Monday, April 29, 2013
Okay. I have to start with the most HILARIOUS thing. After district meeting this week, we were getting our supplies and post from the zone leaders. We were chatting about one of our investigators, who recently was married through an arranged marriage. And Elder MacArthur turns to me and says....
“Should we get married?”
I just stood there for a few seconds. How do you react to that?? I figured somehow I had misheard him. Because there was NO way he just said that. And of course there were like 10 sets of missionaries right there, and they just exploded with laughter.
Best. Thing. Ever.
I'm sure he meant to ask a question about something else. But this was the most HILARIOUS thing of my life. When we have our nightly call-ins now, my District Leader always asks if I have an answer for Elder MacArthur.
I'm slightly committed for the next 16 months.
And I've been super amused by that all week. And that was the main thing I wanted to tell you. So bye! Just kidding. But still. It can't get much better than that.
But it does! Remember OT? He's the coolest man in the world. Every time we teach him, he always teaches us. Last week, we asked him what he got out of his reading of Alma 32 (he's been studying this chapter over and over again for like 2 weeks. He just loves it.). He tied the word being like a seed in your heart to the parable of the sower. And he testified to us that WE are the sowers, and that we should never get disheartened. Because some people's “tree” will take a long time, but we should never lose hope, because there is always someone somewhere who is willing to listen
Wow. It was so precious!!! We taught him the Word of Wisdom this week, and he said that those were blessings he wanted and needed. He told us that he knew it was a commandment from God, that of course God wants us to take care of our bodies because it shows that we love what He gave us. He said: “Well, I do drink tea, though. What can I do instead?”
What miracles would happen in the Church if each of us were willing to give up our habits so easily! What can I do instead? What better habits can I have to bring me closer to the Lord? AHHHHHH. He's just the best!!!
This week, we got together with two sets of Elders in our area, and drew a Plan of Salvation on the ground. We stopped people walking by and taught them from it. IT WAS SO COOL! It was such a good approach to be able to talk to people about why we are here and where we are going! And it just is so logical. Every time I teach the Plan of Salvation, the Spirit testifies to me of the truth of it. It's like the whole gospel, so beautifully simple. We are the ones who complicate things. In reality, it's just that we lived with God, and wanted to be like Him. Because we make mistakes, we needed a Savior. Through Christ, we can be cleansed from all our sins, and attain our goal of being like God and living with Him. Doesn't that just ring truth to your very core? I just want to grab people and say listen!!!
I just feel so blessed to be a missionary. There are so many people who are hurting, and just need to turn to God to find their peace! And I get to help them and watch them do it. I LOVE it.
There's not too much else I want to share this week.
Oh. Wait. A comment on dinner appointments. Please feed the missionaries. Coming into a member's home and building a relationship with them is SO powerful!! I love them, and usually my love for them has nothing to do with the food. Here, though, it's interesting. They always serve you, so you have no choice on how much you get. And they seem to think we can eat their whole house single handedly. Haha. There's a lady in our ward named Tracy. She's super energetic and never does anything half-heartedly. She invited us over for dinner. This is what she served: two kinds of potatoes, spring cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brusselsprouts, swede, and porkshops in a mushroom gravy. It was seriously the best meal I've had since I came on my mission. There was soooo much food though!! And do you know what she said to me?? Sister, you've taken so little dinner! Noooo. Too much. Too much. And then there was trifle for dessert. So much food. And she was disappointed we'd eaten so little! (You can tell she normally feeds Elders. Haha.)
I love you! I hope you have an INCREDIBLE week, and are enjoying the weather. Whatever it is. It's all I know how to talk about now that I live in England. Haha.
And the pictures....
this is the house on the corner of my street. I'm in love with it. It is so....English! and it's teal and has a beautiful back garden. In case I decide that I won't be leaving England, this is where you can find me.
England! I don't get to see too much of this since we are normally in the city. But I love it all the more for that!
This may appear to be a posh house with a mini cooper in front. If you look closely, though, you can see the horsehead in the front entry. Which seems weird. Until you realize that it is Ron Weasley's house, and that is from Wizard's Chess. :)
Monday, April 22, 2013
Hello, everyone! :) I can't believe it's Pday again. I feel like I write home a lot more than I expected to. So maybe I'll just take next week off so I feel better. ;) I wouldn't do that. Getting emails from home is my favorite thing ever.
This week was like a rollercoaster. A really big one. Tuesday was the best day of my life. It was good enough it could have been on the District. Seriously. The sun was shining AND it was warm, and we had four of the best lessons ever. (And we ate fish and chips.) I'd been getting frustrated with OT because no matter how many times we explained priesthood authority, he didn't get it. On Tuesday, though, I randomly decided to read Matthew 16:19 to him, and explain priesthood in that way---that it HAD to come from Christ so that it had the authority to be in effect now and in eternity. (Random, right? It's not one of the standard scriptures to use. At all.) All of a sudden, you could just see a CLICK. And OT said my favorite sentence of all time: “How long will it take to put together a baptism?” Well. Since you asked, I guess....
And then we had a lesson with Ann. She's so hesitant, so scared of being judged at church. And so we brought Lynn, the lady whose baptism I told you about a month ago. And they were instant BFFs. Members make the difference!! Truly, when members become involved in missionary work, miracles happen! Go ask the missionaries in your ward if they have investigators that need fellowshipping. Please.
Wednesday and Thursday were NOT worthy of the District. In fact, they could have been recorded as days for a missionary horror movie. Well, they weren't that bad. But we got lost, we got in an accident with our bikes, all our appointments stood us up, we were soaked, and they were the longest days of my life. Weird, though. I was still happy. .....really deep down, but still, I was happy. I LOVE getting to talk to people about the most important thing in the world. I LOVE being able to serve others all the time. I LOVE England.
A few new things they say: "lush". I don't think I ever heard that in casual conversation at home. Here though they use it a lot to talk about food. And my FAVORITE word is whinging. Instead of "they were all whining", they say "they were all whinging". Say it: whinge whinge whinge. Oh! And zucchini doesn't exist over here. They are called courgettes. And eggplant is aubergini. Even this farm girl was confused.
AndI've picked up a lot of my companion's habits. In Germany, they say dinksbooms (that's phonetically spelled. haha) instead of what's her face or thing a ma jig. I love it. And I'm eating beans on toast way too often for my tastes, but when you're with a German.....
I've noticed something about the people here. You could put me in a room where I can't sense anything and let me talk to an Englishman, and I could tell you EXACTLY what the weather was based on their mood. They are like walking barometers. If it's a beautiful day, people will stop and chat and show interest. If it's bad weather, they are beyond grumpy. It blows my mind how they reflect their environment so exactly. It's kinda cool, though.
Oh. And we met the winner of the Crazy award. We knocked this man's door, and he just started bashing us. We were trying to escape when he told us his beliefs. He thinks that Christ simply was a healer because he gave people marijuana. He said the Bible is secretly a legend of the history of the powers of marijuana, and that Christians were persecuted because the Romans didn't want people to discover the miraculous properties of marijuana. (sounds like a National Treasure type story line.) Okay, sir. I think you dropped your ticket to PyschoDruggie Town over there.
I don't even know what else to share this week, so I'll talk to you later! I love you all! Choose the right. The church is true, the book is blue.
This is going to be a short-ish email this week. Mostly it's because I feel like writing my parents an individual email this week instead.
And this is a special week!! Four score and seven years ago, on the 18th of April, my parents decided to be married for time and all eternity in the House
of the Lord. (just kidding, Mom. I know it's only been 86 years.) And I will be forever grateful for that dedication, and the example they've always shown
me. Families are forever!
(Weird fact: Sister Muller's parent's anniversary is the day after yours. So it's a special week for both of us)
This week was incredibly difficult.
I think I talked to every rude person in Birmingham this week. We had sooo many appointments lined up for the week, but half of them canceled. Which is heartbreaking. And we were sick. Which always makes for a great week. (Not. Being sick as a missionary literally went like this: “Do you want to watch the Joseph Smith movie again, or listen to Conference again?”)
BUT. The Lord took the worst week ever and made it rock. Because He does that sort of thing.
We're teaching this man named OT. He's from Ghana, and is the most soft-spoken person I've ever met. But he's incredible. He came to General Conference. When we taught him this week, he brought his friend Gina. As we were teaching her about how vital it is to have the proper authority, he goes “And that's why it's a miracle that we have a prophet today. President Monson is a man of God, and listening to him can change our hearts.” Wow. Yeah. You can just teach her. Go, OT!!! When I look at him, I seriously see a Stake President. We don't get to see him often because he's in the midst of taking his finals, but he's awesome.
This transfer, we have a “theme”....Come Unto Christ. It's based on Mark 4 when Christ calmed the storm, if only we trust in him. And so our goals this transfer are crazy high because we want to “Come unto Christ, and be perfected in Him” (Moroni 10:32)
One of our companionship goal for this transfer is to EXPECT miracles! Shortly after breaking our fast yesterday, they began. Like really just poured out.
We got about five calls in a row that were all answers to prayers. Like literally hung up the phone and it would ring again.
Best of all, Sian came back! She's been through a horrible few weeks. But I think that she's now so much more ready for the gospel. We asked her when she was happiest in her life. She said it was before her dad died, when she was three. That the only times she's been really happy since then have been at church. That broke my heart, but also made me rejoice that she was now more ready! Yesterday, I seriously TACKLED her. A little much enthusiasm. But she still loves me anyway.
And then our of the blue this morning, we had a lesson with a woman. When we got to her house, I thought what can we offer her that will make her want the gospel? She has a beautiful home, a husband, a daughter...everything that usually satisfies people so they don't think about needing God. But I was so wrong. Her son was born stillborn last year, and so she has struggled with that again and again. Her goal for this year was to develop a personal relationship with Christ! Oh, it was wonderful! The plan of salvation makes so much sense, and brings so much peace!! Oh, I love it!
I hope America is wonderful. England is great. Spring here is seriously like the Celestial Kingdom.
I love you! Have a great week.
(Yesterday I told someone I was Sister Muller. I don't even know who I am anymore!!!! :) )
What an INCREDIBLE week!!! In case you were wondering, General Conference on your mission is better than Christmas. It's better than chocolate. It's better than anything I can even compare it to. Each morning last week my companion and I would wake up and yell: Only 2 more sleeps till conference!!! Just a little excited. But really, if you listened to Conference this weekend, do you have any doubt that God has again called a prophet?? I feel so blessed to have the gospel in my life. And that I can share the good news with everyone, all day, every day.
I had made a list of about 15 conference questions that I wanted answered. Nice short list, right? Well, I was promised that all my questions I prayerfully brought would be answered. Why limit my answers to just a few questions? haha. They were ALL answered the first session. It was incredible. So what would I do? Get more questions for the next day, of course. And they were all answered. Literally, some of the talks that were like: "I want to answer an important question. This is the question." And it was almost word for word my question! Whaaattt!
And Conference felt like going home. Sunday morning we watched the recording of the Saturday afternoon session. And who was the choir but my BYU choirs?? Cali, when I saw your beautiful face, I literally started crying. I was so happy. And I saw so many people that I had classes with, visit taught, was their RA, was their TA....stalked on facebook (kidding!). It was incredible.
We had 5 investigators come to Conference with us this weekend. And they loved it!! It was so cool all week to teach people about Gospel dispensations, about how God always calls prophets, and then say "And this weekend is so special because you can hear the living prophet of God for yourself, and find direct answers for you and your family." And they did!
But enough about Conference. You probably started skimming it already... Will she ever shut up about conference?? Yes. Now. (Maybe.)
Did I tell you about Christopher and Marcia? I think I mentioned Christopher....he's the Jamaican man we started teaching. This week, we taught Marcia and her daughter Destiny (I think I mentioned Marcia is his "baby mother". Again, still confused about that concept.) AND SHE WAS SO READY!!!! She wants to be baptized. She read where we assigned her in the Book of Mormon , and didn't stop because she loved it so much. When she heard there was another session of conference, she wanted to stay and watch it. She's got a long way to go, but she has that desire to change and come closer to Christ. And it is the most beautiful thing I've seen. I cannot WAIT until we teach them all again tomorrow.
I think one of my favourite things is getting to talk to everyone about what they believe. You pick up such interesting things. Sometimes super crazy. But usually good. This week, we approached a lady. Before she even saw our badges, she started chatting with us. After a few minutes, she says "You're Christian, aren't you? I can tell by the happy light in your faces and the peace in your eyes." Wow. That is probably the best compliment I've ever gotten. And then she said that she was an atheist. Which shocked me. You see the light and peace that comes from believing in Christ, yet choose to believe in nothing?
Also, some of my other favorite random things that have been said to me so far as we've approached people: "I don't talk to Americans. They are sneaky and think that they aren't Englishmen." "Mormons are the ones that live in London, right?" "I can't listen to you. I'm an anarchist." "I'm a little drunk, but you've got a pretty smile so I'll listen." "Why are you here? You come from the best country on Earth. Why would you come here?" "Are you Australian?" Sometimes I have a hard time not just laughing. I love meeting people. So much. (And Mum just fell off her seat in surprise.)
One day this week, we'd had an awesome day. On the way home though, I was thinking that it was too bad that nothing truly funny had happened that I could tell you about from this week. Just as I was thinking this, my companion starts SHRIEKING and jumping around. Guess WHAT. She got pooped on by a bird!!!!! And I just stood there and laughed and laughed. I almost fell over I was laughing so hard. Don't worry though. I recovered enough to take out my camera and got some pictures of it.
I hope you all enjoyed conference as much as I did!! Family, I love you, and pray for you every day. There were some missionaries going home this week. It wasn't hard to watch them go until I thought about the fact that they'll get to hug their parents this week. And then I was slightly jealous. So hug each other, and know I love you!!
And just a note on transfers: I can't believe I've already finished my first transfer. I'm like 99.9999999% positive my companion and I will be staying. But it's just so you can stay on track with knowing. :) Moves happen on Wednesdays, so when I do get transferred then, you won't know until I've been in my new area for about a week.
Okay. And best of all: the pictures. I like telling you about my week with the pictures instead of writing. :)
Who knew that I live down the street from the Fire Swamp. Good thing I watched Princess Bride and know how to avoid the three dangers of the fire swamp. No Wesley for us, though.
This week, I mistakenly threw in my sheets to wash without checking the washer. When I pulled out my sheets, I found out that the yellow cleaning rags were in there too. Whoops. I felt a little bit like an Elder. On the bright side, my sheets are now a beautiful soft yellow. About the color of my bedroom at home. Now I know how to dye things the cheap way! ;)
Sometimes I wish I had that magical mechanism that allows you to think before you speak. On Saturday at GC, all the missionaries from the stake were there. I noticed that there were a lot of really....loud ties. And then I misheard a conversation and thought that they had planned it. So I asked my district leader if General Conference was Ugly Tie Day. Um, apparently, it wasn't. Awkward.
So Elder Akebrand and Peterson wore the UGLIEST ties they could find on Sunday.
Monday, April 1, 2013
Goooooood morning, family!!! It is a beautiful morning over here. It's one of those freezing cold but gorgeous spring days.
Have I mentioned how much I LOVE England? I really know that there is nowhere else I should be right now. I wake up every morning, feel confused for a couple of seconds, and then remember I am a MISSIONARY! Bah!! Jump out of bed, woman, and get to WORK! I love it so much. And one of my favorite verses is now D&C 31:3.....
"Lift up your heart and rejoice, for the hour of your mission is come; and your tongue shall be loosed, and you shall declare glad tidings of great joy unto this generation."
This is what I've waited for! And I think of all my friends that are getting ready to leave on their missions as well. What an incredible time to be a missionary!!!! And it just got even better. The First Presidency announced that.... MISSIONARIES CAN NOW EMAIL FRIENDS!!!! Wahoooo!! And no. This is not an April Fool's joke. Although it would be a hilarious one. Really and truly, I can now email anyone! (Except males in the mission I'm serving in. That's fine though.) I am beyond excited to actually be able to afford to communicate with people now....because email is free, and this girl can afford that. So, Mom, would you be willing to post that as a fb status for me? (You could even just copy and paste the part about emails.) And could you copy and forward me the email list you forward my emails to? I can remember no one's emails. haha.
I've been so excited to tell you about that, I haven't really thought about what else to share. It's going to feel like Christmas to actually get to communicate! Yes! Speaking of which, do you realize next month we get to talk on the phone? (Or Skype. Whatever.) It came so fast!!! I've already been in Harborne for a month.
Oh man. So much good news. I am so grateful I am for my anatomy experience and TAing! Because we live right near the University of Birmingham with its Medical School, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, AND a women's hospital, we talk to people who study the human body ALL the time. Almost every day, I get to share how studying anatomy transformed my testimony, how I just stood in awe in the majesty of forethought of God as I learned about the human body. And I see they can relate! They know exactly the moments I'm talking about...when you study some structure and learn the function, and then realize that it wouldn't work if it was even just a little bit different. and you KNOW we are not created by chance. There's no way we could function as beautifully and completely as we do if it was just randomly things that started living symbiotically.
(Honestly though, my dream would be to teach a med school professor and have him go "Oh, would you like to come study on your PDay in my anatomy lab?". Of course!!!!!!!! haha. Super nerdy. And my companion would not go for that.)
But we met this INCREDIBLE photographer yesterday. He's just this old man that loves to take photos of birds, and he publishes them more for fun than anything else. He showed some of his photos to us, and it was so cool. And he said that he believes that nature is his way of worshipping God, that he knows that appreciating what He made is just as powerful as studying what He said. I loved that! And as we were talking, I just told him that nature told me that there was a God, because life is just too beautiful to have happened by accident. I love how the Spirit lets me say things I would never known how to word before.
I also love how fast I can love people here. If you've checked my fb recently, you probably saw a message from a girl named Paige. I LOVE her. She is adorable. She was just baptized in October, and she's 16. We see her a lot, and I feel like she's my little sister. I'm pretty sure my hugs crush her every time I see her. haha. Seeing people change when they understand the gospel is truly incredible. We've been watchign Legacy with her, and talking about the pioneers. I love how it's really the first time she's learned about it. You can see her reverence and respect for them increase all the time.
And I haven't mentioned this yet, but I haven't slept well since I got here. Like I don't fall into a deep sleep and then I wake up and lie awake for half the night. Which is super wonderful to keep missionary hours all day and then not sleep at night. Calm down, Mom....I mentioned it to Sister Rasmussen this past week when I had interviews with her. And she gave me a few tips to try for a week, and if they don't work they'll send me to a pharmacy for a drug. So, every night, I have to relax for half an hour (because apparently missionaries don't relax. Surpise!) and take a hot shower at night and drink something warm before I go to bed. And it's helping. I feel like I'm Emery and my mom is "sleep training" me. The only thing I'm missing is being swaddled. haha. So now I'm telling you about it because it isn't so much of a problem anymore. So relax Mom and Dad. I wouldn't tell you about it if it would worry you. ;)
We taught a lot of Chinese students this week. We had lessons with seven of them. And they want to know about God so badly! They never really heard about Him before, and He just clicks with them. (My companion has a saying when about us "being human" and searching for God...that it's because we are of Divine Origins that we look for our Creator.). But sometimes it's hard to remember they know NOTHING about Him, and so things I take for granted are brand new for them. And so far the only Chinese thing I know is like a what's up...."Knee how" (that's phonetically. Because I have no idea how to spell it.)
My favorite lesson this week was with a Jamaican man named Christopher. Let's just say is was a HUGE test of faith just getting to the lesson with him. We literally spent FIFTEEN minutes on the phone just trying to set up an appointment with him. Here? No? here? Then? When? Geerrr. Then, we went into City Centre to meet him at this university (it took an hour to get there), which seemed random. And then he called and said he didn't want to be taught there. He wanted us to go to this shop with him. Wait...what??? And so he tells us to just catch this bus and get off in three stops. We couldn't find the stop, and so just ended up walking behind the car he was in for half an hour till we got there. So strange, right? And then we don't even teach him IN the barbershop, we stand outside and teach him. Why did we need to go to this barbershop then? BUT the lesson was so worth it! The Spirit was so strong. We'd given him a Book of Mormon when we first met him, and he'd read it and liked it so far. And he and his "baby mother" came to church on Sunday and loved it. (Can someone explain the concept of a baby mother to me? He lives with her and she has two of his kids, but "they aren't dating, he just respects her". Which is so confusing.)
Anyway. This week has been wonderful. Mom and Dad, I miss you. A lot. The hardest part is when something happens that normally I'd call home and tell you about it.....and instead I wait until Mondays. And we all know how patient I am. Have a wonderful week! Enjoy Generall Conference! I'll be watching the two morning sessions at the same time as you, but not the afternoon ones. So we'll be doing the same thing for four hours this weekend. :D
The University at night. Is it beautiful, or WHAT? And I have like 5million pitures of the clocktower from this week. I'm resisting and just sending you this one.
Mind the gap! Remember this General Conference talk? I think about it every time we take the train.
Training follow up meeting! It was ridiculously exciting to see everyone from my MTC group. This is Sister Davis and Elder Martin, the only ones from my district that came to my mission. We sat and talked the whole time. (After the meeting, of course.)