Monday, March 31, 2014

Tearing Down or Building Up?

Short walk on beach with investigator
Hi Everyone,

This last week was pretty good. Sister Nielson and I are still working on finding those who are interested in learning more, so it's been a little bit slower lately, but is still going well.

We're still keeping in good touch with Beth and Amy, who will be baptized in only 2 weeks! This week we helped them clean their old home, studied the scriptures and continued lessons with them, and watched the LDS General Women's Broadcast with them (and with quite a few of the girls, Young Women, and women of the branch.) I am thrilled for Beth and Amy. It's been bewildering to see them grow and rely on the Savior and His Atonement over the past while, during both the good times and their storms of life. Although we are not teaching many people, I am amazed by their faith and example as they're pressing forward, clinging to the rod and holding fast to their faith that they have.

On Saturday, there was a New England Family History Conference at the church out in Franklin that Sister Nielson and I helped with. It turns out there were at least 50 members and 400 non-members who registered and came! People came from all over New England and attended workshops for all age groups. Our Stake is focusing on working on family history and taking names to the temple, as it seems that it is a greater focus for many members. It's awesome to see and to help others prepare for the temple and see individuals feel connected with their ancestors.

Speaking of which, I received an envelope from Aunt Florene on Thursday. Enclosed was a bunch of information on "the Mayflower Ancestry" through the Roy side. I never knew before I had several ancestors who boarded the Mayflower, including John Tilley, John Howland, and his wife Elizabeth. There were stories included on their adventurous lives that I never knew about. It's a cool opportunity to serve where they landed on the Mayflower, signed the Mayflower Compact, and fought for religious freedom. Ha-ha to be honest I was pretty stoked out of my mind to learn more about them and can hopefully as time goes on learn more about those I'm related to.

Also, I enjoyed the Women's Broadcast on Saturday night. As mentioned, we watched it at the church with many of the girls, youth and women of our Branch. The Broadcast was pretty different from what I expected it to be like, but I was touched to see the choir of girls and women of all ages singing together. I hope its main focus on how we're daughters of our loving Heavenly Father, and how we are to embrace our differences and strengths to lift and build up one another around the world strengthened many. It inspired me to do always strive to do better at reaching out and showing the Lord's love for others, as well as always staying true to the covenants I've made, both for now as the Lord's representative and also for the rest of my life.

Sister Nielson and I also had a great visit with Sister Blackwell from our branch. As we talked while we had dinner together, I cannot remember exactly what we were discussing, but she mentioned 2 top phrases she would always use for her children and family:

1. "Are you tearing down or building up?"
2. "Remember who you are and what you stand for."

I decided right then I will remember these wise words. Sometimes we may find ourselves tearing others down through negative thoughts, feelings, or words. At times we may even find ourselves thinking negatively of ourselves. Instead, we can seek what is wholesome and uplifting as we reach out to and build up one another, including those we don't know so well. We can hold onto the fact that we are Sons and Daughters of our loving Heavenly Father, and that we stand as His witnesses. We stand for our Savior who stands beside us, as He is our Redeemer and Advocate. There have been many twists and turns in life that can lead to disappointment. As for hastening the work, it may include an increasing amount of investigators not progressing, less people at church, or other things which are needless to mention. However, I know my Heavenly Father does not want me or other missionaries to feel discouraged as long as we're doing our best, as He is guiding His work along.

The other night I also came to a journal entry I wrote a while ago back in November, which had some occurrences very similar to what's happening now. And, of course, I wrote advice to myself that I needed the moment I read it again:

-Don't lose faith in the Lord and His timing.
-People have agency.
-Remember there are miracles we don't see.
-Think of all the things that are going well, even if they seem so small or insignificant.
-Growing doesn't come when we're in our comfort zones.
-Give your all, but then know that you're giving your all, and that's all the Lord expects.

This advice may not only be applied for other missionaries serving around the world (including the all-time hard worker I'm giving a shout out to--Elder Roy) when discouragement comes, but for anyone who may need a little boost. :) I know this upliftment was not from my own thoughts, but most definitely from the Lord to lift me up at that difficult time, so I find no problem in sharing it. And, not to mention, the journal entry after that one consisted of many miracles that took place, so as always, faith precedes miracles.

I love you all and want to hear from you! Tell me about your lives even if you think it will bore me!

Sister Roy

P.S. #1 I cannot wait for General Conference.
P.S #2 It seems like Josh is using the scriptures from my letters each week in his letters. Just saying...jk, it just means they're good ones. :)

the Founding Father's Monument

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Preaching Through Pinterest

Hey all!

To start off,  I wish I had more time to write than I do this week. I'll do better at responding more next week. We ended up getting a blizzard today (more like less than an inch of snow but strong wild winds) so we mainly stayed in our apartment today. But hey! I'm now writing this. :) I am also writing on Wednesday since it's once again transfer week, which also brings me to say that Sister Nielson is staying! We're both pretty certain she'll leave after this transfer since by the end of this transfer it would have been 7 1/2 months for her in Plymouth!

 Last week started off a little slowly and there were a few disappointments, including having one of our investigators drop us saying he's no longer interested. There are a few we've taught (or Sister Slater and Sister Nielson) who have been difficult to get a hold of. However, this only meant we were able to look at different avenues of what we could do to use our time to its best effect. We've been helping out the members more, and they've been helping us. :) Sister Burgess, for example, approached us, asking what is going on with Missionary work these days. We were glad to help! ;)  She wanted to become more involved, and expressed interest in helping us improve the collaboration sign-up calendar, where members sign up to come out with us. She came up with ideas on how we can make it more clear that members can come with us not only to lessons with Investigators, but to visit less actives, to help with home teaching, visiting teaching, Faith in God, Personal Progress, and more. She even committed herself to promote the improved collaboration chart to all of the auxiliaries this week! More members--not too many but it's definitely getting there--are coming with us to lessons and asking for help.

We've had a couple of auxiliary interviews lately as well. We were even invited to attend our Branch's Primary Presidency meeting. I mentioned to our Primary President Sister Mormann (greatest name, especially since she's a convert! And her husband's name is Jack. Not kidding! Pretty fantastic if you ask me ha-ha oh the irony :) ) the idea of primary talk invites, since it was something we began in the Weston 1st Ward. Whenever someone would be assigned to give a talk in Primary, they would receive an invite to hand to a friend. Sister Mormann loved the idea; especially since their main concern/ problem for a while has been the kids giving talks in Primary since it's been a struggle for the parents and kids to remember. She felt this would motivate them more to give a talk as long as it didn't seem intimidating. We agreed to make a small poster for the idea. We made invites, and as soon as we shared our idea with the Primary, they would call out, "Can I bring two friends?" "Can I bring eight friends?" Ha-ha they got very excited. :)

Our numbers were a little low with teaching appointments this week (again we are still seeking out those who want to be taught) but with the member helps and service done, I'd say it was a great week. :) We also helped Beth and Amy move (into our Branch area) and there was a great turnout for members who came to help. People loaded and unloaded, cleaned up, and more. It was an incredible sight, especially since Beth has a difficult time moving things around with her physical limitations.

I don't know if I ever mentioned, but Sister Nielson and I are a couple of the digital missionaries for this mission, meaning that we help proselyte online. Last week, all the digital missionaries came together in a WebEx Conference online, hosted by President Packard. We received the exciting news that our digital mission now includes Pinterest! We're now able to log on our personal Pinterest accounts and comment on others' pins that relate to religion to express our thoughts/share the gospel through Real Life Answers blog posts and more. It's incredible to see how the gospel can be spread online. The head digital missionaries told us that they've had 6 online discussions through Skype just from using Pinterest. We're not allowed to re-pin or do anything else on Pinterest, but this is still a neat opportunity. It's pretty exciting if you ask me!

I know the spiritual topic I'm about to introduce may not seem to be as on-topic, but Mom I loved the message you included in your letter last week about the hymn "Brightly Beams our Father's mercy.”  Do you mind if I include it on here? I have liked this hymn for a while, but to be honest, I've never fully understood the full meaning behind it.

The story behind the Hymn Brightly Beams our Father's Mercy (as told by Spencer Kinard in Music and the Spoken Word on March 16, 2014)….

"A noted preacher Dwight Moody, told his congregation a story about a boat, helplessly rocking and plunging on a stormy, starless night near the Cleveland harbor. The mariners on board could see the lighthouse, but they needed to find their way through the narrow passage in the treacherous rocks that surrounded the harbor. Normally a light on the shore, aligned with the lighthouse, marked the passage to safety. But on this night, the lower lights had gone out.

Finally, a desperate captain decided they had no choice but to proceed into the harbor without the guidance of the lower lights. "With a strong hand and brave heart" -- but in almost total darkness -- "the old pilot turned the wheel." Tragically, he missed the channel, crashed the boat upon the rocks, and lost the lives of his sailors.

Moody then explained the lesson to be learned from his story: the Master will take care of the great lighthouse, but He depends on us to keep the lower lights burning. Philip Paul Bliss was directing the singing in the meeting that night and was so inspired by Moody's story that he wrote what would become one of his most popular hymns, "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy."

Most often, God uses us to rescue those in peril tossed by the storms of life. If we can keep the light of faith burning in our hearts, if we align our light with the Light above, we can guide an exhausted mariner safely home. We can be the lower lights that "send a gleam across the wave. Some poor fainting, struggling seaman (we) may rescue, (we) may save."

I loved your thoughts that you included about its (quote) "We should remember to keep our low lights burning with the light of Faith, for even if we may feel like the seaman struggling at sea, in actuality we may be the opposite; we may be the lower lights that others are looking to follow in faith to lead them back to our Heavenly Father and we never know who needs our help or who is needing our strength or faith to lean them on. We have always been watched over by the Lord and He has directed our steps. Remember He will ALWAYS get you through your trials if you keep the commandments and follow Him; and although there may be storms and rocky times, keep your light of faith aligned with the Lord."

I know there are times where I most definitely feel like the seaman struggling at sea. There are countless times I feel unable, even physically incapable, to do all the Lord places in my path. Yet even though we have our struggles, we may be the lower light that others are looking to lead them back to our loving Heavenly Father. We are most definitely always watched by the Lord as He continues to guide our steps. He also knows who He can rescue with our help as we keep our light burning and aligned with His. 

I will write more on Monday. Have a great week!
Sister Roy

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Power of Deliverance

Hi everyone!

To start off, there is a scripture that perfectly fits for this week. In fact, it was on the cover of Joe's baptism program on Saturday, as it is his favorite scripture…

1 Nephi 1:20 reads "But behold, I Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom He hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance."

I'll tell more about how this scripture fit this week, so keep that in mind for now...

This week was eventful. First, I have to share some of the most downright funny experiences from this week. In fact, Sister Nielson and I are already laughing right now thinking about it, so I'll try to get through it and explain them as best as I can. :)

On Wednesday night, Sister Nielson and I went with our Branch Mission leader and one of our recent converts Dave for his first time to do baptisms at the temple. However, in order to go, we needed an adult female chaperone to come with us since we'd be with two men. Before we knew it, we arrived at a family's home to pick up Caitlyn to be our chaperone. She's 32 and has Downs Syndrome, and is by far bold and hilarious.

For example, in the car on the way to pick up Dave..."Yes! I know Dave! I just need to get his number!" As soon as we picked him up (6'6"-ish Dave in his 60s or 70s) she was dead silent, but later on asked if he has any sons...

The temple trip was very memorable. Sister Nielson and I just did confirmations, as well as helped Caitlyn out. First of all, we were not sure what was going to happen because last time Sister Nielson went with her, as soon as the baptism was finished, she started swimming in the water! Never have I heard of anyone doing that! This time, she did not want someone she did not know to baptize her, but then she said, "Fine, I'll give you a try" to the man who was going to do the baptism.

After the Priesthood holder instructed her how to bend her knees to help her (and she's done baptisms many times before), he began doing the proxy. As he was reciting the words, there went Caitlyn, slowly bending her knees and leaning back. She was trying to baptize herself! He would gently use his hands to bring her back up. This happened several times as mine and Sister Nielson's faces turned bright red as we held in laughter. We had to step out for a moment to contain ourselves. We felt bad afterwards, but we all enjoyed Caitlyn's company. After she was baptized for a few names, she exclaimed, "Let's do that again!" As soon as Dave went, we met in the chapel, where Caitlyn began singing, and then a lady joined in with her, and soon enough we were all joined in as Caitlyn led us. The spirit was very strong at that time.

On Saturday, I prayed that the Lord would open up funny experiences that we would notice. On Saturday night, we visited a lady who doesn't go to church very often. As I got to know her, she reminded me exactly of a couple I knew from the Weston 1st ward--they were both from Lima, Peru, spoke the same way, same accent, gestures--everything. When having dinner with her, I mentioned how much she reminded me of this couple I knew from Lima, Peru in my last area. I told her their last name, and asked if she knew them by any chance. She asked where they lived, then how many kids they had.  As soon as I mentioned their one son studies at Harvard, the Sister exclaimed, "You're talking about my ex-husband!"

Silence. Dead silence. Jaws hanging. Oh man...I believe Sister Nielson slapped her hand to her mouth as I was sitting there, honestly not knowing what to say. Haha :) The best that I could come up with was, "Well, we don't have to talk about it if it makes you uncomfortable."

Goodness, can you believe that happened?! Haha! :)

To be honest, I know the Lord knew he could provide these experiences, along with many others, for me to get a good laugh this week. After Sister Packard's message on Tuesday that Grandma was dying, then getting permission to call you, Mom, then struggling to say my last goodbyes to Grandma over the phone, I had to accept all that was taking place. At first I felt torn, but I was so thankful to be able to thank her for everything. Her support, her cards and letters sent, her acts of sacrifice, spunk, drive, humor, encouragement, faithfulness, determination, perseverance, and love have helped me become who I am today. I see a lot of her in myself, and I still look up to all that she ever has been and still is, as she will always be one of my eternal best friends and someone I hope to become more like. I know she was facing a lot of pain and suffering, so it was not fair for her to go through that any longer. I know that she, her sisters, and Grandpa must have had a joyous reunion in Paradise. :)

A large tender mercy took place the following morning. The lesson we taught our investigator Grace the morning after Grandma passed in the middle of the night was about what happens to us after we die, what Paradise is like, and how angels continue to spread the gospel, including How angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost (2 Nephi 31:3). She had been waiting for this lesson since she was very close to her grandpa who passed away a while ago, but it most certainly was what I needed as well at the time. We taught about and discussed the peace and comfort the Plan of Salvation/Happiness brings and allows us to gain eternal perspective, and how we are all striving to live as eternal families in the Celestial Kingdom. It was most certainly the perfect lesson for that morning, and I've never taught the Plan of Salvation focusing that much on angels before. 

Joe's Baptism
On Saturday, I had the sweet opportunity to attend the baptism for Joe, who Sister Patterson and I helped teach, out in Weston. There was a family from this Branch that was heading to Boston, so they were kind enough to offer a ride to get us there. There was also a family from Weston 1st who had friends in Plymouth, so they offered to bring us back. When Sister Nielson and I arrived at the Weston chapel, I couldn't help but feel every ounce of giddiness and joy! When we came in, we were greeted by our previous companions--our dear Sister Patterson and Sister Slater! We saw more ward members come in who I have missed as well. I was so happy for Joe and his family and could once again feel their pure, meek, loving spirit fill the room.

I wasn't sure if I would share this experience as I hardly ever share them to many people, but I feel that it's alright this time. At Joe's baptism, as we all sang I am a Child of God, about halfway through the song, I could feel Grandma's presence right next to me. It was unexpected, and when I looked at my watch as it read 2:10 pm (12:10 pm Utah time) I realized her funeral had either just ended or she may have left it to spend this moment together. At that point, I lost it and the tears came.

I felt her stay when Sister Patterson spoke on Baptism, as I remember her having great respect for Sister Patterson, and she admired her words. She stood beside me as Joe entered the baptism waters and was immersed, and then walked beside me as we all left the room. I am not sure how much longer she stayed afterwards, but I could feel her rejoicing with me at that very moment. I couldn't believe she may have left her very own funeral to join me at this moment. I fought tears the entire time (haha poor Grandma) but I could feel she wanted me to know she was there, and wanted to see someone I taught and celebrate this moment together. It was a very sacred and special experience I will never forget.

The remainder of the baptism was incredible. Joe's wife sang a couple of beautiful solos with one of their daughters. As Joe was welcomed into the ward, I could see how much support he had--even his new home teachers sat by him. He was also confirmed right then and there since his work schedule does not allow him to attend church many Sundays.

I'll now go back to Nephi's words..."But behold, I Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom He hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance." This week, the Lord has most certainly delivered me from some sorrow carried, as He's graciously shown a few tender mercies through humor, love, and feeling my grandma near.

There's been a remaining feeling of peace that's stayed with me. It took some courage to keep going at first, but I know it's what she and the Lord would want me to do. The work here is going well and we have another busy week lined up. I know I've said this countless times but I truly am grateful to be here to spread the knowledge and fullness of Christ's everlasting gospel. I'm grateful to have the Book of Mormon to turn to and learn from and to have a living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, here on the earth to guide us. I'm thankful to know how families can be together for all eternity and for the joy that comes through this entire wonderful gospel.

Keep your head held high and remember who you are. Continue to count your blessings and know how much you are loved.

With love,
Sister Roy

Monday, March 10, 2014

His Work is Ever Hastening

Hey everyone!

March Madness is on fire! Sister Nielson and I set more specific goals the other day for ways we can work more fully with each auxiliary of the branch, and starting with the basics of having auxiliary interviews to see how we can help fulfill each presidency's vision, how we can involve the youth, and more. Our Branch mission leader is also working on a Facebook group for our branch that is focused in on how to hasten the work here. Our sacrament meeting attendance was higher than before yesterday, too.

The Lord is definitely hastening his work. In fact, President Packard said this month has been "March Madness" for the mission, as numbers are higher than they've ever been before in this mission, and continue to grow. I feel so privileged to be part of this mission to work with some of the most hard-working missionaries as we feel more moved to give our all and do our best. :)

Sister Nielson and I are still teaching Beth and Amy. Their baptism day was actually scheduled for yesterday, but there were scheduling conflicts with their fellow shippers, so we sure tried but unfortunately it didn't work out. However, Beth and Amy prayed about it more and April 13th came to mind and they felt very good about it, so we are supporting their decision. :) They are actually moving into our area soon so it will be after their move when everything has calmed down for them. They are truly amazing, as their faith and testimonies are continually growing. At one recent lesson with Beth, I complimented Beth on her testimony that she shared with Amy in the lesson. She responded, "Oh! I guess I do have a testimony!" It's been neat to watch them progress. :)

This week we had a great lesson with them on Faith in Jesus Christ and Repentance. The member who came (and she didn't know them too well) was so gracious enough to offer to buy Amy a vanilla milkshake nearby before we began the lesson since she was having a rough day. They were all able to connect through similar experiences throughout the lesson, too. I seriously love the members here and see how there's that importance of having them help those we teach. :)

This week we also had a great exchange for a day with our Sister Training Leaders, Sister Blair (who I was in the MTC with and am fully convinced will someday become the Relief Society General President or the prophet's wife), and Sister Layton. I had the sweet privilege to serve with Sister Layton! She's always uplifting and is honestly pure sunshine, and I was able to learn a lot from her that day. We brought a member with us to teach Shawn and Raina, who began coming to church, and it went very well. It was mainly a "how to begin teaching" lesson, and we were able to answer a lot of questions that they, (and Shawn's mom who was there as well) ended up having. Shawn actually had to leave for Tennessee for work and they didn't say when he would be back--anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, but we will continue teaching him when he returns.

After our appointment, we headed over to a referral's place. However, we realized we didn't know where we were. Before we knew it, the road we were on overlooked the large outstretched ocean extending from the shoreline. 

It was a beautiful day, and we drove along the road, passing coastal shops and found a parking spot. We noticed a large ship to mimic the Mayflower right by the coast, 

a few statues,

Immigrant Statue
and a monument in front of us, which we realized was, from what we understood, a burial spot for some of the Pilgrims. It was crazy! 

The Pilgrim Gravestone

After we visited our referral (who wasn't home), we had a lady take our picture (she turned down our invite to learn more about the church but was still nice), and then pointed down to a set of columns down a flight of steps, saying that Plymouth rock was right there! Haha we felt oblivious. :) Just picture 2 girls from Utah looking all over, wide-eyed, repeatedly exclaiming, "This is so cool!" Since Sister Layton was there for just that day, we decided to quickly head down and look at it. 
Surely enough it looked like a normal rock haha.  Who knows if it really was Plymouth rock, but it was neat to see it. 

Plymouth Rock

Rock on!!!  Get it?  ;)
Sister Layton and I felt so blessed to be there at that time, as it was a tender mercy for both of us, and especially for her since it could be one of her only times there. It's really so cool to be here in Plymouth. :) Sister Nielson and I headed to the same area again today to get a better look at it. I'm looking forward to this weather warming up so we can see more here on Mondays!

Anywho, the work is doing very well here. We continued teaching another new investigator last night and are still seeking ways to hasten the Lord's work here. It's great! We have an almost-packed week planned for this week and are still filling it up.

I was recently reading a talk from the last General Conference called "Drawing Closer to God" and there were a couple of quotes that stood out. The first relates to the the neat experience that I shared with a few that I am working on. Although I don't know all the answers of what to do, it most certainly is allowing me to rely on Him. 

"Rather than solve the problem Himself, the Lord wants us to develop the faith that will help us rely upon.Him in solving our problems and trust Him. Then we can feel His love more constantly, more powerfully, more clearly, and more personally. We become united with Him, and we can become like Him. For us to be like Him is His goal. In fact, it is His glory as well as His work." – Elder Terence M. Vinson (LDS General Conference Nov 2013)

And as I've been seeking ways to improve how I teach, invite, and abide by the Lord's will, I thought this quote was absolutely perfect:

"That’s exactly how I feel about the Savior. He is always near, especially in sacred places and in 
times of need; and sometimes, when I least expect, I feel almost like He taps me on the shoulder to let me know He loves me. I can return that love in my own imperfect way by giving Him my heart."

As we give him all of our Heart, we will feel Him near as we continue to do His work here on the Earth in the ways that we can.

I love you all! 

-Sister Roy

P.S. Here are some pictures from the week:

The very first Parrish formed in Plymouth
Turkeys!!!   Right behind our apartment complex.

Plymouth Rock

Monday, March 3, 2014

March Madness

Hey hey everyone!

It's been an awesome week!  We had another Zone Conference last Wednesday, and I wish I could explain how incredible it was! One thing I want to start doing is record some of the talks given, especially those by President Packard. It will happen someday! I flipped through my notes I took this Zone Conference, and even though there may have been some doodles or larger notes for certain pointers or insights to stand out :) 21 pages of my composition notebook were filled from that day.

It all started when President Packard emphasized his love for the Book of Mormon and how much we can get out of it. He actually read it cover to cover every month on his mission, and continually studies from it. He presented a slideshow focusing on Mosiah and his experiences, then he led into King Benjamin's speech--his farewell speech to have the people live under covenant with the new king. He broke his speech into the seven sections and included how scholars have seen the chiasmus pattern for every verse--in which is the literary technique for parallelism is shown as King Benjamin desired to get each central purpose of each message made known. There was a lot more work that he put into his farewell speech than I would have ever known. The main central focus of it all was the sanctification of the Atonement--mainly in Mosiah 3:17-22. As President tied all of his thoughts, discoveries, and powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon, a quote from his testimony that stood out was "The Book of Mormon is not only a source of revelation; it is a source of transformation." There's so much truth to that statement. :)

For the rest of Zone Conference, Sister Packard focused on family history and temple work and how we are here to focus on the conversion process for each person we teach. The rest of Zone Conference focused on our 5 priorities--1. Progressing Investigators 2. Bishop and Ward Leaders 3. Work with members. 4. Participation in meaningful community service 5. Personal contacting. All of the workshops were so good and Sister Nielson and I received greater insight on how we can lift up and build the Plymouth Branch. We honestly couldn't get enough of the information and spiritual nourishment we were fed that day.

 At the end, President Packard asked us all to stand and sing the hymn the Spirit of God--like a fire is burning! Wow. Everyone billowed their voices and at that time, I had a very spiritual experience which moved me to tears, which also made singing the rest of the hymn impossible. After the conference ended, I met one on one with President Packard to share the experience. He sat there quietly, soaking it in. Tears started to well up as he continued to lock his eye contact. Not much more came out than a simple "thank you" as he nodded, then sat in silence for a moment. Although I won't share the experience, I know it was exactly what he needed to help him bear with all on his plate. I'll never forget how even for a moment, we silently sat there in tears over the tender mercy from the Lord.

This area is booming! It's so awesome! The work is picking up--we had a couple that moved from Wyoming show up to church--one came up to Sister Nielson and I yesterday, asking, "What do I need to do to be baptized?" #shocked #excitedbeyondwords #saywhaaa   We are also teaching a mom and her 11 year old daughters named Beth and Amy. We had a beautiful lesson with them earlier last week on the Plan of Salvation. Once we taught a little more of our purpose here in earth, we led into the Atonement.
It took me a while to understand while teaching that they had a hard time understanding the Atonement because they didn't know much about it at all! We began with the very basics of Jesus Christ.
Sister Nielson then went up to the board (we were at the church) and began to write the sufferings He faced. As we gave input and soaked in what was being written, we were moved to tears. Beth and Amy, through the serious hardships and difficulties they've encountered, began to understand how Jesus Christ experienced and suffered for all that they have and still go through. We continued to teach about the crucifixion, and how the resurrection allows us to live with Heavenly Father again. We closed with Alma 7:11-13, and how He knew according to the flesh how to succor--run to, help--his people. He desires us to follow him because He's been there before and doesn't want us to face some of the pains that He felt. It's only through His experiences that He came to know how to run to us. I've never had to teach the Atonement from the very basics before, but I was able to see how gaining the knowledge and sound understanding of it allows doors to open, wounds to be healed, and hearts filled. The lesson took a slight different turn than planned, but the Lord led it into what Beth and Amy needed.

I also feel that I am getting a better idea and feel for this area. I'm constantly having to seek help from the Lord with what each individual's needs are--whether they be for investigators, Branch leaders or members. It can be challenging trying to seek out how to meet their spiritual goals, needs, and how to help them grow in the ways they and the Lord desire, but it is all going well. It' requires patience and time, but at the same time, I know the Lord knows all the details in His plan for this area.

My love for the individuals and families here is growing and connections are developing. For instance, we were meeting with a Sister from this branch who was baptized last year. We were teaching more about enduring to the end as part of the lesson reviews. Once I sat next to her and read one of my favorite scriptures 2 Tim 2:2, she sat silently, then looked at me while saying in a hushed voice, "I am so glad you are in this branch. It's interesting…I feel that I've known you from before." Her response took me by surprise, but it touched my heart. Had we known each other before we came to earth? It's definitely possible. It helped me remember how the Lord's plain contains no coincidences. I hope to be the help the Lord desires me to be in this area. 

Everything else is going well. As for other happenings, here's to post-cold antibiotics, a good follow-up visit at Boston Children's (and a whammy of a bruise from a blood draw),
drilling in dry wall in a home, and heart attacking doors. It's definitely been a good week. :) 

Keep being awesome, and see what you can learn as you further dive into the Book of Mormon and find ways to more deeply apply the Atonement in your life. 

I love you with all my heart. <3

Peace and blessin's
-Sister Roy

Blood draw=whammy of a bruise.  No bueno.
Sister Nielson finds amusement in nails.

Screwing in an extra layer of floorboard in bathroom before tile laid