Monday, August 3, 2015

July 20, 2015 - Woodstock, New Brunswick

Hello Family,
It has been a very busy week for me. It has been a rough couple first days in my new area with my new companion. In my final days in Bridgewater, I intended to go out with a bang and I feel like I did. On my final day in Bridgewater, an investigator got baptized and a member got his mission call. I received the tender mercies of the Lord that day. I felt like I got rewarded for all the work I did there. I left knowing I made a difference. The area was a lot different from when I found it. It has been a difficult adjustment for me being transferred here. It has been such a long time since I got transferred I have forgotten what it feels like to be transferred. In Bridgewater, I knew exactly what to do at every hour of the day. I knew exactly who to see, I knew exactly who to work with. I knew exactly where to go. I knew Bridgewater inside and out. Now I don't who any of the people area. I know little about the area and the investigators. It has been a very slow adjustment.
In my first few days in Woodstock, I have gone back and forth between the borders successfully without any issues. Although they did tell me that my B1 Visa has expired and took it out of my passport. I have enjoyed going to Maine in my new area. I didn't think I would get serve in Maine on my mission but now I do as part of my area. Maine seems very patriotic and American from my first impressions. It has been a nice change going to the US. We get to buy cheaper milk there and they have Dunkin' Doughnuts as well. Maine is along the I-95 and the I-95 goes all the way down to Florida. Houlton is about a 20 minute drive from Woodstock. Our area covers all the way to Island Falls in Maine which is another additional 20 minutes away from Houlton.
Woodstock is a town of about 4, 000 people. It is the first town that got settled in New Brunswick. It is home of the world's largest covered bridge. It is a smaller town. Woodstock is located on the Bible Belt. There is a lot of different religions here including Pentecostal, Baptists, Catholics, and Protestants. But I haven't ran into any bible bashers yet. The people here seem very nice.
So it is a branch here. "The Houlton Branch" is a branch of about 60 people. There isn't a third priesthood rule here due to the lack of priesthood holders. The branch president is an older man. They just called a new branch mission leader yesterday. He is very passionate and enthusiastic about missionary work. It seems like a very close-knit branch. The members seem very close with one another. We have about 7 investigators that we're teaching right now. I've only met one of them. They have been teaching her the stop-smoking program and are hoping to transition into teaching her the lessons. The rest of their investigators seem more like stop-by investigators. They had a recent convert that just got baptized 2 weeks ago and received the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday. He is an older man. They also have a number of less actives that they are working with.
We had a meeting with the branch mission leader yesterday and he said that the branch president wants him to "tighten up" on the missionaries. Apparently some members are complaining that the missionaries are spending too much time on the computer.The members seem very nice. I got to introduce myself yesterday and bear my testimony.  I told everyone where I was from, how many siblings I have, I told them that I have a brother that's going on a mission in a month and I concluded with my testimony of the Book of Mormon.
On Saturday, I got to go to a birthday party for a cat in Island Falls, Maine. The family that hosted it have a big celebration for their cat every summer. Ironically their cat ran away so it was a cat-less birthday party. It was a branch activity and half the branch was there. It was raining that day so they had to have it inside. In Maine they have red hot dogs. They're called "Maine Reds". They are bright red hot dogs that taste really good. That was the first time I've ever seen a red hot dog. So I got to meet some of the members at the party and had some food. It was a good time.
On Friday, one of their investigators invited us to her sister's birthday party. So we got to meet some of the members of her family and introduce ourselves to them as missionaries.
Every Thursday night they have a Book of Mormon class where they read a chapter in the Book of Mormon and then discuss it.  There were only about 3 people there this week. There's normally 8 that usually come.
In my first couple days in my new area, I find myself emotionally let down and I am having trouble being motivated to help the work move forward this area. But I feel like I am going to enjoy serving here. Lately I have been praying to have a cheerful heart and lift up my head, 

Have a good week!
Elder O'Brien

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