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.
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.