Hello Everyone! These past two weeks have been crazy! So last week, our MTC district parted and now I’m in the field! I’ll try to do a quick run down of the past week in the field!
So we flew in on Delta straight from SLC to Boston, which was really nice considering most missionaries have long layovers. Before that, we woke up at 3:30 in the morning and finished packing, which took a while and Elder Shull and I were actually a little late getting to the bus, but everything was good. We got on the bus and barely fit all the luggage in. Once we got to the TRAX station, we had to stuff all the luggage in in about under 5 minutes and considering we had about 100 pieces of luggage, that was a task. We had two teams of four at the front and back doors and did it! On the TRAX, Elder Shull and I read some blog articles my mom had sent me about when the Packards were the Mission Presidents in the MBM. They were good and inspirational! I wanted to share the gospel with someone, but the guy across from us worked in the State Capitol Building and basically told us that he was ready for work after his nap on the TRAX, so we left him alone.
The Sisters in our district started singing the musical number that we had sung on Sunday (Joseph Smith’s First Prayer to the tune of Come Thou Fount of Evry Blessing). They sang it softly, but the TRAX lady told them to be quiet because it was possibly a little distracting to other people……ANYWAY, we got to the North Temple Transfer Station and there were too many people, so not everyone got on the first FrontRunner Train. Elder Shull and I waited at the airport station for the second group, to make sure everyone got there. We got in, checked our bags, which for me were 46 lbs and 51 lbs (but they allow up to 52 lbs!), and then we headed through security and off to the gate! We made it to the gate and then said goodbye to the Baltimore Maryland Sisters from our District, Sister Slack, Sister Freeman and Sister Pickett.
Elder Shull and I then went to get McDonalds and he got his first caffeine in three weeks, which was pretty exciting to watch! I called Mom before we got McDonalds, and then again after we got our food and headed back to the gate. It was great to talk to her, but of course a little tough. I’m so pumped that I can email every week though!
After I was done talking, I let Elder Fochtman and Elder Brockbank use it for a bit. Elder Evans and Fochtman sat next to me on the plane and some other Sisters plus Elder Gutierrez sat across the aisle as well as an LDS family behind us, so I didn’t have much opportunity to share the gospel. We got off and all congregated together and then headed to baggage claim.
The Boston airport was pretty nice and there were lots of ads for the JFK Library or Museum. We went to grab our luggage and one of the Elders said,”Have you said Hi to President yet?”. I didn’t even know he was there, but then I looked back and there he was! So I said hi and he was even better than I imagined! His wife was also there and she is so loving and is an amazing woman. We got in vans and were about to head out when Sister Miller went over to a man and gave him a pass along card. I didn’t expect it at all, but it made me want to love the people so much more! Her example has stayed with me and has pushed me to get to know the people better!
We got to the mission home and took the (traditional)picture on the steps, which was fun! Most of our time that night was just hanging out or being instructed/introduced by President and Sister Miller. I was able to be interviewed by him, and he is just the best Mission President I could have asked for. He is really loving, truly cares about each missionary and has a vested interest in each of us. He taught me a little bit about how to talk to people and that has been one of the most important skills in the field so far. We slept in the APs apartment that night, and Elder Hilbig borrowed my alarm clock, but didn’t get it back to me, so now I don’t have an alarm clock (MOM NOTE: I sent Matthew another alarm clock today) ……Meeting the Algers was really fun! They are an awesome couple and I hope to be able to see them at the Mission Office! We also went street contacting at a T Station the second day. I was really strengthened because beforehand I had been really nervous about doing it, but we got out, and I had this burst of confidence! It was so easy and a lot of fun! The meeting (MOM NOTE: it is called the FORCES UNITE MEETING) that night came, and we met our trainers………My trainer’s name is Elder Woodward! He is so awesome! He is a really hard worker and loves the gospel! He is also really good at talking to people on the street, which is good for me since all of that confidence left once I got to my area.
Speaking of which, my first area is……………….CAPE COD! I’m serving in the Cape Cod Branch, which is most of the Lower Cape. Suffice it to say, everything is going well! The members are really awesome and really rely on the missionaries. In most wards around the church in the West, the missionaries are important, but not central. Here where everyone comes from different backgrounds and the ward/branch is small, the missionaries are the common thread. They feed us well and are really concerned for our welfare and the welfare of those we teach. I’m already getting to know most of them, which is great, and it is only my first week!
They asked me to say the opening prayer in Sacrament meeting, and so I said ok. Then the Branch president got up and announced that I would be introducing myself and bearing my testimony! I did so and then sat down.
We had a confirmation this week, which was really cool. I was almost asked to confirm her, Barbara, whom I had only met once, but that is a story for next time. I didn’t end up doing that, but they did ask me to play piano in priesthood, which I call a continuation of my father playing the organ his first week in the field (Tradition! Tradition! -Fiddler on the Roof). They also asked me to give the closing prayer in Young Mens, so I was very involved……
It is tough at times, very tiring, but it is so worth it. The message of the restored Gospel and of Jesus Christ is so amazing and life changing. Jesus Christ is our Redeemer and Savior and I want to be more like Him everyday! God loves each of us and his love is the center point from which everything comes. I am so happy to be out here and have so much hope for the work here. Elder Woodward has been out here on Cape Cod for 6.5 months (MOM NOTE: E. Woodward has been on his mission for 12 months overall) and I am fresh in the area, so his expertise mixed with my vigor, ….and he already has vigor,….make us a great companionship. More to come, but for now, stay true to 2 Timothy 4:7. Look it up!
From Cape Cod,
This letter below is from Elder Woodward and it shares more details of their first week together! Thanks to Dorcas Adams Woodward for permission to share applicable parts from her son’s letters on Matthew’s blog….
This week has been wonderful to see the miracles that God has placed in our path and to see the hand of God helping us in everything that we do! Elder Davidson left on Wednesday to go up to Arlington in Cambridge. I definitely learned a lot from Elder Davidson, and about caring for the people that we have under our stewardship. He was able to show such great love for everyone and to relate to everyone so well. I am definitely trying to become more charitable and to become more who my potential is to become.
On Wednesday I was able to meet my new companion Elder Davis! He is such a great missionary! He has been prepared so well to come out and is so excited about the work! I am so grateful for such a wonderful opportunity to be with him and to already be learning so much from him. As we have gone out already and started talking to people I have been excited to see what fruit the rest of the transfer will bring. On Wednesday evening, we had a dinner appointment with a Brazilian family, which was really cool, and it was hard for us to understand each other, but we got to learn some Portuguese!
We had some good time on Thursday to talk to go out and street contact and to try and find the people that would be prepared to receive our message. Unfortunately no one was interested, but we had some good conversations, we tried our best, and we learned more things on which we can improve! We had a wonderful weekly planning session, and we were able to talk a lot about how things were going and I hope that everything will only continue to get better from here on out! Friday we had a good district meeting and then we were able to bike over to Barbara’s to have a lesson with her and to see how she was doing. She was really excited for her confirmation on Sunday and she told us that her husband would be attending again! We were really excited about that. We had a good lesson about missionary work and she is excited to continue to share what she knows with the people around her! After that we biked back, and we were biking against a headwind so it was a lot harder to get back, plus there were a lot more uphills that we had to bike up again. When I looked back every time, Elder Davis was really close to my tail, so I thought he wanted me to speed up, so I went faster, but when we got back to the apartment, he said he was really tired and he felt like he was going too slow, but that his faith had been built so that was really cool! On the way back from biking, we also got to talk to a Jehovah’s Witness, which was definitely interesting, but it was cool to see her devotion to God. We ended up leaving each other with stuff to read, haha. We stopped by a media referral again, and we met a man named Leroy that we will try to meet with again.
Saturday we were able to visit some less-actives, and to help a family out with service, and enjoy the beautiful day. It was really humid though so it was definitely interesting!
Sunday we got to attend church, and it was awesome because Barbara got confirmed! She was so excited and after the confirmation she just couldn’t stop talking about how wonderful getting the gift of the Holy Ghost had felt! It was the happiest that I think i’ve ever seen her. It was a beautiful meeting and just made the rest of the day wonderful! We stopped by a bunch more people and when we met with our Branch Mission Leader, he had a great idea since both of us love music, to have a branch musical fireside night, to invite all the non-members that people knew, so we are really excited about that as well!
Since I have been coming up on my year mark, the thought of the time that I have left has been weighing heavily on my mind, and I am realizing how little time I have to be a full time missionary, and even further, the small amount of time that we have to live our lives here. I have been learning so much about how to try to make the most of the time that I have left, and how to become both the person and the missionary that I want to be, and I have learned it comes by the question that Thomas S. Monson stated, “Am I closer to the Savior than I was yesterday? Will I be closer yet tomorrow? Do I have the courage to change for the better?” I hope that I will continue to grow closer to the Savior and that we will be able to invite those around us to always grow closer to the Savior. I love you all and I’m so grateful for all of your prayers! I hope you have a great week!