Wednesday, 24 July 2013
Erika is staying in Telford for at least another 6 weeks
Random bits of news:
1st : I'M STAYING!! Sister Shchur and I both will be in Telford for the next transfer! I'm so glad for this. I'm getting really attached to this area- the members are wonderful...I'm actually starting to remember who everyone is.....and our teaching pool is growing fast!!!!!! I'll tell you more about that later! I'm so ready to work hard and watch the work explode over these next 6 weeks!
2nd: THE BABY IS BORN!!!!! To be honest, I could really care less about it, but having the royal baby being born has actually been awesome for missionary work. Every time I'm on the bus or the street, I just ask people if they have any news on whether the baby has been born/ if he has a name yet, and they start talking non-stop! Fantastic for this missionary! I love it! I've given away a billion mormon.org cards from conversations that I started courtesy of Prince No-name!
3rd: ELDER HOLLAND AND ELDER NELSON ARE COMING AND SPEAKING TO OUR MISSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In a few days, the first ever church pageant happening outside of the USA is happening in Chorley (at the temple that is in my mission). Our mission is so privileged to have these apostles come and speak to us for a 2-hour mission conference. None of the other England missions are getting this...just us! I feel so blessed to be here at this time! I'm so excited for the pageant as well. We are taking an entire less active family, their non-member friend and our investigator Remek. It will be amazing!
Anyways, there ends my random bits of news.
So this week has been hard.....like really, really hard. Lots of tears and frustration! I pretty much spent 99% of my week on my knees, praying my face off to Heavenly Father. Prayer works!
I decided in the midst of all of this frustration that I would focus on something I learned from a talk by Elder Bednar, called The True Character of Christ. It talks all about how Jesus Christ always looked outwards (not worrying about himself, but caring and serving for others) during his times of greatest trial and pain. Read it! It's an incredible talk. We watched this talk in the MTC and it stuck with me! I decided to do just that! Look outwards instead of inwards! I decided to focus all my energy on our investigators and members, and stop sulking about my own issues. I decided to increase the time I spent praying and studying the scriptures. The miracles we saw this week were absolutely incredible!!
The resulting miracles:
1. REMEK IS GETTING BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!! SKGJAJFAOGHAHEHSJGAEKHGFWH!!!!!!!!! Remek will be getting baptized on August 17th! And I'm staying in Telford, so I'll get to be there for it! He is so prepared for the gospel, it is absolutely ridiculous!!!!!! We also found a Polish fellowshipper (Bartosz) for Remek! He is a less-active member in the ward of our neighbouring area (Wrekin ward). This is also a blessing for the Elders in Bartosz' ward, because this is already proving to be a help in re-activating Bartosz as well! Bartosz and Remek got along amazingly!!! Bartosz was able to help us teach the law of chastity and word of wisdom (we had no Polish pamphlets for these lessons, so getting Bartosz to help translate was a miracle!) Remek has been living these commandments already for the last 4 years- because of a bad experience he had in the past that motivated him to clean up his life!
And I repeat..... SO PREPARED FOR THE GOSPEL!!!!!!!! We just love Remek! We always leave his home grinning ear-to-ear! He trusts and loves us so much! We see him 3-4 times a week, and our lessons are always fabulous and so spiritual! Bartosz told us that we don't have to worry that Remek is not understanding...Bartosz said Remek's prayer was so beautiful, and that he has the most incredible testimony! Bartosz was very touched by Remek, and the things Remek shared during that lesson!!
2. We found 3 new investigators this week! 3! In an English mission, 3 is equivalent to like 200!!
Adolf and Jose: We met Adolf while tracting a few weeks back! He is from East Timor! He was so thrilled that we got an Indonesian Book of Mormon with him! Because of the missionary rule where we cannot teach a man without having at least 2 other men, or 1 woman with us, a huge door opened up for us. I called Adolf and told him about our rule and asked if he had any friends that could join us! Turns out he lives with like 7 other young men- all from East Timor. 3 of them joined us for the lesson, and they all asked to get Indonesian BOM's too!! 2 had to leave early in our lesson because of work, but Adolf and his friend Jose stayed for the whole lesson! We taught the restoration. The spirit was insane! Adolf and his friend both declared that they believed our message was true and that they believed in the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith! Adolf was almost in tears. They were so grateful to know we still have prophets. They wanted us to teach them about the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation right then and there, but we had to go to another appointment! Their faith is unbelievable!!! I can't wait to see the miracles that will happen in this household of faithful, prepared young men!
We also found Tanwaa tracting in the first week of our mission. We decided to try her home again and success! We taught her the restoration and she too, felt it made complete sense. She is an incredibly intelligent woman, who has worked incredibly hard to move her 2 young children to England from Nigeria. She is almost finished her diploma in human nutrition, and has fought so hard through trials to give her kids a good life. She expressed her frustration in her years of never-ending trials, but told us that she always prays to God no matter what. She knows that God sometimes makes his most faithful children wait for relief, because they will become stronger from their experiences. She trusts that one day God will take care of her, and strives to live her life in a way that would not anger him. SO PREPARED (I think that will be my new motto for the Telford area!) She is eager to study the Book of Mormon! We are seeing her again in a few days.
4. We also have another progressing investigator now........ I'll be honest...he is actually super creepy....like potential axe-murderer kind of creepy! We are bringing our elders with us to our next lesson with him, and likely will be passing him on to them to teach in the future, but progress is still progress ha ha! We taught him the restoration and are meeting him tonight to teach the plan of salvation! It's so incredible to see our whitewashing finally begin to pay off!
5. We had to go into Manchester for new missionary training last week. Sis S and I had done a language study on the train and then she fell asleep. It was a long train ride (2.5 hours) and I decided I might as well talk to someone and make the most of my time. I noticed that the man across the aisle from me had a Canada/Union Jack pin on his suit jacket. I asked him about it, as I showed him the back of my missionary tag- which had a Canada sticker that I had received from my mom in the mail, literally 2 seconds before I ran out the door to catch the train. He nearly wet his pants; he was so excited to meet a Canadian. Turns out he's never been to Canada, but his dad was born there and he's always been fascinated with our country. Neil and I had a 2 hour conversation on the train. The 1st 45 mins was just us talking about our lives. I then got to teach him the entire restoration on the train! We had the most incredible discussion! So many great questions! He loved the message I shared and wanted to learn more! My companion was so confused as she woke up right at the end of the lesson haha! I gave him a BOM and he gave me all his contact info- address, post code, phone number.......that NEVER happens on the mission....you are usually lucky if you can get a phone number from someone (and that it isn't a fake phone number!). Now the sisters in Manchester have a new investigator! MIRACLES!
More random bits from my week:
1. I get to teach RS again soon! The presidency told me that they're going to ask our mission president if they can call me to be a teacher (apparently it has happened in the past, where missionaries are given ward callings when there is a desperate need for extra bodies to help!). We'll see what happens there! Anyone who knows me well knows that I LOVE teaching RS, and would happily do that for the rest of my church life if I could!
2. Sis S and I hit a whole new level of pathetic this week! Our food situation got pretty desperate by the end of this week, and we were sick of eating toast and potatoes for every meal. We had oatmeal for dinner last night, and suddenly I saw Sis S putting cornflakes into her oatmeal. Yes, we were that desperate for some flavour. Well.....I joined right in. Cornflakes + milk + oatmeal + sugar! Meal of a champion missionary right there! Luckily we finally have some tea appointments this week, so we should not starve this week :)
3. Did you know that people sneeze in different languages!!! I had to sneeze really bad the other night, but couldn't. Sis S looked at my distorted face and proceeded to say "ahhpchi??". I proceeded to ask her what on earth she just said. I thought it was some random Russian word. Turns out, she was asking if I needed to sneeze. They say "ahhh-ppchi" in Russia when they imitate a sneeze...not "achoo". WHAT ON EARTH! Well this tired, exhausted missionary found this hilarious for some reason and before you knew it, we were rolling on the ground laughing. I love our language bloopers we have here! To prove that I was right and she was wrong. I made our entire district during a conference call do an impersonation of a sneeze. They were all American, so Sis Shchur lost this battle! Sneezes go ACHOOO. Not aaaahpchi! :)
Anyways, that is it for this week. I love you all dearly! While I was praying my face off this week, I of course was praying for you! I love telling everyone about home! I love being here though too!! Miracles are happening in Telford, and I can't wait to tell you more about them next week! Thank you for the emails! It makes me week so much better!!!!!
Lots of love,
Erika has been having issues getting the photos off of her camera and hasn't had time to deal with getting a flash drive. She keeps promising to do it, but in the meantime here are a few picture that other missionaries have taken:
Sister Shchur and Sister Martin at boxing medal ceremony
(see Erika's blog post dated June 24th)
The District again...
Sister Martin and Sister Shchur
Sister Martin, Sister Shchur and Sister Telefoni (Sister Shchur's previous companion)