Wednesday, September 29, 2010

She survived her first six weeks! Lancaster is blessed to have her for another six.

I have experienced a lot of disappointments this week, and I am learning how to more readily cast my burden upon the Lord's shoulders. Suffice it to say we did not have a baptism on Saturday, but I am carrying forward. My hope grows dim sometimes, but I'm in the process of polishing it up. All I need is a bit of elbow grease and I know I will have faith in the human race once more! The Lord is so amazing. I cannot comprehend how He is willing to love His children so much and feel so much pain at our failures. He must see something in us that we cannot see, but that vision must also make our rebellions from Him extraordinarily painful. I'm getting a taste of that as I feel tremendous love for these Lancastrians and they fail to recognize the importance of this message. They refuse to believe it can change their lives... There are some out there that are willing to hear. Some who are willing to change for the Savior. Some who know they need the sweetness this Gospel brings. I know they are there, and the Lord will lead us to them in His timing as long as week keep our faith and hope bright!

I look at my 'hineni'(Hebrew for: "Here am I; send me") ring often. Different thoughts go through my mind when I consider that I have made covenants with the Lord to build up His kingdom...

President and Sister Bullock are absolutely amazing. I kid you not, they are angelic. Every time I see them I just feel so much confidence and reassurance and inspiration and EVERYTHING! ...They are so dedicated to the Lord's work. One of the most bolstering thoughts as I roll out of my bed in the morning is that President and Sister Bullock are not too far away, already out of bed and serving the Lord. We are all in this work together and their commitment really inspires me.

One reason I love being on a mission is that the scriptures mean so much more to me. When we are in need of spiritual support, the scriptures really open up and provide it for us. Morning study time is so delicious! I really feel like I'm feasting and it is wonderful. Remember how lovingly and protectively I used to hold my violin? Well, the same feeling I got when I had my violin in-hand now comes when I hold my scriptures! I just feel this power. I feel the magnitude of them. They fit in my hands as if they always belonged there.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I will prepare a way...

I thought I would give you some member profiles this week!

Gallighers: amazing young family in the ward with two young boys (Hyrum and Samson) and a girl on the way. Brother Galligher taught at the MTC a few years ago, so he's very keen on missionary work and takes every opportunity to check up on us and the work. He's been a blessing several Sundays when he's said things I really needed to hear. He is the first counselor in the bishopric. Sister Galligher is a spitfire redhead once you get past her shy facade. She is a Mrs. Weasley in the making :) I really love her. She is a perfect example of a Brit who is hard to get to know but once you do she's a loyal friend. We helped the Galligher scrape wallpaper for our service last week!

Brother Holden: Single. In his forties. Wants to help the sisters but can't have us over for dinner without another two men or a woman (missionary rules) so instead he brings us cheese at church. I don't know why cheese. But every week we can count on cheese from Brother Holden :) Bless his heart!

Danny Burba: 16. Baptized two months ago. He's on fire! He comes from such a bad background. We are not allowed to step foot in his home, but we drop by a lot and walk with him to church every Sunday. He is crazy sometimes, but he is so excited about the gospel. He plays football like a pro. Wiry with reddish-blond hair. Early morning seminary just started and it was so hard to convince him to go, but it only took two times and now he's addicted! Sister Anderson and I were street contacting a woman up by the castle and we were telling her about the Book of Mormon and all of the sudden Danny and some friends popped out of nowhere and he said, "Heya, Sisters!" He saw the Book of Mormon and spontaneously bore his testimony! "I know that Book is TRUE. It changed my life. Two months ago I was in a mess and know I am so happy! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has made me so happy. You need to read that." Then he just ran off. The Spirit was really strong as he spoke. The woman was moving to London that week, but she took the Book of Mormon and I'm sure she will not forget Danny's testimony. Then, get this, Danny invited two friends to church! I wish I had time to tell you about both of them, but suffice it to say, they are both planning on being baptized. AMAZING. Pray for Liam and Kyle.

Ali Kurezco: 28. Served his mission in Poland! Unfortunately it was long before BJ. His grandmum is Polish and his father, Brother Kurescko, speaks Polish also. The most amazing thing is that we contacted a Polish couple that literally do NOT speak English (though I suspect they will be speaking it before long... I don't know how they can survive). We asked Ali to go with us to their home and we taught them the first lesson with him translating. They live in a tiny flat, so we were all seated on a mattress in the living room drinking orange juice and eating Polish cookies. They want to have their new baby baptized and that was a task trying to explain that :) Once we got into the doctrine of it, Dagmara, the mother, actually agreed that little kids shouldn't have to be baptized. I think we resolved the concern, but I don't really know since I hadn't a clue what she was saying. Ali was ace. He was blessed to remember his Polish and the Spirit was very strong in the room. We had special ordered them a copy of the Book of Mormon in Polish and Ali had an old pamphlet from his mission, also. On the pamphlet was the first vision. Lucas read it, and afterward we asked them if they believed it to be true. Dagmara put her hand over her heart and said lots of things in Polish. The suspense! Ali translated, "She says she feels so peaceful and she says it must be true." We set up another appointment :) Keep praying.

That gives you a teeny, tiny taste of everything! Time went quicker than I realized! I have to sign off, but I love you so much! The work is moving forward and we are seeing miracles. I hope that miracles continue to take place in my heart as well.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


This week has been incredible in so many ways. We had an exchange with the Chorley sisters for two days and I learned so much from being with Sister Holbrook in Chorley (her companion stayed here in Lancaster with Sister A). Chorley is where the MTC and temple are and I got to walk past them so much! I even saw two of my MTC teachers! One was just driving by and he took a double take and then waved at me laughing. I'm sure he didn't expect to see me again so soon. The other one, Sister Wittmaak, actually came teaching with us for an afternoon. It was great : ) It is weird how each area of the mission is so different. Finding in Chorley was tricky because everyone knows about the temple and they have a lot of preconceived notions about Mormons. In Lancaster no one knows much, so we are coming from a different angle. The exchanged ended with...drum roll, my first zone conference!

Zone conference was INCREDIBLE! My spirit was so invigorated. Sister Bullock made us cookies : ) They were heart-shaped which tied into her talk, which was about being Pure in Heart. President Bullock talked to us about the power of the priesthood and the reality of miracles. I know I have seen miracles in my life and it was good to be reminded of that. I decided to buy "miracle journal" where I will record the miracles I've had before now and start to record the ones I see on my mission. I think I need to show the Lord how much those miracles mean to me, and Lancaster is seeing lots of them!

My first investigator was baptized this week! It was incredible. When Philip was drawn up out of the water I had the most exhilarating feeling of accomplishment and simultaneously knew that it was not me at all, but the Lord, that brought him to that point. It's a beautiful combination of emotions. Yes, we worked hard to bring the Spirit, but the Spirit is what changed Philip. He was so happy and I loved testifying to him that all of this happiness is because of Christ! It truly is, and I feel privileged to be the one to proclaim it.

Sister Anderson is teaching me so much! She is very patient with my shortcomings and takes every opportunity to remind me that we are supposed to be equally yoked. She trusts me enough to let me have a say and learn from my experiences teaching. I'm just grateful the Spirit is always there to make up the difference, because sometimes I think I make no sense at all to these Brits! She is also helping me understand the English culture better. I had a breakthrough this week when I realized that people really are happy at church, they just don't show it the way I do! Because the culture is reserved in general, even members don't wear their emotions on their sleeves, which, coming from the Mindy Davis home, you can imagine is something for me to get used to! I know that seems silly, but it makes such a difference to realize that. This gospel is about joy and knowing I'm bringing that joy to others (be it members, my companion, investigators or strangers) is the only thing that could keep me going! It has been frustrating feeling like I'm NOT bringing that joy to others, but I think I am. It's just not communicated the way I'm accustomed to.

We have two more investigators preparing to be baptized! They are both shooting for the 25th so it will be a combined baptism. I don't have time to go into detail, but their names are Andrew and Liam and they are both ace. Sister Anderson just keeps saying, "This doesn't happen in Lancaster, Sister. This does not happen!" We are so being blessed. I'm so aware that this is not me but the Lord. I still get the feeling that there are more out there, though. I am focusing my efforts on refining my skills to show the Lord that I want to be ready to teach them.

All of these things are miraculous, but in between amazing experiences, there is, of course, drudgery. I am still learning how to push through those hours with a perfect brightness of hope. It is hard. And I suppose it's good that it is hard. My faith IS growing because of my challenges. I want you to know that I get distinct promptings daily that my success in overcoming the obstacles is directly linked to the power of YOUR prayers, the prayers of the rest of the family, and the prayers of friends. The Lord doesn't spare an opportunity to let me know that I'm not alone (in my success or my challenges). This is a team effort!

Monday, September 6, 2010

A trip to Manchester and SUCCESS!

Blessings this week: There was a training meeting for the trainers in the mission for three days. It was in Manchester (which is a journey for us) so we packed bags and stayed with the Sisters in Manchester South. The Sister are...drum roll please...Sister Hulet and Sister Low! I was such a JOY to see Sister Low again and rejoice together in how we have both grown. The really amazing part of the experience is that while our trainers were in meetings those three days there were four of us new sisters that were turned loose on Manchester! We basically did street contacting for seven hours each of those days and it was SO hard. And I LOVED it! I think it is the first time that I have really felt that I was thrashing the field : ) We just let the rubber hit the road and stopped everyone! People in Manchester are in general more willing to talk than in Lancaster, so in that sense it was a break.

The best, best, best was that on the third day Sister Gallozo (she is from Spain and was in the MTC with me) and I actually found someone that was really waiting for us! It was the first Divine Appointment I've had (that I can be SURE of). Ann is about sixty and she was just sitting on a bench looking lonely. When we asked her what it would mean to her to be able to be with her family after death she looked at us and said, "Well, that would be the most wonderful thing, wouldn't it?" I almost fell over. NO ONE says that. It came out that most of her family members (husband and children included) have died. She has attended many churches but felt something has been missing. We bore testimony to her of the restoration and then the two of us taught her the first lesson right on that bench. When we recited the first vision we waited for a long time for her to open her eyes. I asked her how she felt and her face just broke into this HUGE smile. She said she felt happy and relaxed for the first time in years. We testified of the power of the Spirit in confirming truth and she said she knew that the Book of Mormon had to be true. We invited her to be baptized in four weeks and she said yes. (No, I'm not making this up!) After setting up a follow-up appointment we told her the Book of Mormon was hers to keep and she kissed it. I promised her that this marks the beginning of a new life for her. I am SO sad that I can't teach her, but I know that Sister Low and Sister Hulet will be just what she needs and I feel privileged to have been the first one to share with her the wonderful light of the gospel. I know that it was a gift to me from the Lord and I will always remember it.

Another miracle: Last week, Sister Anderson and I taught a street lesson in Lancaster (the only one since I've been out). Andrew was not touched immediately but he came to church. It was there that he really felt the Spirit and our next lesson was incredible. He is so comforted that he will be able to see his mother again after this life. He's had a rough go of it, and after making some changes and meeting with us even just twice, he is SO much happier. He just decided on Saturday to get baptized on September 25. I know. I'm being so blessed. I know. No really, I know. I feel so privileged to witness his conversion. He is amazing. He's taking to the gospel like a fish to water. You can see this light come on when we teach him a new principle and then he just expounds on it, like he has known it forever. The Plan of Salvation becomes more real to me every day. What I mean by that is that it has become so clear that those we are teaching have already known these things before. It has become so clear that working with the Savior is the ONLY way for each of us to fulfill our earthly purpose. It has become so clear to me that Heavenly Father loves each of his children desperately and want them back, and that is painful.