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The Boston Massachusetts Mission is comprised of Southern New Hampshire, Hartford Connecticut, Northern and eastern Massachusetts. There is a rich and patriotic background in this area, being the location of many important political and cultural events in United States history. Some of the first movements ofAmerican literature and education originated in New England. The region played a prominent role in the movement to abolish slavery, and was the first region of the United States affected by the Industrial Revolution. Today, New England is a major world center of education, high technology, insurance, and medicine. Boston is its cultural, financial, educational, medical and transportation center.
Massachusetts is the most Irish state in the United States of America. There are large populations of French Canadian, Cambodian, Hispanic and Italian as well. In this diversity, missionaries must learn to understand cultures quickly and adjust to many foreign customs.
The mission is divided into 12 zones, covering 8 stakes. Because of the diversity within the city of Boston as well as in surrounding areas, missionaries will not just teach “New Englanders”. Although many people are Catholic and have had that tradition in their family for generations, they are a kind a welcoming people to those who make effort to get to know them.
The Church is very strong in this area, despite the reputation that New England is a difficult place for the church to grow. Most of the members in rural areas of the mission are converts from New England. In the cities, there are diverse nationalities, as well as many young adult/student converts. Harvard, MIT, Boston College, Northwestern and many other academic institutes are in Boston. The 25-35 age group is large and there are many young families in the wards around the universities. This also accounts for a transient feeling in the church within the city wards.
An important note is that while students and young people can sometimes be stubborn about religion, missionaries experience success with the young adults. They are very intelligent, but also very intent on finding the truth with their hearts and intellect combined.
Missionaries will spend much of their time tracting in rural areas of the mission, and much of the time street contacting in the more populated areas of the mission. Missionaries should also be prepared to be diligent in establishing member work programs in their wards and branches as some leaders are more motivated than others may be. For the most part, returned missionaries feel members really cared about the missionaries and helped when asked to do so.
There is currently a temple under construction in this mission area, in the city of Hartford, CT. It is anticipated to be dedicated in 2016.
In some areas missionaries will have ethnic foods, but for the most part, missionaries will eat “hearty” meals like lasagna, spaghetti, pot roast, potatoes, tacos, burritos, fajitas, corn and pizza. Missionaries will eat (fresh) seafood if serving in coastal regions.
Missionaries in rural areas are always given a car. It is too dangerous to walk or ride bikes because the roads are narrow, and wind. There are also other areas where both bikes and cars are allowed.
A relatively safe mission. Obey the rules and you will be fine.
Patriot’s Day, 3rd Monday in April, and also the day they hold the Boston Marathon. There are historical reenactments throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire, for example, of the Battle of Lexington.
There are many historical sites to visit withIn Boston, and Independence Day is a “big deal” (the 4th of July). Because of the history of the region, there is a patriotic feeling among the New Englanders. It also creates a sense of honor, devotion and passion for their sports teams, like the Boston Red Sox (Baseball) and the New England Patriots (American football).
There is a distinct New England accent that is sometimes difficult to understand. If missionaries learn it, they will be better accepted by the locals.
“I’m all set.” — a way of saying no, or no thanks, as if they don’t need anything else
“Wicked [cool, awesome, amazing, etc.]”– really great, astounding, incredible
GPS or a map. It is imperative missionaries learn to navigate with a map because the roads are not straight and do not connect to one another in an intuitive way. Also, the roads are surrounded by trees so there are no real landmarks. Also, umbrellas are very important in the summer because the weather changes so quickly, it may start raining unexpectedly. Keep it in the car.
Make sure to bring thermals for the winter. The humidity of the region causes the cold to be even colder! It cuts to the bone.
182 W Central St, Ste 203
Natick MA 01760
Straight from the Massachusetts Boston Mission:
What items were hard to get or not available?
Garments were hard to come by because the temple and distribution center is not close to every area.
What did you eat the most of?
“Macaroni and Cheese, so much that it was years before I could eat any. Even now, in my mid 50’s, I still have a hard time eating it.”
What is the craziest thing you ate?
Fou fou. It is a dish from Liberia. “I couldn’t eat is because it made me gag. I was afraid to offend the member, but she just laughed.” -Jordan Smith
“We had an investigator that we were teaching whom we traded a Book of Mormon for half a rear-end of a raccoon he had recently shot that we made it in to a stew. It happen on the night we had no heat with temperature’s below zero. We had some homemade hot sauce that we had made the previous summer for our Taco Parties. When at our stew with the home made hot sauce, which grew in potency (hotness), we slept that night without any blankets, since we had our own internal heaters going full force. And the Coon Stew, delicious!”
What was most surprising about the culture?
“One thing that struck me is that neighbors didn’t know each other. People didn’t know each other. They are very reserved and private people and shut off if they didn’t know someone. But they are the most loyal people and loyal friends. They were just good friends, but if they didn’t know you, they wouldn’t give you the time of day…”
“I realized I was like that too and I was able to connect with them, as well as with sports. I love sports and was able to connect with them in that way too.”-Jordan Smith
“Coming from California, I was surprised how many people smoked. They’re shorter by several inches. The richness in history, that I read only in books. The people as a whole, when in large cities were not very friendly, the smaller towns and villages were a lot more friendlier.”
What advice would you give to someone going to this Mission?
“For me initially, it was really tough to love the people, because as a New England missionary, you may not necessarily have a lot of ‘success.’ You hear ‘I’m all set’ one thousand times a day…”
“My advice would be to, from the beginning, have an attitude of love towards the people. Serve them, love them, try to understand who they are. It took me a while to truly love the people, but once you understand who they really are and what your purpose is, it makes things so much better on your mission. You don’t get as frustrated, and have the attitude to love the people.” -Jordan Smith
“Forget about home and family. Immerse yourself in the work of the Lord and you’ll see the miracles abound”
What do you wish you had known before you served?
“Knowing the Bible better, even though I wasn’t being challenged on the Bible every day like other areas of the United States. Also to have been more bold from the very beginning. It takes you a while to get used to talking to everyone and approaching complete strangers, but the only way to really prepare for it is to experience it.”
“A big help to me was being a Stake Missionary. Working closely with the full time Elders got me off to a very big lead and preparation in what I was getting myself into.”
**Did you serve in the Massachusetts Boston Mission? If so we would love to hear your advice and your stories! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org**