Apr 30, 2012

It's REALLY Spring Here!

On Tuesday this last week, we walked outside and just felt like everything had gotten really green overnight! Everything is just super green and bloomy. Pollen's pretty high, but thankfully it hasn't bothered me too much.
Life is great in Massachusetts! Although I will be honest, our mailbox has been very bare the last two weeks...the work is going forth and things are good.
We actually have an investigator who is progressing! We are so excited! Her name is Rosa. We've been teaching her for a couple weeks, but we've been praying that she would be able to come to church yesterday - she usually tends her two granddaughters on the weekends and doesn't feel like
she can take care of both of them during church and feel comfortable becoming familiar with something so new. So, miracle! We went on Saturday, and she had had to work on Saturday, so the grandkids didn't come at all this weekend! She was able to come to church!! YAY!!! She seemed to really like church and her comments during Gospel Principles class made me feel like she was really starting to gain her own testimony and recognize the influence of the Holy Ghost in her life. We are so excited for her!!
Sister Hildenbrand and I pinkie promised each other yesterday that we were going to speak only Spanish to one another! So far, so good! We have to remind each other every once in a while, but we've been doing really well. I think this will really help our Spanish to improve so that our investigators don't get so focused on helping us and correcting our Spanish and they can focus more on the message that we're bringing.
I had to start a new journal this week - I had bought a huge journal at the MTC thinking that it would take me my whole mission to fill it...and now it's completely full. This little one I found will probably only last me a month or two and then I'll have to find another one. It will just be a continuous search for new journals I think :) It does make me happy that I've been making time each day to keep a record of the things I'm learning and the experiences I don't want to forget. It's worth it to have to find more journals I think.
My companion is just the best! We are always making each other laugh because of something or other. This week we had a good laugh over this ridiculous gummy eyeball that Bianca gave us on Tuesday when we went to New Beginnings. We got this hilarious text from a member - she was asking us what we wanted for dinner. We told her we would eat anything but shrimp and milk (Sister Hildenbrand is alergic to both of those). So she texted back, "That's just what I was going to serve! Shrimp in milk!" and we laughed SO hard! We have both realized that we're going to be super weird after the mission. The silliest things put us in fits of laughter and we find things amusing that probably wouldn't be that amusing under the context of every day life.
Well, I love ya'll! I heard that Andrew is leaving on the mish - wish him good luck for me! He's going to love learning Spanish! It's the best!!
-Sister Palmer
On the train over the Charles' River heading to Cambridge last Monday to wander around Harvard area again

Sister Sylvia Sanchez! She's in the stake yw presidency and she came to New Beginnings on Tuesday. I never got a picture with her, so I took advantage of her being here. I had forgotten until now that once I went to her house and met her parents. Her parents told me that their other daughter (she would have been Sister Garcia) went on a mission to San Francisco or somewhere in Cali and had a companion named Sister Palmer who she absolutely adored! I was wondering if maybe it was Aunt Maralee...I don't know where she served though. That would be cool though :)

La Familia Garcia - not related to the above mentioned. Gwyneth, Hna. Garcia, and Glendryth with Princess and Sparky nestled inbetween - Princess is about to have puppies soon - that's why she looks a little sad :) 

I love cookie dough!

Apr 24, 2012

yo soy Sam

Our District...we're special
Well, here I am

I am here

yo soy Sam
Sam yo soy
a mi no me gusta jabon y juevos verdes...haha! 

We started trying to recite Sam I am in Spanish in the car the other day...we're still working on our translation of it.

This week has been great!!! We actually got the "standard of excellence" in our mission of number of lessons taught - we taught 21 lessons! That includes investigators and members. We were really worried about getting our goals this week because we basically had 2 preparation days, but it turned out that we still kept busy. The thing that has really changed the way we are doing the missionary work has been that we are trying super hard to have daily contact with our investigators. It is SO hard to have contact with every person every day, but when we're consciously striving for that, we are always thinking about our investigators and what we can do to help them progress. I know that baptisms are possible this transfer and we are going to work our hardest to help people come unto Christ.

I'm really excited about one of our investigators - Rosa. She is a total sweetheart! Her brother and his family are actually members - she even went to the baptism of the youngest son and kind of took the missionary lessons with them, but she hasn't gotten that answer for herself that this is the church for her. She's attended lots of churches and just never felt that pull to get baptized in any particular church. So, we're really trying to help her receive her own testimony of the Book of Mormon - we were SO excited when we went over yesterday and she had read 3 Nephi 11 where it talks about Christ visiting the Nephites. She remembered a lot of it and we had a really great discussion about it. She seems like she agrees with the things we are teaching, it just remains that she needs to search to find the truth for herself.

I love being on a mission. It's hard. We get tired every day. By the time we get home most days I don't know how we'll even get through our daily planning session, but we do, and then I manage to try and catch up in my journal and fall blissfully asleep. I don't know what I ever did without 8 hours of sleep. I just can't even imagine trying to run on 4 and 5 hours like I've done in college and sometimes in high school.

We are having what the New Englanders call a "Noreaster" which is a rain storm...it's not as bad as I thought it would be - just rain off and on. While we were studying this morning it got pretty heavy, but by the time we left it was just misting. Somehow the power got knocked out in our building for about 15 seconds but it popped back on. No big deal. I don't think it's anything to be too worried about. I've got my rainboots in the car for when it gets bad :)

Good news! I might get a chance to go to Concord to try and scope out some cool literary sites. We're going to try to get permission from the zone leaders to go and Sister Lyon has offered to take us down and show us around - it's her favorite place to go site seeing. I'm excited! I know I saw some ancestors who died in Concord, MA when I was looking through family history stuff online, but I don't know if there's a place I could find out where they were buried...because there are a couple of big cemeteries there (so says Sister Lyon). So, if Mom or Grandpa Carl, if you have more info, be sure to send it this way because I think that would be super fun to scope out. :)

Speaking of Family History - I have really enjoyed reading the account of Drusilla and James Hendricks. It really makes me excited to learn more about family history after the mish. I didn't realize that Drusilla had such a cool experience with the Word of Wisdom - we actually shared her story with an investigator last Wednesday as we taught the Word of Wisdom. It makes me really want to focus on writing important, testimony-building things in my journal. I sometimes get into the habit of just writing the happenings of the day - while that is great, I think it is infinitely more useful to write what I'm learning. I'll be better about that.

I love you all! 

BESTEST wishes and all my love!
Hermana Palmer

Apr 18, 2012

You should get a prize for making it all the way to the end.

Hey there friends!! This week has been busy and absolutely delish. Let me start with last week. We got a referral from the Stake President who actually is english speaking - but at his request he wanted her to be taught by sisters and we can kind of see why. She's the wife of a man in our ward. Our first appointment with her was really great!

On Tuesday last week we had had three lessons planned and as we went throughout the day - they all got cancled or were no-shows. BUT, we still got our three investigator lessons! We felt very led to still be able to have those three lessons we had wanted and were really excited to have so many unplanned opportunities to practice teaching.

On Wednesday we had planned to call one of the members so we could come visit here later on in the day. We called and there was no answer so we just stopped by - we usually don't do that, but we were glad we did. She had lost her phone and so we wouldn't have been able to come over at all last week. But as it turns out, she was leaving to go to the pharmacy down street and instead of shooing us away (which is what we're used to) she invited us to come with so we could talk and enjoy the company of one another. We went and had a lovely time. We all came away a little bit spiritually strengthened and it was super fun!

Thursday we had a super fun dinner appointment with a family - we eat there every Thursday. This week Hna. Barrios taught us how to make a delish Guatamalan green sauce for chicken and rice. I'm really excited to try it some day :)

Friday we got SO much food!! We decided to go to Nick's Bistro (on Squire road in Revere) to get some food and come back to the chapel to eat with the other district and hang out. I decided not to get very much - I just got an order of sweet potato fries (I feel like all these things revolve around food...mmmh!). That was a REALLY good thing :) Because everyone else got too much food so I got to try some calzone and other things. Then, we went to a lesson but ended up not having a lesson and just getting Spaghetti with Meatballs - and these meatballs aren't little cute ones that you see on Lady and the Tramp. two of them put together would give you a pretty good size baseball - and Sis. Hildenbrand and I were each served 3!! We got SOOO full!!! 

Saturday we didn't get a whole lot of work done because we had to help the primary rehearse for Stake Conference on Sunday, and then we actually ended up getting invited to go to stake conference on Saturday evening, so we went. And in between, Hna. Fuentes took us to a delish taco place - Taco's Lupita in Lynn. (These really are all revolving around food...I must be related to my dad...and I'm proud of it!). But before the rehearsal we had an awesome lesson! A member from Cambridge had given us a call the week before to ask if we could come visit her great grandma and her aunt. So, she came an hour to be able to be in the lesson and it was awesome! She basically taught the whole 2nd lesson in less than 5 minutes. And the way she taught it was super clear. We knew we made a good impression because they invited us to EAT! More food!! That's the thing about the Hispanic culture - but you know you're in if they offer food.

Sunday we went to the 2:00 session of conference (our stake is too big to fit into one session so they split us into two). We got there early to help the primary get situated but they didn't all get there until 5 or 10 minutes before. They were AMAZING!!! They seriously put in 10-15 hours of practice and it totally paid off - out of all the musical numbers they were the best - they were the first right after the sustaining and it really set the tone and invited the spirit for the whole meeting. It was so fun to play the piano for them! I totally saw Jenn!!!! It was super fun!! She was so sweet and even brought me a cute little bag of goodies :) The conference was amazing! It was cool to hear how different people's reactions were but the thing I really got from it was the VITALITY of going to the temple often! It makes me with that we could go to the temple every week. Everyone who can go every week, go!!! or as often as you can - as long as it's consistent.

Monday was a blast!! We went to the reenactment of "The Shot heard Round the World" in Lexington. A member invited the missionaries living within 30 minutes to park at his house and have breakfast there after because he lives.4 miles from where it took place. While, we actually didn't see a whole lot (lots of tall elders standing in our way), it was fun to get to see all our missionary friends and meet a few new people. Then we got to go to the temple afterwards. We basically just got an extra p-day this week because of the holiday. We were going to go check out the Boston Marathon - but sitting out in the 80 degree weather just to watch people run past didn't really sound all that thrilling. We got to check out a couple thrift stores and then take a nap before we went back to work.

Yesterday was absolutely fantastic!! We decided to venture to Peabody - there aren't many hispanics there, but we got some information from a member in Revere and we picked the right street!! We seriously spent 2 and a half hours contacting and got lots of good solid contacts! We were totally just being ourselves and sharing the gospel in a meaningful way. I love being a missionary!! We were ringing doorbells on this one building, and a lady answered on the speaker thing but didn't let us in. But...a few seconds later, a little boy who can not be more than 1 or 1 and a half years old, comes out to the top of the stairs and beckons us to come in. The door was locked, but, undaunted, he climbed down a long steep flight of stairs step by step, holding on to the rail, and opened the door all by himself. he told us to come in...so we did! We followed him to his apartment and he ran in and yelled "momma!" she yelled back (in Spanish) "What are you doing with the door open?" And she came to find us at the door! She was a little surprised, but super nice and welcoming. So, we talked to her for 5 minutes or so and made a return appointment. That little boy must have known just how important it was that his mom talk to us.

This morning, we broke our tradition of going to Nahant every last p-day of the transfer. But, we played a sweet game of volleyball...we might even venture out and go play soccer at the Allwyfe field....but we'll see. We're kinda tired from our morning jog and some crazy volleyball (I got a little smidge of my volleyball's goodness - I made some pretty sweet returns and almost blocked a spike ;)

I LOVE YOU ALL!!! This email is super ridiculously long!! You should get a prize for making it all the way to the end.

Sister Kate

HAPPY EASTER!! (o Feliz Dia de la resurreccion!)

(Here is last week's letter.  Sorry it is late.)

Well, yesterday was Easter! Cool, eh?! We had a really awesome day! Not only did I get to munch on a chocolate bunny before church, but we got to focus our attention on the importance of the Savior's Resurrection. I was asked last minute to give a talk this last Sunday in our branch about the Resurrection and it gave me an incredible opportunity to really delve into the real meaning behind Easter and it's importance in my life as a child of God. I am so incredibly grateful that a loving, kind, and merciful Father in Heaven provided the way for us and that Christ was willing to make such great sacrifices in our behalf. We are so blessed!

I was reading in the April Ensign this morning - I read the talk about the Atonement by Elder Bednar (you should all read it! It's long but super awesome!). It offered a lot of incredible insights about the importance of the Atonement in helping the good become better and not just helping the bad become good. I know that I can take more advantage of the grace that has been offered me by the Savior's Atonement.

Last Monday we went to Harvard!! Harvard is something that I grew up hearing about and thinking about, but until last week, I really didn't know what that meant. Now, I have a little bit more of an idea - I at least have some sort of a picture to associate with the name anyway. It was really incredible to just walk through Harvard Yard and see all the smart people and the old buildings. I wouldn't mind being a student at Harvard for a day or two :)

On the train back home I met a girl that looks really scary like a girl I knew in the piano program at Utah State - Emily Bailey. But this girl's name was Bo and she's from Philly...so I doubt they're related, though you never know. She insisted that she doesn't have any ties to Utah, so I guess that's a super long shot. But it was really fun to talk to her and get some ideas of fun little places to go near Revere and Lynn.

Funny story! I got my package with my camera in it on Thursday in the morning. We were doing weekly planning that day so we were home until 3:00 or 4:00ish finishing up. Sister Hildenbrand said, jokingly, "check outside to see if there are any other packages!" So, I opened the door, expecting to see nothing. But I opened the door and stopped. "What is it?" Sister Hildenbrand asked from across the room. "We...we BOTH have packages!" It was SUPER awesome! We had both gotten Easter packages from our parents on the exact same day. Woohoo! We grabbed them and hurried back inside to open them quickly before we had to be in Salem.

We got to help two members this week get signed up on New Family Search to start doing their genealogy. It was so exciting! Neither of them had anything to start out with but now they can start adding names and searching family so that their families can have the saving ordinances of the gospel. How amazing is that! It's a super important part of missionary work that I hadn't really thought much about before this week - probably because my amazing grandparents have been go-getters about it so much that I haven't felt the need to get super involved in family history. But now, I'm really excited to help with the search when I come back home.

Well, I've got to sign off - we have a sports day in Cambridge going on that we are going to be late to as it is.

I love you all!!

All my love,
Hermana Kate

Apr 2, 2012


General Conference was so GREAT!!!! Don't you agree?!?!

We had a hard time watching the first and last sessions. We were supposed to go to the chapel in Revere to see the whole thing, but we had some serious technical difficulties during the first session because both Spanish and English were broadcasting in Cambodian - it was great for the one Cambodian elder that could actually understand Cambodian, but his rather green companion couldn't even understand. Once they finally got it going, Spanish was working much better than English that kept cutting out. So, we watched basically the whole first session in Spanish and it was SO cool that I could totally understand it, and feel the spirit during it too. Only bummer was that I couldn't hear the apostles' and prophet's voices and my notes are seriously some crazy Spanglish going on, but it was good.

We went and watched the Saturday afternoon session in Lynnfield with the zone leaders and some members there and then yesterday they had things working in Revere so we went to Revere for the morning session. It was SOOO fun to see a bunch of members from the Revere ward! I didn't realize just how much I missed them. It was also super great to see Denia, Freddie, Scarlett, and Jiselle all there!!! They're a family that Hna. Hales and I started teaching a couple weeks after I got here to Massachusetts. I love them!! It's so cool that they were there and that they're really starting to progress. Yay!!

Yesterday afternoon we were invited to the Canon's house in Malden to have lunch and watch the afternoon session with their family. It was super fun! We've never been to their house before because it's so far away - they're called to serve in the branch. So, we got to go and eat some delicious chicken, salad, mashed potatoes, and sugar cookies (sometimes it's actually refreshing to eat more familiar food with members). Then we got to watch the session with them - it was cool because a lot of those talks were about the family and we got to be there first hand watching the Canon's take care of and teach their two little children (2 years and 9 or 10 months old - with another on the way! How fun!). It made me miss my family a little smidge, but I take lots of comfort in the eternal nature of the family :)

That really was the highlight of our week. We tried to get some investigators to come to general conference, but I'm interested to see if anyone at least checked out part of it online.

My favorite experience of this week was with a super cool family. We were trying to visit a potential investigator on Thursday but she wasn't home. But, as we were waiting to find out we were waiting on the second floor landing of this house and the woman living on the second floor was about to start mopping. So, we talked for a few minutes and it was apparent that she has been really searching for a church to go to. She just moved here with her family from the Dominican Republic two months ago and really wanted to come to church this Sunday. We explained about general conference and then came back to visit her and her four daughters and her nephew and taught them a lesson! They were super receptive and accepted a baptismal date. We even had a member with us and her testimony was super amazing. It was super awesome!! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!

-Sister Katie


Sidenote from Mom...this is Kate's letter from March 26th.

LIFE IS SO GREAT!!!! It really is though...

Earlier last week, the weather here was SO incredibly hot! I was getting really scared because we had a couple of days in the 80's! I was thinking to myself, "how on earth am I going to survive summer if spring is already this hot?!" Luckily, the last couple of days it's been more cloudy and rainy.

I love this gospel! I'm so grateful for a perfect plan and for the opportunity we have to share that plan with others. We have really been trying to find some new investigators and we have found that our members have been giving us more referrals lately which has been a treat as we've been working closer with them.

I'm so excited for general conference this weekend! It is going to be an adventure trying to understand everything in Spanish, but we're excited to try and get our investigators and less-active members to come with us to watch it.

There is just so much I could write - it's hard to know what to choose...especially in 7 minutes or less. So...I will tell you about our zone meeting last Friday. Hna. Hildenbrand and I were in charge of doing a role play with contacting and the theme of, "Being Real." So, we decided to put a twist on something we did in the MTC and had speed contacting. It was SO fun! We had all the companionships make two circles, one companion on the inside circle and one in an outside circle. They took turns being the contactee and the missionary as they rotated around and we let them choose their own situations and give them 30 seconds to do the contact or the beginning of the contact. Then every couple of contacts we would ask them to relate what they're talking about to the restoration. It was really awesome to hear how everyone would do things differently. When we stopped to talk about it, a REALLY awesome discussion ensued practically undriven by either of us, everyone just started talking about the things they learned and what they can do better. Everyone really loved it (which was a huge relief because we really only started planning it that morning...haha!).

So, we have started to get a lot of service opportunities - as of late, I've been helping play the piano while the primary practice to sing in the stake conference on April 15th. We've already had two practices and it's coming along. It's really rejuvinating to be around children and watch them try to be all mischievous and whatnot. 

Well, my session is ending in less than a minute. We're going to find another place to email later in the day so I will talk to you more soon. LOVES!!

-Hna. Kate

So, part two:
I am SOOOOOO excited for general conference this weekend! Aren't you?! I'm especially excited to see how many investigators/inactive members come. We get to watch it in Spanish. I'm kind of nervous to watch it in Spanish because I'm not sure I'll get as much out of it, but I'm still super stoked!
I had mangoo for the first time and it was actually really delish. Basically it's just boiled and mashed green plantains mixed with onions sauteed in oil, salt, and a little bit of vinegar. It sounds not that appetizing, but it's pretty good. We got it served with fried eggs, fried cheese, and some sort of cow meat. Yum!
We had some changes in our branch yesterday. We changed up the first counselor and the secretary - I was worried how everyone would take it (branch drama!) but it went REALLY well and now there's another couple serving in the branch that we're excited to get to know.
...I realized I don't really have all that much to say so this is the end of this super-long-non-informative email :) LOVE YOU!!!
-Hna. Katie