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.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Helen Keller, Harry Potter, how to crumpit a crumpit and hilarious memories to last a lifetime

Hands down one of the funniest weeks of my entire mission! I spent half of my week stranded in Manchester because of the storms and the other half of the week sick in bed, so you know that some good stories has to come from such a crazy week!

The windstorm in Manchester...

The only part of the fence left standing is the gate!

 Elder Johnson after we were walking out in the storms
Commonwealth Sandwich:
Sister Burridge, Sister Martin, Sister McD
We had to be in Manchester for new missionary training and the sister training leaders who we stayed with kept saying they had a surprise for me when I got to Manchester. The surprise! My crazy, fun-loving Aussie- Sister Burridge! They were exchanging and had her stick around long enough for me to be able to say hello before she headed back to her area! I finally got my dream picture: COMMONWEALTH SANDWICH!!! Candian in the middle, sandwiched between a Brit and an Aussie!!! I got some new stickers this week as well and now also have a missionary name badge to match. Union Jack on the left. Australian flag on the right. Canada flag in the middle to represent my "babies" (sisters I've trained) in the mission! I love my commonwealth sisters!!

Awkward Autocorrects:
Considering that we have mobile phones that I'm convinced are as old as Fred Flintstone, I didn't think it was possible to have autocorrect fails on my mission. WRONG! My fav autocorrects of the week:

That awkward moment when:
- Your phone autocorrects "Hi Sister Brack!" to "Hi Sister Crack!"
- Your phone autocorrects "Brother Race" to "Rabi Race".

Old Nokia brick phone, you never cease to take my breath away (no....seriously....laughing that much makes your lungs hurt.. a LOT!).

My Cheeky Moment of the Week:
Was texting one of our YSA that we are teaching a mission prep class to. I was texting to confirm a time to come around for an appointment. Her lovingly sarcastic response: "What if I don't want you to come over?".

My cut-throat, even more loving/sarcastic sucker-punch response back: "Then we will come over anyways AND eat all your food as well (thus fulfilling our true missionary purpose!).

And THAT is missionary work in a nutshell!! Aft

er I had sent the text, it had reminded me of something Sister Riley told me once. She was teaching primary and they were talking about missionary work. She asked the kids what missionaries do. One little boy's response: "They come to your house and eat all your food!". Out of the mouth of babes as they say! ;)

We ate REAL meat this week! I love my mum! She should be translated and go to heaven this week for sending us real food! How to get missionaries to freak out and dance around like fools 101: Just send them a whole roast chicken!

I have been eating dodgy/cheap meat for 8.5 months! I can testify now that you appreciate the small things in life when you serve as a missionary! Tender mercies CAN come in the form of poultry! Amen!

Teenaged Boy Voice Cracking!:
That right there could pretty much sum up my week! I have been way sick for 4 days and have had the funniest voice on planet earth! Voice cracking up is an understatement! We made an interesting discovery the other day with my lovely new voice. Sore throats are the best for making epic chicken clucking!!

Why on earth would we be making clucking noises?! Duh! We received a chicken from my mother! *Refer back to How to get missionaries to freak out and dance around like fools 101* if you find yourself confused ;) Of COURSE we had to accompany/welcome our beautiful chicken to our happy home with happy chicken dancing! It is now official that female voice cracks are the equivalent to chicken noises!

My Awkward Harry Potter Fail of the Week:
So a few weeks back I told you how we spiced up our Harry Potter cupboard by placing a sign on it: "The Boy Who Lived". While we were sick and bored in the flat, we decided that we wanted to improve on the cupboard. Sister McD drew a picture of Harry so that his head is peaking out of the cupboard. We were trying to come up with a catchphrase that we could have him saying (old school talk bubbles anyone?!).

My brilliant moment of incredible intelligence:
"OH OH OH! We could have it saying 'Accio Wand!'". Sis. McD gave me a puzzled look as I pondered on the rubbish that had just come out of my mouth. That makes NO sense! How could Harry summon his wand if he doesn't have a wand to do the magic with! NERD FAIL!

We decided quickly that my idea was absolutely stupid and have now settled with "Accio Book of Mormon" instead. Much more intelligent....and not dorky at all ;) .

Speaking of Harry Potter:
We were in the train station on Tuesday and had an argument to settle. The elders have been having people tell them that parts of Harry Potter have been filmed in our train station in Carlisle. I was skeptical of this. I am a Harry Potter nerd and no part of our train station looks familiar to me! Plus, people like to poke fun at American people at times. I could picture some people hearing our elders super thick American accents and decided to lead them on with a bunch of pop culture rubbish. We have been arguing about this for 4 weeks! Our new (very) American elder finally decided to settle it. Out of nowhere he ran up to a staff member at the station and in the thickest American accents possible: "Excuse me sirrrr! But was Harrrrrry Potterrrrr filmed in this trrrrain station?!".

Now I have to illustrate for my N. American friends who have never lived in England. Back home, our accent sounds fine. However, the second you move to England and hear your accent next to English accents, everything you say suddenly sounds like you are permanently talking with your nose plugged. We were all in fits of tears as the man gave this elder the most ridiculous look and shut him down with a simple "nope" and walked away. So awkward but so funny!.

Politically Incorrect Hilarity of the Week:
We were at our international food night on Saturday (which went amazingly!!!!!!). We were wearing the £0.25 England flag cowboy and jester hats that I have been raving about since I bought them! Bless her heart, Sis McD's hat was a little too big for her and kept covering her eyes. She was talking to a sister in the branch and the hat kept sliding down and blocking her vision. The sister's bold and hilarious remark:

"Aye! That hat keeps covering your blooming eyes. You already can't hear! Now you can't see! How are you going to be able to do anything Helen Keller!?".

I'm glad I was raised on sarcasm or that comment would have been sooo offensive. Luckily my companion was as well. We were both in fits laughing. I love the humour here! No boundaries and the humour is drier than the Sahara!

 Elder Kissell making "American food" (hot dogs!)

Canada or France?!
I got a letter in the post this week (miracles happen!) and Sis McD was staring at the envelope in amazement (which I found very strange and told her so). Explaining her amazement she exclaimed: "Woah! You got a letter from France?!?!........oh wait....right...never mind...Canada!".

Typical Canadian moment! She saw all the Canada post markings etc, which of course are bilingual (shout out to my English AND my Quebecois peoples!), instantly saw the French and thought I got a letter from France. Hilarious moment! I got to tell her how in Canada we all can speak cereal box French (lets be real here: any true Canadian grew up eating breakfast while reading the French half of the cereal box for entertainment!) because of our mandatory bilingual marking on all our products.

My Dumbest Comment of the Week:
Lets Set The Scene:
Me running around. We have to leave the flat in 30 seconds. I haven't eaten yet. Essentially, another day in missionary life. I pick up a crumpet and don't know what to do with it. My brilliant cry for help to my English companion?: "Ahhhhhh! Help! I have 30 seconds to eat and I don't know how to crumpet this crumpet!".

Enough said. I am a fool......Oh well. I'll just embracing it I guess! ;)

Speaking of Chickens Again:
Hilarious moment for me. Sis. McD was moving our eggs from the carton to the egg holders in the fridge. As she picked up an egg there was a giant feather attached to the bottom of it. It completely freaked her out and surprised her and she screamed out (in almost a high pitched, squawking chicken voice) "Ohhhhhhhhhhhh IT'S A CHICKEN!".

Funny for me! Not so much for her (she was slightly traumatized!).

Cheesiest Valentine's Line of the Week:
YSA to me: "We missed you like the Bible missed the Book of Mormon during the great apostasy!".

Meanest/Funniest Sarcastic Quip of the Week:
The elders and our branch president came over to give me a blessing. Upon hearing my messed up, non-functioning voice, our branch president's words of comfort to me: "Woohoo! You lost your voice! This is a huge blessing to the break! We get a break!".

Once again! England. Humour. Dry like Sahara! But I have to give him credit, anyone who knows me knows that I never shut up. Lets be honest! It's true! Embrace it!!

I Ate Borsh This Week. I am now happy. The End.

Strangest Quote of the Week:
Sister McD was looking at her poor, beat-up feet from the miles of walking we do each day in the bus-less, massive area. She sadly cries out:

"Oh my feet make me want to throw up! ARGHH! I just need fish to eat my feed!"

Translation for men who don't know about pedicures:

"All this walking is making my feet look gross. Cracking/dry skin everywhere. I need a fancy, super posh pedicure to make them all better"

Russian Moment of the Week:
We have a new Russian elder in the mission. Bless him, he is struggling with the English (I don't blame him, having ESL companions has made me realize that English is the dumbest/most confusing language ever). At the new missionary training, the assistants to the president asked the whole group what they expected to learn/gain from the meeting. They PROMISED that all these expectations would be covered in the meeting. One by one the missionaries said typical things ("I want to be better at bus contacting" "I want to learn how to better work with members" etc etc). Then we get to Elder Russia. His answer (with a stern, serious Russian face): "ABRAHAM.....I want to learn about ABRAHAMIC COVENANT".

I guarantee that the AP's have NEVER had that one come up before. But they promised. They looked completely flabbergasted. They clearly had no idea how they were going to incorporate that into the meeting. But they managed to in the end. They taught a small workshop on how to have more effect personal study. They then told us that we would apply what we just learned by studying Genesis 17 as a group! Clever! And Hilarious!

The best part was the next morning! We were at the sisters flat (we got stuck in Manchester an extra day because of the bad storms...trains all got shut down) studying in the morning. Obviously the night before we had told them all about this funny moment. One of the sisters whispered for my attention. I look up and she is holding up a giant ensign article, with a huge time-line on it. The title? "ABRAHAMIC COVENANT". She just simply whispers to me: "They could have used this yesterday!". That was enough for me to be in fits of laughter! I love missionary life!!

My Favourite Moment of The Week: My Friend From Alaska!

One of the sister's that we stayed with in Manchest is a really good friend of mine. She is from Ukraine and has a very unique accent. The elders, the sisters and ourselves were all at McD's for dinner and our super green and super American elder in Carlisle suddenly came running up to me in the line as I was ordering my food and asks "Where is your friend from?!?!?!".
He couldn't figure out where she was from and her accent was driving him mad with confusion! It took me all of 2 seconds to confidently reply "America". He was so frustrated with me and ran back to the table with the others. No joke, we managed to convince him she was American. We had him going for over an hour. The sisters left for a meeting and afterward we all started giving this new elder blatant hints as to where she was from (we were starting to feel bad for him). He still wasn't getting it.

By that point he had convinced himself that she was Canadian because we were such close friends (he reckoned that we knew each other before our missions). My final hint to him: "Think further away from Canada and closer to UKRAINE!!". He sits there pondering and suddenly got this "I have a HUGE epiphany!" look on his face and goes "Ohhhhhhh!!! Duh! ALASKA!".

This definitely made the top 5 funniest moments of my mission!

And Finally Some Spiritual Goodness:
Spiritual thought of the week. While I was stranded in the house sick for 4 days, I had plenty of time to read the scriptures.

One insight in particular really built my faith:
I came across Matthew 17: 14-21, where the apostles lacked the faith to cast evil spirits out of a man. Jesus rebuked them for their lack of faith and then went on to heal the man. I was pondering on this. How often do we fail to have enough faith to perform a miracle in the mission (or in everyone else's case: life?). Or fail to be "perfect" in everything we hoped to be? I appreciate these moments in the scriptures where the prophets and apostles show us that they are human too! That they try and fail. As I thought, it was reaffirmed in my heart that it is not our moments of weakness that matter, but what we choose to do with them! What did the apostles go on to do? These same people who lacked faith at times became some of the greatest missionaries in history! Their recorded testimonies are so powerful and I have drawn so much strength from them! They didn't let their moments of weakness stop them from trying again! This all came from recommitting to live the gospel with every ounce of their being! We need to recommit every day to be the best we can be. It is the act of recommitting and trying again that defines and refines us. Not so much the act itself.

This story then reminded me of Alma in the Book of Mormon (Alma 8) when he went into Ammonihah. Alma faithfully went into the city and was torn apart by those people! The people completely rejected him. Alma was discouraged and was ready to turn around and move on to another city. How much faith must it have taken for him to turn around and go back?! It required immense faith to go in the first time. It would have required even more faith to go in a second time, having already tasted "failure". These are the moments that define us. When we go in a second time- continually recommitting to stand fast in our faith in our Lord and Saviour- the stakes are so much greater! There is that much more potential for our faith to grow, because we experience Gethsemne and feel that much more love and devotion to our Saviour. With this love and devotion binding our hearts, we grow and are enabled to take courageous steps forwards! This is how I feel about my mission. I have taken falls. But I am seeing immense changes in myself. I am so determined to keep being diligent and faithful because I am seeing what the gospel does in my life! My ability to endure and do well becomes greater! My capacity to love has expanded! It is truly beautiful how Jesus Christ's atonement transforms people. People who were weak and scared, suddenly were able to perform miracles and change lives. Let His love and power change your life today!

Anyways! That is all my misadventures of the week! I love you all!

Hope the time goes quickly for you and slowly for me!

Sister Martin <3 

Great signs at the train stations...
At the train station in Manchester...

Famous Burnley Cricket Club

With Sister Bevans from Cardston, Alberta
With Sister Toley (a fellow Canadian)

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