Thursday, March 28, 2013

I loved hearing about all of the birthdays this week. Sounds like they were AWESOME. And I am BEYOND excited that Emery loved her doll. (And that Amelia does too.) I literally could not set it down after I saw it. And thank you for the pictures. She is the cutest thing in the whole world!!!!
But it was a good week!
We decided that we need to form better bonds with the members in the ward. So we've started visiting a member a day with just a quick visit. We share with them an Easter Message, and give them the quote on the back of a picture of Christ. We give them two, and challenge them to use Easter as an opportunity to share the gospel and give the card away to a friend. They love it, and I hope they are actually doing it because that would be awesome.
Also, this is my favourite Easter video ever. Go watch it, it's incredible:

Did I tell you about Kirsty last week? I can't remember. She tried to commit suicide a little over a week ago, and her grandma asked that we go visit her in the hospital. She is SO receptive to the Spirit. When we told her that she is a daughter of God, you could SEE a light go on in her eyes. It was beautiful. I love teaching her so much... .you can just see she is literally hungering for the gospel of Christ. It was so sad though....she got moved to a hospital out of our area. We looked at bus maps, and it would take 2 hours to get there. So we won't be teaching her for a few weeks. That was hard to deal with, but someday we'll keep teaching her.

We also found out this woman we've been teaching is out of our area, so we'll have to give her to another set of missionaries. Which is too bad. She's hilarious. She's like a 60 year old African woman, and she's crazy! No matter what we teach, she tells us she knows that, that God appeared to her and told her that already. “Maybe I am de prophet. I know all dis.” hahahaha. When we started talking about how the Atonement of Christ can heal us literally, she suddenly lifted up her foot and shoved it in our faces. Um, hello. And she started waving it around while she was telling us about how God healed her foot. At least I think that's what she was saying. I was very focused on her foot not coming in contact with my face.
And can I ask a favor? If someone ever knocks on your door, PLEASE think about how they will feel when you open it. If you were, per se, about to jump in the shower, DON'T answer it!! There was this old man who answered the door this week like that. And so we looked at the ceiling, at the floor, ANYWHERE but him, and handed him a card and RAN away. Some things you cannot unsee and they will forever make you want to burn your eyes out.
On a less scarring note, Sister Muller and I try to pick one thing a week to increase our obedience in. This week, we decided it was our morning exercise that needed attention. Everyday, we wake up at 6:30 and then workout till 7:00 when we start getting ready for the day. We usually slowly stretch and then do crunches. Not very invigorating. So, we made a FIRM decision to improve. The next morning, we went out, jogged down the street, and swung on some swings in the park. It was probably the most beautiful morning of all time. The birds were singing, the flowers were in blossom, and we watched the sunrise over the University clocktower (I am slightly obsessed with the clocktower. It makes me SO happy. I'll try to attach a pic of it.). It was so incredible and peaceful. And then we jogged back home. It started out our day so good! We were practically glowing with happiness all day long.
So I couldn't wait for the next morning to do it again. And we woke up, jumped out of bed, and saw two inches of snow!!!!! WHAT?!?!? So much for our morning jog. Back to stretching (but more enthusiastically.)
ALL of Birmingham pretty much shut down. (I loved hearing that you guys got a storm this weekend too. But also that you weren't wimps about it.) No buses. No people out. They haven't had a winter storm this late in the year since 1978. Lucky us! So basically the last three days have been the longest of my life. No one is out, no one will talk to us. Nothing. And I found out my boots may be waterproof on the top and bottom, but not on the seam in between! So today we'll go buy me some Wellies at Primark.

And church was cancelled yesterday. Which is the worst thing ever when you are a missionary. At home, you're like Yay! We get to stay in and hang out with family. Here it's like Yay! The one day we could be inside we now go trudge through the snow cause no one else wants to! But it ended up being a really good day.

Fun fact about the English: they are SUPER sensitive about what you refer to their schooling as. Like I would interchangeably say “out at school/college/university”, but they mean totally different things here. School indicates like high school, college is like the advanced last few years of high school, and any postgraduate is university. I made the comment to a member I didn't really care which I said I went to, and she goes “You better be calling it've worked bloody hard to get there!!” haha. I will try to remember that.
And if you say to one of the Young Women “How's school?”, she'll go “Well,college is fine.” My bad.
Whew. So much stuff. I hope you love me anyway. Haha. I love you! Please tell me what you want to hear about. And if these letters are painfully long or what you think about them. Tell me what you want to hear! :)

The photos:
The clocktower at night.
I am in LOVE with this house. How much do you think it would cost to move it home?
I was trying to get a photo of the chruch, but you can also see another doubledecker bus, and the side of the Bull Ring in City Centre.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Oh, goodness. Opening my email and seeing so many TOTALLY made my day. And I printed them all off and will probably reread them all week long. :)

I can't believe it's already been a week to email! It went so fast! (Well, I mean...the days were long, but they went super fast)

I got your letter, Dad! :) It was so good! And thanks for sending the pictures. My desk looks a little more even now....I've got 2 pics of just Emery, the "take it slow" sign , and a family picture. Totally fair representation, right? It makes my morning when I start studying and can look at my family! Also, I left my iPod on Pennsylvania time. So when I turn on hymns for personal study, I always look to see what time it is and figure out what you guys are doing. It's usually like four I assume Dad is up and working and Emery is playing in her crib. Am I right? (And Mom, I LOVE having good music to listen to. Good call. And I guess I just meant the twist up ones that are good for marking in scriptures. I think they sell like a twelve pack, which would be perfect.)

Dad, your email cracked me up! I can only imagine how entertaining the kid in security was. haha. I've got a story a little like that this week too. And you sound so super busy!!! Thanks for telling me all about your projects... I love knowing what you are up to.

Mom, I am glad you are home, but I'm super glad that you were able to get some alone time with your parents. And thank you so much for getting my stuff to G&Gs. I'm sorry I left stuff unfinished. But it was all so fast! And that show sounds hilarious. Seriously. It's companion and I have just one of those little apartment fridges, but there's so much room! It's weird. I've never had a fridge where I can see the whites of the walls. haha.

I got a few other emails, but I'm going to reply to them individually. :D

Okay, this week was crazy! Before I came on my mission, I thought, Holy Cow, missionaries have so much time. I just assumed they got everything done and then did finding to feel in the cracks.

This is false doctrine.

Maybe it's just because we have two hours a day less than most missionaries, but we NEVER get enough done! We literally RUN from place to place. And we have to sprint to catch buses all the time. But we are blessed. We always make the bus, even if we pound on the door as he's started driving off. Haha. If you want to know what riding the UK buses are like, go watch the Harry Potter with the night bus (3rd one). It is exactly like that. Only our bus doesn't magically get skinny to get between stuff...they just gun it! Sometimes I can't look out the windows because I'm positive we are about to collide with something. “Take it away, Ernie!”

Okay. I forgot my planner this week to write from, so it's a little bit scattered. Sorry about that.

One of my FAVORITE people in our ward is Caroline. She's recently reactivated and is as English as you can imagine. Another lady pulled out a photo and said “Caroline, meet my mom”. Caroline casually looks and goes “She's old.”

I DIED. It was just so casually said. I laugh all the time here, though. The British humor is just wonderful--dry, slightly grumpy style that I just love.

Caroline is so good. She's a social worker, and she's had a really hard life. I loved what my companion said: “Satan's goal is to destroy families. Caroline is a miracle worker at saving families, so he goes after her so hard because of how strong she is and how much good she does. Stopping her would make his job so much easier.” So true!!

Tuesday, we had several appointments with less actives. It was a little bit depressing though because several cancelled on us. I think one is scared...she told us she wants to quit smoking. So we prepared this AWESOME program from her (it's the standard one in our mission, and is supposed to be super successful). But she wouldn't let us in her house. So frustrating.

We went to visit a list of AUFs (people who've moved in to the ward but we know nothing about. So we go find them). We spent FIVE HOURS getting to and from this one man's apartment. So much precious time! But he wasn't even home. And that's kinda how our week went. I spent enough time on a bus this week I could've made it to the moon and back. Like six times. Uphill both ways.

You may have seen on my FB that I got a message from a girl named Paige. I LOVE HER!! She's this super adorable recent convert. She's 16, and so funny! Apparently my privacy settings are so people can't add me. So maybe we should change that so mission people can find me, yah?

Wednesday we had our District Meeting. Which is really boring, in case you were wondering.

Necessary maybe, but definitely boring.

However, it was super cool. My companion and I “presented” on increasing the number of referrals. I felt like I needed to share the Set-A-Date program. So I did. I have never seen a group of missionaries get so excited!! They were almost flipping out(correction: they WERE freaking out), and asked a billion questions. The Zone Leaders presented the idea to President Rasmussen that night. And so my ward is soon going to become the testing area for this program here in the EBM!!!!!!! BAH!!!!! Are you excited family, or are you excited! What. So. Cool.

We were tracting at the hospital. We'd walked past this man like ten times, and so we finally stopped and gave him a card. He said he was a Christian. We tried to share our beliefs with him, but he said “I have a question before you keep talking. Who do you pray to?”

We were a little surpised, but we told him that we pray to God, because He is our Heavenly Father, but in the name of Christ because he's our Mediator with the Father. He gave us high fives and told us he knew that was true. He told us we could come back and talk to him. (He'd just had a major operation, and so is at the hospital). We went back twice and didn't catch him. The second time he was just going in to meet with the doctor. He was so surprised that we were coming to just talk to him that he told us we could come back last night. So we did. We taught the Restoration. He told us he orders DVDs from the Church all the time, and he's seen the Book of Mormon. It was a super random lesson. We were in the middle of a hospital hallway, and then gave him the Book of Mormon in the elevator. But he told us that so far we were only teaching what he knew to be true! I love how the Spirit works!

Tonight, we're taking the Elders to give him a priesthood blessing, and then we're teaching him again. It's so exciting! He kept telling us: it's a miracle. I felt like you were sent to me. Well, Richard, I may have been sent to Birmingham for you.

Oh! And this sweet old lady named Lynne got baptized yesterday. But the boiler broke. So there was no hot water. And of course the Elders did not mention this to my companion and I until we caught them in the kitchen during the last hour of church...madly boiling and hauling water to the font. Boys. Seriously. We CAN help, you know. I mean, we baked all night so there would be food there. Certainly we could help provide water.

We were able to get enough water to fill it to the second step of the font. Lynne had to lie down to be baptized so she could be immersed! It was definitely a first haha. But she was just GLOWING afterwards. You could feel that she KNEW she'd done the right thing, and it was worth it.

Family, I love you so much!!! It's weird to think that I won't see you for a year and a half. BUT...we have eternity. So it'll all be good. It'll be GREAT!! And I'm doing my best so you can have blessings!

Pictures: I 'may' have misplaced my camera charger all week, so I only got a few pics. Whoops.

First one: Harborne High Street. We do a lot of our shopping there, and some tracting as well. It's so awesome!

The next picture: I may have contemplated offering my firstborn child for this table. Isn't it gorgeous? sigh.

This is the shop that the table's in. Like the name, Amy? :) I also got Emery's birthday present there. Please rewrap it and give it to her again on Christmas and her next birthday. haha.

We look terrible, but I wanted you to be able to picture my comp. So Sister Muller and I snapped this really quick. Promise someday we'll take an actual good one.

March 4, 2013 Last Night in the MTC!

Last nights in the MTC!

The Ammon district girls discovered they fit in the drawers under our beds. Talk about a heart attack when I walked into my room and found them there. haha.

This is us with two of our teachers. Sister Matapo just got back from Birmingham 2 months ago, so I LOVED talking to her about it. Sister Loynes just got married two weeks ago(to another MTC teacher), and she is the CUTEST thing...she's tiny and Irish. haha. Her testimony was so strong, and I could tell she really loved us.

I finally got a pic with the MTC sign! No procrastination there! haha.

Preston Temple at night. My district went up there and sang Ye Elders of Israel (which was basically our district song) really softly on the last night. It was so spiritual, and a great way to say goodbye

February 27, 2013 This time I know a half-hour is short

FAMILY! This time I know a half-hour is short, so I'll start with the most important. I love you all!! I miss having you here. There's so many times where I say "I can't wait to tell them thus and such." And then I realize that it'll be a while. :) Dad, how did your meeting go??? I asked in the letter I mailed home, but forgot to in my email. ( the letter home... I got to read my email from you eventually, so don't worry about that 2nd concern.) MY medicine was taken care of here, so Mom you don't have to send that to me. But could you send (whenever, no hurry): a copy of our family pic that I could show to people, one of Dad's line of authority cards, some of those twistable coloring pencil things for my scriptures? (Last one I can get here, they obviously just hate coloring and so make it uber expensive here. haha) Also, there's a blog up of tons of MTC pics they've taken....they said they sent you guys a link in the email.

Please tell Sis Marrs I loved getting her email last week. And give her a big hug for me... I know she'll miss Alex a TON! Also, tell her hankies were INSPIRED. I'm pretty much a leaky faucet these days. And tell Aunt Robin and G and G I love them, and their letters made my day! I love hearing about home!

So, I thought I'd start this letter with excitement about the 58 new mission announced. But scratch that. Guess who came Monday night????? ELDER JEFFREY R HOLLAND> That's right. Reread it. Double check it. It's true. He came to the England MTC during the TWO weeks I was here, to talk to only 40 missionaries. It was incredible to sit at the feet of an apostle and just be fed. He talked about how his mission changed his entire life, how it sunk down into the very marrow of his bones. Isn't that incredible??? I want THAT for my mission. I'm pretty sure if they'd set us free after his devotional, we would've gone and baptized all of Preston that night. He told us to not worry about whether there was water in the pond: to just JUMP in, and trust in the Lord that there would be plenty of water, because there was. He quoted a poem by William's a hymn called Jerusalem, and it's about the Apocryphal visit of Christ to England. It's officially my new favorite poem. I LOVE it. IF I hadn't known that we were led by latter day prophets before Monday night, there would have been no doubt in my mind after that meeting. IF you guys want more details about what he said, just let me know and I'll send you a letter. I just don't know what you want to read about!!!

And last Wednesday night, the 70 (Pres Donaldson) also gave an amazing devotional. He shared an incident where they were extending a call to someone who was "unexpected" for that position, and how he learned that the Lord isn't looking for someone who would be the perfect____, he's looking for someone to BECOME that. Which means that I just need to be willing to try my best until I become. He said that we were called to where we were because of who we were, so just bring the best you and become better over time. Love it.

Okay, now street contacting!! Last Thursday on the train, I couldn't bring up the courage to talk to the guy next to me. I knew so STRONGLY that I was there to talk to him, but I just couldn't open my mouth. So I saw the guy across the aisle had an anatomy book he was studying, so I started talking to him about his uni work for a couple of minutes. That gave me the courage to talk to the guy next to me. His name was Theo, and the anniversary of his dad's suicide was the next day. So I testified that God understood exactly what his dad was going through, and what he was too. I told him that God loves us beyond our comprehension. I could just see the peace settle on him. I gave him a Book Of Mormon, and he promised to read it. He wanted the missionaries to come over too. Holy cow. And I almost didn't open my mouth. He definitely needed the peace the gospel can bring, and I was almost too scared/selfish to share it! Street contacting was so much fun. I loved just talking to people and seeing what they knew about God, and what they were going through.

We went street contacting again yesterday....I felt so blessed to get to go at all in the MTC and practice, let alone 2 times! We met this girl named Katie. We walked up, introduced ourselves, and she goes yeah, I don't want to talk about Jesus. Umm....awkward. We started to walk away (after telling her to have a good day) when I felt like I needed to turn around and tell her something. First thing that popped into my head? I love how the blue streak in your hair contrasts with your red hair. Wow. Random. Good job Miranda. But then she let us sit there and talk to her for half an hour. We talked about eternal families, the Word of Wisdom (which show loved), and gay marriage. I feel like my main thing I tell people is just how much they are loved. At the end, she ASKED for a Book of Mormon. talk about a turnaround. And she gave us each a huge hug and said we made her day, that she needed to hear just how much she was loved.

Other than these AWESOME experiences, it's been pretty much classes, teaching, classes, teaching, eating. Repeat. I love it and I've learned so much, but it doesn't make for too much news home. :) IF you guys want, I can send you letters where I share more details. Tell me what you think of the letter I sent....if you like stuff like that I'll keep sending it. :)

I love you ALL. Also, I need an Emery fix. Pics? :) Oh! I need to tell you this. There's an Elder who doesn't want to have kids. At ALL. We were talking about it (with him, not gossiping) in our district. I pulled out my pic of Emery from my scriptures (the one from this summer where she's smiling in her sleep) and bore my testimony of how life changing love can be. I said nothing in the entire world could be worth the love I was overwhelmed by the first time she smiled at me. It was amazing to see the change that came over him after I did that. And his comp told me he now said he wants three kids. haha.

I leave the MTC Saturday morning. We were supposed to leave today, but my president is at some mission president conference, so we're staying here a few extra days (which meant we got to go to the temple again this morning). And then this'll all be real! (real-er). I haven't read you guy's emails or anything... I'll print them out and read them later. I'll try to attach some pics so you don't forget what I look like.