Monday, December 22, 2014

CATCHING UP! (Sorry, Mom's been busy...)

Yes, we did perform at the Christmas Truce program. Elder Ocando and I played with Angus Dick from the ward (the one who knows Jack). Elder Ocando on the uke, Angus playing bass on the guitar, and me soloing on the Mandolin to "O Tannenbaum". It was pretty sweet honestly. Maybe not the most amazing and inspiring performance (that would probably have been Angus's brother Robin, who's a vocal performance major), but it was really nice and charming. At least, I think so. Pauline was freaking out about it, and Elder Herbertson of the Seventy congratulated us on it, but I think they were just being nice.

Ran into the Welch's at the Christmas Truce Program.
This week's been crazy. Crazy. Crazy. In the last half of the week alone, I had to pull two exchanges back to back right after the temple trip. The temple trip was so good. It was great being able to see all the missionaries that I haven't seen in such a long time, like Elder Glasgow and Elder Brown. They're such good guys. And getting the opportunity to hang out with all of the Digital Crew for dinner was good. I felt so at home with them all. I'm telling you, the Digital Zone is just special. But I received so much revelation in the temple, it was wonderful.

Afterward, I went out on exchange with Elder Blackner. We went to a funeral and nearly got kicked out. Well, kind of. It was the funeral of their investigator's aunty at a Methodist Church. It's super lucky that we found the place in the first place, because she just told us, "It's a church right off a roundabout, and it's something about Christ, or Methodist or something..." It wasn't off a roundabout, but we saw the funeral car. As we walked in, these two huge guys walked up and said, "Latter-day Saints...?" And blocked us from coming in. They were super surprised when we told her we had been invited. We were the only two white guys in there, except for the Preacher lady who kept shooting us dirty looks. Anyway, the rest of the exchange was pretty good. We got to work up in proper London, right up next to the Shard.

Anyway, after that Elder Smith and I went on exchange. We had a great exchange as well, and were able to see an amazing miracle. So, just over a week ago, Elder Ocando and I met this woman named Joanna, who had previously met missionaries in Essex and who wants to meet up again and have us teach her and all her flatmates. Well, as I called initially, the call didn't go through, and she said, "Oh, it's fine, it's my work number, and I don't have it right now." But, we tried again later, and it still didn't work. We kept trying throughout the week to no avail. Well, I knew about where she lived, and so Elder Smith and I, on exchange, set to try our own faith. We said to ourselves, "Okay, we'll knock three doors, and Heavenly Father will show us where she lives." We prayed for it, and both felt impressed to try one specific building. We tried the first door, but no answer. Second door wasn't her. So, we opened the scriptures, and I turned to page 257, and was led back to that same page a few times. We tried two more doors, but no answer. We figured we'd try those doors again at a better time, but as we were walking through the park I had a spark of inspiration, and opened my planner. Her phone number read 277 at one point, so I decided to try changing it to 257. The woman on the other end confirmed that it was Joanna's number, though she wasn't in at work and asked for a message, so we'll be calling her soon.

What else... Hmm, well, I'll probably be calling you guys on Wednesday around 4:00ish, our time, so that's 8:00 am for you. Maybe a bit earlier. We'll see. Sorry for making it so early, that's the only way it'll work for us. We'll be going to a Portuguese member's house, so we'll be eating tons of food. And after that, we're actually going to another Portuguese family where we'll Skype you guys. Other than that, we'll be working on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, though we may be going to the Bishop's on Boxing Day or something. We'll be looking for more opportunities to teach throughout the day, probably by playing music with the other missionaries.

Anyway, that's about it. Excited to see you on Thursday! Love you guys.

- Elder Braiden Green

Here are a couple of excerpts from last weeks letter...

The biggest high point of this week was definitely the baptism we were able to have. She moved to England a couple of years ago to work and to learn more about Jesus Christ. Struggling with the language, however, she had put off religion, until a friend of her asked, "So, where are you with God? Have you found the answers you were looking for?" She explained that she had been so busy with other things that she had put that off, but that she would begin looking again.Two days later, Elder Jackman and I walked up to her in Clapham Common and tried to give her a card. She was super excited, but spoke minimal English, so we just said, "Hey, no worries, we've got two Sister Missionaries who speak French." So, she called them that night, and they began teaching her.

She's really sacrificed a lot, as her family still does not know she has joined the church, but she's so firm and decided that she's going to be faithful to the light she's been given. She shared over the pulpit on Sunday a really powerful scripture:

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace on Earth, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." - Matt. 10:34-39

In addition to that, Heavenly Father's blessed us with so many more people to teach. We worked really hard on Saturday morning, and were able to line up a ton of return appointments for this week. I made a special effort to pray before each person that we met on the street, and ask to know their needs so that I could teach according to that, and though I didn't notice a difference perhaps in the Spirit I felt, I noticed a marked difference in the results. One woman in front of us dropped her Oyster, (apparently an "Oyster" is short for Oyster card, which I think is something like a bus pass?) and so I ran to give it to her, and had to delay talking to her about the Church, since we were in front of another church, but I turned around to give her a "He is the Gift" card, and she explained about how she had been in the area for 5 years looking for a church she felt comfortable in, but was unable to find one. About an hour later, Elder Ocando stopped a YSA-age girl in the park who was so excited to see us, and talked about how she had met missionaries previously in Essex. She wanted us to come and teach her and her flatmates more about the Gospel, and the Christmas season. Solid, yeah?

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