Monday, June 15, 2015

Elder Withers and Elder Cook

So. I'm finally in my first area! I'm fluent in the language so that's good. I guess let's start with the beginning! 

The night before we left the MTC we were privileged to go to the Preston Temple the night before we left. Side note: I have a bunch of pictures I wanted to send on my camera, but there isn't a spot for the SD card on this computer. I have some pictures on my iPad that I'll send. Anywho, we finished our time at the MTC and packed that night! I went to bed after 12 sometime because of packing and just getting ready for bed, and we were to awake at 4:45 AM. That was an adventure.

Preston Temple and the Missionaries

We left the MTC on buses, and drove up to London. It was a solid bus drive. I want to say it was 4 hours long, but I don't quite remember. On the bus I sat next to Elder Chiwara, from Zimbabwe. I have some funny pictures of him as he's eating a Warhead, but I cant send them from my digital camera just yet. Bummer. Ironically, I wore my green tie on the day at the MTC. What else did I need for everyone to know that I was a greenie? :) I read parts of Alma 56, 57 and 58 I think. Thinking about the stripling warriors makes me want to be that kind of missionary; exactly obedient, and valiant for courage.  

So we get to the Mission home, and are welcomed by President and Sister Jordan. We all get our luggage from the bus, and head out. My little suitcase was missing, and they told me that somebody probably had grabbed it and took it ahead. I felt like I should check the bus one more time, but I decided to just leave it. So I went in, with my big blue suitcases, and then realized my little bag was there. Slightly nervous about losing that little bag (it had my basketball kicks in there. And what would I do without my electric salmon colored shoes?!) Long story short, one of the Assistants to the President (AP's) ran the bus down, and checked for my bag. And he found it! Sister Jordan welcomed us, and introduced us to some of the people serving in the Mission Home. We ate lunch, and then had a meeting upstairs where we got a binder, our prepaid cards, and some instruction. We also had a brief interview with President Jordan, so he could receive inspiration as to who our Trainers would be! We also walked up and down the streets trying to talk to people and place a Book of Mormon. let's just say it was fun talking to people, and that we got rejected a little bit.  

My trainer is named Elder Cook! He's from Heber City, UT. From a family of 6 kids (4 boys and two girls). He's number 5, and has a younger brother who's 10. He played football, baseball, and he's the District Leader too. So we met, and President Jordan gave us some more instruction. After a little bit, we left for the train station. We walked through the station, going down AND up steps, me carrying my big suitcase, my little one, and my shoulder bag hanging from the big bag. Elder Cook took one of my big bags. The walk to our flat was SO long. It took forever. And I was hungry. My arms were burning from pulling the suitcases. The flats/houses are smashed together. Many of them have brick faces, with a small front "garden" as they say here. Cars are parked on either side of the road, causing the drivers to weave as they drive down the street to dodge these obstacles. We had some pasta that night, I unpacked, and got ready for bed. The shower here is funky. It goes through cycles of hot, warm, cold, warm, and then hot water. So that makes showering fun.  
The first flat

On the street where Elder Withers lives

The next day, June 11, we had district meeting in the morning. I met Elder Green (Lehi, UT) and Elder Kalabanko (Ukraine) on the bus ride up to the church building in Luton. Oh! The area I'm serving in is called Hitchin. Sorry! Forgot to mention that. Anyways, after District meeting we ate at a buffet. Later that day, Elder Cook and I had a lesson with a man named Kevin! He's 21 and from New York. He's a muscular, kind, and humble man. We taught the Restoration of the Gospel, and he committed to a Baptismal date in July. The Spirit was definitely there as we spoke. I'm so grateful for the knowledge I have about Christ restoring His Church to the earth! God's plan for us is so perfect, and it's fun for me to be able to share that with others. 
So this is an iPad mission! It's such a great resource for teaching because of the videos, pictures, and other wonderful resources. 

on June 12, President Holland came to London to speak to our mission and the London South mission. He was very inspirational. He talked about how we are to be forever changed by our missions, and to NEVER fall away. If you could find him speaking somewhere online that'd be awesome! Because it was so good. I got to shake his hand too :) One thing that really stands out to me, is something he said in response to a question a young man asked. This boy/missionary/whoever asked "would you give your life for this gospel?" To which President Holland boldly responded, "I give my life for the gospel every day". It's so meaningful to think about giving my life for what I believe in, by truly giving all that I am and have to Christ each and every day that I live. 

We've had a couple dinner appointments, and a kind sister made us sandwiches for lunch after we helped them with some yardwork. 

All the chairs here are so short! Maybe I'm just tall, but I feel like everything has been shrunk here. Funny. 

Sometimes I pray to God, and I don't receive an answer right away. Sometimes it's easy to wonder if those prayers are really heard. I've realized that God sometimes tries our faith by allowing us to act on our own without that initial divine guidance. This is a test of faith - to see if I will carry on without that "on the spot answer" or personal confirmation. And as I have moved forward, trusting in God, those prayers are answered. It's beautiful :) We can also receive peace as we pray, without all our questions and desires being addressed right then and there. 

I realize I'm writing a lot... I've been journaling really well! I guess I'll close with a simple spiritual experience. Elder Cook and I were doing something called 12-week (it's just training for new missionaries like myself). And we were doing a role play (he was pretending to be an English person, and I was teaching him). As I was talking to him, I thought of an analogy that applied perfectly to the situation, that addressed the concern that he had (as a character in the role play). I felt the Spirit strongly as I spoke with him. After we finished the role play, he said that he saw it in my eyes. There was a visible change in me, and that I was confident.  

This is a very simple experience, but to me it was very powerful and was an answer to my prayers. I'm so grateful for a Heavenly Father that is so mindful of me, and that because of the Power of the Holy Ghost, I know that He lives. I KNOW that the Book of Mormon is true, and Joseph Smith was a prophet. And everyone in the whole world can know that same truth if they ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ. And if they do, and if they study the Book of Mormon, the honest seeker of truth will come to the same conclusion - It is true, and it is the work of God. What a wonderful world we live in :) My faith and reliance on the Lord has grown so much just in the short time I have been out. I am a representative of Jesus Christ, and I will continue to share his message of happiness for the rest of my life! Because of Him, families can be together forever. Which is great. Because I love ya, fam. 

I'll send some personal emails now! 

Some quotes/ things I have written in my journal that I liked:

"There are no instant Christians, but there are constant Christians"

"If the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong, trusting in happier days ahead" - Holland 

Have a fantastic week! 

Elder Withers 

Oh! Random funny story. In church on Sunday, a young child named George decided he'd take the crisps (chips for all you 'mericans out there) and crunch them in his hand and throw them on the ground. He also thought it'd be really fun to crawl over to me and chomp down on my shoe... He literally bit my nice Sunday shoes, and latched on to them with his little teeth. It left a mark. But it's okay, I needed to polish them anyways.  

Words they say here: "plaster" = band aid, candy floss = cotton candy, crockery = plates, they say "I'm going to the toilet" not bathroom, "Coach" = bus, "trousers" = pants, "pants" = underwear (don't want to mix those up), Lorry = truck, lift = elevator. Hope you enjoyed those.  


Hitchins, England chapel

Mission home chapel

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