Monday, March 13, 2017

Mini golf on preparation day!

This has been another great week. It went so fast. Last P day we bought a rubbish bin and a small mirror for shaving, and played mini golf so that was exciting. I'll send some nice pics. There are dinosaurs involved.

My companion
 We've been focusing on improving the quality of our street conversations. This past week Elder Nelson said "I think that we're thinking more than we're feeling." It was such an inspired comment. He's adjusting well to missionary life. His foot has been hurting him though (from the walking and runs in the morning. I think he needs better shoes). So we'll go to a Pediatrician on thursday. Today we'll play some b ball in the chapel after emailing so I'm excited for that. He's willing to "seat hop" as I like to call it (talking to someone on the bus, and after that convo/if they're not interested getting up and then talking to someone else. 

The Work
On Wednesday we went over to Brunel University. We met a guy that we've taught once. He seems like he has good potential. After we talked with him we continued talking with more students. When it was time to go, I said lets talk with one more person. We saw a girl on a perpendicular path to us, so we accelerate our pace to stop her where our path met hers. Her mom is Christian and her dad is Muslim. We had a nice first lesson with her about the Restoration and she felt good about it. She accepted the invitation to be baptized. We're hoping things go well this week, but not sure because we haven't heard from her recently. 

Allen T. Phillips came to our mission on Friday. He spoke about many things, but the most impactful was the two analogies to describe testimony. One of them is that testimony is a wall, composed of 'bricks' of the gospel such as the BoM, Temples, the Word of Wisdom, The Atonement, Service, etc. For people whose testimony is represented by these things, they're likely to crumble when 3-4 'bricks' are displaced through doubts, poor habits, or other reasons. 

Testimony could also be likened to a spider web. When spiders spin their web, they begin by solidifying a strong central line, then creating an 'x' with two other lines. Once this is done, they will weave in-between the main lines, thus creating their web. The Central line here represents Jesus Christ. If we make him the center of our testimony, knowledge, and experience, we will not fall. Referring to Helaman 5:12, as Christ is our foundation, we will never go astray. It's so easy to get carried away with the many wonderful things in the gospel. But everything ultimately points to Christ, and if he is our foundation stone, we will never fall. 

I'm happy, healthy, and focused. I go to bed so tired at nights, to be resurrected as the clock strikes 6:15am. Since my companion can't run, we go to a place near our flat and I run back and forth in a straight line to get my cardio in while he does some stationary work outs. I'm working on patience and love, wanting these to define me and the way I think about and treat others. I've been having wonderful experiences with the sacrament, and am enjoying what we're doing here. Life is good, the mission is great. Also, I got a haircut today. 

Thanks for your love and prayers! Have a great week

Elder Withers

Sunday, March 12, 2017

[SENT MARCH 6, 2017]
Alec and Elder Nelson

Hope you had a great week!

We had interviews with President Stevens this past week! It was wonderful to see him and Sister Stevens again. 

We tried by Brunel University for street contacting, and it seems like there's some good potential there. 

The Ward
We've been welcomed into the ward very well. We had a lunch appointment on Tuesday with the Szabos, dinner on Thursday with Kapansas, dinner with bishop on Friday, service with Bishop on Saturday in his garden, and dinner with the Muhongos on Saturday. 

Cool experience, we had lunch with the Szabo family and asked them for names of people they could invite over for FHE. They gave the name of 'Szabina', someone who actually shares a flat with them. They planned to invite her over. We left, and on the way out we bumped into Szabina, talked with her and set up an appointment! Pretty cool miracle. Sadly that appointment didn't happen either. But it's still a miracle in my eyes. 
Miracles going the long way
Last P-Day we did lots of cleaning. In the evening we went outside, just talking to people from 6-9pm. I twas super cold and rainy. At the end of the evening, we went down a back path to our house, then had a prompting that we should go back and go the longer way. We then bumped into a guy named Ryan who was into drugs, had a court case the next day, and "didn't think his life was worth living." There was a reason we bumped into him! Sadly, we haven't seen him yet, but we're still holding out hope.

Yesterday we went out to talk with people on the way to a potential investigator appointment. As we left the flat I had a prompting to go out the long way. I almost ignored it, but decided to go. We talked with a couple people that weren't interested. Then we came across a man that was hurrying buy. I asked him how he balances work and family life. He stopped from his rushing, and talked. He said he has 4 kids, a part time job only working fri-sun. At one point, he expressed "I'm struggling" and broke down in tears. His name is Adam. We bore testimony to him, and will be seeing him tomorrow. 

Yesterday there was a  wonderful broadcast to Northern Europe. L. Whitney Clayton, Linda S Reeves, Timothy J Dyches, and M. Russell Ballard all spoke. Sister Reeves spoke of how she made a list titled "Why I know", making daily notes of things that have bolstered her testimony. I began mine last night, and hope to keep that up each day. She also mentioned how a friend of hers studies general conference talks and underlines invitations, testimonies, and promised blessings of the church leaders so she can act on them. Something I'd like to try doing!

Elder Ballard began his talk speaking of Sequoya Trees near BYU. These live to be 1,000 years old, and grow to be very tall. One of them died and was subsequently cut down. The reason: The aquifier had been moved due to construction somewhere else, and the roots were cut off from the source of water. In the same way, "the very elect" can fall away if we cease to nourish our roots. He referred to his message as an epistle, like unto Paul the Apostle. Simple we need to Pray sincerely, fast faithfully, study and ponder scriptures, make the sabbath and the sacrament a delight, attend the temple, and reach out to the needy, poor and lonely both near by and across the world.

My feelings
Every night I go to bed exhausted. After we're in the flat by 9pm, we can go to bed any time between then and 10:30. We often go to bed early and it feels so good :) I think something I'm meant to learn in this area and with Elder Nelson is patience; with myself, with my companion, with the ward, with the work, with everything. It's my choice to be happy, and have a good attitude no matter what happens, and I'm determined to do so! 

I love my mission and I love the people here. The ward is wonderful, the people are great, and I know there are many prepared to receive the gospel here, and in every place in the world! We just need to open our mouths, follow the Spirit, and find them.

Love you all!
Elder Withers

P.S. We will go mini golfing later today, so I'm looking forward to that. Love ya!