Well here is some pictures of quite an adventurous driving experience we had this week, we decided to knock some doors in a place called Cragneash, Cragneash is known for it's ancient-ness it is a village frozen in time to like the 1600s, it was intense, our sat nav was playing up a bit, and decided to take us off- roading, it was quite exciting!
Especially in a car, that is well, interesting to say the least. We got there safely in the end, included in those pictures is a picture of an island off the Isle of Man, it's called the Calf of Man and it is it's own little island.
Well, I thought this would be an interesting subject line this week, ("Elder Sapaden... gets patted down in the Sea Terminal?")
it recalls an experience I had when I first came to the Isle of Man, the Sea terminal is just like an Airport, we check- in our luggage, we get searched, do all the bothersome things like take off our belts, and put all the potentially harming things in a bag, and just anything... to keep the place secure, they have sniffer dogs to catch out the Drug dealers/ users and it's pretty tight. The Missionary badge has a lot of great privilages, people respect you somewhat and well it's great to have on! I've gotten free subway sandwiches and let into certain places without going through the bothersome things that most people would have to go through. Usually the people at the Sea terminal usually don't search through our luggage either, probably because of the power of the missionary Badge. Well this one time going through the Metal dector thing they don't usually ask you to take your shoes off, but I forgot I have steel toecapped shoes. I went through, the alarm went off and I got patted down and searched, it was quite a fun experience, I know it's just part of the fine print and just something that they have to do, but it was fun thinking "really... you don't trust the badge?" Although, I'm sure a criminals best disguise is a Mormon missionary.
Anyhow! My week has been Vastly amazing! Just success after success, this week we did it! We finally did it! 20 lessons a week! we also managed to keep the finding standard by setting up 16 appointments this week aswell... don't worry I'm not a number hungry missionary, where it is all about "winning" and "having more" than a fellow missionary might have. What it is all about is... what those numbers represent, we have been able to strengthen 20 different people, to help them grown close to Jesus Christ and his atonement, we have been able to help 16 more people receive that opportunity to grow , it is all about finding Joy in the Journey!
To show that people still answer their doors, we had a success this monday night, we were just knocking doors, on a road that my preivous companion and I had felt really good about, we were just working through that road, number 1, number 2, then number 3, I told Elder Sutton "I feel really good about this road" we knocked number 4 and what success came from it, a man just beaming with a great smile opened the door, he received us well, just let us enter after we had only said a few words "Hi, we are sharing a message about Jesus Christ." "Do you want to come in?" was his immediate reply! I love this work, it's all about finding the one, there are people being prepared everywhere, it just takes the faith, dilligence and patience required to endure and to eventually win the fight!
We have a great Chinese investigator (Jim is his english name) at the start we had many problems communicating with him because of the language barrier, but he is progressing, he has been taught about the Restoration, the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he has a desire to get baptised and is read to make that commitment, it's amazing what we gain when we just have the faith to continue what we started. I know a few Chinese words here and their from serving with a Chinese speaking missionary, it is my firm testimony and belief that even then 6 months ago when I was learning my little bit of Chinese, God was preparing me to be able to share the gospel in the Language to our investigator Jim, I know it is such a long way thinking but one of my favourite quotes is this"Coinsidence is when God wishes to remain anonimous" I know that God is a guide to our lives and we just have to rely on him.
A Principle that has just become so strong with my missionary work is "leave an area better than you found it" I love this principle! The Isle of Man is a great area, full of great people and one of the privilages as a missionary is to work with the less- active members in the area, also to strengthen the members in your assigned proselyting area, I love it! I love being able to help those in need, being a member of the Church does not mean that you are entitled to missionary help, everyone is, perhaps even especially those who struggle to continue after they have made their covenants at baptism. We have been able to do a lot of member- missionary work recently, and it is showing! I love members, here's an experience we had yesterday which highlighted this principle. It was fast and testimony sunday. Sometimes their can be awkward periods of silence, there are times where it is just good to feel the spirit and soak it all in, but there was an awkwardly long gap. A few minutes, then a sister who will always be one of my heroes got up, she struggles to walk, but with a slow and steady pace she got up and bore, her testimony.
I loved it, I felt the spirit so much, we often include things we are grateful for, things that hav built our faith in our testimonies, but some people include too much, such as what they had for lunch this week, but she just said what she knew to be true, it was a testimony. As she made her slow course back to her seat, she passed me and patted my shoulder with a little bit of a command, or perhaps I just felt that way, certain women behind me made a noise which suggested that this was a challenge for me to bear my testimony, I usually don't like sharing my testimony early on in a testimony meeting because I wait till the spirit builds up just enough till it pulls me out of my seat, but I accepted. I got up as soon as I felt the touch, I shared my testimony, the women behind me made some more noise to suggest that I had accepted the challenge and they were surprised. It became known as a game of "testimony tag" of course we didn't play it, it would be taking away from the sacredness of the experience and also take away, or perhaps diminish a persons agency, but it was Gods way of telling me "it is time." I am grateful for the Douglas ward because from that point on, testimonies just flowed, most of them with a little hint of missionary work, it was just what we needed, it was a great testimony meeting. I'm not a proud person, lifted up in vanity or on a high horse, at all but it is a strong belief of mine that missionaries need to be "legends" in the wards they serve in, who will be remembers decades from when they had served there, each sunday (gladly) God blesses us missionaries with that opportunity we just need to utilise it.
Well I think, I'm waffling on slightly, but... onward. Something I have loved doing on my mission is service! I love service (the physical kind, because as missionaries, I suppose we are constantly serving) I love gardening in particular, we did a great job with one of our members who also happens to be our land- lady, it was so fun!
Well, I think this e-mail is long enough... I love you all!
"Quocunque Jeceris Stabit"