Monday, July 28, 2014



Serving in Cambridge is a lot of fun. :) There is much to see and it's been fun to talk to so many people out here. We had a crazy week as well as a very uplifting and spiritual Zone Conference. (If the length of this letter is wearing out your eyes, at least scroll down to the main points from Zone Conference.)

Well, as I mentioned, there was more craziness last week! To sum up the beginning of last week (I mentioned we had to take care of some apartment business) we noticed Sister Scott was being bitten all over. We met with the mission doctor and found out our apartment had fleas! It was disgusting. We arranged for exchanges to happen so I wouldn't be exposed at all to the bug bomb fumes. So, the week started off with me spending a day with Sister Bailey as Sister Scott and Sister White finished up the preparations, sprayed the apartment, lit the bomb and ran. Sister Bailey and I had a pretty good day as we taught one of their investigators at Harvard Yard, had more appointments, and personal contacted for a while over at Harvard Square. The other Sisters then headed to the apartment we were at, where we all had a sleep over before Zone Conference. :)

While at Zone Conference on Wednesday, I couldn't help but feel tremendously blessed and grateful to be part of this mission at this time. Even though it lasted all day, I wanted to soak in every part of the meeting. It was spiritually exhausting but incredible, as it always is here. After a presentation was given on how to take care of our health out here, the Packards began with how the MBM (Massachusetts Boston Mission) is at an all-time high, as personal contacting has been a greater focus, even though it's still the mission's 5th out of our 5 priorities. However, there have been more baptismal dates lost, so the majority of Zone Conference was focused on the 3 venues of Conversion (lessons, church attendance, and personal worship.) They shared "the 10 Commandments for Baptismal Dates" they came up with to make sure they still take place. We attended workshops held by our mission presidency--President Clayton M. Christensen and President Haight--as well as President Packard's assistants. To be honest, I couldn't help but feel the sense of Deja-vu as it was similar to my first zone conference here in the mission (and I heard last year that there was a zone conference a year before that that was similar.) However, the breakout sessions this time were still wonderful and I took notes of new ideas. 

After lunch and practicing for the musical number, a question and answer session was held. When, President Christensen humbly, with tears in his eyes, choked up, bore his testimony, the room was filled with a sweet, peaceful, powerful feeling. He is sure one wise, loving, sincere, and humble individual, as he does all he can to serve the Lord and build up His kingdom on earth, despite all the hardships he has quietly faced in life.

After we heard his remarks, we filed back into the chapel to hear from the Packards and some musical numbers. Sister Packard gave a presentation called "Sacred Time, Sacred Place" which went over the history with the church here in New England, and how special of a time it is to be serving now. She also shared more on how we need to love, support, and show confidence in one another, how we need to continue Zion as we should celebrate together as a mission and those we are with.

President Packard's turn came. He prayed deeply on what he needed to share. He began by quoting Ezra Taft Benson's "Beware of Pride" talk from 1989, as he said, "We must prepare to redeem Zion. It was the sin of pride that kept us from preparing Zion and consecrating ourselves" and how "Pride is the great stumbling block to Zion." President Packard used quotes, scriptures, and more to tell what pride is, how we live in a scarcity mentality, and how "we are born and socialized into a world of competition." He taught more on how we should always view one another as Children of God, what pride causes and how to prevent it. He too spoke about what humble people do, how to constantly learn from others and all around us, including our infirmities and hardships as the Savior did. He spoke on what humility is, and although he has by no means found the answers on how to be humble, he provided insights he received on how to gain humility. There was more on how gratitude is part of humility, which seemed to stand out more to me.

There was so much I learned and was touched by. Once again, the chapel was overwhelmed with the immense presence of the Lord's love, love for each other, and desire for self-improvement. After President Packard concluded, it was time for Sister Shields, Sister Scott, and I to do our musical number, accompanied by Elder Moore. My heart wouldn't stop beating rapidly, but we were able to do it together. The words of "Be Still My Soul" and the spirit carried seemed to touch hearts and triggered tears as we all were in deep thought, soaking in how we felt. Many missionaries complimented us after. I faced the fear and finally did it with the Lord's help. I learned a taste of how it is to be the Lord's instrument by carrying His revelations and love for others through song.

Here are some pointers and things said that stood out from Zone Conference:

-"We are looking for converts, not baptisms."

-"We are not waiting on the Lord; He is waiting on us."

-"There's one thing we can give to the Lord, and that is our will."

-"The door to reading the scriptures isn't at the beginning or the front. It opens with a question."-President Christensen

-"You can either serve a mission or build the kingdom."-President Haight

-"You specifically are meant to be here at this time."

-"When someone falls out of the lifeboat, we don't hit them with their oars. We give them a life jacket and pull them back in." (Sister Packard quoting President Packard)

-"We must prepare to redeem Zion. It is the great sin of pride that keeps us from preparing Zion and consecrating ourselves."

-Pride is the great stumbling block to Zion.

-Pride is the sin of comparison. It is the great sin of personal elevation. 

-"You are valuable because you are all children of God and you have the seeds of deity within you."

-"To me, every person is my superior in some way, and in him, I will learn something." -quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

-"A humble person doesn't just look up for answers...they look sideways and all around them in every direction for answers."

-"A proud person is ungrateful. A humble person acknowledges how others play part in their success and what's around them. Acknowledge the contributions of those around you."

-"Your priorities change as you see others as children of God."

-"Suffering is not wasted if we learn from it."

-"How are we going to learn faith if we never had to wait?"

-"Humility is not self-abasement."

-"Humility and meekness is not weakness. The Savior was not weak."

-"Use compliments as a spur of self-improvement."

"You all have spiritual gifts in your life given based on the need. It is God who gives them."

-Every gift, every lesson, every miracle, every insight, every breath and capacity is from God."

-We see miracles all the time--miracles of healing, miracles of transformation."

-"Humble people are happy people."

-"You can live a life of new discovery if you're humble enough to learn.

-"Let us humble ourselves voluntarily. Let us wear out our lives in His work and stand still.""

The Insights to gain humility:

-Being self-aware is half the battle->as pain is a sign that something is wrong for the body, frustration is a sign of selfishness.

-Recognize the source of all your gifts--it is from the Lord.

-Gratitude is one of the most successful antidotes for pride.

-Listen. And be teachable.

-Let the spirit change your heart (Mosiah 3:19)


Now do you have a slight sense of why I loved this Zone Conference and why I love this mission? :)

There are so many changes that have been taking place. We are still working with the Moore's to continue creating Zion in this ward. It's been requiring patience to get to know everyone, figuring out the "T" system, how to become more involved with the auxiliaries here, and much more. Church on Sunday was awesome. Sister Scott and I invited many less actives and people we met and told them we'd be singing in Sacrament Meeting. We even invited our neighbors (yes, one of them was the one who kissed my hand...). When they told us they usually go to the beach on Sundays, we made an agreement that if it rained, they would come. So, we prayed for rain, and our prayers were answered! #makeitrain :) There were also 6 other non-members who came to church, 4 or 5 of whom the other Sister we were singing with invited, as well as 4 people who haven't come in a while. The members here have a fire and drive for sharing the gospel. We and the Moore's have already felt welcomed in by them. :)

I hope you all had a great Pioneer Day and are doing well. 

I love you!!

Sister Roy

P.S. I got the text on Thursday...CHRIS IS BEING BAPTIZED AT THE END OF AUGUST!!! I'm so happy for him! Sister Harris just got the news she is now being transferred out of Plymouth this week, (we pretty much shot gunned Plymouth) so I feel we both needed to be there to help his conversion come along and up to this special moment. :) And he wants to be baptized out on the ocean! I know this moment will be one of the highlights out here!

One of the props for a member lesson

Hey Look!

Monday, July 21, 2014

First Week in Cambridge

My new companion...Sister Scott
Dear Family,

Ok, here are a few things I've quickly learned about Cambridge:

1. It's similar to Utah with how there are 2 seasons: winter and construction.
2. The drivers here know how to use their horn, and they're not afraid to.
3. 2 words: Asian Nation (As Sister Scott taught me, bring one to every Mormon occasion.) :)

Reliable Market...
4. There's a Chipotle at about every "T" stop. :)
the T Stop
5. Many people here are reserved when you try to talk to them, but they are nice. Others are not afraid to express their views.

6. The family ward I'm serving in is mostly made up of young couples. And babies. Many babies.

Sister Scott and I are still trying to figure everything out together. We get along very well. :) She is from West Valley and is very talented and a hard worker. Thank goodness she loves to run! We go running for about 3-3 1/2 miles by the Charles River, which stretches between Cambridge and Boston, about every other morning. We know how to make each other laugh. :)

With Sister Moore
We're also privileged to work with a senior couple in this ward, the Moore's, who came into the mission from Colorado last Saturday, the day before I came in. They only live about 10 minutes (walking time) away from us and will stay here for their whole mission (for 6 months before their daughter gets back from her mission in Brazil). We are all figuring out how to work with the ward here; It's been nice to work together as a team. :)

I've also come to quickly learn how awesome the district/zone is here! The Zone gets together on almost every preparation day, where they either play sports, visit a tourist attraction, or do something random and fun (today they are having a paint fight, but we're not sure if we can make it with the time that we have, especially since there's been a nasty bug problem at the apartment we're having to take care of tomorrow so we have to get ready for it.) Our Zone got together last week for lunch at "the 99" on Wednesday, because it was the "99 days left" for both of our Zone Leaders. We also all came together for opening exercises before District meeting, which they do every week, and then we split off into our 2 districts. In this district we have the 1 set of Chinese sisters in the mission, us, the Haitian speaking Elders, Zone Leaders, and the Belmont Sisters. I love the diversity and how close and supportive everyone is here. :)

One thing is for sure, the "T" (public transportation system here) is crazy! I had my first experience with it on Thursday. We take the subway or bus to get to where we need to be. We hop on and off the different lines quickly, as they come and leave every few minutes. It's also been a new challenge to talk to every person we're next to, tell about what we do, bear testimony, and extend an invite quickly enough in case they or we get off at the next stop. There's also a lot of walking involved after getting off every stop. After our excellent dinner appointment on Thursday, we walked about a 1/2 mile or so to the T-stop. We spoke to more people once we boarded on again. At this point, there was a construction worker who offered for me to sit by him once the seat next to him became available since I was standing. I tried to engage him in a gospel conversation, but then he grabbed my hand, clasping it, saying, "Yes, you're my sister!" He did this several times! I was hoping and praying he wouldn't raise it and kiss it like our drunk neighbor did my first day here! I'll just say even though he agreed to everything I was saying and chimed in how there is a God, I don't believe his thoughts were anywhere near what I was saying! Sister Scott was sitting across from us, as I could tell she was about to fall over any second from holding in laughter. Ohhhh mercy!!! Sometimes I wish there would be background music playing during certain situations as if life were a movie, to help us know what's going to happen next, but then sometimes I just don't want to know what song will come as it would be downright humiliating. One of the songs for my first week here: the Beatles' "I Wanna Hold Your Hand." I honestly don't know what's with it and someone watching over must have wanted a good laugh. Ha, well, that was an experience I'll never forget!

Anywho, the week mainly consisted of getting settled in, with updating the change of address for my health insurance, finally visiting my new primary care physician to be able to go to the CF clinic, and more. We've been getting to know the ward members here, trying to figure out who is less active and what individuals' needs are. On Saturday, we headed with the Moore's to visit a member, Sister Mcaskill, and her non-member husband, Al, as she visits him at the assisted living facility he stays at. What was planned to just be a Book of Mormon study with them turned into not only a study, but a discussion on Al's faith in Christ and how he could be baptized. There was a great feeling of peace that was so tender in that room. Al had taken the missionary discussions in the past, but we felt he may be more open at this time as he realizes how precious life is. Sister Mcaskill seemed a little apprehensive/scared about coming to church and we're not sure how much she's able to comprehend things, so hopefully it goes well. Otherwise, Al seems to be considering taking some further steps as he knows what he's learning is very different from anything he's ever heard or learned before.

One of the senior Elders here, Elder Foote, brought up a quote that's stayed with me: "The best way to overcome your fears is to face them head on." I realized how I was a little more nervous than I expected to be when I stood up to give a talk to this ward I was just placed in. I believe it went alright and the members said it brought the spirit in for the meeting, which is what matters. I've also decided on the mission to overcome my nerves of singing solos/in smaller groups in front of people, so I would start with singing in Sacrament meeting. I'll eventually get to doing a solo but decided to start in a small group setting. There's still a lot I need to work on with vocal technique, but Sister Scott (who has an amazing voice), a member who has been coming back to church, and I will be singing next week in Sacrament Meeting. Yesterday, Sister Scott and I also volunteered ourselves to sing at this week's Zone Conference with Sister Shields, so we began practicing today for this Wednesday to sing in front of about four zones. Wish us luck!

Overall, I am sure thankful for the ways I've felt the Spirit lately. It continues to guide and gently remind what needs to be done, to dismiss fears and allow bold invites to come out. I know my Heavenly Father is guiding every detail and allowing opportunities to come to enable me to stretch and grow, as He does for us all. I know that if we turn to Him in all our doings, then He will help us understand what He desires us to as greater blessings await.

Love always,

Sister Roy

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hello From...Cambridge?!

Hello from Cambridge!!!

Yes, that's right. I'm in Cambridge now. :) Can you believe it?

Last week was quite a week! First of all, I got a phone call from President Packard on Monday night, as he asked if I could be in a walking area, and if it would help to be closer to my doctors here in Boston.

On Tuesday, after our lesson with Chris (which was very special as it was on the Atonement), I picked up the phone and realized President Packard was calling! We were saying goodbye to Chris and Beth in the front seat since we all drove together to the church for the lesson. As we left as I was trying to understand everything President Packard was saying...

He asked if I knew Sister Miller serving in the Cambridge 1st Ward, who I wasn't sure if I did, and he said she tore her meniscus and had to be in a driving area very soon. I was make sense of what he was saying, as he and Sister Packard prayed about the situation and discussed what would be best. She would be coming to Plymouth, and....I WOULD BE GOING TO CAMBRIDGE!!!

Only about 3 weeks ago, Sister Scott came here, so we are practically shotgunning the area. We are both figuring everything out together. We came out at the same time and actually sat next to each other on the airplane, when we didn't even know each other. We may even finish the mission here together here, but who knows--I'd rather not think about that right now! What's also ironic is that each one of Sister Harris's companions, except for one, has served with Sister Scott, so her current companion would also be one of them.

There were so many goodbyes to say during the following days. It then made sense why we had no appointments set for the few days before I left. I was even starting to think more about transfers, and even the slightest thought came if I would at one point be companions with Sister Scott, since she was just barely with Sister Patterson. The Lord has had his plan all along and it's bizarre how quickly everything came up!

So, during the week, we not only taught Chris, but also Yuri, which went very well. We weren't able to meet with John yet. We said goodbye to Andrew and a few families and attended the last district meeting there. Sister Harris and I decided to make the most of the time we had together.

The Blue Blinds Bakery
We had breakfast for dinner at an amazing bakery in downtown Plymouth called "the Blue Blinds Bakery" (family, we have to go there!) It's owned by a group that secludes themselves from the world and lives a different lifestyle, but they were still nice and the food was amazing! On Saturday, the Blackwell's wanted to treat us, so they went out of their way and took us to a top notch seafood restaurant (I am coming to love seafood even more out here. It's amazing and seafood anywhere else doesn't even compare). It was very nice of the Blackwell's and I am so thankful for theirs' and other members' wisdom they've given and the love they have shown.

Waiting for the fireworks to begin
The Last Hoorah!  Wathing the 4th of July fireworks...a week late...right on the beach
After dinner, Sister Harris and I celebrated our last hoorah together. We got permission to watch the 1-week later 4th of July Fireworks. We decided to watch them a town away from Plymouth at a beach. We arrived about 45 minutes early, and there was plenty of parking and the traffic was calm where we watched it! Even though the show was a little distant, it was still neat and one of the longest fireworks displays I've been to. It felt so nice to just sit there and ponder what I've learned in Plymouth. I sure am grateful for the people I met and taught and the experiences I had there. I miss them already but this is a good and exciting change. :)

It's still hard to believe I'm here in Cambridge. Needless to say, it's very, very different from Plymouth. Talk about going from somewhat-of-a-city and forests in Weston 1st ward to absolute country/hometowns in the Plymouth Branch to what can only be called a city. It's going to take a little while to get used to it all and come to know the area better. I'm very excited and grateful to serve here. As I have said before, the city fascinates me as there's a lot to do, and many people and things to see. We're not far from Boston and we're close to MIT and Harvard, so there's a lot of cultural diversity and yes, very very intelligent individuals here in this ward. A little intimidating? Yep, but it'll be good and I'm excited to get to know them.

There's a lot of change that happens while being out on a mission. The atmosphere changes. We get moved around and get to know many new people. There are times where the people being taught change. And more than anything, change takes place as we desire to come closer to Christ and to be perfected in Him, as we continually want to learn what He wants us to and live as He did. I was just reading the Packard’s' weekly email to the mission, where he talks about how we grow to become more dependent on God. I feel this dependence comes even more through change over time, as it takes time. He mentioned that we become more dependent on the feeling we have when we study God's word. We want to become more dependent on God for answers to life's important questions. We want to become more dependent on God to define our standards for behavior, as well as for the joy we feel when we share the gospel, and last but not least, we become dependent on Christ for forgiveness and personal transformation through His Atonement. Our lives change as we first and foremost become more dependent on Him, because we cannot do it alone.

And through it all, as we read in Moroni 9:9, "God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing." His gospel has always been the same, and His love is always the same for us, as in Him "there is no shadow of changing."

As (how) they'd say here, remember who you ah. Take ceh!

Love always,
Sister Roy

Saying goodbyes to wonderful families in Plymouth was hard but I am looking forward to new adventures in Cambridge.  Here are a few people I will remember from Plymouth:

Oh, Caitlyn!

Caitlyn's chalk drawing of she, Sis Harris, and I

The McGills
The Blackwells

Solange, Yuri, and one of Yuri's sons

The Cornwalls

Chalk drawings with the Cornwall kiddos

Monday, July 7, 2014

One Yeh Mak!

So, the 4th of July was not what we expected it to be!! But overall it turned out to be alright. :) Let me share a glimpse of how it went...

Once upon a time, on July 4, 2014 to be exact, there was going to be a large celebration in America's hometown to celebrate the country's independence. There was going to be a parade, fireworks, and overall a great big party.

But then a "hurricane" came in.
The end.

Locked out of our the hurricane
So there's the Fourth of July in a nutshell. If I went into more detail, I could say that two fun-sized Sister Missionaries named Sister Roy and Sister Harris were stranded in the pouring "pre-hurricane" rain for a little bit of time since they locked their keys in the apartment. Thank goodness someone let them inside the apartment building and their landlord was in town to come unlock their door.

I don't believe that what was supposed to be Hurricane Arthur was big enough as it was played to be, even though it was raining cats and dogs all day. During the beginning of it, though, we had a fun Zone Meeting. :) 

Hingham South Zone on the 4th of July
There were also four recent/upcoming Birthdays in the Zone so the Conlee's (the Sr. Couple in our zone who help with the YSA branch) brought a cake and the Southcoast Sisters made yummy brownies for everyone. So, the 4th of July was not what we expected it to be!! But overall it turned out to be alright. :) It was fun to spend it with the Zone! It was a little scary heading home since it was raining very hard and some of the streets were flooding, but luckily the winds weren't bad.

(Also, the Nashua Zone up in New Hampshire had a a swimming the "hurricane"...oh how I love the MBM!)

One thing is for sure: It was a Fourth of July I'll never forget!

Overall, it's been one of those crazy-yet-I-can't-remember-all-that happened weeks. A couple of weeks ago I heard from the CF Clinic that I did not have a primary care physician, and until I did I could not see them. I had to cancel the appointment and made phone calls like crazy on TuesdayIt all started from ground zero of not knowing which doctors at which hospitals to call. Once I would find one it took a lot of work to see if my insurance plan would accept them, to see if the doctor would accept the insurance, and then to have it go through but be rejected, then looking for another doctor and when most of them weren't accepting new patients. I also found out I picked the one insurance that did not let me go over 25 miles to see a PCP (gotta love fine print that you never know exists), so I switched to another insurance. So, (in the voice you hear on the SpongeBob TV show) 4 hours later, after near 20 calls, we called our mission nurse, and Sister Packard suggested to try her daughter's doctor, and it worked! She really did save the day. It was a pretty stressful day but it was another trial of faith that the Lord helped us get through.

This week I also hit the one-year mark! The day began with Sister Harris creating her surprise by blowing up 'Happy Birthday' balloons but crossing out "Birthday" with "One Year." We also went for huge ice cream sundaes later as we daily planned. I feel like there's a lot I could say about what I have experienced and learned over this past year, but I won't bore you out by going into soapy details. :) I must say though that I am sure thankful to be here still and to have come this far.

In regards to teaching, we can finally teach Yuri again! His medical test came back negative. :) Our plan to teach him fell through last week, but we plan on meeting with him again this week! Our lesson with Chris last week also fell through, but we are also meeting with him again this week. We're trying to figure out why he keeps putting off coming to church and reading the Book of Mormon; he is so humble and sincere and told us he would straight up tell us if he were no longer interested in meeting. We're going to see how having a Book of Mormon study with him will go. We also met a man named John who lives in our branch boundaries and works with the bishop in another ward. We had a great phone conversation with him when we were inside our house during the storm on the 4th, and he came to our branch on Sunday! He is from Cape Verde (where Yuri is from) so we're hoping they can somehow help each other out. We're curious to see how it's going to go because John majored in Bible studies, knows Hebrew, lived in J-Ru for a year, memorized several books in the Bible, and more. So, we're not sure if he's investigating for intellectual reasons, but he seems interested and has already studied so much about this church. He has seen many things in other churches he doesn't agree with, but so far he loves everything about this church. He had a wonderful time at church on Sunday and was welcomed in (there were so many members with him that some members didn't even get the chance to meet him.) John wants to learn the very basics (whew!) so we are hoping to meet with him this week and will extend a baptismal date, so fingers crossed!

As you may know, the church is placing great emphasis on helping all investigators, recent converts, and members ENDURE to the end. For instance, the First Presidency made some recent adjustments for all missionaries, which include teaching lessons 1-5, not just 1-4, before and after someone is baptized. They also want us to jump in without waiting on their HT/VT to teach the new member lessons, and to work with each new member for at least 3 to 4 months after baptism and remain in contact with him/her for at least a year. All of these changes made complete sense, and in a way didn't feel like changes until they were written in an official letter. I hope to help those we teach understand their role in the Lord's great eternal plan. They may face much opposition, but as they follow the Lord's plan for them, they will see miracles and blessings come for them. There was a perfect analogy given by Elder Nelson at a training for new mission presidents that I read, as he was talking about the new changes and the importance of helping each other endure to the end. No matter the role or position we have, we are all to help ensure that love and service is extended. He said:

"A heart surgeon does not perform an operation alone but works with an assistant, an anesthesiologist, nurses, and others. Each member of the team plays a vital role in safeguarding the life of the patient. ”A successful operation is followed by a period of intensive care; later, when the patient’s condition is stable, he or she is transferred to constant hospital care and then is ultimately released to the tender care of loved ones at home. A successful outcome depends upon good communication, cooperation, and commitment by each member of the team at all levels. If a complication should ensue, immediate steps are taken to rescue the patient, and nobody quibbles about whose job it is to save the patient’s life.

“Likewise, a successful outcome with either a new or returning member reflects complete cooperation among the bishop, ward council, ward missionary leader, and full-time missionaries. They work as partners. They sense their combined responsibility to care for the spiritual life of each precious son or daughter of God."

Isn't that a perfect description? As we work together, we safeguard each precious life through the abilities the Lord gives us.

As I feel like this is a jumbled/ slightly random letter, I will do my best to collect my thoughts. As Sister Harris and I put forth our best efforts and trying to do what the Lord would have us do, we hope to spiritually help the individuals we are working with endure to the end--to keep their testimonies burning through the foundation of having faith in Jesus Christ, to help them reach the temple, work on family history work, and more. People have agency, there are always changes in our schedules and unexpected occurrences come up and we are imperfect in many ways, but we can do what we can with the Lord's help as we place our faith in Him, which is definitely something I am trying to work on more at this time.

One of my favorite quotes that has come to my mind this week is "I may not be able to change the world, but I may be able to change the world of a person." This great work truly changes individual lives as we help them continue to be faithful to the covenants and promises they make. We can care for one another by following our Savior and Redeemer's example as we strive to be more like Him.

Love always,

Sister Roy

Here are a few random other pictures from this week:

Sister Roy and Sister Harris

Eating lobster rolls at the Blackwells' home before a baptism (she's an awesome cook!)