August 29, 2016
So a good amount of things happened this week and I’ll just roll right on!
Monday was Zone P-Day, which was fun! Most of the Zone went up to the West Bridgewater building and we played other companionships (we played Playmouth, Elder Turley and Elder Evans) in Ladder Golf (Elder Woodward killed it!), Cornhole (I did pretty well, but we lost), Pick-up-the-marbles-in-the- pool-with-your-toes-and-hop- across-the-hot-asphalt-and- drop-them-in-the-bucket (we won that!), and then Horseshoes (we lost that). So we were tied 2-2, but they kinda just left it at that…Then more people showed up, so we played ultimate frisbee in the church parking lot, which was fun, but dangerous as you can imagine.
Elder Pulsipher tried to slow down from running at one point and had to roll to avoid falling down, I landed my foot sideways a little bit and tripped at one point, but I just scraped my hands a little bit and my foot feels better. Overall it was a lot of fun, but still a little scary.
We ended with a race to see who could get their car cleaned for Zone Conference the fastest, but we had cleaned our car the morning and had gotten a ride with the Southcoast STL (Sister Training Leaders) that morning, so we helped wash the Zone Leader’s car (Elder Pulsipher and Elder Sanabria). We finished the fastest and in turn, won an extra 50 miles! But we are still going over our miles this month…..We also had dinner with the Spearins, which was a lot of fun!
Tuesday we had a Web-ex in the morning where they talked about Priesthood Ordinances individually and instructed us on how to perform each of them and how to prepare investigators and recent converts for these ordinances. President Miller testified that as we serve with all our heart, might, mind and strength, we seek to be obedient and seek the spirit, we will be able to speak with power and with the Spirit.
Sister Miller testified that we don’t have to know everything, but that we just need to have trust in God. She loves how we can continue to grow and learn in the Gospel and it isn’t a stagnant religion. She also testified that our faith can increase by trusting in Him and acting in the way that he would want us to. I’m so grateful for them and their strong testimonies in the Gospel and their examples to me.
Later, we had lunch with Br. Peters who is a member in our branch. He isn’t able to come to church, but we’re working on getting him a ride. We usually bring the sacrament to him each week, but he wanted to have us for lunch, so we went to Casa Vallerta, which is great mexican restaurant just down Main Street and off to the left. Great food, and we were able to enjoy the outdoors with Br. Peters! I also met Gordon Woolfrey, who is a Less Active out here. We had a long conversation with him about his motorcycles and about charity and how we can be charitable. He’s a cool guy and it was good to meet him!
Then we had dinner with Sister McLean, who is basically our mom, at Tavernas, and I had to order quickly, so I got the PB&J. Now keep in mind…….this is a burger…….A bacon cheeseburger, with Peanut Butter and Jelly……it…….was……. .SO GOOD!!!! I have never been able to finish restaurant burgers in one sitting, but the Peanut Butter added some creaminess and the jelly added enough sweet that it softened the blow the burger had to the full-ness-meter in my stomach. It was actually one of the best burgers I have ever had. Seriously, try it sometime. From top to bottom, Bun, Jelly, Bacon, Cheese, Burger, Peanut Butter (it was smooth, but I guess you can do chunky?), Bun. So good.
Wednesday, we had Zone Conference. It was really awesome to go up to Warwick and be able to learn from the Mission leaders. I don’t have my notes with me, so I’ll talk more about it next week, but what stood out to me was a few things.
President White, a member of the Mission Presidency, and the spitting image of Graye Wasden, one of my BYU roomates, just thirty years older. He talked about the power of testimony and what makes up a testimony. He was somewhat emotional while talking about the power that it brings and while he was bearing his testimony, I could tell how much it meant to him.
President White told a story about a missionary who couldn’t teach well, so his companion would teach and he would testify, and they baptized someone, and the new member came up to the companionship after a while and said,”I didn’t get baptized because of what you taught, but because of how I felt when your companion testified.” When in doubt, we need to testify, and it will bring the Spirit.
I was also able to meet a lot of other missionaries and later President Miller taught based on a video with Elder Bednar. A young boy asked him a question,”If we stop reading our scriptures, how can we get back to reading them again?” Elder Bednar used the rug in front of them. The edge of the rug was the line between Satan and Jesus Christ. Each good thing he did was a small step away from the line, and each bad thing was a step towards the line. He eventually got pretty far away from the line, but then stopped doing the good things, which were small steps facing towards Satan’s side. Once he crossed the line, the sin right in front of him didn’t seem to big, so it was easier to take more steps in, but when he tried to get back, Elder Bednar put his arms around him and wouldn’t let him go back. You get the idea, but it was a masterful analogy about how the small things matter most. The more we do small and simple things, the more we stay on the side of the Savior. It’s not as much about the big things as it is the small ones.
After Zone Conference, we saw Sister Fueyo, who we visited with Br. Girts a few weeks ago. She came to church Sunday and was super excited to be there! She didn’t know where the church is, but had been talking to Sister Bassett, our other mom in the branch, who sent us to her. She is also doing missionary work, so we’re excited to keep visiting her!
Thursday we visited the Library, and Donna, the lady we are teaching was super nervous about Elder Woodward possibly leaving, since Transfer Texts were on Friday, but we told here that we would let her know if anything happened.
Later, we biked up to the church and Sister Emerson picked us up to bring us on base. We had dinner at their house and she said that she got a recipe from Sister Spearin…. who had gotten it from Elder Woodward’s mom …. and she realized she was cooking for us, so she decided to make it. It just so happened that it was Elder Woodward’s favorite meal, Cornish Pasties! They are super good and there is a cool history behind them, look it up!
Elder Woodward practiced playing the cello at their house and decided on a song to play for Sacrament meeting, with Sister Emerson accompanying him on the piano. It was getting a little late, so Sister Emerson asked if she could give us a ride home, which was a tender mercy since it would have taken us a long time to get back home. We love the Emersons!
Friday, we got T-texts. Elder Woodward was called to be a Zone Leader in Norwich, CT, which is awesome, but it was hard on us. We have really bonded these past six weeks, and there is so much potential building up in this area, it would have been great for him to stay another transfer, but the Lord has something else in mind. It’ll be tough for him to leave, but he’ll do great!
We had district meeting later and had our last district lunch. Elder Palmer is going home (Martha’s Vineyard), Elder Woodward is leaving (Cape Cod), and Sister Lewis is going to be a STL in the Boston First Ward (Brewster). Elder Turley will be our new District Leader. I love my district and am so grateful for all the time we have spent together. They are all amazing and I love each of them so much. It’ll be hard to part ways for now, but I know that I’ll see them again!
Saturday we practiced with Sister Emerson in the chapel, went to go visit Brother Woolfrey for a bit, tried to visit a couple Less Active members, but they all fell through, but then were able to have dinner with the Bassetts. They had a less active friend over, so it was cool to meet with her, and Sister Bassett convinced her to come to Relief Society on Sunday and to the Linger Longer that afternoon. Sister Bassett is such an example of member missionary work and organization. She is friends with so many people who are less active and helps them to come back to church. She is just genuinely friendly and is bold and direct enough to get them moving forward. Brother Bassett is so much fun too! We have fun joking about bridges with Elder Woodward all the time 🙂 It’s an inside joke 😉
Sunday was great! Elder Woodward performed in Sacrament Meeting and Sister Spearing gave a great talk on forgiveness. The High Councilor talked about a talk in conference about forgiveness and kindness and how they go together. It was a really uplifting meeting! We had the Linger Longer after church and saw lots of people.
We stopped by Br. Woolfrey’s house for a picture in front of his flagpole and asked about his POW-MIA flag. Then Elder Woodward went up to Sagamore Beach to say goodbye to Sister Phipps, whom we taught her grandson the first lesson and he was super excited. Her son, who is also super cool, was there and we talked to them about their trip up to the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple Open House!
Then we went to the Spearins for dinner. We had scallops and haddock and lobster, which was interesting for me since I haven’t had a lot of seafood growing up, so it was a new experience, but super fun!
This week has been busy, but we were able to see lots of people and have lots of great experiences. It’ll be hard on me for Elder Woodward to leave, but he’ll do so great in Connecticut.
A last note. This week, we have been studying the Savior’s life a lot. Through listening to Lamb of God, by Rob Gardner and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, which is by far one of the best pieces of music about the Savior I have ever heard, and studying Jesus the Christ, I have come to a better knowledge of who the Savior was and how we can be whole through him.
I compare my experience here to that of Peter. Peter was very quick to make decisions and to express views. He would always act out of instinct, and then the Savior would lovingly rebuke him. For example, when the Judas and his entourage came to take the Savior away, Peter took out his sword and took a poorly aimed swing at a guard’s head and chopped off his ear. The Savior told him to sheath his sword and that His Father had given Him a cup to drink and that he intended to drink it. He also explained to Peter that if He wanted to, He could call down more than 12 legions of angels to save Him.
Being a new missionary, I have been excited to do the work and sometime my instincts kick in. We will be talking about someone, either a less active member or an investigator and I will say,”Well, let’s just call or text them and do such and such”, just jumping on the situation. Elder Woodward will then step in and explain that it may not be the best option because we need to keep certain things in mind, because maybe they get easily offended or we have been calling them a lot, or they have had difficult experiences with religion before. It has helped to realize that while they may just seem like names, they are real people who have real difficulties and who we need to be mindful of.
I love Elder Woodward and all he has done for my growth in the gospel and as a missionary. He will always be special in my heart and I thank him for the time he has spent being my trainer. Christ lives, the Book of Mormon is true, and you can know this too. Pray and ask if it is true. I trust you will get an answer. I love you all!
Keep on Keepin’ on,
Elder Matthew Davis
Elder Davis and Elder Woodward with the Spearins at Hibachi Restaurant