Monday, November 28, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving! We celebrated by making a Thanksgiving Dinner on
Thursday (photo attached) and playing the "I am thankful..." ABCs
while driving in the car. So much to be thankful for as the Lord's
servant! I'm definitely thankful for my family and I am glad to hear
that all of you had a lovely time together at the cabin! Aren't we
blessed to have one another? Thank you for your e-mails this week and
the expressions of gratitude you shared!

We had a good week! A lot of lessons fell through, but I just see that as the Lord clearing our schedule so that we can find the elect. Sister Rothmund is wonderful and we are already working together in unity. It's great when in a lesson you are about to say something and all of the sudden your companion says it word for word (...that's the Spirit!) which happens to us all of the time. I told you that she is from Switzerland, right? She's twenty-four and went to BYU-Hawaii. She sounds totally American. I love her to bits, as they would say.

A nugget from personal study: I learned this week in the Book of
Mormon about motives. In Alma 43:45-47 we can read about how the
Nephites were stronger and fought harder because they were fighting
for the right reasons. There is simply no replacement for that desire!
The Lamanites simply could not fight like that because they didn’t
have the right motives. I realised that the same applies to missionary
work. If we work for the wrong reasons we may see good things, but we
won’t see miracles. Miracles require a kind of work that is humanly
impossible unless your motives are pure.

We have some wonderful investigators to update you on!

Tan: You heard a little bit about her last week, right? She's from
Thailand? She came to church and is really coming along in her
testimony, but we found out she is moving! She moves to Scotland for a
new job this week. We will miss her so much. Her member friend, Ning,
has the Gospel Principles book in Thai, so Tan studied the lesson on
Sunday morning before church and she contributed so well! She never
had a belief in God or Christ before, and during class she said
(imagine in a Thai accent), “I love Jesus Christ because He always
giving to others but no ask anyting back.” She loves coming to church
and she says she will miss everyone so much, but things are getting
worked out to send her info to the missionaries there. They are going
to be so excited to have her!

Brad: He is Polish and very Catholic. The Sisters "found" him on the
street and taught him once before I came. He must be in his late 30s
and lives on his own here. He is still learning English, but he is so
talkative and open with his comments, which I love! You always know
where you stand with him and what his concerns are. In our lesson
yesterday he said the most beautiful thing it almost made me cry. He
said, "I don't know, but since I've met you I feel something inside of
me stirring. I'm sort of...changing. I feel something in me changing."
We talked about the Spirit and the Truthfulness of our message. Those
are the moments that bring the JOY of missionary work! We had ordered
a Polish Book of Mormon for him that finally came. He is so excited to
read it and then tell us if it is true or not : ) he's great.

Noreen: she's a young mum of three children. The Sisters also met her
on the street as she was trying to push a three-baby pram up a hill.
They offered to help and ended up teaching her. She's not married to
her partner (which is normal here) and he's not fond of us. Even
though there is opposition there, she has said that she knows the Book
of Mormon is true and she identifies the Spirit as she reads and
prays. She's not plucked up the courage yet to come to church (doesn't
know what her partner will do) but she's getting there.

There are a few more, but I'm out of time! I'll keep updating you next week...

This is Thomas: he is Sister Radcliffe's cat but thinks he's ours :) he
wanders in whenever the door is open and likes to remind us that the
study desk is still part of his territory. Love him.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Arriving Safely on the Isle of Man

Just me today on the Quay. Give you a taste of the Island..

We are safe and sound on the Island and I’m settling in nicely!
It was an adventure, though!

You remember that the ferry was cancelled? Well,
the next day the Assistants were unavoidably detained and couldn't
take us to the ferry. We ended up going (with all my luggage and
Sister Rothmund's overnight bags) on an hour long bus ride to
Manchester (the Picadilly train station), then a train to Preston.
There we were picked up by the Preston Zone Leaders who drove us to
the dock in Heysham and there we caught the ferry! We had barely
settled down on the ferry when this lady came right up to me and
hugged me saying, “Hi, Sister!” Took me a little off-guard! It was
Tanya Dobbie, one of the members of the Douglas ward. She sat with us
for the whole three hours. She knows and loves Alex! I loved getting
to know her and it was good she was there because she had some
motion-sickness arm bands that came in really handy :) I didn't get
sick, just a little green. They say the more trips I go on the
stronger my stomach will get. We will see :) Anyways, we arrived
safely. The Clarkes (the WML and his wife) were waiting for us on the
docks and they drove us to the church where our car was parked. We are
the only sisters in the mission with a car and I feel so, so blessed.
The Lord knew my body was on the edge. Since I've been in the UK over
a year, I'm not allowed to drive, unless I get a UK license, but I
doubt the mission will invest in me - they'll just send me a young
sister that can drive next transfer. So, I get to be a permanent
passenger/secretary - and backer-upper (yes, Max, we actually do this
in the EMM :) but no orange vests! It was you that told me that
mission story, right?)

I assume you have probably researched a little bit about the Isle of
Man by now. The natives call themselves "Manx" (like "banks") and they
have a language (also Manx) that has celtic roots. Most of the signs
are written in English and Manx, even though no one really speaks it.
The actual climate of the island reminds me of some of the islands in
Alaska when we went to pick up Max. It's a similar feel, as well,
where everyone sort of knows each-other and there are so many
connections. Sister Rothmund and I live in an apartment at the back of
a member's home (in England they call that a "granny flat" - oops, but
we are not in England. Make no mistake! This is the British Isles! And
no one's going to let me forget it : ) Any ways, they call it a
"granny flat" in the British Isles, too ). Sister Bradshaw must be in
her 60s and lives alone. She loves having us coming in and out and
bringing the missionary spirit with us. She has a black cat, Thomas,
who will be the closest I'll ever come to a pet on my mission (see the
white handbook) :)

Sister Rothmund is a great driver and this is absolutely gorgeous
little Island! The people are also very lovely. It doesn't surprise me
that Alex "loved it loved it loved it!" You are right, Mum, there is
one ward. The Douglas ward is extremely loving and welcoming. Case in
point: we received four referrals at church on Sunday, were recruited
into the Christmas choir and someone knows where I can borrow a
violin! There are also some connections in the ward to Lancaster and
Wigan, which is so fun. One member of the ward, Ning, is from Thailand
and her friend, Tiny, just moved over here. Tiny was at church and we
asked her if we could teach her later on in the evening. We had a
wonderful lesson together! She is Buddhist but loves church and is
open to learning more. We truly hope that she is a part of our White
Christmas. The miracles are starting. I am amazed, Mum, that you
fasted yesterday. Little did you know that it was our appointed to day
to fast as a mission! Every single missionary was fasting to be able
to achieve their baptismal goal...and you participated! I truly pray
that the Lord will pour out His blessings upon us that we may be
fruitful here in the Douglas ward. I know He wants to bless us!

Yesterday was Ward Conference, which was great. The Stake presidency
don't get the chance to come to the Island too often, so the Douglas
Ward was really excited. Wigan is in the Liverpool Stake so I already
knew most of the officers that came over ( "from across" as the Manx
would say...). They didn't know about transfers so they got a little
shock when they saw me here :) President Marshall told a story in his
talk that really touched me:

There was an English woman who went to a small Asian island to teach
English. During her last week there one of her little students went
missing! She was relieved when the day before her departure this
little student appeared. She was bearing a beautiful, rare shell that
was not found on that side of the island. It turned out that that girl
had walked for three days to find the shell to give as a gift to her
teacher. The teacher accepted the gift gladly but remarked, “You
didn’t have to walk all that way to get me a gift; a shell from this
beach would have done.” The little girl smiled and said, “Walk part of
gift. Walk part of gift.” As President Marshall told this I remember
all of the walking that I have done on my mission: between doors, on
the streets – sometimes it feels like that kind of work doesn’t bear
fruit for the Lord. But with President Marshall’s story came to my
mind an insight that I had earlier on my mission. My service is a gift
to the Lord, and maybe a night of tracting can feel pointles and is
not directly handing Him one of His precious children, but it is an
indication of my love and devotion. “Walk part of gift.” This transfer
I’m in a car, but I know that I can show my dedication to the Lord by
going the extra mile in other areas of the work. I want to give Him a
gift this Christmas. I want Him to smile at me and say, “You didn’t
have to do all of that...” so that I can say, “But it was part of Your

The time is far spent! I will give you bios on all of our
investigators next week!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Transfer to...

I’m going to the ISLE OF MAN!!

But here's the shocker: Sister Jack has gone to Manchester South! They
have taken Sisters out of Wigan and left just the Elders! You should
have seen our faces during that phone call! The last three days have
been a whirlwind as we have prepared everything to hand our teaching
pool off to the Elders. Luckily, our area book was in good shape but
there were a lot of goodbyes to say and thank you notes to write. I
can't tell you how heart-wrenching it is to go and not leave there the
connection of a previous companion who you know knows everything and
will take care of the area. I was joking with Elder Rogerson at
transfers that he would probably find tear stains all over the area
book as we were so sad to leave. I think that gave him even more
motivation to take care of the people we love so much! The good news
is that the Elders that will be moving to our flat really are good
Elders and I know they will work hard. These were the busiest days
Sister Jack and I have ever experienced together. We had so many new
investigators and saw progression with so many that have been
stalling. They really are in for a treat! The area is on the verge of
miracles!! I’m so excited for them I can’t even contain it! I so wish
that I could be there to see it!
I think the hardest parting was David and Elizabeth. Elizabeth was pretty
upset. I love that little girl. Her 6th birthday is on the 4th of December and she told us on Tuesday night that she "simply cannot wait until I am eight to be baptised. I
just don't see how that is fair." She is such a little lady! She wants
to be a missionary, too! Bless her.

I remember feeling just gutted to leave Manchester but it does not
even compare to how I feel leaving Wigan; and something tells me that
this parting will be nothing to compare with my longing when I leave
the Isle of Man. I’m detecting a pattern here… This has more to do
with how I’m developing than the areas where I’m serving. As my
ability to love grows the goodbyes seem more and more bitter; but I
suppose that is directly linked to the greater sweetness I feel each
day in the work as well. I really wanted to end my time with Sister
Jack in crescendo and I know that we did. We were running everywhere
those last days! The Elders already have seven new investigators from
contacts Sister Jack and I made those last two days (as well as four
or five progressing investigators since they've inherited our teaching
pool.) I include numbers not because the number means anything in
itself but merely because it is evidence of the Lord's ability to work
miracles. Heavenly Father was really allowing us to participate in
miracles there at the end.

We cleared our flat of all femininity and Sister Brown drove us to the
Manchester South chapel with our luggage. It was there that I met up
with my new companion, Sister Rothmund from Switzerland! Sister
Rothmund came out at the same time as Sister Lovell. We are staying
with the sisters in Swinton (on the outskirts of Manchester) until we
can get a ferry over to the Isle of Man (which was supposed to be
today but there are storm warnings so the ferry was cancelled.) This
time in Swinton has been fantastic as well. Sister Rothmund and I are
getting along really well and we are so optimistic about the work in
the Isle of Man. We, too, will see miracles. The ward sounds

This morning Sister Rothmund and I found a wonderful new investigator
for the Swinton Sisters. We were street contacting near her home and
after a quick conversation she just invited us in to teach her. Katherine
(age 30) has had a really tough life (she grew up in foster care and
ended up with a bad crowd. She's was almost murdered once and had a
near death experience. Just crazy the other horrible things she's been
through) but managed to keep faith through it all. She just moved here
from London and is trying to get a fresh start in her life. You lot
aren’t going to believe this but she invited herself to be baptised…in
the first five minutes! We were just mentioning about covenants and
baptism at the beginning (to prepare her for the invitation to be
baptised at the end) when she said, “Baptism sounds so nice. I’d
really like that. How do you do that?” Can you just see our faces? She
accepted the date of the 17th of December. What a miracle! She has a
strong relationship with God and was so excited to hear there is a
living prophet. We have a really good feeling about her. I hope the
Swinton sisters keep us updated.

The work rolls forward and I’m doing my best to open my heart wide to
receive the Isle of Man. It must be like having children: you wonder
how you could possibly love another one as much as the first. You
think there is not room in your heart for two, or three, or four. But
then they come (new areas) and somehow your heart grows to hold them.

The Isle of Man is a coveted area among the Elders and they were all
devastated when President took Elders out and put Sisters on the
island. So many Elders came up to me at transfers telling me of their
good experiences there. I know I have a lot to live up to since there
are so many missionaries that would love to be there and I'm
definitely going to work hard! I think Alex McKenzie served there as

Wigan--a place of miracles

This week has been full of miracles!

First, the baptism. Everything came together smoothly, except that we got caught in a rainstorm right before. Sister Maughan was able to come back and David asked her to be one of the speakers. I played piano. Sister Jack conducted. We all did a musical number, "Baptism" from the Primary Songbook, together. Elizabeth said the opening prayer! She was so brave, even with Sister Jack prompting her a little bit. I know it meant a lot to David and it was a great symbol in my eyes of just how the Gospel is going to bless her little life! She really is adorable.

The ward showed a lot of support and it was beautiful to see the room just packed. When they opened the curtains to the font they realised the glass had been fogged up. He and Brother Aspey just laughingly rubbed the steam out and everyone chuckled. Even with his usual humour, you could tell David took it seriously and we really feel that he is a convert that deserves the title “convert” (to coin a phrase of President Kopischke.) He bore his testimony afterwards and it was really touching. Now we just need to find him a wife so he can be the next Wigan Ward Bishop!

Miracle no. 2: remember Peter the organist? We felt prompted to send him a letter about family history and he called us! We went over with Brother Barrington (the FH Consultant) this week and taught him about it. I could tell that although he is scared of his vicar (who told him off for reading the Book of Mormon) he enjoyed feeling the Spirit with us again. Moreover, he wanted to come to the Mission Home Fireside, which he did last night! And guess who else was there? Burt! That room was so full of joy! Burt thought that I might be there so he brought a bag full of fresh vegan baked goods for me :) Bless him! Sister Babbel and I did an impromptu musical number (Consider the Lilies) on violin and piano. I also saw other recent converts and acquaintances from exchanges I've done. It really was a little taste/glimpse of heaven. I’d imagine there will be so much love, joy and excitement in the Celestial Kingdom as we reunite with loved ones! It’s those glimpses that I believe the Lord grants us to help us endure to the end.

We attended ward council last week (I LOVE this Ward, by the way.) We told them about President Kopischke’s visit and “the experiment.” We showed them that we feel loyalty towards accomplishing the 2011 Wigan Ward Mission Plan baptismal goal and they expressed the desire to support us. They came up with idea of doing a 40-day fast leading up to the New Year with a different member fasting for the goal each of the 40 days. We are so excited! We feel their enthusiasm rising and we know that with their faith we will accomplish the goal the Lord has given us.

I also got another exchange with Sister Gong this week. In the EMM we set goals and come up with expected miracles before the exchange. Whilst in Liverpool we were able to see three out of the four miracles they wanted! We taught both their dated Chinese investigators, Nicholas and Niles, tithing (and they accepted it) and we saw a real change of heart in one of their progressing investigators, Taralyn, who’s still struggling to accept the existence of God. It always inspires me to teach these Chinese! I feel the Spirit of the Lord working in them and I just know that they will become a great strength to the Church someday.

We had Stake Conference in Liverpool yesterday and so I got to see them all again. President and Sister Preston spoke at Stake Conference. We drove with two single sisters from Wigan, Sister Clark and Sister Wilson, and they could not say enough good about the Prestons on the way home. Truly, those two have been called for a reason and they are building so much enthusiasm in the members.

Our teaching pool is dwindling a little bit. No one has dropped us, but they also aren't progressing so we will likely be dropping them. It's in the Lord's hands but this week we are praying for many new investigators.

Halloween in the Mission


NOTE: Molly and Sister Jack dressed up as each other for Halloween... :D

This week was one, giant revelatory experience!

President Erich Kopischke came to "tour" the mission. He held three Zone Conferences (to cover the seven zones...we each only went to one. I wish I'd been at all three!) and a special zone leaders' council. Sister Jack and I were so lucky to be representing the sisters at Zone Leaders' Council at President Kopischke's request. Elder Kopischke is so inspired and inspiring. If I had time I would just make this e-mail an "Ode to President Kopischke." It was so uplifting being with him! At Zone Conference he spent the majority of the time asking for our questions and then expounding from the scriptures. He started out by coming down off the stand and getting on eye level with us. These were his words, "We are now on eye level, okay? I am not anything more than you are." He said, "The agenda today is you." He wanted to know our questions and our concerns. He invited us to be taught by the Spirit. We had a few minutes at the beginning to write down the questions we had. He promised us that we would have answers from the Spirit. He wanted our experience together to be revelatory. Looking back, I think his whole approach was teaching us to teach ourselves.

President Preston spoke to us a little about how he is expecting a "White Christmas," meaning, of course, many baptisms before the new year. He said that his vision is for every companionship to have at least one baptism before the year is over. President Kopischke spoke to us about faith and miracles. We read Ether 12:19 and he explained that we feel true joy when we see with our own eyes the things that we pictured with the eye of faith. He took each of us back to the day we opened our call letter and read "England Manchester Mission." He asked, "What were your dreams?" He encouraged us to keep those dreams. "Do not bury your dreams," he said, "you will be dead the moment you do." In reference to viewing things with the eye of faith President Kopischke suggested that we run an "experiment." He wanted each of us to be personally committed to a white Christmas. Each companionship found a quiet room and prayed for a baptismal goal from the Lord. We were not to come out until we had both had the witness and were united and excited. We were not to come out until we had had a profoundly spiritual experience. We were praying for a number, but President Kopischke said, "This is not about numbers. This is about increasing your faith in Jesus Christ."

This experience opened the door for one of the most profound insights of my mission. To understand why you have to know a little bit of background.

About four months ago, at the very beginning of my transfer with Sister Maughan, we both received separate, unsolicited revelation that we would see three baptisms together. You might remember it. I remember writing about it in my e-mails. I still clearly remember sitting across the study desk from her and saying, “What do you feel our transfer baptismal goal should be?” I didn’t want to tell her that I was thinking three because it just seemed too far-fetched! When we both came out with it we felt the Spirit truly confirm it to us and we went to work! You might remember me telling you in my e-mails that Sister Maughan cut out a big “3” and taped it to our window. Every day we would see it and ask ourselves what more we could do to achieve it. We bled, sweat and cried. We worked our hardest. Because the goal came from the Lord we knew that it would happen! And then it didn’t. The transfer came to a close and we had witnessed just one beautiful baptism: Ash Houghton. We thanked the Lord for our blessings, but were a bit confused. The week after transfers she came back to see another of our investigators enter the waters: Hayley Parrish. That was still only two. I tried to just shrug it off, but never really felt closure. Why did the Lord tell us three if He knew it wouldn’t happen?

Fast forward. Elder Kopischke sends Sister Jack and I (and all of us) off to pray about a baptismal goal. We both feel four! I immediately doubt. Why should I trust the Lord this time when it didn’t happen last time I had a profoundly spiritual experience like this? I just pushed my nagging doubts to the back of my mind. The rest of Zone Conference carried on brilliantly. We had a fab musical number (a multi-lingual version of the Spirit of God which I was glad to direct). I received many other revelations and answers to many other questions. I soaked in the Spirit that was there; just lapped it up.

That night as we stayed over in the Swinton Sisters' flat I faced my doubts. I struggled and prayed for understanding and nothing really came. The next day at Zone Leader Council I knew that I was commited to work for it, but out of obedience not true desire. I couldn’t really put my heart into “the Experiment.”

It was that evening that the revelation finally came. As you know, David Anderson is an investigator that Sister Maughan and I found together. He was a slow mover and Sister Jack and I are so happy that he will be entering the waters of baptism this Friday. The night of Zone Leaders' Council I rang Sister Maughan to invite her to the baptism. We rejoiced together and as I hung up the phone I had the epiphany: three. Brother Anderson is number three. It happened in the Lord’s timing, but we truly had three baptisms! It’s as if I heard the Saviour’s voice in my ears, Oh ye of little faith. I dropped to my knees and repented of my doubt. The revelation was real and the Lord was in control all along, which means I could trust the revelation at Zone Conference. I ran up the stairs shouting to Sister Jack, “We’re going to have four baptisms!!! It’s going to happen!” It’s going to happen.

It will be in the Lord’s time and in His way, but I have all the confidence in the world that someday I will look back and be able to say: four. There is number four. And just as Elder Kopischke emphasized, this is not about numbers, this is about faith. My faith in the Lord has been strengthened this week. I am so grateful that President Kopischke facilitated this for me! He is truly inspired.

The Zone Leaders' Council was equally as revelatory. Some Kopischke-isms that you might like:

"If we do not set goals it shows we have no desires - and we will be judged according to our desires."

"It you miss the fun you miss it all."

"There is no reason to be discouraged when you are on the errand of the Lord."

"Do you honestly think that the prayers of agents will not be answered?" (pray like an agent, not an object - i.e. "help me do this" as opposed to "do this for me")

"You know, you get your £125 each month and you get to sleep in until 6.30 every day! What do you have to worry about?"

"Life is to make mistakes. If you ever think you can live without mistakes it is a sign of pride and arrogance. Joseph Smith never tried to cover his mistakes."

"Some of these promptings will bring you right out of your comfort zone. Okay! That is what we call an adventure!"

"When the Spirit rebukes it is never devastating or discouraging."

"Let your investigators teach you. As he teaches it, he will embrace it."

So there you go, President Kopischke in a nutshell : )