Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Goodbye Waterbury

Wow, I am leaving Waterbury after almost 7 months of serving here. I found out on Friday that I am being transferred to Groton, Connecticut. I will be leaving Waterbury on Wednesday, so I still have a few more days left here. I have loved every second of serving in Waterbury. It is a pretty crazy place, with A LOT of crazy people, but I have seen miracles happen in this city. Waterbury has helped me become even more humble than I was. We meet with people from all walks of life, in so many different situations, different circumstances etc. A lot of people in Waterbury have been in and out of jail, battled drug addictions, been homeless at one time or another and things like that. It really is a pretty rough city. It has been awesome to be around people who have completely turned their lives around from these situations, and have become strong members of the church. It has been even better to watch that transformation take place in some of the people we have worked with here. It has been a huge blessing to serve here. There have been so many things I have learned the past 7 months, and so many amazing experiences. I started saying my goodbyes yesterday after church, but we still have a lot more people to go and see before I head out. We have like 5 appointments tonight after pday and then 10 more families we are going to see tomorrow, so it is going to be a crazy few days.

My new area is the Groton CT ward. It is actually really close to my first area, Waterford. There is just a bridge separating Groton and Waterford. I spent a few pdays in Groton last year, so I am a little familiar with the city. It is right on the coast, so that will be nice for summer. Right in Groton the Navy has a huge submarine base, and so a big portion of the ward is made up of members of the Navy. Groton is along the Connecticut, Rhode Island border so I will be getting to see some of Rhode Island as well. My new companion is Elder Jones, he only has 12 more weeks left in the mission and then will be heading home.

Going to Groton actually comes with a new assignment for me as well, I have been asked to serve as a Zone Leader in the mission. President called me Friday and asked if I would be willing to serve as a ZL, so of course I said I would haha. Now I have to be responsible for my own area as well as 7 other companionships and their areas. Elder Jones has been a ZL for like a year now, and so I will have a lot to learn from him. Our zone is the Providence South Zone, so we are responsible for all of the missionaries serving in the southern half of the Providence Rhode Island Stake. That includes Waterford, New London, Norwich CT, and then Westerly, Narragansett, and Newport Rhode Island. We go on exchanges with all of the Elders in our zone once a transfer, so I am excited to get to see all of these different areas.

Like I said, we started the goodbyes last night, so I will show you a small portion of our people here in Waterbury! The rest will have to wait until next week....

This is Angelo and Amie Aquino, and their baby Zachary.  Zach was the baby that I was able to bless two weeks ago.  Amie grew up in the church but is not a member right now, and her husband Angelo isn't a member either.  He has been meeting with us and taking the lessons for a while, and actually agreed to be baptized.  His date has passed by now though, he wasn't quite ready I guess.  The biggest thing is getting him to come out to church regularly, which has been a struggle.  He knows the Gospel is true, and he will definitely be baptized someday, but just has to take care of some things first.  Amie is actually in jail now and is pretty close to my new area, so I might get to see her again if I can go visit.
 Me and my homie Brandon.  I have spent a lot of time with this kid, it has been great to see him grow.  He was baptized in January and has done really well.  He told me he is going to serve a mission, so he better actually do it.  We have a great YM program in the ward, so I am sure the other YM and the leaders will help him do that.  He is only 15, so he has 3 years to prepare still.

This is Brenda and Luis.  Brenda is Brandon's mom. They were both baptized in November when I very first got here.  The Spanish Elders taught them, but we spent a lot of time at their home teaching Brenda's kids.  Luis is just the nicest guy around.  Luis is a movie fanatic, so we took about every single church video ever made and watched them all with him.
 Me with the Cogswell family.  Brother Cogswell was baptized almost two years ago, and is now a counselor in the Elders Quorum presidency.  It has been great to see them grow in the Gospel, and hopefully someday soon they will be heading to the temple to be sealed together as a family!

 The Pettway family is the greatest!  Bro and Sis Pettway are converts to the church, they saw a TV commercial and called the number and the rest is history.  We went to their home quite a bit to help them out with their missionary efforts.  The Pettways LOVE the Gospel sooo much, and they are awesome missionaries.  Sister Pettways brother was baptized into the ward a year ago because they worked so hard to share the Gospel with him. They are an awesome family.
 Sister Slocum and me.  Sister Slocum lives in a nursing home in Waterbury and has been a member for a really long time.  We faithfully visited her every single week and read scriptures with her.  I would always just remember President Monson talking about going out and visiting the widows and how important it is, so we just set aside a time every Thursday morning to go and visit Sister Slocum.
The Vaness Family.  Well....they are a pretty crazy family haha.  Not your typical Mormon family, but I guess that is why we love them.  They are all members except for their dad, Danny.  We taught him when I first got here, then he went to jail, then we started teaching him again a few weeks ago when he got out.  He agreed to be baptized on June 8, hopefully he will be ready by then.  As you can tell in the picture, he still has a few things to work out regarding the Word of Wisdom haha!

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