Monday, October 27, 2014

Andrea's Baptism!

It's a great time to be serving in Cambridge. :)

First of all, all I can say of the highlights of my mission took place this week. :)

After being introduced to the church by her friend, thirty-three years of signs and "coincidental" events followed suit for Andrea, reminding her of what she knew deep in her heart is true. After all these years, she found the courage within herself to refer herself to Sister Jones and I. She was ready for change, ready for her whole devotion to the Lord's will for her, with innumerable blessings following suit.
Andrea's Baptism!  (me, Andrea, Sister Jones)
After all the lessons, immediate changes, and much anticipation, Andrea's baptism date finally arrived! It was an absolutely remarkable day. Honestly, I don't know how to better describe the day other than there was pure joy felt all around. We could all feel her excitement, with nerves and all, as she couldn't stop beaming. As I observed her while I gave the baptism talk from the pulpit, I couldn't help but feel closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ as I felt their immense love for her. When Andrea entered the waters of baptism, her fears departed, as she was at ease. Good cousin Elder Calvert was still able to attend to baptize her, even though he's now one of the Assistants for President Packard. Before the ordinance, he quietly whispered the instructions to her, giving her assurance. The ordinance was completed the first try, following Andrea's "Thumbs up" :) She continued to shine the rest of the day. Her joy was contagious. She is on her way to receive continued blessings, feeling the joy that comes through living Jesus Christ's gospel. Andrea's story and example has changed my life forever. I am grateful to have been a part in this exciting time of her life. :)

Elders McJanet and Calvert after Andrea's baptism

Elder and Sister Moore, Andrea, Sister Jones, and Sister Roy

We were going to meet with Tina tonight to continue on with the lessons, but unfortunately she had to reschedule. She is still so excited to meet and emphasized how she wants to see us later this week. We are in the process of figuring out a time to meet with her, most likely with the member who came with us last time, so that a member can be present to help her feel more welcomed in. We also had the sweet opportunity to have a brief lesson with Kyle (his wife is STILL pregnant!!!) Kyle bore witness of how much happier he is with the gospel in his life--how he is changed and turned from his wrong doings in the past. He just wishes everybody could feel how he does now that he has more direction and meaning in his life. His peers are surprised with how he has changed and never going back to his past mistakes. He now understands how much his Redeemer has done for him, enabling him to be forgiven and to become new. We are seeking ways to help support his family at this time of change with the baby coming soon--hopefully very soon--so we haven't been able to meet with him much lately but he is doing well. 

We and the Moore's were also able to meet with Al once again at the physical rehab clinic. We are hoping he doesn't have to stay much longer since he hasn't been treated fairly by the nurses and his health is improving. We kept our visit short as we caught up. We asked him if he prayed about being baptized, which he unfortunately did not as he wants to be more stable first. While praying about him that morning, we prayed about what we needed to do for him. Our answer came to be that we needed to show him how much he was cared for and to sing "I know that My Redeemer Lives" to him. I am truly grateful for the powerful spirit that can come through music, as it can uplift and heal spiritual and emotional wounds. 
Each day as a servant of the Lord, I'm continually learning of the great importance to rely on Him and His will. There is great power that comes as we seek His help through the thoughts poured from our heart and the questions, ambitions, and hopes that we yearn for while on our knees. As we turn our will to His, He uplifts, strengthens, and enables us to do what we cannot do on our own. Often times we move forward in faith, unsure of where He is guiding us. Yet as we look back, we can see how He was carrying us all along. He is always there. 

"Yea, blessed is this people who are willing to bear my name; for in my name shall they be called; and they are mine...For it is I that taketh upon me the sins of the world; for it is I that hath created them; and it is I that granteth unto him that believeth unto the end a place at my right hand. For behold, in my name are they called; and if they know me they shall come forth, and shall have a place eternally at my right hand." Mosiah 26: 18, 23-24)
Hope you all have a great week!

-Sister Roy

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Final Transfer! (Almost)

Hey Everyone!

Tomorrow are transfers. I'm staying in Cambridge, but is this already going to be the last one?...


Happy Birthday Mom! I know I already wished you Happy Birthday but here is another shout out for you.

Here are a few things I learned & was reminded this week:

- How to break open a lobster with its shell on. First, you wrap in in a paper towel. Next, you flick/hammer it with a spoon. Crack, then snap the shell off. Done.

-The weather here is very bizarre--warm some days, freezing the next, then repeat.

-How playing games with kids (thank goodness to Elder Moore for some ideas) to help them organize works miracles.

-How when you rely solely on faith in Jesus Christ, it frees you from doubt or worry.

-When you share the Book of Mormon through conviction and heartfelt testimony for it, people will feel of its truth, as it could increase their desire to read it.

We had some miracles happen this week. One of the greatest miracles was when we were able to get into a less-active's home named Nayanka that us and the leaders have tried to for months. Last weekend, Nayanka's brother and his wife came into town, so they set up a dinner for us at their house! Their family is from Guinea Bissau, close by Cape Verde. We had quite the fun ethnic experience, which I have MISSED! (We were exposed to a lot of cultures back in Waltham as well as with Yuri's family back in Plymouth.) When we arrived on Tuesday night, there were kids running around everywhere, the apartment was filled with the enticing smell of Cape Verdian cooking, and Portuguese Creole was being spoken off and on. Once Nayanka and her brother arrived with their friend Wayne, we all joined in for a carefree dinner. Paper plates were put out and a prayer was offered. Afterwards, we were free to scoop out as much food as we wanted from two HUGE pots that took up the whole stove--one full of a creamy sauce with chicken, sausage, kale, yuca, veggies...the other with corn on the cob and an assortment of seafood--clams, large shrimp and lobsters with their shells still was a feast (but don't worry, I didn't have too much!) Here at the table, I learned how to break a lobster open, as there was some hammering action going on with metal spoons. After dinner, we settled in the living room for the lesson Sister Jones and I prepared on Elder Ballard's talk "Stay in the Boat and Hold On!" We all joined in discussion and the spirit was powerful, as it allowed Sister Jones and I to boldly testify of the truths Elder Ballard brought up. After all of this, we have a return appointment with them tomorrow and are hoping to help them feel comfortable coming back to church.

Since Sister Jones and I have been working as hard as we can to have a stronger Zion built between us and that we are trying to improve in ways we serve and work, miracles have been coming up. For instance, on Wednesday night as we were heading to a member visit, we had an incredible conversation with a lady named Tina on the bus. It ended up being a long conversation as she had so many questions she asked us. She was so engaged, and we ended up going waaay past our stop so we got her contact info. From that point we kept in contact, answering questions she had. She, in one day, already began reading the Book of Mormon we gave to her, as she felt the spirit when we bore witness of the truth it holds. She also noticed how many of the principles we had were the same Christian principles she believed. We set up a time to go to her home for last night with a member, where we solidified how what we would teach would answer her many questions. It did take some directions as her questions led to us covering a little bit about temples, tithing, families...pretty much the whole shabang as we desperately tried to keep it on topic, but all in all we taught the Restoration! While we taught, every now and then, she couldn't help but quietly say "Wow," in awe. She agreed to pray to know if it is all true. We are keeping her in our prayers and hope for the best! 
Andrea's baptism this Sunday is also coming up quickly! We had another Doctrine and Covenants scripture study with her when she got off of work. It's been incredible to see Andrea change. She now holds herself up with confidence, as she knows who she is as a daughter of God. She sprints with faith, not looking back. I greatly needed to be reminded of her example that night, as a few nerves were kicking in about changes that may come up in just over a month. She has led the example to "Come to the edge, allow Him to push, and fly." She relies on her faith in the Savior as she is committed to keep going; she is never going back to her old ways in which she has improved. This decision she has made to change her life and ways in a whim, as she turns them to the Lord, shows her confidence and reliance in Him. It allows me to see how many blessings can be poured by continuing in faith and reliance in our Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ. Even when we feel uncertain what will happen, they are guiding and directing our path as we continue on according to their will.
The rest of this week was good, as we helped clean Evie's apartment for her baby that is due this week. We helped her daughter Odessa put her toys away, helped Evie rid old items, swept, mopped, and much was a lot and Sister Jones and I were sure exhausted by the end but we were glad to help Evie prepare when she can't do much at this point! We also visited Al, who is going to pray if being baptized is right for him at this time. We had an awesome correlation with not only Julio and our Ward Missionaries, but also with our Elders Quorum and Relief Society Presidents and our Ward clerk. It was a great meeting as it focused on the individuals we are working with. 
I hope you are all doing well. Continue to seek the Lord's help and guidance in every aspect in your lives, as that is what I'm trying to remind myself to do that as well. When we were studying D&C 6 with Andrea, which I discovered has to be one of my favorite sections, I loved just about every verse, but here were a couple that I would like to share...

D&C6: 20 “Behold, thou art ______, and I have spoken unto thee because of thy desires; therefore treasure up these words in thy heart. Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love.
 21 “Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the same that came unto mine own, and mine own received me not. I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not."
Our Savior is our light as we can look unto Him with faith and hope, relying on his saving and merciful grace.”

With love,
Sister Roy

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Exchanges, Double Temple Trips, Meet the Mormons, Kyle's Baptism & more

It's been a great week!
It started out on our Preparation Day when Sister Jones and I decided to hit up Target to get a few essentials. As many are well aware...when you go to Target...just getting the essentials you planned on hardly ever happens. First we saw the Birthday cards as we entered the store, so we went over there and ended up curling in laughter from reading some of them. Then, we decided to look and see what they have for Halloween since we decided to dress up for our District Meeting on Halloween. Sure enough, we came across Batman (with yellow capes attached) and animal onesies. We had to decide, so we decided to get different but similar costumes. Goodness...the little things that we find fun. :) That honestly had to be one of the most fun Preparation Days! 
On Tuesday, Sister Jones and I went on exchanges with our Sister Training Leaders. I headed over to Belmont with Sister Fernando, who is from New York/Sri Lanka. Do you remember Susan who I was telling about, who I saw at the most recent Transfer meeting, as she was the one Sister Patterson and I met a while back at CVS in Waltham? She lives in Belmont and has been taking the lessons since I left Weston 1st ward. Sister Fernando and I had a lesson with her on Tuesday, where we taught about baptism and Eternal Marriage. We set a baptism date with her for November 15th! She is so excited! A little less than an hour after the lesson she told us she and her boyfriend set the date to get married before then on the 28th of this month (when I met her she wasn't planning on it until next summer in 2015.) It was so neat to see how one person we reached out to a while back, just through a compliment and then a series of follow-ups at the local CVS has come this far.
Sister Jones and I had the opportunity to attend the temple twice--on Wednesday after our "Return and Report" meeting for all trainers and the missionaries they are training, as well as yesterday since it was a Monday holiday. I'll tell you, my testimony and love for the temple grew. On Wednesday, I hadn't been since Patriots Day back in April, so it was the first time in about 7 months. I took many matters to the Lord for that temple session that day. He opened my understanding to what I was feeling lately, and His giving grace stepped in immediately. While waiting in the chapel, I was given the understanding of something I need to improve on. When I prayed right then for the help, I immediately felt strengthened, even as if I were physically pulled up, feeling lifted. I don't believe I would have had that same experience had I not attended the temple, as I was in a place of security to allow me to receive marvelous revelations and understanding. The temple truly is a place of revelation, peace, comfort, direction, and literal transformation. I was reminded of my love for the Lord's sacred home of refuge that day. 
Later in the week, our Zone (which I don't believe I have told you is nicknamed "the Dirty South" here since we're Cambridge South) and the Cambridge North Zone met together at our Stake Center for a private screening of "Meet the Mormons." I'll have to say, it was good at first but it ended up being very moving and powerful! It's amazing to hear it made the number in the Box Office! Have you all seen it yet? (Mom, I was wondering what you thought of the Missionary Mom's part of the movie because of myself, Josh, and soon Brandon being on missions?)

Last but not least...Kyle was baptized!!! Yes, the miracle happened where Cambridge 1st ward had its first baptism in about 1 1/2 to 2 years!!! It required a lot of planning, fingers crossed, and prayers beforehand. Miraculously, seriously miraculously, it all came together. The room was packed. A few of Evie (Kyle's wife)'s family, Kyle's brother, Andrea who we are team teaching, Susan from Belmont, and members from our ward were a few who attended. It was a tiring day with a lot of running around the church as Sister Jones, Julio, and I set up. Evie's sister gave a great compliment--that never before in this ward had she seen that much support from the ward involved in a baptism. We planned and created the picture we wanted for this baptism and it happened. Kyle was beaming and on his toes in excitement the whole time as he carried a different light about him. The spirit was felt, as it was a special baptism. Afterwards, we enjoyed what turned out to be the exact amount of desserts and Costco pizza that Julio and another member brought. Just about all of it was gone afterwards. The following day on Sunday, after Kyle was confirmed, Evie, whose baby is due very soon, had left, as we found out she said her water broke. It turned out to be a false alarm, but she is due any day from now. Their family has a lot of big changes happening all at once!
We're still visiting with Andrea as well to do scripture study, and her baptism is set for October 26th. She is still progressing without measure and even wants to call/email you mom and dad. You may soon get a call or email or both from her.

We also taught Justin the Restoration last night with the Moore's, the Boston Elders, and the same member that came last time. It was a little scattered but it all came together and the spirit was powerfully there. He is going to pray to know if it is all true, as he is sincere about it.
Sister Jones and I are still working hard. We set goals with Julio to work on our Finding Pool Google doc with one of our ward missionaries, looking for opportunities to serve the members and auxiliary leaders, and to get to know all of the members here to create stronger relationships and trust. We had an incredible ward council meeting on Sunday, as we only have it once a month. It was completely focused on individuals, including how to help Kyle and his family progress with members' help, how to help Al work towards his desire to be baptized, and more. Everything seems to be in the works but it's all working out.

In closing, I would like to bring up my love once again for the Lord's home. Find time to attend the temple, as it is a place to draw closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I have come to appreciate attending even more as it's not something we can do whenever we would like here.  I've also come to understand that as you put the Lord first in everything that you do, as you give everything you can to him as He gives us everything He can offer, then the commotions of life come together with greater ease and life becomes more enjoyable. 

Always remember how much I love you and pray for you.

With love,
Sister Roy

Monday, October 6, 2014

General Conference Weekend

It's a great time to be here in Cambridge! The fall, which you may know is my favorite season, is starting to pick up as the leaves are showing more. The work has been slow at times (I'm not gonna lie--we had many appointments fall through this last week!)...but such is the norm for this great work. Overall, it’s been a very rewarding week. :)

On Monday and Tuesday, Sister Jones and I hit a double whammy for Birthdays, as we turned 22 and 20. There was no coincidence there that our Birthdays are right next to each other! On Monday, Sister Jones and I met up with the Belmont and University Sisters in Boston to hit up Newbury Street, which is a very long street where there are many (more of upscale) shops. We did some browsing and ate cupcakes at a Sweets shop. Oh! And they had a flute player on the street play Happy Birthday for me. Yes it was a little embarrassing but he was really good at it and once we all talked to him we found out he had friends who served LDS Missions. On Tuesday, we met with the Zone for lunch as we went to a burger restaurant at Harvard Square. Elder Welker took on their restaurant's challenge to eat 3 of their hot dogs in an hour. It looked pretty gross to be honest--a hot dog inside of a hamburger smothered in cheese, potatoes, and more. Unfortunately he lost! Our Zone Leaders, Elders Butters and Kerr, gave Sister Jones and I Birthday cards. When we opened them up, I saw mine had a picture inside of Elder Kerr pouring chocolate syrup into Elder Butter's mouth while he was laying down on the floor. Sister Jones' had a picture of the aftermath--the chocolate syrup all over Elder Butters' face! We about died. It was too funny!!  :)

Later that day we had appointments fall through, including Kyle's which was dropped a half hour beforehand since he had a severe infection in his hand, most likely from washing dishes at work, so he had to hurry to the hospital (crazy things happen whenever someone has a baptism date!) We were going to have a member named Brother Malone in our ward (fun fact, he has been Santa Claus for every Christmas party here for the past 40 years or so.) We ended up meeting with just him (regarding the chaperone rule the Moore's were close by in the church building). It ended up being perfect, as we could tell he was lonely and needed to be praised for all that he does. Brother Malone is sure one consecrated individual as he does all he can to build the Kingdom here and serve the Lord, despite his physical limitations. Every Sunday, he comes in, either with a cane or crutches to hold himself up. As he haunches over, he greets every person with a warm smile, looking them in the eyes as you see years of hardship shown, yet great conviction, devotion, and love for the Lord. Although he is hard of hearing, he is unafraid to let others know of his firm and unshaken faith and testimony, as he is a convert. During our visit on Tuesday, we listened to him share stories of his life and spoke about getting on board to help him with his family history. I felt impressed to share the verses in 3 Nephi 17, where Jesus tells the Nephites how much joy He has for them and their faith, which made Him weep. When we expressed to Brother Malone that this is how the Savior feels about him, he too began to weep. It was a sweet moment. We knew his loving Heavenly Father allowed the one-on-one visit with him to take place to remind him he is loved, rejoiced over, and not alone. He ended up giving Sister Jones and I small Birthday gifts, as well as a Christmas gift for myself for Christmas since I won't be here then. It was so sweet of him. 

On Wednesday, every appointment, even our back ups, were changed, delayed or dropped. And it rained all day. So yes, it was a little frustrating at first but then we decided just to laugh about how it all fell through. However, our day concluded with a visit with our new investigator Justin--who really lives in Boston so he'll be passed over to the missionaries there soon (which happens a lot around here--it's all for Zion though.) We met with him and Brother Thimmig from our ward over at the mall food court nearby. Even though it was at the food court, the spirit was still so strong there when we taught. We mainly just answered his questions and taught more on the Book of Mormon and how the church functions on a living prophet, all as the Lord instructed us earlier that day that we needed to just focus on those topics with him. Justin is open, in-tune to the spirit and excited to learn more.

On Friday we had our lunch appointment with Andrea right by her work office. She gets so excited telling her story each time--it's fun to see. :) She seriously is incredible. We keep in touch with her. She texted us during Conference, expressing her great excitement and gratitude to listen to the talks given. As she said in one of her texts to us, she "is filled with such an incredible love for the gospel!" It's amazing!

At the conclusion of the week, I loved General Conference (surprise surprise, right? ;) ).Many of the messages seemed to pattern on the topics of building our foundation on Christ by continually building our faith in Him, staying true to the gospel, what it means to truly sustain our living prophet Thomas S. Monson, strengthening home and family, relying on personal revelation and most importantly, relying on the Atonement in every aspect, including by making the weekly Sacrament ritual sacred, holy, personal, and a time of renewal. When they announced they would have a speaker at a time speak in their native language, but then we heard English, I thought we were all instantly given the gift of tongues as we could understand them. Jk...but that would have been sweet! We watched Conference in the chapel with many of the missionaries in our Zone, so it was different from watching it in a few homes as we did in my past areas, but it was all good. A couple of my most favorite talks were Elder Wong's and Elder Bednar's, which I'm sure every missionary watching them wanted to join in unison of cheers at their remark, exclaiming "YES!!! THIS IS WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO GET ACROSS!!!" If you don't remember them or need a refresher, please look them up! I would say much more about them but you'll understand what I mean if you do. There were also a few other talks, including President Packer's, Elder Klebingat's, Elder Scott's, and Elder Godoy's that answered personal questions and gave direction that the Lord needed to get across to me. Every part of Conference was incredible. Lately I've been seeking what the Lord wants me to understand more fully of the Savior's Atonement. In return, He most definitely revealed more insights on how the Atonement can fulfill and enlighten every aspect of life. 

The remainder of this week will be great. We'll be having exchanges with our Sister Training Leaders, having a meeting for all trainers and trainee's, will be watching "Meet the Mormons" as a Zone. Then, on Saturday, Kyle will be baptized...the first baptism here in the Cambridge 1st ward in about 2 years! We're working together with our Ward Mission Leader, Julio, to get everything in order for it by working closely with the auxiliary leaders to have the entire ward as part of the program. Sister Jones and I are learning so much from him! We're also It's great to be a part of all this.

"Devoted disciples of Jesus Christ always have been, and always will be valiant missionaries."-Elder Bednar

"Walking where Jesus walked is less important than walking as Jesus walked."--President Monson

With love,
-Sister Roy