Mar 19, 2012

Cool Experiences

Hey Ya'll!!
I've had some cool experiences with the Spirit this week - when Hna. Hildenbrand was sick on Wednesday during the night, I woke up and she wasn't doing great, but she was at least feeling well enough that she was able to sleep in between not feeling well. But as I crawled back into bed at 1:00 I felt like I needed to call someone to ask them to give her a blessing. I shrugged it off and rationalized that she would be fine. The sickness would take its course and all would be well. I woke up at 3:00 to her calling my name and asking me, from the bathroom, to call someone to come give her a blessing because she did not feel at all well. I did the first thing I could think of and called Sister Lyon - she and her husband live on the floor below us in our building. Luckily her phone was on and she answered, somewhat groggily I'll admit.  I asked her if Brother Lyon would maybe be able to come with her to give Sister Hildenbrand a blessing.

It just so happened that during the day, Sister Lyon's parents and little brother arrived from Utah to leave on a week long road trip the next morning at 6:00 in the morning. In that small window of time, Sister Lyon's father, and husband were able to come with Sister Lyon to give Sister Hildenbrand a blessing when she needed it the most. Not 5 or 10 minutes later she was sitting up, and smiling and felt well enough to go back to bed and slept for more or less the rest of the night.

I had the chance to watch the biography of President Monson - On the Lord's Errand. I pray that this experience can be similar to the one he had when his one experience of not following the spirit exactly when he was prompted has led him to want to never make that mistake again. I know it won't be easy, but with all my might I will do my best to follow all of the promptings of the spirit.
So, the day after Sister Hildenbrand got sick she was still kind of tired and achey and was only awake for a total of 5 or 6 hours (which we used to do our weekly planning because it was Thursday). So, we took a day off from the outside world. I thought it would be really nice to have a break - and as nice as it was to not have to worry about making a fool of myself, it would have been nice to be out teachin' and preachin'. I did get some stuff done - like some cleaning, studying, sewing, watching - approved movies of course! I think I watched Legacy twice in Spanish - it's SOO much better in Spanish than in English. It's more dramatic sounding anyway :)
So, today we're going to the Sport's Museum!! Woohoo!! It's a district p-day (new thing Elder Wayne, the new district leader, is trying out to improve district unity) and Elders Swasey/Hanberg are in charge and they got a free pass for six people from the that's what we're doing. I have no idea what we will find there, but it should be good.
Yesterday I saw my first convert baptism since I've been here!! It was AWESOME!!! We went to the baptism of two of Hna. Hildenbrand's old investigators from the Revere English ward. David and Diego are twins - their mom is a member and has been coming back to church. They're 12 years old and they're super duper awesome! I've heard so many good things about them. It was really fun to see Hna. Hildenbrand reconnect with members in the ward and whatnot. There were SOOO many people at the baptism! It was incredible! More than the entire branch here in Lynn. So, when we all squeezed in the Relief Society room to see the baptism, I couldn't actually see the font, but when both of them were baptized I felt the spirit SOOO strong!! It just enveloped the room. What a sweet experience.
I could go on and on about this week, but alas, we must be going now. I love you all SOOOOOOOOOO much!!!
-Hna. Palmer

Mar 14, 2012

Well, I'll make this snappy.

Well, I'll make this snappy. It's always SO nice to have two p-days so close together on these weeks. We were going to go to Salem again today to take advantage of the good weather and go explore some shops, but the zone leaders talked us into going and playing a rousing game of bowling in Malden. It was pretty fun :)
This short week has been rather uneventful except for the arrival of a new missionary to our branch - Elder Hanberg. He's a true Vernalite and apparently knows Allie. He seems really nice - he's excited to work hard even though he's a little bit lost with the whole language barrier - I know EXACTLY how that feels! It feels like just yesterday I was struggling to know how to greet people and how to make appointments and all that great stuff. He'll learn fast - Elder Swasey is SO good at Spanish! He's six weeks behind Sis. Hildenbrand and I but he's a couple months ahead in Spanish I think.
I got a surprise late-valentine package from Terry Marshall! It made me super happy :) It is so cheerful to get a fun surprise on Saturday because Sunday we obviously don't get any mail.
This week we haven't really had much going on with investigators. This next week is definitely going to be a finding week because our investigators are just losing interest and not keeping appointments. A lot of our work this last week was with inactives and less actives - It's so exciting to keep meeting more of them and to really start to help them want to come back to church. The best experience this week was when we met with a woman that we meet with once a week or so but she NEVER comes to church because she says she's too busy and lives to far away (in Salem) and she doesn't have her own car. We tried SO hard to get her a ride and get her to come to church last week but she didn't come. But, we went to her house on Saturday and while we were there we met 3 or her 4 daughters! They all just randomly showed up because they live close by. They're all inactive memebers and two of them just stayed in the lesson and really seemed interested in coming back. None of them came on Sunday, but we have hopes to meet with them more and help come back in the near future. Sunday was hard because of the time change - it's hard to start a meeting ontime with Hispanics anyway - take away an hour of sleep...we were much fewer in numbers this last Sunday - let's just say that :)
One really great blessing in disguise about being on a mission is that it's very easy to see your own faults... So, lately I've been really working on developing patience. It's been super cool to study about it in the scriptures and to look for examples. The hard thing is that developing patience requires patience. There's really no other way to develop it other than the trying of it. I really loved looking back at Elder Hales' talk from this last October general conference to learn more about it.
Speaking of General Conference - I'M SO EXCITED that it's coming in a couple of weeks!!! It's going to be so fun!!! If we can get some investigators to come we might even get to watch it in Spanish! Woohoo!!
I love ya'll!!! Gotta go!
Hna. Palmer

Mar 9, 2012

Another day another destiny...just popped into my head. Doesn't actually have anything to do with my week...haha!

Dinner with Hna. Guzman - we ate those :) Haha!! Hna. Hildenbrand almost died! She doesn't even like seafood. It was surprisingly tasty. LOVES!

Well, I'm sitting here in Salem at the library - did you know there are actually witches here? It really freaks me out sometimes to see people dressed in black from head to toe just roaming the streets. Don't worry, there aren't a lot, and we honestly don't spend that much time in Salem - more witches than Hispanic people apparently.

Long weeks are always a little bit hard. We did really well on Monday considering we were kind of ready for a break - we kept busy despite our canceled appointments and got a good amount of work done. Yesterday was another story - we ended up in a 4 hour meeting with the elders in our branch because Elder Phillips is leaving. He's been serving in the branch for 6 months and knows EVERYTHING! So, we went through the entire ward list and he told us everything there is to know about everyone so we have a really good idea of how we can serve most effectively. We're all really sad to see him leave and go speak english - what's up with that?! The missionaries in our branch are all SO new! There's Hna. Hildenbrand and I who are on our 4th transfer, Elder Swasey who's on his 3rd, and now he's going to be training a greenie!! I guess they just wanted to give the branch a fresh outlook. We really have a lot of power to change the way people view our area - it's been seen as kind of tough in the past. I'm excited for a new transfer and for the chance to have a fresh start at 6 weeks. One thing I really want to improve on this transfer is just really working hard and utilizing all my time really well.

Last week for our P-day we went to the Isabella Gardner museum - it's amazing!! It's basically a palace that Isabella Gardner built to store her private collection of paintings, artifacts, books, furniture, and lots of crazy stuff. It is incredible! Everywhere you look there is something different to admire, from the architecture, to the stone-work or brass-work to the paintings, sketches, statues, letters from famous people, and so forth. They have a brand new wing that houses the entry way and an exhibition center. There are seriously just a hallway and a room full of couches with books lining the walls - books about ALL things art that are just there for people to browse - you don't even have to pay to go in and look at the books! It's so cool! I was a little sad we really can't go reading books, but when I come back to visit, you can bet I will go there!

I got a letter from Jenn Peterson! I didn't realize she's living in Cambridge!! I really wish I could just go visit her for a P-day but I kind of think that would be against the rules. But she sent me a letter with her address and so we'll definitely be pen pals - it's cool to know that I have family living here in MA.

Today is absolutely gorgeous day! It's a little windy, but it's a delicious warm wind that just feels so good! We were thinking of going to a museum which is honestly kind of a shame, but I think we'll still get a chance to enjoy more warm weather this week. It's so hard to believe that it is usually still snowing here in March. We've had such a lucky warm winter I think.

The members in the branch are really starting to step up to the plate - we've really been working on having better relationships with the members which has helped us have their support to come with us visiting investigators and inactive members. This last week there were 92 people at church during sacrament meeting!! What?! It was just a random week - nothing special and almost every single seat was full in the chapel. How cool! There have been 5 or 6 families that have started coming to church more regularly and it's making all the difference in how our branch seems to be coming together. I'm really excited to hopefully continue to see it grow.

We're kind of at a standstill with our investigators right now. I know we really need to work on finding more people because the people we're working with right now just don't seem all that interested - they keep making appointments with us and then just not showing up. This next week we're really going to work on finding more because we've been filling up our time working with inactive and less-active members it seems.

I know there's probably more to say, but I honestly just can't think of more to add - except that I love you all VERY much!!!

-Hna. Palmer

Mar 1, 2012

Word Splatter

Well familia y amigos, this is going to be a whirlwind because we've got to get moving if we want to go to a museum today. We're heading down to Boston to visit the Isabella Gardner Art Museum! Woohoo!! We figured out a way to get cheaper passes so even though we can't go spend all day there, it's worth the cheaper ticket to get to go for a few hours. We're sooooo excited!
Yesterday at church was CRAZY!! I found out when I got to the Lynn Branch that we were going to be speaking yesterday, but I certainly haven't had much time before this last week to prepare it. So, as Hna. Hildenbrand and I were preparing talks last week we assumed the Elders in the branch would be speaking as well. That is what Hna. H communicated to me and that's what she understood from Presidente Fuentes. So...on Saturday we thought we ought to just doublecheck so we asked the Elders if they were speaking and they told us they were not. We quickly called Presidente Fuentes to find out who else would be talking...but it turns out that we were the only ones scheduled...
We got off the phone with Presidente and my brain just about exploded - I didn't think I could give a full blown sacrament meeting talk in Spanish. Turns out, that the Lord prepares whom he calls. It's such a blessing that the Spirit was with us because we filled up the time and actually did an okay job. How crazy is that?! My talk ended up being about 20 minutes and the only parts I read were the scriptures and quotes I used and a few bullet points I wrote down. For me, that's huge! It's huge in English let along in Spanish. I know it wasn't perfect Spanish, but it was super rewarding to realize that with my Heavenly Father's help I can do really hard, seemingly impossible, things.
Spending so much time working on our talks this week we didn't really have much time to put into the primary lesson that we were also asked to give when we went to the Primary President's house for dinner on Thursday. We know how important it is to support the leaders in the branch and they don't usually ask us to do things like that so we certainly had to say yes. We taught the 8-11 year olds about the story of Sherem the anti-christ in Jacob 7. There were 10 of them crammed into an itty bitty classroom! It's really great that the branch has been growing even since I've gotten here, but it made for a rough class. We were relating the story to the importance of testimonies and things we can do to help build our testimonies. I think most of them got the gist of it - it was just a little bit hard for me because I did NOT feel prepared enough to really know how to present the story in a way that they could all relate so I don't really blame them for being so off-task. We'll try better next time I suppose :)
One of our investigators showed up to Sacrament meeting yesterday! We had no idea she was coming and she got there a little late and had to leave after sacrament was over but she came! It was really exciting for us! We also had a lesson with her last night and found out that she's actually been reading the Book of Mormon and her friend came over so we got to teach her friend part of the first lesson. Not only was Bienela (our investigator) super attentive, but she was actually helping us teach it and was right on target with everything she was saying. She's been taught all of the lessons a few times and apparently the information is sticking. How exciting for her!
I feel like we've been having really great success with trying to improve our relationships with the members in the branch here. It really is starting to feel like we have our own little family in the branch. Now we're just working on helping the members understand their responsibility in missionary work. That's one thing I've learned SO much about by being on a mission - I've realized how fundemental missionary work is for every member to participate in. When we're not being open and inviting about our religion, we're denying people the opportunity to receive blessings. They still have the option to choose if they want to accept what we tell them, but they will never know if we are never open about it. This is something I am going to remember for my whole life.
The weather has been a little crazier than usual - we had a super rainy day and then an INCREDIBLY windy day! It just so happened to be the day that we were trying to take pictures with the Elders in our branch so we can make a card for all the members (it's a secret - don't tell! jaja!). So we went up to this cool tower called "High Rock Tower" that overlooks Lynn and you can see the city from it. There was even a guy hanging around that was super nice and took the pictures but they turned out really bad because it was SO windy! We ended up taking some other ones on a member's doorstep last night that I think we're actually going to use.
Anyway - this has just been kind of a word splatter. I hope it all makes sense and that you are all doing well and that you're happy. I love you all!!
Con tanto carino!!
-Hna. Palmer