It has been an amazing week and a half and I have only 12 minutes to write this letter! I'll try and send a more complete one next week.
The most important stuff: I am staying in Newcastle for the next six weeks. Elder Garcia has been called as the new assistant to the president, and my new companion is Elder McIntosh, the one I served around for two transfers in Manchester and three in Blackburn. He's a good missionary, and it will be fun to serve with him and teach him the ropes of being a zone leader.
I mentioned to Ruth that I wasn't able to read her letter about the housing draw (due to mission policies that prohibit us receiving forwarded communications from friends by email). If this is really urgent, please let me know right away so I can get permission from President to read and reply to the email. I mentioned to Ruth that I will be checking email on Monday or Tuesday. If that will be too late, please email the mission office and let them know about the situation. Thanks! Sorry about the hangups.
A couple of things that have been going on:
Our zone had an amazing week of quality gospel conversations last week! The mission standard is for each companionship to get 70 QGCs and 12 appointments in a week, and while some of our companionships have gotten that regularly others have struggled. At the beginning of the (just-finished) transfer, Elder Garcia and I met with the district leaders and set a goal for each companionship to increase in QGCs until by the last full week of the transfer when everybody would get 70/12. The district leaders emphasized that goal strongly and last week everyone was able to do it! In fact, most companionships greatly exceeded it. We all had to work together to make it happen too. The sisters from Congleton came and worked in our area while they were in the area for General Conference and got us some appointments, and we were able to go over to their area on Sunday night and get the last appointment they needed to hit standard for them. In the other district, three companionships had the weekly standard by Friday night but the fourth one was way behind. So on Saturday Elder Rose took another missionary with him to the struggling area and stopped people in their town centre for about 5 hours straight, helping them far surpass the standard. It was a pretty exciting week for us.
General Conference topped it off. I loved every minute of it! I think my favorite talks were the one by Elder Hales, the ones in the priesthood session by Presidents Uchtdorf and Eyring, and the one by Elder Holland. It makes me sad to think this is my last mission General Conference.
I've got to go now! More next week!