Monday, January 25, 2016

Around the UK in 7 days

Hello hello hello!

Another week has come and gone in the good ol' town of Stevenage! Actually... now that I come to think of it, practically half of this week I was somewhere else and it's just been way crazy, so let's dive right into it, shall we?

Like I mentioned last week, we went to COSTCO wooohooo. I am now sufficiently supplied with pancakes (I could probably eat pancakes every day for the rest of my mish with that bag of pancake mix hahaha) and bananas and MUFFINS. Funny thing that happened, we went with our Zone Leaders, and as we were walking around the store they were just grabbing SO much stuff. Anything that looked even slightly appealing to them they were just throwing in the cart. When we went to the check out line, they started reevaluating everything that they had grabbed and were like "I guess I don't REALLY need this container of red vines" and slowly they were removing stuff. At this point they probably removed a good £50 worth of items, and then they were ready to check out. Sister Smith and I purchased our stuff together and it cost £40, which is quite good for two people I must say. Then the Elders start scanning up their stuff and the price is just getting higher. And higher. And higher. Mind you, this was AFTER they had already removed a ton. And then the checkout lady says "ok, that will be £99" and oh my goodness, the look on their faces was priceless. Both of their eyes got about as big as the moon as they sheepishly handed over their cash. Sister Smith and I could not hold it together, and we were just laughing so hard. It was sooooooo funny.

On Tuesday we had to travel over to Watford for an exchange. This transfer they were trying something new, so both Sister Smith and I went to Watford, rather than one of the STLs coming to Stevenage. Gettin' there was a real pain in the bootay (I miss London transport oh so much :'( but I will survive)! On the way we stopped at Kings Cross St. Pancreas Station and we saw the 9 3/4 platform from Harry Potter. Now, it wasn't that big of a deal to me, but Sister Smith LOVES Harry Potter, and she has not seen it for her entire mission, so she was flippin out. Three hours after leaving Stevenage we FINALLY arrived to Watford and had a great time with the Sister Training Leaders. I spent the day with Sister Pan from Spain and learned so many great things! I forgot to take a picture though :/  ooops.

We travelled home on Wednesday, but luckily the Zone Leaders were able to come and pick us up, so rather than three hours, it only took about 35 minutes to get home. Wednesday night we had a Worldwide Missionary Broadcast (I'm sure if you read other missionary email you've heard alllll about it) in Hitchin, so we were again only in Stevenage for a couple of hours before we had to travel there. The broadcast was WAY good. They extended missionary service to 3 years :) See you all in 2018!!!!

HAH, just kidding. I doubt I even fooled any of you, but if I did, I hope your heart dropped at the thought of not seeing me for so long hahaha. But really, the missionary broadcast was just a spiritual FEAST. The message they were conveying was "Teach repentance, baptise converts." It was really blowing my mind that all my missionary buddies around the world were watching it at the same time :-) Neil L. Andersen spoke at the beginning and something he said that I LOVED was that we should always keep the name of the Saviour on our lips. He said that if you're ever unsure what to say, speak of Christ. Something that David A. Bednar said that stood out to me was "Teaching is not talking, it's listening and observing." Ahhhhhhh, this whole broadcast was just so good. Loved it.

Thursday we had interviews with President and Sister Stevens, so we were traveling to and in St. Albans all. day. long. But it was so so good! We started by having a training from our President about the Atonement. I have such a strong desire to understand and apply it more deeply into my life. And based upon the fact that this is only the 2nd interview I've had on my mission, it was great to have time to talk to President Stevens about how everything is going. We also got the chance to have an interview with Sister Stevens, and she is just so dang sweet. It was a fantastic day!

Friday night we had dinner with the woman with the mad dog. She had the member over who baptised her a few years ago, and he kept the dog away from us, so that was a big relief. After dinner, when we all stood up, he said "They grow them tall in Colorado" and I just started cracking up hahaha. Afterwards we stopped by a member who we had had dinner with a few nights before, and she had MONO. Oh my goodness, Sister Smith and I were freaking out. Anyone know how long it takes for symptoms to show? Because we are a wee bit stressed lol. To this point, we are still going strong!

Something funny that I've observed is that Sister Smith ALWAYS gets asked to pray because no one is still completely sure how to say my name hahahaha. That's a super random side note, but seriously, I think 9 out of 10 times she's the one that's asked.

Today we are going to London once again, and I do realise that I still haven't even sent the pictures from 3 weeks ago... but I'll be sure to take loads more and hopefully eventually I'll get them to you all!


Sister Syddall

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Week dos in Stevenage WOOHOO (sorry I can't come up with a better subject than this... Haha)

HELLO! It's been... well... another very similar week to last in the good ol' Stevenage! I truly am loving this area more and more every day, unfortunately there just is not as much crazy stuff going down, so I'm sorry if the material in the weekly report is a little less... exciting.

The whole gang's here (yes... this is our entire district now haha)

Well let's start with the important matters. IT FINALLY SNOWED. Granted, it was like half an inch, if even that, BUT it's the first time I've seen snow since I've been here, so that was pretty sweet. Oh, and I learned that apparently ginger warms your body. Who knew? Well maybe you did know, but a Filipino family fed us some porridge that was just packed with it and they told us it would warm us, and no joke, I was toasty warm for the rest of the night.

This week we had a dinner appointment with an elderly woman in the ward and her son. Prior to going to the appointment we heard from just about everyone "DON'T. TOUCH. THE DOG." We were told the many vicious horror stories of it biting different people, and the police being called all the time about this dog. The dog's name is Blade, which goes along with its personality quite well, I suppose. So needless to say, Sister Smith and I were TERRIFIED to go to the dinner. Right when we got there we just kept our hands stuffed in our coat pockets and that dog kept scratching our legs and pushing our legs trying to get us to pet it, but we did not give in to its antics, and I'm happy to say that we made it out without losing a hand. BUT we eat there every week, so I'll keep you updated if the situation takes a turn for the worse.

There's a family in the ward that feeds the missionaries every single Friday, and they feed us steak, potatoes, and spinach salad. Every. Single. Week. Not gonna lie, I've really enjoyed it these past two weeks because I think this is the first time I've been fed steak since I've been on the mission, so at this moment in time I'm loving it! If I stay in this area for another 5 months, we will see how I feel about it... haha!

Something I'm pleased as punch about is the fact that there are not nearly as many pigeons in this neck of the woods. Lots of duck and geese and swans BUT very few pigeons. Just thought I'd let you all know. And I still feel like a 5-year-old with how excited I get when I see a swan because they're just SO PRETTY. But I've legitimately developed a small phobia of birds since I've been out here, so I still won't get close to them. After being hit in the head by one AND being pooped on, can ya blame me?

There was a pretty sunset. Too bad the dang ipads hardly capture the beauty. Took Sister Smith a lil off guard haha.

On Sunday Sister Smith and I had the pleasure of giving a talk in sacrament meeting (woooohoooo) and we gave it on the topic of missionary work (surprising, I know!). I must say, I am pleasantly surprised that I have made it 6+ months without having to give a talk (not counting bearing my testimony, of course - done that a thousand times). I think it went over smoothly and {hopefully} helped motivate the ward a little bit to be more involved in missionary work themselves. I quoted a talk by Elder M. Russell Ballard,

"Trust the Lord. He is the Good Shepherd. He knows His sheep, and His sheep know His voice; and today the voice of the Good Shepherd is your voice and my voice. And if we are not engaged, many who would hear the message of the Restoration will be passed by. Simply stated, it's a matter of faith and action on our part. The principles are pretty simple - pray, personally and in your family, for missionary opportunities. The Lord has said in the Doctrine and Covenants that many people have been kept from the truth only 'because they know not where to find it.'"

I simply LOVE this quote. We are the Lord's voice, so we need to seek those opportunities to share the message of the gospel with everyone! Pray for the opportunities, folks, and they'll come, I promise you!

I hope you all have a fantastic week! Now I'm off to the blessed land of Costco, where dreams come true :) Can't wait to buy me some dang good blueberry muffins!

Sister Syddall

Monday, January 11, 2016

Pioneer children sang as they walked and walked and WALKED

Hiya chaps! You alright?!

Alright, now that I've greeted you like a real Englishman, let's get down to business, shall we? Okay, so this week in a nutshell has been CRAZY. First of all, London last week was sooooooo much fun. Man, I'm going to miss those people! Actually, I already DO miss those people. I just keep telling myself "change is good"... even though it's been a little hard, honestly! I went from being in a district of ten to a district of four. Yep, just Sister Smith and I and our district leader and his companion. It will be a... change. Looks like I'll get the opportunity to give a lot of trainings! Woooooohooooo haha.

Our last London pday (and this is missing like the whole crew because I don't have a computer :'( so sad)

On the day of transfers we all met up with our new companions and I had to say goodbye to Sister Mekonnen. It was seriously so sad! I had so much fun serving with her and we were both just lugging my suitcases to the station repeating "this doesn't feel real!"

Trying to be Princess Leia since I'm missing out on the new Star Wars hahaha

It was even sad to say goodbye to the nasty mouldy flat. BUT right off the bat of meeting Sister Smith, I knew we would get along great! She's from the blessed land of UTAHHHHHH. She actually was with Sister Bader (my trainer) right before I came out, so we both have enjoyed reminiscing about Hayes and all of the good times in that area. Luckily our district leader came to meet up with us and helped with luggage, and then the zone leaders came and met up and drove our suitcases to the flat (and so kindly carried them up the stairs. I don't think we would have made it if it wasn't for them). We DO live in a 4-man flat, which means TWO bathrooms, which is such a luxury. The elders that were there before didn't leave it in the cleanest condition... but that's what Sister Smith and I will be getting in order for the rest of the day! And unpacking... still haven't been able to do that! We also sleep on £80 pillows... just thought I'd throw that in there haha!

So let me recount the craziness of the week. Every day we have walked. And walked. And WALKED. I am not exaggerating, it's been like pioneer trek 2.0. I have NEVER walked this much in my life. And I got a blister on the bottom of my foot. Ew, I know. And my shoes will probably be worn out in about 2 weeks. It has apparently been the wettest winter in a longggggg time, so yeah, lots of rain. A random man gave us both umbrellas one night when we were caught in a storm. We've just been trying to stop by to talk to anybody. Everybody. And no one is available to meet with us. I've honestly felt like a chicken running around with it's head cut off. We were able to have a meeting with the bishop, and he pretty much told us the ward may be a bit... dysfunctional hahahaha. But I'm looking forward to see what I'll learn! He told us that we will need to have a lotttttt of patience.

One night when we were walking we saw something flipping around out in the middle of the road. I thought it was a plastic bag, but what was it? IT WAS A CAT THAT HAD BEEN HIT BY A CAR. Then it proceeded to ram into a car and left a ton of blood, and then we watched it take its last breath. So depressing.

Sunday was good to meet a bunch of people - not like I remember any of their names or anything, but I'm sure it will come with time. Literally the whole Ward Council was changed. A very nervous Ward Mission Leader was among those called, so that will be interesting to see! I'm sure he'll be great!

I know I promised some pictures, but another wacky thing is that the bishop will not allow the missionaries to have a key to the chapel... so I am currently emailing in the local Burger King (just ate me some gooooood food #livingthelife) and have no access to a computer :(  sad day.

Well folks, sorry this email is all over the place, but LOVE YA'LL!

Sister Syddall

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


HELLO HELLO HELLO EVERYBODY! I hope you all had a fantastic New Year!

So I know you're all SO EXCITED to hear about transfers (even though none of you probably care that much haha)... I will sadly be leaving this sweet place I've called home for the last six months, and will be moving on to a town named STEVENAGE (probably spelled that wrong lol) WOOOHOOOOO.  Now, if you would like, you could research this place and probably know a whole lot more about it than I do at this point. I seriously don't know where it's at BUT I am excited for the adventure nonetheless! And also nervous/anxious/worried BECAUSE I will be WHITEWASHING this area with my companion, Sister Smith. (Sorry for the excessive amount of capitalisation in this paragraph.) Whitewashing means that we will both be going in blind and figuring out the area together, which will be a very interesting experience. It's something that usually missionaries aren't particularly pumped about doing, but I am looking forward to it, and know that it will teach me so much! Also rumour on the street is that my area isn't the most riveting place in the world, but I am just going to have a positive attitude through the experience, and I'm sure it will be great :) Oh, and funny side note, when they were doing the moves call, our zone leader accidentally said that I would be whitewash training (everyone's nightmare) and so everyone was like "oooooooo I'm so sorry..." hahaha, but luckily I'll be with a very well-seasoned companion!

(No pics this week, so here's a map of where Stevenage is... approximately 30 miles north of central London)

This last week in Hayes has truly been AWESOME though! Let me just think of a few highlights...

On Wednesday we were stopping in the library to get some directions. When we sat down, an older woman came up and sat by us. We began a conversation with her and she seemed actually very interested in the Book of Mormon. As we continued to talk to her, she made it clear that she was NOT interested in reading the Book of Mormon - she told us she did not need it because "Jesus was her boyfriend." We were just like what the heck??? so yeah, that conversation got wrapped up quickly.

Later that night we had an appointment that we had found a member to come with us to, and at the very last minute our appointment cancelled (story of every missionary's life). The weather was literally awful and rainy and cold, and it was pitch black, but the member was already there and he was SO sweet and offered to go finding with us despite the nasty weather. It ended up being such a successful time! Who knew that so many people would stop to talk to us. We found two university students (aka the most fun people to teach) who were very receptive and want to learn more!

On New Year's Eve we had another great day! The night prior we got a phone call from Sister Jackson because Sister Reeder was going to be gone with her daughters that night. Sister Jackson didn't want to be alone in Wembley because it's got some kinda intense people (did I mention the senior Sisters moved :(  sad day. But I'm moving too, sooooooo doesn't make a difference, I guess). She had called President Stevens as asked if she could stay with us, and he said yes! So we had a slumber party with Sister Jackson hahaha! It was so much fun though. We went and got pizza from PAPA JOHNS, which I was very surprised they had here... but they do and it tasted just like it does at home. We had to be in our flat by 7 because of all the partying going on, so we just had a nice time eating and chatting! We didn't even stay awake to see the New Year because lemme tell ya, by 10:30 I am SO PUMPED to go to sleep. So that's exactly what we did! The next morning we just got right back into the swing of the work, it honestly didn't even feel like the New Year. The only sign was the excessive amount of vomit we were dodging in the streets, which was nastyyyyyy.

The weather was really bad for most of the week, but especially Saturday. That also happened to be the day that we were doing mission-wide finding for an hour and a half. Of course we just buckled down and went out talking to any living thing and we actually saw some great miracles! We met three different people that wanted to learn more and set follow up appointments. Heavenly Father was truly blessing us and the entire mission despite the less-than-desirable weather. Sister Mekonnen and I were literally soaking wet by the end of the day and frozen to the core, but it still put us in such a good mood because we saw so many different little miracles. Ahhhhh missionary work is just so good :)  I'm sad I won't be here to meet with these individuals again, but I'm sure teaching them will be awesome!

Today we are going to London for one last hoorah as a district. I don't know what we'll be doing, but it's always a party when we're all together. I'm going to miss Sister Mekonnen and all the crazy Elders so much! It's just been too fun! I've got to admit that being the only Sisters in such a big district has been so entertaining. The Elders love to say, "If we have happy Sisters, we have a happy district!" lol. I'll be sure to take pictures and I'll try to send them next week!

I feel like this email is pretty underwhelming so... sorry about that! OH WAIT. One random thing I forgot to mention: I GOT POOPED ON BY A PIGEON LAST WEEK. Do I still think pigeons are the worst thing in the world? Yes. Yes, I do. I hope you all can laugh at my misfortune hahaha!

As a New Year's resolution, I set a goal to increase my understanding of the Atonement. In my personal studies this week I have read a few talks from general conference and a quote that really stood out to me said, "Any increase in our understanding of His atoning sacrifice draws us closer to Him. Literally, the Atonement means to be 'at one' with Him. The nature of the Atonement and its effect is so infinite, so unfathomable, and so profound that it lies beyond the knowledge and comprehension of mortal man." (James E. Faust) I know that it will never be possible for me to completely and fully comprehend what the Saviour has done for me, but I am so looking forward to deepening my knowledge and understanding. I know that I will be able to draw so much closer to Him as I work on this goal. I hope you all have taken some time to see what you can do this year to draw closer to Him. It may be to pray more frequently, to read the scriptures more consistently, or to increase your faith. Whatever it may be, I know that as you truly try your best and ask Heavenly Father for help, you will be strengthened.

Love you all SO MUCH and I hope you have a wonderful week!!

Sister Syddall