Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy New Year 2014!

This week was a little slower than most, but that was expected with Christmas and everything. So we had quite a few cancelled appointments, but we also had a lot of really good appointments as well! We are still have tons of success with less actives here which has been awesome to see! Lots of people are coming back to the church after years and years of being away. We don't have a ton of investigators, but the less actives are responding really well to our visits and that seems to be where the Lord needs us to be focusing right now.

One story for example is a guy named Rich, he was baptized almost 30 years ago here in the Lynnfield ward. He was active for many years, and then just slowly slipped away and fell far from the church. He has had made many lifestyle choices that have gotten him into a lot of trouble, and put him in some tough circumstances. We met him last week when we just dropped by his house on our way to an appointment, we had like 10 minutes to spare. We introduced ourselves and talked a little bit, and set up an appointment for Monday. We went back with Brother Spring Monday, had an awesome lesson with Rich and then had another lesson on Friday as well! Rich has a super strong desire to put his life back in order and he knows the Gospel of Jesus Christ is what is going to help him do that. He came to church this Sunday, the first time in many years. He stayed for all 3 hours and was particpating and everything. We now have weekly lessons set up and he plans on coming to church every Sunday again. He was just waiting for someone to reach out to him it seems like. He also told us about his next door neighbor who he gave a Book of Mormon to and invited her to take the missionary discussions...so he is already doing missionary work again! We are pretty excited for Rich and to see him continue to progress. There are many others we have been working with and helping them come back, I will tell ya more about others next time!

On Tuesday we went on exchanges with the Chinese Elders, and then on Friday we went on exchanges with the Cambridge Spanish Elders. I always love going on exchanges, getting to know the other missionaries in the zone a little better and seeing how things are going in their areas. Tuesday I stayed in Lynnfield with Elder Anderson, he is an awesome guy! He has been out for 3 months or so and is learning Chinese out here. Then on Friday I went to Cambridge Spanish with Elder Packer. We had a super good time there and got a lot done. We stopped by a woman's house that they had contacted along the streets a few weeks earlier, and her husband answered the door and had no idea what we were talking about, but he let us in anyways! As soon as we mentioned Jesus Christ he said "Of course come in!" Man I love how humble and sincere a lot of the Spanish people are. Mostly they  just love Jesus Christ and love talking about him. So we went in and taught this man the Restoration, well I mostly just listened and was moral support because he didn't really speak English, but he just soaked it all up. We set a return appointment for Sunday, and went on our merry way. Well Elder Packer and Wharton went back there last night for the appointment, and it was just another awesome lesson they said. The whole family was there this time, the parents and their 4 kids and they taught them the Plan of Salvation. They invited the family (parents and oldest kid) to be baptized, and they said yes! This family is perfect, we are all pretty stoked about it! In our zone we actually set a goal to have 15 baptismal dates by the end of December, and right now we 9 so we are gonna need some New Years magic! 9 is the most the zone has had in a long time, but we know we can find more people who are ready!

We had a super good Christmas, we spent Christmas morning out at the Dallimar/Banks home and had a Christmas brunch with them. They live out in Swampscott, right along the coast and they have an awesome view of Boston from their home. It would be an awesome place to live! We played some sweet games of 4 square, checked out their kids presents and just enjoyed the morning together. It was awesome to Skype everyone, that was by far the best part of Christmas. The Briggs family invited us over for dinner, which was a great ending to a nice day. Christmas was great, couldn't have asked for a better day!

Saturday we had the Recent Convert temple trip for our mission, and it went super well. The temple was packed all day, and it was mostly recent converts there doing baptisms for their own ancestors. We set the goal to get 100 recent converts to the temple in December, and most of them came Saturday. Right now we have had 96 go, but there are many more scheduled to go over the next few days. We will actually be making a trip to the temple Tuesday night with a few of the new members in the Lynnfield ward, which we are really looking forward to. The temple is where we should always have our sights set, and with recent converts it is no different. It makes soooo much of a difference if our new members attend the temple to do baptisms for their ancestors shortly after their own baptism. It just solidifies their testimonies and helps them stay in the church and continue to progress. Tuesday should be an awesome day for us! Love you all, and and have a Happy New Years!!!!

At our Christmas Eve dinner we had a Yankee Swap (White Elephant or whatever ya wanna call it) and I walked away with this gem of a back scratcher.
 Aftermath of Christmas morning.
 The church treated us really well this Christmas and hooked all of us missionaries up with brand new Teslas! Not bad right?
Juuuuust kidding...Nice car though!
 Yeah the gingerbread house didn't quite make it to Boston, better luck next year!
Christmas in Boston, right along the ocean! We didn't quite get a white Christmas like all of you in Utah.
 View of Boston from our Christmas brunch!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

So the computers here at the library are having some issues today, the internet keeps coming and going. So sorry if this is a short one! Plus I will be skyping you guys in like 3 days so I can just tell  you everything then! But anyways, this week was crazy busy and was a lot of fun. Tuesday we went on exchanges with the Revere Elders, I stayed in Lynnfield and Elder Anderson came with me. He has only been out on his mission a few weeks, but he is a solid missionary! We had a super busy day, and a lot of good things happened. We invited two of our investigators to be baptized but neither of them said yes. The first was Geline, the guy from Haiti. He told us he isn't interested in joining our church this soon but that if God manifests to him and tells him he needs to be baptized then he will do it. So he didn't say yes but he didn't totally say no.... So now we just need to help him learn how to pray and get answers and we should be golden. Then the other guy we invited was Jerry. Jerry is the boyfriend of one of our members, and she desperately wants Jerry to join the church. So she invites us over once a week to feed us and have us teach Jerry. He very politely said no because he is super Catholic and has been his entire life, and feels like he would be giving up a piece of himself if he converted. I can understand, I guess it would be like someone coming and asking me to leave the Mormon church. Jerry will come along and join us one day, he wants us to keep coming and teaching him so that is good at least.

Friday we had our Christmas Conference/party for the mission. We got up super early and went to the temple first thing in the morning to do a session. It was great to go to the temple and take some time to think and relax, gotta love the temple! Then we went and grabbed a quick lunch in Boston, and went back to the chapel next to the temple for our Christmas conference. There was an awesome musical fireside that a bunch of missionaries put on, we have some talented musicians here! It was awesome, and then President Clayton Christensen spoke to us. If you don't know who he is...you should look him up. This guy is incredible, and he is a counselor to our mission president so we are super lucky to have him spend so much time with us. His time is verrry valuable haha people spend thousands of dollars just to talk to him for an hour, and we get it for free! He talked to us about all sorts of things, but the best part was him telling us how he became truly converted to the gospel and became consecrated to building the Kingdom of God. It was a pretty remarkable story, I wish I could share it all with you guys. After the conference then we all had a big Christmas dinner together at the chapel, and then had our little Christmas party. Each zone had to make a little film to show the rest of the mission, nothing related to Christmas just something fun to do. Elder Bradley and I had to take the lead in getting ours done and it was quite a bit of work, but it turned out pretty good. We had everyone laughing pretty good. I will try and send you guys a link.

Sunday was a busy day as always. For some reason we ended up with 3 dinner appointments yesterday, and it was pretty brutal but we managed to get through it. It was a loooot of food though. Sunday night we also went to an Episcopalian church Christmas service, which was pretty interesting haha. That was really my first time going to a legit service of another church. Our friend Joe invited us to come with him, he had a part in the program. It was pretty interesting to see how they worship and what not. There were a lot of nice people there and they were pretty welcoming and everything. They had a wine and cheese reception at the church afterwards, we didn't stick around for that haha. It was a fun experience...I think I will stick with the Mormon church though! Alright love ya all, and Merry Christmas to everyone!!!!

Oh ya know, just chillin' by our Christmas tree!
This is what our fridge looks like, just loaded with gatorade and vitamin water.  A member of the ward, Brother Spring, hooks us up with drinks allll the time.  So we definitely aren't going thirsty in Lynnfield!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Full Circle

Well things keep rolling along here.... this week was really good actually! Everyone is super busy getting ready for Christmas and what not, but we managed to stay really busy last week! This week is looking pretty full already as well. We are pretty stoked for Christmas ourselves, we still gotta hunt down a Christmas tree though.

Tuesday was pretty crazy, it was pouring rain the entire day! It was what they call a nore'easter storm around here...not sure what that is supposed to mean but they are usually pretty  nasty! It wasn't quite cold enough for snow, so instead we just got a ton of rain. There were floods all over the place. Luckily for us we were in leadership meetings for practically the entire day. We had to be at the Boston Stake Center by 9 AM and we didn't leave until 8 PM. It was suuuper long, but it was really good! The meetings were primarily for us to sit down and discuss as a mission where we go now. We just had this awesome month of November where all sorts of records were broken, so now what. We set a goal for the month of December to get 100 recent converts to the temple to do baptisms for the dead this month. We aren't here just to baptize people, but we are trying to build the Kingdom of God. So we want to make sure we keep all 100 of these people active, and the very best way to do that is to get them to the temple. So December 27 is our Recent Convert temple day, the temple is going to be packed that day! We also set some goals of what we are going to accomplish from January to July of 2015. President and Sister Packard will go home in July, and we want to make sure these final 6 months are just as special as November was. Our mission is already pretty legit, but I pumped to see what we can accomplish this next little bit.

Wednesday was a super solid day for us, it was one of those days where everything just falls into place perfectly. They don't happen too often, but when they do it is just incredible. We ended up teaching like 8 lessons that day, and we even had two appointments cancel on us. But when one would cancel, another would pop up. It was just an awesome day. We were supposed to have dinner with Bishops family that night, but they had to cancel because of a school concert or something. So we were wondering where to go for about an hour we had free. I remembered this house that we had knocked on the doors of a while back, and the woman and said she would be interested in hearing our message. We had tried visiting again but had no luck, but it had been about 3 weeks since we had last stopped by. We go there, and this woman, Karen, answered the door. She was friendly and all but was saying it wasn't a good time to visit, and to try again another day. We kept talking and she told us that she had just gotten out of the hospital and she was having a horrible day. I quickly told her about the Priesthood and offered her a blessing, and she jumped all over that. She opened the door and brought us into her kitchen and sat down and said "Alright give me this blessing, I need all the help I can get!" So we gave her a blessing and it was a super cool experience. After the blessing she told us about all of the struggles she has been having. She is a single mother raising 3 kids, and she had been in the hospital because of depression. She kept commenting on how much better she felt, and that we brought feelings of peace and calmness into her home right when we entered. She just loved having us there, which was pretty good to hear! We explained to her and her kids what we as missionaries do, and they agreed to meet with us and take the lessons! They seem like they have a ton of potential, and we are stoked to start teaching them!

We also started teaching another family this week. There is a woman in our ward who was baptized a long time ago, when she was like 12 years old. She stopped going to church pretty quickly after joining. She now lives in our ward with her boyfriend Rich who isn't a member, and they  have 4 primary age children. We met them earlier this week and invited them to our ward Christmas party which was on Saturday, and then set up a lesson for Friday. The lesson on Friday went awesome, and we are now going to be going to their house weekly to teach the entire family the discussions. The kids were super stoked about us coming back over, we were like their new best friends. They kept telling me I look like Justin Bieber which was kind of weird, but hey whatever it takes to get the kids on our side. Their mother expressed a desire to get back to the church and to help the kids start gaining their own testimonies of Jesus Christ. The boyrfriend Rich is a super cool guy and has actually met with the missionaries in the past, but it didn't really go anywhere. He was all for us coming back again this week, so yeah things are looking good with them as well!

One last story for this week. Friday was kind of a crappy day, and all of our plans just fell apart. Just one of those days that happen way too often haha. But anyways, we were sitting at our favorite restaurant having dinner (3 Amigos mexican restaurant, remind me to tell you about this place later) and Elder Bradley and I were just talking about our missions and all of our experiences and what not. Elder Bradley was telling me about his time in Norwich CT and then he mentioned this family that he worked with, the McClain family. So let me rewind real quick to right when I started my mission in Waterford CT. My companion and I went to go visit this LA member, but a guy answered and said they had moved and he kinda shut the door in our face. So we went back to our car and started driving away but then this lady came running out of the door and up to our car and was telling us to stop. So we stopped and talked to her, and found out that she was a member of the church and had just moved there with her family and had been wanted to get in touch with the church but couldn't find it. So we talked to her, got her number, and then went on our way. Then for like the next month we were trying to get in contact with this lady, but she just like disappeared. Then I got transferred, and I had always wondered what happened to that lady. To make a long story short, the Waterford Elders finally got in contact with that lady, Mary, and found out that she had moved to Norwich. Then Elder Bradley started meeting with this family, their 10 year old daughter was baptized, and now the whole family is active again. I couldn't believe it when Elder Bradley was telling me about all this. It was soo cool to hear this families story come full circle. So ya never know what will come out the small simple things that happen on a daily basis. A lot of times we never even do find out the results of the people we try and help, but it is always rewarding to hear the occasional story like that!

Love ya all!!!

Riding with Frank to the Christmas party!
Sister Packard is putting together a film for our Christmas party with each missionary holding a sign saying something to the effect of "My mission has changed my..." or "My mission is successful because..." Apparantly this is something a lot of missionaries have been doing all across the world? Not sure, just doing what people ask. Haha.  So here was ours.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Spirit All Year Long

This week was super busy, we had a lot going on every day it seemed like. Lots of work getting done and lots of fun being had! Monday our zone went into Boston for our last pday together before a few of us got transferred around. We all met at the Boston Aquarium and spent most of the day there. We actually all got in for free, thanks to this guy named Jack. Jack is a detective for the Boston Police department, and is like the missionaries best friend. He isn't a member of the church, but he really likes what we as missionaries do. So he is always hooking missionaries in Boston up with free tickets to stuff, groceries, dinner, anything we need really. He is a super nice guy and would give us the shirt off his back if we needed it. So he took us all to the Boston Aquarium and then showed us around Boston a little bit as well. The aquarium was pretty sweet, they had a petting tank with stingrays and sharks inside, so that was pretty sweet petting a shark! Then Jack took us to some local mexican restaurant in Boston and got us some delicious empenadas, I have no idea how to spell that though. It was a really fun pday, shout out to Jack for hooking us up! That guy is a stud!

Tuesday and Wednesday we made the rounds to the ward and Elder MacJanet said all of his goodbyes. Our friend Joe took us to this Irish Pub for dinner that was pretty darn good! Joe is a really cool guy, we like hanging out with Joe! Last night Joe came with us to a members home and watched the Christmas Devotional with us. The Devotional was great, definitely inspired me to be a little better and offer Christlike service whenever I get the chance this Christmas season. But also to try and carry the Christmas spirit all throughout the year. We should always be looking for ways to serve and sacrifice to benefit those around us. But it is always nice during the Christmas season when everyone is a little nicer and a little more giving. We have been spreading the He is the Gift message like crazy the past few weeks. It has gone super well and everyone seems to really like it! We have gotten rejected quite a few times on the streets with these cards though. We go to hand it to people and say Merry Christmas and they look at us and say "no" or ignore us and a few have said "I don't want that crap". They didn't say crap though...haha but hey that is fine. They can be scrooges by themselves this Christmas.

Wednesday night we went to the Boston Stake Center for our transfer meeting. Holy cow there was 35 missionaries going home, and they all shared their final testimonies in the mission. Most of the people going home were the Sisters that came out with Elder Calvert and me. It was pretty weird to see them heading home already. Transfer meeting was super good though and I even got to see the Schriver family there which was pretty cool. Elder Boone was finishing his mission as well so they came to see his final testimony and say goodbye. But it was a nice meeting, and Elder Bradley and I headed back to Lynnfield at the end of the night ready to start our new journey together!

The rest of the week was super good. We had a lesson with this investigator named Chris, it didn't go so hot. We had planned on inviting her to be baptized, and so we had this awesome lesson planned to do it and we were ready to go. But then we sit down for the lesson and it was like she knew it was coming because we hadn't mentioned anything and she just went off on this huge rant about how she will probably never join the Mormon church and that there are all these things she disagrees with and that she enjoys our visits but that is probably as far as it is going to go. I was like "dang"....but I figured we had nothing to lose at this point and so we went ahead with the lesson and invited her to be baptized anyways. She said no...pretty quickly haha. But I was convinced that was the lesson Heavenly Father wanted us to have and so maybe He was just testing us to see if we were willing to put ourselves out there and follow the Spirit even if it isn't something we want to do. I'm not sure, it was a long shot anyways haha.

Friday night our zone went Christmas caroling out in Salem. A member of our ward is in charge of this event called "Christmas in Salem". It is pretty much like a home show where they select a certain number of the really old historic homes in Salem that have been preserved, and then they decorate them to look like they did back in the day. Anyways, we were asked to go caroling to those who were walking up and down the street from house to house, and those waiting in line. We probably sounded awful, but it was still a lot of fun. Tons of people were stopping and talking to us and asking us questions. We gave out a ton of He is the Gift cards there that night! And we even got free tickets to the home tour and we were able to go through the houses at the end of the night. We finished off the night like a classic New Englander and headed to Dunkin Donuts. Except we all got hot chocolate, but hey we are just trying to fit in out here. We do our best. This week is going to be another super busy one! Love you all and be sure to remember to #ShareTheGift

Giant Christmas tree in Boston, right outside of Quincy Market.

Christmas caroling in historic downtown Salem.
Dueces to Elder MacJanet...our time together was too short!
 Joe took us out to dinner one last time before MacJanet left.  Joe is the man!  "Coolest non-Mormon north of Boston!"
 Little penguin action at the Boston Aquarium.
 Petting stingrays and a few sharks...cross that one off the bucket list!!


Monday, December 1, 2014

November to Remember

This week flew by, and so did this transfer! I can't believe I have already spent an entire transfer in the Lynnfield ward. So transfer texts came in Saturday night and unfortunately Elder MacJanet is leaving Lynnfield to go down to the Southcoast ward. Our 6 weeks together flew by, but I definitely enjoyed our time together! Lots of good memories and he has helped me get my lazy butt to the gym in the mornings so that has been a nice bonus this transfer haha. But my new companion is Elder Bradley, he is a super cool guy and I know him pretty well already. He was in my zone while I was in Groton and we spent a lot of time together. He only has 12 weeks left in the mission, but I am really looking forward to serving with him! Transfer meeting will be Wednesday night in Boston. Quite a few transfers took place in our zone also, we are losing all of our sisters. Our zone will be all Elders this transfer which is pretty crazy! The next few days will be pretty busy with Elder MacJanet saying his goodbyes to everyone!

Like I have been telling you guys, our mission set a goal to get 70 baptisms in the month of November. Well we finished the month with exactly 100 baptisms! We hit triple digits! Holy cow it is definitely nothing short of a miracle that we were able to baptize 100 people this past month. It is a super exciting time in our mission and we are hoping to keep this ball rolling. The Lord has just been waiting on us this entire time. We were always capable of seeing this type of success in our mission, but we didn't really believe we could do it. This month was pretty special, throughout our entire mission each missionary made a personal sacrifice to show the Lord how badly we wanted to achieve our goal. I decided to sacrifice sleep and was waking up at 6 every morning to have extra time to study from the Book of Mormon. Heavenly Father recognized all of our sacrifices and blessed us immensely. I saw a lot of personal blessings through this sacrifice as well. My testimony of the Book of Mormon has actually grown a lot as I have spent the extra time reading it each morning. It has just been a great month all around. We definitely have a lot to be thankful for during this special month of November. We have been using the hashtag #NovembertoRemember in all of our texts about the goal and stuff, and it definitely is a month we all will remember.

We had a great Thanksgiving in Lynnfield. We got hit pretty hard with a snow/ice storm the night before Thanksgiving, so it was looking like it was going to be pretty nasty. But it cleared up during the night and it was a pretty decent day for Thanksgiving. Elder MacJanet and I got up and went to our ward's annual Turkey Bowl. Every Thanksgiving the men from the ward get together at a local high school and play football for a few hours. The field was covered in snow, so that made for a pretty interesting game of football. We were slipping and sliding all over the place. It was super fun though and it was a great way to start Thanksgiving! Dang we were sure sore in the morning though. For Thanksgiving the Robertson family invited us over to their family Thanksgiving celebrations. They invited us, as well as Frank and Andrea, the two newest members of the Lynnfield Ward. Sister Robertson prepared a wonderful meal for us, with lots of great pies as well. It was super kind of them to allow us to be a part of their family celebration.

We are hitting up the Boston Aquarium today for pday so we have to get heading out now. Sorry for the short email, but I love you guys and have a great week!!!!

Zone and District right before transfer texts came in!

 Cruising to Thanksgiving dinner with Father Lehi.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

He Is The Gift

On Pday last week our zone met up in Boston at the Masonic Temple, they call it the Grand Lodge, to take a tour. A few weeks ago Elder MacJanet and I received a media referral for a guy named Joe who had gone online and requested a Book of Mormon. We took the Book of Mormon to him and he invited us and we we had a nice chat with Joe. Joe told us that he practically grew up in the church in California, all of his friends were Mormons and so he did a lot with them. He attended church a lot, was the ward organist for a while, went to EFY, went to Palmyra, and all this other stuff, but he never joined the church for a few reasons. Joe also told us that he is a Free Mason, and so we talked quite a bit about that and he invited to give us a tour of the Grand Lodge in Boston, so that is what we did! It was actually pretty dang cool, Joe was our tour guide and he personalized it to us and our beliefs. It is pretty amazing how similar the Masonic rituals are to our temple endowment. It was really interesting to see what they do within their temples and how it compares to ours. Joe was a pro tour guide and even had us sing Called To Serve while he played it on the organ in middle of their temple, so that was pretty sweet. Later in the week Joe called us and told us that he just found out that in the library in Grand Lodge they have a first edition copy of the Book of Mormon, so now we have to go back and check that out! But it was a fun pday for sure!

This has definitely been a month of miracles for our mission as we have been trying to achieve our goal of 70 baptisms for the month. We are now at 62 baptisms so far, so we already broke our record of 59 baptisms!!! This weekend there are a ton more baptisms scheduled, so keep praying for us. We definitely have a lot to be thankful for with Thanksgiving coming up, because Heavenly Father is just pouring out the blessings here to us in the MBM. Great things are happening!

We were able to start teaching that former investigator that called us randomly last week, his name is Geline. He is from Haiti but moved to Mexico City and then moved here, so he has lived all over and speaks like 4 languages. Anyways, we had two lessons with Geline this week and they went really well. At first it seemed like he was just wanting to debate doctrine and trying to find fault in our beliefs, but we brought Brother Stokes from our Bishopric with us and he resolved that really quickly. Members are the best, they help soooo much in lessons it is crazy. A lesson with a member present is like a million times better than one without. Soo yeah everyone should go out with the missionaries and help them teach. But Geline is a great guy and I think he has a ton of potential. We are trying to help him develop a testimony of the Book of Mormon right now, which was a struggle when he was investigating in the past. He agreed to read the account of Christs visit to the Americas in 3 Nephi 11 and he is looking to see if the Book of Mormon helps strengthen his faith in Christ. We are just having to take it step by step, but I know that if he truly reads from the Book of Mormon then it will absolutely help him come closer to Christ and he will be able to see that this truly is a book from God. It will happen. But Geline is awesome and he pretty much wants to meet with us every single day. Once we finish our lesson he always says something like "so tomorrow night I think I am free, let me know if you are coming". He at least enjoys meeting with us, which isn't often the case haha.

We did a lot of work with less active members this week, and it seems like we made some great progress with some of them. One is a man named Brother Paolini, he has been a member of the church for quite a while now. He was born and raised in East Boston, so he has a pretty Boston accent. A lot of people around here have the accent, that was something I didn't hear a lot of down in Connecticut, but I like it! We try and be cool and talk in our Boston accents but ours are pretty week. But yeah we had a nice visit with Bro. Paolini this week and discussed the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how we can use it in our lives to help us become better. We led the discussion towards the Sacrament, and how partaking of the Sacrament weekly allows us to fully receive the blessings of the Atonement in our lives. So we invited Bro Paolini to come to church and partake of the Sacrament, and sure enough on Sunday morning he was there sitting next to us at church. I really feel like all he needed to get him there was a simple invitation. The least we can do is simply invite people, and a lot of times they will accept the invitation. It really isn't too hard. Of course we invited a lot of other people to church this week who didn't show up, but even if ya only get one of them it is still all worth it.

We had our Stake Reporting meeting early Sunday morning in Cambridge, but we weren't informed about it until Saturday afternoon, a little earlier notice would have been nice. So we had to scramble Saturday in between our appointments to gather the reports that we could give to the Stake President and President Packard for our meeting. We were able to get it all finished up but it made for a late night on Saturday. But the meeting Sunday went great! The Cambridge stake is a pretty tough one in terms of baptizing,it is always the lowest in the mission. The work is hastening here as well, and I don't think this stake is always going to be the lowest, there is a ton of potential here. We spent a portion of the meeting talking about the "He is the Gift" initiative that the church is sponsoring. They made this new Mormon Message that will be released the day after Thanksgiving, and it is called "He is the Gift". The church wants this video to go viral over the next few weeks leading up to Christmas. A few days before Christmas the church has bought out all of the advertising spots on youtube to advertise for this short film. They want it to be a big deal, so be sure to share it all over social media once it comes out! But the church produced a ton of pass along cards with a link to this video, and they want all of us missionaries to be handing them out to spread the word. We have a few big boxes full of them, and they are asking each companionship to give out 10 of them a day until Christmas. It is a really good little film, it will be pretty cool to see how this turns out. The church is expecting to get over 220 milion views on youtube for this film, so I guess we can help them make it happen! But first we get to celebrate Thanksgiving! Love you all, have a Happy Thanksgiving!

The first gift of Christmas was a simple gift given by a father to all his children, to us. He gave us His son, the Christ. He is the gift. This Christmas season, how will you share the gift?
http://www.mormon.org/christmas
Us chilling with Frankie! He loves us!
 Inside the Grand Lodge, where the masons do all of their rituals.

 The Zone with our friend Joe, who was our tour guide!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Life Is Good - Feeling Blessed

Life is good in Lynnfield, and in the MBM. I told you all about the goal of 70 baptisms for November right? Well we are making some great progress towards that! We have baptized 39 people so far this month, which is already incredible! But for the next 2 weeks we have 88 scheduled baptisms, so we are really excited about things and working hard to finally achieving this goal. It has been a month of miracles, Heavenly Father is just allowing some incredible things to happen all throughout our mission. It has been a testimony builder to see Heavenly Father grant us the blessings and miracles according to our faith this month. We haven't made it to our goal yet, but it is looking really good! But definitely keep praying for us that we can make it. We actually have Elder Holland of the 12 Apostles and Elder Lawrence from the 70 praying for us daily to achieve this goal as well, which is pretty cool right?

We really hit it hard this week in our efforts of trying to find new investigators. We were hunting down former investigators, potentials, and all sorts of other people to try and find some more people to teach! We really didn't see a whole lot of success come from those efforts, but of course the Lord still blessed us for our hard work. We do a weekly service at a farmers market in downtown Salem, and we were walking to that and saw a woman who was kind of looking at us funny. We stopped and began talking to her, and we discovered that she was actually baptized as a member of our church like 20 years ago in The Congo. She moved here and hasn't really tried to find the church here, but said she would be interested in coming back to it! We got her info and everything from her, and then she went on to tell us that she lives with a lot of her family here who are not members of the church. We asked if we could meet with them as well, and she said sure! So hopefully things work out there and we can start teaching them.

Then another night we were driving to an appointment and I was calling this long list of people who had contact with the missionaries in the past. I kept getting no after no, some people were rude, some people just hung up and it was getting pretty frustrating really. About 10 minutes later, we got a call from some random number. It was a man named Geline, who we had never met before. He told us that he met with missionaries about a year ago, and that he would be interested in doing it again! So we have an appointment set up with him for later this week. So after making all of those calls and getting rejected some random guy calls us and asks to meet. That never happens haha.

Friday and Saturday we went on exchanges with the Revere Elders, and I went to Revere for the day. The Elders there don't have a car, so we spent the day on the T....and walking.... a lot. Of course it was like the coldest day of the year so far but what can ya do. It was a lot of fun still, especially riding the T. We always meet sooo many people on the T, and usually have a lot of great conversations. It is nice because the people riding with you are kind of stuck there, they can't really go anywhere until they get to their stop, so it at least gives us a minute or so to talk to them. We actually met this one guy Saturday. I was just talking to this guy next to me about the gospel and he was kinda crazy and it wasn't really going anywhere, but then some guy came up to me and was like hey I heard you guys talking about the gospel and I would love to hear what you have to say. I was like "sure man sit on down!" Haha so we talked a little bit and then we actually got off the T and had a lesson with this guy. We just sat down at the stop and taught the entire Restoration, and it went really well. This guy was actually a baptist preacher/school teacher...not really sure what he was but he knew A LOT about the life of Jesus Christ and the Bible, we had a nice conversation really. He agreed to meet more with the Revere Elders, so hopefully he will embrace the truthfulness of the gospel!

Our interviews were yesterday with President Packard, and they went great! Elder MacJanet and I actually had to give trainings to the missionaries the entire time while President was interviewing the zone. Interviews went from like 9 in the morning to 5 at night, so yeah that was a really long training we had to do. It was fun though! We trained on a few teaching skills from Preach My Gospel and then practiced a lot! President brought a few iPads for us, and we filmed all of the companionships teaching the Restoration, and then we would go back and watch it and critique it and see what they could improve on. It was kind of weird watching yourself teach, but it was super helpful to see and hear it ourselves. I feel like we all learned a lot and were able to identify some things that we could improve on!

But yeah, life is good. It is starting to get a little chilly here, but that is New England for ya. This work is great, I wouldn't want to be doing anything else with my life right now. Have a great week!!

Had to take this one for Uncle Stanley! We stumbled across the brand new Harley store they are building here in Boston as we were walking home one night!
 Heading to the T station in Revere.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Settling In To Lynnfield

The Lynnfield ward is super nice place to be serving, I have loved my first few weeks here, and things were a little more calm this week and so I was finally able to spend a lot of time in the area and getting to know all of our people here. The ward is a pretty big family ward, and everyone is really close to each other. They treat us great as well, everyone is watching out for us and giving us lots and lots of food. The work seems to be heading in the right direction here as well, it isn't super busy or anything right now, but I think it will be soon!

Everyone keeps asking about the people we are working with so I will tell ya little bit about some of them! Our most promising investigator is a woman named Sister Clemente...we don't know her first name haha. Sister Clemente is the mother of a member who lives in our ward boundaries. Clemente lives in Brazil but is here hanging out for a while, and has been coming to church with her son every week. She loves the church and everything about it, and we are planning on inviting her to be baptized at our lesson this week! She has expressed an interest in being baptized, so we fill pretty good about it. She is going back to Brazil in December though, so we have to act fast! So keep her in your prayers, hopefully she accepts! The thing is she doesn't speak any English at all, sooo I haven't really been able to help much in the lessons. My companion Elder MacJanet is actually a Portuguese missionary, so he does all of the teaching with her. I just sit there and eat delicious Brazilian food while they have a lesson, it is a pretty nice set up.

We are also working with a young man named Deonte, he is 13 and is from Haiti. It is a super long story of how we met Deonte, but his mom used to work for a member of our ward and yeah that is where the connection was made. Deonte's mom is Catholic and isn't really interested in the church, but Deonte loves having us over and learning more about the Gospel. He comes to mutual every Tuesday evening, but his church attendance is a little spotty. He has only came a few times, I think it is just because he is lazy. For a 13 year old though, he shows a ton of interest in the lessons and he always asks really good questions, so there is definitely some potential. He doesn't have a father figure at all, and so it is good for us to spend some time with him. Once a week we usually go over and play basketball or football for like 20 minutes with him and then have a lesson. He is a good kid, we just need to get him to church more regularly and then hopefully baptize him!

There is also a lady named Mary Norton, I guess you could call her an eternigator. She has been investigating for quite a while now. She has been a devout Catholic her entire life (she is like 70 probably) but then like a year and a half ago she met a member of our church at the YMCA swimming pool. This member is Sister Hanh, she is an incredible member missionary and practically invites everyone she meets to come to church and learn more, she is awesome. Anyways once Mary met Sister Hahn she started coming to our church every Sunday and meeting with the missionaries. Mary believes the Book of Mormon to be the word of God, she has a testimony of Joseph Smith, she absolutely loves everything about the church. She has been invited to baptism a few times but every time she just says she isn't ready to give up her Catholic beliefs. Ah man pretty frustrating. Mary got up and bore her testimony in church yesterday and I decided I need to help this woman get baptized. It is going to be a struggle, but we will see what we can do!

I just have to tell ya about Frankie. Frank was baptized about 3 months ago while Elder Calvert was serving here. Frank is like 80 years old, who just happens to love us missionaries. Franks wife and daughter passed away like 3 years ago and he is still having a tough time with that, and he is just super lonely. We visit Frank twice a week and we are pretty much the closest thing he has to a family. He calls himself Father Lehi, and then has named us missionaries a few names from Lehis family. Elder Calvert and his companion were Nephi and Sam, now Elder MacJanet and I are Laman and Lemuel (but he just calls us Double L because he can't pronounce their names). Frank is just quite the man really. We love to joke around with him, he loves to joke around with us, haha I can't even describe Frankie to you guys. He somehow embraced the Gospel and loves us missionaries and the church now. Frank is the best haha I love the man!

There are a lot of exciting things happening in our mission and in the Lynnfield ward. When Elder Calvert was here the missionaries started a basketball clinic every Tuesday night. We open up the gym and invite everyone to come and do some basketball drills and stuff with us, and it is starting to pay off. We had 6 non member kids come and play basketball with us this past Tuesday. Most of the kids came from this huuuuge family named the Hortons. I think I told you about them, it is a family of 10 non members, they came to the trunk or treat a few weeks ago. Anyways, our great member missionary Sister Hahn found this family too, and we have high hopes for them. A 16 year old girl from our ward had her sweet 16 party at the church this past Saturday, and they asked us to set up a table with free supplies like Book of Mormon, Bibles, DVDs and pamphlets and stuff. They were super stoked because after the party a decent amount of the things had been taken. One friend from the party is now going to start coming to church with them on Sundays too, so good things are happening!

Love you all, have a great week!!!

Hannah's Baptism!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Spiritual Uplift

This week was by far one of the most spiritually uplifting ones of my mission. We didn't get to spend a whole lot of time working in our area here in Lynnfield which was a bummer, but it was still a lot of fun. Tuesday we went on exchanges with the Malden Chinese Elders, and I went and spent the day in the Chinese program. Wow it is a whole different ballgame working with those Elders. There is only a really small Chinese group here in Cambridge, they usually have about 20 people in attendance every Sunday. So the Elders really don't have a whole lot of members to meet with, and they are opening up a new area so they don't have many investigators right now either. We went and did some service in Chinatown and had a pretty nice lunch down there! Then we pretty much spent the entire day out on the streets of Boston, Cambridge, Malden etc. talking to everybody we saw, especially the Asians! We talked to soooo many people, and at the end of the day we had found around 7 new potential investigators. One of the guys we met on the streets agreed to have a lesson later in the week and the Elders taught him a few days later and it sounded like it went pretty good!

As we were hopping on the T, to head back to their apartment I sat down on a bench next to this lady and just started making some small talk, and she was just not too happy about talking to me. She instantly snapped and said "I already know anything and everything about all religions and I don't want to hear anything that you have to say!" I thought that was a pretty bold statement haha but I told her I wasn't going to preach anything to her I just wanted to know how her day was. She snapped on me again and said "I don't want to hear you preaching to me." I just laughed and said alright but then I just kept talking to her about her day and what not anyways. We actually ended up having a decent conversation, and I found out that this woman was a department head at the Harvard Divinity School. Those darn Harvard people are too smart for their own good, but what can ya do! We had a pretty rough ending to our night though. Elder MacJanet and the other Chinese Elder came back to the apartment to switch back around 9. We had a quick exchange inventory, then Elder MacJanet and I went out to go home and our car was gone. In the 30 minutes that we were inside our car had been towed because we didn't have a parking permit for their apartment complex. So we didn't get home that night until 1130 and down $130. Ouch!

Wednesday we had a Mission Leadership Council with Elder Larry Lawrence, a member of the 70. He actually spent pretty much the entire week here with us. On Wednesday at the start of the meeting he asked us to just list some of the biggest things that we think are holding our mission back. We gathered a pretty big list, and then for the rest of the day he led a discussion of what we as leaders could do to help our mission overcome these things. It was a super productive discussion and I feel like I got a lot of ideas of what I can do to help the missionaries in our zone. After the council meeting Elder Lawrence interviewed each of us Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders. We thought it was going to be some super intense interview but it was actually really relaxed and pretty enjoyable. He actually just let us ask any question that we wanted and that was pretty much all the interview consisted of. So I was able to just go in and shoot the breeze with him for about 20 minutes and call it good!

Thursday we had a Zone Conference, with Elder and Sister Lawrence again. Sister Lawrence gave us this pretty sweet discourse on the 12 Tribes of Israel. She is a super smart woman and I really learned a lot from her. The rest of the Zone Conference was pretty much a big pump up session for our mission. We have kind of been at a standstill for the past few months it seems like. The highest number of people our mission has ever baptized is 59 in a month, and we did that about 6 months ago. But the past few months we have been averaging around 45-50 and can't seem to get over the hump. For the month of November we are putting everything on the table and set a mission goal to get 70 baptisms this month. Elder Lawrence and President Packard kind of led the charge at the Zone Conference and got us all pumped up to go out and work hard this month. We are going to be doing a lot of extra things this month in order to reach our goal. We will need a lot of prayers too, so feel free to offer some prayers in our behalf!

Friday was Halloween, so we had strict orders to stay out of Salem for the day. We hear it gets pretty dang crazy there on Halloween. We actually had ANOTHER meeting that morning, a zone meeting which we were in charge of the training's for that. Lots and lots of meetings this week. Friday night we went to dinner at our Bishops home, and there was a bunch of other people from the ward their as well. We made some delicious apple cider donuts with them, ate waayyy too many and then had to head for home. Once 6 PM hit we had to head for home as soon as our appointments were over.

Saturday we had another exchange with the Cambridge Potruguese Elders. I stayed in Lynnfield and worked with Elder Lopes for the day. We had a great day and were able to meet with a lot of members throughout the day, less actives, recent converts and all that good stuff. Saturday and Sunday was actually our Stake Conference here in the Cambridge stake, and you will never guess who was presiding at the conference!? Yeah....more of Elder Larry Lawrence haha. He is a cool guy so I wasn't sick of him or anything, but it seemed like we were with him for the whole week! We pretty much were though! Sunday we actually got hit with our first snow storm of the year, it snowed for about 4 hours but not a lot stuck to the ground. Holy cow it was freezing though. It is going to be a fun winter.

Sorry I still haven't been able to meet all of our investigators due to all the meetings and conferences, but I will this week for sure! Then I will be able to tell you guys more about the people we are teaching. But I do have some good news for you guys! Hannah was baptized in the Groton ward on Saturday morning!!!! I really wanted to go but it was just way too many miles for us to drive there. It sounds like it went really well, so I am super happy for Hannah! I love ya all, have a great week!

Brazilian Grill for Pday lunch!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

More Goodbyes

Things are going great here! I finished up all of my goodbyes in Groton Monday and Tuesday, and then Wednesday night we had our transfer meeting up in Boston. Transfer meeting was incredible as always. All of the missionaries going home get up and share their final testimony, and it is always a pretty special thing to see. A lot of the meeting seemed to be focused on overcoming our weaknesses through the Savior. There was one in particular that was sooo awesome. An Elder here that was going home has a really bad speech impediment. When he stood to bear his final testimony and began speaking, the Spirit just came pouring into the chapel. This Elder had served faithfully for his 2 years even though it is a struggle just to say a simple sentence. I realized even though we all have weakness and struggles, the Lord can utilize us in so many ways and can help us magnify our call to serve him. It was pretty cool to see.   It was pouring that night, so exchanging all of the luggage in the parking lot was a disaster. We were all soaked by the end of it. But that night I met up with my new companion Elder MacJanet and we headed to my new area, the Lynnfield Ward.

The Ward here is awesome, there are soo many great families I have already met, but I still don't know a lot of people. We are teaching quite a few people, and a few of them are making really solid progress right now. I will tell you more about the people we are teaching as I get to know them more and teach them all a little bit. On Friday our ward had our Trunk or Treat and it was a huge success. There were a ton of people there and it was a good chance for me to get to know people from the ward. We had 11 non members come to the activity, a lot of them came from a family named the Hortons. The Horton family are all non members, there is the 2 parents and then they have EIGHT kids. Wow, can you believe they aren't Mormons with that many kids? But an awesome member family has been doing great work with the Horton family and we are hoping to start teaching them soon!

On Sunday morning we had to get up early and head into Cambridge for Stake Reporting. The Stake Center there is the most expensive church meetinghouse in the world, it is huge! It even has underground parking, you should check it out on google maps or something. The address to it is 65 Binney Street in Cambridge MA. It is pretty sweet! Then on Sunday I had to give a talk in Sacrament meeting. Bishop cornered me at the Trunk or Treat and asked me if I would talk, they didn't waste any time there. It went really well though, my talk was based off of Elder Bednars talk from conference, it is called "Come and See". I loved that talk, it is the perfect thing to share with people who aren't members of our church. He explains so well why we want to share this Gospel with everybody we know.

Sunday after church we had a baptism here in the Lynnfield ward! A woman named Andrea was baptized. It has been a long journey for her, she first had contact with the church 33 years ago. She came from a strong Jewish family, and her mother would not allow her to continue studying the Mormon faith at that time. 33 years later she was back in contact with the church and everything just seemed to work out perfectly. It didn't go all that smooth at first. We started filling up the font right after Sacrament meeting, but there just wasn't any water pressure yesterday for some reason. After about an hour we realized we weren't going to have enough water, so we brought out the hoses, buckets, pots, pans and coolers and started hauling water into the font. It was quite the scene, but we managed to make it work. Even with all the struggles, the service was still great! Elder Calvert came up and baptized her so it was cool to have him here with us too.

I am excited to continue to get to know this area and the people here, and to share with you guys all of the cool things happening here! Here are a few more of the goodbyes from Groton.

This was one of the goodbyes that I wish could have waited a little bit longer!  This is Rachel Phelps in the middle, and then Hannah.  Rachel is a member of our ward who has been helping us teach Hannah for the past few months.  Hannah will be getting baptized in about 2 weeks, and I really wish I could have stayed for it.  I don't think I will be able to make it back down there for her her baptism, it will be pretty tough.  She was pretty bummed I was leaving.  She told me "you can't be going around and getting people to be baptized and then leave right before the baptism!"  I am really excited for Hannah though and to see what the future has in store for her.  She promised me that she would have her sights set on one day finding a nice RM and getting married in the temple, but that is a few years away still.  She is an amazing young woman and has a lot of potential to excel in the Gospel.  I am super excited for her!
Me and my man Bob!  We have been teaching Bob for a few months here in Groton and he has been making huge progress.  Just a year ago he was in prison, now he is out and he is drug free and is working on quitting alcohol.  We are really hoping the Addiction Recovery Program will help him out, so we have started helping him go through that program.  He is such a nice guy, and has such a strong desire to come closer to Jesus Christ.  He was baptized into the reformed LDS church, but he is considering joining our church now.  He is on probation for a while longer, but I am pretty confident he will be getting baptized once he is off probation!
 Pulling some funny faces with Edward, little kids are the best.
 Goodbye Elder Minson.  I know Groton is in good hands with him and Elder Slade!
 Me saying goodbye to Felicia, she was pretty mad at me too for leaving haha.  We street contacted Felicia when I first came to Groton, and have been meeting with her pretty regularly.  At one point she was going to be baptized, but there was a certain commandment she wasn't ready to follow haha.  Let's just say she needs to get married before she gets baptized! She is hoping to be married by the end of the year, and then we will see what happens I guess!
The Perkins family, these guys are the best member missionaries that we had in Groton.  They were ALWAYS inviting people to church, young woman's, relief society and pretty much any other activity that was going on in the church.  We were currently teaching their friend Talon, and he is supposed to be getting baptized sometime in the next month.  Hopefully Elder Slade and Minson can continue to work with him and make that happen.  But the Perkins are sooo great, they were not afraid at all to invite people to learn more about the Gospel.  Awesome member missionaries!
Me with Sister Briggs and her grandson Liam.  Liam is the funniest little guy ever.  We would do a lot of service at Sister Briggs home because she is single and has a pretty big house and yard.  Liam would always be tagging along with us and hanging out while we worked.  Sister Briggs is the sweetest lady, she is so loving and kind.  She loves the missionaries so much that for the past 20 years she has let missionaries engrave their names on her kitchen table, so I added mine of course!  Leaving behind my legacy in Groton I guess! Haha!

Round two of saying goodbye to the Weseman's!  These two are seriously the best people ever.  They are in the Waterford ward so I didn't spend a whole lot of time with them while in Groton, but there was still a lot that they did for us.  They devote everything they have and own to serving the Lord and to helping out the missionaries.  Couldn't ask for nicer people!
Goodbye Groton!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Goodbye Waterford!

This week we had our mini-missionary, Isaac, here with us for the entire week. He is preparing to serve a mission of his own and I guess this was kind of a trial run to see if he could handle it. Lets just say it was an interesting week. We have enjoyed some quiet time today haha. But it was great to have him here with us and to introduce him to the mission life. He is a good kid, hopefully he will get out on a mission of his own sometime soon.

Tuesday I was up in Newport, RI on exchanges with Elder Crezee. He is a SUPER funny guy, he had me laughing all day long. We were able to go teach their investigator Angelina and help prepare her for her baptism, she was baptized on Saturday and it sounds like it went really well. Elder Crezee actually has some hidden talents that he showed us this week. At our District Meeting on Thursday he showed us this song he had written that was kind of about his testimony and experience of the Gospel. It was like a gospel rap song that he played on the piano and sang/rapped.....it sounds crazy but it was actually dang good! We were impressed, so be looking for that on youtube, it will go big someday. Anyways, we had a nice exchange and I really enjoyed spending some time on the island out there.

Wednesday we had a zone meeting that we put on to try and get our zone pumped up about extending more baptismal dates and achieving our monthly goals and what not. To save miles we did this meeting online though. We had like a little online webconference with all the missionaries in our zone. It was really different than being in person, but it actually went pretty well. I think a lot more meetings like this one will be online here in the future. Definitely saves a lot of time and money. Speaking of technology, we are finally getting our iPads, but they wont be here until January. But they are coming finally!

Sooo transfer texts came in late Friday night and I found out I am being transferred to the Lynnfield Massachusetts ward! It is a super cool area and is right outside of Boston, I am really excited. My ward covers the cities of Peabody, Lynnfield, Beverly, Reading and Salem Massachusetts. I hear that Salem (home of the witch trials) gets pretty crazy on Halloween so that should be entertaining. I will still be a Zone Leader up there, covering the Cambridge North Zone. I am actually replacing Elder Calvert, my MTC companion. My new companion is Elder MacJanet, he is from Canada and is a really cool guy! And Elder Slade, my roommate down in Waterbury for 6 months is replacing me here in Groton so at least I know this area will be in good hands! I am really looking forward to the new people and experiences that are ahead of me, it should definitely be an adventure. I will miss Groton that is for sure. Once I found out I was leaving, I realized how much I have grown to love the ward and the people here. It has been a great place to serve. I started my round of goodbyes yesterday after church, but there are still a lot more to come the next few days. Transfer meeting will be Wednesday evening up in Boston. Here are a few of the goodbyes I have already gotten over with though!

This is the Boykin family.  Justin is not a member of the church, and we had tons of lessons here over the 6 months her in Groton.  He attends church with us every week and fulfills his calling in scouts faithfully, he is pretty much a Mormon but just hasn't been baptized.  He will for sure someday though, just gotta give it time. These guys are hilarious, we loved going over to their home.  They had us over for dinner many times which I was very grateful for.  They are from Texas and proud of it, so of course we had to take the picture by the Texas sign.
 Brother and Sister Adams are two of the sweetest people I know.  Holy cow these two are truly saints.  They do so much to help out those around them.  They have both had very difficult lives, it hasn't been easy for them.  They both have extraordinary conversion stories, it is just incredible the steps they have taken to have the Gospel in their lives.  They are just the best.  And to top things off Sister Adams is an absolutely amazing cook, wow she can throw it down in the kitchen!  And Brother Adams is an expert bread maker and has been making us a loaf of home made bread each week for the past little while.  I was able to have one final meal at their home last night, and it was delicious as always.  Like I said, these two are saints!
 Ethan!!! It was pretty much a miracle, but Ethan came back to Groton to visit this weekend, and it just happened to be my last weekend here.  Pretty good timing! It was soo good to see Ethan and hear about how he has been doing.  He is living out in the Phoenix area and is loving it out there.  He is dating the girl that introduced him to the church, and they are already thinking about getting married some day. He made it sound like there may be a wedding happening next summer if all goes as planned.  That would definitely be a road trip I would have to take.  He is loving the church out there, he is in a YSA ward and is loving being a member of the church.  It was a nice surprise to have him here this weekend!
 And our mini missionary Isaac right before his mother came to pick him up.  Good kid.
 Goodbye to half of our zone, the Narragansett District.
 Sorry the lighting is horrible in this picture, didn't realize it was that bad until we had left.  This is good old Rob Adams, he was baptized here back in July.  He is doing fantastic right now!  He has gotten adjusted to the member life and being a part of the ward so well.  It seems like he has been a member for a LOT longer than 3 months.  He is meeting with Bishop Kitley right now to help prepare him to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood sometime in the near future.  He is really looking forward to going to the temple next summer and receiving his endowments.  Rob is an awesome guy, and I know he will continue to progress spiritually and achieve many great things.
 And here are the Savea's.  Bro Savea is our Ward Mission Leader, so we have spent lots and lots of time together.  Many correlation meetings at their home, and of course Sister Savea always fed us wonderful Filipino food after our meetings.  Brother Savea came out teaching with us a lot also.  Their two cute little kids are lots of fun, they love for us to play with them while dinner is cooking.  Just another wonderful family who sacrifices so much for the sake of the Church and the gospel.
 Goodbye to the other district in Waterford!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tender Mercies

This week was another solid one. No big, exciting news, but we definitely saw little tender mercies every single day. Just as we always do. Our mission is reading through the Book of Mormon right now and highlighting the tender mercies of the Lord that are mentioned, and it has really helped me be more aware of the little miracles that happen in my life and in the work each and ever day. Last pday we all met up at the church and had a giant dodge ball tournament. It had been a long time since I had played dodge ball, it was super fun though. Took me back to the days of PE in Ms. Ryan's class. We were all super sore the next few days, who knew dodge ball could be such a workout. Monday night we had dinner at the Janne's home, they recently moved into the ward. Bro. Janne is not a member but comes faithfully every week with his family. He just really isn't interested in joining the church though. They are an awesome family and have the cutest kids ever. Their 3 year old son Lucas just got a toy chainsaw and that thing is his pride and joy. I never knew I could have a 10 minute conversation about chainsaws with a 3 year old. It is the simple things in life right? Then that night we went up to Norwich to meet with the Sister Training Leaders to plan an online web conference that we will be doing next Wednesday. It was a pretty long day.

Tuesday we went on exchanges with the Westerly Elders, I stayed in Groton with Elder Rogers. He was in my district when I was a brand new missionary, so it is cool to have him back in my district again. We had a lesson with Hannah that night and taught the 3 big commandments: Law of Chastity, Word of Wisdom, and Tithing. She already knew about the commandments, so it wasn't anything new to her but we have to cover them before she has her interview. She is pretty heartbroken about having to give up sweet tea. She grew up in North Carolina and so sweet tea is like a lifeline for her family. She is sad about it,  but she is totally fine with giving it up. Her baptismal interview will be tomorrow!

Wednesday wasn't too eventful, we spent the majority of our day up in Narragansett Rhode Island with the Elders there. We just went up to try and help them a little bit with their area, it has been struggling lately. We had a brainstorming session with them and talked about a lot of things they could do to get things rolling again. That night we were back in Groton though and had dinner with the Lane's. They are a young couple that just moved here about a month ago from California. Sister Lane was actually just baptized in July, right before she moved here. So we have been going over about once a week and teaching her the new member lessons, and then today we actually spent our morning up at the Boston Temple with her. She was able to go and do baptisms for the dead for the first time. It was awesome to be able to be a part of it, she seemed to really enjoy it.

Thursday we had an all day long zone conference up in Foxboro, Mass. We arrived there at 8 in the morning and then left 8 that night. It was quite the day and I definitely had a head ache by the time it was over, but it was well worth it. Zone Conference was amazing, we basically were trained on every topic that President Packard has focused on his whole time as mission president. They called it the vision of our mission. A lot of it was focused on building Zion in our companionship's, and mission, and then also on consecration. Those are 2 of President's favorite topics. I was definitely inspired and came up with a lot of things that I can do a little bit better on. At the end. we were actually lucky enough to watch Meet the Mormons! I don't know how we got our hands on a copy, but we watched it there in the chapel. It was really good! Well being the first movie I have seen in over a year it didn't have much competition, but I enjoyed it! There is only 1 theater it is playing at near Groton, and our Stake actually rented it out Saturday and invited all of the members to come and watch which was pretty cool. We didn't attend that though. After our Zone Conference we stopped at Gillette Stadium, home of the Patriots because they have a bunch of restaurants on the outside of the stadium. We were heading to 5 Guys and then all of a sudden some guy says "Hey it is the Elders!" and stops and talks to us. It turns out it was a Stake President from Arizona who was here on a very big business trip. He gave us a few very generous dollar bills for our dinner, and then sat and talked with us while we ate. It is always nice to run into people like that and to be able to talk to them, especially when they are as nice as this guy was! Tender mercies that is for sure!

The rest of the week was kind of uneventful. Saturday we went on exchanges with the Waterford Elders and I stayed in Groton again. Sunday we got stuck teaching the Elders Quorum at the last minute, as always! And then Sunday night we actually received a mini missionary. I don't know if this is a thing that goes on all over, but here we allow those who are preparing or considering serving a misison to come be a missionary for a week or so to give it a trial run. Our mini missionary is a kid named Isaac, from Hamden CT. He is 20 and is working on his mission papers right now. Hopefully we can give him some great experiences this week. Today for pday we have been up in Boston at the temple and then around the city. It was a great pday! Love you all, have a great week!

Chinatown
 Gillette Stadium

 Riding the T into Boston!