Monday, February 6, 2017

Last Mission Update

Hey Guys!
     I know It's been way too short of a time for me to update again (according to my usual response time)...But I thought I would take the opportunity to do a update on everything in a bit more detail. These past few weeks have been all over the place. As you are most likely aware, I was asked to be a part of an emergency transfer about a week and a half into this transfer. I just laughed when I got the call from the AP's... Not much in the way of the mission gets to me anymore. So I packed my bags and left from Rhiwbina to Bridgend to serve with Elder Timperley. The guy is a legend. He's an adventurous Australian who doesn't worry much about unimportant things. Just a great guy in general.  But he's not the only person I've got to know over these past few weeks. In the course of the 4 weeks there have been 4 Emergency Transfers effecting this district. It's a whole different team now. But it's been amazing to get to know all of these new people. It's got me thinking just how much goes on behind the scenes, and often we fail to see it.
     If I had stayed in Nottingham I would have never got to know all these great people, and then again I would have met so many different people there. The people around us have such a great influence on the outcome of our lives. If we fail to cultivate relationships with those around us we miss so many opportunities for happiness. Heavenly Father knows our needs and he knows the people who will influence us for good, so he puts them in our lives. We aught to utilise that a bit more, and believe that we can positively influence those around us. If we do that, life will find so much more meaning. That's been my experience these past few weeks. I'm really happy I got to come out here for my last transfer.
     So much in Wales seems different from England. The biggest thing is the people. People are just kinder here, and it makes the work so much more enjoyable. I'm just starting to remember that not all white people are actually horrible, Haha. This area is pretty spread out and there are quite a few big villages around, so we frequently go from place to place to do the work. It's like something straight from the scriptures, the people in the villages seem to have one mind. In one village you're welcomed by all, and in the next the people are ice cold. It's been a serious testament to me that the places we go and people we associate with significantly influence who we become.
     Speaking of places, we have seen quite a few castles lately, which has been quite unique. From castles converted to houses, to the living equivalent of hogwarts. I'll put some pictures up at the end.

     As far as teaching goes, we have yet to find that golden person, but we have met some pretty cool people. I think the coolest person we have run into thus far is a Polish man by the name of Yuan. We met him a few days ago while tracting and he invited us right in. He is a really cool guy, and we had a long discussion with him. So hopefully that goes well in the end. I have noticed that the people who are receptive to the truths of the gospel are always those who are humbled by the circumstances of their lives. Either through something presently oppressing them, or a deep memory of painful and difficult experiences that they formerly faced. The latter being the more unusual.  While most ask why bad things happen, some accept that life is hard and choose to learn from it. Those are the people who receive truth and conquer in this life. I am continually amazed at the power of a positive attitude. While I'm not much for talking to people all the time, doing so has shown me so much. I have seen now in multiple countries and countless groups of people that we are all so similar, and the choices we make impact us so much.
     As my mission is winding up I have been thinking more and more about my experiences out here. (In large part prompted by the endless questioning of everyone, lol) The introspection has taught me a lot. Those lessons I'll surely share in my homecoming talk, so I'm not going to make the effort to write them all out. But, I'm happy to say I'm quite at peace. I feel confident in saying I'm leaving without regrets. And I'm also confident in saying I can't wait to come home!
Love you and have a great week.
See you soon :

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Update from Wales

Hey guys! Sorry it's been so long...

It's been a crazy past few months! Let me tell you a little about what's been going on. So for the past
three months or so, I was training a new missionary in the mission. It was one of my favorite times in the mission so far.  He's an English missionary from south London, and we got on wonderfully. The best part was that our humor fit together really well.... We were always having a giggle.  It was also really cool to see his personal progress over the few months we were together. That was one of the most rewarding things I have experienced on the mission. You wouldn't believe how much he grew in those three months, and I got to watch it on the front lines. It was a great blessing.  This was all taking place in Nottingham by the way. (I can't remember if I made an update since then)
We met some really cool people along the way.  Four that really stuck out.  Three investigators and our friend Keith who came back into activity in the church.  The three investigators were really awesome people. Adham, Caleb, and Nadar.  Adam is a Syrian uni student whose in England for a couple years working on his Bachelors.   He's Muslim but was really interested to meet and felt the spirit from the first time we met with him.  Caleb is a really intelligent guy who was headed off to uni to study philosophy and theology, and he happened to live a 3 minutes walk away which was convenient. He was really interested in learning and he taught a lot of the lessons to himself. It was really cool teaching him.  Nadar is an Iranian refugee who speaks not so much English. It was quite humorous at times, but we really enjoyed trying to teach him.  He disappeared after a couple months and we were sure he died. But we later got into contact and all is well.  As for Keith, the guy is a legend. He has started coming back to church and has gave up all his old vices. It was really cool to be alongside him through his journey. And he makes us hot chocolate, so we loved him for that too. :)
Nottingham was a really great area, and though I was reluctant to go at first, I loved it.
Now I've been transferred to Wales. I'm serving in an area called Rhiwbina, which is about 6 km north of Cardiff.  I was quite reluctant to come here as well, as I only have one transfer left and I had really grown to love Notts. But I'm loving it here, It's unreal. It looks a lot like England, although the houses are a bit bigger and more spread out. But the people here are so different.  I have been amazed at how kind the people are here, day in and day out.  We took a bus today and the bus driver waited for this family for like 3 minutes to cross the street and come over. In England if you're not within bus length and running, they will not wait. No questions. So I'm loving the friendly people and the slow pace of life here. The ward is amazing too. I'm really happy that I get to finish my mission here...
So, that's basically news from me.
Oh and I have a comp from the Philippines again, so that's alright.
But yeah anyways, hope you're all doing well.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Hope everyone has a great thanksgiving.

Hey everyone!
It's been a little while...
Let me just update you on what's going on.
These past few weeks have been some of my favourite on my mission. Elder Tinker and I have been having a lot of funworking away. I've been losing myself in the work quite a bit, and that's the way I like it. Nottingham is a great place. It is so diverse, and there is so much potential for sharing the gospel. We had been in a bit of a rut for a while and decided we would go about things differently. So we started working in  the more middle/upper class areas and surprisingly have been seeing success. We met/ have been working with a guy  named Caleb, and he is absolutely astounding. I've never met an 18 year old in England with such a level head, In or out of the church. It's astounding how well the principles of the gospel resonate with him. It's been really fun teaching  him. The night we met him he asked if we drink and smoke, and we told him no... The next time we met with him,  (5 days later or so) he told us he had stopped smoking. He keeps surprising us with his ability to comply with the
gospel. So that's been pretty exciting.
I'm not sure what else to say really. Things have been going quite well.
Hope everyone has a great thanksgiving.
Love you guys

Monday, October 3, 2016

Life is trucking along nicely.

Hey everyone!
      These past few weeks have been pretty eventful. For one, our investigator friends are doing nicely. We had a couple incidents of our friends getting into anti-Mormon literature which set them back a ways, so that was pretty disappointing. In one particular incidence we could tell something was wrong from the first minute. Our friend was acting odd and being strangely quiet, and then after a while started being really challenging and quite aggressive. It was totally out of character. The spirit definitely gets the credit in how the situation was handled, and I remember one thing that was particularly memorable. It was noted that in the literature our friend was reading, it would always advise her to steer clear of us. And specifically to avoid coming to church, reading the scriptures, and praying. It was then added that everything we do is to invite her to do those three things. Those are the three major things we can do to invite revelation into our life, and it was a good reminder to see that the fruits of something are the evidence of the character and nature of the thing we are studying. If a source is saying stop doing the things that will bring us close to God, we can know from where that source is receiving it's inspiration. (And know that it's not from God)
     On a different note however, general conference was the very opposite of that experience. It was seriously inspiring. I really appreciated the talks from President Nelson and .... There is always something for everyone in general conference. We had to walk from town to the chapel and back many many times over the course of the two days. (About a 35 minute walk) so that got a bit tiring....
But it was worth it. Unfortunately a couple of our investigators who would have benefited the most from conference had things come up last minute. Fortunately, we have the means to revisit the talks as much as we want. :)
     So that was pretty much our week. Oh, We met a few people who are way cool as well this week. They seem to be interested in what we share, so that's nice. University is back in session, so there are loads of new people here. We have been enjoying it.
Hope everything is going well for everybody.
Hope you enjoyed conference!
Love you guys

Monday, September 12, 2016

Heeeere's the latest.

We had everyone at church, Susan had asked a member to baptize her, the whole lot. Then she called her mom. Well her mom didn't approve, so as typical of Chinese culture, Susan decided to follow her parents. When she called, she was devastated. That was pretty sad :/
But other than that, things are going so well. Our friend Gloria is a Chinese girl, studying at the university here in Coventry. She has been with us to church for the past few weeks. She is so awesome! Even growing up in a Godless culture, she has a faith in God. She doesn't really know him yet, so we are teaching her who God is.
Our friend Anu who we met a month or so ago, has finally come to church and brought her son Ashwin. (I love Ashwin, he is the funniest little guy ever) 

On top of all that, we met an awesome family from Texas last week. Well, the dads a Texan and the mom is a English woman gone Texan :) Anyways, they came to church and brought their 4 children this week.
So There were a lot of people with us this week, it was amazing. And to top it off, it was fast Sunday. So church was all that much more touching. We're definitely happy about the people we are working with. Other than teaching, things are also going well. I'm just enjoying the time I have left.
Lately, I have really been feeling the strength that the past year and a half have brought to me.
While still as human as ever, but I definitely feel the strength it has given me in regards to decision making.
Oh yeah, cool story.. all of our investigators mentioned some touching spiritual experience at church. I was fasting that our investigators would feel the spirit at church, so it was amazing to hear.
I was a bit worried for our investigators that came for the first time. I was just hoping they would be in touch with the spirit and enjoy it... But after a short period a thought came to my mind, which was something my mission president always says... "Let the spirit do the heavy lifting". I put my trust in the spirit and my focus on that nervous hope eased immediately. And in the end, they all recognised
the spirit in some form... So that was awesome.
But yup, that about sums up things here. Oh yeah, transfers are tomorrow. My new comp is a Canadian Chinese guy, elder Lo. He's a pretty cool guy, I'm way excited.
Hope things are going well for everyone.

Monday, August 22, 2016

This week was really awesome. We had an awesome experience, with our investigator Susan. She has been struggling to commit to baptism for a long time, but she finally did it. She was so excited on Sunday, she was telling everyone and getting so pumped up... Then she called her mom in Malaysia to tell her. Well her mom told her not to get baptized until she had a job and house and super stable life, etc. She was devastated.
So that was sort of hard. But we are trying to help her out through that right now.
Pray for her!
We also met a girl named Gloria and she is so elect. It is amazing.
We are sooooo excited to continue teaching her. I will definitely write more about it later.
Oh yeah, this week I went back to Swindon for a baptism of a guy I found while still there. That was fun.

That's basically life over here. We went to Warwick castle today. That was fun!

Random guy with a matching shirt.

Anyways. Talk to you later

Monday, August 15, 2016

That which we persist in doing

Hey guys :)
     Things are going great over here! This last week was a lot of fun :) we had a mini missionary called elder priest. He's a prospective elder from Nottingham. We had a few good laughs, a few good scares, and a lot of miracles. We got a couple of investigators to commit to baptism. One has been investigating for a long time and really feels the spirit at church, but she is just way afraid to get baptized. But she's going to do it!
     Also the awesome Indian lady we are teaching said she wants to get baptized. But she got sick, so she couldn't come to church yesterday :'(      But she is so cool and I love teaching her.
     As you are aware, we had no car last week... Which was fun. So We rode bikes and rode the bus. It was way less convenient, but we realized that we made everything we did more quality, because it took more effort to get places. Reflecting on it, I think there is a good lesson there. The easier things get in our lives, the more complacent we become, and it often does us harm. So I'm trying to keep that mentality of making every moment more valuable.
     Also something interesting happened this week. We talked with someone on the street and I realized that I need to be able to communicate Christ's message with more clarity. So I decided to study up in the New Testament, from a more general view. So most nights this week I've been skipping a few hours of sleep to dig into different material. It has brought me a great deal of peace and joy. I find that one of my favorite pastimes is immersing myself into scripture, for long periods of time.
     Interesting that something that was so unfamiliar to me has become one of the greatest aspects of my life. It makes me think of a quote I heard recently, and quite like... It goes like this
"That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing itself is changed, but that our power to do is increased." - Ralph Waldo Emerson.  
That is so true. I have see that over and over out here. The mission hasn't just been a spiritual testimony builder, but it has really altered the way I perceive the world around me. It has shown me that the only things that are impossible to accomplish are the things we don't persistently strive to obtain.
     The light of the body is the eye. Even so, if we nourish hope, we will obtain faith. And if we engage our faith persistently, we will obtain the reward of our desires. In things both spiritual and temporal.
This week has been sunny and wonderful here, and I have just been so happy. Life is good.
Hope everything is going well at home.
Love you guys  Here are some pictures from district meetings.