visit to catch up and see what their thoughts were from when we first taught them. The young girls greeted us again with large smiles and let us in. We found out earlier that their mom lives with them too, and both their parents were home from work. Their dad was tired from work, though, and their mom was busy, but the girls were happy to meet. We also invited their older brother to join. As we sat down and started in, one person would come through the front door and walk to the other side of the house, then another, then another. We asked who they all were. It turns out that they have uncles and cousins that live right below them.
Okay...get this...we asked them if they still had our contact info on the primary invite we gave them, but then the younger girl's eyes bulged out double their size behind the rims of her glasses..."It lit on fire!" We were taken aback, a little confused, as she then explained, "Yeah! We were standing right there...and it just burst into flames! I don't even know how it did that..." Her siblings didn't object to the story, but all chimed in that it happened. Who knows if it was next to a stove or what, but I couldn't help but feel that one thing was for sure...Satan did not want them to go to the Primary Program or let alone have our contact information!
I was a little disappointed that their parents had no interest in joining us for the lesson, but we decided to continue to teach them. We taught about prophets and the Savior's ministry on the Earth. All three kids were listening intently, joining in and answering our questions. They were very nice and are adorable beyond words. As we showed pictures of Christ's life on the earth and reached the picture of him being baptized, they never knew that he was baptized, so we explained why he was baptized even though he was perfect--to fulfill all righteousness and set the example for us. The lesson flowed so perfectly and the spirit was there. We asked them that if they came to know that these teachings were true, if they would follow Jesus's example and be baptized. The son said he would, then turned to his sisters as they thought, and asked, "Well, answer them. Will you?" And they also agreed as well. The next step is to have the whole family join in for the lessons and have the children teach their parents what we taught them, then continue on with the Restoration.  

The work is still going well and I look forward to all the good things that will happen.

 Mom, I loved the analogy you shared from Relief Society about a tumble weed. I never would have thought of how a tumble weed can relate to missionary work.  (Lesson:  the tumbleweed has little pods that let off seeds on every single branch.  As it is blown around in the wind, it spreads new little seeds everywhere it blows.)

Haha I know that Alicia is very excited and I got a great letter from her. It will also be interesting to hear if Brady has the CF gene. We will see what happens.

I'm glad that the missionaries are all safe from the typhoon in the Philippines. I know they are safe, but have you heard any word about my co-worker Alicia Talk or friend Raeleigh Jones? That's also sad to hear about the tornado in Illinois but I'm glad the missionaries there are also safe. The news of these incidences is sad but I also like knowing what's happening outside of Boston.
Dad, I loved getting your letter as well! I love hearing about the missionary experiences that you and your ward are having and taking part of. Thanks for all your encouragement you give each week.
Well I better get going. There's still a lot to do this P-Day. I look forward to hearing from you again next week.
Love you,

Sister Roy

Monday, November 11, 2013

It's All Worth It

This week was one that I'll never forget; it's been one of the most tiring but rewarding. 

Not much happened on Monday and Tuesday, but on Tuesday night, Sister Packard asked Sister Patterson and I if we could help out with the lunch for all the missionaries at MLC. However, once we got there, we found out the lady who was going to be there was sick and couldn't make it. So at that point, Sister Patterson and I were in charge of preparing a large BBQ meal. Holy smokes I don't think I've ever had to handle so much pulled pork and beans before. A tradition that the mission has is that before the missionaries start eating, they all stand and sing "Love one another" to the people who prepared the meal. After Sister Patterson and I were tired from rushing and trying to prepare the food, they all stood and sang. It was pretty neat.

This week we had more appointments fall through, and we hadn't heard back from many who we were trying to set up appointments with. We've had to drop more investigators, as there are some whose families do not want us to meet with them (one potential had a sign on her door that read "NO PROSELYTIZING), some who do not want to meet anymore, and other who have been taking a slower pace. We are still there for them if they want us to teach them and are glad that we could "plant the seed." Luckily, we are still teaching Jose, and we are still so blown away by his diligence, his example, and how he is bringing his family back. We cannot wait for his baptism on November 23rd. :)

There came a point where I became discouraged, but knew I had to get up and try again. Let me tell you, November 9th was one memorable day. Sister Patterson and I went throughout the day, which started off slowly, but as time went on, we noticed miracle after miracle taking place. It was absolutely incredible. We didn't have any appointments set, except for one that night. We made stop by's and they were actually home. There was a point where we were at Walgreen's to pick up some medications, and I suddenly said, "Let's go see if their almonds are on sale!" (Whaaa?? That was weird...) So before seeing if the medications were ready, we headed to that aisle, and there was a lady we hadn't seen the whole transfer since she wasn't home, and we set up an appointment to see her. On the way to another home, the Elders offered to order us pizza and have it delivered, and even more tender mercies took place.

Our only appointment that night fell through, so we decided to make a couple of visits. Both were not home, so then Sister Patterson had the thought that we should go tracting. Knocking on doors is our last priority in the mission and it's usually the most ineffective, but we decided to try anyway. The first couple of homes didn't work out well, so we continued on. However, as we about reached the next home, a dad and his two daughters stood at the opened door. We introduced ourselves, and offered to share a message on Jesus Christ and how families can be together forever. The dad then turned to his daughter, and asked what she thought. "Sure!" she responded, and we were let in.

"Whoa! Hold Up!" I thought. "This isn't happening!"

From there on, we were in discussion and got an idea of who they knew God was, and we taught them how God is our loving Heavenly Father, and that he loves each of them more than they could comprehend. They mainly speak Spanish, but one of the daughters helped translate what we were teaching. We asked how it made them feel to know they have a Heavenly Father, who loves them for all that they are, as we could see a new light come about them. The daughter who spoke better English held a smile as she took in how much our Heavenly Father loves her. We then shared how the gospel blesses families, and asked how the knowledge that they can be together forever made them feel, which they said made them feel really good. They couldn't stop beaming. We asked if we could come again, and we set an appointment for this upcoming weekend. As soon as we said goodbye and Sister Patterson and I stepped outside, there was nothing we wanted to do but embrace each other and soak in what just happened. 

That right there was one of the best feelings. We've worked hard. We've been tried, rejected and forgotten by many, but never forgotten by our loving Heavenly Father as he poured his tender mercies and miracles. Words do not serve justice for how we felt at that moment. It had been a very rough week for both of us, and we were at a point before where we almost had nobody to teach, but we were led to those who may be yearning for the knowledge and the good news that the gospel brings. 

I know that times can get rough, but that those trying times help us grow stronger and in the ways our loving Heavenly Father knows is best for us. If we are willing to seek the ways he blesses us, even if they seem small or insignificant, he will pour them out and help us recognize them more fully.

 Have a great week!

-Sister Roy

A sketch of me by Sister Patterson
Sister Patterson is a gifted artist

Our English Class

Monday, November 4, 2013

I Stand All Amazed

Pumpkin carving on P-Day
Sister Patterson carved Jesus

First of all, can you say "World Series Champs?!" Go Red Sox! :) That's pretty incredible that it's the first time they won the World Series at home since 1938. Only a couple of days after the game, they had Red Sox World Series Champions merchandise out at stores.
Well this week we decided to drop a couple of people since they weren't progressing, including Brother Jack. We established our purpose to them, and that we are still here if they want us to teach them, but we haven't heard back. We are running low on investigators, which is a little nerve-racking, but we are still trying to do the best we can. We went through our whole ward list with the Elders to see who is active, who is less active, and who does not want to be contacted. We have a good start to continue planning visits and drop-by's to reactivate members in our ward area.
I'm still working on finding the balance of working hard, but not working too hard, and being smart about CF. I've had some experiences on the mission where my health was at risk, and I have tried my best to stay away from certain situations, but some have come up not under my control. The Lord has extended his merciful hand and protection during these times.

On Wednesday, I came down with a sore throat and fatigue that lasted a couple of days, so Sister Patterson and I were able to rest it out on Halloween. I was tested for strep to be safe but I believe I was just fighting something off. We also came across a stressful situation on Saturday, where one member's home who we visited for the first time smelled strongly of smoke, and told us of things she was offended about when we visited her. I decided I could not be there for the dinner appointment she scheduled, but didn't know what to say about the smoke. We left a message that we would be on splits with members, and then tried to find a couple of members to go on splits with, since the Sister Missionaries who we originally planned to go with said they couldn't. One was able to go with Sister Patterson since she was Visiting Teaching companions with the member we were visiting. However, it was difficult to find another because taking a member at the last minute because it would be most people's dinner time/it would take time away from family time. We then got a phone call from another member, who said she got a call from "a member who was offended" that we had to go on splits. We then explained to her the situation with my Cystic Fibrosis and how I couldn't be there because the smoke was overwhelming. She understood, then apologized about the time Sister Gledhill and I went over to her house about a month ago--the foster children she was taking care of had MRSA--a skin-based staph infection, which at the time I told her was one of the most dangerous staph infections CF Patients could catch. She later looked up the info and saw how dangerous it was.  She also explained how their foster girls have been gone for a couple of weeks and she completely disinfected the whole house. It was a sad situation. Looking back on that situation, it was definitely a miracle that I did not catch MRSA, as it is very contagious. I know the Lord was watching out for me at the time.
Amidst all the complicated drama, Sister Patterson gave the perfect quote about the whole situation "I wish that in these times, when you're afraid to say something because they might get offended that Jesus could just come in and tell them, and they couldn't get offended...because He's Jesus!" We both got a good laugh. :)
Anyways, the Sister from our ward saved the day, as she called the other member and explained about my CF and why we had to go on splits, and then we got a phone call from the Sister who was going to have us over. She apologized and said she was not offended and was very nice about it, and explained that her neighbors are very heavy smokers, so it drifts over. The appointment ended up being dropped, and I was relieved!
#lifeasacfer #itwastoomuchdrama #CysterRoy
However, we had an experience that made up for that first half of the day of desperate phone calls and texts sent out. That night, we dropped by a former Investigator, Suzanne's home to check up on her.  She is very old and frail, and a little bit crazy, but enjoys company. We planned to sing hymns to her as we normally do, but right as we got to the door, two men were there visiting, wearing dress shirts and pants.
Then Suzanne called us in. So there was Sister Patterson and I--two Mormon Missionaries--and two fellow strangers from another church, all to visit Suzanne to see how she was doing. The two men asked what church we were from, and we told them what church we were from and that our congregation met out in another town. They nodded, but kept asking more about our beliefs. It turns out they were from a local 7th Evangelical church, and as the night progressed, we helped answer their question of who Joseph Smith was by teaching the fundamentals of the Restoration. We also answered more questions they had about where we go after this life and what our purpose is. They asked how we know our truths, and they were surprised when I explained how we ask our Heavenly Father in prayer, and receive answers ourselves through the feelings that come through the Spirit. We also taught about how although the Bible is true in every aspect, it can be interpreted in so many ways, and how we have the Book of Mormon to support everything that is in the Bible as it contains the fullness of the Gospel, bearing another witness Heavenly Father shows his love to everyone in the world and that Jesus is the Christ. I wish I could explain the strong feeling of the spirit that was there in Suzanne's home as Sister Patterson and I bore our testimonies on the Book of Mormon.
We felt bad for originally coming to see Suzanne as we four missionaries were discussing religious topics as she had no clue what was going on. We finally sang I Stand all Amazed before we left. We gave the other missionaries a Book of Mormon, a few pamphlets, and our contact info.
Last but not least, I have a strong testimony of the power that can come through music. It's definitely something I want to look into more and develop more after the mission because it can uplift, heal, comfort, and provide assurance. After we completed a Book of Mormon scripture study with Jose last night, we began making plans for his upcoming baptism. His date got moved to November 23rd (right after possible transfers...) and we gave him a start for his program. Once we mentioned that he would need to choose opening and closing hymns and a possible musical number, he kept trying to pick out the songs his grandmother would sing to him, but couldn't remember them since she would sing them in Spanish. Jose's mom then started to hum a tune of one that was always sung, which happened to be I Stand all Amazed. 
Sister Patterson offered for us to sing it, so we opened her tiny hymn book and began singing a capella. As the strong, powerful witness of the words filled the home, we looked up after singing the first verse. Jose and his mom's eyes were in tears, so we continued. We all knew that Jose's grandma was there. We've heard stories of her astounding faith and example. We could feel how proud she was for Jose's example as he leads his family back on the right course. After we finished singing, we sat in silence to absorb how we all felt. When we then spoke with them about coming back and becoming active again, and setting the temple as a goal, Sister Patterson pointed out that she thought she could hear Jose's sister Adrianna, singing the hymn from her bedroom, which meant a lot since we've had a difficult time having her participate in the discussions and lessons with us.
It was one incredible visit at their home. After we left, Jose sent a very sweet text, which included, "I am really thankful you taught my family the scriptures and you guys are the reason we are all back together. Thanks." I'll admit that last night was by far one of the sweetest memories from my mission so far. I sure hope I will be able to attend his baptism and I am astounded by the progress he is making and how much of an example he is to those around him, especially his family, only at age 11.
 I am thankful for the ways my Heavenly Father is watching out for me. I am amazed my health was not affected by being exposed to MRSA, as it is one of the deadly infections for CF patients, and I know that I am watched out for each day as long as I do my best.  I want to express how grateful I am for the Savior's merciful hand in my life. His Atonement is not a story we hear--it was the most powerful act of love that has ever been done. His Atoning sacrifice allows us all to continually come closer to Him, no matter our shortcomings, mistakes, or regrets. I know I am in His hands.

Much love,
Sister Roy