Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Old Dog, New Tricks‏

What a week, what a week!

Last P-day we went into Boston to explore the FREEDOM TRAIL and have all kinds of touristy historical fun. I LOVE THE CITY! It really is so beautiful and oddly clean. It was like being in the middle of "National Treasure". Except with more old people wearing fanny packs and taking pictures.

And yesterday our investigator Rob got baptized! Teaching him has been such a neat experience - some of the most powerful lessons of my mission happened with him. Watching someone's conversion process makes you feel so tiny and insignificant but also feel so blessed to have been able to be present to watch someone's life change. I guess you could say being a missionary is pretty neat.

This week is also transfer week ... DUHN DUHN DUHN! After 3 transfers together, Sister Badham and I knew our time together was drawing to a close. Although we were pushing for the unheard of 4 transfer companionship, on Friday we found out that Sister Badham is being transferred to Worcester! 

So who's coming here, you might ask? Well folks, good question. I won't be able to tell you till next week because she hasn't arrived in the mission field yet ... that's right, FOXBORO IS GETTING A GREENIE! This is probably the weirdest I feel about training so far. Since coming to Foxboro, I've become ... old. Missionary old. Let me explain: when you first come on your mission, everything is new and exciting and different. You love to check the mail because you actually get mail. You spend hours writing to family and friends on P-day. You take 20 minutes to get dressed because you have so many new, fun mission outfits. When your old, checking the mailbox is just a funny ritual, you know every article of clothing in your closet like the back of your hand, and I honestly haven't written a letter in months. Moral of the story: this transfer will be an adventure. I'm stoked!

Wish me luck and pray that I don't send my baby into missionary shock with all my missionary awkwardness!

Sister Gledhill

The Battle Zone‏

Oh man, this week was cray-cray. Sister Badham and I feel like we're living in a war zone lately! Allow me to elaborate on the battles we've been waging this week:

The War on Health:  This week I was not at my usual peak physical performance as the fit specimen I am (ha!) But this week was especially not good. I think Sister Badham might feel like she hasn't had a companion all week between all my throwing up and sleeping. But we push on! We go from appointment to appointment and I sleep a little in the car and she keeps making me drink gross Gatorade so I don't keel over or anything. I'm sure she'll be blessed for putting up with me.

The War on Summer:  I don't know if Sacrament attendance out there has doubled or not, but approximately 70% of our ward is on extended vacations in Utah right now. Don't they know that the work of the Lord doesn't stop, even for summer break?! WHO'S SUPPOSED TO FEED US?!!!!!! (Haha, just kidding. But we are having a tough time finding members to come to our investigator lessons!)

The War on Fruit Flies: Our apartment is infested. They're in the garbage. In the sink. IN MY BATHROOM. Last night I kept waking up because I thought they were nesting in my ears. We can't help it that all we eat at our apartment is produce and yogurt! How do I get rid of all these tiny flies?!

The War on Satan: This is the real battle that's been on our hearts this week. Like I mentioned in my last email, miracles are happening here in the MBM and the work is moving forward like never before, but it is definitely not going unnoticed by the adversary. It seems like every single investigator and less active we're working with got push back from friends and family, or found anti stuff online, or is going through some major life trauma. It's kind of terrifying for us and we're just running around trying to give everyone the tools they need to protect their new found testimonies! It's been tough this week, but I have such a strong belief that all this opposition is just another sign that this truly is the work of God and that big things are about to happen in the lives of these people! And even though it's hard to watch our investigators fight these battles, I know that it's making them stronger. And in spite of all our worry this week, by the end of yesterday everything somehow turned out okay and everyone is still on track! But we could really, really use your prayers - we need all the help we can get.

I love you! Thank you for all your support!
Sister Gledhill
Missionary Warrior


Since last we've talked, the following events have happened:

>> Sister Badham and I organized a District P-day of LASER TAGGING. Unfortunately, all of the elders in our district only wanted to email. So we went laser tagging by ourselves. And totally annihilated the fifteen year old gamer boys we played against.

>> We fixed a less active member's lawn mower. Well ... mostly we just handed him the right tools. But we were great assistants.

>> A new sister from SPAIN arrived mid-transfer in our zone, so we went and decorated their apartment door. Nothing says "Welcome to your life as a full time representative of Christ" like a little Sister Pross.

>> We had a mission wide fast (a very rare event - only the 2nd one of my whole mission!) for all of the investigators in the MBM who have agreed to be baptized this month. You could say there are a few more than normal. #hasteningthework We're in the middle of a miracle here and we are trying to do everything in our power to keep it going! As President Packard says, "We need to work like it all depends on us and pray like it all depends on the Lord." 

The night of the fast we took our investigator Carla with us to teach a returning less-active woman. Sister Badham and I were a little bit giddy because we are kind of obsessed with both of these women. After an amazing, amazing lesson where the spirit was SO strong, we were walking back to Carla's apartment with her and had such a neat conversation. We were talking about her baptism that is scheduled for the end of the month, but it's been a little tentative because she really wants her brother to be there and he might not be able to make it. But that night she told us she feels like her life is so different than it was when she first met it, and she can't explain why. We were practically jumping up and down and skipping in the streets as we yelled, "IT'S THE SPIRIT! IT'S THE GOSPEL!". Then she said, "I don't know why, but I just feel this pull to not wait. I need to be baptized as soon as I can." I would say that the mission fast was pretty successful, and things are on track for her baptism this month!

The work is going so so soooooo good. Sister Badham and I feel a lot of pressure because there are so many people in this area bursting with potential! It's a good kind of pressure though. We're just trying really hard not to let the Lord down!

Love you all!
Sister Gledhill

Monday, July 7, 2014

Happy Birthday AMERICA!‏

Greetings from the birth place of American Freedom!

We celebrated the 4th of July the all-American way: a pancake breakfast. For some reason it is the absolute favorite event of the year for all the ward members, and some of them get pretty into it. There is a 12 page document describing exactly where to set up the griddle's, and what outlets to use, and where to buy the sausage. One of our members showed up in a George Washington costume. #ICannotTellaLie.

Of course along with all this patriotism and free-pancake goodness, we made this breakfast a missionary opportunity! We had the Portable Visitor's Center I talked about a few weeks ago set up in the church to entice everyone to bring their friends, and we had an awesome turn out! The only downside was we were in the midst of some kind of hurricane. But we would never let a little fall of rain will douse our American pride! It did douse our firework plans, but alas, the work of the Lord goes on.

And now, a mission miracle: One of my mission buddies Sister Budvarson was crossing the street in downtown Boston when she got hit by a car going 40 miles per hour. Rumor has it that the statistic only 15% of people hit by a car going that fast live. Sister Bud has zero broken bones, no internal bleeding, and isn't even bruised where the car hit her - only from where she hit the ground. She got a little scraped up, has a gash under her chin, and her sinus bones got fractured, but she didn't even have to stay in the hospital over night. As President Packard put it, "Y'all better pray for her guardian angel, because he sure took one for the team." Obviously we're not indestructible, but it's incredible to see how the Lord's servants are protected. THIS WORK IS SO TRUE!

(Me and Sister Bud a few days after the accident.)
Sister Gledhill

The Mini Missionary Army

Oh man, I can't believe it's only been one week since I've written an email! SO. MUCH. HAS. HAPPENED.

On Tuesday Sister Badham and I had a sweet experience when we went to contact a media referral. Media Referrals get sent to us when someone requests a missionary visit or Book of Mormon etc. on or at a Visitor's Center - the only thing is you never know if this person made the request themselves or if someone they know sent us (either with good intentions or as a prank.) So it's always a gamble! We stopped by this referral named Renae last week and saw her just long enough for her to nervously agree to set up another appointment. Then when we arrived on Tuesday we walked into her house to find a beautiful feast prepared for us! She said she wanted to feed us because in the Bible whenever angels come to visit people, they are always given food and water. Isn't that so sweet? Renae is waaaaaay chill, she's in her 20's and from Jamaica and so so SO prepared for the gospel. She just started her own business and one of her online-coworkers she barely knows is Mormon; her coworker has posted a few religious things on Facebook (like a picture in front of the Temple, a Mormon message, etc) and because of those Renae requested that we come visit her! Moral of the story: you never know who your Facebook is converting!

And then the rest of the week we had a MINI MISSIONARY ARMY! Just kidding, we only had 3. But that's a ton considering I've only had 3 other mini's my whole mission! From Tuesday to Thursday, Natalie Packard (THE MISSION PRESIDENT'S DAUGHTER) and Micha Richards (her best friend from California) came to be with us. Sister Badham and I were kind of freaking out when we found out they'd be coming, since we've both been obsessed with Natalie since we've started our missions. And oh my goodness they were both incredible! They're both going to be seniors this next year and it seems like they've been preaching the gospel since they were born. It was really cool to see them be guided by the spirits during the lessons. It was only for a few days, but they were definitely supposed to be here in Foxboro for that time! It was testament of how involved the Lord is in this work, because He used them to work miracles while they were here.

They left on Thursday night, and then on Friday another mini came to spend the weekend with us! Jasmine just barely turned 16 and has only been a member of the Church for 7 months and is the only member in her family! I am so crazily impressed with her testimony and love of the Gospel. She already knows that she definitely wants to serve a mission of her own in a couple years! It was neat because even though she just barely learned all of this stuff herself, her pure and simple testimony was so powerful during our lessons. 

On Saturday we were asked by the Stake Primary President to help at a big stake activity at the Temple. For the past 90 days the Stake has been doing a big family history push in connection with the youth Trek called "Trek to the Temple". Each member of the Stake was supposed to research one family name to take to the Temple so we could create a second Hingham Stake on the other side of the veil. Our job was to help with the Pioneer Themed primary kid activity at the chapel next to the temple. Sister Badham and I's assignment? Square Dancing. We literally square danced with 180 little kids for over 5 hours! It was so fun! And also slightly exhausting. With all the mini's and the dancing, Sister Badham and I are seriously sleep deprived and a little bit loopy. Oh well. We'll sleep when we're home next year.

Now go write a religious Facebook post, okay?
Sister Gledhill

The Bullet List.‏

Howdy Y'all!

Sometimes when I sit down to write you guys a letter, I have no idea how to formulate the random events into a cohesive email. So ... IT'S TIME FOR BULLET POINTS!

  • The "International Food" Bullet - This week we had dinner with a couple from the ward who lived/served their missions in Russia. (I always feel like these couples are so scandalous - marrying an Elder I've served with would be weird, weird, WEIRD.) But they made us delicious Russian food, including BORSCHT. Who knew that stuff is actually delicious? Also their 3 year old son speaks Russian like a champ, and being around bilingual toddlers is simultaneously hilarious and also makes me feel very inferior. I mean - even the THREE YEAR OLD can speak Russian. Pff.
We also enjoyed a Peruvian feast from another couple in the ward, the Colvins, who also have birthed a beautiful 2 year old bilingual toddler. We had this green pesto-y spaghetti AND IT WAS SO DELICIOUS. It might be my favorite new food I've tried on my mission. Sister Colvin served a mission back in the day, and she never really stopped being a missionary. One time she looked up all the less active people with in walking distance of her house and called us to come over so we could go meet them with her. She walked around the streets of Mansfield, pushing her genius baby, singing "Called to Serve" in Spanish at the top her lungs. Haha, she's awesome. And a great cook.
  • The "Scituate Update" Bullet - Brother Mayo (one of my investigators from Scituate) got baptized yesterday! He's been coming to church with his wife for like 20 years and Sister Batschi and I finally got him to take the missionary lessons right before I left Scituate. I got to go back for the baptism, and when I walked in I thought it was a wedding because there were so many people and so much food! It was amazing and so great to see all the people I love from that ward. They've been baptizing a nation over there, and have had 3 baptisms in the past 2 weeks! It so incredible to hear that the investigators are progressing so well. 
  • The "Community Service" Bullet - A sister in our ward was in charge of organizing volunteers for Norton Founders Day on Saturday, and some how roped our whole district into volunteering. (Just kidding. We were stoked.) The Elders were manning a hot air balloon and holding the ropes while people floated 40 feet up in the air! However, Sister Badham and I didn't even SEE the hot air balloon, because we were busy painting one million crazy children's faces on the opposite side of the park! It was really fun. And also crazy. I had quite the fan club for my "Olaf" design from Frozen. (Is everyone in the world obsessed with that show, or what?) I also got pretty good at super hero masks. We wish we would have taken more pictures, but it was MADNESS!
  • The "We Miss the Outdoors" Bullet - We don't know how to work our Air Conditioner, so we dragged our mattress out onto our balcony-deck and have been camping outside. Also, we just like sleeping outside, and would probably do it even if we did know how to turn on the AC.
  • The "Married Couple" Bullet - The longer you have a companion, the more hilarious every day becomes. Sister Badham and I been memorizing the song from "The Prince of Egypt" about the plagues, and it is SO. FUNNY. If your lucky, you might get a video presentation of our rendition. We've been so overjoyed about the work and just life in general that one of the new Elders in our district simply said, "You Sisters are spazzes," when he said goodbye to us. WE CAN'T HELP IT, WE'RE JUST SO DARN HAPPY.That's what doing the Lord's work does to ya. 
Love you and hope you have a great week!

Sister Gledhill

The Mayflower Miracle

Mi Familia!
What a week. The news you've all been waiting for: SISTER BADHAM AND I ARE BOTH STAYING! Woop woop! We were super crossing our fingers that it would be so, because usually you don't stay with one companion for more than 2 transfers, but sometimes when you open an area together you stay for a little longer! Hooray! This next transfer is already looking amazing. However, the rest of our District and Zone got changed a ton! We had a lot of Elders who died this transfer (aka they're going home), so every other companionship in the Foxy-Frank district got switched up. Plus, for the past 2 transfers Sister Badham and I have been the sister training leaders over 2 zones and we found out that this transfer we are only going to cover our own (which is how the rest of the mission is, but we're kind of bummed). We'll just miss the other sisters a ton!
But this week we got to go on exchanges with 2 of the companionships before we get split up! On Monday/Tuesday I went to Plymouth on exchanges with Sister Harris. Their Zone has made a goal for each companionship to give out at least one Book of Mormon a day (Operation One a Day), and we got together on Monday night they hadn't handed one out yet. We had about half and hour before we needed to be in, so we went down to the waterfront by Plymouth Rock to find someone in need of the Restored Gospel. After scaring some tourists away from the rock, we walked down by a giant ship. We spied a man in overalls up ahead and gave each other the nod. Turns out he was the head security guard of said giant ship, which just happened to be The Mayflower II. I guess the original Mayflower was lost long ago, but after World War II, England made us a replica and sailed it over in the 50s as a thank-you for help with the war.
Long story short, we ended up getting a private tour of the Mayflower and the security guard, Ronnie, was super interested in hearing more about the Restoration! We gave him the Book of Mormon and he felt the spirit really strong. The Plymouth sisters have been struggling to find people to teach, so it was truly a miracle that we were in the right place at the right time. BEING A MISSIONARY IS SO COOL!

I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Sister Gledhill