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.”