This week has been a little better, and a lot of crazy, so hopefully everything in this email makes sense.
After we got done with district finding this week in city centre we were all standing in a group trying to decide where to go get lunch, and this really old guy with an newsboy cap on, slacks, and a vest hobbles up to us with his cane and asked Elder Miner where this one particular store was. We just happened to be standing right outside it, so Elder Miner led the guy to the door and chatted to him while they went, while the rest of us stood there and giggled about how cute and sweet he was. A minute later Elder Miner came running back and in his highest-pitched voice, trying to make it a whisper instead of a yell, with a face that can be as expressive as Gid’s when he wants to be, eyes popped, jaw dropped, he goes, “HE’S A HUNDRED AND TWO!”
This guy had been alive for over a century, and “Just needed a new suit, so I decided to go out and buy one. Good thing I ran into you strapping young chaps to help me; this place isn’t what it used to be. Well! You’ve got some fine lasses here. You watch out for them now, and take good care of them.” He was honestly one of the cutest little men I’ve ever seen!
I shall tell you something embarrassing that happened on Tuesday afternoon during our coordination meeting. Remember last week how I was kind of freaking out about the clowns? Well, I kind of decided that I wasn’t going to be scared about it anymore. You know, straight spine, toughen up. Well, the elders started talking about it before the ward mission leader got there, and it started me getting frightened again. Then at the end of the meeting the ward mission leader brought it up and started drilling us on being careful and safe, and then relating all these incidents that had happened where the clowns would chase people with knives, and come look in people’s windows and stuff, and it wigged me out. As soon as he said, “They come up and look in people’s windows…” I let out this strangled heeby-jeeby scream and wrung my hands, and then just hugged my arms and doubled over and giggled because I was so scared. Everyone else started laughing at my reaction, and I was laughing too, because they were, but also because it just set my anxiety off and I was trying really hard not to cry, so I decided to laugh instead. But I was tensing my face so much trying not to cry that it just squeezed the tears right out of me and pretty soon there were tears streaming down my face.
The others were just talking and laughing and being loud, so I hoped that I would get myself under control before anyone but Sister Swapp noticed. Elder Smith looked at me and his laughy face just fell, and he went, “Oh…..Sister Wadsworth, are you all right?” Everyone looked at me and I just laughed harder because I was embarrassed, so that made me cry harder, and all the elders went, “Awwwwwwee…..” Which made me laugh some more, and cry some more. I just sat there and bawled like a frightened little girl, but I was laughing at the same time. Elder Miner always makes fun of Sister Swapp and I for telling him how scared we are to walk around at night, so I was quite satisfied when his expression totally softened and he got this puppy-dog look on his face, and said in very soft, kind tones, “Awe…We can come walk you home, if you want us to!” I just fanned myself and blinked and took deep breaths and told him it was fine.
They’ve started taking our concerns a lot more seriously now.
Thursday was our zone conference in Cardiff. The meeting started at 10:00, so we had to be there at 9:30, which meant that we needed to leave our flat at 7:00 to have time to walk to the train station, train to Cardiff, and walk from the Cardiff station to the church building. So the APs told us to go to Merthyr the night before and sleep with the Sister Training Leaders, and then ride with them the next day. So on Wednesday we took the dodgy bus from Swansea to Merthyr in the evening and of course I got sick again. 😷😕
Wednesday was also dodge night, since transfers were on Friday, so we all got our dodge calls then. The Sister Training Leaders picked us up from the bus station and then we went to a chippy and got some fish and chips for dinner and took it back to their flat to eat it. It was pretty bad waiting for the dodge calls, because we had about two hours to wait until they came in. Sister Swapp and I got the call four hours earlier that she was called as a Sister Training Leader, but we didn’t tell our STLs and decided to let them find out when they got their calls. So I was nervous because I wanted to find out who my new companion was, and one of the others sisters knew she was leaving to train, but she didn’t know where. So she wanted to find out where she was going, and her companion wanted to know who her new companion was, so we were all a nervous wreck, so we just ate our chippys and then ate brownies and ice cream.
I’m so happy to be staying in Swansea, but I’m sad Sister Swapp is leaving. My new companion is Sister Gjevik (Yevik) from Norway. This is my third companion in four transfers, pretty unusual to have that many in so few transfers. I hope I stay here for Christmas though, because I’d really like to be here for Christmas. We are teaching a man named Dudley who is an orator, and reads the Christmas story at the Salvation Army each year. We had a lesson with him this week and we had him read the First Vision. Whoa. Let me tell you, he can really read. It was PERFECT. Literally. This guy is gonna be the one to read out Luke 2 at the next First Presidency Christmas Devotional. I was really feeling the spirit.
The next day, Thursday morning, we rode with the STLs to Cardiff for our double-zone conference. Two women from the Royal British Legion were there, and they gave us a presentation on the work that they do for the Poppy Appeal, and then told us what we would be doing as volunteers. The patron of the Royal British Legion is Queen Elizabeth the Second, so we are really honoured to be volunteering under her organisation. Last year they raised about 44.4 million £s through the work of volunteers. There are several ways we can do our sell of poppys to raise donations for the appeal. We can work a shopping centre with a booth, or do street collections. The meeting was really good anyway, and we’ll get our instructions through email from the Royal British Legion next week letting us know where and how we’ll get our poppys to sell.
Afterward the Cardiff zone leaders bought pizza for lunch (which was really lucky for me, because I’d been wanting it for weeks.) We also got our travel arrangements for transfers from our zone leaders, but the APs got mine just a tad mixed up. So they told me that Sister Swapp was going to be taking the coach from Swansea to the mission home, and I was going to be in a trio with the zone leaders for the day…..
I didn’t think that sounded quite right. Then the zone leaders said I was just going to be staying at my flat until my new companion got to the station for me to pick her up, and I told them I was NOT doing that with the ‘killer clowns’ going around, and they said that was smart. So then they decided we would just do like the APs said and go in a trio (which I quite really didn’t want to do), but then I pointed out that Sister Grant was also taking the coach to the mission home, so her companion and I would both be left without companions, so we could be together. Elders are SO confusing sometimes! Honestly.
So after zone conference Sister Swapp and I went back to Swansea and packed up all her stuff, which took some doing, but we did it. (please don’t ask the details) Then we went out as a district for dessert one last time. The next morning the coach was leaving the Swansea train station at 9:30 for the mission home, so Sister Swapp needed to be on it. The zone leaders were supposed to pick up her bags at 8:30 and take them to the station, but they didn’t anticipate the traffic, so they didn’t end up getting to our flat until 9:00, and oh my, I wish you could have seen how frazzled they looked. Hehe! Apparently everyone else that was supposed to be getting to the coach was also late, and they were worried no one was going to be on the coach when it left. These are the guys that are normally happy-go-lucky, calm, chill, 100% of the time. But Elder Miner was so stressed and frazzled, he was literally crying and giggling at the same time.
Then the Sister Training Leaders came and picked us up at 9:15, when they were supposed to be there at 8:45, and we BARELY made it to the coach before it took off. Phew! I was in a companionship with Sister Vousden for the day. She is from Essex, England, and very British. I just love her! Her accent makes everything she says interesting/funny.
Anyway, we had a good day working in Swansea (with a car!) and got a lot of work done. The coach was late getting back however. It almost always is, but still. Someone was late getting to the mission home, so it couldn’t leave on time. It was supposed to get to Swansea at 6:00, but didn’t end up getting here until 7:15. So Sister Vousden and I ate dinner and then went to wait at the station for it to show up. The zone leaders were waiting there as well, but we didn’t know where, so we called them. Now, they REALLY enjoy teasing me about my fear of the clowns. So when I was on the phone with them, our conversation went something like this. Me: “Where are you guys?”
ZL: “We’re at the station.”
Me: “No way! So are we!”
ZL: “Yeah, but where are you.”
Me: “We’re over here. We’re looking at you. Do you see us?”
ZL: “No, it’s dark outside.”
Me: “We’re down the street from you. We’re watching you…”
ZL: “That’s creepy. I still don’t see you.”
Then I heard a little squeal. “Do you sisters see the clown?!”
Me: “Ha-ha, Elder Smith, you can’t scare us.”
ZL: “No really! I’m looking at a clown right now.”
Me: “You liar! Where are you?”
ZL: “I’m being totally serious right now! There is a clown! We’re coming to you guys! Stay where you are!”
A second later Elder Miner ran up to us and he was even more frazzled and hyperactive than he was earlier in the day. He was wringing his hands, and his eyes were wide open, and his jaw was hanging open, and he was smiling and giggling and just totally nervous.
“Finally! Where were you?” Sister Vousden asked. “We’ve been waiting for AGES!”
Elder Smith ran up, Elder Miner shivered and giggled and squealed and had the heeby-jeebies all in one. “Oh my gosh sisters, it’s so good you weren’t with us just now! We just saw a clown!”
“Are you serious?”
“YES! We were waiting over there by that fence, and that bus that just drove by? Did you sisters see it? It stopped right in front of us, and I looked up at the window and there was a clown on it! Dressed in this scary face paint and a creepy costume! And another dude sitting with him in a black nylon face mask! And the clown LOOKED at me!”
Sister Vousden and I both screamed while Elder Miner tried to control his hyperactivity, and Elder Smith tried to calm everyone down. I was SO scared that I actually wanted to hug Sister Vousden, and I’m not a huggy person if its not with family. Elder Miner did breathing exercises with Elder Smith, and I imitated him. Elder Miner was jittery the rest of the night, and the next 20 minutes waiting on a wall in the dark by the station was very nerve racking for me, mostly because Elder Miner was actually visibly shocked and scared by it. The whole time he was saying how he was going to ask President if we could have a rule that we had to be in before dark every night for the next couple of weeks, but that would take away way too much of our proselyting time. Anyway, that was an interesting and frightening experience.
The coach finally got there, and the zone leader and sister training leaders helped us get Sister Gjevik’s stuff to our flat, and the zone leaders walked us right up to the gate from where they’d parked down the street. I thought maybe Elder Miner’s obvious shock would shock him out of teasing me, but when they called later that night he said, “Sister Wadsworth, do you want to know what I said to the clown when I saw him? I told him your address…” I guess he got himself under control again. Darn it.
We will be seeing Elder Cook on Monday! We are so blessed to have an Apostle come and speak to us. Hopefully he can give us some good counsel for how to improve our missionary work here. I’ll let you know how that goes next week. I probably won’t be able to email you until next Monday.
I love you all so much! I hope you have a wonderful week! I’m so grateful for the Gospel, and for our Savior, Jesus Christ.