Monday, July 29, 2013
This week, Tony read Mosiah 2. When we were trying to make him realize why it was important, my companion mentioned that it was King Benjamin's “dying words” to the people. And Tony goes: Why does he talk so much? If it was me, I would say “Keep silent..... I'm dying!!!!”
Bahaha. That has become the theme of our week. Keep silent, I'm dying!!
Yesterday was seriously one of the BEST days of my mission. SO many miracles! My heart hurts it's so happy.
Tony was having some issues with one of the commandments, and so I was fasting that he would make his date for next week. And to be honest, it wasn't looking too pretty. We stood in the foyer, waiting and waiting for him to come.
And he didn't.
Which is like the worst sensation ever.
And just when we were ready to give up, he came! And all through church he kept talking like he wasn't going to be baptised next week. Cue major stomach twisting. But, we had faith! Before we'd even talked to anyone about it, some man randomly started bearing his testimony in Elders' Quorum on exactly what Tony was questioning. And after church, he said “Okay, I'll see you Tuesday. We need to talk more before my baptism next Sunday.”
And.... resume normal breathing. It was SUCH a miracle. The power of fasting!
Next miracle. There's a family we've been working with for two months that I love to death. I may have mentioned them before. They are less-active, which breaks my heart because he's an RM and they were married in the temple. And they are just awesome. They have three kids—a little girl we are preparing for baptism, and two little autistic boys that are the sweetest boys I've ever met. Whenever we go over, Joey is watching out the window for us. And then he insists that he always says the opening prayer.... “Dear Heavenly Father. Thank you for making the ladies come back. In the name of Jesus, Amen.” So. Adorable!
They are having a hard time coming back to church, and they came yesterday!! We were sitting in Relief Society, and I saw them walking up to the chapel doors, and Joey threw them open and came running in like a madman and then froze looking around for us. It's probably one of my favourite moments of my mission. Just seeing him SO happy to be there (in his cute little bow tie!), and his whole family coming in is an image I'll never forget. This is why I am a missionary! To help people come unto Christ. To see them make and keep their covenants. That simple moment just validated my whole eighteen months. Really.
And the miracles just kept coming. There's a woman named Sujetha (she's the one in the arranged marriage we started teaching 4 months ago). She's harder to get a hold of than Waldo. Really. And yesterday we went to go see her. Until now, she's been hesitant and doesn't want to commit to anything other than reading the Book of Mormon and coming to church. BUT a huge miracle happened. They are in love! And she told us...they are pregnant!! :) :)
So yesterday we taught the Plan of Salvation and talked about the temple and eternal families. And we were going to extend the baptismal invitation for the umpteenth time. As soon as she learned about eternal families, she said..... ”when can I be baptised??” Oh it was beautiful! This wasn't even possible a month ago. I am still pinching myself. Because Sujetha will for REALS be baptised on the 18th of August.
(Which, I will probably miss. Transfers are next week. Which is ridiculously heartbreaking.)
And then Sujetha fed us the HOTTEST food that has EVER been known to man. My eyes were watering, my face was red, and I was sweating. I think swallowing fire would have been less painful. But hey. Anything for her making a covenant with her Heavenly Father! And she cured me of my cold.It burned it right out of me!
AND one last miracle. Steven came last night (he's flogged us like three times in a row because he knew he would have to quit smoking ,and he doesn't have the confidence he can.). He came like 20 minutes late, and we were on the verge of giving up on him. But then he came in! And he is going to quit smoking. Which is HUGE. I hadn't realized how hard it would be for him until we asked him to hand us his cigarettes. He couldn't let them go. I just held out my hand, and said “Steven, do you trust me?”
And then I waited an agonizing minute.
Just waited, with my hand held out.
He couldn't even look me in the eye. But he handed them over.
At the end of the lesson, he was given a priesthood blessing. And it was the sweetest thing ever. He was told that God had not forgotten him, and if he could quit smoking this week, God had greater happiness in store for him than he knew was possible. So this week, all my prayers will be including that he had the strength to make it through.
Because he has so much potential.
So we'll see. :) The rest of this week was really challenging. But I figure there were more than enough miracles yesterday to make up for it! God is so good!
Family, I love you more than I can express. I realize that more now than ever! Someday, I'll get the best hug ever from you! Until then, I'm going to be the best missionary I can be, so you can be blessed! I love you!!
I apologize for the uber long email. I am just SO stinking happy today. I couldn't be shorter.
"It warmed the cockles of my heart". OH MA GOODNESS. Cockles exist!
OT took us out to lunch to say goodbye on Saturday. And we talked loads about Ghana. I AM going there someday, just so you know. I love this man!!! He said that his favourite part of England has been meeting us and learning about the gospel. You can just see that the gospel has touched him so deeply. He is why I am in Harborne!
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
This is the driest July they've had in 250 years. Which is brilliant. I've been in heaven, not carrying around a raincoat all day for the past two weeks.
Again, sorry to begin with a weather report. It's all I know how to start convos with anymore! :)
This week went by so fast. I seriously can't figure out where the time went. It felt a little bit like I was just running into a wall all week...putting forth effort and getting no where! Agh. It was so frustrating. So bear with me today, people.
But, we went on exchange this week. I love it because the Sister Training Leaders are in our ward, and so we already know and love them, and kinda know each other's areas. Sister LeFevre and I had like the best day ever. Want to know what we did? Finding! All day! Surprise. And it was really fun. Which seems weird to say, but I'm coming to love days where all you do is find. (Don't tell President or he'll have me whitewash the rest of my mission.) But, then we had some appointments that night. New FAVOURITE food in the whole world: Greek moussaka. It was SO GOOD. Why I have never had it before??
And then we had a lesson with Paige, a 16 year old recent convert that I think I've mentioned before. She's adorable. We had planned to talk to her about preparing to serve a mission (hey, even if you don't go, prepare like you will.), but it was just scattered and weird and frustrating. And I was really disappointed, for some reason. I just really want Paige to know how precious of an experience it is, you know? And so I felt like I could have somehow done more for her. But her mum told me on Sunday that Paige told her she's going to start getting ready to serve a mission. Best. Feeling. Ever. I'm still smiling about it.
And Steven agreed to let us do the stop smoking programme with him this week. So, please pray for this man. He's an insomniac chain smoker. Which makes it difficult. But he wants to quit so badly! He's been so scarred and hurt in his life—he's the only living one left in his family, and he's gone through some horrid things. But, when you ask him what it is he wants, he says he wants a family, a job, and just to be happy with simple things. Did I tell you about how he prayed to know how to get peace and opened the BoM and read about baptism? He showed us the scripture this week: 3 Nephi 27:16. He said that he feels so empty, and he just wants to be filled and be happy. Which is what he's been promised! Dad, I wish you could meet him. I feel like you two would just 'get' each other, for some weird reason.
Oh, And I found out something really sad this week... I don't exist! We stopped a man who says that Christ is just an African tradition carried throughout the world, and you can see origins of the Bible from Africa. (I know. Where do all the crazies get this stuff??) Can I just say I love having another testament of Jesus Christ so they can confirm the truth of each other??? But then he said that Mormons don't exist, that they are a myth made up by the American government. Hahaha. Dang it! I was so bummed to discover I'm not real! Oh well.
In other news this week, we rewrote the Harry Potter Puppet Pals with the Gospel of Jesus Christ for a family we has a dinner appointment with this week. We knew they'd love it because they are really into Avengers/HP/Doctor Who/etc. I have never seen anyone so excited about a spiritual thought. And on Sunday, one of the kids was singing it as he went down the hall: Faith, faith gotta have faith! (In stead of Snape Snape Severus Snape. Admit it, it IS kinda catchy.)
And that's what it comes down to! Faith, faith, you gotta have faith! This morning, I read the talk by Elder Kopischke (Who is from Sister Muller's ward!). It was about being accepted of the Lord. That's honestly one of my biggest fears as a missionary, that my efforts are “good enough”. Which is embarrassing to admit in a mass email home. But what the heck!
BUT, according to D&C 97:8, all we need to do is have an honest and broken heart, a contrite spirit, and keep my covenants! It was such a beautiful peaceful realization. And I felt like I needed to share it in this email. So hopefully whoever needed that actually had patience to read to the end. haha.
Another random gospel discovery(it's not mine. But I LOVE it): Go to Moroni 7, verse 26. Read the fourth line, but instead of moving down to the fifth line, move ACROSS the margin: See what it says:
AND AS SURELY AS CHRIST LIVETH, BEAR TESTIMONY OF HIM.
And that's what we are to do!
So do it!
Have a wonderful week.
PS...The doctor's office called this morning to make an appointment. They asked if I was Miranda Miller. And I had NO idea what to say. Am I? It felt so weird to hear it put together like that. My companion had to holler “YES” from across the room. Haha.. Which is pretty embarassing. Emery probably knows her name better than I do right now. :)
Monday, July 15, 2013
This week has been so good.
The weather perfect, the investigators progressing, and things actually going according to plan. Miracles, right? :)
It seems a little too good to be true. But it's supposed to rain later this week, so England will be back on track!
I'm including a picture of my foot tan. It's pretty ugly, but it's proof that (one) you CAN tan in England and (two) the worst tan lines are missionary tan lines.
Steven is the bomb. We met with him, and ended up spending an entire hour just talking about baptism. It was intense. And totally by the Spirit. He's frightened by baptism, but he said that he realized that he NEEDS the Holy Ghost in his life if he's going to make the changes he needs to move on and be happy. Which is so true! And he said one of my favourite gospel truths ever. When we asked him why he thought we'd pushed reading the Book of Mormon so much, he said that it was because it was a road map of our potential. That if we studied it and applied it, it would help us become the best we could be.
Have you ever heard a better description of the Book of Mormon? I haven't. but it basically summarized everything I've tried to express about it.
So, basically, Steven is now preparing to be baptized. I am praying like crazy that it will happen before transfers (which it is scheduled to), because I'm pretty sure I'll be transferred out of Harborne. Which I am trying to not think about.
It surprises me how often I am trying not to bust up laughing in a lesson. I think I've shared a few with you, but this week was my favourite's. There's a member who asked us to teach her mother. Who is really old. And really deaf. And has a really short term memory. Sooo, we weren't really sure what to expect when we went teaching there.
So, we go to their house. And we start beginning to try to teach. I would say a sentence (and let's face it. Being loud has never been an issue for me. This lady could definitely hear me, no matter how deaf she was.) and then her daughter would turn and yell it into her mom's face, using her own words and basically changing everything I said. Then my companion would say a sentence, and the daughter would do the same thing.
At first, it was super annoying. I was like, she can hear us. And then I realized how utterly hilarious it was. How often is it that you can speak through an interpreter and you can tell the interpreter is saying nothing of what you said? I literally had to hide my face behind my scriptures because I could not contain my laughter any more. It was pretty bad.
"Doris, our role as missionaries is to help you develop a better relationship to Christ."
"MUM, THE LADIES SAY THEY ARE GOING TO TELL YOU ABOUT CHRIST'S GOSPEL, EVEN THOUGH I HAVE ALREADY TAUGHT YOU ALL ABOUT IT."
"God has always called a prophet to teach people about His gospel."
"MUM, THEY ARE GONNA TEACH YOU ABOUT THOMAS S MONSON. HIS WIFE JUST DIED BUT WE CAN LEARN LOTS FROM HIM. LET ME GO GET THE ENSIGN SO I CAN SHOW YOU A PICTURE."
It was great. I love being a missionary. :)
Another reason I love being a missionary: All the little tender mercies. Remember Jeannette? Pretty sure I told you about her. Because she was incredible. And then she went to jail. (which seems a bit like an oxymoron) Well, I've been periodically calling her for the past two months, because I figured it couldn't hurt. Saturday, I had the distinct impression that I needed to call her right THEN. so I did. I just about fell over when she actually picked up!
Apparently, she was in jail for six weeks waiting for her case to go to court and she was found not guilty. She had seen the missed calls from us, but didn't have credit on her phone to make calls. She said she was praying that we would call when she could actually pick up. And so I got to talk to her! I felt so blessed. It's so often that you grow to love an investigator and then they disappear and you don't know what happened to them. And now I know where she is, and can send missionaries. (Sadly, she didn't feel safe to live in Birmingham after what she'd been through.)
God is so good. Really. that is just reaffirmed to me day by day. Count your blessings!
ugly foot tan.
A penny farthing! I never actually thought I'd see one.
We got invited to a DA at a picnic. Which turned out to be a concert/festival for the Philipino Independence Day. A little bit awkward as a missionary. I never thought I'd celebrate the Philipino Independence Day... in England. But I now know Philipino food is actually pretty good! :)
Monday, July 8, 2013
If you've been watching the weather, England has been HOT this week. And it's funny. They complain about the heat as much as they do about the rain.
Oh well. It makes for a good conversation starter. :)
As does Wimbledon. For the past two weeks, any time we've been in someone's home they've given us the Wimbledon update. Apparently there's been loads of upsets and such. I pretty much just nod and say “wow” when it seems appropriate. My favourite though is how the all the windows for all the shops have tennis balls or rackets or something that tie in with their normal décor.
Painful moment this week: we had about twenty minutes before we had a lesson with a less active family, and we hadn't had dinner yet. So we bought fish and chips and enjoyed them. Of course, we were stuffed afterwards.
We get to the family's house, and the mum apparently had decided that we had a dinner appointment with her. She brought us loads of appetizers, and then darka (I'm not sure how you spell it. It's a really heavy Indian dish.). By the time I got through that, I thought I would die. And then she carried out bananas and ice cream for dessert. By the time we left' we were in SO MUCH PAIN! I've never eaten so much in my life. Horrible. Good thing we were bussing that day....biking would NOT have been pretty! Haha.
We met with Tony a few more times this week. This kid is incredible. I don't remember what all I told you before, but he's a Chinese Uni student. Funny stoy: when we talked to him about the Sacrament, he said “oh! I wondered what that was. I thought maybe everyone got hungry by then so we got a little snack of bread and water. I wondered why you took so little.” hahahaha.
When we asked what made him believe in God, he said he was confident that God loved him because of all the little blessings he had—finding friends, getting in the program he wanted, and being able to bless his family. He said he could feel that God just wants us to be happy. What a sweet testimony! And his prayers are so precious and personal they almost break your heart. He has such simple faith, and full confidence in God. When we taught him the Plan of Salvation, he said that he knew that was the happiest future he could imagine, but he wanted to make sure he'd be with his family in the celestial kingdom. :) Of course! How else could we achieve full happiness?
And I love that. Full happiness is living with God and our families. There is nothing else worth working towards in this world.
We had a few lessons this week where I was simply trying to not to break into laughter. When we were talking about the Great Apostasy, one investigator told us he knew that happened. How, you ask? Because they started mummifying people and cutting off their heads and burying them in pyramids. So he knew that the Church had to come fix everything and teach then about what the resurrection actually meant, and that's why we just bury people now.
Oh boy. Someone fell asleep a little too much in history class.
Also, having a companion around at all times is interesting. We were reading Pres Monson's talk about obedience to a less-active, and when it said that he left Danny in the field and ran to get matches, my first thought was Oh no! He left his companion. Haha. And then we had a guy on the street say “Are you ALWAYS together? I see you all the time,” And it was shocking to me to go Oh yeah, we are!
But it's all good! :)
Life is just so wonderful. And I'm so grateful that I get to have the gospel, AND share it with others.
Chin up, buttercup!
Fourth of July picnic! A little different than normal, but it was probably my favourite 4th of July celebration I've ever had. For dinner, we had tacos, onion rings, and ice cream. (hey, it's as close to America as we could find in the store.)
And when we got home for the night, we lit mini sparklers (which are hopefully legal.) and quietly sang The Star Spangled Banner. It was just so personal and precious. I loved it.
And then a random bus pic.
Monday, July 1, 2013
I hope you have all had a great week. This email will be a little short.
So far on my mission, it feels like every other week has been either incredible or the refiner's fire. This week was a little bit of both.
Missionary work wise, it's been incredible.
Me wise, it's been a bit harder. I've been experiencing excruciating back pain for some reason. So I've been wearing a little bit of a grumpy face. haha. A little ironic to be talking about having a happy message when you are wincing in pain and just trying to stand up straight. But, I'm now armed with a hot water pack, biofreeze, icyhot, hot packs, ice packs, neuroprofen, paracetamol, and a comp who gives awesome back massages. So it's all good.
And it's been absolutely brilliant to see how I can feel the Lord helping me. The second I'm truly talking to one of His children, I can forget about the pain and focus on being a missionary. He's been so good to me.
Anyway. Enough of sounding like a broken old lady.
We met this guy named Tony. We were trying to hurry home, but decided to stop this one last person. And he's incredible! He's only been here a week. He met with the missionaries before, but didn't understand enough English to get what they were talking about. We taught him the next day, and he accepted the baptismal invitation, and then when he said the closing prayer, he thanked God for his upcoming "xing li" (I think that's how it's spelled. Chinese for baptism), and asked God to help him keep all the rules. I love this kid! he came to church, and loved it. We teach him tomorrow. I'm super stoked.
Uber funny though. When we asked him if he would be baptized on the 28 of July, he said it was too soon. "Well, how about August 4?" "Okay, that sounds good." haha. Those extra seven days....
Steven is doing well. We read Alma 36 and talked about Alma the Younger. He got really quiet. I want to know what's going on in his mind. Just tell me, dash it all!
Ech. The problems of agency. ;)
ALSO. Guess what I ate this week?
Yep. you did not misread that. It is TRUTH!
We went to Hawatu's house, and she fixed us the spiciest meal I had ever eaten. Like, eyes watering, face red, nose running, breathing fire kind of burning. It was super good... just hot enough to singe my soul a little. (Is it a gift of the Spirit to suddenly be able to handle hot food? Because I could not have eaten that six months ago.)
And she's so sweet that when she asked if we liked it I said yes. Which was mostly true.
I asked how she fixed the chicken, and she said she marinated it in Tabasco and then covered it in spices. WHOA. No wonder there was such a good burn! I tried washing the chicken down with the rice. And discovered the rice was even spicier.
But I was a good little missionary and cleaned my plate.
And then she ate her chicken bones.
So like a good little missionary, I ate chicken bones.
It was surprisingly not the worst thing I've eaten.
It's the start of a brand new month! Which means you only have a few weeks to do your HT and VT. ;) Go forth! Seriously. go!
Love you all!
Last PDay, we put on war paint and ran around in the woods, playing hide n Seek with pictures (taking creeper pics of each other. Let's just say this is a difficult game when you have to be within sight and sound of your comp. haha.). Weird, but it was the best.
Would you buy your drugs from here?? I'm pretty sure their selection is a little bit sketchier than most pharmacies. The Shire. bahaha.
My current favourite house. You may have noticed my favourite changes a lot. :)