Well, I'm in Stoke On Trent. If you couldn't tell by the subject line.
Let's rewind, shall we?
Runcorn is such a good place, this transfer has been hectic. We have
27- 30 new missionaries in the mission with only 2 going home. My
experience this past few days, can be summarised in the word "new"
New flat never has been lived in, new area practically untouched, new
keys to new flat, new phone doesn't even have a regular missionary
number, new address, new area book with no investigators at all not
even any former investigators and to top it all off. New missionary.
I've been called to "White- wash train" my new companion is Elder
Christiansen. He is from Lindon, Utah, he is fresh out of the MTC,
yesterday we taught his first lesson, gave his first Book of Mormon
away, we knocked his first door and met the Ward Mission Leader and
Bishop for the first time. This twist is, I know the area as well as
he does. Another interesting fact to point out is. That he is one of
the missionaries the new missionary policy has affected in America. He
is 18 and isn't going to be 19 for a long time.
A postive highlight we have experienced, is we have a very, very, very
nice missionary flat. 2 Bathrooms, 2 toilets, two showers, very nice
kitchen, new furniture. This morning we had breakfast which consisted
of tinned boiled vegetable and tinned lamb curry. It was so new our
cutlery was in plastic bags along with our new pans. New beds, new
pillows, new duvets. New.
I understand James Knight has served in Stoke. The great thing is I've
been comforted by the fact that Elder Christiansen and myself are
litterally starting from scratch. Indeed it was a scary thought to
receive a new address, where I have no clue to get their with my new
companion with both my luggage and his, in the middle of Manchester.
It seemed like one of those secret missions that starts off by opening
a mysterious brown envelope.
But I am Stoked, for Stoke. We were comfortable leading the mission in
probably almost every way from Runcorn, we taught more than anyone
else, we left the area with 3 investigators lined up for Baptism even
though we came in with nothing. I really don't like white washing but
it is my 3rd time I've white washed and am pretty accustomed to all
the stresses associated with it. It was funny to note that I've never
whitewashed with a new missionary or sort of opened a brand new area
with one either. We were always replacing previous missionaries
efforts. However, I suppose when we came into the Runcorn area, we
equally had nothing when we came in aswell.
Stoke reminds me of Bolton, we have a lot of people here, a lot of
different ethnic groups and a lot of interesting interactions, so far
this week I've been damned to hell by a fellow christian, had quite
interesting encounters with the opposition and knocked on a home with
guard dogs. Missionary Life, eh? Oh, and it feels like forever ago
since then, but last Saturday we had a Baptism.
Jess got Baptised, the Baptism was great, it was very hectic, because
we had a Blizzard in Runcorn, where it was a literal "white-out" we
had to shovel the snow for 2 hours before the Baptism and after 10
minutes of shovelling you are already tired, some people were stuck
and couldn't get out of the house it was so bad, but she got Baptised.
It was so frozen the Boiler in the Church broke so she got Baptised in
I sure love my mission!
Thursday, 28 March 2013
Monday, 18 March 2013
Just to reinforce my new e-mail policy I thought I would type it up:
ADJUSTED MISSIONARY E-MAIL POLICY: We received the following policy change from the Missionary Department: "Missionaries are to write to their families each week and are also authorized to communicate by email with friends, priesthood leaders, and new converts. Mission presidents should allow sufficient time on preparation day for missionaries to write emails and letters. While in the mission field, missionaries should receivce authorization from the mission president before entering into communication, including via email, with converts and others of the opposite gender within the mission boundaries"
Send me an e-mail. You know you want to. email@example.com
This week has been a great one, I felt happy today to sign in to my e-mail and discover a vast number of e-mails from friends. Keep them coming.
There really is no mercy here in Runcorn, it's a great feeling to be busy, but I'm pretty worn out my companion wasn't here with me from Tuesday - Saturday, I like to joke with him when he gets back always asking him "so, how was your holiday?" but it's nice to be away I suppose, I stay in Runcorn with the other missionary because he doesn't have his license yet. But, hey I'm not complaining I have the Car with me all the time and all we do here is teach and speak to scousers. I wouldn't trade it for a holiday to the Isle of Man.
We have a Baptism this Saturday, it is quite exciting, I love Baptising it is a good feeling knowing that as missionaries we are here to harvest. I don't fully agree with the "I'm a missionary sowing seeds" mentality, I don't know about you, but I'm here to Harvest.
This week we gave trainings to about 60- 70 missionaries, it was quite fun, we got a lot of explosions involved, mentos and coke, baloons and even a pre- easter egg hunt. I loved this week, I was on exchange with a former companion, Elder Lamb and we had a lot of fun. We had an investigator pass a Baptismal interview.
We went on two proper exchanges and even had time to work with two companionships of Sister missionaries aswell as tearing it up in Runcorn.
Here's the miracle off the week:
On Thursday I just felt that I needed to go help out the Sister Missionaries in a previous area that I had served in called Chester. However, I wasn't with my companion, I was on exchange, so we were on exchanges and we went to help other missionaries out, it was quite a weird situation, the spirit had told me I needed to be here in Chester but I didn't know why. Intially we visited a former investigator that I taught when I was in Chester, she was pretty good. The sister missionaries had asked us to give one of their other investigators a Priesthood Blessing, so we said we could help. This other investigator had pro -actively called the ward in the area about him receiving a Book of Mormon 6 months prior and had referred himself to the missionaries because he lost contact with the missionaries 6 months ago. We came by, the miracle was that the missionary I was with was the one that had given this particular investigator the Book of Mormon 6 months ago. We were in the right place, at the right time, I even brought the right person with me although we hadn't planned it. The same missionary that had given their investigator the Book of Mormon 6 months ago gave him a priesthood blessing this week, it was quite symbolic. Definately pay attention to those spiritual promptings it was a faith building experience for everyone.
Monday, 11 March 2013
Runcorn is a "four dimentional" experience, along with capturing my heart, might, mind and strength it seems to have leaked into my soul. Even my dreams are very much missionary investigator focused. We have taught 30 lessons this week and I have experienced the joy of sacrafice. How is love shown in missionary work? I would reply: Consecration, it is the only surrender which is also a victory. When we withhold nothing and give absolutely everything, we come back to the flat, tired, drained and when I hang up the phone and sit on our couch, most of my evenings are spend vegetating. I don't even want to think. It just builds my capacity the next day, just like growing muscles we need to destroy and tear and break down the muscle before we are able to grow again. I am absolutely coverted to this principle. After the couch, I have to get together enough strength to crawl into bed.
Something I also love is doing things for the right reasons, I do not teach to "lead the mission" or because of any other principles, it is really fun to see other missionaries think that, "if I work hard on my mission Heavenly Father will bless me with an attractive wife" that is completely the wrong reason to work. However once the lifestyle of hard work is performed, if it ever comes to an end, it is quite amusing to think, if the principle was true: what would my spouse look like? But it must not be the motivation.
This week we have travelled from Birkenhead, to Manchester to Liverpool to Chester, there really is no rest for the wicked. Perhaps if you remember our miracle investigator who shared her testimony last sunday. This week she asked me: "will you come back from London when I am Baptised?" to which I replied something around the lines of I will actually be here to witness it. The only thing preventing her at this curent time to be Baptised is her surgery on the 19th. She has medical issues. It was amusing that lesson with her, she taught us the Gospel of Jesus Christ, why repentance and Baptism are necessary, she is just so ready.
Well... here is a piece of quite exciting news, missionary policy has changed... anyone can e-mail me from now on (except recent converts of the opposite sex living in the mission boundaries) but absolutely everyone! Get this e-mail around! E-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm expecting 50 e-mails next week. That is faith, huh? It is snowing outside so I'm going to enjoy that!
Monday, 4 March 2013
It is once again that time of the week and I am catching a Tan, it is quite sunny here it's very strange for the northern part of England, what is even more weird is it hasn't rained since Transfers, about 2-3 weeks ago. I don't to spoil the wonderful luck we are facing but I hope it continues.
Yesterday was one of the best fast and testimony Sundays ever, since this transfer we are building up, we have just received two new ward missionaries and we have the whole ward on our side. One of our ward missionaries has better skills than some missionaries in the Zone. He has been dilligently stidying Preach my Gospel and has mastered many teaching skills, he asks great questions, follows-up on the last lesson we had, he shares personal experiences and bears and always shares his testimony, he invited other non - members to lessons, he helps find people for us to teach and he turned to our investigator and commited him boldly "will you read the Book of Mormon for 10 minutes a day? Will you try that?" after finding out that he had not read this week. The amazing thing is that this particular ward missionary has made this transformation since we have been here, when we took him fellowshipping for the first time, he had no clue of what to say. He is in his 60s and when he isn't with us (he is with us everyday, for a few hours) he is in the Library doing family history.
Yesterday, our two new ward missionaries and various other members we had asked to help us out in our weekly missionary work which was many individuals so many that I cannot put a number on it shared their experiences with missionary work that week, they shared their testimony on this work and they encouraged others to do so. What brought me to tears was when our investigator that we brought to Church, only her second time at Church, she got up and shared her own testimony, which included her own personal conversion and her testimony of missionary work and she is not even a member. We shared our testimonies about the wonder of missionary work and currently have the ward all fired up to serve.
This week we painted some fences for members, a nice green spray which I would argue 1/3 of it went on my clothes. We taught about 30 lessons this week and we had 10 of them with investigators with members helping us to do the teaching. Never has there been a time on my mission where I have been so involved with the members. We have had tea appointments everyday and all we have to do is call auxilliary leaders such as the relief society president or the elders quorum president and they will make all the necessary arrangements for fellowshippers for us. Part of me is convinced that this is Zion.
We have been quite busy aswell, travelling between Rhyl, Liverpool and Birkenhead (the wirral) this week. It is quite busy, this week I was asked was it hard serving in my home country? I would have to say no, the temptation to slacken off and to mess about is their, but you learn to give it no heed. It was quite frightening to see advertised £7 for Liverpool to London on a train, but I love this place too much to care.
Something I am proud of accomplishing this week is only doing 1800 miles this month. We usually do about 1900-2100 miles per month, I'm happy for our planning but a good reason is perhaps that there is only 28 days this past Febuary. We had a lot at Sacrament meeting, we have worked a lot with less- actives and many families came out this sacrament meeting we had 130+ in attendance. I love my mission.