What a week here in Chester. We have been blessed immensely this week and I'll do my best to convey how much fun it has been to see so many great things happen!
Well for starters, this was an excellent week with sacrament meeting attendance. We were blessed to have 6 people come to church and stay throughout! The ward did such a good job of making them all feel welcome and comfortable. How we got them all there was also a credit to the ward. We asked for some help from a few of them and they all were so willing to swing by and pick people up!
Nicky and Mathew:
We taught them twice this past week, once in her home and the other time was in a recent convert's home. The first lesson was just a review about the restoration and to check for understanding. She understood it all very well, and the rest of the time it was great just to hear the members bear testimony. Specifically about how the gospel has helped them to raise their children and keep them safe. Throughout the lesson, Matthew was able to answer questions and was a huge part throughout.
We then asked Beverly, a recent convert of a about month, if she would be willing to let us teach Nicky in her home. She loved that we would let her be involved, and was so pro-active in getting Nicky to her house. Before we even got to teaching, we followed up on her Book of Mormon reading. She said that the print was difficult to follow in the book, and so she pro-actively downloaded the LDS app and read the Book of Mormon up unto 1 Nephi 18. We could not believe it. When investigators are doing that so early on, you know that they have commitment, and they truly are there to learn and not just enjoy your company.
We then taught her the Plan of Salvation...as always it was a powerful lesson. We were able to expound upon the scriptures with her and teach to her how they apply to her situation.
Beverly was able to the powerful testimony of her baptism and how she came to know how the Plan of Salvation was real.
On the way back home she said that Matthew had a treat for us. Mathew gave us two cup-cakes that he had made the night before. What a stud he is!
Matthew was at school at the time, and so we planned to call him later on to thank him. We also were going to follow-up and see if she would be able to come to church. She was hesitant because she didn't know if her daughter would want to go and she would have to take care of her over the weekend.
So when I called later on and while I was speaking to Matthew he said, "We are coming to church on Friday.. oh wait.. Catherine! Do you want to come to church tomorrow?" She them asked him questions (she's 12) .. and he told her how much he liked it, and so she agreed. He came back on the phone and said "Yep, we are coming to church tomorrow." I didn't even have to ask! So they indeed came to church and loved it. During gospel principles, Nicky showed me her iPhone, and that she had gotten up to 2 Nephi. Wow! Investigators just don't do that! It takes people along time to make it there. It honestly just shows her desire.
Lorna is an amazing woman who was taught on the spot, on a park bench a couple of weeks ago as she was walking home from shopping. Due to her vacation, she has been out of touch until recently. She lives in a retirement home with a member from the ward. And so this past week we tried by and found them both in, so we taught them both! Lorna was really keen on the Book of Mormon and had been studying it for the past couple of weeks.. She then willingly came to church and described it as "marvelous!"... so English. She is doing very well! Seeing her many times this week.
Mrs. Lawson is quite the miracle. She is 78 years old and was found in the last minutes of tracting at night. Upon opening the door she said, "I was wondering when you were going to pop round." She had seen the church being built and was expecting us to come around. We then found out that our church is actually quite familiar with her. 40 years ago she investigated the church and even attended for some time. But she was not baptised because her parents were opposed. We have been able to teach her 3-4 times, and this week she came to church. She is doing well. The only concerns we must resolve are that she is not too old to be baptised! haha she thinks she just cannot change at this age, but she is great, and we'll see her a couple of times this week.
Richard and Bianca:
They are picking up right were they left off last week. Making huge steps towards baptism. Bianca has cut out almost all of her W.O.W issues and even bought a wedding dress this past week! Oh and she has read all the way to Jacob 2... no big deal...haha, yeah right, huge deal! And she is understanding so much of it. Richard is also doing very well. He continues to be a rock and already has a testimony of its truthfulness. All he needs is to finish off smoking, and then to get married. They as well came to church!
It honestly is the best thing as a missionary to see the "change of heart" in an investigator. To see what the effect just these past 3 weeks have had on Richard and Bianca are huge! From that alone, I cannot but testify of the truthfulness of this work!
This past week I had my first Specialized Trainings as a Zone Leader. For the first hour and a half we train the zone on something that has been decided at zone leader council. This training was on "Quality Gospel Conversations (QGCs) and Power Statements." Wow, what a great first. QGCs and Power Statements have shaped my mission! With that being the case it was easy to find things to say, and to bear testimony to the younger missionaries who still are being introduced to them. Elder Cunningham and I did a fun little role play of what we called "The Evolution of Finding." We started with our experience in Piccadilly for the first time as new missionaries and the thoughts that came with that. We then moved onto the "Robotic" stage of just repeating the same thing, and then flowed into what it is now, being personable and creative in finding while also still sticking to the structure of the QGC...Teach. Testify. Invite.
Since QGCs have come into the mission (2008), which made finding time accountable and not just "floating time," the work here has accelerated. Other missions from the Europe area have also adapted them in! It's hard to share my feelings about them on here because I know that you may not fully understand them. haha.
In the afternoon session, the Assistants introduced "Member Efforts" the point system that we have been doing the past couple of weeks. It was a huge hit and hopefully it will have the same effect on member work, as QGC's have had on finding.
Last night we put on a fireside for the ward called "A Night in Lehi's Dream." We gathered them all in a room and introduced it, and then one by one they put on a blindfold and were given some rope to cling to aka iron rod, and then had them start! We had made a trail throughout the building filled with tempters (the grandma, and grandpa's of the ward) haha and they were hilarious! The trail finally led to a plastic tree, and then they were handed some fruit. We then gathered them all and bore testimony of what we all enjoy as members of the church. Then touched upon how they felt as they staggered along and compared it to their friends who don't even have a rod in their life.
All in all it was a great turnout and they seemed to enjoy it. We tried to do something different from the norm of just talking to them in a room, we wanted them to remember the night. Hopefully we achieved our intentions.
I love missionary work. period.