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

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