Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Notes from Sam - 14 November 2007

Hi there,

The other Runcorn elders had two baptisms this week: a single mother named Nikki and her deacon(?)-aged son Josh. They used to live in Denmark and had all the missionary discussions there, but moved away before they could get baptized. Then Elder Anderson and Elder Empey met them while they were tracting and re-taught them. The ward loves them, and they will be solid members. This is the first convert baptism I've seen here in England, so it was kind of exciting. Although it must have been even more exciting for Elder Anderson and Elder Empey, who actually found Nikki and Josh and saw them go through the entire teaching process.

The other Runcorn elders have one other really promising investigator, a teenager named John who is a very good friend of Naomi Cohen, the ward mission leader's daughter. He has been taught, at the Cohens' home for over a year, and has been very receptive but hesitant to commit to baptism too quickly. On Sunday morning, the day after Nikki and Josh were baptized, the Cohens told us that John had something to tell us elders and pulled the four of us into a classroom so he could talk to us. He said, "You know how youse* have been teaching me to try and convert me to be baptized? Well, I don't want you to do that any more." Then, after a long pause, "Because I'm going to get baptized." We were all very relieved : ). His baptism is scheduled for this coming Saturday, and Elder Anderson will be performing it. I've gotten to know John a little bit and helped teach him once while on exchange, so this is especially exciting for me. I'm very blessed to be in Runcorn while all these great things are happening.

*Colloquial British for second-person plural; "y'all," roughly. It's very commonly used, both in Runcorn and Barrow.

I gave a talk on prayer last Sunday. It went OK - I was a little nervous and I ran a little long, but it turned out fine because there were only two speakers, me and the bishop's father (he's also a former member of the Stake Presidency, I believe - people refer to him as "President Ireland") plus a special recitation and two minutes' silence for Remembrance Day. Brother Ireland was very kind to me and told me after the meeting that my talk was "excellent." He also complimented me on my singing too, saying I sang with volume ("most Americans don't") and sharing D&C 25:12 with me. He told me that he'd spent most of his life in tiny branches of the Church, singing loudly to try and keep everyone united. I think he should meet Isaac. : )

I've been on exchange a couple of times this week, which has been good since Elder Anderson is still contagious, if not as badly incapacitated as before, and is still under quarantine. I went with Elder Atwood to Moreton and Elder Frogley (nephew of President Chris Frogley of the Nauvoo pageant) to Birkenhead, both cities just across the Mersey River from Liverpool. It felt really good to go back to working full-time for those couple of days - in Moreton in particular, I spent an hour street contacting and ended up talking to a guy who really needed help and seemed receptive. Hopefully the Moreton elders will get to teach him. I'm actually writing from Liverpool today (and the Liverpool library has draconian Internet time limits for guests so this letter may be a little short), because I'm on the way back from my exchange in Birkenhead. Elder Frogley (who went through the MTC with me) was on the BYU track team before he came out, and when we went running this morning I was puffing pretty hard and struggling to keep within sight of him : ).

Last preparation day we had a zone activity with at least a dozen other missionaries attending. We went ice skating at a rink over in Wales (where street signs and everything are in both Welsh and English - kind of cool). It turns out that Elder Empey is quite a talented ice skater, having figure skated for 8 years while growing up (a fact he seems to have attempted to keep hidden), and Elder Lapinsuo from Finland and Elder Egervari from Hungary were also pulling stunts on the ice. Poor Elder Anderson had never ice skated before and was stumbling around a lot, much to the delight of the elders whom he puts to shame on the football field.

I love you! I hope school isn't sapping the life and the energy out of everyone completely. Hang in there!


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