England is rainy again. It's been "chucking it down" as they say, all weekend!
The Wigan ward is wonderful! I was so warmly greeted at church and everyone is so willing to help out with the work. They greet our investigators and are more than willing to fellowship. Sister Maughan and I really feel that there can be miracles here through the ward members. The organisation is there! They are doing things the way they are meant to be done. I pray that the Lord will inspire us because I really want to reap the harvest that we can see in this ward. We continue to speak to everyone we meet and find investigators on our own, but you know and we know (and President Hinckley knew) that the real miracles happen when the members find investigators! We'll see how it goes.
Our most progressing investigator right now is Ralph Stewart. He is twenty-two and lives on his own. He was married and divorced before the age of 18; no children. We haven't asked too much about that. He was raised casually Catholic and his favourite thing about going to mass was confessing. He said it always felt good to get things off his chest. He really identified with repentance when we taught it. The thing that really draws him to the church is that when we repent we aren't just confessing but we actually want to change. We are becoming new. He wants to become new. He met sisters on the bus the day that he resolved to change his life and saw it as the hand of the Lord (which it was.) He's trying to be baptised by the 29th of July. He's come to church twice, and the ward (which is predominately older folks) loves him. We went over with the Ward Mission Leader, Brother Aspey, after church and he and Brother Smith gave Ralph a blessing. Before the blessing we talked about prayer and faith in Christ. Preach My Gospel says that if you have faith in Christ you trust Him completely; if you have faith in Christ you are confident that He loves you. I asked Ralph, "Do you trust Jesus Christ completely?" He said "Yes; enough to turn his life around." I then asked, "Ralph, are you confident that Christ loves you?" He hesitated. I could see an internal conflict ensue. He screwed up his face and said, "I guess he loves me as much as any other person." It was not very convincing. Sister Maughan and I glanced at each other: bingo. He is trying to bear this load on his own because he feels guilt and he is unsure of God's love. Brother Aspey was so inspired in his blessing! He told Ralph how much the Lord loves him. The room was filled with the Spirit! Ralph was told that the Lord has great intentions for him and that through joining the church he will be able to strengthen and develop talents he never knew he had. He told Ralph that he would accomplish things in his life he never thought possible. The Spirit truly testified to me that that is true and that Ralph is a valiant son of Heavenly Father. I feel so honoured to be teaching him! The battle has only begun, and we know that, but we are committed to stick with him to the end. He's going to be okay. But this is between him and the Saviour. Please pray for him!
Others you can pray for are Sabastian (from Africa: speaks French) and Jonathan (English YSA: he's hoping to be baptised the 5th of August.) And pray that we find those that are prepared! I know they are here, it's just a matter of finding them!
It is such a comfort to know that the Lord is the head of this work. The miracles I'm seeing lately, especially with Ralph, are just completely out of my power! I know that He is doing it! I've really identified lately with D&C 123:17. Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed. Yes. Be cheerful. Work hard. Trust that the Lord will make for our inadequacies. As true for you civilians (as I like to call you : ) ) as for us missionaries.
Sister Maughan is wonderful! She works very hard and with a pure heart. She knows why she is here and works accordingly. I feel blessed to be serving with her! We are quite similar and already feel we are teaching in unity. We've also seen miracles in our finding. People have been quite receptive since I got here. We have many good conversations each day and set solid appointments. Sister Maughan is also a fast walker! I used to be faster but I think my body is starting to protest. My setting apart blessing counselled me to listen to my body and so Sister Maughan and I are trying to work smart instead of just working hard. We take buses whenever possible and allow more time to get places so instead of just ploughing through we can speak to people and be kinder to our knees. It's working out well. We have set some transfer goals together and both of us feel very strongly about setting the goal for three baptisms! We've told the Lord we will do whatever He asks to accomplish that.
The area is thriving but I intend to leave it better than I found it. I truly love this work! Love and adore the three of you. Thank you for your prayers. I really feel them!