Elder Anderson's been pretty sick this week, so he's had to stay inside and we haven't been able to do much missionary work :(. At first I thought it would be nice to get a little bit of a break, but after I spent time inside not doing much it was harder to go out and work when I did get the chance, and I had a harder time feeling good about myself as a missionary. Now I can see why hard work is so important and so good for you, and I'm grateful that Elder Tomita and I were able to work with so few interruptions in Barrow. Fortunately Elder Anderson has organized a lot of exchanges with the other Runcorn elders so we've all taken turns staying inside with him, and he seems to be on the mend now.
Runcorn seems to be one of the most fruitful areas in the mission right now, in large part because of the amazing ward and their strong commitment to missionary work. Elder Anderson was talking about some of our investigators who aren't really progressing towards baptism and telling me that it would be tough for us to stop teaching them because the ward loves them so much. I got to attend PEC, Ward Council, and a meeting of the "Proclaim the Gospel" committee this week, and I was really impressed by how well the meetings were run, how on-the-ball the members were, and how many great things are being accomplished. It was exciting to see how a really united ward can be so powerful.
Incidentally, the ward has been feeding us really well. This week each of our two companionships has tea appointments six times. I also hear that Runcorn is the place to be in the mission at Christmastime, so I should be in luck next month.
Yesterday was Zone Conference. President Jacobsen gave us some great training that inspired me to work harder. Our mission is currently not putting out very high numbers (compared to other missions in the area) and we're going to have the chance to exercise a lot of faith, set some challenging goals, and work very hard in the coming weeks.
At Zone Conference I got to meet a bunch of missionaries I hadn't known before (since last transfer I was at the other end of the mission). I talked for a while to one of the brand-new missionaries who just came out two weeks ago. He was studying chemical engineering at the U of U last year, so we talked a bit about college math classes, etc. He also told me that Elder Mistico won't be coming out as soon as I'd thought because he ended up going to the Provo MTC so he could get some deeper language instruction. So I'll have to wait a little bit longer to meet him.
Last Friday Elder Anderson and I went to a district leaders' council in another area. While he was in the meeting, I went out tracting with the other two district leaders' companions, Elder Kyambadde from Uganda and Elder Nagy (who arrived in the mission at the same time I did) from Hungary. Elder Kyambadde told us that in Uganda missionaries never tract or street contact because they spend all their time teaching member referrals. Lucky! :) I decided that I'm glad to be here, though, because tracting and street contacting are good growing experiences for me to have, even if they're not always very comfortable. The three of us did some good tracting. Poor Elder Nagy is still feeling shaky with English (although he seems a lot better at it than when I met him right after he got to England), and didn't talk at all at the first few doors we knocked on. But then, at the last door we knocked on, we met a talkative lady who mentioned that it was confusing that there are so many churches out there, and Elder Nagy jumped in and used that comment as an opportunity to teach the entire first lesson to her, right there while we were standing outside the door. He did a really great job too. It makes contacting people much easier to have a companion to back you up.
Sunday is Remembrance Day, and to commemorate it people all over the place are wearing pins in their lapels with little red paper poppies. I need to get one of them. In church on Sunday, we're having a minute of silence at 11 AM. Incidentally, I'm also giving a talk in sacrament meeting, about prayer.
This past Sunday Elder Kerr (an Area Authority Seventy) and Sister Kerr came to the Runcorn Ward. Elder Kerr was a very dynamic guy, and he not only bore his testimony in sacrament meeting but spoke to us in Priesthood and PEC. Hearing him talk about missionary work was really exciting and wonderful; I could tell that he really believed that (as President Hinckley said a few years ago) there are millions of people in the British Isles with an innate desire to worship the living God, and that through good member missionary work, we in Runcorn would be able to start finding and baptizing those people. A good boost for us full-time elders. Sister Kerr also came up to me , thanked me for my testimony (which I'd borne in sacrament meeting), and told me about how she'd first met the missionaries in a bus stop somewhere; they bore testimony to her, and even though she hadn't had any interest in the Church before and wouldn't have let missionaries into her home, she felt the Spirit and ultimately was baptized. She said that I should always bear mine when I had an opportunity.
Thanks for all your wonderful letters!
My address here is
4 Heather Close
Paddock Moor, Runcorn
Cheshire WA7 3HW