Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Notes from Sam -- 27 July 2009
1. With Cecilia and son
2. Me with Joseph and TJ, our former star investigators (TJ is in red). They moved away a week or two ago, unfortunately, but their great older siblings are doing their best to keep them connected with the church.
3. Bolton District activity. It turns out towels make good headdresses as well as hockey sticks. L to R: Sister Sessions, Elder Driscoll, Elder Sutherland (in back), Elder Eichelberger, Elder Larson, Elder Green, and me. Sister Kocaj is not pictured.
4. Elder Parry styling one of my birthday party hats.
5. Me and my birthday kebab.
For the past couple of weeks, Elder Eichelberger and I have been teaching a lady named Cecilia Gbemudu. She is about 70 years old and has come here from Nigeria (quite recently, I would guess) to stay with her son, who I believe is an English citizen, and his family. It sounds like she stays here for a few months, then goes back to Nigeria for a few months, and on and on like that. Elder Eichelberger and I love visiting her. We met her while we were tracting and as we were telling her briefly about the Restoration, she kept on saying things like “Praise the Lord!”, “Amen!”, and “Keep it up!” She always calls us “my sons” as well. : )
She is a very strong Christian and a very spiritual lady, and although she sometimes has trouble understanding our American accents (she says we speak “raw English” as opposed to her African English) she really appreciates our teaching. When we shared the First Vision and asked her how she felt (to help her identify the Spirit) she told us she felt “the power of God” in the room. About a week ago when we taught her we challenged her to be baptized on September 12, but she had a couple of concerns: she thought the pastor who had baptized her in Nigeria might have had priesthood authority, and she wasn’t sure her son would let her attend our church (he usually goes to a different one). We committed her to pray about whether she should be baptized again. When we started the next lesson this past Friday it sounded like she was still unsure, so we started teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we started teaching about baptism, she asked us if we’d seen in vision that she would be baptized again. We said that we had prayed and asked God about it and we had felt that she could be baptized on September 12. When she heard that, she said something like, “Alright, I will baptize,” and explained that if God had revealed it to us both, then it must be right because in the mouth of two or three witnesses is every word established. Wow! What faith! She is going back to Nigeria on August 10, it turns out, so the missionaries over there will have to finish teaching her and do the actual baptism. During the lesson we also met her son, who is really nice and was more than happy to let his mum attend church with us, and Cecilia had her son take a picture of her with us so she can show it to the missionaries in Nigeria (attached - the fourth person is our fellowshipper, a great recent convert named Junior). She came to church yesterday as well and really enjoyed it. I’m excited to teach her some more before she goes back.
Andy Winterbottom is doing really well. He came to sacrament meeting yesterday and really enjoyed it. I don’t think he understood it 100% - the two talks were on patriarchal blessings and the power of regular temple attendance – but I guess the real reason we want investigators to attend sacrament meeting is to feel the Spirit and I’m sure he did. His baptism is set for 7 PM on Saturday, and the ward is getting it all sorted out. I’m excited!
Interviews with the President was this week. Elder Eichelberger and I gave a training on how to do a weekly planning session. Preach My Gospel has a set of steps to follow (p. 147-150) for the planning session, and we focused on the importance of reading through and carrying out those steps one line at a time as you plan, thus making sure you carry out all the necessary steps in the right order and don’t miss anything. The weekly planning session can be really a drag if you don’t do it right, and it’s very easy to lose focus and/or spend too long planning, so I felt it was an important and a difficult training. It went really well though – we started out with an example of a really bad planning session (complete with a very messy study desk covered with papers, bags of crisps, etc.), then had the missionaries role-play planning the right way, and then read through a couple of more difficult or confusing planning steps with the missionaries and helped them understand how to plan correctly. I learned a lot from it myself – there’s a few planning steps that have always confused me, and I gained a good idea of what they meant. Better yet, I realized that if something in Preach My Gospel confuses me, I can study and ponder and seek revelation about it and the Lord will help me understand and apply it. We finished the training by testifying a lot of Preach My Gospel and how much it helps us. It’s surprising to realize that when I started my mission I didn’t like Preach My Gospel much and never studied much from it. I’m glad I’ve learned to appreciate it so much.
I love you all! Hope you are enjoying your holiday. : )
I got my travel itinerary for August 13:
Flight 1: Manchester to Atlanta
Delta Air Lines DL065
Departs: 10:50 AM
Arrives: 3:00 PM
Flight 2: Atlanta to Jacksonville International
Delta Air Lines DL1675
Departs: 7:10 PM
Arrives: 8:27 PM
I have a 100-pound checked baggage allowance and 40 pounds in my carry-on. I’m not sure how much my stuff weighs but I may need to mail some separately. I’m assuming I should just mail it to Brookwood Rd. Let me know if that will work.
A couple more questions: I have quite a few photos (in hard copy) that you’ve sent me for Christmas, my birthday, etc, and a significant collection of artwork by Isaac and Eleanor. Would you have a use for those things if I brought them back? I might bring them anyway depending on how much space I have. Also, is there anything you’d like me to bring you from England? I have one more preparation day to get it.
P.P.S. In one of the internet chat printouts you sent me, Ed and Dad were discussing scientific theory stated in poetic form, and Dad mentioned the theory of relativity written as a limerick. I couldn’t resist:
A brilliant researcher, wild-haired
Questioned Newton himself – yes, he dared!
He so postulated:
“E and m are related
And the constant’s the speed of light squared."
Posted by David at 8:31 PM