Monday, April 20, 2015

Week 41: The tourists are coming! The tourists are coming!

Today is Patriot's Day!! Happy Patriot's Day! I hope today's title made you think of Paul Revere... it was supposed to. Today is the day that Massachusetts celebrates essentially the Revolutionary war, and, well, patriots! I guess they have a lot of reenactments that go on in Lexington and Concord, at the place where the Boston Massacre was (ok maybe not a reenactment there haha) and places like that. Here on Martha's Vineyard though, we don't have much going on, at least that I know of. I think there's kind of a mini-marathon so all the islanders can run all around the island (which is totally a huge feat... the island is bigger than you think it is!).

Today is also, of course, the day of the Boston Marathon. That means--MOM. DAD.--you should be wearing the Boston Strong shirts I sent you! It's been 2 years since the bombing. Crazy to think about that. But Boston is strong and we all stand together :)

In addition to all of that, Massachusetts has April Break this week. And you know what that means--here come the tourists! Haha I've only been here for a week and a half now, but I can already tell the difference between the islanders and the tourists. And the millionaires. There are a lot more people here now, and a ton keep coming off the ferry every day. But the fun thing is we talk to everyone when we are on the bus, and we've seen some of the same people over and over again! It's a small island. :) 

I really love the members here. We have about 25 active members, so it's really easy to get to know them all really well! Our ward directory is one front of one page, haha. But it's great. The members here are really strong and super involved in missionary work! I might have said that before, but there you go. We naturally don't get fed quite like we did in Marlborough--when you've only got maybe 6 active families who have their own lives it's hard for them to feed us everyday--but that's totally ok! I'm learning more cooking skills :)

This week we did have some member dinners though, which are so fun. Everyone likes to talk a lot, so we're working on having shorter dinners. We also met with President Bilodeau, our branch president, and got his vision of the branch. I'm excited for all the work I know we have in front of us!

Our investigator Ronald just up and left to go to New York, so we didn't see him at all this week. But no worries--HE has daily contact with US. Haha. I guess he had stuff to do there, but he didn't explain what. We were able to teach Zach and Niveah, our 8 and 10 year old investigators. Their dad is less active, and he hasn't been to church for a long time. So we're trying to help all 3 of them get to church and get the dad ready to baptize his kids, because that will be so special for all of them. The branch is really behind all of it too! But that darn agency thing gets in the way sometimes ;)

We also got a new investigator this week! Wahoooo! Her name is Jamie. She had a baby by c-section 3 weeks ago, and the recovery has been hard for her, so she needs help around the house and with her baby. We heard all about that through the grapevine, but we went over Tuesday to help and she didn't have anything planned for us to do, but she said "So what do you Mormons believe?" And we were like "Well we can tell you!!" So we talked about how God is our loving Heavenly Father, and she told us about a lot of spiritual experiences she's had. We gave her a Book of Mormon and she promised to read it, especially because she pretty much can only sit around all day! We tried to see her again, but she kept moving appointments... so we'll try again :)

We do a lot of digital missionary work here too. Let me explain--basically we go on the computer and we have a few specific websites where we go on and try to talk to people, hopefully about the gospel, but really anything to get them to talk to us. And the idea is that we skype them like right away. That goes against everything that I've ever learned about internet safety, but that's our job. The idea is that we would have face to face connections, like a street contact, but then they could be willing to talk about the gospel with us! It's really bizarre. So we sometimes also add people on facebook (hence me being on facebook now) to talk to them there. That's mostly just really weird. We were asked to make a really lovely video this week about how the digital mission helps us stay productive in areas that are historically less-productive. Ha, that took us FOREVER to do, but basically the gist is that we are doing productive work all day! Plus a lot of times people on the internet could totally be looking for the gospel, but they "know not where to find it". It's cool.

...and sometimes they need some clarification about our church. :)

Oh yeah, and Saturday and yesterday we felt like those pioneer children who sang as they walked and walked and walked and walked and walked and walked and walked and walked and walked and walked and walked and walked and walked and walked and walked and walked and walked. And walked. We tried to see a less active who wasn't home, but the way the buses are, we thought we could walk there. not so. but the next day we took the bus there but finished in between when buses would come, so we walked alllllllll theeeeeeee wayyyyyyyyyyy to the West Chop lighthouse. We got there, snapped a picture, and the bus came rolling up. Finally. And then later we went to stop by a different less active, but I got us off the bus WAY to early. Same thing with the buses--we were just stuck to stand and wait or just walk. So we did. We walked for a looooooooooong time. 

I actually really like walking areas though, because it makes me feel like we've worked a lot! That's always nice. And last night, we called the former branch president to ask him a question about where this less active lived. He said his wife, Sister Brown, wanted to talk to us, so I said sure! (I thought she was going to schedule a dinner :) ) But what she told us is that she was really impressed that we were out working and it was really good to see that we wanted to work hard. (it was maybe 8:00pm by that time). That was just a really kind thing for her to say and I was grateful :)

I've been really thinking a lot over probably my whole mission about how this is the Lord's time. Of course, there are a lot of things that I would like to do, but that doesn't mean that it is something I should do. Sister Belchior (who went home by the way!! Yikes!!) used to say that we have 18 months to serve the Lord and an eternity to look back and reflect on this time. I'm certainly so far from perfect in focusing solely on this work, but I'm trying my best. So, for Jared, remember that your mission is never about you--it's about the Lord and His will. That's really hard to do, to give your will to the Lord, but that's what consecration is too. And consecration is the real goal of this life, for all of us. We need to always be striving to follow the will of God, not that of ourselves. It's extremely hard to do--it requires giving up all of our natural man--but that's what will bring us the most blessings, and more importantly, it's what will bring us closer to God. 

So that's my thought for you this week! Try to think of something you need to sacrifice to the Lord in order to become closer to Him. We all have so many things we need to give up. I'm not even close to really giving up the things I've already promised, but I'm trying. I do know, though, that as we sacrifice the things that take us away from the Father, we will grow closer to Him and we will find more happiness and peace in our lives. 

I love you all so much. I hope you have a great week! Enjoy the kind of spring weather we're starting to get :)

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