Monday, April 27, 2015

"This week has been amazing..."

Standing by the 'naked man on a horse' sculpture that watches over High Street.

So, as I'm allowed to look up things regarding university, I did a quick look over everything there -- You're fantastic. Everyone of my professors has at least a 4/5 rating (except for one of them, who had a 3/5) so, that's phenomenal. AND with the refresher course before school begins! I'm happy, I'm really happy. I know it'll be a lot of work, but I'm also more desirous to do work now... Hahaha. The piano course will be great -- I wasn't quite sure what it was, but when I looked it up really quickly, it's exactly what I was wanting to do. It'll fill one of the four private instruction courses I need. I had been planning on taking two for piano, anyway, but this'll give me time to decide whether I want to do the other two in cello (like I had initially thought) or guitar, or voice, or... What. Also, the ratings of Professor Hancock are really good. I just need to make sure that I practice. Hooray for music! And Hooray for Men's Chorus!!!

This week has been amazing, all around. I mean, there's nothing that I can think of that didn't go well for us. I'm sure there were things that weren't so great, but honestly the good outweighed them so much that I can't remember anything off. For an update on Millie, she's doing wonderfully, like usual. We're starting to sort out the logistics for her baptism. She's been in Devon this week visiting grandparents, but we Skyped her on Saturday and had a lesson, and she was just as excited as ever. She'll be going with us and a few of the YSA to the temple this Saturday where we're going to watch Meet the Mormons. So, that's exciting.

More news about Millie (kind of), we were walking down the road the other day speaking to as many people as we could, and we ran up to stop a girl ahead of us. She's a Theology major with a really strong faith (which is actually fairly rare, considering the other Theology majors we've met). After talking to her for a few minutes, she was like, "Oh yeah, I know a girl who's Mormon -- her name is Millie." And so, because Millie shared the Book of Mormon with her, she's going to start meeting with us.

That same day, we talked to a few guys working on their car outside their house. It was fairly awkward at first, until another guy living at the house leaned out and said, "Are you guys Mormons? I've got a buddy on a mission right now." And with that bit of validation, we were able to grab an appointment for the next day, and leave that appointment with six new investigators, three of which soft-committed to baptism. Solid, yeah? We may be making Mexican food for them later tonight, but we've not heard back from them yet.

On Tuesday/Wednesday I was down in Southampton on exchange, which was really great. Elder Douglas picked the best day for it, because we ended up with two DA's, one at a carvery (a restaurant where the main course served is a roast, and you get unlimited veg) and another at an African family's house. It was really cool, too, because while we were there, it seemed like a lot of the people we met ended up having lived in Mitcham (and actually, our new investigator, who I mentioned earlier, was from Mitcham too) so I was able to connect with a few people on that point. Funny how the Lord does that, huh?

I'm almost tempted to stop telling you about all the miracles we've had, because there have been so many. A last one I'll share is this: so, we went to stop by an investigator up in Winnall on Friday, hoping that she'd be in, but as she wasn't, we sat down and spoke to her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend for a little while. Again, he knew one of the members of our ward, and had seen the Book of Mormon musical, so we gave him a Book of Mormon. After that, we decided to head back out and try by a few people. As we were walking down the road, a woman shouted from across the street and asked if we had a Book of Mormon that she could have. I had unfortunately just given out my last one, so we started talking to her and her friend. Turns out, she's a less-active member, and she's the daughter of one of my favourite families in the ward. After talking to her for a while, she talked about how, though she wasn't currently living the Gospel in her life, that she wanted her children to be given that foundation. So, with that, we've set up to go around and teach her kids on a weekly basis. Her friend said that she might come along as well.

I have loads more stories that I could tell this week about coming for dinner at the exact right time to teach nonmember relatives, working with the members to help with investigators' concerns, and the blessings that come when you start to know everyone in town... But, time fails me. And your attention span probably, as well. But, there has been one common thread this week: Most, if not all, of our miracles ended up happening because of member association. That's the key to good missionary work, when members have good relationships with people around them, those people want to hear about the Gospel, and then their lives can be enhanced far beyond anything they've imagined.

It's been a fantastic week, and I look forward to this next one. The whole mission's going to Crawley on Wednesday for training on using iPads for missionary work. We won't be getting them until next transfer (which means I'll have a total of four weeks to use it...) but it'll be really exciting. We'll be training with Elder Kearon and Elder Nielson of the Seventy.

Well, that's all. I don't have many pictures, because I figured I'd wait until after I got my hair cut, but I will send the one that I have.

Love you!

- Elder Green

Monday, April 20, 2015

Trains, Waiting Rooms, and Dodgy Indian Food...

Robert Frost...I have so much left to do, and not much time to do it!

Wow, heavy week... That all sounds absolutely nuts. To add to all that, it sounds like even more of my friends are getting their mission calls: Shanti just got hers for Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, and Rachel Playstead's sister Caitlin may be getting hers soon, and Patty's will be coming sooner than later, and Tay's... Good grief.

I saw the news about Banuelos yesterday evening when I nipped on to Facebook. I hope that his family's alright. It's such a blessing having the eternal perspective of the Gospel, though, isn't it?

Mom, Church travel has your picture on the wall right now with the caption, "Top Caller". It'll come when it comes.

Well, Millie is doing great. We taught her about the Word of Wisdom last week. She'll be on holiday this week at her Nan's, so I was going to see if we could Skype her for a quick lesson in the middle of the week. Things are getting set up for the baptism, though. We'll be getting all the logistics together with Bishop Taylor next time we see him. Things are getting moving with other people as well. I've been praying a lot for guidance and help so that the Lord can lead us to those people that need it, and we keep finding all sorts of miracles. Yesterday in the few hours between church and accounting, we were able to get two or three return appointments with quite a few young people. It was quite a Godsend, especially with us having lost a lot of the week before that...

We went on exchange with the Romsey Elders on Wednesday after District Meeting, so I was off with Elder Johnson for the day. Exchanges always seem to take so long, because it takes an hour to travel to Romsey with waiting for trains, even though it's really not that far away. We were able to teach their investigator, who now has a baptismal date again, and her dog just kept attacking me as we tried to teach. Goodness... Afterward, I was able to teach another one of their baptismal dates, in Spanish. I'm really losing it... It was pretty difficult just getting through the lesson. Oh well.

We finished off the exchange doing service with the other guys for the Gilmour's, and then headed home. Elder Fifita's been complaining of a headache for about two weeks now, and that he feels really cold (which is odd, as it's really been quite warm here, relatively speaking), but when we got back to the flat, he mentioned that he had woken up with a rash all over his body. Well, we called President and the Insurance company, and then let him sleep the rest of the day.

The following day, the Insurance company tried to set him up an appointment, but weren't able to get one at the Private practice for another week, so they told us about a centre down in Southampton we could go to. Trains took us about two hours, because the stop we needed is in a tiny little part of town and didn't have many trains going out to it. We finally got there, walked up the road, grabbed some chicken and chips, and then walked into the walk-in centre. There was an old lady sitting there, and a pregnant woman, and as we looked around trying to figure out where to go, we got really lost. We finally found a sign that said, "Walk-In Centre 16:30-21:30" Being as it was only around 12:30, we decided we weren't going to sit around there for six hours... So, we called the Insurance company, and they sent us to Southampton Hospital. The Zone Leaders gave us a lift, and the lady at the desk sent us to the Minor Injuries Unit. The sign said, "Wait time: 90 Minutes" 45 minutes later, the wait time shifted to two hours. And then two and a half... We sat there for nearly three hours waiting to see a nurse. Finally, the nurse looked at him and said, "Well, I don't see a rash on your hands anymore. Headaches will come from anything. And the coldness is probably viral. It's either something or it's nothing." Finally got home around 6:30, after buying some dodgy food from a little Indian market (and then throwing a good portion of it away when we realised there was mold on it.) Elder Fifita couldn't sleep that night because of the rash... Let's just say I miss the health care in the US.

I think that's pretty much it for the week. Zone Leaders will be coming up today, and this week we're making a real push to get things rolling the way we want them. Hopefully some of these people we've met will come through strong this week.

Anyway, love you,

- Elder Green

Monday, April 13, 2015

Mission life has become..."Normal"

It is incredibly strange to think that Rory is now married. Like, beyond all belief. I'm really happy for him, though, and especially that he married someone so amazing. I love Rachel, and I know that they'll be phenomenal together. I'm sending off a kind-of wedding gift today for him (though it's not really much). I miss that guy so much. Scotty too! I miss him. Oh well, it seems like if the rest of my mission has gone this fast, then seeing them will end up being just too soon anyway.

I think you're right, a lot of the things that I'm experiencing now on my mission have grown... Normal. That's a funny thing about being with a relatively new companion: things like waking up at 6:30 every morning, and talking to people while you're out -- to him, they're still an active choice. I mean, I suppose they are to an extent to me as well, but they've become a good deal more second-nature. It's just... Life. Still, I'll try to come up with a few things that are "exciting".

Last Monday we had the chance to go make Mexican food for the Stake President's family, the Gilmour's. They had started it off as a sort of face-off between Elder Slade (who claims that Arizona Mexican food is better than California Mexican) and I, but President Gilmour tactfully pulled that down with, "Well, the two types of food are too dissimilar, so we can't really judge which is better..." Oh well. West Coast, Best Coast. It was fun though, we spent a lot of time discussing General Conference and talking about family history with them and their neighbors who got baptised last year.

We saw Millie quite a few times this week, and she's doing great (as usual). I took the opportunity in one of the lessons to ask her why it was that she wanted to get baptised, and it was really interesting. She said that the way we were explaining things, it all seemed to her as if there was going to be a moment where she just got an answer right away, but that for her it wasn't like that. Everything just felt really good the whole way through, and it just seemed like a really good thing to get baptised. I told her that my "conversion" experience was pretty similar, and that I found that the most convincing thing about the Gospel was the fact that it changed me over that period of time, and that it only seemed to make me happier and bring more good into my life. Just always reminds me how great Heavenly Father is, and how much He knows each of us.

Wednesday was pretty sad, for all the wrong reasons. Elder Mercer and I made a big point to make sure we were acquainted with all of our "Homeless Homies," and so we'd talk to them quite regularly. One of them, Haley, passed away a few weeks ago, which was really sad to hear. So, Mandy took us down to her funeral on Wednesday morning, and we postponed district meeting until later on in the day. I've been to three funerals on my mission: one LDS, one somewhat Evangelical, and then this one. The LDS funeral was so happy. Almost interestingly so. There were a lot of fond memories shared, and everyone had a smile on their face... You felt like you knew her better after the funeral, and that you were happy for this next step in her existence. The Evangelical one was very mournful, and very, "We will miss Auntie May, and we will praise God in our sadness. Let us sing a hymn." And then the jazz organ comes out and we all start singing some uptempo dirge. This one, was more depressing than anything. The priest had never met her in his life, and so pretty much all he could say was, "Let us thank God for Haley. I'm going to tell you a story about how she bet her nephew a pound that he would eat a spoonful of mustard, and then didn't pay him. Also, let's tell some cutesy stories from her childhood." And then we listened to One Love and Three Little Birds in remembrance. The church was pretty empty, and everything seemed pretty dead. I think I like LDS funerals better.

Picked up a new investigator this week. We met him about a month ago on the road, and helped him saw a pipe that he was fitting for a plumbing job he was doing. Really nice guy, and he really enjoyed the first lesson. Didn't commit to baptism, but perhaps if we had had more time, we could have explained it more to him. Oh well.

The only other thing I can think of was that we helped some of our friends move this weekend. Paul, Andrew and Sam are people we know from just around town that are super great. Paul's religious, so is Sam, and Andrew's not, but even though we're not teaching them, they're just super friendly to us whenever we see them in town, or anywhere else. It's awesome, though, because I found out that Paul actually gives out copies of the Book of Mormon to pastors and priests of other churches that he knows. Pretty sweet, huh?

Anyway, that's all the exciting bits for the week. I'll throw in a few pictures too.

One of my weird "selfies" with Elder Fifita.

Love you,

- Elder Green