Nice shot of the temple in gray, rainy weather.
Me and my posterity! I don’t think I mentioned this but Elder Adams has been assigned to train new missionary, Elder Chambers, in Blackpool. In mission lingo, that makes him my grandson. We met up with them at zone conference and got this photo. Left to right: Elder Stevens, me, Elder Adams, Elder Chambers.
Last Friday morning Elder Stevens and I had an appointment fall through. I remembered there was a potential investigator who lived in the area and was free in the mornings, so we went to her street to knock by. When we walked into her street, Elder Stevens walked right past her house to the other end. At first I was a bit annoyed with him because I thought he’d just got the house numbers mixed up, but it turned out he’d seen a door open at that end of the street. He used a power statement in speaking to the man in the house, and he invited us in! The man’s name was Jerry ... He’s from the Philippines (so he actually knows how to pronounce my name) and has been living here for about 5 years, working something like 80 hours a week as a nurse. As we taught him the Restoration he told us that he felt spiritually lost and had asked in prayer the night before for the Lord to show him the way. He told us he felt that we were the answer to his prayer. We committed him to come to church and to be baptized once he has repented of his sins, and he agreed! He’s a great man, really humble and open, and we’re excited to teach him. The only challenge is that he is so busy working (8 AM to 8 PM shifts most days) that we won’t be able to teach him more than about once a week. That shouldn’t stop him progressing, though.
On Saturday night Elder Stevens and I had 8 people committed to coming to church the next day! We’d talked to all of them on Friday or on Saturday, so we were feeling really great. I actually woke up in the middle of the night for a couple of minutes and got really excited when I thought about all the people coming to church in the morning – it felt a bit like Christmas morning. The next day, only one person showed up! : ( We were disappointed. Half of the investigators had close family members get really ill or suffer some injury that they had to help deal with, so we have to cut them some slack, I suppose. Fortunately, the one who did come was Jerry, and he had a great experience. He texted us after church to thank us for bringing him. The ward is now excited to get involved with him – Bishop told us last night that he really wants to go see Jerry with us – so we see great things ahead for him. We’re seeing him on Saturday and hopefully we will set a baptismal date. Ryan’s baptismal date has fallen through now, but it’s wonderful to see how the Lord continues to bless us with people who will progress even as our older investigators struggle.
Blackburn Ward has made a drastic change in how they coordinate missionary work. Our ward mission leader was released on Sunday and will not be replaced. Instead, we will coordinate our work directly with the bishopric in PEC, and the former ward mission leader has been called as a ward missionary to work alongside us. We went to our first PEC last night, and it was great. As I understand it, the reorganization was done in part to trim down on meetings (we don’t have any coordination meetings now) and to streamline things generally, and even from the first meeting I can see that working. We heard from the bishopric themselves exactly what they want us to do and exactly how they want to help us, and I had a lot more confidence that the plans we made would actually be fulfilled. I love working closely with great ward leaders. Preach My Gospel Chapter 13 says the relationships we develop with stake and ward leaders as missionaries will bless us throughout our lives, and I can see that happening already for me. I’m really grateful that I’ve been called to a mission where the Church is already reasonably strong and where there are such experienced, Christlike leaders to learn from.
Thanksgiving Day ended up being a bit crazy for us. Our tea appointment called an hour beforehand and cancelled (all the males in the home had been called out at the last minute). I was pretty sad for a second after we received the call, and then I realized that there wasn’t anything we could do about it and that really it was a good test to see how thankful I really was for what I had. We ended up going back to our flat and ordering big kebabs instead. In accordance with tradition, Elder Stevens and I talked about all the things we were thankful for while we ate our kebabs. I ended up really enjoying the meal and feeling quite happy as we went out to our lessons that evening. So there’s a happy ending! Yay!
I went on exchange with Elder McIntosh (for the fourth time – this is our fifth consecutive transfer in the same district) on Monday. He’s a great missionary. I was really impressed with how excited he was as he talked with everyone and invited them to be taught. I guess over the past week or two I’ve stopped feeling as excited about teaching and testifying to everyone I meet even though I’m still doing it. But it really is an exciting thing – you just have to remind yourself that and get pumped up about it. It was amazing to see what a difference Elder McIntosh’s excitement and boldness made in our area. Elder Stevens and I had a goal to set up 15 appointments with people from quality gospel conversations all week. With Elder McIntosh’s help, we ended up getting 13 on Monday alone! It shows just how ready our area is to receive the gospel.
Yvonne is still doing great. She missed church on Sunday because her relatives were in town from Birmingham and she had some kind of obligation to visit with them, but she still made it to stake choir practice that evening. We’re hoping to get the rest of her family more involved in the church. Her father sat in on a lesson we taught on Monday night, and he expressed a lot of respect for us and our work. He’s also expressed some interest in family history work. We’ll see what we can do.
It snowed this week! And stuck! We’ve had heavy frost for most of the week, but also genuine snow. On Monday morning it snowed for a couple of minutes during our study. Then on Tuesday it really started bucketing down. A member told us that it hasn’t snowed like this in Lancashire for about ten years. I’m really happy about it, because it makes the hills look beautiful and everything seem like Christmas. Even if it does make the pavements slippery, now that it’s all hardened and icy. Elder Powrie, who is from South Africa, had never driven in snow before, so it’s been quite an experience for him too.
Elder Stevens and I tried cutting our own hair last week. It worked OK, and my hair looks alright. It’s a lot shorter than I’m used to, though, and I think next time it gets long I might just go back to the barber shop.
I’ve been enjoying the MoTab Christmas music, especially because it looks like my other music hasn’t been approved. I enjoyed it a lot last year, though, and of course I’ll get to listen to it next year as well.
Next week is transfers! Already. Probably Elder Stevens or I will be going, so please send letters to the office this week. Thanks!
I love you! I’ve enjoyed all the post I’ve been receiving recently, including letters from Uncle Jay’s family and Grandma Bay. Is the small box from Uncle Ron’s family a Christmas package?