Dec 21, 2012

October 15, 2012 Letter

This week has been super duper Great!!!!  It is totally blowing my mind that my dear friend Courtney comes home in less than 2 weeks!! 

Reasons why this week was super duper great:

  1. We got to go to a fireside for single adults in Boston last night where Elder and Sister Anderson (of the 12) were the main speakers.  It was very uplifting and I learned lots of things.  The biggest thing I learned is that it is so important to look outside ourselves as we seek revelation.  When we seek for revelation for how to help and bless the lives of others we will be blessed with revelation more quickly and more frequently
  2. I got to see Maria Rudas and Carolina Soto from the Lynn branch last night!  Carolina's mom, Bianela (our investigator who has been investigating for 4 years) is getting baptized this weekend!  Woohoo!
  3. We had lessons with all of our Chinese investigators this week - with members too :)  It makes a lot of a difference to have members there to testify about their recent life experiences that help them to know the truthfulness of the gospel.  Our investigators are all so great - they have sincere desires to study out the things we teach.  The problems have been that they now need to feel that what they are learning about is true.  Alma 32 they need to have that particle of faith and a desire to believe.  It takes so much patience.  Hopefully it's something they are all willing to exercise in order to receive their answers
  4. Forgot to mention above - Alex, Romney campaign investigator, came with her friend Jake to the fireside last night.  It was awesome!  We even drug her into the hallway just as Elder Anderson was leaving so we all got to shake his hand!  Woot!  She was kind of embarrassed but it was really cool - he complimented her smile and said she has a great spirit about her.  
  5. We've been visiting the AP's investigator, Theresa (who reminds me a ton of Lynn Theresa...) because they're super busy and she's in a nursing home pretty close to where we live.  We've just been reading the Book of Mormon with her but this week decided to teach lesson 3 about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and felt prompted to commit her to quit smoking and extend a baptismal date.  She's gone cold turkey - going strong!  and has a baptismal date for November 11th.  Awesome!
  6. We have had lots of homemade food adventures - Sister Khaled is very handy in the kitchen.  She can use anything to throw together a pretty good meal.  She made us some delicious vegetable soup and some pasta with veggies.  Sister Williams got creative and made us a Kish and I got to make some Tostadas.  Luckily this week we are having lots of member dinners :)
  7. We witnessed a miracle - Sister Williams had misplaced her planner so we called around to the members we were with the night before to see if we'd left it in a car or in someone's apartment.  We had left a message on Tin-tin's phone.  She called us back without listening to the message and told us she'd found something of ours.  She was walking down her street and saw something in the gutter and almost passed it but did a double take.  It was her planner!!  It was her planner from two transfers ago so she mostly just needed her T-pass (subway/bus pass) out of it.  It was a total miracle.  Minutes before she called us Sister Khaled told us to kneel down and pray.  Once it had been located we knelt down and offered a prayer of gratitude.  
  8. Sister Edwards had her birthday on Tuesday - it was lots of fun decorating, watching her open presents, and making a cake and eating a cake...all the normal birthday goodness.  We had a great time!
  9. Sister Khaled says the cutest things!  My very favorite phrase of hers is "keep calm!"  which she uses when anyone gets excited or jumpy or antsy about something.  I love that girl.  I seriously have the two best companions ever
  10. Today I had a croissant from a bakery near our apartment - life is good!
I love you all.  Keep the faith!
Sister Palmer

October 22, 2012 Letter

Hey there fam!! 

GUESS WHAT?!?!  BIANELA GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!! Sadly I wasn't able to go because we had some investigator lessons here yesterday afternoon, but the Lynn Sisters let me know that Bianela, after 4 or 5 years of semi-investigating and lots of procrastinating, was getting baptized!!  Yay!!  I am so happy for her!  Finally making that decision to stop putting it off will bless her life so much! 

I sure love ya'll!  This week was super crazy!!  I can't say it better than Pumba and Timon - our trio's down to two :(  That is the biggest and most shocking news of the week.  It all happened Friday afternoon - we were doing some weekly planning at the stake center after we'd had a great district meeting and a zone lunch.  I grabbed the phone and there were a bunch of missed calls and a couple messages from different people.  We had a couple voice mails so we listened to the first one from the AP's giving us a hard time for being late to district meeting (an all too frequent occurance :) and the other from President.  He said it was urgent and that it was for Sister Williams.  She called him back and after a matter of 20 seconds she was bawling.  Not knowing what was going on we could only offer comfort and support.  Soon after the close of their conversation she managed to tell us that she was getting moved to Belmont.  Apparently another sister has to go home for health reasons and we are the only trio of sisters. 

We were all pretty devastated.  I'm not going to lie.  We had an amazing trio and Sister Williams was definitely our better third.  Even though my mind was completely blown and I was pretty scared for all the changes that would come, looking back I can definitely see that the Lord was there calming my heard because deep down I knew it would be okay and I didn't let myself get too out of sorts.

So Friday night became our last night together.  We enjoyed some good food together with our roommates and then headed home to pack.  Sister Khaled is amazing at packing and basically took over.  We said our goodbyes after taking some "family photos" in the morning.  Sister Khaled and I had to rush off to a lesson with Kay at BU campus.  I sure love that tall girl and will miss her.  Luckily we're not too far away - we're in the same zone and we'll get to see her after district meeting each week and sometimes on P-day if we're lucky :)  I learned a lot of things from Sister Williams.  The biggest one being that service is so important!  Sister Williams was constantly looking outside herself to do things for other people.  She is amazing at really digging into the scriptures to learn new things.  The way she shares about what she learns is very edifying and I will miss having that around. 

Now it's just me and Sister Khaled and while I definitely miss Sister Williams it has been a really neat experience to hear just how much Sister Khaled has to say.  Now we have a lot better balance as we teach our lessons - for the first time in my mission I have to be the one making sure I don't talk too much.  Sister Khaled has some amazing experiences to share and is always uplifting and helping those around her to be happy.  I love her!

We have been working really hard this week and we have seen the blessings begin to abound - we had an amazing lesson yesterday with a new investigator named Rhea.  She has come to church 4 times already with her friend in the ward and after teaching her about the Restoration of the Gospel Sister Khaled boldly invited her to be baptized without really knowing what it was :)  But after a turn to the scriptures, an explanation of the mechanics and testimony of its importance, she was ready and willing to accept baptism contingent upon her receiving an answer to her prayers.  Her prayer was so sincere and heartfelt - her desire to truly know for herself was apparent and she said that "this is possibly the happiest time of my life."  The Gospel of Jesus Christ brings true happiness.  As she connects that happiness she feels with the restored gospel she will be so blessed!  The best part is that she is letting the good feeling she has at church draw her there.  She had told us on Saturday that she was going to be busy at school and wouldn't be able to come.  We expressed our desire to see her at church but obviously left it up to her and she surprised us by showing up - she had to move her group study back a couple of hours so she could come to Sacrament Meeting.  Yay! 

School is turning out to be a big obstacle in the spiritual progression of our other Chinese investigators - 3 of them were planning to come on Sunday, apart from Rhea, and all let us know last minute that they were too busy with school/projects/papers to come.  Lame!!  This week we are definitely going to be stressing the importance of keeping the Sabbath Day Holy :) 

I love being a missionary!  A couple of our members who served missions were talking to us about how the mission is such a great opportunity to boldly proclaim the gospel.  It made me realize what a great responsibility we have upon our shoulders.  Their encouragement has been really helping me to be more bold and we've been having more good conversations about the gospel with the people we meet on the street.

Today we're going to Alewife to play some soccer with our district - should be fun!

It's getting a little chillier here - winter is on its way and I am just praying that it is as uneventful as last year :) 

I love you all a lot!  Have an amazing spirit-driven week!  Keep the faith!!

Love,
Sister Palmer

December 10, 2012 Letter

Hey there familia and amigos!!
 
Well, there really isn't that much to say about this week.  We've been taking it really easy with Sister Khaled feeling so down and out.  So Monday we went to Dr. Laufer - this fancy schmancy doctor who's the leading in his field to try and figure out if this really is what we think it is.  He gave Sis. K some pills to help but after almost a week of not getting any better, we made another call to Sister Hatch who then arranged to do the surgery next Wednesday (in 2 days now).  So, she's going in for a laproscopy on Wednsday and if it's Endomitriosis like we think it is they'll be able to take care of it while they're still in there diagnosing.  We'll rest up in the hospital for a couple hours after, then head home.  She'll be on some heavy meds for a couple days and they said the full recovery is about 5-6 days.  Most people can go back to work or school the following Monday.  That's great news for us - I really hope this does the trick! 
 
Sister Packard was pretty worried about Sis. Khaled and decided to have us come to the mission home - so we came here on Tuesday and we've been kickin' it here ever since.  We've only been home once since then - kinda weird but really cool.  It's been good for me because being here makes it a little easier to deal with the down time - for starters there's not as much here.  There's always something to do!  Michael LOVES playing Monopoly and the Packards love playing games and there have been lots of things to do to help with the Christmas conference coming up.  So we're keeping a little bit busy with busywork.
 
I love being with the Packards.  They are such a great family - there's always something to learn from them and from their examples.  President is constantly throwing out future family advice to us - "Now don't forget that when you have kids it's important..." and "You're husband will always be...."  sorts of things based on his own experience.  The whole family is just overflowing with Spiritual knowledge and insight.  The best part of the week has been sitting in on the Packard scripture study sessions.  has definitely redefined the way I look at the scriptures and helped me to really understand and not just skim them.  We've gotten to hear all of President Packard's plans for his big Christmas talk at our Christmas conference on Tuesday.  He's been reading up about the story of Christ's birth and has realized, with some help from a book that he's reading, just how humble and even humiliating the actual birth of Christ must have been. It was really very humble circumstances.  And either Mary didn't tell her family that the baby she was carrying was Christ's son or they certainly didn't believe her.  Think about it.  If they had known and believed her, there is NO WAY they would have sent her off on a donkey to give birth in a barn with no midwife "no nothin!" as President Packard says.  It certainly was a humble circumstance.  As I have learned more about it it has driven me to be more humble and to be more meek and lowly.  I know that as to my strength I am weak. But I will boast of my God and of my Savior because in them I can become strong.
 
I am so grateful for this time of year - for the joy and the peace that the season brings.  I got the chance to go to a Christmas concert last night for a Relief Society choir that has been practicing for several months now.  It was amazing!  There is a lot of talent here.  It definitely got me excited to get back into practicing the piano.  This week I've had a few hours when we've been here alone at the Packard House to just play to my hearts' content.  I do love music and the happiness it brings me. 
 
Our district is amazing - they know that we're stuck here in Needham for our p-day so they're going to come and play board games and just chillax here :)  It's going to be fun!! 
 
Much love ya'll!! 

Sister Palmer
 
Michael's scary mask he's been wearing everywhere - don't worry Sis. Khaled is the one who's kissing me.  Not Michael
Chess!
Anglea and Natalie and I in the kitchen!  Angela loves to make cookies - and we all love to eat them :)


All Sis. Khaled's pills haha! 

December 17, 2012 Letter

Well hey there!! 

It's almost Christmas!!

This week has been kinda crazy -

First off: Sister Khaled had surgery on Wednesday.  Before any of you worry - it went really well, she's still alive and all that jazz.  They found what they were looking for and got it taken care of.  She's still in a good bit of pain from the recovery - they pumped her insides full of gases so they could see when they did the Laproscopy and so it's normal for it to be a little painful until all of those gases work themselves out.  She hasn't been able to really walk up or down stairs very well at all.  The AP's were great to carry her up the 2 flights of stairs to our apartment and then helped us go to church yesterday.  In order to get here to email she ventured down the stairs for the first time by herself.  Also, today she's on no pain meds and seems to be doing pretty well considering how rotten she's felt the last few days. 

So, things are looking up.  We went to the mission home after the surgery and stayed a couple days.  We then had to come to our apt because Sis. Packard's brother was in town and we couldn't be left alone during the day with him.  Makes sense :)  Anyway, while we were there we had a great time.  It was really good for Sis. Khaled to have other people besides me bothering her to take her medicine or asking how she feels.  She was super tired of me :)  Also makes sense.  But now we're happy.  Now that she's more coherent and chatty we've had lots of time to talk and get really close.

Just in time to be ripped apart!!  This brings me to my second point.

I'm getting transferred!!

Funny story about this.  During the week I was staying in the mission home President and Sister Packard actually called me into President's office to talk about transfers.  He obviously didn't let me make any decisions but he wanted to hear my thoughts.  They had spent a couple of hours already trying to figure out how to move me back to Spanish and still keep all the English sister areas open.  After many attempts and many failures, they wanted to know how I would feel to stay in English until my last transfer.  In other words, stay in English until next transfer and then probably shotgun train in Spanish for my very last 6 weeks (train in an area that neither of us are familiar with). 

I told him how I felt.  I didn't feel right making it so they had to close a sister area.  I also didn't feel super good about leaving Sis. Khaled now that she's just had a surgery and needs some help reving back up.  I also voiced that I did miss Spanish but that I'm kinda rusty...

Anyway, no decisions were made and I was left to wonder about what would happen while President went to the Lord to continue to receive revelation.

We got transfer texts on Saturday and we all started to be really upset to see my name.  I'm actually pretty bummed to be leaving.  I love our wards and I adore Sis. Khaled.   Good news is that I will be back in a Spanish area - Providence Rhode Island.  They are having incredible success - they just baptized 3 people a couple weeks ago and have 8 baptismal dates for people preparing.  I will get to serve with Sis. Henderson which I'm really excited about.  I really love her and have wanted to serve with her.  She's a little quirky but we get along well. 

Saying goodbye to people yesterday was weird.  I didn't get to talk to a lot of them.  Sis. Khaled was pretty slow moving so I only caught the slow ones :)  Also, everyone is leaving this week to go home for the holiday.  I'm a little worried about Sis. Khaled.  It's a big responsibility to have to be the one helping someone else get accustomed to the area.  I also haven't been able to really prepare her to get around in the big city because we haven't been taking buses or trains for a couple weeks now.  Poor dear!  Keep her in her prayers, will you?  Also, if anyone has extra time and means, I'm sure she could use some Christmas cheer.  I don't know that her Christmas from Portugal will get here in time.  :( 

I love you all bunches!!  Keep the Spirit of Christmas in your hearts all year round! 

God Bless Us, Every One

Sister Palmer

December 3, 2012 Letter

Hey there ya'll!! 

Mosiah 2:41 apparently is not enough to reinforce the idea that we are blessed spiritually AND temporally when we obey the commandments.  All of our poor Chinese investigators are the type that when the going gets tough, especially academically, they forget everything about church.  AHHHHH!!!  I feel like a parent lamenting a child's poor decisions.  Obviously I can't take away their agency, but it hurts to see them just throw away the blessings they could receive if they were just coming to church and keeping their commitments.

This is especially on my mind because we had a really powerful lesson with Shanshan this week.  We spent an entire lesson just talking about the first commandment in the 10 commandments - Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.  We talked about how we can relate that to how we prioritize our time and our efforts.  She understood.  She committed to come to church even if it was hard, and then on Saturday night we got a text saying that she had some project thing to do on Sunday...ugh! 

I feel good knowing that we did our part, but it still just makes me sad :(

This week has been kinda slow actually.  Sis. Khaled, the poor thing, has been out a lot of the week.  Just feeling lots of abdominal pain.  We think we may be on the right track now and have yet another doctors appointment today.  If it's what we think it is, she could likely have a surgery this week to get her sorted out and she'll be back on her feet in no time at all.  The Packard's have been super supportive and sweet.  We couldn't make it to church yesterday morning - her pain plus the cold plus the 5:30 wake up didn't really work well together so Sister Packard came and picked us up and we went to their ward - Weston 2nd (were Bishop Ainge presides :).  It was a great experience - it was so much fun to be in a family ward!  Everyone got so excited to see sisters there - we kept having to tell everyone that we weren't permanent.  Sis. Khaled got a chance to talk to someone who has a lot of experience with what the doctors think might be her problem.  We also got to talk to all the Young Women about what it's like to be a missionary.  So fun!!  Sis. Khaled's true colors showed through - she LOVES the Young Women.  She was the YW president in her branch before she got her mission call.

Then we got to enjoy an afternoon with the Packards.  President Packard had a fairly low-key day as his days go and so he made us all some good ole' fashioned gumbo that was delicious!!  It was my first Gumbo experience was definitely a success.  We had to try to get a hold of Sis. Khaled's family to tell them about her medical adventures.  After an hour of trying every way we knew how to call Portugal we decided to Skype so I got to see her mom and her little brother - at 11:30 their time :)  Poor dears!  It was super fun to hear them chatting away in Portuguese.  I understand a lot more now than I did a couple months ago.

Anyway, that's really all there is to report on this week.  I love you all a LOT!!  Thanks for all the support and I hope to hear from you all soon. 

Love,
Sister Katie

Our district

In the "party bus" on the way to film the video


Oh ya know - just filming a music video on the subway...no big deal! 
Elder Leonard on top of Elder Medley - just a day in Boston...no big deal!

Nutella party last night - good times!!! 


Sisters!! 

November 27, 2012 Letter

Hey there Ya'll!!! 

This week has been...well...a little less productive than most.  Sad news is that my poor dear companion has NOT been feeling well this week :(  For 5 or 6 days now something has been going on in her stomach that has got her curled up a lot.  It hurts her to walk and the worst part is that we don't know what is causing it!!  It keeps getting worse every time she eats, but she still gets hungry and needs to eat...so it seems a little hopeless right now.  We went to an urgent care place yesterday and they sent us to the ER to do some more tests to try and got some conclusive results.  All they were able to do was to rule out several things like Appendicitis.  So...now we have made a follow up visit this Thursday - hopefully that will give us some more concrete information.  If any of you are talking to her family in Portugal - don't tell them yet!!  Sister Packard wants to wait until we have something to tell them about what it actually is :)  I'll keep you updated.

Other than that the week has been grand.  I've learned a lot (as most missionary weeks may go)

Well, that turns out to be all I have time to write - the AP's are waiting outside - they're giving us 4 roommates a ride to our destination of fun.  I'll have to update you more next week.  SOOOO sorry for the lack of update. 

Thanksgiving was AWESOME!!  So much food and delicious pies. 

Danielle got confirmed and now she REALLY wants to come to other lessons with us with other investigators so she can share her experiences and insight. 

I think I could apply to law school - we've been helping Shanshan with her Harvard law application to make it sound more "native" So after this I could totally apply for law school!  Good to know.

We talked a lot this week about what we're grateful for - my favorite response was Elder Reber's in our district meeting: "Toothpaste and paved roads"  Apparently those are the two things he thinks of every time Thanksgiving rolls around.  Haha!

We went contacting in Harvard Square on Thanksgiving and even ended up teaching a quick lesson before this girl had to run off with her friend.  She's from DC so I doubt we'll see her again, but it was a memorable lesson just chillin' in Harvard Yard.

Love you all!!! 
Sister Kate

November 19, 2012 Letter

Our fearless zone leaders - we had the best get to know you activity ever at zone meeting - each person got 20 seconds to blurt out as many adjectives as they could that describe their companion.  Then E. Leonard would strum his ukelele and we all sang "oohhh" to note that time was up.  So fun!!  They also got a little excited about Christmas and decorated the fake shrub in the Relief Society room like a Christmas tree...with icicle lights.  Good times! 

Danielle's Baptism!!  Jonathan was the one to baptize her.  Such a great day :)

BIG turnout.
Hello there!!  It seems like it hasn't even been a week since I last wrote ya'll...oh yeah!  It hasn't been :)  haha! 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING ON THURSDAY!!!!   I'm really excited for Thanksgiving and hope more than anything that it will be a good day to warm hearts and find out what people are grateful for. 

Right now my mind is very tired...I'm having a hard time of thinking of the week and what we even did.  I'm sure we did something...

Oh yeah!  We had a baptism :)  Can't forget that.  Danielle got baptized yesterday!  The whole service was pretty special.  Our Ward Mission Leader for LP1 is good at his job and helped us organize it really well.  The thing that I really do love about this baptism is how supportive the ward has been.  Sometimes it has been a problem with our investigators because we become such good friends with them that it's hard for them when the missionaries leave.  I do not foresee that being a problem with Danielle at all!  She loves the members, and the members all love her.  This last week her social life has been pretty awesome.  She went to FHE, to institute on Wednesday, and then to a birthday pizza party for a member on Saturday.  I'm so glad she's letting the ward be involved in her life - she's really busy studying for the California Bar exam (which I found out from another law student in the ward is one of the hardest and only has a 40% pass rate). 

I love baptisms because everyone who attends and certainly the person being baptized have a chance to really feel the spirit so strongly.  It just washes over me every time I witness a baptism.  The spirit was palpable during the service itself as well as the well prepared messages and musical number were delivered with love.  Definitely a great way to start off a lifelong membership in the church. 

We had one of those moments that missionaries always pray to have: Sister Khaled and I were teaching a lesson to one of our Chinese friends Kathy :)  It was the first lesson we'd had for a couple of weeks. Sometimes those lessons can be scary because there's no telling who they talked to or what they've been thinking about.  But this lesson was absolutely amazing.  We had just planned to review some stuff we had already talked about and ended up talking a lot about the scriptures, prayer, and about how we get answers to our prayers.  As I was testifying about how I get answers to my prayers and how important the scriptures are to me Kathy stopped me and said as she seemed almost out of breath or scared, "Wait!  What is this that I am feeling?"  Sister Khaled looked at each other and honestly thought she was having a heart attack or something as we asked if she was okay.  She just explained that she felt SO happy and full of emotion that she just wanted to start crying. The Holy Ghost was testifying to her SO strongly that it seriously took her 5 or 6 minutes to get calmed down.  She now has had at least one experience recognizing the spirit.  We were really excited because it made her want to come to church to see Danielle's baptism and see if it's something she wants to do.  She sadly didn't make it, for a still unknown reason.  Hopefully she will recognize how to act on that prompting she received.

So, Sister Edwards has now left our apartment :(  We were all pretty bummed to see her go.  Sister Stevens is super awesome though :)  I feel like we kind of look alike...I'll have to send you a picture once I get one with her and let you see for yourselves.

I'm thankful that I get to be a missionary.  I am thankful for my dear family and for all my friends.  I'm thankful for warm tights and leggins :) I'm thankful for an amazing companion who pushes me to be better.  I'm thankful for times I can practice Espanol.  I'm thankful for blueberries!  I'm thankful for my health.  I'm thankful for the plan of Salvation.  I'm thankful for buses - even late ones.  I'm thankful for nice people.  I'm thankful for pictures.  I'm thankful for a living prophet.  I'm thankful for music.  I'm thankful for my testimony.  I'm thankful for happy mornings that lead to happy days.  I'm thankful for strength to turn not so happy mornings into happy days.  I'm thankful for my life and for all of your lives.  Thank you!!!

Love,
Sister Palmer

November 14, 2012 Letter

Sis. Khaled's first snow!!

The mission!!

Bro. Ramagli and Sis. Hensel
Well hello there!!  It's been a crazy week and a half to be sure.  This last weekend was a party!  Our ENTIRE mission attacked Connecticut with service!  It was a lot of fun and a great excuse to have an unofficial Mission Conference (they're against the "white handbook" but we got the go-ahead from some people in high places that it would be okay to gather the night before because it would be too dangerous to try and get everyone driving there and back in the same day - thank you Nashua zone!)  It was really a treat to see all my companions and everyone.  We had a great meeting Friday night at which President Packard and family all spoke and made us all want to work really hard.  President Packard is super passionate about building Zion.  He has done a lot of study about it and has even tried to build a mini zion among himself and his family and friends.  He has experience really living the law of consecration and during that time of his life he was the very happiest he's ever been.  So, he's trying to help us create Zion here in the mission.  I love hearing that man speak - super inspiring!  I wish I could just send you a transcription of the entire thing! 

After the meeting we actually got a mission picture!  Cool, eh?!  I didn't think that was ever going to happen - the cooler thing is that they chose my camera as one of the ones they used so I've got the originals - enjoy!

All the Elders got to have a big slumber party in the church in Madison CT.  It was apparently quite the event! All the sisters got assigned members' homes to stay in so we got to stay with Brother Ramagli and Sister Hensel.  They are the sweetest couple!  Bro. Ramagli has only been a member for 5 years and they have a huge painting of the Salt Lake Temple above their fireplace because that's where they got sealed four years ago :)  They are so tender! 

The Madison ward and the stake where we were serving were super amazing - they fed us all on such short notice!  They only had a couple days to get food organized for 200 people.  I was super impressed.  After breakfast back in Madison, we drove over to the stake center where we organized into groups of ten and got our supplies and headed out on to our jobs.  We only started out with one work order that we couldn't fill because the woman wasn't home so we got to practice our missionary skills and knock on doors to find people to help.  There were plenty to go around :)

During the day we mostly helped with sand removal.  We were right along the coast in Milford...I think that's the name of the city.  Talking to a couple of the people that had been going to do service almost daily told us all the real tragic stories of houses being beaten beyond repair by the winds and the waves.  Earlier in the week even the roads had still been filled with sand - 3 or 4 feet of it in some places.  We mostly got to help with sand removal and general cleaning as we tried to get some of these houses in order.  We also helped take lots of furniture and debris we collected on the beach to the curb where the city was making daily trips to try and dispose of all the ruined stuff.  It was really neat to be in a position to really make a difference for some of these people - they were SO grateful even if they didn't need more help. 

We worked hard all day and made lots of friends along the way.  When we met back up at the stake center for dinner (put on by the YM/YW) we got to hear the stories from the Senior Missionaries (Elder/Sister Simmons and Elder/Sister Paskett - fellow Aggies!!) about the people who came into the city offices where we'd set up a booth where people could come find information about how to receive help.  Lots of people came in to tearfully thank them for all that we were accomplishing.  Throughout the day our force of 250 Missionaries/members did a little over 100 work orders and made a pretty big difference.  We all left feeling very happy! 

Some great news for the week - we are going to be having a baptism on Sunday!!  We've been working hard to make sure it's well planned and that it's a super spiritually uplifting experience.  LP1 has been amazing - they're all rallying behind her to accept her right into the ward - she's been going to activities and FHE and it seems like she is truly happy and very content with her decision.  I'll definitely let you know how the baptism goes :) 

Theresa landed herself in the hospital this week and we tried to run around to different hospitals but couldn't find her and her son wouldn't answer his phone or hers.  Just got word from a member that she's back at the rest home but not feeling that great :(  Poor dear! 

I love the opportunity to be on a mission.  I've had a lot of little and seemingly very simple experiences this week that have let me know just how aware and mindful Heavenly Father is of me.  I love life!! 

Just want ya'll to know how much I love you!

Have a super d dooper 5 star week!!

Sister Palmer

November 5, 2012 Letter

Hello there friends and family! 

This will be short - I spent too long on individual emails.  But, it will be a nice break I'm sure from the novels that sometimes ensue.  I am super glad to hear that grandparents' surgeries went well and my prayers are certainly with you all. 

This week has been super exciting!  I think I mentioned our new investigator Danielle last week.  We had another lesson with her on Tuesday and she actually said that she's already gotten her answer that this church is what she needs to do with her life and she has accepted a baptismal date!!  Woot!!  We're so excited for her!  The now that we have a date we may have to push it back.  She just started studying for the bar exam that she's going to take in February but hopefully the baptism will be soon.  She's already making some good friends in the ward and seems to just be soaking in everything we give her. 

Other cool thing - Theresa got baptized this week!  The Theresa here, not the Lynn Theresa (yet!).  It was so exciting to witness the binding of such a sacred contract.  The spirit was so strong as she was confirmed!  She was radiant with happiness.  Her son Ryan, true to his word, came and my prayer is with him that he really felt the truth and importance and beauty of what he witnessed.  Sister Khaled gave an awesome talk at the baptism!  The AP's asked her the night before and she pulled it together beautifully.  Our investigator Danielle who actually came with some members remarked that it was very sincere.  I love Sister Khaled.  She still feels like she has a language barrier but she certainly has NO spiritual barrier barring her from bearing her testimony and changing lives.  She's amazing! 

We just got news from Sister Packard!  44 new sisters will be arriving in our mission over the next several transfers - how exciting!!!  Yay!!  That's going to mean that we will all be training in the near future once they start rolling in.  Lots of fun!  There's going to have to be lots of new areas and new apartments, etc.  We're hoping to get another set of sisters for the LP wards - there is plenty of work for two sets of sisters to do.

Boston was virtually unhurt by the big hurricane.  There is obviously a lot more clean up going on in Rhode Island and Connecticut.  Our stake and the entire mission is supposed to be headed down to Connecticut this weekend to help out - should be lots of fun! 

Thanks for all the support and the love you send :) 
I love ya'll!!
Sister Palmer

October 30, 2012 Letter

Well hey there ya'll!! 

It turns out that the hurricane didn't really hit Brighton very hard.  After all of our preparations to be without power and/or water for a week, we had a 30 second power outage in our apartment....and that's all :)  But we were very prepared and ready for the worst.  It was kind of fun: Sister Packard was texting us updates throughout the "storm" last night.  It sounds like several missionary's apartments were without power for a good chunk of time and there were also some accidents caused from lots of cooped up missionaries doing silly things.  My favorite was that some elders playing Risk left their food in the toaster oven too long and practically filled the entire apartment with smoke!   No severe damage done though :)  ....elders.

We obviously didn't get a chance to email yesterday because we were stuck inside from 6am yesterday until this morning.  Best P-day ever!!  Well, as much as I thought I would look forward to a "break" from missionary work I really hope that doesn't happen again.  We didn't do much of anything productive apart from text a bunch of people that Bishop Thomas asked to in order to make sure they had everything they needed.  After that I used my time very foolishly.  Basically we had an early Halloween with all the junk food we broke out.  It was our great idea to ford the river in our street (not literally a river, just some gutter overflow) to get a pizza from Papa John's across the street from us right before they closed.  So we had pizza for lunch and made an apple crisp for dinner :)  And there may have been s'mores at some point during the day as well.  Sister Khaled is in heaven!!  In Portugal their desserts aren't really all that sweet so she is loving the American desserts. 

We had lots of time to get to know each other and it was a really great opportunity to really learn more about our roommates who I apparently knew very little about. Overall a very fun and unproductive but very safe day.

We got good news this week that Theresa (not Theresa from Lynn, different Theresa that we've been visiting) is getting baptized!!  She'll get baptized this Sunday at 12:30 and we get to come!  We are SOOOOO excited!!  I seriously love her a lot.  I don't know how much I've told you about Theresa but she actually does remind me a lot of Lynn Theresa - she has lots of health problems and just wants to get her life in order before she dies.  She LOVES to talk and just having good, sincere friends.  That's what she has loved about coming to church - everyone loves her there!  She quit smoking 2 weeks ago and has been going so strong!  Her son Ryan who is an Atheist has even agreed to come to support her and cheer her on at the baptism.  It will be a great day!

We had stake conference yesterday which was really amazing!  We saw a lot of miracles - the biggest being that 3 investigators came!  One of them, Danielle, is a girl who just showed up at Sacrament Meeting last week because she once had a roommate that was LDS and has felt super, "drawn to the Mormon religion" lately.  So, we gave her a call and invited her to stake conference.  The surprise was, for me, that she came!  Usually that doesn't happen.   But she came and really loved it.  She even met with us and a member afterward to learn a little more about the Restoration which she apparently already understands fairly.  Something that has drawn her so much to the church is that the Book of Mormon is like "another testament of Jesus Christ in addition to the Old and New Testaments.  We felt the spirit very strongly with her as we were guided to know what questions to ask and how we should approach the different parts of the lesson.  She's so ready for the gospel! 

I honestly admit that I was distracted during the conference itself - Bishop and Sister Iverson from Revere 1st ward were sitting in the row in front of us with their 8 month little boy making googly eyes at us during the first half...but I really did feel the spirit.  There was a change in the stake presidency because Pres. Haight is going to be joining the Mission Presidency as the 2nd counselor to President Packard so we got to hear lots of very special testimonies of these great leaders and their wives.  My favorite part of the whole conference was what President Packard had to say though.  He can certainly command an audience's attention and knows how to channel the spirit.  He taught us about the proper way to have more meaningful prayers.  He went on to basically mirror President Nelson's talk from conference about all the great things missionaries can do. It certainly impressed upon me, again, the importance of living worthily of that serious and sacred responsibility we have to guide our fellow men closer to our Heavenly Father. 

I love you all!!  Thanks for all the delightful Halloween wishes :) 

All my love,
Sister Palmer

Oct 10, 2012

October 09, 2012 Letter

So, hey there!!

I'm officially a trainer!  This is good stuff!  If you really want to learn how to be a missionary, you really have to teach it.  It has definitely helped me learn what I need to do better and improve on.  Being a trainer is super fun!  Sister Khaled really is amazing - she has an amazing happy personality and the cutest Portuguese accent!  Everything she says is so adorable - probably not so great because it makes me not want to ever correct her English. 

For Example:

Sister Williams: I love you Sister Khaled!

Sister Khaled: Me too!!

Haha!  We both started giggling :)  Everyone loves Sister Khaled!  Even herself :)  We then explained that if she said that to someone it sounded like she was saying she loves herself - too funny!

The poor dear has been living off of our fine American Cuisine the last several days - we've been kind of out of food and didn't even have time yesterday to go grocery shopping because of our fun p-day activity.  So, we've been living off of Raman, Mac and Cheese, Burritos, Toast, and luckily we've had a couple of member dinners too.  Last night we had a delicious dinner from Jenn - she's in LP1 and, surprise surprise, she knows Sister Khaled!  She went on her mission to Portugal and served in Sister Khaled's ward!  So they go way back and it was really fun for them to both speak some Portuguese :) 

Well, this email is a short one - I am afraid I spent too much time on individual emails and on downloading general conference talks...I LOVED general conference this weekend!! 

I love you all so much and hope and pray you are all well and happy.

Best Wishes!
Sister Palmer

Oct 4, 2012

October 03, 2012 Letter

Howdy family and friends!! Another week (and a half) has come and gone! Times are changing. Another transfer is upon us. You will all be relieved to know that Sister Williams and I are staying in our area together. We are super excited to get the chance to keep working with our investigators. The exciting thing is that we are going to be getting a third missionary! A brand new missionary from the MTC! I get to be a trainer for the first time!

Now, in mission language, since I am going to be her trainer I will be her "mom" and she is my "daughter." So I'm going to be a mom tomorrow!! I'm super excited and nervous and all that good stuff. We met Sister Khaled last night - she got to come and have a slumber party with us right before she had to go right back to the mission home. She's spending all of today there doing training and stuff like that with President and his family. We didn't get much chance to talk because President finally let his two daughters come have a slumber party with us last night so it was quite the party and we were all pretty tired so we didn't stay up super late.

But, I can tell you that Sister Khaled is from Portugal and she's super pretty and seems really chill. She didn't seem nervous at all yesterday and seems ready to take on the world! Her English is really quite good considering she didn't really like it before her mission. This facilitated a lack of wanting to learn English but she's been in the MTC for nine weeks brushing up and she seems like she can do pretty well. The other good news is that she speaks Spanish so if she ever needs help with something in English, we should be able to work things out :) I'm super excited!! It's going to be a rocking good time. I don't know if I'm ready for another trio so fast, but ready or not, here it comes! I am very glad that Sister Williams and I will almost be co-training our new missionary. It will keep things hopping.

I love being a missionary! This week we've had a few pretty rad experiences. The most recent was yesterday. Sister Williams had a great idea last week for something we could do for Alex since she is so incredibly busy on the Romney campaign. She came up with an idea for a study journal. She doesn't have tons of time to read, but we thought it would be useful that she could write down what she learns so at least the little she does read, she remembers. She's also the kind of really smart person that likes to almost teach his/her self. So, we thought it would be a great tool. Well, we took it to her yesterday all decorated and with special notes in it from us. She seemed fairly happy when we surprised her with it but expressed that she was always SO bad at writing in a journal but has always wanted to start. We found out, secretly, from her friend that works there at her office that after we had finished telling her about general conference and gave her the journal, she was watching to/listening to talks online and furiously scribbling away in her new journal. Cool, eh?! We were SO stoked to hear that she was already using it!

One of our Chinese friends, Shanshan, met with us on BU campus and we brought a member along who speaks Manderin. It was a total success!! Shanshan has been pretty shy around us because of the language barrier and so she has clung to her 2 other friends for support in our lessons/at church. But at our lesson this week she really opened up to us a lot and is actually really good at English. She is just way harder on herself than she should be.

This morning as I was studying, I was reading in Preach my Gospel, chapter 10 all about teaching skills. I have been noticing that my listening skills are kind of not up to par so I read about that specifically. I definitely want to make listening a bigger focus over the course of the rest of my life. Listening, and listening actively and intently, really makes the difference in any relationship. With a missionary companion, investigator, member, and even with friends and family and random joes you meet on the street. I really want to become and expert listener. I think that therin lies the secret to really coming to know people's thoughts/desires/goals/hopes. I am going to be a better listener.

Drop a line if you haven't lately! I'm going to be better about writing back, promise!!

I love you all!!

Sister Palmer

September 24, 2012 Letter

Well, hello there!!

How are things on the home front?

First thing is first, I promised mom for the story of how the article came about. Well, it all started a few weeks before I even got here to this area. Sister Williams and Sister Edwards had a great plan to throw an open house at the Longfellow Park chapel for nonmembers (and members) to learn about the historical side of the building and about the church itself. So, they organized everything, and got a bunch of missionaries to be tour guides, had "Mormon Messages" playing in the gym up on a cool projector, and had yummy treats. The whole shebang. They also called a bunch of local news stations and someone came from the Boston Globe. He really liked what he saw and got the missionaries' contact info. A few days later Yvonne Abraham called the sisters (she's the one who wrote the article) and asked them if she could do an article about them and kind of what it's like to be a missionary here in Boston. So, the sisters talked with President Packard, and President Packard took it to the first presidency, President Eyring. He gave it his blessing and plans started being made.

At this last transfer meeting, the first time I had heard all this was as Sister Packard started asking Sister Williams excitedly about when it was going to be. I had no idea what she was talking about - so Sister Williams filled me in and caught me up to speed. We had to coordinate the day and the time with the public affairs of the church and Yvonne just showed up to our apartment and we took her around for about 5 hours doing all our normal missionary stuff. She asked a TON of questions and we answered them all pretty well I thought. It was so funny to me to see the really random details she put in her article. It was a little disappointing to me that she didn't include more of our really good and uplifting experiences we had during those five hours.

At any rate, the outcome seemed rather positive and so we're not going to complain :) President Packard was really stoked about it and he went out and bought us each two copies of the paper so we could have one and send one home to our families which it sounds like you got this week.

This week has been super great. We've been working really hard and wearing ourselves out. It feels really good to know that you spent your time well. We had a really amazing lesson this week with Sherry. She's on her way to recognizing the Holy Ghost!! During our lesson with her she was able to recognize a prompting and now is just praying and fasting to know how to act. We are super excited for her. I feel like Satan is working SO hard to keep her from coming to church! She wanted to bring her roommate to church today but they got out to the bus stop and were waiting for half an hour. A passerby finally told them that the particular bus she was waiting for wasn't going to start running until 4pm because of a parade! Uh!! She definitely didn't have time to walk to church. We decided we are going to skip our ward council meeting this next week and just come to her house and take the bus with her! She needs to come to church!!

On Sunday we were blessed with some other amazing successes. I think I may have mentioned the new BU students that we're teaching - they are all three Chinese and are all getting their masters in different programs. They are super adorable and all, in the midst of their very busy schedules, made time for church. They even got there early to have a lesson with us and with a member who, we didn't realize, goes to BU too! It worked out really well. He speaks Manderin too so he was able to help us out in explaining new words and phrases to them. I seriously love our wards. They are really good at fellowshipping our investigators - at least they were this week. I think five or six people came up to the three girls to meet them and get to know them a bit. They felt really good and want to keep coming.

Our members are really good at inviting their own friends. Last week Trang, a member, brought her friend to church and she loved it! She even got signed up last minute and went to the ward camp out this last weekend and had a really good time! I want to be a cool missionary-minded-member!

I'm sure you all are interested to know that the Porter Challenge took place on Saturday. Almost our entire zone showed up which made it a lot of fun. With victory on our hearts, we learned that the stairs were very long...and we ran really hard...let's leave it at that. haha!

I'm realizing that my Spanish is kind of suffering. I need to do a better job this week at really making time to practice speaking - even if it's just to myself. Last night I was on the phone with the Lynn Hermanas and didn't fare so well with the old Español.

So, the official new word on music with our Mission President came out today - he is going to the white handbook for his inspiration and just...following the white handbook. This is what he quoted from it:

“Listen only to music that is consistent with the sacred spirit of your calling. Music should invite the Spirit, help you focus on the work, and direct your thoughts and feelings to the Savior. Do not listen to music that pulls your thoughts away from your work, merely entertains, has romantic lyrics or overtones, or dulls your spiritual sensitivity by its tempo, beat, loudness, lyrics, or intensity. Listening to music must never interfere with your personal preparation or proselyting.”

That's kind of cool. Not sure what I can do with that since I got rid of all my non mo-tab or classical music...but now you know if you ever want to send me any music ;)

This week I have been doing some thinking about Spiritual Gifts and really trying to figure out how to cultivate those gifts. I know that the spiritual gifts we've been given are given us to bless the lives of others. It just comes down to our diligence in developing those gifts and practicing them righteously that really unlocks the blessings for ourselves and those around us. I really want to work on making a conscious effort to seek those gifts and use them more effectively.

I really do love being a missionary. We have a pretty cool job.

That is all.

wah eye knee (my lame attempt at saying "I love you" in Manderin...that's what it sounds like to me)
Sister Palmer

September 17, 2012 Letter

Well Hi!!

How are you doing? I'm doing GREAT!!! I'm really tired actually. We just finished walking the freedom - which ended in the Bunker Hill Monument...which has 294 stairs...which we skampered up rather quickly in an attempt to practice up for "the Porter Challenge" that I believe I mentioned last week. It feels really good to sit down and just let my fingers do the work for a little while. It was super fun to do the whole freedom trail altogether though. I really enjoyed the exercise. There are a bazillion tourists! It was fun to get to listen in on french conversations and pretend I know what they're saying. Probably the highlight was a street performer who was hanging out in front of Quincy Market. He was really funny and knows how to work an audience. At first it was impossible to tell what he was going to be doing - but as he went on he pulled out a 9 foot unicycle, a bagpipe, and some juggling machetes....and amazingly enough was able to utilize all three at the same time :) Quite the sight! Boston is full of funny people!

This week we were super blessed to get 2 new investigators! Elder Yim had received the referral from the AP's because he speaks Manderin and these girls do to, but he's going home in a few weeks and thought it would be better to just get some members involved (we have 5 or 6 members in our ward who went to Tiwain so that's pretty cool!). So, we went with Elder Yim and Elder Leonard to have kind of a pass-off lesson. It was really cool because most of the time it ended up being Manderin-time. It transported me right back to the MTC when I couldn't understand a single thing people were saying to me. It might be super useful to pick up a little Manderin - now 3/4 investigators we have are Chinese.

Porter Challenge is going down on Saturday. We're pretty stoked for it! We've been getting up at 5:50 to go running over to Boston College and go up a big staircase they have on one of their hills. 168 stairs or something like that. We're going to be ready! We are going to dominate!

Elder Hallick, the member of the seventy over our mission, has been here touring the mission and we're having a zone conference with him tomorrow - I'm really looking forward to that.

We had a funny lesson with Sherry this week. She is so adorable and sincere and sometimes just says the funniest things. This week we were talking with her about prayer and about how the Holy Ghost answers our prayers in different ways. She said, "I think I know why the Holy Ghost hasn't been answering my prayers - he doesn't speak Manderin." We had to assure her that that's not true :) Also, after I finished talking about some of my personal experiences with the Holy Ghost, she leaned close to me and was staring into my eyes, so I reciprocated and started doing the same thing jokingly. Then she remarked, "I'm trying to read the Holy Ghost in your eyes." She is seriously so adorable!

This week really has been super great - yesterday was super refreshing. I felt all sorts of energy and excitement to be a better missionary after all the meetings we had. Part of that stems from the overall topic I got out of church which was recognizing God's hand in all things. Another part of that comes from the really great Missionary Correlation meeting we had with our ward mission leader. He's really energetic and super excited about missionary work and is really going to get things moving this year. He gave us a cool homework assignment last week that I spent the week thinking about and working on. The homework assignment was to make a verbal sketch of what the perfect missionary day would look like if we were somehow miraculously turned into a really high-baptizing ward overnight. Then after we discussed all our answers yesterday we talked about how to make it happen. I am super excited to be working on that over the next weeks and months.

Last thing and then I probably really ought to go - I had a really cool experience on the bus this week. I sat down and the woman I chatted with at the bus stop sat next to me. I was pleasantly surprised because usually people who start talking to us and find out we're missionaries like to avoid us afterwards. I have been really taking a very natural approach to contacting on buses and so I just started asking her about her life and her experiences. She told me about how she went on a mission to Africa for her church and she's lived in Boston for 20 something years by herself just because she loves the diversity (her family is from Vermont). She's one of seven kids and is a breast cancer survivor and goes rowing on the Charles' river every week. My heart really opened to her and I just started feeling all this love towards her and sympathy for some of the sad situations she's been in. Then, right before she went to get off I just had time to give her a mormon.org card and tell her about the church website - she said, "Oh, that will be great! I already have the book but I'm just not sure where to start reading it. The website might be better. So I asked her about her experience with the Mormon church and she said she's had 2 missionaries visit her before, "because they were the only two people who would really ever take the time to talk to me"

The poor dear! It made me so sad for her! And it also filled me with lots of motivation to make sure that I don't know any people who feel that way - I want everyone I know to feel like they can talk to me and I want to be the kind of friend that is always reaching out to those around me. I definitely have learned a lot about being a true friend here in the mission and hope it will extend to my later life.

Thanks for staying tuned in despite this rather long and scattered email - I love you all!!

Have a fabulous week!

Sister Palmer

Sep 15, 2012

Boston.com Article

Andy found this link through the Salt Lake Tribune.  We thought it was interesting!!!!

http://articles.boston.com/2012-09-09/metro/33698811_1_mormon-missionaries-young-missionaries-food-pantry

September 10, 2012 Letter

Hello there!!

How are you all this week?! I sure do love when I get to hear from friends and family. Thanks so much for your emails and for your updates on your busy and fun lives.

Being here in the big city has been a really great experience for me so far - to see what exactly people my age are having to cope with in their daily lives as we talk to members here has been really good for me. There are many good examples around me for which I am very grateful. Some of the single adults here have gone through a lot and are still here, faithful, fulfilling their callings, and sharing their joy. It is really cool when a member comes up to you and says, "Hey, I've got a friend who I'd like you to meet, can you come have dinner with us this week so she can get to know the missionaries and ask you some questions?" That is a wonderful thing! Members who are actively making these natural, simple invitations to their friends and getting us involved unobtrusively is amazing. I've never had this experience until this transfer - and now we've had it 3 times! One of those dinners, with a girl named Alex, has turned into an investigator.

I don't know that I've told you about Alex. She's super cool! She and her friend Jake (member) both started as interns on the Romney campaign and were hired on full-time at about the same time. They work up to 80 hours a week - super crazy! They are both covering different swing states and are busy setting up events and doing lots of other things. Anyway, so as they've gotten to know each other, Alex has kind of started to have questions about the church and Jake has been answering them. Then he invited the elders to dinner and brought Alex along - she really enjoyed talking about the gospel over food so the next week (last Tuesday) Jake invited us too! We had a really good little discussion about personal revelation and gave her a Book of Mormon which she was super excited to receive! She enjoyed our meeting so much that she wanted to meet again on Saturday (2 days ago). We had dinner at Quincy market and explained a little more about the Book of Mormon - she was a little more closed off because she wasn't having the best of days at work (they usually don't actually take a break for lunch or dinner - but they've been taking breaks to come eat with us so work is still very much on the brain for them I would imagine). But she was still super happy to get to talk to us and share some food. Things are looking up :) We have 2 investigators now! Woot!

We had a very fun treat on Sunday - President Packard and his whole family spoke in LP1 Sacrament Meeting. It was super great! It amazes me how much Michael, his 12 year old son, understands about the gospel and how simply and clearly he can explain. It's quite incredible. He talked about a really cool experience their family had with a guy going door to door selling magazines. He knocked on the door of the mission home and they declined buying magazines but invited him in for dinner and to talk about the gospel and he was super touched by their kindness. Something that is hitting me as more and more important is just making the gospel the very core of who I am so that anybody that even knows who I am knows that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It is starting to be an integral part of me and once it really does I will have no problem sharing the gospel with absolutely everyone I come in contact with.

Anyway, life is super great - I got to teach our district a little Spanish on Friday at our district meeting - just enough for them to make a street contact. Some days I feel like I'm forgetting Spanish and other days I feel like I'm still struggling teaching in English mode.

It's starting to get a little bit chilly in the evenings - fall is on the way! I'm so excited for the colors here! We'll see if it's everything the "pirates who don't do anything" have sung about.

I love you all SOOOOOOO much!! Truly, I do!

All my love and adoration,
Sister Palmer

September 4, 2012 Letter

Hey there ya'll!!!

Just another week in Boston - no big deal!

It's super crazy to be here in the big city. It is SO diverse here - Sister Williams and I have very recently been noticing all the crazy different restaurants around and have decided that we're never going to the same place twice (when we go - we're also not eating out much because it's kind of expensive here in the big city). But, some of the places we've scoped out is an Ethopian place, a Thai place someone recommended, and just yesterday we found a Russian market/deli that had some delicious and greasy foods that we tried (eggplant wrap thing, sweet cheese pancakes, etc.). Let the food adventures begin!

So much to say! So little time!

Sadly, not much of what has happened this week has been with cool lessons - we really honestly haven't taught many lessons. This week has been all about service - we've been helping lots of people move - it's cool because it's helping us train for the "Porter Challenge."

For those of you who are wondering what the Porter Challenge is - it includes some insane stairs that are located at the "Porter" t-stop (on the redline? Honestly I have no idea where it is). My second or third day Sister Williams and I decided to run up them. It was good fun and very tiring - there are about 200 steps. So, we decided to have some fun - we've challenged our whole Cambridge South zone to a race. It's going down in a couple weeks. We're still working on the details, but we're planning on dominating. We've walked up and down lots of stairs - carrying rather heavy objects. We definitely have an advantage there.

My companion, Sister Williams, is seriously the best! She is so happy and positive ALL the time! It really makes it impossible for me to get down about anything for any real length of time.

So fun p-day experience of yesterday - we were rushing to the Science Museum on foot because we only had one more stop to go and we were waiting too long for the train - when we somehow got talking with a homeless guy in a wheelchair. To make a long story short, we got serenaded to for about 10 minutes before we could get away - our roommates were waiting for us. It was quite the treat - I think he's going to make it big :)

I can't believe that it has been one whole year! It seems pretty unreal to me. Just thinking about it is super surreal. Sister Williams (as an illustration of her greatness) made me a "Birthday" treat to celebrate my year mark - she surprised me with a delicious raspberry crumble dessert - and then made me a delicious, healthy, birthday lunch and the whole zone sang happy birthday :) It was quite the treat. I don't know that it's something to really celebrate - I'm kind of sad that it's going so fast, but it was fun to have a reason to celebrate a little bit.

Being a missionary is so great - people just open right up to you. Just this morning as we were on the way to help another member move, I was talking to a girl on her way to work as a staff assistant for some important people at Harvard. We started talking about how our relationships with God have effected our lives and how sad it is that some people just dismiss that sacred relationship. She didn't go into a lot of detail, but she expressed her very deep conviction that she knows there is a higher power who is guiding her and has felt His influence as she has worked with people in drug rehab and with people with disabilities. It amazes me how mindful Heavenly Father is of each one of us even there are SO many of us! That especially strikes me as very special being here where there are MILLIONS of people everywhere. Someone without the knowledge of the gospel might think, "I'm not special, why would God care about someone like me?" But with that knowledge we receive direction and guidance and assurance that we are here for a purpose. I think I have shared my testimony so many times this week with people about the Plan of Salvation - sometimes I don't realize how unique we are to have it so clearly laid out for us as members.

Wow, that was rambly.

I want to let you all know that I love you so much!!! If you haven't recently I would challenge you to be a good missionary - share your testimony! I never realized how easy it is to do until I came on a mission - but it's super easy. As we ourselves are more focused on an eternal perspective and on the spiritual aspect of our lives, the types of conversations where we can freely share our beliefs will be abundant.

LOVES!!
Sister Palmer

Aug 26, 2012

Transfer!

Hey there!!

It is another week - and I have some exciting news!! I am going to Boston! Well, kind of. I'm being transferred into the English program to cover 2 singles wards. That should be quite the adventure. I know that the wards are called Longfellow Park 1 and 2 but I honestly don't know where the building is, or how old the singles wards are or anything. My companion will be Sister Williams - she is so great! I'm really excited to get to learn from her. Also, another plus is that I will be in a walking area which means lots of exercise and we probably won't be being fed quite so much as I have been here in Lynn. But don't worry, the members have been feeding us a TON as we are saying goodbyes and such.

Sister Rivera is also headed out of town to be with Sister McKee (fellow vernalite) in Providence, Rhode Island. Sister Figueredo is staying here in Lynn and will be joined by Sister Love (who has served in Providence for a pretty good chunk of time - 8 months or so I think.

Oh, I got my hair cut today :) I have bangs :) Cool, eh?

This week really has been the best - I am super sad saying goodbye to all these people that have become my family, but I have had so much time this week to reflect on the many amazing experiences I have had in Lynn. I have so many good memories here in this area. I am definitely excited for whatever may be ahead, but it will be hard not to look back a little bit. I just have to "remember Lot's Wife" (Look up the Elder Holland talk about that scripture - dynamite!)

Anyway, this week has been totally crazy - despedidas aside. We had a baptism on Saturday! Why didn't you know that we were going to be holding a baptism? Because we didn't know either.

Long story short, Maritza got her answer - after her month break we gave her. She finally felt that witness of the spirit that she needed - we watched the John Tanner video with her from the Doctrine and Covenants videos and she told us she wanted to get baptized right away (just like he did). Catch was that she had to leave Sunday night to go on vacation with her mom to Florida and then to the D.R.  So, we whipped up a baptism for Saturday and she was confirmed Sunday. She bore her testimony in sacrament meeting and then skipped town after church. Crazy! It was a really cool experience though. Just to see that she had the faith to do everything so fast. She's definitely a spontaneous person, but the way she approached her baptism really tells me that she is going to work hard to remain active in the church.

Those are definitely the highlights of the week. Transfer meeting is tomorrow. I've had kind of a hard time packing because of the large amounts of things I have accumulated, but our zone leaders are going to help us take all our stuff because we're moving two missionaries.

I love you all!! I wish you all the bestest most happiest week and I will talk to you very soon - Monday!

LOVES!
Sister Palmer

Aug 13, 2012

August 13, 2012 Letter

Hey there family!!! So, exciting news of the week - today we're actually going to do something fun!!! We've been working really hard all morning so we will have time to go to Boston - our district is actually going to hang out together because we ran so far behind last week that we ran out of time - Pirate museum of Salem will just have to wait I suppose.

Well, that's not REALLY the exciting news. Probably the best thing all week was church yesterday. I was absolutely AMAZED at just how many people showed up unexpectedly. SO many people who we have been visiting and praying for just showed up and filled the church with such a great spirit. I was seriously SO happy. We had 4 investigators come and so many less active members come. It was like a Christmas miracle or something.

Gaby is doing so great! She got interviewed to accept a calling this next week and she told us she accepted it. Woot! She seemed very excited about it. I have a feeling she's going to get to help us out in the missionary department. I really hope she gets made the Gospel Principles teacher, because we really need one and it would be an incredible chance for her to learn more about the gospel. She has such a strong testimony. Also, I don't know if I mentioned it last week, she got a slight promotion to be a cook and is now only scheduled from Monday to Friday (unless they really need her on the weekends). Heavenly Father is so absolutely amazing.

We went and had dinner on Saturday with Hermana Cuevas - she was talking about her mission that she served in her home country - she's from the D.R. She was saying that she feels kind of bad for us that it is so hard to find solid investigators. She said that in her mission people would call the missionaries saying, "Aye Mormones! Vengan a mi casa!" (Hey Mormons! Come to my house!). They would have 15-20 baptisms a month! We're lucky if our whole mission gets 40 or 50 in a month - what a crazy difference, right?

Other good news for the week is that the Rodriguez Family (the ones we found while we were at a less active member's house last week) is super solid. They really want to come to church. Noel is talking to his boss to work something out and Amarillys really wants to bring the kids to primary. They're having us over tonight for their family's FHE and they really want to cook for us - yum! I really like Dominican food. I'm sure no one would have guessed it before my mission but I really actually love eating beans now. It just took 30 or 40 tries to get accustomed to the grainy texture :)

Things are really looking up here in Massachusetts. We are seeing little miracles here every single day.

"...but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.

"And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls."

Alma 37:6-7

I feel like I'm kind of living that scripture. What we're doing as missionaries isn't much on the big scale of things, but it can be if we are doing the Lord's will.

LOVE YOUS!!!!
Sister Palmer

August 6, 2012 Letter

This time is just blowing by. One of the elders in our district, Elder Langford, was telling me that he feels like he's just watching the pages of a book fly by him as the time just goes and goes and goes so terribly quickly. I am definitely in accordance with his description of the time here.

I feel like this week I've kind of let myself get too comfortable just going with the flow. I'm not really consciously working toward any overarching goals of any true importance. With that said, I'm realizing a LOT of things that I can definitely work on. Now I'm just trying to decide what to do first. I don't know if that makes any sense...

The missionary work is going really well. We're working really hard and getting lots of new investigators. One super cool experience this week:

We were going with the Elders to one of our investigator's houses so that she could receive a blessing. When we got there, the door was open and her dad, who has Parkinson's, was having some troubles standing up so the Elders were able to help out. His wife showed up and we got him taken care of. We then found out that her daughter, our investigator, was actually asleep. Some of the medicines she had taken and some of the injections she'd had to get for some sort of back problem she has made her kind of out of it. So, the elders went on their merry way and we almost left too. But, we decided to stick around to talk to her mom, who is a member - she's inactive because she has to work on Sundays but she has a super solid testimony and is the sweetest person EVER! So, we were sharing a message with her, and her nephew and his family showed up. This member was so great, she just invited them in and turned the time back over to us to keep going on with our message (which is not something that people are usually willing to do...most of the time the change in dynamic means that our time is pretty much over). So, we got to know this young couple and their little 2 year old son and it turns out that the dad actually knows a lot about the church and really likes the church. So, we're going to go back to visit them again tomorrow. They're super excited to continue learning about the Book of Mormon. Lots of potential there :)

Other than that we've just been working away. One of our goals this week is to definitely have more experiences involving the member in our work. President Packard is so gung-ho about working with members in order to increase our missionary efforts and I can see, with the limited experience that I have, that he's on the right track.

I just want all my family and my dear friends to know how much I love you all!! It really amazes me just how much love one heart can hold. My heart feels like it's going to burst sometimes just thinking about how much I love so many people. Know that you are in my heart and in my prayers. Share the knowledge and the blessings you have with those around you - you will be able to experience even more of that love that you already have for other people. It's an incredible feeling.

Todo mi amor y cariño

Hermana Palmer

July 30, 2012 Letter

Hello all!

This week has gone by quick! It seems like this whole mission is going by just as quickly! It is very strange for me to think that I will be hitting my year mark at the beginning of next transfer. Super weird.

It sounds like Grandpa Fran's funeral went well. I got to see the program - the picture on the front definitely made me smile. I'm glad most everyone got to be there to spend time together. I definitely miss Grandpa Fran, but I know without a doubt in my mind that everything will be okay and that everything happens for a reason.

This last week we have been placing a lot of emphasis on finding investigators. As we have had members coming with us to appointments, the other two will go and street contact people around the area or start knocking doors. We are getting a lot of potentials and hopefully we will start to see some progress as we continue following up with these people. It will be interesting to see what comes of it all.

We had a cool training experience last Wednesday. President Packard has been doing trainings/interview with each zone individually throughout the mission. Wednesday was our turn - so he was doing trainings/interviews in rotations with each district specifically. It was really neat to get his very personal and inspired take on the new vision that he has for the mission. He's such an inspired man and has felt very strongly impressed to make our mission a "Book of Mormon mission". This phrase has meaning to us as missionaries because usually we are constantly striving to be "Preach My Gospel Missionaries." While Preach My Gospel is still super important to know and be familiar with (it's the manual we use to know how to do all of our work), he feels very strongly about the power of the Book of Mormon. It really is the chosen tool to gather Israel in these latter days and he expects us to use it as such. It has gotten our companionship very excited about the Book of Mormon and I have found that as I have placed even a greater emphasis on learning the language of the Book of Mormon and familiarizing myself with important sections/verses, that I have grown spiritually and helped other people to draw on the that same spiritual power that comes from such an inspired book.

This week I have been super blessed to be able to witness the blessings that come from being faithful. Gaby, the newest member of our branch, has dealt with lots of trials over the last couple of months having to do with her living situation. To add to that, she lost her job this week because of having excessive time off to come to church. She faced it with a lot of faith, fasting and praying. She mentioned that she lost her job when she went to institute on Friday and on Saturday, one of the members called us with information to give her about a job! It worked out! She has already started! She's working at a restaurant that is within biking distance and the pay isn't too bad. She's started out just doing dishes and cleaning, but has the possibility to move to cook (which is what she did at her old job). The woman who hired her is super happy with her and she likes the people she works with! Yay!

As if that wasn't all, she was able to go to the temple on Saturday to do Baptisms for the Dead with the branch! Woot! We even got permission to go and be with her. It was super awesome! The spirit was strong! Her testimony is growing she is becoming so much more sensitive to the spirit. What's more, as I was sitting in the temple I was suddenly overcome with such a happy feeling - I really couldn't describe it if I tried - but I felt like my understanding of how blessed I am became a more firm knowledge than what I have ever known before. I felt so blessed to be worthy to be in the temple and to have partaken of the ordinances of salvation for myself and to witness these saving ordinances being done for others who now will have those same blessings if they so choose. I'm so blessed!

Thank you for all your prayers on my behalf. I love you all so much! Until next Monday :)

All my love,
Sister Palmer


Jul 24, 2012

Familia

Well, today my thoughts and my prayers are definitely very focused on my very dear family. I'm so grateful that we've been blessed with the knowledge of the gospel. I'm grateful that as a family we are trying to be worthy to obtain eternal life together someday. It is that knowledge that I have that it is keeping me going. It is spurring me on. It is super sad to know that in this mortal life I will never again see my dear Grandpa Fran, but I know that God's plan is perfect. As we obey the commandments and press forward with faith we can obtain that promised eternal life. I am so grateful for that. More grateful than I will ever be able to express in words.



This week has been pretty good. I've been learning a lot and getting to know my Companions better. Sister Figueredo is really trying to help me get to the level of Spanish that I want to be at - she made a deal with me that if I will help her find some Portuguese investigators that she would promise not to speak English to me. I also have to speak Spanish (or Portuguese, which she's trying to teach me) all the time in return. It hasn't worked 100% just yet, but I'm speaking a lot more Spanish than I used to. I've even started writing in my journal in spanish (my poor grandchildren who will want to read it someday...I guess they will just have to learn :)

This last Sunday Gaby wasn't supposed to be able to come to church because she had to work. But she didn't realize that the bus doesn't come around until 12 on Sundays and she doesn't have a car right now. So, she called her boss and he told her to just not worry about it - so she ran home, changed, and came to church! She came late but she came! She really is making changes in her life and I'm super excited for her! She even got her temple recommend to be able to go do baptisms this Sunday with the ward. Woot!

Life is good in general. I love the Gospel and I super dee duperly love my family! they are the best!! (Maybe I'm a little biased...)

LOVES!!
-Sister Palmer

Jul 22, 2012

Short & Sweet (July 16, 2012 Letter)

The best missionaries Lynn has EVER seen!


Wet and happy after the fireworks - Elder Dantas photo crashing...Elders love doing that :)


So, I haven't even started my email and they just came and told me that they need my computer in a few minutes. I guess that means that I am not very good at managing my time and that I'm not used to staying under an hour to email.

So, we had a baptism and a confirmation this last weekend. Gaby got baptized! Yay! It's really incredible how strong I felt the spirit - both in the baptismal service and during her confirmation. She really is trying to come closer to Christ and I am praying that she keeps finding the strength to deal with all the stuff she has to go through. She's super strong though. Probably way stronger than I am.

Sister Figueredo is trying to teach me Portuguese! It's so hard! I was practicing my pronunciation and reading the Book of Mormon in Portuguese with her a few days ago - it was hard, but I'm starting to get a hang of a few things. I'm picking up a few phrases from other missionaries, but I just have no idea how to spell anything yet.

Mostly I just want my family to know that I am doing well. I know the Lord is looking after and after all my family wherever they are and for that I am incredibly grateful.

I love you all so much!!
-Sister Palmer