Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A note from a stranger... a mother's dream

Hi all! This is Tina :)

I received this fun message from a complete stranger and wanted to post it here {for memory's sake}.

"Hi Sister Syddall.

I am currently on business in Europe and ran into your missionary and her companion today at the train station. I thought you'd enjoy a quick picture of them. They were smiling and getting their tickets sorted. If I had more time I would have taken them shopping!

All the best,

I thought perhaps this was Shi's new companion, although I was puzzled that she looked so familiar. I asked Shi about it and this is what she wrote:  "The sister in the picture that was sent is actually not my new companion -- she was my companion-for-a-day when I sent Sister Smith home :) the one in the picture is Sister Phillips and she came out with me, so it was great fun to be with her for a day!"

This was the FIRST time I have ever received a note or picture of my missionary from a stranger... hope it happens again someday!


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Killin' it

Hello hello hello! I hope you all had a very happy and wonderful Easter! I love the spirit that surrounds this wonderful celebration of Christ! I am so grateful for a Saviour that has sacrificed himself for me and for you and for ALL OF US! I truly am just amazed at the love He offers me!

It has been a wonderful week, and honestly I am having trouble remembering the major events... BUT I'll start right off with the exciting information: I will be staying in Stevenage for another 6 weeks (and very possibly more) and will be with yet another companion that is in her last transfer! Hence the title "killin' it" because in missionary lingo you "kill" a companion if you send them home. My new companion's name is Sister Hernes and she is from Norway! I am very excited to meet her, and look forward to what I can learn from her. I have seriously grown to really really love Stevenage so I am so happy that I get to stay for just a bit longer!

I'll miss the HUGE SMILE Sister Smith always has hahahaha. But really, IMMA MISS THIS GIRL.

So about my expedition to London last week... well my camera literally DIED right as we got to see the wonderful sights. I was crushed because we actually went to places I had never been before! We hit up M&M World, St. Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, ALL THE WORKS. I am just so sad that I didn't get anything but lame ipad pictures :( but IT'S ALL GOOD. I took some good mental pics. I'm sure I'll never forget 'em. I am in London again today with Sister Smith, so maybe I'll get to go somewhere. Currently I'm just sitting outside of President Steven's office waiting for Sister Smith to get her interview sooooo we'll see what this day holds!

The weather this week has been super wacky. There have been the most beautiful sunny spring days, and then there have been days that rained and rained and rained. On Sunday morning there were some super random snow flurries, and I just don't even know what to expect anymore. I don't even know why I'm updating you all on the weather... but I hope you enjoy the information haha. Everyone has been very impressed (maybe concerned would be a better word) that I have made it through the entire winter with only a rain jacket. But I've been fine! Oh, and you know how like 5 weeks back I was uber sick? Well a bunch of members had it after me (hopefully I didn't pass that one on...) but it was the flu bug of the year! It had a name and everything. So that's pretty special I guess. Unfortunately I forgot what it was called, but I survived! Hahaha.

Well, that is about it for this week! I'll update you all next week about the new companion, how Stevenage is doing, and all that other jazzy stuff. Love you all!

Sister Syddall

Monday, March 21, 2016


Happy Spring everybody!

How has your week been? Good? Good. I'm very glad to hear that. Something that makes me very happy about England is the fact that daffodils sprout up like weeds all over the place, so everywhere is just so yellow and happy and it's just getting SO beautiful outside! Well, this week has been pretty dang fantastic, so on into that!

Obviously the greatest and most wonderful highlight of the week was Andrew's baptism! I seriously am struggling to put into words how wonderful the entire event was! And the fact that his wife was able to be here to see it was amazing as well. She bore such a powerful testimony about the Holy Ghost, and we came to find out that that was the first time she bore her testimony for him! The Spirit was just so strong throughout the entire service. The person who filled the font may have done so a tad bit early, so the water was a little chillier than expected, but Andrew survived, so all is well. And the happiness that just radiated from his face, AHHHH nothing compares. Right after the service ended, his wife very excitedly exclaimed, "Alright, now we are one step closer to the temple!"

LOVE how awkward baptism photos are hahaha!

Andrew and his wife

Sunday was also an amazing day because he was confirmed and received the Holy Ghost. Sacrament meeting went something like this: Andrew #1 was the music chorister. Then Andrew #2 was confirmed by Andrew #3. Then we had a talk by Andrew #3, followed by a talk by Andrew #1. And then Andrew #1 led us again in a wonderful song hahaha. That's a whole lotta Andrew.

After District meeting on Friday, we had a lil barbecue outside in the church parking lot (we won a competition last transfer, so the Zone Leaders owed us. Bet they were grateful it was the district of FOUR that they had to provide for haha). They just had these mini grill things, but DANG did they produce a whole lot of smoke. I'm pretty sure I smelled like a campfire for the remainder of the day. And I've got to say that must have been the coldest, dampest barbecue I've ever had. Seriously, the day before was warm and sunny, but of course ya can't predict what the weather will be like every day.

The smoky parking lot barbecue

Oh, and I am proud to announce that I ate my first ever fish and chips! I know what you're all thinking... "it took almost 9 months to eat fish and chips?!" And the answer is yes. Yes it did. My opinion on it is that it is okay. Not something I would necessarily crave to eat, but still good. It's just a whole lotta deep fried batter to handle, but my dislike of fish has slowly began to diminish since I've been over here, so that is a good thing I suppose. I also got to wear a minion mascot costume, so what could be better?!

In the minion costume (yes, I am holding a banana haha)

Well, Sister Smith and I are about to head off on our last London expedition together, and we are going to try to see something other than Big Ben and Buckingham Palace haha. I'll let you know next week if we were successful. OH and btw it is transfers next week, so I won't be emailing until Tuesday.

Here's a little something to ponder:

"I testify that the Savior's Atonement lifts from us not only the burden of our sins but also the burden of our disappointments and sorrows, our heartaches and our despair. From the beginning, trust in such help was to give us both a reason and a way to improve, an incentive to lay down our burdens and take up our salvation. There can and will be plenty of difficulties in life. Nevertheless, the soul that comes unto Christ, who knows His voice and strives to do as He did, finds a strength, as the hymn says, 'beyond [his] own.' The Savior reminds us that He has 'graven [us] upon the palms of [His] hands.' Considering the incomprehensible cost of the Crucifixion and Atonement, I promise you He is not going to turn His back on us now. When He says to the poor in spirit, 'Come unto me,' He means He knows the way out and He knows the way up. He knows it because He has walked it. He knows the way because He is the way." (Jeffrey R. Holland)

I hope you all are able to reflect on the Atonement this week leading up to Easter. What does the Atonement mean to you? How can you apply the Atonement more fully into your life every day? I invite you to think about these questions :) LOVE YOU ALL!

Sister Syddall

Monday, March 14, 2016

Reunited and it feels so GOOD

Hello hello hello! This week has been a really great one so I'm just going to skip the awkward introduction that I always try to add and start talking about the good stuff!

So first of all, the number one highlight was meeting with Andrew once again! Oh my goodness, I am just so happy to see how HAPPY the gospel is making him! He is on track to be baptised this upcoming Saturday (the 19th), so please keep him in your prayers that all will go well :) Throughout this entire teaching process it has been so amazing to me to see how the Spirit has testified of the truth to him. The light and happiness that has come into his life has seriously just put the biggest smile on my face! He has such a strong faith and is so ready to make this covenant. I am also so happy that in the future he and his wife can be prepared to be sealed together for time and all eternity, because what could be better than that?! So all together there's just an immense feeling of HAPPINESS all around!

The other major highlight of the week was that I GOT TO SEE SISTER MEKONNEN AND SISTER REEDER AND SISTER JACKSON!! Hence the title of the email ;) Oh my goodness, it was just like we were immediately back in the good ol' days all laughing up a storm and having a grand old time. AND it was Sister Mekonnen's birthday, so it was way fun to be with her!

 Happy Birthday, Sister Mekonnen! Sister Smith just looks so happy! Haha

 I tried to get Sister Jackson and Sister Reeder... this was the best I got 
(at least Sister Smith is smiling!)

I love Sister Reeder!

The sisters :)

We had a zone conference all about Easter and the Atonement and Christ, and the Spirit was just flowing strong throughout the entire meeting. I LOVED IT. President and Sister Stevens are simply amazing, and their testimonies truly inspire me! We got to eat a whole lot of pizza, which was nice (Sister Reeder grabbed a slice she didn't really want so she forced me to eat it after I was already full, but I kindly obliged haha). I have to say my favourite conversation that took place was as follows:

Sister Stevens (talking to me, Sister Reeder, and Sister Smith): Oh, isn't it so wonderful to be reunited again?!

Us: YES!

Sister Stevens: Just think about the years down the road when you can have a great reunion!

Sister Reeder: Well... I'll be dead by then!! (She said this with so much enthusiasm, it. was. hilarious.)

And then we all proceeded to laugh for a solid 10 minutes. Ahhhhh, I miss all of those crazy people!

Another hilarious happening this week was when we went to see this woman who is just an... interesting character :) She's less active, but very sweet! As I explain this story, you're going to need to visualise the scenario... We are all sitting on one couch in a line. I was sitting in-between the lady and Sister Smith. At the end of our meeting with her she leaned over and gave me a hug and was saying thank you for visiting and all that jazz. Then she proceeded to lean over me and hug Sister Smith, so Sister Smith kind of half stood up, but they were both leaning over me. As I have mentioned previously, Sister Smith is NOT a fan of hugs, but this lady just kept hugging her for such a long time! And then she put her hand on her head and I was just silently laughing because I was imagining what the heck was going through Sister Smith's mind. I was trying not to shake uncontrollably due to the fact that I was just kind of in the middle of them, but HECK it was hard to hold it in. I managed, though. Right when we left, Sister Smith and I were just cracking up because it was so odd but so funny all at the same time. I wish I could have gotten it on video. I also wish I could have seen Sister Smith's face because it was probably epic hahaha.

To end I'm going to share a quote that Sister Reeder quoted (don't know who said it though) at zone conference. "You can't find progress in the comfort zone, and you won't find comfort in the progress zone." Now that was not perfectly quoted, but I tried my best haha. BUT it is a great reminder to always stretch ourselves. We have SO much potential, but this time on earth was given to us to learn and grow and become better each and every day!

I love you ALL!

Sister Syddall

Monday, March 7, 2016

Happy English Mother's Day!

Well everybody, I hope you had a fantastic week! It was Mother's day across the pond, so all you Mums out there, I hope you know YOU ROCK, and WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR YOU! "Motherhood is the noblest and greatest of all callings." L. Tom Perry. I'll end there since you'll hear more about it in May. But we love ya!

Picture of the zone... sorry, that's all I've got right now!

So this week has been another blur, but there have been some great highlights so let's get right to those! We had an exchange last week with the Watford Sister Training Leaders, and I think I mentioned that the way they do it now we both stay in Watford overnight and spend the day with them. I was on an exchange with Sister Mussman and it was so fun to get to know her! We discovered that both of our dads served missions in Tokyo Japan. WAHOO, GO TOKYO! And we both have little nieces with the surname of Anderson (not THAT crazy of a coincidence... but hey, it's cool!) and she also went to BYU before the mish! It was loads of fun even though it was POURING rain and we were both soaked through all of our clothes. I always learn so much when we go on exchange, and it's a great time to set some good goals!

Another wonderful highlight from the week was an AMAZING lesson that we had with Andrew! WOW, he is just so prepared for the gospel! We were able to teach him along with our Bishop who bore such a powerful testimony. We taught him about temples and eternal families, and he really loved the fact that he can be sealed to his wife for time and all eternity. He is shooting for the 19th of March to be baptised, so PLEASE keep him in your prayers!

It has been a bit of a rough week in the finding department, and as the days rolled on we were just not having any luck with finding anyone who would even give us two seconds to talk. On Saturday as we were making our way through town, we met this guy from Albania who was like "do you want to go sit somewhere so we can talk some more?" and so we went to a cafe and he was very attentive as we taught him a bit more about the Book of Mormon AND he was way nice and bought us these giant hot chocolates (did I mention it's been freezing this week?). AND the greatest part of this story is that he wants to meet with us again! I constantly have it reiterated to me, but it's a wonderful reminder that Heavenly Father is mindful of the effort each and every one of us puts in, and He will bless us with prepared people in our path!

I thought you might enjoy reading about the different ways people try to avoid us when we meet them:

1. Pull the phone out of the pocket and put it up to the ear and talk to an imaginary person. Like seriously, dude, it's obvious that you're faking it.

2. Cross to the opposite side of the road... and then proceed to cross back as soon as we have passed.

3. Blatantly ignore the fact that we said hello and very obviously completely avoid any sort of eye contact.

4. One of Sister Smith and my favourites of the week was when a woman admired a dead hedge very intently. "Wow, what a beautiful heap of leafless sticks!" But ya know, who could blame her? Dead plants are just so beautiful, am I right?

5. When we knock on a door and they respond "Dangit! I thought you were the pizza man. But yeah, no thanks."

6. *Knock on door* *person answers* Them: "Oh sorry, it's just really not a good time right now, we are just eating dinner." Us: "Oh, would there be a better time we could come stop by?" Them: "Well, no... we aren't interested." Thank you for making that message clear from the beginning haha.

Nonetheless, sometimes people just take a little more time to be ready to hear the message of the gospel, and that is okay! I still love sharing something that is so special to me with others, and they have their agency of whether to listen or not! And I always know that there are prepared people, it's just a matter of following the Spirit and being diligent in finding them!

Sunday we also had a very cool experience while we were tracting. A woman answered the door and she said that she was not interested, so we asked her if she knew anyone that would need a message at the time. She was like, "oh let me check! HEY MOM DO YOU WANT TO HEAR A MESSAGE FROM SOME MISSIONARIES?" (the caps represent the yelling to another room) and her mom said yes! So we went into the home and met an amazing woman from Zimbabwe, and she told us she had been praying that day that someone would come to share a message about Jesus Christ with her. And there we were! We had a very Spirit-filled lesson with her. She was going through some great trials and she still had such a strong faith. It was amazing. Unfortunately she was only visiting and going back to Zimbabwe in a couple of days, but we left her with a copy of the Book of Mormon and she told us she was just so happy we met her and that she would love to read it. It was such a wonderful example of a time when Heavenly Father uses others to answer people's prayers. It was not a coincidence that we ended up there that day!

I hope the week ahead holds many great things for each of you! Love you all!

Sister Syddall