Elder Peterson’s last full week, planning Justin’s baptism and some Russian contacts… in Boston, broken water heater, wasp nest and training another missionary this next transfer!

July 31, 2017
Monday was great!  We met up with the Lynn Elders, Elder Black and Elder Curzon and helped them with groceries.  After lunch at their apartment and playing on their air hockey table they picked up off the side of the road, we drove to a EuropeanDeli / RussianGrocery Store.  Elder Peterson said that the first couple who walked out was very Russian. As we lasked inside, you could definitely tell it was foreign.   A U-shaped meat counter in the center, small packed shelves with slavic writing and overpriced items because they had been imported.  Elder Peterson got about 5 packages of buckwheat, which is a popular grain that is like a mix between whole wheat rice and couscous, candy that is a granualized caramel (YUM) and a ton of other small familiar Russian goods.  We also found some non-alcholic beer that he said tastes like carbonated bread.  YUCK! He spoke to a few people in Russian and I could tell that he really enjoyed himself!  It was raining quite hard, but we decided to try to go Salem Willows Park.  When we got there, we found the Zone Leaders splashing in puddles with their Corolla and having a ball!  We decided it was too wet and made the decision to head to the chapel.  The Zone Leaders (Elder Carter and Elder Nagata) the Lynn Elders (Elder Black and Elder Curzon), us and the Revere STLs (Hermana Munoz and Hermana McCune) played chair soccer for about 2 hours.  I also got a basketball from Walmart for $5, so we played with that, too!  After a little emailing, we had dinner and headed out to do stop bys with former investigators.

Tuesday morning we went to see a Russian member in the ward named Sergei. We were able to have a short lesson with him, but we talked to his non-member wife about how to increase desire, especially in someone who doesn’t want to change. It is a difficult question to answer, but it made us think. Sergei also gave us a ton of Russian food, and Elder Peterson was very happy! We had a follow up lesson with Justin on all of the commandments, and he remembered basically everything! After some changes, we have decided to hold Justin’s baptism on August 1, 2017, the day before Elder Peterson heads home! Gustavo, a recent convert will baptize him, Elder Peterson will be the pianist and play a musical number, and I will give a talk on the Holy Ghost. It will be held after the youth activities, and we are so excited for him! That evening, we had correlation with the ward missionaries and Br. Horta, our ward mission leader.

Wednesday was busy. We had apartment inspections by Elder and Sister Keyes in the morning. Thankfully the apartment was already pretty clean, but they said that it is probably the cleanest apartment in the mission. Score! Thank you to Elder Tilly and Elder Peterson, cleaning connoisseurs! To start working, we headed out to Woburn and knocked for a bit. Not much happened, but the previous week, we had decided to go to a Former Investigators house. Turned out, a Belarussian man lived there with his family! He wasn’t too interested, but it showed us that the Lord was invested in us, so we decided to knock around and try to find people to teach. We came away with a few potentials, and then had an appointment with a Former Investigator named John. It wasn’t too eventful, but he said he wanted to come to church on Sunday, and that he would get in contact with the member who had helped him out before. After driving around a bit, we went by a Less Active family that we had stopped by before, the family that was at the end of the street that we had knocked and right next to the Haitian family. We knocked a few times, and this time, after 2 other times we had tried, we got an answer! It was the same family, and they have been on and off for the past few years, but they have member contacts, and we might be able to work through them to help the Hatian family mow their lawn, which would help with fellowshipping. It was a pretty amazing miracle, especially since we weren’t even sure if they still lived there.
For dinner, we went to the Perrinos’ home. They are a younger family and Br. Perrino works as a teacher during the school year and at a summer camp over the summer. For an interesting twist, Sister Perrino asked if we would like some fruit vinegar soda! We had no idea what to expect, but went forward anyway! It is a new thing across the country, but while it is vinegar based, when you mix the fruit vinegar syrup with seltzer water (which is also huge out here), it tastes mostly like fruit soda with a little tang at the end. It was pretty good!
We also stopped by the Hahns’ house to follow up on sharing the Plan of Salvation with others. They were telling us all of these awesome ways they had invited people in different ways, and they were all very simple and friendly! Their daughter asked a girl who was saying the Lord’s name in vain to stop and say something else 🙂 Simple things like that, but after our follow up, they told us that Br. Hahn needed to head out to help their home teaching family, a family that we had been trying to get in contact with for weeks! The Lord strikes again! They were working in their attic and getting it ready to be sprayed with insulation, and after we helped get everything out, we stopped for gas on the way home. As we were filling up, we got to talking with a guy who worked there. He started talking about politics, but we got on the subject of religion, and he said that it is so hard that all churches are just run by man and not God. SEGWAY!! He was pretty interested in the idea of our message, and hopefully we can follow up with him sometime this week. Obedience in the morning and Diligence in the afternoon brings miracles in the Evening!
Thursday was Weekly Planning, but our water heater was being replaced and we had a nest of wasps outside on our deck, so planning got sidetracked a little. After service at the Farmer’s Market and getting some fresh fruit for our help, we finished pretty much most of it and had a good last planning session for Elder Peterson. That night we had dinner with the Kemer’s and it turned out to be the One Year anniversary of their sealing!! What a crazy coincidence, especially since our message was the Plan of Salvation. We had a great time with them, and they gave us another good question. How do you share the gospel with a family that doesn’t even like religion? Food for thought. They also had a book called Thing Explainer that takes complicated processes and breaks them down very basically. Check it out!
Friday was District Meeting. The biggest thing that came from Friday was Transfer Texts. I will be staying in Lynnfield, and I’ll be training a new missionary this next transfer! There are almost 30 missionaries coming in this transfer and about the same number are leaving. I have no idea who he will be, but I’ll let you know next week. After District Meeting, we headed over to Stoneham to a restaurant called “Three Amigos”, which is owned by a LA member who feeds the missionaries for free. Pretty amazing, and the food is great.

Saturday was good!  We got a call from Br. Horta, the Ward Mission Leader, this morning and he told us that he was on top of the program for Justin’s Baptism!  He took care of most of it after we got the names from Justin and Sister Ruiz.  That was a huge burden off of our shoulders.  We were able to check the adjustments for transfers at the computers and we saw all of the new missionaries on the Missionary Portal.  After some computer work, we headed over to Peabody for stop bys before meeting with Justin.  On the way to a Less Active’s house, we stopped on the bottom floor and talked to a lady taking a smoke break.  Ther first thing we said was, “We know God is our Heavenly Father and that He loves us!”  The lady kind of laughed and said something along the lines of, “You might think I am crazy but I needed to hear that!”  She expressed that she was looking for peace for more than one facet of her life.  We were able to share the Book of Mormon with her and read 2 Nephi 32:3.  She replied that we really made her day even though people think we are crazy.  The funny thing is that they won’t even talk to us to see if we are crazy of not!!! 😐  Got put her in our path so we could talk to her and strengthen her in a time when she needed it the most.  She also said that she had just come out for a short smoke break and that we had caught her and just the righ time.  Justin’s lesson went well.  We talked about Tithing and Fast Offerings and went over the Baptismal Interview Questions.   He is getting ready for his Baptismal Interview and we are excited for him to progress, even after he is baptized.  Our dinner was with the Evans family, who is from Arizona!  They both went to University of Arizona for school and then moved out here 5 years ago.  Brother Evans is one of the Young Men’s Leaders and just has an amaing way of connecting with the youth, kind of like Brother Thompson back home.  Their whole family was a hoot and we had a really fun lesson with them.

Sunday was great!  It was Elder Peterson’s last Sunday, so it needed to be special.  After picking up the Lynn Elders, so they could be there for Justin’s Baptismal Interview, we headed to the church.  We were blessed with the opportunity to bless and pass the sacrament!  Brother and Sister Titus came this week and we sat by them, Justin came, and John, a former investigator, asked Brother Shapiro to give him a ride and he came to church as well!  Elder Peterson bore his testimony on how he knows that the Lord is aware of us.  he has been an amazing example to me of a great missionary and to hear him distill all of his experiences into a testimony was a privilege.  Elder Peterson loves everyone and doesn’t put himself up at all. He is also super patient. I love him for all of the work that he has done here and for all of the help he has given me. At church, Elder Gray, my old Zone Leader in New Haven, came to the Lynn Branch, and we got to talk to him. He actually has a sister and brother who are from Russia, so Elder Peterson had some fun, too. Our dinner was with the Rowe’s and we shared the LOVE picture plan of salvation!  They loved it and it was probably the second best we have taught it together in this entire transfer! The more you practice, the easier it gets. They also had some homemade Passion Fruit Ice Cream that was super yummy! We met with Justin after, and today, he had his Baptismal Interview. He’ll be getting baptized on Tuesday, so stay tuned for pics! He is great and can’t wait. I love you all! Make missionary work a joy and I’ll talk to you next week!
-Elder Davis
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