Hello everyone! You know how sometimes I say I don’t have a lot of time, well today might actually be one of those days. We are spending our P-Day in Boston! You know that city you read about in history books for years, well it actually exists and I’m in the Boston Public Library right now! It’s pretty cool, we took a ferry from Lynn to Boston this morning and have walked by the State Capitol, Boston Commons, the Public Gardens with the Duckling statue and the Swan Boats, and we have a whole day in front of us!
The last few days in New Haven were awesome. We kept running into members that I wanted to see before I left, and I have a bunch of pictures to send next week. We spent a lot of time with Sergio as well. He is doing well, and it’s hard for both of us that I am leaving, but if there’s anything we have learned over the past 4.5 months, it’s that God is in charge. We were able to go on a tour of Yale with him and actually ran into some returned missionaries who were visiting New Haven. The Sterling Library on the Yale campus is phenomenal. Every nook and cranny of the building is filled with intricate carvings and details. You could spend days looking at the stained glass windows in the main walkway and more days studying the stone ceilings. The entire campus is amazing and we were really grateful for Sergio to be the one who walked us through. He also came to soccer with us on Monday morning and the missionaries loved his story! Tuesday was spent finishing packing and seeing people. I am grateful for all of the amazing members and investigators in New Haven and was grateful to see many of them. Wednesday, we packed everything up, drove to Bridgeport, and headed out with Elder Bezzera and Sergio in his car. The long haul was pretty fun and we got to listen to the talk “Why 1830?”. It describes why 1830 was the year the church was restored and why not earlier. We said goodbye at the Weston Chapel, and I got to see Elder Shull, and then headed out to Lynnfield with Elder Peterson. Elder Peterson is pretty awesome! He is a little quieter, but is very calm. Whenever we tract, he isn’t nervous, and is very patient. I’m excited to work with him for his last transfer. He is from the Russia Vladivostok Mission and when they merged it with another mission, they had to send about 15 missionaries to the states. He has been here for 3 weeks, and knows the members pretty well. The work here in Lynnfield is really good. There have been a lot of baptisms and temple trips lately, and the ward is very solid and very big. The average attendance is around 140 or more, and it goes into the gym. There are a lot of youth and middle age families.
The first few days here, we have done a lot of tracting. Salem, MA, (like the Salem Witch Trials) is in our area, and so we knock a lot of doors there. Our area is very big, about 45 minutes from Salem to Woburn, and so we have to focus on a few cities a day. We have had dinner with a lot of the ward missionaries and we have correlation on Tuesday. There is an interesting mix here. In Massachusetts, there is an upper, middle, and lower class, but they are very mixed in. There really isn’t too much of a border in the city. You see people from all walks of life together, which is a really cool feeling.
I learned a principle of missionary work and life in general this week. When you plan, stick to the plan. The Spirit can direct you in specific ways, but if you plan in the morning, and then stick to it, the Lord can work with what you planned. We were tracting earlier this week, and it didn’t seem too promising. We were hearing a lot of no’s, but the thought came to keep going. Near the end of the time we had set apart for it, we found a lady who takes care of her autistic son and works with him full time. She is an amazing example of charity and putting it into practice, and we had a good, long conversation with her. Afterwards, we talked to 3 or 4 more groups or individuals and had solid conversations with them. It was amazing to see the Lord’s hand in our work and to be comforted by His hand.
Looking back on this year, it is amazing to see how far I’ve come. Starting on the Cape, barely knowing how to talk to people and to teach, being with Elder McIntyre in Hartford, purifying in New Haven and seeing refinement, and now here in Lynnfield, a bustling area with lots of potential. I have a testimony that the Lord puts us where He needs us, when He needs us. He knows our needs and He knows how we grow, and as we turn to Him, He will guide us in the paths where we will become more like Him. There have been really amazing times and really hard times, but when looking at the big picture, it all comes into focus. The Lord is in charge and we need to thank Him and be grateful to really see all He has done. A suggestion I got from Sergio, write down everything good God has done for you and then how it changed you. Bullet points work well….. just keep going until you feel sufficiently grateful for God’s grace in your life.
I know this church is true and that He is at the head. There is nothing that can change that. God’s work will go forward and as long as we are involved, we will be able to see His miracles our our life and the lives of others.