Friday, November 15, 2013

The After Life

So I'm back and have a new blog.  It's in case you're interested in the adventurings of a RM.

The gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored and a true and living prophet guides His church.  Keep sharing the truth y'all!

Monday, September 16, 2013

"Something Big Is Happening"

This past Tuesday, we did not go to Windemere, the care center where we volunteer to help, because we went to an Interfaith Council instead!  Today they learned about how to use Facebook in their ministry. It was really awesome.  I wish we had permission to start using Facebook as missionaries. However, President is still trying to figure out a way for missionaries to use it without abusing it.  It made me excited to use it for the work of the Lord, though, when ever I get the chance!  We also made some really good connections with other churches and were set up with the Island Food Pantry when they start in mid-October.
   We then did a lot of waiting for the bus because the buses in Up Island only run every hour.  That night we had a dinner with the Browns [President Brown is the Branch President], which is always fun. They told us that they were setting up a thank-you dinner with their friends that helped them move and they would like us there. Yes!  
   Wednesday, we had a lesson with Dan!!!!  It was incredible and amazing.  We taught the Plan of Salvation because we felt like that is what he needed to be the first lesson.  And were we right!  At the very beginning he had questions about being sealed to his family and how that would work if they weren't members... (this stemmed from the theme of last Sunday being families and eternal families.) It was so awesome.  He accepted a baptismal invite but not the date we asked about.  I knew it was a little soon, the 28th, but both Sister Klecker and I were hopeful to have a baptism before I left.  The Lord is working within Dan and he told us he would like to KNOW before baptism so it wasn't just something he was doing to do. I know with my heart that if he continues to do the things that he is doing and we can continue to have amazing lessons with him he will be ready by the end of October.  He is another step closer to returning to our dear Heavenly Father.
   Thursday, we went walking around a cemetery with Sister Bilodeau to take pictures of gravestones to upload through an app to Billion Graves [].  It's a cool website for family history and actually mapping graveyards.  A really awesome thing for historians and genealogy folk.  Yes, I willing, once again, went to a graveyard.  We actually cut through one quite frequently when we are in Tisbury.  They aren't as creepy as the ones on the West coast.  haha.
   Then we helped out at the Food Pantry putting food away for when they open in mid-October. We then stopped by the home of a less active to drop off a manual because he is trying to come back. It was a good way to end the day.
   Friday we had our District meeting!  We video chatted this week, using the Brown’s computer. [Attending District Meeting in person requires a trip off Island & takes almost a full day of travel]. The Zone Leaders gave grief because we weren't there. They said something along the lines of "The Elders came every week!"  Then Sister Brown called from the other room, "That's because the Sisters are more productive!"  It was hilarious.
   After District meeting we helped Sister Brown bring up boxes from the basement so she could sort through for a tag sale.  
   On Sunday, I was part of a really awesome Sacrament meeting.  President Brown asked about 6 different members to stand and give their testimony of the Book of Mormon and he also asked me to do it.  It was incredible to hear the different testimonies.  Truly amazing.
   After Church we helped Betsy, from Windemere, move.  It was originally supposed to be on Saturday but the truck fell through so it was changed to Sunday.  It was a really good contact.
   Then we went on splits. Both of us had really good experiences.
   I cannot deny that this is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Work of Salvation is hastening.  Something big is happening. Will we continue to be a part of it?  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Next Six Weeks In.....?

So to get questions out of the way, I am going to be ending my mission in.......Martha's Vineyard!  
I will be companions with Sister Klecker.  She has been out for three months.  I am excited to see the Island calm down and to be able to see Fall here.  Some leaves are already changing color to vibrant orange and yellow.  Most, however, are still deep green. 

Windemere went great this week.  The two women over the Rec department are who we think have potential.  Mary wasn't there the past week because her father died and she has been off Island. We are very sad for her but also think this is a good time to bring up the plan of salvation.  She will be back next week so Sister Klecker and I will talk to her then.

Our lessons with Keila and Jr. haven't been happening but we were able to see them Monday night and establish that they will keep teaching us.  I'm excited to learn more Portuguese.

We weren't able to see Jamie while Sister Spears was here.  However while at Windemere today singing hymns with Sister Brown (she goes and plays there sometimes) Sister Spears stuck her head in the door while she was waiting for her daughter!   So we finally got to meet Jamie and invite her to the Branch activity on Monday!  Another miracle of the week.

I can't believe that time is winding down here.  But I'm doing my best to stay focused.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Sister K. is experiencing a little bit of anxiety this week. Saturday is when the texts arrive informing the missionaries where the new assignments will be. This will be the second to last T-text of her mission. The next one will be no surprise in that she will be finishing and leaving the MBM.

She has her "druthers" of where she would like to serve the last 6 weeks of her mission. She has loved her time serving on Martha's Vineyard. There are some great members of the Church living there. She has loved the families there. Where she would like to serve would be like "going home" before she actually goes home. There are currently no Sisters serving in this area so it would be "shotgunning." However, no matter what, she has always expressed that whatever and wherever the Lord decides is where she will willingly serve. To date, she has had the opportunity to serve in some pretty amazing places with some very wonderful people. A lot of those people will be friends for a long, long time.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Work on Martha's Vineyard

During the summer, the population on Martha’s Vineyard can be well over 100,000 people. Only about 15,000 are permanent residents. The island is about 100 square miles. This can make missionary work somewhat challenging. 
  “...since the Elder's here were having such a hard time teaching people, President has been wanting us to take the Ammon approach. Serve ‘em to convert ‘em.  Sister H. & I think that we can work with the members and have them start bringing their friends to the Gospel.  We already have 10 potentials through members.  We just need to get them to the teaching point.   We are praying the work starts to boom here soon.  Even if it doesn't boom a nice pop would be nice haha.”
   Twice a week, Sister Kanani and her companion serve at a hospital. “We are in the wing called Windemere.  Half of it is assisted living, the people are still very capable they just can't be living alone.  The other half is up an elevator and are older people who need special care, especially unit 4, as it is the dementia unit. We wheel the people from upstairs to downstairs, help out with the activity that is going on and wheel them back upstairs.  One day, we were running patients up and downstairs for the hair salonist. We help out with the art class they have every Tuesday. They have live music on Wednesdays and for the first two Wednesdays of the month Sister Brown, the Branch President’s wife, plays piano for the hour.  However she called and said her daughter had a fever and if we could fill in.  So Sister H. went between playing the piano to the Ukulele and singing.  The residents loved it.”
   This past week: “Wednesday we worked over time at the hospital.  They were having a talent show.  It was so much fun.  Some of the residents did the funniest acts.  One woman even did the cha-cha!  She might have mostly been using her walker but it was awesome. “ 
We continue to have lunch with the people who work there because we see a lot of potential in them.  They ask really good questions and even though say they are all set, we know that by associating with them we're bringing light into their lives.  
   The two Sisters also work with the Habitat for Humanity building homes on Saturdays. They have “helped put some trimming on a house and nailing shingles to the outside walls” and “putting insulation around the inside of the walls,” and putting the frame of a porch roof together. They talk with others on the projects about the Church while they work.  
   The Sisters volunteer at the Edgartown library. “It's something the Elders were doing that had a potential.”     
   While neither of the Sisters speak Portuguese, they are teaching English to a couple of families that speak only Portuguese. “Thankfully Sister H. can kind of communicate with them because she speaks Spanish, which is kind of like Portuguese, but it's still a struggle sometimes.”
   They also serve in the Family History Center “to work with the people who work there!!!” This week they worked the Island’s genealogical society on ideas for the booth for the Ag. fair. 
   A lot of the work in the Branch is with less actives, not only visiting and teaching, but finding them. “We went hunting some less actives. Previously, they weren't able to find them because their roads weren't on the map but because I have a handy dandy GPS we were able to scout them out.  One was a house that they rent out for the summer so that was a dead end but the other is a daughter of a sister from the Westerly [RI]  Branch!! So we trekked, and trekked, and trekked. But we had great fun doing it. The GPS took us through someones backyard, through a clearing in a hedge, through someone else’s backyard, and then led us to a road. We didn't believe it at first, but as we followed we ended up in the right place.”
   Here are excerpts from Sister Kanani’s emails from the month of July:
   “My first trip off island!  It was Zone meeting so we went to the Cape Cod chapel.  The Zone leaders showed us the websites that the Mission is creating for us to coordinate with our auxiliaries and what it will be like when we have iPads.”  
   “We went and helped a less active weed her garden.  She is older and not really able to do it herself anymore. We weeded the whole thing in an hour and a half.  She was supper impressed with that.  We think it really softened her heart towards us.  We then, by direction of the branch president, invited her to speak in church this Sunday.  And she said she will!   It's exciting because no one can remember the last time she spoke/was there.”  
   “Then we went on visits with the Branch council members.  The RS president and I went to visit a less-active who everyone has a super hard time getting in contact with. And guess what?  She was home!  It was wonderful to visit with her for a few minutes and show her how much we miss her. A great visit all around.”
   “This week was great!  We had 12 member visits, which is awesome when there are only about 7 or 8 active families in the branch!  We were able to meet with several less actives and even go on splits.” 
   “Tuesday we were blessed with a new investigator!  He is from Brazil and we had an amazing short lesson with him.”
   “It's been a great week.  God is very merciful and tender in the miracles he sends.  Not only towards me but this area.  We have been praying that the hearts will be softened here and that we will be able to plant many seeds.  Every day we have had multiple conversations with people on the bus as we go around.  Most we don't even start.  It truly is amazing how the Lord works.”
   “The Lord’s tender mercies have been all around and I am so very grateful for them.  Have a wonderful week!  2 Nephi 33”

Monday, July 8, 2013

"Serving in the Vineyard..."

From the end of April to the first week of June, Sister Kanani and her companion have traveled throughout the mission from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, to Rhode Island putting on musical firesides. Besides traveling, they have made some good contacts and been able to teach people in their Boston area. Sundays still consisted of 10 to 12 hours of Church meetings with the four Wards and then firesides in the evening.

“Monday night we were able to have a lesson with a wonderful young woman who has been investigating the church for about 3 years now.  She hasn't met with missionaries for quite some time but she came up to Sister Jordan on Sunday and asked to meet with us.  So we did.  She is really just working on coming to know that there is a God and what that means.  So far she's gone from no God to there's a source of light and love but not so sure
that's God.  So we are working with her to help her learn that there is a God.”

“We had another meeting with Audrey.  She opened up to us about some fears she had with joining the church and we thing we laid them to rest.  But we asked her to pray to know if God is really there and we will see where that leads us.”

We then helped a member move one of his buddies move out of the graduate dorms.  After that we taught another one of his friends.  Well mostly just talked with her.  She is Muslim and has been reading the Book of Mormon.  She couldn't understand why we need a Savior or advocate with God.  And a few other points.  It was so much fun to talk with her and show her how similar our religions are.  Her face just lit up  as I talked about the similarities between the 5 Pillars of Islam and our beliefs.  She went back to Africa but hopefully it gave her some things to think about.”

In May, Sister Kanani and her new companion, Sister Johnson (from Orem, UT) were assigned to two of the four Single Adult Wards, the Longfellow Park Wards. These Wards had the least activity as far as missionary work so there was a lot of potential for teaching.

“There is a member of LP1 that is convince that we are going to set the Ward on fire.  Which is good, but the funny thing is that he talks us up to everyone. He is convinced we're the best missionaries they've had for a while. We'll see.”

With less travel and a less hectic Sunday schedule, the Sisters began to look for areas for service. The work is beginning to pick up as they meet with members and seek out less actives.

“We had dinner up in Somerville with some members who brought a non-member friend and then we had to rush down to Brighton to have dinner with another member and a non-member friend.  It was crazy and hectic but it was what a night in the mission should be. On Saturday we went to a memorial for a member of Charles River Ward who had passed from cancer.  It was sad but also very beautiful.  Then we went down to Quincy to teach a less active and then all the way up to Somerville to try to contact a less active.  We basically went from one end of Boston to the other.” 

“Friday we had our meeting with Lyndsi and Sharon.  And Sharon became our new investigator!  It was such a good lesson.  Sharon is from China and doesn't know much about Christianity, however she knows she feels a peace and wants to learn more. We taught the Plan of Salvation.  Afterwards we were talking to Lyndsi and she said that while she expected the Restoration, she thinks the Plan of Salvation was exactly what Sharon needed. Thank you Spirit!”

“Saturday we went to a dinner appointment. It was a really good one. There is a member who is working through a lot from her childhood and wants to take the lessons so she can learn the Gospel for herself.  And she also happens to be friends with a less active that we are working with so she was there too.  It was such a good lesson as we talked, once again, about the Plan of Salvation and what the Atonement really covers and helps us with.

“We had another meeting with Sharon. She is picking up things so fast. At the end of our lesson she asked if she could pray to God in Chinese and if He would understand. How cute is that?  We told her of course she could.  ‘Next time, I will pray in Chinese at the end of the lesson.’ I can see her with a baptismal date at the end of this month, with a baptism next month.”

Monday brought a surprise. Sister Kanani’s email came in the evening, much later than usual. We found out why as she began her email with: “Serving in the vineyard... literally!” 

“Friday, President Packard called while we were on the bus ride home. I let it go to voicemail and we ran the 100 feet to our apartment.  The voicemail:  ‘Sister Kanani!  This is President, I have some good news for you.  Call me when you get the chance.’ So we called him back. After answering him that I was fine, President said, ‘And it's about to get finer. You're getting moved to Martha's Vineyard.’” 

Basically a Sister was waiting for her visa and her visa came through. There was a need for someone to fill her spot so they would not have to close it down because Sisters just got there 3 weeks ago after Elders being there forever.”

On Sunday, “President talked to me for a bit and told me he was really excited to have me go there and he thinks that I will do awesome things with Sister Hileman." 

Side note: Sister Hileman is more accurately Hermana Hileman. She is called a Spanish-speaking Sister. So now, Sister K. is serving with a Spanish speaking companion in an area filled with Portuguese speaking people.

"There is a lot of service out here in the Vineyard. We'll see what happens, the Lord has His plans and we can only follow and know what we can do to help further them.”

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Highlights of a Not-So-Typical Missionary Week

After helping a member move one of his buddies out of the graduate dorms, Sister Kanani and Sister Jordan were able to talk with another one of his friends.  
“She is Muslim and has been reading the Book of Mormon.  She couldn't understand why we need a Savior or advocate with God, and a few other points.  It was so much fun to talk with her and show her how similar our religions are.  Her face just lit up as I talked about the similarities between the 5 Pillars of Islam and our beliefs.  She since has gone back to Africa but hopefully it gave her some things to think about.”

Thursday night Sister Kanani had the opportunity to have dinner with the Johnson family in Belmont. Because the Sisters are in their son’s Ward and he is trying to make a decision about a serving a mission, it was thought to be a good idea for the missionaries to come over and talk with him.  It was awesome. Sister Johnson is the former Jane Clayson, an Emmy winning journalist and author who began her career with KSL-TV in SLC, Utah. She has worked as a correspondent for ABC and CBS news organizations covering and reporting events all over the world. She authored the book, “I Am a Mother!” which chronicles her decision to leave the network news business to have a family.

Over the weekend, the Sisters hosted a young woman for a mini missionary experience. Not much was a truly typical missionary experience, however, the young woman seemed to really enjoy it.

Sister Kanani got to talk in CRW. “It was on hope.  I talked about finding out about my Dad's cancer and how I didn't really have a Godly sense of hope, but my Mom did. Then I explained how we could gain a Godly sense of hope.  I also shared about the night before receiving my mission call.  And then tied all of it into sharing the gospel as everyday members. Apparently it was good.  I don't remember a lot of it but almost everyone came up afterwards and told me thank you for the talk.”

“Monday, Memorial Day was so much fun!!  We had invited all the Sisters in the Mission to come over and just have a relaxing day with the MBM family.  We had about 6 companions stay throughout the whole day and then 3 stop by after going to the Temple.  I got to see Sister Christensen, Brother W., and Sister Caldwell. We didn't realize it but the local parade route went right in front of our apartment.  So we sat on the garage roof and watched.  It was awesome.  It was just a nice relaxed day.”  

“This coming weekend will be different and crazy.  With a fireside in Marlborough on Saturday, and T-texts,  and another fireside on Sunday in Groton, there will be a lot of driving and running around. Yet being in Marlborough and Groton again... one of the best b-day presents the Lord could give me.”

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Week in the Missionary Life of Sister K.

Monday night we were able to have a lesson with a wonderful young woman who has been investigating the Church for about 3 years now.  She hasn't met with missionaries for quite some time but she came up to Sister Jordan on Sunday and asked to meet with us.  So we did.  She is really just working on coming to know that there is a God and what that means.  So far she's gone from no God to there's a source of light and love but not so sure that's God.  So we are working with her to help her learn that there is a God.  We had a really good discussion.

After the discussion, went home to prepare for the Belmont Sisters to come over.  We had exchanges!  Yay!

Tuesday, Sister Garcia and I went to a lesson with Sabrina to read the Book of Mormon with her while Sister Jordan and Sister Bauchanon when to a rehearsal for the musical fireside. Afterwards, Sister Garcia and I went back to the Belmont apartment to plan for our lessons.  We started planning with 3 appointments and by the end of planning all but one had cancelled. But that's okay, right?  Our lesson went well.
We went home for dinner and then tried to contact a less active and a potential.  Then just ended up walking around the Temple eating ice cream for half an hour.  It was a good night just to talk and get advice from someone who had to do the whole transition from out side the city to serving in the city too.

Wednesday, we met back up with the other sisters, debriefed about the experience and then went back to "normal" life.
That day we had a lesson with Felicia, who is all ready to be baptized, and then said goodbye because she's moving to Texas for the summer.  We will contact the missionaries in Texas so they can keep teaching her and help her make covenants.

Thursday we went to another practice for the musical fireside. Travel time was at least an hour each way.
After that we headed to Quincy Market to meet up with Sister Stevens, her parents and her little sister.  It was really good to see her again and to finally be able to meet her parents.  We spent maybe an hour with them before all of us had to leave to make our dinner appointments.
Friday was District meeting, then more practicing for the musical fireside. 

Saturday we met with Audrey.  She opened up to us about some fears she had with joining the Church and we think we laid them to rest.  But we asked her to pray to know if God is really there. We will see where that leads us.

At 3 pm, the APs picked us and 2 other companionships up and we headed up to Nashua, New Hampshire to set up for the fireside. It was a good fireside. A combination between music and testimonies.  A few non- members were there so that's awesome.  

Sunday was as crazy as usual.  But we were able to Skype home for Mother’s Day, so it was a good day.  

Wonder Twins

Sister Stevens returns to visit after her release. Standing with Sister Kanani in downtown Boston.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Digital Missionaries, Musical Firesides, & Trio to Duo

Trivia question:   What are digital missionaries?

Answer:   “A new thing that this area (the Massachusetts Boston Mission) is trying out.  Basically they are full time missionaries but they spend some of the time on the computer using the internet for good and spreading the Gospel through Facebook, blogs, and other social media.  A lot of the work is done by members but some just needs to be done by people who don't have jobs or school to worry about.”
 [There is an area in one of the chapels in the area set up for the digital missionaries from which to work.]
“We might have gotten a shout out in General Conference...from Elder Cook... I think.”

How awesome is that? 

Sundays are very hectic for Sister Kanani and her companions with almost 12 hours straight of meetings. One of her companions is in charge of the musical firesides throughout the Mission so this adds another dimension of missionary work not experienced before. The Mission President and his family are very musically talented so when there is a musical fireside scheduled in the Boston area, they are usually scheduled to be part of the program.

On Monday of this week, the missionaries were able to see and handle two first editions of the Book of Mormon at Harvard. Sister K. described it as “awesome.”

The week was mixed with teaching lessons to investigators, all of which were good lessons, and planning and organizing for musical firesides. Since Sister Jordan is in charge of putting them on all over the mission, there is a lot of time put into organizing and practicing.

On Thursday, news came that changes were being made due to medical issues with some of the sister missionaries. One of those changes was to be in Westerly, RI where Sister Kanani just came from. Although she has dreamed of serving in Boston and is happy to be there, a huge part of her heart is still in the Westerly / Waterford area.

Turned out that Sister Preszler would be transferred to Westerly to be with Sister Christensen. When asked if the trio was back to a duo, Sister K. responded: “Yup.  Just me and Sister Jordan taking on Boston. haha”

Sister Christensen drove her companion to Boston so the switch could be made with Sister Preszler and she was able to stay overnight. Since Sister Jordan was singing for a program for the Boston Stake on Saturday, all 4 Sisters got to help out.  
Sister Kanani: “And boy did we help out.  Maybe I'll be an event planner when I get home..... Who knows.”

Again, Sunday was hectic with 2 Sisters covering 4 Wards.  
During the middle of the day Sister Kanani got a text from Sister Christensen: <Guess who our RS president is?!> 
“It's totally Teddie (Pesch).  I love that woman so much and she'll be awesome in that calling.”  
Sister Kanani says that she is settling into the city a little bit better everyday.  Just trying to be happy where her feet are.  

Monday, April 29, 2013

First Week in Boston

What a crazy time the past couple of days have been!  

I thought I was going to be living at the Brighton apartment for a week or so before moving to a new one, however the we moved the day I got here. Thankfully the ZLs have a car and were helping us out.

We went on splits that night because we had a dinner appointment from the Charles River Ward and one from Longfellow Park 1 Ward.  I went with Sister Preszler to the LP1 and had fun getting to know the RS president. Before this transfer and the combining of Ward assignments, the Sisters had been assigned to the University & CR Wards so they don't know the LP Wards at all. So Sister Preszler was in the dark just as much as I was. 

Public transportation isn't that bad.  It's a lot of fun actually.  I just have a lot of memorizing to do so I can keep up with everyone else.

Friday we had District meeting. Since the Districts are so close here in Boston, District lunch turns into Zone lunch.  Sister Garcia is in my Zone so thankfully I was able to talk with her and have a conversation with someone I know.

Saturday we had a cleanup project.  I got to know some of the other missionaries a little more so that was good.
For dinner we went to Random House, which is an MIT dorm, and had dinner with two girls from the University Ward
Sunday was chaos.  So many meetings and things. We are at Church all day.  Not to mention we are constantly running around because there are other meetings we are supposed to be at during other Wards’ meeting times.  LIke at 12:30 we have 3 meetings we are supposed to be at.  We left the apartment at 8 am and didn't get back until after 9 pm because of a musical fireside that Sister Jordan was a part of over in Weston.  It was crazy running around. I don't know anyone and the Sisters only know half the people.  Luckily there are a pair of Elders in University, a pair of Elders in CRW and a pair of Elders over the LP wards.  So they helped us out.  

Random facts: 
Sister Jordan has been a backup singer for Gladys Knight. She is a great singer.
Ben Affleck owns a home across from the chapel where we meet.
The University Ward covers 50 universities and colleges in Boston.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

From RI to MA

Westerly, RIWe have started to really focus on teaching the stay-at-home moms the discussions, explaining that Sister Christensen really needs the practice.  This allows the members to feel needed and help in missionary work. It also helps us to get to know the members in their homes and builds the Spirit there while helping us with our teaching skills.  We have been able to do this with two families so far and it's been going great at both.  Both of the SAHM Sister members that we practice on will ask a hard question and then "yell" at Sister Christensen not to look at me and to answer.  It's been awesome to build her self confidence.
The last time we were over practice teaching Sister Pesch, her husband was supposed to be out of town. But he was there so we practice taught them both.  

Sunday, 14 April, was pretty exciting.  We met in the home of one of the members and our new little Branch was organized by President Hutchings, the Stake President. President Clayton Christensen, the counselor in our Mission Presidency was able to attend. Brother West was called as Branch President, which everyone had pretty much anticipated. Brother Parson (son of Leon Parson, the artist) as 1st counselor, and Brother Garrett as 2nd counselor.  Still no Relief Society or Primary presidents yet. We taught Sunday School and it appears that we will be the permanent Gospel Doctrine teachers for now. In Relief Society we had about 10 women, including us. It seemed well attended. 

It was awesome that when President Hutchings asked us about a woman that was attending Sacrament meeting, we were able to say, "An investigator!" So while things aren't hopping yet, we are now totally, almost, official and we have some plans to keep the working going.  It's great!

Monday, 15 April, it was Patriot’s Day in New England and the place we had hoped to visit was closed for the holiday. So we went off to Sister Rowan to help with some projects. We were working out in her yard when Sister Jones came up to me with phone in hand, "Sister, I think something's wrong." I looked at the texts from the Mission and it basically said "Everyone in the Cambridge and Boston Zones get home and tell your Zone leader when you're there" We all gathered around the computer as Sister Rowan read off what was happening at the Boston Marathon.  It was sobering.  Our thoughts were first to those that were affected by what was happening and then to the missionaries in the area. We realized that half the Zones in the Mission were in Boston to attend the Temple for the special sessions they hold for the missionaries on holidays. We were very relieved to know that all the missionaries were safe.

This week we helped at JonnyCakes (It's like DI. We help sort donations on Wednesdays and then help in the food pantry on Fridays), taught Sister Pesch, and served at the soup kitchen and had an epic lesson with Josh.  We have really tried to come at his lessons from a different angle because he has been taught the lessons so many times.We feel like he felt something and we hope he will act on it.  We are trying to bring his three goals of: A close relationship with God, a happy family, and peace and serenity at church, into every lesson so he is able see the personal application of the things we teach.  We are really trying to help him come closer to achieving his own goals.

On Friday, we were doing our service when we got the text to lockdown because of the events happening near Boston. Saturday, I learned that I am being transferred to Boston.

Boston, MA: Sister Kanani has gone from one of the smaller Branches in the Mission to serve in four very large Single Adult Wards. Her new apartment is in Watertown. (oh, the irony.) She is currently in a trio until the next transfer when 18 Sisters and 1 Elder arrive from the MTC. Then the 4 Wards will be split into sets of two with a set of Sister missionaries serving in each set. When the areas get split again there will be 4 sisters living in the apartment.  And no more car. They use the public transportation which is Sister Kanani says is pretty fun.

This last week the missionaries helped clean up the Charles River as part of Earth Day.  It was supposed to be last week but with the city shut down it was put off.  Sister Kanani said it was, “Just so I could be here and help!” 

She wrote that “Sunday was chaos with so many meetings. We left the apartment at 8 a.m. and didn't get back until after 9 p.m. It was extra late because of a musical fireside that Sister Jordan was a part of. It was crazy running around.”

“No matter what, the Gospel is still true and Jesus is our Savior and Redeemer and that is all that matters.”

Monday, April 1, 2013

Catching up with Sister K.

The Massachusetts Boston Mission held a Missionwide Sisters’ Training Meeting the end of January to prepare for the many Sister Missionaries arriving from the MTC. Transfers were announced and Sister Kanani was assigned to open a new area for Sisters in Westerly, RI. Westerly is part of the Narrangansett Ward and the Providence, Rhode Island Stake. The area covers the lower 2/3 part of Rhode Island. The chapel is approximately 45 miles away and the majority of the active Ward members live in areas nearer the chapel.

On Thursday, 7 February, she and her new companion (Sister C. from Salt Lake City) headed to their new area and new apartment. Within a few hours, they received instructions from Mission leaders that they had a few hours to prepare for Super Winter Storm Nemo, and that for the following 48 hours, were to remain in their apartment. Friday, the roads were closed statewide in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts in preparation for the huge winter storm. Fortunately, their apartment did not lose power. Church was canceled on Sunday. With no opportunity to meet with Ward members they were on their own in finding where everything was located. The following weekend they were again hit with major snow storms and Church was canceled. This made getting to know the members challenging. They were able to find a few members that lived close to them and began making contact with some of the less actives in the area. Many seemed to be satisfied being less active. The work is beginning to move forward, slowly but surely.

“The last week and a half has been more of the same, tracking down less-actives, trying to talk with them, getting shooed away. You know, the normal, haha. We did have some miracles. Saturday was a Stake youth activity. We had invited a daughter, who isn't baptized, of a less active to attend. And she did! She seemed to have fun and we've invited her to another activity. We are really hoping to help her come closer to God because she is kind of troubled and shows it in different ways. She seems to really like us and is willing to have us over. Her mom seems a little stand-offish but is always nice when we come. There is an active family, 2 sisters both in their 50s, that lives down the street and we are hoping to involve them and really fellowship this family.

Then, one of the members invited a coworker to learn more of the Church and she said yes! We taught her last night and the lesson was powerful. She said she was looking for a religion that filled a certain void she feels. Hello! Can we please continue to teach you? She had so many good questions and the Spirit was there in abundance. Because she lives a great distance away, we are going to follow up with the member and help him help her progress. Gently helping the Spirit move and help people. =} “ 

The next week:

“We have been in constant communication with the member friend in what and how to help the woman we taught last Tuesday. It's awesome. This is what it's supposed to be like with members, just a 5 minute check-in every other day to see how the member is & how to help their friends. This woman asked the member friend to tell us that she is keeping her promise to read the Book of Mormon. He is going to set up a second appointment with her for next week and invite her to General Conference. =}

Thursday we were able to meet with a Ward family. The husband isn't a member, and has taken the discussions on and off for the past 7 years. The wife is so adorable and loves the Gospel so much. We had a good lesson with them and found some goals that we are going to base lessons off of so they are more meaningful to him.

Friday we were able to help out with a less active member cleaning up their house so they can move. It was a good contact.

Saturday was the Mission Broadcast with Elder Ballard and was amazing! He talked to us a lot about becoming involved with the Wards and working with the members, which is something that is a huge focus of our mission already. It was just amazing and full of personal answers.

Members are key for missionary work. Please help out in anyway you can.”

And, last week:

“Yesterday was earth-shattering for almost all the Wards in the Providence, RI Stake. Out of the 12 units, only 2 didn't experience any boundary changes. There were two new Branches created. I'm now serving in a Branch! Our Branch is made up of two cities from the Narragansett Ward and two from the Groton Ward. We have about 4 active families from Narragansett moving to this Branch and about 10 from Groton. In all, I think we have about 50 less actives on the roles. It is a time of growth and learning, that is for sure. These changes were met with surprise and tears. We're hoping that as the dust settles that people will be more excited than frustrated and sad. Please pray for that and for the growth of this new little Branch.”

Monday, January 14, 2013

Progress, Testimony, and Challenge

We had 5 less actives attend Church on Sunday that have not been attending for a while.  It was amazing.  We have been working with 3 of them intermittently.  I guess a service project we did last week actually helped them and they are planning to come to FHE where another less active is coming and is going to bring his non-member girlfriend!  Sometimes the Lord gives blessings that are obvious
and easy to recognize. 

I was also asked to be Stephanie's escort when she goes through the Temple in a few months.  It has been amazing to see the change in her life as she has allowed Jesus Christ into her life.  When we first started teaching her she was moody, frustrated and not really sure why she was coming back to Church.  Now she is less moody, full of happiness, more patience, excited to start her own side business, and excited to learn more of the Gospel.  She is helping her mom who is struggling with things.  It is truly amazing the power of the Gospel.  The quote by President Boyd K. Packer rings true here "True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the Gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior." And it rings true
for anyone.

If we will pray for missionary experiences and act on them, our lives will improve exponentially.  We will have more revelation day to day, the Spirit will abide with us more fully, and our relationships will
improve dramatically.

I invite each one who reads this to sincerely pray for missionary experiences.  They might not be giving a Book of Mormon to someone or seeing a baptism in three weeks, but anything that can bring someone else closer to Christ.  It does not matter if they are member or non-member, active or less active.  Lift others around you and you are being a missionary.  Pray for these experiences and the joy that you feel about the Gospel and about life in general will rival that of Ammon's in Alma 26:11,13-14:  
"I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God. Behold, how many thousands of our brethren has he loosed from the pains of hell; and they are brought to sing redeeming love, and this because of the power of his word which is in us, therefore have we not great reason to rejoice? Yea, we have reason to praise
him forever, for he is the Most High God, and has loosed our brethren from the chains of hell." 

I know the joy that I have felt and the joy that I have seen in others’ lives because they are willing to lift
others.  And I know that you will feel it too. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Year, New Apartment, New News

Our New Year's was pretty boring.  We were still sick so we didn't do much. Just another day in the life of a missionary.
President Packard came for District Meeting and it was really good.  He gave some good insights and had some fun with us at lunch so it was good to have him there.

Sister Packard will be coming down either this Friday or next Friday to spend some time with us and to help us move.  The Mission found an apartment.  Luckily it's only 2.7 miles away from Pops and Sweetie.  We're pretty sure it's the one we suggested to the APs.  To move in, you have to have a background check.  It's going to be a good place to live.  It looks nice anyway.

The weather has been really warm here.  It's only dipped down into the teens at night.  We haven't gotten any more snow since last week and most of it is melting away.  It's been that warm.  I've only pulled out my nice wool jacket for one or two days at a time.  And even then by midday I don't need it.

With the news that we are moving out I don't know how the W's are doing.  Mostly broken-hearted, I think.  But last night I was talking with Sweetie and she told me very firmly that the only thing that is going to change is that we don't sleep there anymore.  That's fine with me! =}
Things are going well out here.  We are teaching Zaria. 

President told us some things to keep the Sisters guessing.  So first of all we only have 12 English-speaking Sisters because some going home with medical issues.  We have 15 English-speaking Sisters arriving in February.  This means that there will be some trainers double training or some Spanish sisters transferring to the English program, but that can't work because in March a lot of them go home.  

Then he told us that Nantucket, MA is breaking off of the Brewster Ward (or Branch, I'm not sure which) to become it's own Branch, with only 6 families.  And guess who gets to go there?  Sister Missionaries.  !!!   Then the Hermanas told us that Sister Packard told them that Rhode Island is going to be getting more Sisters.   And we know that President’s Ward is getting Sisters. AAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!  

I don't know where I'm going!!!!!!  I never do, but now there are just so many more variables. That's what's going on in my brain right now.  Just so you know.