Jan 30, 2012


Well hey there!

I have survived my first transfer in the mission field! Woohoo! I am junior companion to the amazing Hna. Hildenbrand serving in la Rama de Lynn (Lynn branch) located in a building that we share with Comcast...haha! Our area covers (as far as I know...there could be more) Lynn, Salem, Swampscott, Peabody, Marblehead, and a couple small cities. But apparently we focus most of our work in Salem and Lynn. Pretty much all of our scheduled appointments this last weekend canceled - we even had three dinners that all canceled. I hope it's not something to do with me :)

The actual day of transfers (last Thursday) was a little crazy. We zipped off to transfer meeting in Belmont and had a really spirit-packed meeting of missionaries (including Hna. Jardine…who left the next day) bearing their testimonies. Poor Sister Jardine was SO sad to leave! I am going to miss her a whole lot. I had been really stressed about what it would be like to be in a new companionship, but honestly, I absolutely LOVE it! I hope Sister Hales feels the same way with Sister Nagliati. They announce who the senior companions and drivers are in the transfer meeting - Sister Hildenbrand is both in our companionship because she knows the terrain a little better than I - she opened the area with Sister Jardine last transfer. So, after a little bit stressful drive (Sister Hildenbrand's first in 5 months) back to Revere to pick up all my stuff (I have way more than I should already...I need to start downsizing) we were on our way.

Our first day as companions we planned for the next week and had two appointments cancel. Luckily, the elders in our branch (Elder Phillips - district leader and Elder Swasey - been out for one transfer) were thinking about us. They had met a woman in a building of an inactive member and she was really interested but the Elders couldn't go in because they didn't have a man with them. So, they set it up for us to go back in a couple hours. It was an AWESOME lesson with Lxxxxx from the DR (Sister Hildenbrand informed me that pretty much all the Hispanic people in this area are from the Dominican Republic - I get to learn cool slang words like Wa-wa [bus - probably won't find that one in the dictionary] and how to speak really fast! Woohoo!) The spirit was really strong in the lesson and we taught about prayer and the Book of Mormon. She committed to read and pray and come to church! (which, she didn't...but she was willing so that's something).

Friday and Saturday we spent doing some good finding. We got a ton of referrals for the Lynnfield English ward elders and a couple return appointments for ourselves. I'm really excited to call back one woman we met in Salem walking down the street. She seemed genuinely interested and offered us her information so we could get in touch with her.

I can't remember any of the other things I was going to tell you all...

Oh yeah! My first Sunday in the branch was AWESOME!! We started off with a bang because Hna. Hildenbrand and I were teaching a member missionary lesson in Relief Society. I know my mom can attest to the way I get SUPER nervous when I have to teach classes. I've had experience in Relief Society before. But...shockingly enough...I didn't get nervous at all! It was in Spanish too! I felt so calm all week as we were preparing and even on Sunday. The branch is super kind and welcoming and I already feel like I have some good friends. Also, the ward mission leader, Hno. Parades, is pretty much the coolest guy around. He's probably in his seventies and is SO involved in the missionary work. We had a meeting with him and the Elders on Saturday and he's always giving us updates. Also, he leads the music in sacrament meeting and I'm pretty sure he is the loudest, and most dramatic, operatic-tenor-like conductor I have had in the church. He's so awesome! I want to be like him someday. He knows all the members and loves them so much! He is always hugging everyone (except us...rules and all that) and really loves the Gospel. Sometimes he likes talking a little too much, but he has a really great heart.

I really love being companions with Sister Hildenbrand. I feel like even though we're both really new at this whole mission thing, we're really trying to follow the Spirit and I just feel so happy! Life is so great!!

Well, speaking of the best companion ever, Hermana Hildenbrand and are going to Boston! She hasn't been yet (well, she has...but only to go with Hna. Jardine to go to the doctor's office). We're not exactly sure what we're going to do yet, but it's gonna be fun :)

Hermana Palmer

Jan 25, 2012


So...I'm transferring...I'm a little obsessed with the fact actually. Probably because it's a little scary, exciting, CRAZY, etc. I will be companions with Hermana Hildenbrand - who as you all know I have already been companions with. The fact that both of us are quite inexperienced is rather worrying. We're both decent at speaking Spanish, but we're not THAT good.

So, I'm being transferred to the Lynn Spanish Branch - we cover Salem, Swampscott, Lynn, and some other places...I don't know all of them. This is the area for Hermanas that Hna. Jardine and Hna. Hildenbrand just barely opened up last transfer.

Oh my goodness! There are some attention-starved 14 year old boys who are picking a fight with the librarian - it makes it really hard to concentrate. Sorry!


·        I get a much nicer apartment
·        I get to be with Hermana Hildenbrand who is actually a lot of fun to be around
·        Hermano Paredes is the mission leader in the Lynn branch and he is SUPER awesome to work with (I met him at the Saenz's house on Thanksgiving)
·        I will have to actually start working on my ability to teach - Hermana Hales was such a great companion for that reason. She really carried us in our lessons but now I need the chance to learn for myself.
·        I'm scared out of my mind to not have someone much better at Spanish to rely on
·        I'm leaving all our investigators and all the members that I've really grown to love :(
·        I'm finally starting to get along really well with Hermana Hales...and now I'm leaving
I've realized these cons are really lame - this next transfer is going to be awesome! Transfer meeting is tomorrow morning at 10:00 in Belmont. Then the work begins. It's definitely a new adventure. On Saturday night when we got the "T-texts" I was flipping out and was so worried and stressed about it that I honestly couldn't get to sleep until 2:00am which is SO weird for me! I really probably fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. It was a good time to reflect though and think about all the positive things that are going to come from a new challenge in Lynn. I think I probably would have been awake the entire night if it hadn't been for my trusty Book of Mormon. I studied for 15 or 20 minutes around 1:30 and then it didn't take long at all for me to go to sleep when I tried. I love the Book of Mormon! I even learned something - I was reading Mosiah 2-3 and it really struck me how important humility is. I think that is going to be something that will help me a lot during this next transfer - acknowledging that I have a lot to learn and being willing to dig in and try, make mistakes, and try again.

That's really what's been occupying much of my thoughts for the last few days. I'm really worried about Dxxxxxx right now - we haven't had contact since Sunday because she lost/broke her phone and doesn't answer the door unless you call because she's had some scary people come knocking on her door before (she doesn't live in the best part of Revere). I didn't even get to say goodbye!

I love you all and hope you are having a wonderful January - we had a good solid snow storm last Saturday, but then it rained two days ago and pretty much all the snow is gone. So much for winter. On the upside - it feels almost like spring here in New England.

This email is super lame...good thing I get to write again next Monday. I really hope you all are happy and doing well. I have to go eat a very large dinner made by the most adorable Columbian sisters. LOVES!!

-Hermana Palmer

Jan 17, 2012

Before I forget, we are NOT having Preparation day on a Monday next week - repeat, we are NOT having preparation day on a Monday next week! Next week is the last week of the transfer and so we will be having it on Wednesday (giving people who are transferring a day right before transfers to pack and tie up loose ends in their area). Just thought I'd throw that out there so you aren't all waiting on baited breath to receive an email on Monday just to be disappointed. :)

First things first, it snowed last night!!! Woohoo!!! It was actually sticking to the road last night and it was still slushy on the sides of the roads this morning when we woke up and there was a skiff on the grass and the side walks! Yay! It's mostly all melted by this point in the day though (11:30). A member was telling us last night that if it doesn't snow a lot, it means we're not going to have much of a summer either...lots of rain. Rain I can totally do - as long as it's not hot and super humid. This winter is SO weird! I heard that in Utah it was the driest December in Utah history. Is that true?

So I've been working on one of my new-years resolutions lately which has been to work on some of the Christ-like attributes. I have realized that with my companion I have gotten super critical. I think it stems from the fact that I'm still getting used to this whole 24/7 attached at the hip thing. But I am adjusting and I'm happy to report that we're doing really well as a companionship. The thing that I've really focused on the last couple of days especially is to just refrain from criticizing. Sometimes even just that is so hard! It shouldn't be though. I'm going to continue working on that.

I think I wrote a couple weeks ago about a really great tracting experience we had with this really sweet girl named Bxxxxx. I also noted that the same day we were planning to go teach her the first lesson. Well, we went and she totally wasn't there! We knocked on her door 3 or 4 times and waited before finally just writing her a note telling that we came by and to give us a call. We've called her since and left a message on her phone but nothing has come of it. Well, I was super bummed that we couldn't teach a lesson. It was the day Hermana Jardine was doing exchanges and so we were companions and it would have been really cool to try out teaching with someone different.

But...Heavenly Father had something else in store. Instead of teaching Bxxxxx, we stayed in her apartment complex in the building right next to hers and had a couple of contacts there. We set up two return appointments and sent on a couple referrals because of it. One of the appointments fell through but we had the other one. We ended up teaching the first lesson to the girl who had answered the door and her aunt. When we started into the first lesson it was a little awkward - I don't think they really knew what our purpose as missionaries was at that point (totally our own fault). But the lesson progressed and I really felt the Spirit strong and we left them with a commitment to read the Book of Mormon and pray about what they read.

Fast forward to yesterday. We've had one other lesson where we taught the first half of lesson two. We called them last night to see how their reading was going and Theannys continued to basically give us a summary of the first 2 or 3 chapters of first Nephi! We were stunned!! Getting people to read has been a real struggle for us lately. The reason she kept on reading was because she just really felt good while she was reading and thought it was really interesting. I'm SO excited for our next lesson with them this week! Missionary work is SOOOO awesome!!!

One last experience before we have to get going: Last night we had planned to drop by several less-active members and a couple investigators in Everett. While we were praying in the car before we went to go try to visit one of these members, I had the distinct thought that we should go visit another less-active member that we weren't planning to visit but was in the area. So, out of the blue, I mentioned that to my companion and she said that she actually had thought the exact same thing but hadn't said anything about it yet. We went in to visit the member where we had stopped at and we caught her at home and in a super friendly mood and so we got to talk to her and share a really great message. Then we zoomed off to visit this other less-active member we had both thought of. The last time she had set up an appointment with us she didn't show and the last 3 or 4 times we've stopped by we could tell someone was home but nobody ever answered her door. Last night, we knocked and the door opened! We got to talk to her for a few minutes and hopefully communicate to her that we love her and are planning to go back today when she is a little less busy. This is a long way of saying that I know the Spirit speaks to us if we're doing what we should and if we're really listening.

Les quiero MUCHISSIMO!!!!

-Hermana Palmer

Jan 15, 2012

I have wrongly chosen to use my time emailing President Evans and sending little emails and so now I only have a little time before we're going to zip off to Boston (my companion is getting her ears pierced!!).

This week was really hard, but pretty rewarding. We had a lot more lessons than we usually do. We got 4 new investigators and taught 13 lessons or something. Apparently Hermana Hales was teaching 20 something lessons a week during the summer, but for right now...13-15 seems pretty cool to me :)

We got to go on exchanges last Tuesday. Apparently it's super rare for the Sisters (and especially rare for the Hermanas) to go on exchanges or "tours" as some of the Elders call it. Hermana Jardine came and spent a day in Revere and Hermana Hales went and spent the day with Hermana Hildenbrand in Swampscott and their surrounding area. I had SO much fun!! Hermana Jardine really knows how to make missionary work fun and effective all at the same time. She just loves talking to people so much and it really opens people right up. We taught a lesson to a guy who was just painting an apartment in one of the buildings we were tracting. The fact that we can just waltz into people's lives and talk about Heavenly Father, Joseph Smith, the Restoration and bear our testimonies just has not lost it's excitement for me yet.

Interesting tid-bit for the week: Hermana Hales and I both don't really like calling people on the phone in Spanish. We love all of our investigators and the members dearly, but sometimes it is just SO hard to understand a 2nd language when someone's mumbling or speaking really quiet or fast and we have bad service in our apartment and there's other noises in the background. It's hard because we want to understand EVERYTHING that they're saying so we know how to best help them. I'm getting a whole lot better at phone conversations but sometimes I honestly have to just kind of guess what they're saying based on the 2 or 3 words I can discern. Then I just ask, "So, you want to do..." or "So it's still okay if..." and clarify what the action from there needs to be. The Spirit sure is helping me to pick up the language, but I'm still just me - trying to do the best I can with what I've got. I actually got a letter from Sister McPhie a couple weeks ago that said something similar. She asked something like, "So do you feel like you've changed since you've been on the mission? I sure don't! I thought I'd automatically have some incredible spiritual power but mostly I'm just me." I feel exactly the same way. I'm just me. The difference is that I am much closer to the Spirit and to trying to do Heavenly Father's will for me than I ever have in my life.

We had a zone meeting last Friday and President Evans was there. He said something that really has been helping me for the last few days. We were talking about how he receives revelation in order to know what to do when transfers come up (next transfer, btw, is the 26th...I have no clue if either of us are going to leave or not). So we got into discussing when he feels it's appropriate to split up a companionship that are at each other's throats. He feels like if there are problems in a companionship that it's a shame to just split them up and deprive them the learning opportunity. And then, this is what impressed me, he said something like, "Even if we didn't have a single baptism directly from the fruits of the missionaries in this mission, it would still be a wonderful and worth-while work." His reasoning being that we learn SO much while we are here on our missions that have the power to change our whole lives. We have this time to be immersed in the gospel, to learn how to live with other people's faults, to learn to recognize our own faults and hopefully try to fix them, and to build the type of character that can help us have lives focused on the things that truly matter. So even if I don't help a single person get closer to baptism, my time here is still worth it. It's so true. The biggest blessing of this mission experience so far has been the ability to recognize my own faults and humbly work toward fixing them.

I love this Gospel! I love YOU!!

-Hermana Palmer

Jan 3, 2012

Feliz ano nuevo!!

Hola familia!
It's 2012!!! It's so weird to think that just a few years ago it wasn't even 2000 yet and the whole 20 verses 19 thing seemed super weird to me. Now it seems super normal...which is weird! Call me crazy...
Well, for new years we passed the day like any old other day. We actually contacted/tracted a LOT and it went really well because a lot of people were home and were happy because they had the day off of work. We even got invited in a couple times because people felt bad for us that it was so chilly out :)
We did eat breakfast with la familia Sxxxx on New Year's Eve- they seem to love to invite us over lately. Maybe it's just because it's the holidays. They were the family that destroyed our stomaches with the corned beef and cabbage. We thought we were pretty safe since we were just going for breakfast...I don't know if all Columbians eat like they do, but we still got SO much food!! Changua (I am not sure on the spelling) is apparently a native breakfast dish - hot milk, cheese (we had parmasan but you can have any kind), bread, hard boiled eggs, and a little cilantro on top. I love the Saenz's but I have a hard time with soggy textures and there were like 5 slices of french bread that had been saturated...it was kind of hard to choke down at first, but after a while it wasn't too bad. THEN Hno. Sxxxx brought out fried eggs with more bread. THEN he also brought out hot chocolate and this white cheese that's pretty dry that is actually really good when you put it in the hot chocolate. Their hot chocolate was really bitter but super delicious - it was just super hard to get to go down because we had already had so much food! They must think we are starving all the time or something. We have another meal with them tomorrow...wish me luck.
I feel like the work is really picking up and I think it's because Hermana Hales and I have been trying really hard to be exactly obedient. I'm not generally a big fan of this, but in all reality it wasn't until we consciously started striving for obedience that we've had a lot of cool experiences. One of them being that we contacted into a member who had moved here from South Carolina and hadn't been able to figure out how to contact someone in our ward so she could come to church. We got her a ride and she was totally there this last Sunday! Also, Dxxxx, Fxxxxxx, and Gxxxxxx came to church on Sunday and seemed to have a really good experience. Granted, we still have some rough times. Dxxxxx (had a baptismal date that's coming up really rapidly) hasn't had time to meet with us for 2 weeks. Poor thing has been working 10-12 hour shifts at a temporary job she has. I am praying every day that she will have the time and energy to want to meet with us.
Yesterday on our p-day we took a jaunt over to Salem with the other sisters (Hna. Hildenbrand and Jardin). It was pretty fun :) There was a cool museum that we kind of wanted to visit but it was closed and all the other witch-themed stores and shops seemed uber creepy so we didn't actually do much witch sight-seeing but we explored a bunch of cute little shops and antique places and got to roam the streets of salem for the afternoon.
Today we're on exchanges! Sister Hales didn't think that they did this with the sisters very often, but they decided to do it and I'm having a super great time with Hermana Jardin. We had a really awesome companionship study and we have a first lesson with a girl we tracted into last Tuesday - I'm SUPER excited for this lesson because this girl, Bxxxxx, just seemed super open and interested and willing to make changes. I really hope she keeps the appointment and that it goes well. I will update you in a week.
So much to write and so little time. I wish you could all be here experiencing all the cool things here in Massachusetts that I get to experience as a missionary. It's hard work, but it's becoming very rewarding all at the same time.
Hermana Palmer