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.
Juuuuust kidding...Nice car though!
Christmas in Boston, right along the ocean! We didn't quite get a white Christmas like all of you in Utah.