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

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