Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 68: Working Hard or Hardly Working?

I promise we are working hard! It has been a strange week though. Our numbers were really low... and we only had 6 lessons! Yikes! It's okay though, because we did a lot of planning that is changing the way we are doing missionary work here in Boston. Pretty much we decided (with the elders) that we would drop most of our investigators and focus instead on strengthening our group and the members we already have. Most of our members are recent converts, meaning they were baptized within the last year, and their testimonies aren't necessarily the strongest. 

So we decided that even though we have no idea how to do this, this is what the Lord wants us to do here in Boston. It's crazy--we literally went from 19 investigators to about 5--but it will be so good! For a few days this past week we were really stressed out and had no real idea of what this week would hold, but luckily last night we had a great correlation meeting with the elders and the Walshes, the senior couple here, and we have some amazing plans for the next couple of weeks! President Miller will come and speak (in Portuguese! What a great guy) in a few weeks, we are going to create a group Facebook group, and we're gonna sit down with the English ward Bishop to figure out what he wants us to do. 


Tuesday we had zone conference and interviews! Let me tell you, that was one of the best days of my mission I think. I learned so much! During the zone conference, we talked a lot about how we can become better disciples of Christ, and it was really good for me. One thing that I have noticed in the last week about myself is that I become too angry or frustrated at things far too quickly. And it's not good at all! So I'm going to try to brainstorm and pray about some ideas for how I can do better at keeping calm and not getting my feathers ruffled over small things. 

After the zone conference, we had more training with our ZLs and STLs while we had interviews with President Miller! My interview was pretty great. We talked about how I am going home relatively soon, and he suggested that I think about some of my life goals during my last transfer--when I want to get married, how many kids I want to have, things like that. Hahahahahahah weird things to think about on my mission, but that was his advice! We also discussed the group and how we need to help strengthen the members (thus the whole focus we have now). 

My favorite part about the day, though, was after the ZLs didn't have any more training--we decided to all share our favorite part about the day, as well as our favorite thing about the gospel. Afterwards, we all sang hymns around the piano. Sometimes I just love being a missionary and being able to immerse myself and everything I do in the gospel :)

We finished the day with Panda Express.

Wednesday we tried to see so many people, but no one answered the door! It happens. Thursday we planned all day, Friday we planned more after District Meeting--and we did visit a few members!--Saturday the elders asked us to plan more, so we got all ready to do that but then they were caught up with translating talks for stake conference, so we didn't actually do any of that...

But hey, we had stake conference this weekend too! It was really fun, because this is the same stake as the Marlborough ward, so I was able to see and talk with a lot of members that I knew there :) I love that ward, just seeing those people makes me feel at home! Also, the talks we heard in stake conference were awesome. Good thing I like stake conference, because that was the 5th one I've been to on my mission! Crazy. 

Yep, that was pretty much it. 

Oh, but guess what? That investigator I have in Cameroon, Armstrong, he has a baptismal date for December 19th!!!!! THE DIGITAL MISSION IS THE GREATEST. So I'll go home and the next day there will be a baptism for an investigator I found 6 months ago :) He is amazing, we were also able to skype him this week! What a good guy. I'm attaching a picture from our skype :)

Well family and friends, that's about all for this week. Not much happened, apart from a crazy change of missionary work, but what's new? I can't believe next week is November. I think we'll just stay at home Halloween night, but we should be carving pumpkins today for pday with our zone! And guess what? President Miller allowed Sister Marques' sister to come visit us for a few hours while she is in Boston! So she' going to be with us really soon for the day. Crazy stuff! Makes me miss Alyssa :)

Have a happy Halloween! I think I'll be Sister Marques for Halloween this year. I'll have to take a picture of my really great costume to show you. I hope you all get a lot of candy and get a little scared! 

Also, good news--I have been sick for literally the past month with a gnarly cough and cold, but it's finally almost gone! Woohoo!! Prayers and blessings work, my friends.

My Ponderize scripture for the week is Omni 1:26. Who knew such a great verse would be found in such a small book? Probably Mormon did. 

Sorry this has been such a random email, my brain has been going haywire like this for a few days already. Hopefully we'll get a little more back on track this week! We also receive t-texts this Friday. We're pretty sure Sister Marques and I will stay here, but one of our elders is probably leaving. We'll see how it goes!

HaPpY hAlLoWeEn!!!
Waiting at the T station

Boston in the fall...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Week 67: Just an Average Missionary Week

Really, it was pretty average. 

Monday we went to Bunker Hill and climbed the monument--294 steps. Man, that'll kill your calves, I promise. But it's pretty cool :) 

Um kind of a lot of our appointments ended up falling through and our numbers were pretty bad this week. But I don't want you to think it was a bad week! I was still pretty great. Like on Wednesday, I had an AMAZING exchange with Sister Webber, my Spanish-speaking STL. I love her a lot, so it was super fun. We stayed here in Portuguese area, so I learned how to get around using buses all by myself, pretty much. We did some dancing with Cape Verdean ladies, we did some running for the bus, we got lost a lot, we did a LOT of waiting, and even more contacting. Whew, but we found some really great potentials! Also, we asked the elders if there was a place they thought we should go, because we had some time because our appointments cancelled (like they always do on exchanges). They told us to go visit a former investigator, Gugu. We had zero idea who this lady was, but we went and talked with her for a while. We ended up sharing a scripture we had planned to use for someone else--Moroni 8:25-26, which basically outlines the entire Gospel of Jesus Christ. Then the coolest thing happened:

We talked to her about faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. Mind you, we didn't know anything about this lady. But we asked her what step she felt she was on. She said "baptism". We asked why, and she told us that she wanted to be baptized! What! So we set a baptismal date with her for January 24th. It's far away because her kids will come from Portugal then, so she wants them there. Haha what a crazy appointment! So she is our new investigator AND new baptismal date! Miracles. Everyday. 

This week Maria Lopes told me that she dreamed about me. I was praying and looked like an angel, a little angel. On Sunday she caught my eye, mouthed "I love you" and blew me a kiss. But don't worry, after Sacrament Meeting, she hugged me and told everyone else that I was her daughter. So I think I now officially have a #1 Fan. Good thing she sees me as her daughter ahahahaha. Maria Lopes. 

Oh guys and GUESS WHAT? I don't know if you remember Armstrong, my investigator from Cameroon. Well, I'm finally back in contact with him and the elders, and this week we HAD OUR VERY FIRST SKYPE WITH HIM! He is so awesome. The elders there told me they want to extend a baptismal date to him for the middle of December, and this Saturday we are going to try to Skype in as the elders teach him too! That would be so sick. So I'll let you all know if that ends up happening. The Digital Mission is amazing.

Speaking of which, we got permission this week to follow our friends on Twitter to try to look more like a real person. So hey, if you have a twitter, you are allowed and encouraged to follow me! We are using the website to try to find people who may be interested in learning more about the gospel, and we are experimenting, so anything goes! We just cannot really talk directly to anyone (except to briefly explain what we are doing or ask if anyone has friends who might be interested). So if I follow you, please follow back! Haha it is weird for me too, but we are trying to make this successful :)

Saturday was also an adventure, because all of the missionaries here in Boston went into Brookline and we were basically told to tract and contact people all day long to find some investigators for the sisters who serve there! Let me tell ya, I don't like tracting much, but miracles happened that day. Not so much to us, because we gave up a little too soon, but some elders actually were let in and taught lessons, and the sisters have TONS of potentials! Missionary work is amazing, and miracles can happen. Remember, you never know who could be prepared to hear the gospel :) Keep inviting!

I was supposed to go down to Central Falls yesterday for a baptism, but unfortunately all of the people who were supposed to be baptized weren't ready yet. So just please pray for Zito, Filomena, Tiffany, Ciara, and Adelisa. One day they will all get baptized!!

And yep, other than that, it was an average missionary week. I had a couple of weird dreams last night though haha. I woke up after one at 4:50am, but no worries, I fell back asleep. The more you know.

There ya go! I hope you all have a fantastic week this week and that you continue to study and ponderize the scriptures. This past week I had D&C 24:7. I haven't decided my scripture for this week yet though. I love it. I love missionary work :) This week we have both a zone conference AND interviews, on the same day! AND stake conference! Rock on. Yesterday we got a ton of free apples. You know, all good things. 

Have the best week ever, and I hope that you all write me letters this week ;)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Week 66: Sacrifices and Musicals

Well my friends, what a week it has been!

Last week we went to the New England Aquarium for pday! It was super fun. We also went to Quincy Market to get some dinner, where 5 separate times, people said "Hi sisters!" or "Hi elders!" to us. Gotta love that small Mormon world. 

On Tuesday we worked on the digital mission! I forgot to tell you, I am now assigned to work on Twitter. Seriously, no joke. So I made my first twitter account a week or two ago. It's really strange. we are trying to find people to teach on there, but I'm not sure how successful it will be. But hey, I already have 22 followers! #score Unfortunately, neither Julio nor Allan has been able to talk with us over the last few weeks, so the digital mission is not so exciting...

Wednesday was a very interesting day. We started by doing our weekly service at the Cape Verdean Center--basically a daycare for Cape Verdean adults. It was SO FUN. AND SO FUNNY. Old Cape Verdeans are hilarious. We help serve them lunch every week, and the 2 most important things to know are "leite ou suco?" and "galinha ou peche?" It was super funny. I like that service a lot, and we have already found investigators from it! Love that. Later we went to try to teach an investigator, Nazare, but I played dinosaurs with her grandson instead. Sister Marques tried to teach her, but I think it was a bit of a train wreck. Afterwards, though, we asked her if she knew of other people who would be interested to learn more! She took us to 2 people--Nhanha, who is a pretty solid potential, and Emilia. Emilia, oh Emilia.

When we visited Emilia, Sister Marques and I experienced our first Cape Verdean "visita". It was an experience for sure. Emilia's son died, so Cape Verdeans related to her in any sort of way go to visit her over a period of a few weeks. When they come, everyone hugs her, gives condolences, and sits in the front room as she sings/cries. She kept singing/crying "ohhhh nho fidjo..... ohhhhh nho fidjo...." (which means "oh my son") It was both very sad and very funny, so Sister Marques and I couldn't look at each other. Her vibrato was ridiculous. Haha. Remind me later and I'll act out the experience for you.

That night we did have a great lesson with Gabriela about finding answers through the Book of Mormon!

Thursday was also an experience. After weekly planning, Maria Lopes (the lady who calls me a doll and thinks I am beautiful) came out with us. Unfortunately, the investigator we went to see wasn't home, so the night ended up being full of missed buses, a lot of walking, pizza, and burger king. Also, Maria told me that when I go home I need to marry a boneca in order to  "fazer bonequinhas". Oh dear goodness. I told her I would introduce her to my husband when I get married hahaha.

Friday we had an amazing zone meeting. At the end of the meeting, we were encouraged to each sacrifice something to further commit to the Lord. I have a picture of the "altar" we placed everything on, it's on dropbox. It was really emotional and spiritual, but it was very cool to see as each person in the zone sacrificed something. For me, I sacrificed a few things, but one of which is talking about going home. So I will do my best to not get trunky and to not talk about how I go home so soon! I know that the sacrifices I have made will help me to stay more focused on my missionary work and on doing the Lord's will. 

Sometimes we need to give up something we want for something better. I know that is true. For me, my time as a missionary is so important to me, that I am trying to not let other things get in the way of giving my all.

We also had a few great visits later with Maria Rodrigues, our baptismal date, Maria de Pina, a less active, and Maria Julia, a less active recent convert. Yes, they are all named and called Maria. Welcome to working with Cape Verdeans.

Saturday was cool! We worked on the computer for a bit, then we went to Downtown Boston and had a meeting with the Portuguese elders (we are going to share investigators!! woohooooo!!!). After a lovely dinner in Chinatown, we went to the front of a theater showing the Book of Mormon Musical. We had brought 80 BoMs with us, and we stood outside the door of the theater and handed out as many BoMs as people wanted to accept. It was so fun!! The range of responses went from people just laughing at us to people walking in, then coming back out to ask for a copy, plus one for his wife and the pass-along cards that come in the books. 

Love it.

The book is ALWAYS better.

We passed out 77 Books of Mormon that night! It was so cool. Sister Marques and I have a real feeling that SOMETHING will come out of it, because both of us received the prompting to put our number in the books. We'll see :)

Also, earlier we went to Boston Common for our meeting and we fed some squirrels. Really. And pet them. Go look at the pictures, mom, I know you'll love them.

Sunday was pretty great too. We had a good sacrament meeting, a crazy Sunday School, and a good 3rd hour lesson with EQ and RS! Solid. We were also able to visit a less-active and one of our investigators, Quentino. Just as we started the lesson, a really solid less-active came up and helped us! We're going to activate/baptize his whole family. 

Well family I am trying to finish fast because we are going to Bunker Hill and to do the Freedom Trail today! Also, Sister Holt and I are treating ourselves to Alex and Ani bracelets, because I think we deserve it today. 

I love you all! Happy Colombus Day and have a fantastic week!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Week 65: Uma Sozinha Boneca

I'll let you google translate that one. A member here, Maria Lopes, stared at me the whole time we were teaching her the plan of salvation and said things like "Ela parece uma boneca! Seus olhos são tão bonitos.... E seu cabelo! É perfeito. Parece uma boneca. Parece uma boneca."

It's kind of really weird.

She also said something along the lines of "God made you prettier because you are closer to perfection." Well, I'll just accept that compliment, thank you!

Haha this was kind of a strange week. 

Last week for pday we went into Boston to buy some clothes for Sister Marques. At the end of a lovely and successful pday, we were getting on the T (orange line, if you were wondering) to go back to visit Maria Lopes (who wasn't home that day). It was PACKED, since it was about rush hour, and in the Downtown Crossing station. We got into the station and a train was about to leave, so we hopped on, asking if it went towards Forest Hills. The first guy we talked to said "yes" so we got onto the train, but once we were in another person said "no, this one goes to Oak Hills" or whatever it was called haha. So I turned around and quickly got off the train. I turned back around towards Sister Marques, when

the doors shut

and I looked at my companion through the window of the T door. 

It was only about 3 seconds, but it felt like an eternity. I was so shocked. She mouthed to me "STAY THERE" and I mouthed "stay here?" and she said "YES" so I said "okay". And the train left the station. 

I was alone.

It was so weird. 

So my mind kicked in (or probably the Spirit to be honest) and I decided I should go to the other side of the station so when she came back on the other train, I would be on the right side. I walked through the tunnel over there--ALL ALONE by the way--and stood by a pole. The sign said it was 8 minutes until the next train arrived, and I remember thinking "noooo 8 minutes??? that's so long!!" So I decided to pray, and I was praying for all 8 minutes for the same three things--protection for me, protection for Sister Marques, and that we would be able to find each other. I didn't know what else to do, so I said "sorry Heavenly Father this is all I can think about."

Luckily (unluckily?), a gay couple came to stand next to me near this huge pole, and I heard a lot of kissing noises, but I chose not to look. I'm glad I didn't. Hahaha but let's be honest, that probably kept creepers away from me!

Finally the next train came, and Sister Marques walked off of it. WHEW! We hugged really fast and got back on that train to go to Forest Hills. 

When we told the other missionaries, they all said "IT HAPPENED?!?" I think it's kind of this huge fear we all have--getting separated from our companion on the bus or train. Good thing I know what to do now. 

Other than that, our week was a little boring. Tuesday we had to stay home because Sister Marques has some serious back pain, and carrying our groceries home last week really made it hurt. I got a lot done that day though! I learned all about how to give a massage with essential oils. Grandma Knutti would be proud of me. 

Wednesday was Sister Marques 9 month mark! We also had to go to Cambridge for a Dr appointment she had. So we celebrated her 9 months by going to Au Bon Pain in the mall close to the Cambridge building. Lovely stuff. Later we got a new baptismal date with Jayla, who is 8! She is super cute and her mom is a LA member. She'll get baptized Nov. 1st

Also, Zito and Filomena in Central Falls will be baptized on October 18th, along with 3 other people I briefly taught!!! We're doing our best to go back for that :)

Thursday we planned all day and boy it was boring this time hahaha.

Friday we had a really good lunch with Fatima, one of our RS counselors. Later we had this really interesting lesson with a man named Joao.... he told us that God and Jesus Christ couldn't be 2 separate people, and that I needed to be more humble when I teach and not say "I know" about things. Weird, right? I was testifying, and he didn't like that hahahah. Then he tried to be friends and stuff with us and walked us to the bus stop, but I was just really done by then. 

Every time we have a lesson like that though, I realize that NO ONE can take away my testimony except for me. People can say whatever they want, but nothing will change unless I let it. Same for you! No one can take your testimony away unless you let them. 


That first session on Saturday blew me off my feet, it was SO GOOD. My favorite talks from conference were Elder Lawrence's (he visited our mission a year ago :) ), Sister Marriott's, President Monson's, Elder Holland's, and Elder Durrant's, I think. 

I really felt like I needed to do the Ponderize challenge, so I've already started! I love that idea. When he was giving his talk, I felt like it really was just for me. Probably everyone else felt like that too, haha, but I really want to 1) save money every week (when I go home and earn money again hahahaha) and 2) PONDERIZE!! 

My scripture this week is Alma 17:11. We can all be instruments in the Lord's hands when we are good examples to those around us. Wow, it was so good.

I was also especially touched by Elder Lawrence's talk. I have been thinking lately about the things that I need to do to be a better missionary and to do much better in these last few months that I have. And his talk was the answer to my question! I love that he reminded us that "Discipleship is a steady course of improvement". We aren't supposed to be perfect all in one day, but we are all supposed to work on it until we reach that point. Wow, I just learned a LOT from General Conference. I am so grateful for the apostles and prophets we have on the earth today. It was very cool to see the 3 new apostles called and sustained--I know they are called from God, and they are who He wants to serve as His apostles now. I really like how Elder Bednar talked about why older men are called to be the highest leaders of the church. 

Everything I heard just reminded me that this is God's church. We cannot and should not try to change it. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't ask questions, but as we try our best to follow God's will, then we will see how He has been guiding us and His church for a long time. 

I love the gospel! I love General Conference! I love EVERYTHING! 

Life is so good.

Sister Marques and I are getting along really well, and we are having a lot of fun. We wrote a rap this last week about Dorchester.... I'll try to make a video, since it really is just that awesome, but here are the words. You can get the idea. There are a lot of inside jokes hahaha and it's kind of kriolo and portuguese and english together. It's lovely.

Dorchester e' uma cidade
Onde fica a verdade
Sisters aqui sao de mais
Elas sao TXEU NICE
Elas podem te ensinar
Ku fe' em Deus, se batizar
So' precisa de ouvir
Senta! Escuta! Shut upee! Shut upee!
Espera! Ami tene! Catchupa! Catchupa!
E' sabe! Txeu sabe!
Catchupa! Catchupa!
E' sabe sabe sabe sabe sabesabesabesabesabesabesabesabesabe
BRING THE BUS choo cha cha choo choo cha, choo cha cha choo choo cha
BRING THE BUS choo cha cha choo choo cha, choo cha cha choo choo cha
Bring. The. Bus. 

I'll just have to make the video I think. Haha you can decide if you want to send that all out or not, that is more for the fam because I think it's hilarious. You're welcome.

We also really love our roommates, Sister Holt and Sister Haws. We had some good bonding conversations this week. Funny thing, Sister Holt has met one of my friends from Idaho (she's also from Idaho). Let's just say it was a really really funny experience when she realized she knew him. :)

Anyways, we are going to the Aquarium today, and we want to take some pictures with the Boston skyline because we look cute today. That's just what happens.

I hope you all have a lovely week! Enjoy fall. Boston in the Fall has been nice so far, but VERY cold. We wear scarves and boots every day. Oh well, sweater weather is better weather! Except I've been sick with a nasty cough the past few days. Yay. Don't worry, Elder and Sister Walsh (senior couple) are taking care of us.