Monday, July 28, 2014

Pictures July 27, 2014

Here are some of the recent pictures we took:

This is from the crazy baby shower we talked about in the last post -
These were the missionaries that attended the baby shower
(I was taking the picture)

This was the chair where the expectant mother sat the whole
time - to receive gifts from people.

This was one of the fruit tables (Yes, there were two!)

Can you see the many tables in back with all that food?  There
was twice as much food when we came back later that evening!
This is a picture of our group on Sunday - we got a lot of people out because it was Sister Gomez' last Sunday before she goes home:

The first Suday we were here we had 11 people to church (and two were visiting).  Yesterday we had 28!  It was awesome...

Love to all.  The church is true.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

July 26, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,
We are so enjoying the Spirit in its rich abundance just flowing into our lives.  We had a wonderful zone conference last week.  We received ten commandments relating to the commitment process of baptism.  Great ideas to ensure that our investigators have experiences with the Spirit.  Way too much to report here because that was only the first hour.  We had good break out sessions, one of which was how we can help others understand that reading the scriptures can give them answers.  Which then lead to "How to have a successful prayer."  The suggestion was that before we pray we should take a minute to think about all we have been given, then take a minute to ponder.  Br. Christensen (Yes, from "How Will You Measure Your Life?" fame - Harvard) was referencing Moroni 10:3-5 these first two steps will help our prayers be more sincere.  If we remember how merciful the Lord has been we will remember his atonement.  Real intent means you will act upon the answer you receive no matter what.  Understand prayer language and how to pray. {That is because in the world today really very few people  know how to pray.}  Tell God what you will do if he will answer your prayer. Then pray and listen for the spirit. Write down your impressions, ponder then ask is there more?  I share this with you not because I think you are not praying but it has made my personal prayers so sweet and tender.  I thought you might enjoy it.  Sister Packard talked about this great time of hastening the work.  It was preceded by the announcement to raise the bar spiritually, emotionally, physically, but especially in the way we teach.  Preach my gospel came forth, the age requirement changed and here we are all part of this historic sacred moment. Then president gave a talk on keeping pride from our lives, never elevating oneself, their success is mine and certainly God does not compare.  God does not measure how the world does.  There is enough for all.  We can learn from everyone, see their strengths not their weaknesses, we would never want someone else's church calling for there are chances to serve everywhere and God will make you equal to your call.  Everything we have and are is a gift from God.  Then I actually had this rather profound thought given to me by God.  When we, like Christ, give all glory and honor unto God and serve because of love, and realize we never give a good talk or lesson only as it is inspired by God, then we begin to find the source of humility.

We went to a Cape Verde baby shower.  What an experience.  (Dad) We went in the afternoon and took some food over - they already had about 4 of the church tables filled with trays of food and had two huge tupperwares full of chicken to be grilled.  When we returned later at 8:30pm there was even more food and all four grills were bar-b-queing chicken, which was only half gone.  There were about 150 people there, and this was a baby shower!  (If I can figure out how the get the pictures off Mom's I-touch, I'll post them later)

We took a couple nice walks this last week, here are some pictures:

Does this remind anyone of the movie, "The Birds!"?

We finally found Emerson's schoolhouse in Franklin Park, there was also a plaque by the spot where he cabin was that he lived in for two years while he was the schoolmaster here.  Awesome...

This was at the Arnold Arboretum, very pretty.

We had a Surprise Birthday party for Sister Cope with the whole Zone.  It was too fun and dad got little presents for all the zone I will let him tell of the craziness.  OK, it's me now.  I decided that everyone should have a gift so we bought $1 stuff at target and elsewhere and I wrapped them all.  Then we did a gift exchange almost like a white elephant with stealing and all.  It was fun and one of the Spanish sisters said she wanted the tennis balls (I did splurge for a can of tennis balls) from the zone leader, at which point he jumped up and ran out of the room WITH the tennis balls!  Horay for people who never grow up --- not that I would know anything about that.

We took an investigator to a great fireside about " What we know because of the prophet Joseph Smith."  The trip was beautiful and the fireside was great.  But what Mom didn't tell you is that it took us almost three hours to get there and we arrived 20 minutes late because the sisters were late finding an investigator to take, etc.  I was somewhat upset because I knew how much Mom wanted to hear the fireside (me too, but Mom more).  When we walked in, the song was ending and the opening prayer was just starting - we hadn't missed a thing because the meeting had been delayed waiting for the stake president to arrive.  Just so you know, Mom controls more than just the weather! :)

We got up at five again to take people over to the temple for baptisms for the dead.  But none of our recent converts could go so we came back home.  We are trying not to be weary in well doing but we are old and some days are harder than others.  This is transfer week so it will be busy.  Five from our zone are going home so that makes it even more crazy.  We are also looking forward to the seniors trip to see the temple site in Connecticut on Saturday.

A couple more pictures, for fun:

Mom wanted me to show you how creative I've been finding parking places!  It's not easy... :)

This is so typical of our area, three to four-story high rises, all apartments.

The church is true.
Love to all

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Time passeth quickly... too quickly! July 16, 2014

There is no way to catch up so I will zoom through the highlights of the past two weeks.  July fifth we attended a baptism in Revere.  President Packard spoke about baptism and the symbolism of white and purity, going under the water as the death of the old person and the birth of a spiritual life given to obedience and walking in a newness of life.  He then told the man being baptized to tell the bishop he needed to serve right now.  He said, "If all you do is go to church to listen to the sermons, you will shrivel up and die spiritually."

Monday July 5th we drove to Sharon Vermont, the birthplace of the prophet Joseph Smith.  The drive was breath taking and the monument tour was really good - the senior missionary that took us gave us special treatment since we were also seniors and no one else was there at the time.  He even drove us back to some house foundation ruins of the Smith family in his golf cart!  And, our luck held out because as soon as we walked back down the hill to the car it began pouring rain. Mom decided that her guardian angel must work in the weather department... :)  We crossed over into Maine on the way home so dad only has one state left and he will have been to all fifty nifty United States.  (Can you tell that both Mom and I are writing this blog?!  Confusing, huh?)  Pictures:
Monument to Joseph Smith's Birth

In case you can't see it, it says "The Way Life Should Be"

One of the many beautiful waterways we passed on the trip

Tuesday and Wednesday we enjoyed a mission-wide fast for those with baptismal dates, in order for them to have a conversion experience that would help them follow through with that sacred commitment.  We also worked at the Cape Verde Adult Center and had a mission web-ex on becoming part of the fabric of the ward - setting goals and working with ward leaders, members, and serving others, etc.  As usual, it was awesome.

Wednesday the 9th, Dad decided we should have a cook out at this apartment complex and invite people to eat and see if we could find new investigators. I, of course, was reluctant because I didn't know what to expect.  It was awesome and Dad helped the Haitian missionaries find a referral they had been looking for and the sisters got two new contacts to teach.  I (Dad) walked over to a black man that was watching us bring people to eat, etc. and struck up a conversation and eventually asked him where he was from.  He said he was from Haiti, so I said, "That's great, and I'm glad to find you because these two young guys over there in the white shirts think they speak Haitian pretty well so I'd like you to come over and see if they do!"  So I took him over to the Haitianaries (what everyone calls them) and it they started speaking to him in Haitian and it turns out they had been looking for him but couldn't find him!  It was awesome, expect the unexpected! :)

We were in charge of food for the zone and dad had a plan to do subway sandwiches they turned out to be quite good and we had plenty so we took some to Eugenia and Stephanie - an investigator and her daughter.

We had a two hour training on Family Search and hopefully we will be able to help the new members get ready for the baptismal date for temple names at the end of July.  If you haven't started on your family history by the time we get back, we can help!  (Ask the ex-missionaries!)

Saturday we went to an appointment with the elders to teach tithing to this beautiful amazing family from the Dominican Republic. The DeLarosa Family really are the definition of golden.  They have very little but when asked if he had any questions or issues with tithing, he said God has given me everything I am happy to give one tenth back.  Plus we had such a spiritual and fun time it was really great, and the Elders do a really good job teaching.

Sunday July 13th we went to a baptism of a lovely sister from Brazil.  After she had committed to baptism awhile ago she found out she had cancer.  She has been so sick they baptized her and confirmed her that same night, at her request and with the mission president's permission.  She is back in the hospital now but the beautiful thing was the service given for her, and the branch help was awesome.  The baptism was a spiritual blessing and I (Dad again) especially liked it because it was "Brazilian" Portuguese and very enjoyable to hear.  I got speak to a few people afterward in Portuguese and it was fun.  Also, our Portuguese Elders and Sisters in the mission are awesome - a bunch from Sao Paulo, Brazil!

John flew in for his business conference on Saturday the 12th, so we picked him and two of his coworkers up and drove to Plymouth Rock and watched a firework display over the bay (delayed from the 4th).  It was great, we got to see a replica of the Mayflower, Plymouth Rock and we even helped a lady get her car started - not to mention the fact that we parked in an open handicapped spot and didn't get towed... oops, don't mention it!  Here are some pictures:

Some of the fireworks, it was a great show

The three of us in front of the Mayflower replica

Just to show how gorgeous the location was

Yep, this is Plymouth Rock

Replica of the Mayflower in the harbor

We had a wonderful time with John our investigators and members loved him.  One of them even made him a full cherry pie.  We went on a Harbor Cruise, City Tour, found Mikes Pastry shop, ate at Stephanies on Newbury street and really enjoyed every minute we had together.  Tuesday was a pretty great day, it was supposed to rain all day but as I (Dad again) explained earlier "Mom makes the weather..." (said in a freezing voice!), so it didn't rain at all when we were out and about. We also found three parking places in a row at a meter, which is pretty much a miracle in Boston.  Aunt Leslie called and said that Grandma May found the courage to have a knee replacement done.  And it was Courtney's birthday and I didn't forget, so the three of us sang to her from the pier in Boston Harbor.  Pictures:
Some of the pastries from Mikes

A Picture of the building where the Boston Massacre happened

Some of the nice views from our Harbor Cruise

And old church we walked by in Boston

Stephanie's, where we ate dinner - John's work friends paid for out meals!

Today (Wed, Jul 16th) we had wonderful training meeting about becoming a Zion people and ... get ready... on the way home, we had a good idea.  So here it is.  How about beginning with our family to work towards Zion.  Zion can only happen collectively.  We need each others' talents and skills to knit together to really learn how to be a Zion People, with all things in common and no contention.  So each month we will build on one Zion principle.  We will choose the first principle for August, then Becky and Brett in September, David and Jessica in October and so on. If you have a hard time coming up with a principle then check out Doctrine and Covenants section 4 for characteristics or other scripture references to Zion.  We decided on "Speak no Evil" for the month of August (and beyond!) - which we will define as speak and listen with love and understanding - no contention. And as our mission president says, if someone falls out of the boat don't beat them with the oars but throw them a life preserver.  In other words, use only "kind words". If you think this is a fun idea let me (back to Mom) know. It is my attempt at still being a parent.  Life is beautiful and we are learning a lot and loving this experience.

Love to all. The church is true.
Dad and Mom  

Friday, July 4, 2014

4th of July!

Happy birthday, America!
Here is a fireworks video, in case you missed them where you live.  We went to the wonderful display in Boston over the Charles River, along with music from the Boston Pops and this year they also had the Beach Boys attend (no, Lizzie, they aren't dead yet!).

 It was crazy crowded, but we had great seats because we went over early.  Here's a shot across the river, it was absolutely gorgeous:

Going home was kind of crazy, but luckily we befriended a couple behind us and they showed us the way out.  We had just gotten into the train station (crowded, first picture below - notice no people at the windows) when it started to pour buckets of rain.  We heard screams outside the station and people plastered themselves against the windows of the station trying to get out of the downpour.  Here's a picture (second one), not sure if you can tell...

Almost all the missionaries that went over said they got soaked to the bone in the rain coming home - we were quite lucky.
Here's a picture of our Zone in our 4th of July meeting today:

I don't know if you can tell, but the fireworks were reflecting off the building (bottom left) which was across the river, so that was also cool.
We have tropical storm Arthur dumping rain still today, but tomorrow it's supposed to be nice again.
Love to all.  The church is true,

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 3, 2014 - Fun with Cars... or not!

Hey All,
All is well, we love the Suburban even though this week has been one of car decisions.  We thought a small misfire would be an easy fix but of course it soon became a "what are we suppose to learn from this?!" experience.  We are grateful it is fixed now and big blue is once more a reliable taxi. 
This was our ride for the last 3 days as the Suburban was getting fixed!  Pretty sweet, except that the air conditioning didn't work... :(

I have however had more time to study so a few thoughts on faith and our relationship with Heavenly Father. We talk about faith as a seed, or a mustard grain and I am sure that is the start.  But the most important part is the " let us nourish it with great care."  Think of any relationship and what must be done for it to grow.  We work at it.  We experience growth together, we forgive one another, we serve one another and in the end we have chosen to build a relationship of love.  Faith is that ingredient that builds our relationship with God  Choose to make time for God.  Study and Pray, Attend church, Look for ways to serve Him, Include God in your decisions, in your thoughts and actions.  In the end you will have a lifetime of spiritual experiences and a Faith that will be a tree springing up to eternal life.  And then may God grant that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his son. Alma 33:23 And your soul will not hunger because you have more than a seedling of belief.  Really nothing new but a good reminder of why we are here on earth.
I'm (Dad) going to add something, too.  One of the things that is emphasized here in Boston is preparation, especially prior to meetings - any meeting, district, zone, mission, sacrament, baptismal, etc.  Preparing spiritually and being in a mindset to receive revelation is what it's all about.  Heavenly Father is wanting to reveal important things to us, but we have to be prepared and in a mindset to receive.  Our mission president, President Packard, is awesome and has asked each of us to be 15 minutes early to every meeting we attend, to make sure there is prelude music, and to spiritually prepare for each meeting.  It's awesome and we love it.  That's all.
The church is true. Love to all, Mom and Dad