April 16, 2018
Hello everyone!!! Well, weirdly enough, I have about 9 1/2 weeks left on my mission, so this will be my 10th to last letter. I know! I never thought it would come to this…time keeps moving…The most recent news is obvious by the title: I have finally landed in the land of….Southington. There is a back story to this.
My first area was in Massachusetts on Cape Cod. My next two areas were both in Connecticut: Hartford and New Haven. They are both fairly close, but are separated by a ward: the Southington Ward. After serving in Massachusetts again (in Lynnfield, MA), I came back down to Connecticut to serve in Waterbury, which is interestingly close to both Hartford and New Haven. SO, now after circling this area like a hawk, I’m finally here! It is really exciting! The ward is great and I’m companions with Elder Jacob Benson, who also served in Lynnfield before I was there. We are excited to work hard and reactivate a lot of people.
NOTE: (The blue dot is Southington)
It is really cool, right?
So here is the rundown on Southington so far:
-Transfer Goals: Elder Benson is SUPER organized, so we sat down, talked about the area, the ward, what we hope to accomplish and set some goals for the next six weeks. It has made ALL of the difference. We know where we are going and how to get there!
-Prepare Every Needful Thing: Before you get started on a big journey, you need to prepare. We had to get our car registered (kind of important) so we drove to Elder Benson’s previous area of Springfield to do so. Having priorities of what needs to be done helps the work to become much more smooth.
-Rich: Rich was just baptized last week. He used to live in Michigan but came to Connecticut for work with one of his long time friends, who is a member of the church. After coming to church for two weeks, he texted his member friend and said,”I want to be baptized”. His friend, Brother Henrikson, about fell over in his chair! Well, over the past month Rich has been taught and is now a great member. I met him on Thursday night and was completely blown away. He has an amazing understanding of the doctrine and soaks it all in! He said,”The church has to be true because it has prophets and apostles…. it just makes sense”. Rich is the best.
-President Nelson: No, he didn’t stop in CT on his Global Ministry Tour, but the Mouritsons, the senior couple in our District, had us over to their apartment for District Meeting to watch a documentary on the life and ministry of President Russell M. Nelson, the newly set apart President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know that he is our living Prophet on the earth today. He exemplifies the Savior, and always has. I loved the story of when he and another apostle went to ask for the church to be recognized in Russia. They were told to have 20 adult members willing to identify themselves who all lived in one area. Over the next six years, the Lord prepared people who learned about the gospel in other countries, and then came back to live in what is now St. Petersburg. President Nelson also is a musician, has perfect pitch, and can play the piano by ear (a well guarded secret, or at least it was…). He is an amazing man that brings decades of experience and maturity in receiving and acting on revelation for the Lord. Even as the world is getting worse and worse, God has prepared someone to lead us at this time. I know that God speaks through Him and that as we hearken to his counsel, we will experience safety and peace in these troubled times.
-Service with the Henriksons: We had a great time in the sun on Saturday. Brother Henrikson led out a service project to mulch a community center in Southington. It was so much fun! Service is one of God’s great principles. The blessings of serving others are innumerable! Help to others, strengthened relationships, joy, peace, built muscles, more of the Spirit, and even more! We got to know their family really well and it helped us to build a good foundation for the rest of the transfer. You can find so many ways to serve, and service in the home is most honorable. Charity is service+love. It is also a gift from God and we need to work for it.
-Geneva: The Freemans are another family in the ward that we helped this week. The world is so small…..and this is just another example of that. Sister Freeman is originally from France, and so I was wondering how Brother Freeman had learned French (meeting his wife, a mission, DuoLingo). Turns out, he served in the Switzerland Geneva Mission! That is the same mission that my mom served in! Small world…Sister Freeman might also know some people that my mom met in Geneva. We had a great time there and helped them to till and compost a patch of land. Again, service is the best!
-Rich Again!: Rich received the Aaronic Priesthood this Sunday! He is excited to serve and to share his new found faith. We as the missionaries got to participate and the Spirit was there. I know that this church is true 🙂
-Facebook: Elder Benson is currently next to me and was scrolling through his Facebook just a minute ago. I glanced over and saw the name of a member in Waterbury. He expressed (on a page filled with members of the church) that he had gone through some struggles, but because of General Conference and President Nelson’s words, he was filled with strength and wants to come back to church! The crazy thing is that before I left Waterbury , Elder Smith and I were looking on Facebook one morning and found his profile. We felt like he had enough interest in the church to stop by and help him come back. Eventually we found him and he wanted to meet, but he backed out at the last minute because he didn’t feel ready. The Lord has been preparing him and prepared us with this technology to be able to meet with him.
I know that God is in charge of this work and that as we act in faith with goals and plans to move forward, that we can achieve more of our potential than we thought possible!