Monday, March 28, 2011

Speaking French in Withington

NOTE: Molly was able to teach Samba, who is originally from the Congo, in French. What a blessing to my girl who loves languages!

[Samba's] baptism was beautiful and he is so happy! He keeps thanking us over and over again for finding him. Last night after the mission home fireside he was full of the Spirit. He can't wait to come fellowshipping with us and get a calling in the Church. He was truly prepared and I feel so humbled to have been involved in his conversion. We brought a new investigator, Pascal, to the fireside as well. Pascal is from Zimbabwe and has been through really rough things. He is a jazz musician (double bass, Gabe!) doing his dissertation at the moment and just went through a painful divorce. The day we met him on the street he was going to take a bus but felt that he should just walk home to clear his head. Amazing how the Lord put him in our path! He has already identified the Spirit and is fully committed to baptism even though he knows little about the church. His unquestioning trust in the voice of the Lord is really inspiring!

Sister Babbel is wonderful. We often speak of the ways we have progressed, how we would like to progress and the blessings that come from being obedient. Overall, we have an inspiring time together : ) She has many good qualities that I am learning. She stays calm in hectic situations and she is not afraid to say things how they are. Her testimony is solid. We have performed three musical items together already and if the members have anything to do with it there will be more to come. I just love music!

This transfer really is yielding great miracles. We had some incredible things happen this week. During the last week Sister Wilde and I were together we had one night that we met a woman named Maxine on the street. She said she was busy that night but would be really interested if we came by hers at a different time. She gave us her address and the evening carried on. Sister Wilde kept thinking of Maxine and suggested we go drop a pamphlet by her. It felt funny because we had just spoken to her and she had just said she was busy but I've learned to trust my companions' promptings. We didn't know what we'd say or anything but we went in faith. We knocked on her door to no answer. Sister Wilde put our number down on the pamphlet and just slipped it through the letterbox. We went home wondering what that prompting was all about and feeling slightly confused. Well, the day after transfers, I received a phone call from Anna, living at 19 Chidlow Drive. She said she had found a pamphlet in her home with our number. I was caught off guard but explained who we were and said, "We share with people how Jesus Christ can help their lives..." (interject: not something I usually say, but it came out that way) She immediately asked, "Can he really?" with a saddened, sincere tone. I testified and we arranged to meet. We have since been able to help Anna so much. She is a twenty-something University student who was raised in an orphanage and has no family. She's desperately needed a home and I know that she really felt at home yesterday at church. The Spirit was so strong and she said it felt like one big family...which, of course, it is. Turns out that Maxine lives at 9 Chidlow (we wrote the address wrong)! I hope we get to teach her as well, but what a miracle that was! I know the Lord led us to Anna and she knows that, too. She is struggling with some doctrinal points, but we have great hopes for her. Do keep her in your prayers!

The Church is definitely true. Heavenly Father definitely loves His children. I feel honored to be doing His work and I strive every day to do it the way He would have me do it.

I cannot wait for Conference! It's way better than anything...than Christmas even! At least as a missionary.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Blessings and more blessings in Withington

I don't know the first place to start! I have really grown in the last five days. I can safely say I have been more diligent and focused this week than ever before in my mission, and it feels great! The Lord has literally carried me. I cannot believe how much energy I've had and how happy I've been. Sister Babbel and I are getting along well. She is just as committed as I am to be exactly obedient and we spend a lot of time talking about the blessings of it in our down time : ) We are praying for charity and for the Spirit to guide us. We have felt extremely blessed so far as we've been together.

Cathy's baptism was beautiful! I really felt the weight of responsibility - knowing that if anything was missing or fell through it was my fault. But nothing really went wrong! The Lord keeps bringing things to my remembrance (did you remember the form? who's playing piano?) and I am so grateful! I couldn't have done it without Him.

Sister Wilde got to come back with her new companion, Sister Gallozo. They weren't able to find a violin for me to play, so I ended up singing (That's how much I love Cathy : ) ) "Consider the Lilies." It went better than I expected and the Spirit was definitely there. Cathy looked like an angel and she was so happy. I know that her life won't be automatically better, but I look forward to seeing the change that takes place as she experiences the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

Samba is right on track to be baptised this Saturday. I really feel humbled at the blessings that the Lord is pouring upon us! It's been such a blessing for me personally to teach him using my French, too. It's a reminder that the Lord recognises and appreciates the hard work I've put into developing my talents. The ward loves Samba. He's outgoing and Christlike. He will be a strong priesthood holder, I know.

The Lord is in this work and I feel so privileged to be a part of it!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Music and Missionary Work! They will make beautiful music together...

This week was transfers and...Surprise! I've got a new companion! We were not expecting it at all! I will miss Sister Wilde terribly. She taught me so much about trusting the Lord and following the Spirit. But I know this is what the Lord wants, and I am at peace about it.

Sister Babbel is from South Jordan! She came out two transfers before I did. She is a musician : ) So we have lots to look forward to together. Including Cathy's baptism in two days! I will be playing violin, hopefully (pray that the ward finds one for me!) and Sister Babbel will accompany me on Consider the Lilies. It promises to be a very lovely programme.

Samba is doing so well. He came to church for the second time last week and is making many friends in the ward. We taught him the law of chastity and he is determined to live it. I know that it is in the Lord's hands. It's been really fun to teach him in French. There are a few French speakers in the ward that have been a big help, too. The Lord really coordinates things so well!

It is funny that today is transfers and I am in such a rush, as well has having three extra days to write about, because last week was packed full of incredible experiences!

We had a special Sisters' meeting at the mission home where the Bullocks trained us on being future leaders of the church. It was incredible, as you can imagine. There was a really sweet spirit there. President Bullock really considers each of us to be his daughters, which, as you can imagine, means an awful lot to me particularly. There is a sort of theme throughout the mission. It is a phrase that President came up with, "Pathway to the Promise." Meaning, whenever we want a blessing, there are certain laws that we must be obedient to in order to obtain it. President really emphasizes exact obedience. If we walk the pathway the Lord sets than we will obtain the promise that is at the end of it.

Well, Elder Sherrard (a particularly musically talented Elder who was one of my first Zone Leaders) composed a song about it. The mission sang it at a Zone Conference two transfers back and we all loved it. Long story short, a few of us were picked by President and Elder Sherrard to record it. It was such a wonderful experience. I feel so humbled and privileged to be involved. We all drove together to Southport where there is a member who does professional recordings. The Spirit was so strong as we bore our testimonies and sang our love for missionary work. Here are some of the words:

There is a reason for all things
A motivation for what you see
More than just going and doing
is who we come to be
When the Dark one tries
no surprise
He doesn't get tired
So open up your eyes
to the wise
And the inspired.

With a heart of purity
We'll go forth and preach thy gospel
And we'll serve thee faithfully
We are the EMM
We will obey with exactness
because rooted deep within
There is a pathway to the promise

There is a pathway that we walk
while in the service of the Lord
a pathway the Saviour took
a way to make man free
This pathway's the start
and we'll never part
We'll make it tradition
This promise we'll keep
til we're old and weak
and not just our mission.

It's a bit patchy, but you get the idea!

Tender Mercies Tracting

It's been a great week! We had Specialised Trainings from President, the Assistants and the Zone Leaders mostly focused on how to be better at extending commitments. I came away with renewed faith and determination. Funny enough, I went right on an exchange, but Sister Wilde wouldn't wait for me. When I came back Cathy Ogden had a baptismal date! She is shooting for the 19th of March, so please pray for her!

The exchange was to Swinton (another area of Manchester) with Sister Anderson! It was really good to work with her for two days and see how much progress I've really made since I was trained. This is Sister Anderson's last transfer. She will be home in three weeks and she is exploding with all sorts of emotions. I realised that she taught me a lot about loving the scriptures and letting my personality shine through. She is leaving me some of her favorite things. One is even an heirloom! A pair of pj's that her trainer sent her for Christmas that she never wore. In mission terms that would be something from the grandmother that I've never met : ) but let's be honest, I never got into that whole fake genealogy thing. I suddenly realised how fast this experience is going. In three short transfers I will be where Sister Anderson was when she trained me. That is so hard to believe! I came back to Withington with a greater sense of urgency.

Last night we had a really special experience. We had a lesson fall through and so we ended up tracting. Behind the third door there seemed to be a lot of commotion. Three women answered quickly as if they had been expecting someone... One woman upon seeing our name tags immediately left to the hubbub of the front room. The other woman explained that they had no time; they had just experienced a death in the family. We said, "Just earlier today?" "Yes - just earlier." "Was it expected?" we asked. "No,"she said, "it was her father..." pointing to the teen. My eyes filled with tears, and when she saw my face, hers did, too. "How old are you?" I asked. "Fourteen." "My father died when I was sixteen. Oh...I am so sorry!" Suddenly my mind was flooded with vivid memories of the day that Dad died. I never like thinking about that afternoon. I so nearly pulled her into a big tearful hug, but her aunt looked pretty protective. "I know you'll see him again!" My heart sank as I realised that she will not experience the same calming peace - the power of a temple sealing - that enveloped us in the days following the accident. She needs that reassurance. I was at a loss, but with stinging eyes I rustled through my bag for a Plan of Salvation leaflet that I had been prompted to take tracting and pushed it into her hands. It felt like such a meager offering, but she took it. I hope that she finds answers in it. I pray that Our Saviour protected her and her family last night. How grateful I am for this gospel! And how grateful I am that Heavenly Father inspired us to be on that street to help someone who was in need.

This truly is His work and I am honored to be a part of it.

NOTE FROM MINDY (I am the one who posts on this blog)

Dear Readers:

I actually WENT to England from March 3 through March 10. Mother and I went for her pen pal's 80th birthday celebration and we surprised him. Our week was full of London, green landscapes pushing for spring, fine people, missionary opportunities, divine appointments kept, great food, and three of my dear friends from Nauvoo. I know now how humid cold it is and how wonderful the people of England are.

Sorry for the delay in posts!

Love and blessings,