Tuesday, December 29, 2015

HAPPY {almost} NEW YEAR!!!

Hello hello hello!

Wow it has been quite a while since I have written a good ol' weekly email so it might be a little scrambled and all over the place BUT I'll try my best!! I guess I'll start off with the big news. I'll be transferred to... NOWHERE because our mission president pushed back transfers a week haha. So I guess I'll have 6 more days to stress about where I'll end up :) what a joy! But I am SO grateful I'll get to ring in the new year in Hayes and be with Sister Mekonnen! It's gonna be awesomeeeeeee. I cannot believe that 2015 has come and gone! When I think back on this year I just realise what a whirlwind it has been. Last New Years I had NO idea that I would be in London, let alone on a mission and I am just SO grateful! I wouldn't want to be anywhere else or doing anything else!

So... what has been going on... well, obviously we had CHRISTMAS WOOHOO!

Christmas on a mission is seriously so special. It has been amazing to focus more on the Saviour. There has just been a special spirit surrounding this entire week. I can't believe it's already gone! It was AMAZING to talk to the family on Christmas Day, and although it was hard to be apart from them, I realised how special it is to be around everyone here. And Hayes has done a wonderful job with making the missionaries part of their family. Ahhhhhh I LOVE this time of year!

Singin' with the choir!

Hmmmmmm so what are some exciting stories...

Sister Mekonnen offered to bring Ethiopian food to Christmas dinner for all of us to try (which is the BOMB by the way) and there's a bunch of stuff that you can't just buy at the grocery store. So we embarked on a journey to this little Ethiopian restaurant/grocery store that we have passed a bunch on the bus. It's just in a little random strip of stores, and not gonna lie, kind of a sketchy part of town. But she knew that was the only place she would be able to get some of the ingredients. SO we get there and for some reason she's all nervous to go in haha. She was all like "My Amharic isn't good enough anymore! They'll judge me!" And I was like "Wellllll this is our only chance to get the stuff so let's just do it!" So we make our way into the little restaurant and I'm not kidding I was sooooooo out of place. All eyes were on this random white girl that just walked in. They all just started talking in Amharic to Sister Mekonnen and I'm just sitting there like a llama not knowing what to say or do. We had to wait a minute for the owner to get the ingredients we needed, and as we are sitting Sister Mekonnen is talkin to this guy, and again, I have no idea what's being said. All of a sudden he comes over with some of his food and feeds it to her. Literally holding it in his hands puts it in her mouth. I remembered back to her telling me it's Ethiopian tradition to have the host feed you. So then he goes and gets me some and I was a little apprehensive because I had no idea what this food was and some random dude was just holding it up to my mouth, but I felt like it would be totally rude not to accept, so I just politely ate it. And ok it wasn't disgusting. The flavours were actually very good, but there was definitely some sort of meat that was very questionable. I really don't even want to know what it was haha! But I could not swallow all of it because I could seriously feel the gag coming on, so I just sat there with this chunk of mystery meat in my mouth, and then we got our stuff and left, and I got rid of that meat in my mouth ASAP. Then Sister Mekonnen was like "I don't even know what that was, that's not like anything I eat at home" and I was like "Well, that's comforting..." BUT I am glad to say I survived and did not get ill! Woohooooooo. Then she started telling me that the Ethiopian guys were saying, "I've never seen an Ethiopian hanging out with a white chick... she must be a cool girl" hahahaha I was cracking up! Such an interesting and hilarious experience.

With our pal Alicia

Another weird thing was one day when Sister Mekonnen and I were finding, we stopped this guy and chatted with him a bit and showed him the Christmas video. Afterwards he goes "Wait here for one second" and he runs off. We wait and like a minute later he comes back and says "Take this money!" and he's shoving it at Sister Mekonnen. We told him we couldn't accept it and would he please keep it. Then he say, "I'm a sinner" and gives both of us this super awkward hug and we were just like whatttttt. And then as we are still trying to give him back the the money, he runs away and we are left with this wad of cash. Get this, it was £100! Equivalent to $155... and were like what just happened?? haha! It was so odd. (Shilo mentioned in her Christmas Skype that they called President Stevens to inquire about what they should do with the money, he told them to give it to their Bishop... who then gave it back to them.)

Our BFF Sister Reeder

Today we are having a district pday and it's the first day since I've been on the mish that I get to wear NORMAL CLOTHES. It is such a free feeling. Just thought you would all like to know haha.

Now for a little spiritual upliftment. Since we're about to ring in the new year, I think this quote is fitting about persistence:

"That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing is changed, but that our power to do is increased." (Heber J. Grant)

So I challenge you all to stay committed to those New Years resolutions! Set goals that will help you excel, and persist in reaching those goals! Your power WILL increase as you keep on trying and keep on working.

I love you all! I'm sure that 2016 has amazing things in store for each and every one of you!

Sister Syddall

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Hello everybody!

So right off the bat I must apologise that this email is going to be a quick one because we literally have about zero time to do anything today! We had our first choir performance last night and it was uber tiring but also wayyyy good. Now we are headed to a day of practice, singing at an old folks home, having tea (herbal of course) and cake with them (proper English shin-dig), and then having another performance tonight!

But I just wanted to tell you all a funny little story from the week.

Saturday was a crazy day. In the morning I was on an exchange with one of the Sister Training Leaders, Sister Grant from Finland (p.s. I learned that her grandpa was Mr. Universe back in the day hahaha!). We exchanged back and then Sister Mekonnen and I had to rush to the ward Christmas party (which was PACKED by the way, but so fun). Then we said our goodbyes and headed home. So usually on Saturday night we have a zone call, and so we were just back at our flat waiting for the call, but we never got one, so we just went to bed, not really thinking anything of it. We just figured that for some reason they didn't have one that night. I was just on the brink of being completely asleep when I hear Sister Mekonnen say, "Sister Syddall, I think someone is knocking on the door." So I'm half delirious and I'm just like, "What are you talking about?" And then all of a sudden I hear a SUPER LOUD knock. At this point my stomach literally dropped to the floor and my heart started beating sooooo fast. My mind literally was thinking of all the different awful situations that could commence. Was it a drunk? A creepy person who watched us and knew where we lived? Were they gonna break the door open (because that's literally what these knocks sounded like)? So I was just freaking out and was like, "Oh my gosh, what should we do?! Who should we call?!" So we try to call the zone leaders and the phone says "emergency calls only," and I was like what the heck, am I in some sort of horror movie?? We try a bunch of different numbers and none of them worked, meanwhile there is still someone BANGING on the door. Sister Mekonnen decides to open the bedroom door (and I'm a wimp so I was like, "Wait, no! Don't do it!" But she still did haha) and than all of a sudden she goes, "Wait... I think I hear Elder Tonks voice!" I was still just so confused at this whole situation. So I creep out of the bedroom and as we are listening we then clearly hear, "We've tried to call them 6 times and got no answer!" I went downstairs and was like, "Who is it?" and then we hear "The missionaries!" Then we were like OH OK and opened the door hahaha. There we saw Elder Tonks and Elder Kalablanko (totally spelled that wrong, ooops lol) standing at our door. They went on to tell us that a billion people tried to call us and no one was getting through so they all thought something happened to us. Butttttt turns out our phone is just wacko and broken. It was very sweet for so many people to care, even though we were totally unaware of it! It was all just so random though, so it felt like a dream, and then we could not get back to sleep cuz our adrenaline was PUMPIN'. But it's a good story to tell, I guess!

And here's the awkward district picture for you haha

Like I mentioned, we had our choir concert at Hyde Park and it was sooooo awesome! So many people came, and three of our new investigators came along and loved it! And lemme tell ya, President Stevens OWNED "Three Kings". And I didn't ruin any of the songs so I would consider it a success!

Again, sorry this email is so short, but I hope you all have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! I will not be emailing on Monday because our pday will be moved to Christmas. But I LOVE YOU ALL! Remember the reason for the season!

Sister Syddall

Monday, December 7, 2015

Forget yourself and go to work!

HELLO! Is it me you're looking for?

I hope you liked the Lionel Richie reference. Everyone here has been talking about some new song by Adele called "Hello" and since I'm way out of the loop, I just always think of this song hahaha. But OK, let's get down to business, shall we?

This week began with being sick and hearing some very sad news, so it was a bit of a struggle BUT when you're serving the Lord, it always seems to pick itself up. I seriously feel SO blessed to be out here serving in London. The phrase that constantly gets me through the rough times is "forget yourself and go to work!" I LOVE THIS WORK. I LOVE THE GOSPEL. I love the comfort it gives to me. I am so grateful to have a testimony of the Plan of Salvation and to know that after our time on earth there is SO much more in store. I have also been able to reflect on how precious each and every day is. Tell your friends and family you love them every chance you get! I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!

I apologise for how random that paragraph above is, but that's what has been on my mind throughout this week. SO lemme think for one moment while I reflect on what has happened. Last Sunday we got a new Ward Mission Leader and Tuesday night we had a meeting with him, and OH MY GOODNESS he is just going to be the BEST. Too bad I probably only have three weeks with him. He and his wife also fed us dinner, and they're Brazilian, so MORE BRAZILIAN FOOD WOOHOO. That's not even a sarcastic statement. It's seriously so dang good!

Thursday we had such good plans and almost everything seemed to fall through, which is always a bummer, but it still turned out to be a great day! We were stopping by a new investigator, but she can barely speak English so it was a speedy lesson haha. Since we were done with her lesson a bit early, we decided to stop by some potential investigators - one was this guy named Kevin. He said he had wanted a copy of the Book of Mormon. When we got there, he invited us in to explain more about it and we ended up getting to teach his two cousins as well! They're from Sri Lanka (seriously like 90% of the people we meet here are not English. It's so fun to meet people from EVERYWHERE) and are here working. They were all SO excited to get a copy of the Book of Mormon and learn more! Sister Mekonnen and I are super excited to teach them in the future!

Alrighty, so on Friday morning we got to do the fun and exciting weekly planning, WOOHOO! I just loveeeeee sitting there for three hours ;') hahaha but really it's great to set out solid plans for the week! Afterwards I went to take the rubbish outside (I know I've explained their awful garbage system here) and it was super windy so the door slammed shut behind me. Sister Mekonnen was just upstairs sweeping, so I assumed she heard it and would run downstairs to let me in. When she wasn't coming, I started knocking. And knocking. And knocking some more. My knuckles were seriously bright red. FINALLY like 10 minutes later, after standing shoeless and jacketless, she came down and let me in. She couldn't hear me because the washing machine and microwave were going at the same time. Although I must admit I was a tad bit annoyed at first, now I think it's hilarious. I'm sure glad the 100 billion university students that were passing by got to see me frantically knocking haha. Now that I type this out it really doesn't even sound funny. OH WELL.

Oh my goodness I almost forgot to mention! OK, so the senior sister missionaries seriously are our best friends. And they spoil us WAY too much! Like seriously they took us out to lunch THREE TIMES this week! Five Guys (HOLLLLLA), an Italian restaurant, and Nandos, which has a lot of chicken with something called "peri peri" sauce. That stuff is huge here, but hey, it's good so I'm not complaining! And they've bought us Christmas gifts and just been so sweet to go teaching with us all the time! Now if we could think of something AWESOME to give them for Christmas. If any of you have splendid ideas, let me know!

The height difference (Sister Reeder and I) haha

Saturday we had Zone Meetinggggggg! It's always fun to get together as a zone and learn and set goals and feel the Spirit! It's always fun after transfers to meet all the new pals you're going to be around. It was SO good. We talked a lot about the new Christmas videos and how we can use them in our finding (thank you iPads) and teaching. And if you guys have not seen the "Why we need a Savior," look it up! Oh my goodness it's sooooooo good! Sister Reeder came and she insisted that she bring a treat for all of the missionaries, but over by the Wembley Chapel there isn't really any big shop, so we went to this little tiny convenience store and bought them out of all their M&M's. The man was probably very confused why someone would buy £25 worth of them hahaha. She's the best though. I was just laughing up a storm the entire time we were with her!

I am very disappointed in myself that I have not mentioned two of our investigators that I have been teaching since like my second transfer! They will be getting baptised in January (right after I most likely leave, sad day). But they are a hoot! Their names are Jenner and Sandra. Jenner is from the Caribbean (yes he does have dreadlocks and loves Bob Marley), and Sandra is from Lithuania. Odd match? Yes. Funniest couple in the world? Yes. So every single time that we go over to Jenner and Sandra's, he just says the funniest and most ridiculous things. Let me replay one of the conversations we had last night as we were talking about the Word of Wisdom:

Jenner: "You know, ALL pigs have demons in them, so I will never eat pork."

Me: "Hmmmm... I don't think that the muscle has any demons in it, so I still choose to eat it (at this moment everyone lost it and started cracking up). But if you don't want to eat pork, that's fine!"

Jenner: "Go to the butcher's and ask them for a pork chop then put lemon juice on it. It will immediately turn to worms."

Me: "Well, even after seeing how hot dogs are made I still choose to eat them, so I'll try but I'll probably still eat pork."

Sandra: "You know, I've fed you pork before and just told you that it was chicken. And you always say you like it!"

Jenner: "WHAT?!"

I hope you all enjoyed a glimpse into our meetings with Jenner and Sandra. They're seriously the BEST. I love those people so much, I wish so badly you could all meet them! I will take a picture with them so you can all get a visual haha.

And if any of you were curious it gets dark here by 4:00PM. Yes you heard that right, FOUR O'CLOCK. It's madness.

Something we have loved asking people we meet is what will YOU give our Saviour Jesus Christ as a gift this Christmas season? I invite you all to reflect on that and write down what you will give to Him. Remember He is the reason for the season! Love you all!

Sister Syddall