Thea is here! FINALLY! I checked my email every single day for a week and a half before and she kept not being born, and I kept getting more and more impatient. Then, on the one day I was sick and had to stay at our flat most of the day, I thought, ‘Watch, she’ll probably be born today, just because I can’t check my email until tonight.’ And she was.
She’s so cute! The picture of her wrapped in the white blanket when it shows just her face I think looks like Eve. But another picture looks like Patrick, so what the heck.
Sister Hammond texted me on wednesday and said she thought I would want to know what your latest Instagram post was about. She’s super nice, and then on Sunday she showed me the pictures of Thea you put up. She really likes to show me pictures and keep me updated, and it’s really nice of her.
Okay I just have to say this first because I’m kinda excited about it. Last week I told you about exchanges and the man we met in Nottingham after we prayed for help to know what to do. (Remember the blue door story?) Well on Friday I got a call from the sister training leaders saying that they met with him in the return appointment we set, and he’s now on a baptisimal date. How cool is that? His date is Sept. 24, so we will go on exchanges again with them next transfer and I will be able to go with them to teach him a lesson. They say he is very elect and prepared. In the meeting they had with him Sister Pike told him about how we found him, and he said that at the same time we were feeling drawn toward the blue door, he was feeling pulled really strongly around the corner to where we were, like something was waiting for him there. Pretty neat.
Anyway, now that that’s out of the way, I have a story I know you’ll enjoy. We were walking down the main street in town and we were looking for some people to teach. Sister Christy saw this guy sitting at a table outside having a drink, so she took my bike from me and told me to go talk to him. Of course, she’s my trainer, so I just trusted her and obeyed immediately, not realizing that this guy was sitting outside a PUB drinking. So there I went. You would not BELIEVE how drunk that guy was! I mean, this was more entertaining that Otis Campbell! Maybe even more entertaining that DICK VAN DYKE! Holy cow! I had to get away from there like a bullet so that I didn’t end up on the ground with a laughing attack. Oh my word. We went around the corner like a couple of dizzy chickens so that I could laugh for a few minutes.
The day after that, we were tracting this road called Florence Road (which now always makes me think there is a candy shop on it, because of Joanna and Brennen’s apartment), and we knocked on this guy’s door, and when he opened he looked at me and went, “You’re from America!” And I went, “Yeah! How did you know?” And he said, “I went to America years ago, and man, they’re some of the most beautiful people in the world!” I’m pretty sure everyone in England needs glasses ’cause something’s wrong with their eyesight.
I was also talking to this lady on the phone and she just wanted me to keep talking because, “You’re accent is just so charming I could listen to it all day. I really do fancy being American. How about popping down for a cup of tea and you can meet my grandson.” Oh dear.
On Tuesday we went and visited this lady that lives right next to the mission office, she’s about 80, very spry, and super nice. Her husband died about a year and a half ago,but she’s doing really well. Anyway, we felt for the past month we should talk to her about eternal marriage and temples, but we hadn’t had the opportunity, or the guts to actually do it, because she’s Church of England and very involved, and she’s already got her very firm beliefs. But went went over today and just braced ourselves and did it. It turned out she had a LOT of questions about the temple. She watched the ‘Why Mormons Build Temples’ video twice I’m a row. She already believes that she and her husband will be together forever without a temple sealing, so we’ll have to work on that, but when we asked her if she would like her husbands work done in the temple she was all over to it, and quite excited at the prospect. Hopefully getting his name ready and everything will bring her up to where she needs to be. A brother in the ward is going to help her get the name ready for baptism and confirmation, and get her permission and everything, if we will focus on teaching her about the sealing.
Unfortunately we were both feeling sick on Tuesday, so on Wednesday we took a rest and slept for the morning, and that did a of good. But I don’t like staying in very much, even if we are sick.
There is this old Scottish guy we are teaching named Ian. He’s a Glaswegian, quite foul-mouthed and colourful languaged, and he’s had a dog life. He was in and out of prison for the first 25 years of his life, street fights, pubs, muggings, robberies, etc. He’s 75, born in ’41. I cry every time we have to go out and see him, because it’s just so hard to be around him, because I can feel the darkness of bad influence around him. He’s so stubborn and obstinate and sassy, and he tries to shock us every time with some other horrible story, and constantly tries to distract us with weird tangents and bad language. Sister Christy is convinced he is the reason she is here, and wants to baptise him so she can be transferred, but I just can’t see that man getting baptised any time soon. I can’t REASONABLY see it. Maybe I’m just a baby and maybe I just don’t have enough faith or something, but it’s really hard. Its just an argument every time we ‘teach’ him, and I’m ready to just lay into him and treat him like a little kid and tell him to shape up, because that’s exactly the way he’s acting. But I’d probably start crying, and I don’t want to.
If it wasn’t for the fact that I’m supposed to be trying to teach him the gospel, I’d probably love to just sit and listen to his sorties all day. He’s got some pretty good ones….. And some pretty bad ones.
We went for dinner at a member’s home and they were taking care of their grandchildren. This little girl really liked my tag and wore it the whole time I was there, her dad served a mission but then quit coming to church shortly after he returned. Her grandma took a picture of her in my tag and said she was going to send it to her son and tell him that’s what she would be doing in fifteen years whether he liked it or not. Go grandma!
Friday morning we picked up a mini missionary from the train station! She was from Coventry and stayed with us over the weekend to check out missionary life. I hope it didn’t scare her away. Friday it rained all day while we were walking around in it, and then turned sunny when we were inside for the afternoon, and then rained again when we went out again, and all she had were a pair of wimpy shoes that sopped and squished every time she took a step because they were so full of water. I wore my mud boots, and stayed very dry.
Brother Hammond (the eldery man from Grantsville) was telling me about his family history, and he said that one of his ancestors was really good friends with the Prophet Joseph Smith, and that they wrestled together a lot. I thought of Joseph Stacey Murdock, but didn’t have time to ask him what the man’s name was in his family history. I’ll ask him next week.
When we take the bus to Walsall for district meeting every week, I keep an eye on a farmer’s field that we pass, and this week he’s got his hay up. I didn’t know that they wrapped round bales, but I guess they have to or else it would all rot with all the rain here.
This week I taught a less active the Plan of Salvation again, and I used the little pictures to set it up, and she said it was the first time she’d been able to understand it. On nearly all of the less active records in our area book is the same three elders’ names (It one point they were in a trio, and then switched around as companions). It’s kind of frustrating, because it seems like they just dunked people and then left them there. On all the records they were taught up until the time they were baptized, and then maybe once after that, so the convert fell away. This particular less active didn’t have a record in our book, but in the lesson she mentioned the name of the elder who taught her and it was one of them, and Sister Christy and I looked at each other with a smile, and the less active goes, “You’re smiling! What’s funny?” “Oh, nothing. We just recognize the name from our records….” Boy do we recognize it! These three elders seems to be the bane of less actives in this area. Of course I don’t know the whole story, but it sure makes me get tight when I hear their names, after having to go around and clean up their dirty work.
You know it’s getting bad when a missionary keeps sending pictures of food. This isn’t even authentic food either. It’s just a plate of pancakes I made this week. But they looked like real pancakes, so I had to take a picture.
I made a delicious discovery this week! For dessert at a member’s house she fed us peaches and evaporated milk. At first I was scared because evaporated milk is pretty gross all by itself, but all kidding aside, it was REALLY good. I bought a can of evaporated milk today, and a can of peaches, because it’s my new favorite thing. It’s like, sweet peaches, and buttery, rich fat. Pretty good, right?
Matt came to church again this week! He’s doing so well, and we only have two more lessons to teach him this week, he needs to come to church next week, and then he’ll be baptized. His interview is this Friday, and it’s crazy to think he’s getting baptized next week! I’m getting kind of nervous. So is Elder Wall, because he’s never interviewed someone before.
We had to clean the chapel last week (for some reason they don’t call their church buildings churches here, they call them chapels, so whey they say “Meet at the chapel.” It really means, “Meet at the church.”) But you’ll be pleased to know that I kept the donut eating tradition and had a donut afterwards, and it was delicious.
You know how we keep getting these new investigators because they just walk into the church when we’re just sitting there? Well our zone has labeled it the new ‘Wylde Green Finding Method’, and apparently a companionship in our zone tried it this week….and it worked. There’s some pretty crazy stuff happening around here, and we’re not really sure why, but we’re just trying to make sure we take care of what the Lord gives us, and live up to the blessings we receive.
Maybe I said this already, but in two weeks we are getting another batch of missionaries coming in, and there will be 23 of them, which is double the amount we’ve had before. For the next 12 weeks after that a third of the mission will be involved with training, because there are so many of them, and they’re telling us that a lot of us in my group who are just getting out of training ourselves will be training someone new, and that just sounds so scary to me! I’m secretly hoping that I don’t have to train someone because I just wouldn’t know what to do!
Lately I’ve just been feeling SO GRATEFUL for all that we’ve been blessed with. Especially when I see the ways that other people live, and the ways they were brought up. Some of them are just terrible and I feel so bad for them. But some, like the members, aren’t bad, it’s just so entirely different from what we have, and I’m REALLY grateful that I’ve been able to grow up the way I have. I’m so grateful for the lifestyle that we have, and all of our unusual, crazy ways, because even though they’re unusual and crazy, they’re still good. I just can’t believe sometimes that Heavenly Father has blessed me with such an AMAZING family, and I think, ‘What did I do to deserve this?’ I think really I didn’t do anything to deserve it, God is just so good, and so full of love that He blesses us far beyond what we deserve, and what we can ever repay.
I love you all TONS, and like Sylv, I know I say that every single time, but I really do mean it. It’s not meant to become old or normal, I really do love you guys more than I can ever say. I think about everyone all the time. About the new babies that are here, or that are coming; about the kids that are going up to college or getting ready for their missions; Jo and Brennen in Idaho, and Sylv and Tucker in Columbia; and Rose and Brent in Washington, and Travis and Rebecca and their baby, Brent on his mission, and both Grandpas and Grandmas working in the temple, and Sariah and Travis getting married, and just everybody! You’re all always constantly on my mind and in my prayers.
Have a great week!