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”