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.”