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!!

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
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. 

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 big deal! 
Elder Leonard on top of Elder Medley - just a day in big deal!

Nutella party last night - good times!!! 


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 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. 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!!!

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