Monday, January 27, 2014

Great Investigators, Great New Bishop, Great Street Market...and Not-So-Great Lasagna

Oh my gosh... Sometimes these stories make me wonder what the heck I was doing back home. I do sometimes miss the stupid little things, though. I'm freaking out that Maddie's going to be 12 in August... What the flip? I'm just glad Kate's not 16 yet. (This was in response to his mother telling him stories about Taylor spitting fire, Diego sneaking around the house and scaring her half to death...something he learned from Taylor...and how much his sisters are growing up without him here to see it!)

I'm really grateful for the members this week. Dad mentioned in his Email that President Peterson's been pushing member involvement in this 'Hastening of the Work,' and I can definitely testify to the power of that. Joss is doing fantastic! We had a lesson with her at the Grant's on Saturday, and she and Sister Grant get along so well. The lesson went wonderfully, despite the random winds that picked up and blew their trampoline over the fence... I wish I could have gotten a picture of that.

We also had an awesome lesson with Ariel and Lukas. Elder Dyck and I were on exchange, and they had so many great questions for us. We will hopefully be getting another Elder in the mission who is Polish to Skype with them, or something, so that they can understand more easily. There's still a language barrier there that is hard to overcome. They were actually set to come to church with us, but were unable to because we didn't have an opportunity to introduce them to the member we would like to fellowship them.

Also, let me tell you how much I love street markets. Samosas for 60p, and the most wonderful almond croissants with soft cheese in the middle.

Our contacting hasn't been as fruitful as we might have liked, but we find the nicest people, and a few strange ones... We had one guy the other week threatening to, "Heat us" in his ritual that he performs to the devil. Fun stuff, yeah? We did meet one woman on Saturday who apologized after talking to us for ten minutes that she couldn't talk to us for longer, because she was cooking a meal for her school friends from 30 years ago, and said she would have invited us in for tea if her husband had been home. Then she gave us three referrals. Such a lovely woman.

We had quite an eventful Sunday yesterday. Our Bishop has been gone for a number of weeks taking care of his youngest daughter who has been diagnosed with cancer. It's been quite a touching thing for the whole ward, but it seemed so especially so yesterday. When we came in, the entire stake presidency was there, and our stake president was rigging up Facetime with Bishop at the hospital. We quickly found out that we were getting a new Bishop, which was a huge surprise. Bishop Ferris was a wonderful Bishop, and I very much appreciate all that he did for the ward. Bishop Grant will be fantastic just as well. It was wonderful, though, because despite the lack of traditionality to the meeting, Joss (who Sister Grant brought to church) could really feel the spirit, and recognized the authority present in the meeting. I'm very excited to see her continue to progress.

Also, I've taken to carrying my guitar around town. Elder Dyck recommended that I do so, as he and his trainer did that around his 'greenie' area, and it's interesting, because despite the fact that I've not yet gotten the chance to use it in a teach, I've found that it boosts my courage and desire to stop more people, and provides a great conversation topic for people that we wouldn't usually say as much to, like bus drivers.

Well, here's a picture of Elder Sorensen and I soaked completely. Please, take the rain. Oh, and a picture of the lasagna that didn't really work... I recognize now that I definitely needed more sauce and noodles... Oops.

Elder Sorensen and I...soaking wet! I wish I could send you some of our rain.

My first attempt at lasagna...Mom, could you send me a recipe?

I'll find the camera soon. I know it. In the meantime, Elder Sorensen's being quite nice and allowing me to take pictures with his camera. I know how important it is, and so I'll try to take as many as I can.

Transfers are a week from Wednesday. All we know is someone's moving, but it's anyone's guess what'll happen.

Love you guys so much,

Elder Green

Monday, January 20, 2014

Working Hard

We have three baptismal dates. You don't know how excited I am to say that. It really is a testament to me that there are no dead areas, no matter what anyone might say. We had Zone Training this last week, and they focused a lot on what Elder Teixiera had counseled us regarding our investigators: to make sure every investigator is reading the Book of Mormon, coming to church, and is progressing toward a baptismal date. So, we each committed to extend those three commitments in each sit down lesson with an investigator, and it was amazing. Out of the four people we were able to sit down and teach, three of them said yes to a date. And they're great people, too.

The first girl's name is Joss. We met her knocking 10-Aside of a member who moved away, and she had asked for a Book of Mormon when we explained what it was. She found some difficulty reading the one we gave her, so she went searching online, couldn't find an eBook version, but found an audiobook that she's been listening to every day. We're really quite happy about all that. She will hopefully be coming with us to Church on Sunday, and the Grant's have offered to have her for dinner, which is wonderful. Hopefully, she'll be baptized in March.

The other two are Polish roommates named Ariel and Lukas. They're both here for work, and seem like such good, solid guys. We brought them a Ksiega Mormona, and Lukas asked if he could have one in English as well so that he could work on learning English by comparing back and forth. The lesson was a great experience, as we really had to teach as simply as we could to get around the language barrier. I found myself opening up the two copies of the Book of Mormon a few times to find the Polish word for different words we take for granted, like Prophet, or Apostasy. It was really quite a good experience. They're also set to be baptized in March.

One other thing that we've been working hard on is talking to everyone. It's really difficult, at times, and was especially so the end of last week. However, as we've tried our hardest to do so, we just find that we feel better. Even if we aren't finding investigators from our strivings, we are still experiencing the blessings of knowing that we are working our very hardest, and that is plenty for now. Dad told me in a letter a little while ago to "Be the kind of missionary your Mom thinks you are," and I now finally feel like the kind of missionary you think I am.

I love you guys so much, and can't wait to hear back,


Elder Green

P.S. Still no camera. I scoured the Powell's, and I'm praying like crazy that I'll come across it. We've been deep cleaning our flat today, so I know it'll turn up soon. If not, I've got copies of nearly all the pictures on an SD card I've been meaning to send home. But don't buy a new one yet, because I know that I'll find it soon.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Talking to Everyone!

Things are going quite well here. It can be a little stressful now that we actually have plenty of work. Hahaha, having two transfers of really struggling to find investigators made it quite a surprise to work with having to plan time to see all our investigators and less-actives now. But, it's really nice. I can tell the ward really wants to support us, and is really trying to help us to accomplish the work. I admit, the area seemed a bit tough coming in, but I don't want to go at all anymore. I love the area, the people, the ward, all of it too much. I hope that doesn't mean it's time to leave after this transfer... Even if that would be for the Spanish branch...

We met some really cool people this week. The first guy used to be a Jehovah Witness, but was disfellowshipped for asking the wrong questions. He's studied theology for a long time and has even read portions of the Book of Mormon (though he mentioned that it was in the context of churches to avoid). But, he really appreciates the church's standpoint on the importance of families, and wants to learn a bit more about things from us coming back around. And, he said he'd make us food.

The second guy we just met yesterday. He's very humble, but so funny. He suffers from throat cancer, or something of the sort, and can't even talk. When we knocked on his door, he invited us in, and had to write everything to us to communicate. He used to be a really outdoorsy guy, running survival camps for youth. He even walked from Land's End (the southernmost part of England down in Cornwall) to Havant once in 4 1/2 days. That's something I'd like to try. Nearly 275 miles, sleeping in bus shelters along the way. Crazy, yeah? We're coming back to visit him on Tuesday with one of the members of the ward.

Also, I want to pay tribute to a man named George. George is one of the nicest guys ever. He's a member of our ward, and is so excited about missionary work. I wish I was half the missionary he is. We go knocking with him every so often, and he stops every single person and asks them, "Do you know these are the true messengers of the Lord, Jesus Christ?" On Monday we went out to Hayling Island with him, and were knocking a bit. The gale force winds didn't really make anyone want to open the door, and I could tell spirits were a bit low. We grabbed the bus back up, and on our way to drop George off at the train station, we stopped a guy and asked if he needed any help with his bike. He didn't, and with us still tired from all the knocking, started heading back. George started teaching the first four lessons in the next 60 seconds, so we came back, and started talking to the guy as well. Turns out he's read the entire Book of Mormon already, because he didn't want to be biased when he went to see the musical up in London. He's got a great family, and is now having the Waterlooville Sister Missionaries over. Just goes to show what talking to everyone can do.

Anyway, we're going to go play Settlers of Cataan at the Bishop's house. And then go shopping. We've been buying a lot of fancy cheese recently, but we're kind of tired of that, so we'll find something else to help us enjoy the week.

By the by, I still haven't gotten my camera back, although I am sure it is somewhere at the Powell's no new pictures again. Here's a crazy one of Elder Sorensen, though, that I found on his camera.

Love you,

Elder Green

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year!

So excited to hear about awesome missionary work going on there! We're praying every day for those kinds of miracles here. We've been pushing forward trying to figure out what things are going to help the area progress as much as possible. It's not easy, but man is it worth it.

New Year's Eve was fun. We decided to work out in Emsworth, and got so lost. We finally found the road we were planning on knocking, though, and the third door proved to be fantastic. A nice man opened the door and we asked what he was most excited about in the New Year. He said, "What an interesting question. Please, come in." He and his wife were so lovely, and accepted a commitment to start reading the Book of Mormon, so we'll be seeing them again in another week.

 We took the back road home down past Warblington Castle. It used to be the home of one of Henry VIII's girlfriends, and stood until Oliver Cromwell destroyed it in the English Civil War. All that's left is one tower, but it's still pretty cool. Warblington Church is over there too, which is one of the oldest churches in the area. Also, one of the graverobbing capitols of England -- the cemetary there provided most of England's budding medical students with cadavers. It reminds me a lot of The Good Thief, Dad. Creepiest grave memorial ever there, though -- the statue of a hand sticking up out of a planter holding a naked child.

What's left of Warblington Castle
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Warblington Church and Cemetery
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Following that, we went to the Powell's for dinner. I'm glad they had us over, because there wasn't really anything more to do... Everyone was in the pub, or getting drunk at home. Oh well.

New Year's Day was pretty good as well. It was preparation day, since it was moves week, and so Elder Dyck, Elder Sorensen and I went down to Gunwharf Quays. Picked up a sweet tie for £2. Nice, yeah? Also, Elder Wright got here. He's really cool. He trained Elder Foster in the digital zone. He's bringing a lot of the digital zone to us, which will be interesting.

Sorry, no pictures this week... I think I left my camera at the Powell's... Again... I'll take plenty for next week.

Love you guys,

Elder Green