|Feeling the Christmas Spirit!|
|Our lovely bus stop that we are always at, but with a tad more snow than we would like. Coldest winter on record in the UK...just my luck.|
|Winter Wonderland! Our church is in the background.|
|Planning the day with Elder Cunningham|
Hiya Hiya Family!!!
What a wonderful time of year it is! This place is beaming with lights in the town centers and downtown Manchester. I can't believe when I arrived it was still short-sleeve weather. I say it a lot but time flies. It's been crazy.
But first off, Derek Ford (cousin), coming to TEXAS?! Is there a better place to serve a mission?! I don't think so. I was crossing my fingers for England Manchester, but going to Texas will do! Such good news, tell him my congrats!
This week started off with Jamie Roper, a ward member taking us to the beloved Costco. We spent maybe a little too much, but it was worth it. First time I've been able to buy legit peanut butter! Who knew I would miss it this much..
Later that evening we had a funny moment while tracting around. We met an elderly Jamaican women named Carmen. As soon as we mentioned the name Jesus Christ she let us in. With her was her husband and sister. They had Jesus statues everywhere, and were full of the "gospel" spirit. We did the best we could to trot through the restoration lesson but every couple of minutes they would shake the house by shouting "Hallelujah!, Hallelujah!"
We did our best to speak over their "gospel choir" shouts.. and to get across that our religion was different than theirs. But there wasn't much success.. But we did make great friends and even sang Happy Birthday to Carmen before we left.
On Friday we headed down to downtown Manchester, Picadilly area, and sang carols. It was so great, we just belted the Christmas Hymns and watched as people clapped and took pictures. My idea of bringing a CD player and blasting Josh Groban to help us keep tune as well as add some oomph didn't go through, but it did go better than I expected.
A couple of us would take turns and street contact out in front---a great way to set up appointments. If someone ends up getting baptized you could say my beautiful voice got everything started. Or that we had 8 sister missionaries with us...either one works.
With the spirit of Christmas in the air a more and more people stop and talk with us! We have even adapted our QGC (street contacting formula inspired by our mission President and formed from Preach My Gospel) to the Christmas season. We have been able to draw them in with something they are familiar with and then tie it all to the Restoration. Again, I am so thankful for the teachings and format of QGCs. Without them, the time it takes to "get up to speed" as a missionary would be far greater. It's like having a proven effective playbook when you enter the league as a rookie. If you put in the time to work, and "become" the material, you are already ahead of the game and ready to provide for the team, mission and kingdom.
Update on Mike:
He had a bit of nervousness and was feeling uneasy about his baptism a few times this past week, but we were able to reassure him for this upcoming week. He attended a Catholic church and took some of the sacrament which included wine. So he wasn't able to make his date this past week. He felt bad and I think it was good to put it off a week. Even though it was a tiny bit, we showed him how important it is to fully follow the commandments. He is a star, and is ready for his baptism this upcoming Saturday!
Update on Martin:
He hasn't been able to move out of his flat, and has had a hard couple of weeks. He hasn't been able to fully keep the commitments so we had sort of a "bold" lesson with him. We told him that things needed to change if he wants to still be baptized.. We could tell the lesson really hit him hard, it made him think a lot. The next lesson, he had some "fire" in him. He kept saying how its time to set goals and get where he needs to be with God. So we set a date of the 8th of January. He is fired up and preparing himself for that date!
One of my favorite scriptures this week had to do with "Work Ethic". James 1:22. "Be ye doers of the word, not hearers only." I know that each week I receive counsel in all types, from the scriptures, the Mission President and leaders, conference talks, family, and it's one thing to take it all in and think it's all lovely advice. It's another to act upon and see changes come. I know that as a "doer" of all knowledge I gain, I can become what my Heavenly Father wants me to become here in England!
Patience was a great study for me this week! One of my favorite scriptures was in Proverbs. "He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding." That scripture related patience well with knowledge. When we have a greater understanding of what comes from our actions, we are more willing to be patient and endure. Being patient means having calm endurance, knowing things will get better. One other scripture I really like is D&C 101:16, it says, "Be STILL, and KNOW that I am God". So simple...but what I took from that is to be STILL, or patient, KNOWing through faith and hope that things will improve through doing what is right. Heavenly Father loves us, but wants us to grow and become more like him. That is through trials of our faith and patience.
I am so grateful for the eternal perspective that I have that gets me through the hard times, and to know that I have a Heavenly Father that loves me and wants me to return "home." I'm grateful to know that I can be with my family even after this life, through His perfect plan and through His son, Jesus Christ. What a wonderful opportunity it is for me to study about my Savior and His birth! We celebrate his birth, because of his life!
I love you all so much!! I hope you all are enjoying this Christmas season as much as I am! :)
LOVE LOVE LOVE,
PS- I will call home around 2pm here..8am there on Christmas! I hope that works!! :)