Monday, August 24, 2015

1 Month in the Field Downnnnn

Hello hello hello!

I know that last week I had mentioned how we might be going to Wicked this week, but, alas, there is going to be a tube strike on the day that we would need to go to London. So that is definitely a bummer. Then we decided that we would just venture in over to Harry Potter Studios, BUT we came to find out that you need to get tickets at least 2 weeks in advance... But it's alright! We are hoping to go to London today just to do some sightseeing and that whole dealio - but it's pouring rain right now, so maybe that will happen, maybe it won't.

Another crazy week has come and gone! I seriously can't even comprehend all of the things that have been happening because the days just all blur together. It's been a great week nonetheless. Hmmmmm, so what has been going on this past week...

Last Monday after emailing and such, the whole district got together and we played more football (I think I'm going to be playing that a whole lot while I'm out here on the good ol' mish...), but my ankle has been super swollen and hurt for quite a while, so I just sat there and watched. Honestly I wasn't so sad about that hahaha. It's always fun to get together with the district, though! When we got tired of that, the Elders decided it would be fun to make a rap about church and it was honestly so hilarious. And I'm practically a 3 year old so I just could NOT hold it together. I was cracking up the whole time, but was finally able to compose myself enough to get my line out. Then we ventured over to a place called CREAMS - I suggest that you all look that place up on google right now. It was so so so so so good. Just loads of ice cream sundaes and such. Not the smartest move by Sister Bader and I because we had to go directly from there to a dinner appointment and I seriously felt like I could throw up I was so full hahaha. But it was a fun day!

Here is an example of me not being able to hold it together in the rap hahaha.

On Wednesday we had the 3 week meeting (even though it was really 4 weeks) which is where all of my fellow MTC friends and our trainers went to Hyde Park to discuss with President and Sister Stevens how the first few weeks were! It was so so great to see everybody and to talk about how we all had been adjusting and such. I thought that adjusting for me was kind of rough because it took me a couple of weeks, but after talking to the other missionaries DANG I have had it good. A lot of them were really struggling but they still all had a smile on their faces, which was so nice to see. I can't even believe that it has been more than a month since I have been in the field! That's so crazy to me!

I would have to say that the craziest day this week was Saturday for sure. We did a whole lot of finding, which is always interesting to say the least. I am going to give you all a little synopsis of how finding went for us this day:

First we approached a man and asked him what makes him happy in life. He started smiling and laughing super creepily and said, "You are ladies. I can't tell you that." So, yeah, we got out of that conversation pretty quickly. Then I approached a couple who were walking their dogs, and this huge boxer full-on jumped on me and tried to attack me. Then we asked another man what brings him hope in life, and his response was "death." Sister Bader and I decided at this point we would try our luck at tracting. Door after door we just got rejection after rejection. We approached one door and the windows were open and we heard a man call from inside, "No thank you, ladies," so we looked in the window to tell him to have a nice day, and it's this old man just chillin' on his couch in a speedo... awkward. And then lastly, we went to the door of a man who was SO drunk he could barely stand and was spitting every time he spoke, which was so nasty. So yeah, that was our day of finding in a nutshell. We did end up finding a few nice people mixed in there, though, but I honestly just laugh when I think about all of the different situations we had that day.

Saturday night we went to a sister's home in our ward, and after we visited with her we went to get on a bus. We have these cards that we pay for monthly so that we can get on any bus or tube, but Sister Bader's had expired. We were out in tim-buck-too soooo far away from our flat. We tried to call a few members to see if anyone would be able to give us a ride, but they all had decided to go to the beach that day because it was HOT. So, after we had been sweating all day long, we had to walk for more than two hours (and not just a leisurely walk, we were SPEED walking - pumping arms and everything) to get to a tube station to top off Sister Bader's card. Of course I was wearing my not-so-comfortable shoes and my ankle was still swollen, so not the most fun to say the least. But at least I burned a lot of calories and probably sweat off a few pounds hahaha. My mom had sent me such a GOOD poem about missionary work, so Sister Bader and I read it while we were walking, which helped us look at things with a more positive view.

Sunday was a great day! We had three investigators at church and they all felt the spirit SO strongly. There was a little girl that got baptised, and our investigators had the chance to see that after church and they all loved it. It was such a blessing to have them there!

I hope that you all have a wonderful, fantastic, magnificent week!

Here are some random thoughts/feelings of the week:

I am very sad to say, but I do not even recognise when someone has a British accent anymore. It used to be such a cool thing to hear, but honestly it's refreshing to hear from some good ol' Americans now hahaha.

I thought my sense of direction would improve within a few weeks of the mission, but I am sad to say it has not. 90% of the time I turn the wrong direction when we are leaving the flat lol.

Sister Bader heard a Southern accent for the first time and started laughing because she thought that it was a joke hahahaha.

Peace, love, and blessings!
Sister Syddall

(Here is the poem I sent to Lolo - Skye Chapman {Maryland Baltimore Mission} had read it in her Homecoming talk a week ago, and kindly shared the link):

He's Been There Before
by Elder Troy Whittle (Texas Houston Mission)

The alarm bell rings at 6:30, I stumble to my feet
I grab my companion's bedding and pull off his sheets
A groan fills the room, is it already time to arise?
It seems like just a second ago I was able to shut my eyes

The morning's activities follow - study, prayer, and such
When it's time to leave the apartment, you feel you haven't accomplished much
"We have a super day planned," my comp says with a grin
I lowly utter a faithless breath, "Yeah, if anyone lets us in."

With the word of God and my faithful Schwinn, we ride off in the street
Prepared to face another day of humidity and heat
It's 9:30 in the evening, the day is almost through
My comp and I are riding home, not accomplishing what we thought to do

We ride up to the mailbox hoping to receive a lot
Only to look inside and hear my echo reverberate "Air box"
We go up to our apartment, the day is now complete
The only thing to show for our work is a case of blistered feet

It's past 10:30pm, my companion is fast asleep
Silence engulfs me all about, and I begin to weep
In the midst of sadness I kneel down to pray
I need to talk to Father, but I'm not sure what to say

"Oh, Father," I begin, "What happened to us today?
I thought we'd teach somebody, but everyone was away
My hands, my aching hands - worn, hurt and beat;
If our area was any smaller, we'd have knocked every street"

"Why on missions are the days so much alike?
The only difference about today was the flat tire on my bike
Will you send some cooler weather? The heat is killing me
I sweat so bad, it gets in my eyes, it's very hard to see"

"Why do I have to wear a helmet, isn't your protection enough?
People always laugh at me, and call me stupid stuff
Please send us investigators so I may give them what they lack
I want to give them a Book of Mormon, the weight of them hurts my back"

"And what about my family? They don't have much to say
I'm sick of not hearing from home day after day after day
Oh Father, why am I here? Am I just wasting time?
Sometimes I just want to go home, I'm sorry, but that's on my mind."

"My companion, Heavenly Father, what are you giving me?
The way he rides his bicycle, I don't think he can see
Now you have it, I can't go on, I don't know what to do
That, my Father in Heaven, is the prayer I have for you"

My prayer now finished, I stand up, then jump right into bed
I need my rest for tomorrow, we have another long day ahead
Sleep starts to overtake me, I seem to drift away
Then it seems a vision takes me to another time, another day

I'm standing alone on a hill, the view is very nice
A man walks towards me and says, "My name is Jesus Christ"
Tears of joy well up inside, I fall down to His feet
"Arise," he states, "follow me to the shade. You and I need to speak."

My attention's towards my Savior, total and complete
He says, "Your mission is similar to what happened to me
I understand how you feel, I know what you're going through
In fact, it would be fair to say I've felt the same as you"

"I even know how you felt when no one listened to you
At times I felt not quite sure what else I could do
I know you don't like to ride a bike, for you a car would be sweet
Just remember the donkey I rode wasn't equipped with 21 speeds."

"I understand you don't like sweating, in fact it's something you hate
I remember when I sweat blood from ev'ry pore, oh the agony was great!
I see you don't like your companion - you'd rather have someone else -
I once had a companion named Judas who sold my life for wealth"

"It's hard to wear a helmet and have people make fun of you
I remember when they put thorns on my head and called me King of the Jews
So you feel burdened down by the weight of your pack
I recall how heavy the cross was when they slammed it on my back"

"Your hands hurt from tracting and knocking on doors all day
I guess when they pounded nails into mine, I ached in a similar way
It's hard not to hear from home when your family's not there to see
I lost communication on the cross and cried, "Father, why has Thou forsaken me?"

"We have a lot in common, but there's a difference between us you see
I endured to the end and finished my mission, so follow and do like me"
He embraced me with His arms and His light filled me with His love
With tears in my eyes I watched as He went back to the the Father above

I stood with awe and wonder when a beep rang in my head
I listened and heard the alarm, then realized I was in my bed
My companion let out a groan, "6:30 already? No way!"
I sat up and said, "Come on, I'll even carry your scriptures today!"

No matter what we go through, when we feel we can't take any more
Just stop and think about Jesus Christ, He's been there before!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Auf auf ins Abenteuer!

Hello hello hello!

Another great week has come and gone! Since I am assuming most of you do not speak German... the phrase above means "let's go on an adventure!" I have made Sister Bader teach me a few German phrases and she told me that I actually have very good pronunciation. So don't get offended if I just head over to Germany after my mission because it sounds like those are my people.

This week has been the week of all weeks in dinner appointments. But hey, I am not complaining... It actually gives me the chance to have a balanced meal every once in a while. I truly do try to get all of those good ol' vitamins and nutrients in my meals, but I am not kidding you when I say lunch and dinner time are seriously the last priorities as a missionary. At least that has been my experience thus far. Dinner usually consists of eating whatever is fast and easy at 9:30 every night. But that's okay! I will survive!

We have the cutest kids in our ward! I love these cute boys!

Hmmmmm... so what have been the highlights of the week... On Thursday we got to do some yard work for a sister in our ward. Of course, right when we got there it started raining. And pouring. And I think that I may have even heard the old man snoring (ha. haha. ha)... but really, we got SOAKED pulling weeds and picking plums from her tree. It was still a lot of fun. I love love love doing service projects for people. She gave us food and hot chocolate and cookies and all of that good stuff.

This entire past week we have had appointments back to back to back. It has been so, so busy, but that makes time FLY by. Like I feel like I was emailing yesterday... It's so weird. According to every missionary I have talked to, time will just start going by faster. And faster. And faster!

Friday was probably my favorite day of this week (although they were all great) because we had our first zone conference! That is when two different zones get together at the Hyde Park Visitors Centre for trainings from President Stevens, Sister Stevens, someone from the Stake Presidency, the Assistants to the President, and Sister Training Leaders and more. So a LOT of people, but it is just a huge spiritual feast! At this conference they focused on the importance of the sacrament. I love the following quote from Elder Holland:

"With so very much at stake, this ordinance commemorating our escape from the angel of darkness should be taken more seriously than it sometimes is. It should be a powerful, reverent, reflective moment. It should encourage spiritual feelings and impressions. As such it should not be rushed. It is not something to "get over" so that the real purpose of a sacrament meeting can be pursued. This is the real purpose of the meeting."

It's so very true! The sacrament is such a gift and having that reminder definitely made it a more spiritual experience this past Sunday. And at zone conference we got all of the pizza we could ever want - for anyone that knows me, that is the definition of happiness for me {haha}. (Sorry that I have no pictures :(  a sister from the mission office should be sending some from zone conference, but I don't have them yet!)

On Saturday we got to go to the church for the annual ward cleaning activity. After we had cleaned the chapel, we discovered that right outside of the church there's this huge blackberry bush that has the yummiest blackberries in the world, so we spent a lot of time picking (and eating) the blackberries. Then we had the barbecue of all barbecues. I am not kidding when I say that I was in the presence of the most meat I have EVER seen. We had hamburgers and sausages and pork and steak and chicken and so so so much of it. It was soooooo good! After church on Sunday we got to go to Bishop's house and have the barbecue all over again. I think with the amount of meat I have consumed in the past couple of days, I should be covered for a good six months {haha}. But I loved it.

I just love this area and the members in the ward SO much here! It makes me sad that I don't get to stay here forever, but I know there will be so many great experiences ahead!

Oh, and next week, just to inform you all, my Pday may not be on Monday because, if all goes according to plan, my district and I will get to go see Wicked!!! It would probably be on Wednesday or Thursday... and there is a secret of how to get front row seats for real cheap and rumour on the street is that Glenda is a member, so she will take the missionaries backstage after the show! I'm crossing my fingers that it all works out! So if any of my loyal writers are waiting for a reply, don't be alarmed if you don't get one on Monday next week.

(One week late... making coxinhas!)

Here are some random facts/information:

TJ Maxx is TK Maxx here and it really confuses me as to why...??!

I think that I am getting worse at the English accent. If you heard me before I left, you may wonder how I could get any worse, but I am sorry to disappoint those of you who were hoping I would already have the accent down. I still have 17 months, so I will try my hardest to improve.

They have a Costco somewhere in my area which is the WEIRDEST thing to me because I just think Costco screams American. Everything here is so small and compact, but then  BOOM they've got a Costco. The fellow missionaries in my area were very saddened by the fact that I do not have a Costco card with me.

I am helping teach a Portuguese speaker and an Italian speaker English, which poses to be quite challenging when I speak neither of those languages.

Love you all!

Sister Syddall

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Hello everyone!

I hope that things have been going WONDERFULLY for all of you! The time seems to feel like it's going a {little} bit faster since I'm getting more into the swing of things here in good ol' Hayes. I am seriously loving missionary work more and more everyday!

So... trying to think of what has happened over the past week is so hard for me to do... It really is just one big blur, but I will try to recount some of the highlights.

We had another district meeting on Tuesday, which is always so great. Seeing how amazing all of the missionaries are in my district gives me hope that someday (hopefully sooner rather than later) I can be as great as they are! Every single missionary that I have met here so far has been absolutely fantastic. They are all so hardworking and truly give 100 percent to the Lord.

Later in the week we got to do a service for a woman named Karen in our ward. We were painting her hallway blue. And when I say blue, I mean BLUE. She didn't know it was going to be as bright as it turned out, but it definitely added some brightness to the hallway! Haha.

There have been multiple times this week that I have said something in "American English" and everyone just looks at me like I'm an idiot hahaha. For example, NO ONE here uses the term "restroom," and even if I say "bathroom," although more acceptable, people still think it's so weird. It's strictly the "toilet." And I was asking for a bandaid at one point and they just stared at me and didn't understand what I was asking for. Then they were like "ohhhhhh do you mean a plaster?" I always say "garbage" and my companion replies, "don't you mean rubbish?" I learn something new everyday haha. Oh, and whenever people ask me how tall I am (and I get that question a lot), I can't even answer because no one knows the whole feet/inches thing here. I guess it's time for me to discover my height in centimetres.

We played some more chair football and volleyball on Thursday for sports night. Once again during football I just stood there not knowing what to do with myself. If you would like an image in your head of what I look like when I attempt to play, just imagine me trying to kick the ball and missing 90% of the time. At least everyone else always gets a good laugh when I try. Elder Convey, who is from California, likes to remind me that if I use my "American Power" I will be super good. Haha.

Thursday was also Sister Bader's 9 month mark! She is now on the downhill slope! Apparently it is tradition for sisters to take a picture with pillows stuffed under their shirt to look like they're {9 months} pregnant. So odd. But also so hilarious. I'm afraid you'll just have to wait another 8 months until you get to see mine haha.

A cool experience that Sister Bader and I had this week was on Saturday. We were going teaching with a recent convert named Dean and he is just the GREATEST. He is so pumped about missionary work and helping us out. So we went to an appointment, and the people we were meeting with didn't show, so we decided to we would go and talk to people around town. We found one man and began talking to him. He wasn't really showing much interest to what Sister Bader and I were saying, so we asked Dean to share his testimony about the Book of Mormon. As soon as Dean shared his testimony, the guy's persona completely changed. He was able to see that light that Dean had about him, and now we have an appointment with him to teach him more! It was a great little experience.

Later that day we went finding to a place that was straight out of a horror movie. We were in these hallways that had two floors and if you looked up, the ENTIRE ceiling was covered with spiders and spider webs. I'm not kidding... every single little inch. It was terrifying and I didn't dare look up again because with my luck they would have just fallen into my eyes or mouth or something. Fortunately we made it out alive hahaha.

On Sunday we got a call from President and Sister Stevens telling us that they would be coming to our ward that day! We were so excited to see them and we were expecting a couple of investigators at church that day, so we were prepared for a great Sunday. When we got to church, President and Sister Stevens arrived and went and got seated in the chapel. None of our investigators had shown up and we were so bummed. But when the meeting began, in walked three of our investigators. And then a couple minutes later, in walked another investigator with her two kids. We were SO happy that they were able to come and meet President and Sister Stevens. As Sister Stevens was leaving at the end of the church meetings, she turned around to Sister Bader and I and said pointing to us, "These Sisters are on FIRE!" It was so sweet and meant so much to hear that from her. It's great to know that the work we are putting in is recognised by our wonderful President and his wife.

This morning Sister Bader and Elders Sowah and Convey and I were able to go to our bishop's home and make a Brazilian snack called coxinhas. And oh. my. goodness. They were the most heavenly things I have ever tasted. They are also so, so unhealthy, but it was so worth it. It is always a party when we are at the bishop's house. Sooooo much fun.

Well, that's it for this week folks! Tune in again on the 17th of August! I thought I would include some more random things that no one probably cares about hahaha:

A box of Kraft macaroni and cheese here is like 2.50£ which is equivalent to $3.88. For ONE box. I suppose I will have to survive without that fake cheese goodness.

The best purchase for my mission was definitely my rain boots. They are the comfiest of my shoes and have come in handy many times already. And I look so posh when I wear them so I feel like a real European hahaha not really. But kind of.

A rainbow after a full day of rain! So pretty.

They do NOT sell any of the good fruity/sour candy here. AKA all the candy that I LOVE. No sour gummy worms. No sour patch kids. No rips. It is so, so sad. They only sell chocolate. It is very very good chocolate, but it still doesn't fill that hole in my heart </3

I think that {herbal} tea is very, very gross. But I just smile and pretend to enjoy it anyway. I have discovered my love for something called "Mormon coffee" or barley cup. Only if you add milk and sugar to it though lol.

This picture is like two weeks old, but it was my first "tea party" in England at Bishop's house. 
These are the lovely Elders Sowah and Convey.

I hope that this week is truly fantastic for you all!!

Sister Syddall

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Week Numero Dos

Another week has come and gone!!

This week has been full of a whole lot of finding and talking and teaching and learning and adjusting, but I have LOVED it! It truly is amazing to see just how much I have grown and learned in the two weeks that I have been in the field and I can't wait to see how much more I grow and change in the next 17 months!

My first p-day (last week) was spent cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning. Pretty exciting, isn't it? We had an inspection which apparently only happens once a year and, lucky me, I got to be there to do it! But it actually felt nice because I knew that the place was well sanitized after we were through deep cleaning. And where I live is okay... disregarding the fact that there is mold all over the bathroom, which is pretty nasty. But, alas, I have survived. According to Sister Bader, there are worse places to live in the mission, so I guess I'll count it as a blessing haha.

Selfie break during a whole lot o' OYMing (Open Your Mouth, which is where you just talk to everyone you pass):

On Wednesday I had my first exchange, which means that I go with one of the sister training leaders for a day. Since I am so new, and would have totally gotten lost if I was left to navigate through Hayes, I got to go to Watford with Sister Micochova. She is from the Czech Republic and goes home pretty soon, but it was a great experience to learn from someone different, and she is an amazing missionary! I got to ride a bike, which I actually really enjoyed. But let me tell ya, riding a bike in a skirt is a challenge! Also riding in busy traffic is very stressful! But I have lived to tell the tale. At one point we were riding to the church on some path Sister Micochova had never taken, but it was the most BEAUTIFUL bike trail I have ever seen, so the soreness the next day was worth it.

The next day I went to my first zone meeting! It was really fun getting to meet so many different missionaries. They gave us a great training on consecrating ourselves fully to this work that we have been called to do. I am going to strive to give 110% to the Lord and be the BEST missionary I can be. Everyone in my zone is soooo much fun, I am constantly cracking up. After the meeting we all went to McDonald's together - that was the first time I've eaten {at McDonald's} in like 6 years, and when I ate, I remembered why hahahaha. Apparently Micky D's is the place to go as missionaries... I will survive.

Here is my zone. Such a photogenic group, aren't we?

Thursday night we had a sports night with some investigators and Elders Convey and Sowah (the elders in our ward), and if you know me, you know I am not the most coordinated person in the world haha. We started off playing something called chair football (soccer for all you Americans) and I pretty much just stood in the same place lol. Then we played volleyball, and I was in the ZONE. Everyone thought I was some amazing volleyball player, and I was just laughing because I am so, so bad. It was still so much fun.

This last Sunday was my first fast Sunday in the ward and we ended up starting our fast at 1pm on Saturday because our ward was having a munch and mingle after church. Let me tell ya, fasting and walking everywhere in the heat of the day is not the easiest thing, but I made it through and Sunday was a great day! We actually found 4 new investigators and a lot of potential investigators, so it really was a successful fast!

This is Kevin. He is a convert of about 3 years. He has to move back to China but he just submitted his mission papers!

Today Sister Bader and I are going to get some shopping done and then relax (aka nap), which I am super excited for hahaha. In a couple of weeks we will be going to the Harry Potter Studio where they filmed a bunch of the movies, so for all you Harry Potter fans - I'll be thinking of you!

Here are some random things you may want to know (or maybe you don't care, but here they are):

We walk or ride the bus and the tube EVERYWHERE, so no bikes or cars for me right now. I have come to the conclusion that double decker buses are a hazard to my health because when I'm on the top, I trip and almost fall to my death as I walk down the stairs. Every. Single. Time.

I still have not gotten used to looking the right way when I cross the street, so Sister Bader has had to stop me multiple times. I am grateful I have a companion who guards my life! I have just started looking both ways about 10 times to be REALLY sure that I won't get hit by a car.

There are spiders all over the place here. Apparently before I got here there was a spider as big as the palm of my hand in the flat, which is quite alarming. Also, there are bats that fly outside our windows all night. And there are flying ants. And a lot of bees. And pigeons. I am not a fan of the wildlife here, I admit.

Well, that's all of the random facts I can think of at the moment. Thank you for all the support and prayers! I hope you all have a fantastic week!

Sister Syddall