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 EspaƱol.

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