Monday, May 27, 2013
Did my letter seem slightly scattered last week? That would be because my companion got an email from home saying her dad was really ill and was in the hospital. So, I was a little more focused on comforting her and getting her a blessing, and then we went to the mission home and she called her family. He had pancreatitis, but she got an email today saying they had it under control and he'd been released from the hospital. My poor companion. First week in the field, and she was so worried about her family.
That being said: MOTHER AND FATHER. If anything like that EVER happens, call or email my mission president. Seriously. I don't want news like that in an email!! :)
This week we had Zone Conference. Which was AWESOME. I learned SO much. Probably my favourite that I want to share: The opposite of love is not hate, it's apathy. This is why treating sacred things casually is such a sin: we show God how we feel about spiritual experiences based on how we treat those we've already been given. So treasure them up!!! I mean, I guess I'd known this before, but it hadn't really clicked that TRUE opposites are love and apathy, not love and hate. Just think about it. It really made me reevaluate how I treat things.
And I totally forgot to tell you last week! Most crazy and hilarious thing ever. We showed up to a dinner appointment, and heard VERY loud screaming and swearing. I thought someone was in labour. We walked in, and Hazel was on the couch screaming in pain...she had broken her foot (found out she broke 5 bones and dislocated them. Yeesh). Which is not funny at all. But the funny part is that I told her to squeeze my hand as hard as she needed to deal with the pain till the paramedics arrived. Within a few seconds, I was worried that she was going to squeeze it so hard it pinched off. This fuzzy numbness started up my arm and suddenly I realized I was going to pass out. Please imagine this scene: A lady on the couch with a broken foot screaming in very colourful language, me swaying back and forth on the verge of passing out, Hazel's mother apologizing to us that our dinner wasn't ready yet, and my companion looking scared out of her wits. For some reason, I think it's probably the most hilarious thing that's happened to me on my mission. Every time I think about the situation, it gets funnier and funnier. Luckily the paramedics got there. They gave Hazel some painkillers to breathe in, and I was seriously tempted to ask for some too. Haha. She's okay now...she had surgery and will fully recover.Just thought you'd appreciate that story. :)
My favorite “missionary experience” of the week was a lesson we taught with the Purbas. It was the lesson itself that was so cool. Parveen is the mom, and she just came back to church three months ago. Her 11 and 15 year old daughters are still inactive, so we go over there to work with them. This week, we decided we wanted to be a little bit bold with them. So we shared the Parable of the Ten Virgins. And my companion and I just felt so inspired to keep and keep sharing insights from it with them. It was probably the sharpest rebuke I've given so far in a lesson. It's actually a really sad situation when you look at the 5 foolish virgins....they knew the bridegroom, they made the effort to attend, and they even brought their own lamps....knowing full well they didn't have oil. They simply assumed that because they had put forth the physical effort to be there, the oil would be provided. Do we do this? Do we go through the motions of living the gospel without repeatedly having spiritual experiences to fill our lamps with oil? I could tell Ayesha was really hit by the lesson. Hopefully we see some change as a result of it.
Random things about England this week:
The weather this week has been crazy. One day it poured, was sunny for about 15 minutes, and then hailed. Talk about temperamental.
American people now sound weird to me. I stopped a lady and asked her where she was from. Her accent just sounded so weird to me....and she was an American.
And you actually will get pics this week! :)
I love all the clocks here. This is the Bear Tavern in Bearwood. Look at all the detail!
Remember me mentioning how even the robins were different here?? I FINALLY got a pic of our cutest neighbour. It's not the best, but isn't this the CUTEST robin you've ever seen? It's just so delicate. I LOVE it.
ALMA PASSAGE! THe street names here rock.....like things like Coronation Road are a standard name, like Oak Street. But Alma Passage? Doesn't get much better than that.
I LOVE YOU! Have a wonderful week! Pray for missionaries, and read your scriptures! :)
(Confession. I just misspelled my first name. Nooo!! Not already!)
Monday, May 20, 2013
I'm so glad to hear that you all had a wonderful week.
And also a trying one. How lonely I would have felt if I was the only one! :)
So, I got my "baby"! Her name is Sister Roscher, and I LOVE her. She's from Idaho/Texas. And I'm pretty sure I know her. Can you log onto my FB and stalk her? Her name is Meghan Roscher and her twin's name is Allyson Roscher. Can you tell me who our mutual friends are? We've been trying to figure out how we know each other all week. It's a much harder game to play when you have no FB input. haha.
In a nutshell, this week has been really intense. Sister Muller and I had built up a pretty good teaching pool (for England's standards. All of you South American missionaries....no. Not your idea of a good teaching pool.) And then it all fell apart. Dropped. Flogged. Ignored. Oh. But the best was the phone call we got from our investigator.... in JAIL. So we are basically starting from scratch. Again.
Yep. So....that makes for a rough week. If I didn't KNOW that I am here for a reason, I would really be struggling. BUT my companion and I have decided that we are going to be positive and just look for the miracles. Because when we look for miracles, we will see them. and when we recognize our blessings we have, we will receive more.
So, this week's miracles.....
I FINISHED MY JOURNAL!!! I don't know why, but I seriously feel like I deserve a gold medal for that. haha.
I haven't gotten us lost. Too badly.
We've seen lots of Birmingham on our way to appointments that cancel on us.
We have another set of missionaries in our ward. Which brings us up to FIVE sets in Harborne! And it's a set of sisters. Which could be super fun.
Stake conference was incredible. Elder Baxter four steps to increase the power of the gospel in our lives: Be happy. Be positive and supportive of one another. Be constant, be true. Serve others. But my favourite was from President Eyring: Full happiness is available to each one of us in the midst of our deepest trials.
My companion's coat was stolen from the chapel while we were in coordination meeting before Stake Conference. Someone found her nametag hanging up on a tree outside, and the coat was no where to be found. Which is horrible. Last night I prayed that she would get her coat back. She told me that was a weird thing to pray for. And then when we showed up to the chapel this morning to email.....guess what was folded up next to the front door???? Her returned coat! What a miracle!!!
Well, that's all for this week. But next week can only be better. Right? Right?? :)
If God be for us, who can be against us?
I love you! thank you for all your support and prayers. I need them, and I feel them.
Have a good week!
Monday, May 13, 2013
Okay. So the email's going to be a little short this week because....welll..... I talked to you for an hour yesterday! :) Oh that was so good. But hitting "end call" was almost as bad as walking away from you in the airport.
The members' whose house we were at were so prepared for how hard it would be afterwards....Amanda and Nathaniel had make us pancakes. So the Elders and my companion and I drowned our tears in pancakes. (British pancakes are delicious. They are thicker than a crepe, and then you just put filling in them. Like ice cream. Or lemon juice and sugar (which is my fave.))
And apparently both of the Elders chose to call their families to repentance. haha. Sorry I didn't know to do that! ;) so, family, I hope you are reading your scriptures daily and praying. Because I can't rebuke you for 7 months.
This week was incredible. Monday, I got a very unexpected call though. Usually a week before transfers, President calls and tells the trainers they will be training so they can go to a trainer meeting. All transfer long, my district leader has been telling me that I will train. And I've been in denial. But Monday night we visited a less active and saw that we had a missed call from President.
Almost immediately, I thought I would be sick, because I knew exactly why he had called. I was shaking so bad my companion had to be the one to call him back.
This transfer, I will be training. Which is humbling and scary and terrifying. I haven't even been on my mission for three months yet!!!!!! And I will be totally responsible for another person. I will be the senior companion, the one with experience who knows what to do. Training is the highest calling in the mission....you shape the entire mission experience of another person. Needless the say, my prayers and chocolate intake have both greatly increased this week. So, on Wednesday, I will go get my "baby" from the mission's office. I'm not supposed to really ask for this, but please pray a little extra for me this week.
And OT was baptised this week!!!!! It was the best feeling of my life. He was just so calm and quiet afterwards. And then after he was confirmed on Sunday, he just GLOWED. He goes back to Ghana in September, at which point he will baptise his wife. And maybe you thought I was joking yesterday, but I will seriously be in the Accra Ghana Temple with Sister Muller when he is sealed to his wife and daughters. Being a part of OT's conversion is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Seeing the gospel magnify his already vibrant testimony was a life changing feeling. If you are just thinking about serving a mission, GO. This weekend was the best weekend of my life, and it was because of the joy of another person.
I don't know what else to tell you. But I'll send you a few pics. :)
Exchange in Gloucester! Apparently we all color coordinated. haha. Sister Koons (blonde) and I came out at the same time. It was amazing to see how much we've both changed since we last really knew each other.
Christmas in May. Best box EVER. I have about ten thousand pics of me opening it, screaming in excitement, trying them all on, and playing with the box. haha. It was a MIRACLE.
Best day of my life. First day of OT's life as a member of Christ's Church.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
I think there is something wrong with all the clocks here. Each day feels so long, but each week goes SO quickly. Someone should check on that. Let England know something is up.
BUT. This week we have had such beautiful weather!! I mean, it's England, so it's rained and been really windy and cold at times, but then ten minutes later it's magical. So as long as I utilize my selective memory it's been perfect.
Today has seriously been the coolest Pday ever. It's warm and sunny, and we went to City Centre with the Elders this morning. (In case you were wondering why my email was soooo late.) We explored the Birmingham Museum of something or other. And it was so cool! And then we ate lunch on the steps outside near a fountain. Awesome, eh? And now Pday is nearly over, and I'm just barely beginning to email you! Ahh!!!!!
But this week has been a week of miracles. We taught OT a couple of times this week. One thing we were nervous about teaching was tithing. I mean, come on. It's hard for people to LITERALLY put their trust in the Lord and pay it. Right as we were about to teach it, I felt inspired to ask “OT, what do you know about the Law of Tithing?”
And guess what he said.
You'll never guess.
So I'll just tell you.
“I can tell you that I'd never be where I am now, except for the blessings that have come into my life for paying tithing.”
Remember how often Ammon fell down in the scriptures?
Yeah. I finally understood how that works.
OT PAYS TITHING. Whoa. And so we taught the lesson. And then he taught us. OT's work is paying for his master's degree, including housing and food allowance and travel expenses. He said it worked out to about £30000. And he paid tithing on his scholarship, and feels that empowered him for his schooling and being away from his family.
We taught him again, and the million dollar question came up. Why do I need to be rebaptized? I'm already living the way you say I should. I was already baptized.
So, we explained priesthood authority. For about the fourth time. Understanding the priesthood is so difficult for investigators, but if they come to understand it, everything becomes so cleaer.
I showed him Dad's line of authority card, and suddenly the room was so tense. I think I may have had a heart attack.
Then the member in our lesson said the most beautiful, wonderful thing that has ever been said. “OT, it's not just about the symbolism. If it had just been a symbol of being reborn in Christ, Christ would have had anyone baptize him. But He went to John the Baptist. Because to make the covenant, we can't just have a symbol. We must have the power to bind on earth and in heaven.”
And there was dead silence.
And my heart stopped beating.
And then OT said “I finish my finals on Friday. When can I be baptized after that?”
Again. Ammon moment of me nearly on the floor.
(What ALSO blew my mind. We were chatting after the lesson. And OT shared that he had been a deacon in his previous church!!!! But he said he never knew anyone who could trace their authority to act back to Christ, so he knew this was were he needed to be.)
And our other miracle this week. We stopped this lady named Jeannette on the street. She was super....evangelical. She let us set up an appointment with her, but we were nervous about what to say and how she'd receive our message.
And then we started to teach her. I have only felt the Spirit so strongly about three other times in my life. I'm pretty sure the room was either on fire or filled with angels. I've never felt so empowered by the Lord. When we talked about the restoration, she said “I've been waiting for my whole life. I've searched everywhere. I've known I was missing something. I've never known what it could be.” And I said: “Jeannette, I have been called and set apart to be a representative of Jesus Christ. And as His representative, I can promise you that THIS is what you've been waiting for. THIS is what has had you searching.”
She said that she had been waiting her whole life for someone to share what we had. When we gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon, she held it so gently and so reverently.
And then she came to church. She LOVED it. She feels her calling in life is that of an exhorter, so she loved how much teaching went on. She went to Relief Society and then Sunday School, and she was almost floating. And about three minutes into fast and testimony meeting, she heads up to the pulpit.
Again, cue my heart stopping.
Within about two sentences, she had the ENTIRE ward dead silent (And Harborne is like 220 active members, and lots of children. Silent never has happened before.) She bore her testimony that she had been hungering and thirsting her whole life, and for the first time, she felt filled. That she was totally overwhelmed by the love of God and the worship of the Savior that she felt. That she could not wait to become a part of it.
Again, cue the Ammon moment.
After my whole week of nearly falling on the floor, I can just say that I am EXACTLY where the Lord can best use me as a missionary. You cannot convince me that the missionary program of the church is uninspired. You cannot convince me that we are not lead by someone who again holds the true priesthood authority.
I hope you have an incredible week!
TALK TO YOU IN.... 6 days! :)
Oh. And the picture is my companion and I at City Centre today. :D