Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Baptism by the Ocean

Dearest loved ones, 

I sure hope I can describe as well as possible, how what happened this weekend had to be in the very top experiences of my mission.

Before I get to that (now I have you hanging! :) )  the rest of this week was so great! A few things:

Many of the missionaries here (more Sisters, to be exact) hit our "99" mark--that is, 99 days left. It's a tradition here in the MBM to go to a restaurant called "the Ninety-Nine" when we reach that point, so our Zone headed there for a good lunch. It was a lot of fun, but it was just plain weird we were at that point.

We've been slightly in touch with Krystal. She still wants to go to church and take part in another discussion, but is literally all over the world for her job as a flight attendant.

We will be having the bug exterminators coming out tomorrow morning--it was the earliest time they could get, and it usually takes them longer to find an open day. As for now, they instructed us to make "bug-islands".
Bug Island - complete
Our beds are still encompassed by duct tape taped to the legs for the bed bugs to stick to, which we set up after vacuuming the bed area and washing our sheets. Sorry for the gross details...we're just glad this is almost over!

Sister Scott and I are focusing more on visiting with more members and are still striving to work together with our Auxiliary leaders. We are still teaching Kyle. Kunal has been out of town so hopefully we'll teach him later this week. Mark is now being taught by just the Moore's and the Elders in Arlington, since he lives in those ward boundaries and lives close to that church. We sure miss teaching him, but his baptism date is still set for September 19th.

On Labor Day, we went to the temple with a recent convert who just moved into our ward. Later Sister Scott and I explored Boston Commons and the Boston Gardens, with a little bit of the freedom trail. I uploaded many pictures you can see. :)

Ok, now back to what I was talking about before...

I am bewildered, stunned, and immensely grateful. This Labor Day weekend one of the happiest, most fulfilling series of days on my mission, and I mean that with all my heart.

Although I may have failed to mention it in my past letters, I was thrilled to attend Chris's baptism back in Plymouth. I would be back in Plymouth, where I would see Sister Harris again (she was coming from Scituate, Rhode Island), many branch members, and most importantly, Chris be baptized on his Birthday, being reborn right by the ocean. Needless to say, I had been looking forward to this day.

It must have been one of the most beautiful days of the summer--bright and sunny, in the low 70s with a gentle breeze. We drove to Plymouth with the Moore's, as more trees came into view as they were already changing colors. They dropped us off at Grey's beach while they grabbed lunch. As soon as we approached the beach, I was so happy I honestly didn't know what to do with myself. There was Chris in his white jumpsuit, with is dad who traveled from Georgia (who sounds like he lives in Josh's mission.) His Aunt was there as well. There were the Sister Missionaries (Sister Miller was Sister Scott's previous companion), as well as Beth and Amy who have been helping him along with his conversion. It was so great to see them! Sister Harris then came! Of course, we took some more pictures.

Chris with his Dad and Aunt

Sister Scott with three of her companions
Afterwards, we headed to the church for the program portion (the Moore's and Sister Scott were in awe at how the church used to be a grocery store.) It felt so good to be back! Honestly, I was fighting back tears as more members arrived. Many hugs were exchanged and we were all excited to see each other. The baptism program was beautifully done. The Relief Society room was packed, with everyone wearing the coordinated colors blue and white. The talks were given by Brother and Sister Hovey. Chris, his family, and Chris's roommate Danny Capella (who was inactive, which led to us meeting Chris when we knew we should find out who he was) were all front and center. There was true Zion there in that room between everyone, as there was great peace and Christlike love felt. The Intermediate song was When I am Baptized, and when we all sang Chris's favorite hymn How Great Thou Art in closing, his tears triggered the rest of ours.

What a beautiful moment, especially as Chris couldn't stop, as he tried to get words out about how grateful he was. Once Brother Germinaro said, "It's not over yet," we all filed out to drive to the beach.

The Moore's, Sister Scott and I, and Caitlyn Zeller (I continued to get a kick out of her bold comments) all drove together, following the precession line of cars, which included Brother Berry riding his Harley Davidson in his white shirt and shorts. Ha-ha it was great!
Brother Berry, headed over to the baptism on his Harley...nbd!
 When we arrived at the beach, more pictures were taken. When it came time for Chris to enter the water, he, Brother Cornwall, who was baptizing him, as well as Brother Berry and Eli Hovey entered. 

We all couldn't help but marvel. The spirit entered in even more powerfully as the water rose higher up to them, their white suits standing out. Nobody filmed or took pictures at this point. We listened carefully as Brother Cornwall performed the ordinance. Chris was submerged and brought back up. Cameras and smart phones were whipped out, as his paparazzi took pictures, as Chris's dad put it, a fan must have been blowing behind them. We closed with a prayer once things got settled down again. Chris changed in the tent Sister Zeller brought. The rest of us headed to the pavilion where dessert was provided.

me, Chris, and Sister Harris (my old companion who helped me teach Chris)

When Chris returned, we all sang "Happy Birthday" to him. We all enjoyed ourselves, wrote notes for Chris and took more pictures. As Chris said, "There was no better way to be reborn" on his Birthday. After the crowd dwindled, it was hard to say goodbye. The Moore's said they wanted to move to Plymouth; they and Sister Scott could most definitely see how the Plymouth Branch is one-of-a-kind. The joy felt that day was so wonderful, exhausting, and fulfilling. I was reminded how hard Sister Harris and I worked when we found Chris. It led to miracles, and they've only begun. The next day, he was confirmed, and then on Monday-- only 2 days after his baptism-- he went to the temple with his grandfather's name. (I was able to see him be baptized for him at the mission's recent convert temple baptism day on Labor Day.) His family had a great time at the baptism and was very supportive. In addition, his roommate Danny is now active in the church, and I found out while talking to Chris and the Sisters yesterday that he is now preparing to receive his own endowment. I was reminded how much joy hard work can bring. I feel more motivated to continue on here in Cambridge--to trust in the Lord and not give up.

It truly has been a wonderful week. I have once again been reminded our Heavenly Father's love for us as he hopes for us to look for the simple pleasures and blessings He provides. He desires for us to be happy, as we find great joy and satisfaction. I hope you can all find what He places in your life that brings the greatest joy, as the gospel of Jesus Christ most certainly helps us do so.

Life is truly beautiful.

With love,
Sister Roy

Here are some other pictures from this week:

Plymouth Rock

With Sister Scott and Sister Moore at Plymouth Rock

Going up the longest escalator I've ever been on

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