I am not sure where to begin, but I guess I will start by saying that the Massachusetts Boston Mission is literally the greatest mission on this earth. I feel so welcomed, so loved, and so happy and truly thankful to be here.
The travels to New England went really well. I placed my first Book of Mormon! It's actually a really great story, because I was sitting next to a woman waiting for our flight back to the US and I saw her pull out this small book. I asked her what it was and she showed me. It was a little book filled with Spanish, Catholic hymns. I found out a little about her and we started talking quite a bit. I told her I was a missionary. She sang one of her songs for me, and I felt impressed to pull out my mini hymn book in Spanish. I sang to her, "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" in my favorite language in the world, and then I asked her if she knew who Joseph Smith was. I told her about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, and I gave her the copy I had brought with me to pass out. She started reading out of it right away, and once we were on the plane, I could see her continuing to read it. I was filled with so much love and hope and gratitude to be here on my mission. It is changing me more and more each day.
We (Hna. Riggs, Hna. Buttars and I) stepped off the plane to be greeted by our loving, kind, incredible mission president, President Packard, and his wife, Sister Packard, two of their four children, Michael and Angela, and Sister Packard's father who has been serving here in New England for a year now, Elder McBride (He is from TOOELE and his wife taught at THS! She knows John and Bill from stud. gov. and this made me so happy!!!). We waited for the English missionaries coming on another plane and then we all headed to The Packard's home.
They are truly the neatest people. Pres. Packard is totally gonna be a GA someday, I am calling it. If he went to Hogwarts, he'd be in Gryffindor for sure. I love them! Their oldest daughter, Angela, has special needs. They call her their "secret weapon." How great is that? She really is, though. She has a very strong testimony and I have learned so much from their family already.
So, a couple months back, Pres. Packard went to a training seminar for mission presidents that was taught by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. Elder Holland told the mission presidents, "If you DARE promise your missionaries something, I give you my apostolic witness, that your promise will come true." Now, Pres. Packard stewed over this for quite a few days. He didn't know what type of promise he dared to make to his missionaries.
The average baptisms a month for the MBM is around 30. Now, the highest number of baptisms the mission has ever seen in a month is 59. As Pres. Packard considered this, he asked his wife what she felt about promising the missionaries in my mission that if they were to truly consecrate themselves to God for the month of November, they would baptize 70 in a month. And he did at the next mission conference, which took an insane amount of courage.
Well, last month, what is now known as "A November to Remember," our mission baptized ONE HUNDRED people. 100 souls brought to Christ because our president dared to make a promise, the missionaries dared to make personal sacrifices, and Heavenly Father guided them the whole way.
To say I am entering into the Boston Mission at a special time sounds like a bit of an understatement to me... I know I have a lot to live up to, but with the strength of Heavenly Father, WE CAN DO ALL THINGS, that is, if we dare to do hard things.
The next day (Wednesday), we "greenies" were taken to Boston where they dropped us off to do some street contacting. We were all on our own and a really scary homeless man yelled at me and Hna. Buttars. It was scary, but looking back, it was actually sort of hilarious, because fearless, beautiful Hna. Buttars yelled back at him, "I hope you discover him one day!"
That night, I met my trainer. She is Hermana Heileson and she is 20 years old and she is from Harlan, Iowa. She is everything anyone would ever need in a trainer! She is funny, patient, and loving. She also loves Harry Potter, which doesn't hurt one bit. I have already learned a ton from her and I am so excited for what my first transfer has in store. We are serving in the Bridgeport Connecticut zone, which is actually super ghetto. We teach Latinos from all over the world (Peru, Guatemala, Mexico, Spain, Columbia...). Our ward (yeah, we have a Spanish-speaking WARD! We're legit) is INCREDIBLE. I have met so many people that I have fallen completely in love with.
I will share one story that was really special to me:
Yesterday night, my first Sunday here in New England, we were eating dinner at a member's house (Hno. & Hna. Lopez from Mexico). Hna. Lopez has a brother, David, who is inactive. We talked to him a little before dinner, because he lives with her, but he didn't eat with us. At the end of dinner, we told the Lopez's that we had prepared a spiritual thought for them, and I was prompted to invite David to come and listen. Hermana Lopez called him in and we read to them from 2 Nephi chapter 2 about AGENCY. In verses 27-30, I had highlighted all the times it said the word "choose." We taught them that WE are given the power to choose eternal life. Heavenly Father gives us commandments and guidelines, but ultimately, it is our choice to follow Him or not.
I had a DISTINCT IMPRESSION from The Holy Ghost to invite David to come to church next week (He hasn't been to church for five years due to some bad experiences, and despite the efforts of Hermana Lopez and the family), and so I asked him if would come. He is a total jokester, and he told us that he had a test for us, and if we could figure it out, he would come to church.
So, he grabbed a glass cup and a dime, and he said, "The dime represents the key to eternal life." He put the dime underneath the glass and asked us to get the dime without touching the glass. He said we couldn't shake the table to move the glass, we couldn't use another object to poke the glass, and when I jokingly tried to blow the glass over, he said we couldn't do that either. So, we sat there, trying to figure it out... And then it came to me! I asked him if he would move the glass FOR me. He looked at me with this look, and I knew I had figured it out, and he picked the glass up for me, which allowed me to grab the dime! We were all laughing so hard! Even though it was really funny, I could feel The Spirit so strongly there, and I know we were given special direction from God throughout that lesson. I also learned that missionary work isn't only for non-members... It's for inactive members, recent converts, active members... It is for EVERYONE!
I love you all very much. I want to invite you all to DARE TO BE MISSIONARIES. We are all enlisted. So, let's go get 'em. The church is tru, my friends!
677 Sylvan Ave. #107
Bridgeport, CT 06606
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Last week in Mexico with her teacher, Hermano Juarez
Hermano Silva! He knows the entire Single Ladies dance
Hannah with her BEAUTIFUL and WONDERFUL trainer Hermana Heileson
Hannah's tiny church building! It is right next to an insurance company which is kind of random.
Hermana Webber and her trainer in their matching GRYFFINDOOR scarves!!
The pig head Hannah ate for dinner, made by a Columbian women named Olga in their ward. YUM!
Jesus Christ in the library in Hermana Webber's area