FYI: This blog is being taken care of by Sister Martin's mom Sharon Martin - She is posting emails and pictures that I am sending to her each week.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Erika's a trainer now...

So I'm still in Telford......and I'm sitting next to my new companion who is 1 day out of the MTC! HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?! We had no sisters leave the mission this transfer, and had 10 new ones enter the mission field yesterday, so President Preston had a massive group of sisters to pick to be I've concluded that either Heavenly Father has a really good sense of humour, I have a lot of things to learn from this experience, or I must be actually be doing a semi-ok job out here. From past experiences, I'd say it's a healthy dose of all 3!

So I'm training Sister Riley. She's from Adelaide, Australia. She IS AMAZING!!!! We get along so incredibly! We are like the same person! She's 21 as well and ended up going on a mission in a similar way to me (had planned to just fly through school, get married one day, etc. and suddenly last summer had a crazy prompting to start preparing to serve a mission). She has the most wonderful attitude, an incredible testimony and knowledge of the scriptures, a great sense of humour, and seems to be ready to work really hard. Bonus: she's a girly girl like me! My last 2 companions haven't been into any of that kind of stuff at all and I've been CRAVING girl talk, and just doing girly things!!!! I have an incredible feeling about these next 12 weeks! This companionship is so right! We are going to see so many miracles together!! And there is no doubt that we are going to be amazing friends after our time together! We already are, and we have barely been together for a day!

So this means that there's a 99% chance that I'll be in Telford for another 3 months (they try not to switch trainers mid-training if they can help it). I love Telford, so that is perfectly fine for me. I was so nervous about transfers, because I've made incredibly friends in my zone and was sad at the thought of losing them. I kept some and I lost some. Sister Hansen is also staying in her area, and also training!!!!!!!!!! I'm thrilled to know that I'll still have her to talk with and go to for support. Sister M is our new sister training leader-- I wasn't terribly shocked by this (I had predicted that this was going to happen). This means she will be in a different zone (sad...won't get to see much of her), but the consolation is that I will probably get to go on exchange with her this transfer so I'm excited for that!!! She is going to change the lives of so many sisters out here! I'm glad that she has been given this new calling- she will do amazing!!

Highlights from the last while:
MIRACLES EVERYWHERE (I'm officially making that the motto for Telford area):

- Luke: we had an INCREDIBLE couple of lessons with Luke. He is young (24 years old), wants to believe in something, and has been searching for relief from the burdens of mental illness. We had a 2 hour lesson on the restoration with him. He had so many incredible questions. He is sincerely seeking for truth in his life, and relief from those burdens that he didn't know where to get help from to deal with them. He literally said to us that he could feel the power that we carried (the Holy Ghost) in his gut. He was nearly in tears. He asked to have a Book of Mormon and pamphlets to give to his mom. He asked to book a time to start his family history ASAP. He wanted another lesson ASAP. Our 2nd lesson on the plan of salvation was similar! He was so into it! He said his first prayer ever and it was the most humbling experience I've ever had on my mission. He finished his prayer and was grinning ear to ear. He said it felt so nice, and relieving, and was excited to continue to pray on his own and to also keep reading his Book of Mormon. I pray he will be baptized in the future!

- We got to teach her, her two kids, and her 3 nieces and nephews. It was so much fun!!!!! She is going to be back in town this week and plans to attend church! Highlight of our lesson with them: I pointed to our cut-out drawings that represented the 3 kingdoms. I asked the kids which place they wanted to go to. One of the girls answered: "this one (pointing to the Telestial Kingdom), because I love stars (this drawing had stars on it); they are pretty and are my favourite thing." I laughed so hard and responded: "Ok, well if we know that God and Jesus live here (pointing to the celestial kingdom) where would you want to live now?" Her response "Oh, I really want to live there." Then all her cousins and siblings started shouting "Me too, me too! I want to live with Jesus!" It was adorable!!!

Tea at Sister Bensons: We had a pizza night at Sister Benson's! It was so much fun!! She is very kind to us and has us over for tea at least once a week. Her daughters (one is less active and one is a non-member) both really like us (they are in their 20's) and are making progress in their faith as we teach them. Gemma (the younger daughter) has not been to church for ages and hasn't accepted missionary lessons, but we met with her on Saturday and had an amazing appointment with her. She said she'd be fine with us doing scripture studies and other lessons with her to help her build her faith. She is a wondeful girl, and I'm excited to see what changes will come with time!

Ok....brace yourselves for these next miracles:

After a veryyyyyy long appointment with Remek, which consisted of me firing 2 billion inspired questions at him for over 2 hours, we got to the root of all his concerns and resolved them all easily. He on his own requested to be baptized in 2 WEEKS!! So he will be getting baptized on Sept 14. We had a similar couple of appointments with Estella (our 19 year old investigator who is leaving for fashion design program at Cambridge in 3 weeks). Her mom was baptized in 2012. She took discussions but never got baptized. Her and I have really connected (we will definitely stay good friends, even after my mission is done). She is so genuine and caring and really desires to follow the Lord. She just had some concerns that were never discovered by previous missionaries (e.g. she had thought that the 116 pages that Martin Harris had lost were rewritten by Joseph Smith from memory and were in our BOM now). They were concerns that were the result of some learning gaps from the lessons she took back in 2012 (some things were not explained as clearly as they could of been). Once I realized her concerns, they were so easily resolved and she expressed the desire to be baptized before she leaves for she is set to be baptized on Sept 21!!!!!!!

For both of these appointments, I felt the spirit so strongly!! I was asking so many questions.....many of them seemed so random to me, but they lead to me discovering concerns that I would have never guessed these people would have had. I am realizing that Heavenly Father has blessed me to be able to feel the spirit extremely strongly.....I often pick up things that neither of my previous companions would, and get extremely strong promptings very frequently (from my observations, more frequently than others do). I am striving to expand on this be even more obedient to all the mission rules so that I can feel the spirit as strong as possible. It is the spirit that is converting these people. I LOVE the feeling when the spirit is so strong in my heart (to the point where I feel I'm going to burst) and I know that they are feeling it too!!!!! I aim to be able to be a vessel that can carry the spirit to all the people here! I want so badly to be so obedient! I desire to keep expanding my workload! To push harder and harder! I'm addicted to my mission! I love being a missionary!!! I never want this mission to end!! The thought of going home literally makes me cry sometimes (I promise I love you's just something about being a missionary...the love you feel is so much greater than anything else in this life- Christ-like love!)

Philippa Davies: she is the superrrrr old widow that we visit weekly. She is hilarious. There's another widow in our ward who visits Philippa sometimes. This sister is extremely negative, always griping and moaning about being a widow, about aches and pains, about how unfair the world is etc. So funny! Sister Grumpy Pants (don't worry mom, this sister doesn't use computers so no chance of her going on the internet to see this hahaha) called on Philippa in the middle of our appointment with her, and joined us. Every time Sister Grumpy pants made a negative, complaining comment (which is every 3 seconds), Philippa would literally roll her eyes at us, and literally tell this sister to "stuff it and stop ruining her day". I wish I could be old so I could be so blunt. It was HILARIOUS!!! I was dying laughing!!!!

Sleepover in Manchester:
I had the most amazing last 2 days!!! I had to be at the mission home for Train the Trainers meeting, so I got to go on exchange with Sister Hansen for the evening (Sisters Dargyte and M were paired up while we were gone). Sister Hansen and I had hours as we travelled to just talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. She is one of my best friends here, and it was the biggest blessing to have that time to share miracles, vent, and just talk. She is the most amazing sister, and will be an incredible trainer (she is SOOOOO patient and kind!!!!). I love her to bits and pieces. After our training, we went back to a sisters flat in Swinton, where 10 sisters were sleeping over!! Crowded!!!! BUT SO FUN!!!!! We played a really silly game where we had to write a time, name of person, an event, something they said etc. so that it made a story. Trick was that you would write a word, and then pass the paper on so we don't know what the others are writing. I was the target of many of them and some of the stories were hilarious!!!!! I forgot the papers at home, but I'll share one or two of them next week!!

I got to spend the whole night with Sister Hansen and Sister M! I made another INCREDIBLE friend that night- Sister Lyman. I had talked with her here and there before, but hadn't had much chance to spend time with her. She is SO FUN! We bonded over that sleepover!!! Sisters M, Hansen, Lyman, Eickhorst (from my MTC group...another good friend) and I all slept in one room and just talked and laughed for a solid couple hours! The rest of them fell asleep and then Sis M and I stayed up for another 1+ hr and talked away. I needed that after these last 3 weeks. Heavenly Father has blessed me with the BEST friends out here! These sisters are all incredible! Their testimonies inspire me, and their desire to be obedient and serve the Lord is amazing!

Random things I found weird or interesting this week:
- we saw a lady this morning walking her CAT......I've never seen such an unhappy looking cat in my life. Sister Riley asked me if that was normal in England......NOPE! haha
- we then later in the day saw 2 girls (probably in their 20's) walking through the cemetery by our flat, in footy pj's and bathrobes with pacifiers in their mouths. Sister Riley asked me (sarcastically this time) if that was normal in England....NOPE!
-Me accidentally dropping my hair elastic on Sis. M's bottom (she was lying on the floor as I was walking past) and her screaming and jumping because she thought "it was a butterfly or something" (she is scared of butterflies)...............
- the fact that I'm training! Where did the time go!!!! 
- playing minute to win it oreo game....faceoff between me and sis. m! The flat was so hot (body heat from 10 girls) that the chocolate got stuck to our foreheads....epic fail!!!!!!!!!!

ran out of time to write the rest of the silly things that happened this week....more on Monday :) 

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