Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Animal Farm, an awkward kiss, and English lessons

Hello party people!!

How was your week?? Good? Good. Well I feel like it's been a while since I last emailed... and I also feel like a lot has happened, yet my brain does not seem to be functioning and I literally can't think of where to begin or what stood out. I guess I will try to recount my days backwards and maybe that will jog my memory as I go along.

SO this past weekend was Stake Conference! It was just so so soooooo amazing and good and wonderful, and I just really really loved it! Elder Dryden, an area Seventy, came to the meeting and the points that he shared really stood out to me. He said, "Faith is not an option - it is absolutely crucial ~ critical to our eternal life and exaltation ~ without it, we will not acquire. If we wish to increase faith, we NEED to increase devotion. We NEED to increase obedience. If we determine to be more obedient, it will require us to increase our devotion." WOW. That's all I can say. Obedience is truly what it all comes down to. He then talked about our devotion to read the Book of Mormon. He told us to "NEVER put away the Book of Mormon. You cannot afford to. The study of this book should be a lifetime pursuit." Throughout the whole conference they focused on increasing our own faith and fulfilling the Europe Area Plan which is 1) Bring a friend  2) Find an ancestor  and 3) Become temporally and spiritually self reliant. It was wayyyyy good.

Saturday we got to go to a member's home who actually lives outside of the ward boundaries (woohoo, living the wild life), but don't be concerned, we got permission (because I know you were all very concerned hahaha). BUT they live in just about the most BEAUTIFUL little village I have ever seen! I'm not kidding you, the whole drive there was just rolling hills and beautiful flowers, and I just decided I wanna live there. But then I reconsidered due to the fact that it is literally in the middle of nowhere. Oh, and you know the book Animal Farm? Well, frankly I don't blame you if you don't because that book bored me to tears in high school, BUT the author literally lived next door to the members, and the setting of the book was right where they live. And on the drive there we drove past where they filmed part of the 8th Harry Potter movie. That's pretty cool, am I right?!

On Friday evening we had dinner with some hilarious members from the ward. They introduced us to the "Hello" missionary video which I know you've all probably already seen (link here). Sister Hernes and I have literally been singing that non-stop. It's hilarious and a bit sad how accurate it actually is hahaha. I think my favourite line is "It's no secret that 3 hours of church is a heck of a long time." I still laugh like an idiot every time I even think of that.

Thursday we had a district meeting and I had the wonderful pleasure of giving a training (always my favvvvvvvourite thing to do...) and then on our way home, what should have been a 15 minute train ride took us THREE hours. There was an accident at the Stevenage train station so everything was put on HALT. We had a lesson with a new investigator that we REALLY did not want to miss. Luckily, we were able to make it just in time and had the BEST lesson with him. Sister Hernes said it was one of her top three most favourite lessons from her entire mission. The spirit was so strong, and he has such a strong desire to do what is the right thing, and to know what is right. We have a good feeling about this one!

Hmmmmm what else... we had some random dude probably in his 20's or something kiss us on the cheek. It wasn't like the friendly little English greeting kiss on the cheek, it was a full-on kiss on the cheek.  That was definitely super duper weird hahaha. Sister Hernes and I were just like "what the heckkkkkk?" And to add to the weirdness, missions just amp up a person's awkwardness level about 500%, so it was probably a hilarious sight.

Sister Hernes is studying for some English exam that she has to take for University 10 days after she gets home, and the words she has to learn are just ridiculous. Here is a random selection of the words she has to know: adhere, combustible, cubbyhole, doggedly, jack-of-all-trades, proliferation, retail apparel. Do you see a pattern in these words? Neither do I. Like cubbyhole?! Seriously? It's quite entertaining trying to use these words in a sentence. I am not the best at it hahaha. It makes me have new respect for my elementary school teachers who just whipped out sentence examples for all those spelling tests.

Well, that's all I got for this week! Love you all!

Sister Syddall

*Post post note from Tina*

I received this fun message yesterday ~

Good morning, Sister Syddall!!

This is Rebecca from the Canterberry Ward. My sister, Elizabeth, left last week to visit her in-laws, President and Sister Stevens, in London. She attended church yesterday with your beautiful daughter. She commented what a great missionary she is!

Shilo's quick email message to us about this meeting:

Hello mama and papa! Guess what? President and Sister Stevens' son and daughter-in-law were here and they live in Parker! I just happened to get to meet them since it was our Stake Conference and President and Sister Stevens were speaking at it (what are the odds, right?). They are friends with Zach Leak and Alisa and her husband! It was so funny because right when President and Sister Stevens came in, they were like "hey, we have some people from Parker here!" As I talked to their daughter-in-law she said "Alisa told me to look for you, but when I saw the picture of the 200+ missionaries I didn't think we would actually meet!" Her name is Lizzie and her sister is actually in the Canterberry Ward.  ...It's a small world!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Great Apostrophe

Hello ladies and gents! Soooo it feels like it was like half a week ago that I was writing about what's been going on... Oh wait, it was! I'm sorry if this update is a little underwhelming due to the fact that I feel like I just barely updated you all on what's happening...

Soooooooo hmmmmmmm... well, Wednesday was just the most BEAUTIFUL weather, it seriously just put the biggest smile on my face... walking outside, not needing a jacket or anything. And lemme tell ya, these English folks are a whole lot happier when the sun is shining. But of course, this did not keep up for more than a day, and since then it has been just rainy and wet. Friday I forgot to bring my umbrella out with me and I got SOAKED. Literally every layer of clothing was wet and my hair was dripping and I looked like I went through a hurricane or something. It was not a pretty sight, folks. And it wasn't really helping with this whole cold situation either. My nose has just been a constant faucet. Attractive, I know.

Friday we did have an amazing meeting with Andrew and Bishop! Since Andrew is a new convert, we are going through the lessons with him once again, but since he is just so rockin', we asked a couple of weeks ago if he would like to teach US about the restoration. So this was the day, and he was feeling a bit nervous. BUT he was just so good and the spirit was so strong! It was quite funny though, because as he was teaching he was like "and after Christ was on earth, we went through the great apostrophe!" And then he was like "wait... that doesn't sound quite right... I meant apostasy!" We all had a pretty good laugh. Long story short, he's a boss and taught it so well. Bishop taught him more about the priesthood and it was just powerful! It really made me take a step back and think about how grateful I am to have that amazing power restored to the earth. We are so lucky!

Today I have been out and about in St. Albans with Sister Hibbard (from Switzerland) and Sister Smiddy (from Idaho). All of our companions are gearing up to go home and so they've gone to the temple together (I am a little heartbroken that I am not there... but I suppose my time will come). It's been way fun to be in a trio for the day, though, it makes me reminisce on those good times in the MTC! And these Sisters are just so much fun! We've hit up Subway, Costa (shoutout to you, Chey), and the Cadbury outlet (who knew there was a chocolate outlet store?) so as you can see we have had a health-filled day ;)

That really is about all that is new with me at this point! Maybe my next email will be a bit more exciting since you'll have to go a whole week and two days without hearing from me (it's okay, you can wipe the tears away from your eyes before you continue to read). Let's end this on a spiritual note!

"We fail only if we fail to take another faithful step forward. We will not, we cannot, fail if we are faithfully yoked to the Savior -- He who has never failed and will never fail us!" -- Elder Randall K. Bennett. I think that speaks for itself. Keep taking those steps forward! You will not fail! YOU ALL ROCK. DON'T EVER FORGET THAT!

Sister Syddall

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Over the Humppppp

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: my pday for next week will be this Saturday... That is the 16th of April! And then I will not have a pday the next week... sooooo yeah. My compadre will be going to the temple (not with me though.... so soooooo sad), but just so you all know :)

And for those of you who were just worried sick that I did not email yesterday {like yo mama, girl} (I know, probably all of you ;)) that is because we had interviews so our pday was changed.

Let's jump right into what has been going down this week!

We've just been continuing to find and find and find and talk and talk and talk to EVERYONE. This week still wasn't necessarily stellar-looking on paper, but it was an improvement from last week. Baby steps, baby steps. And we worked so so hard, so I know that none of the effort was wasted. And this upcoming week is just JAM PACKED with all sorts of stuff and it should just be SO GOOD.

One highlight from last week was on Friday when we had a Zone Training Meeting in Stevenage. We learned all sorts of good knowledge from our leaders and were spiritually edified and pumped up! Since the meeting was in our neck of the woods, our zone leaders thought it would be good to have a zone lunch and blitz where everyone could mix up companions and go out and find in town for an hour. They put us in charge of organising it, so we thought of some fun different finding questions people could use, and then we were all off! And let me tell ya, it was an hour of MIRACLES! We received a whole lot of referrals and met so many great people. I had the privilege of finding with Sister Smiddy, and she's only been out in the field for a couple of weeks, but she rocked it and we found some great people! It was just so great to be so unified in the zone and it was so kind of the companionships to help the area out. This is why we have such a packed week, but packed weeks are the BEST weeks. Ahhhhhh I am so looking forward to it!

Sunday was such a good day (when is it not though, am I right?!) I just love how uplifting and altogether wonderful of a day it is! Unfortunately I'm sick AGAIN. Luckily it's just a head cold type thing, so it's not quite as bad, but man oh man, has it made me TIRED. When I think back, I don't think I've ever fully recovered from the flu! I'm hoping after this passes I'll be in tip top shape and back to 100% energy!

I'm realising how lame this email is... I guess I can write about one of my random thoughts that has actually bugged me since I've been here. What in the world is the point of a 2 pence coin?! Is it practical? No. Have I ever reached in my wallet to use one? No. Does it just make my bag heavier and more of a nuisance? Yes. Now that I think about it, it was probably the useless weight of these 2p coins that caused the demise of my beloved bag. And I guess I could throw in the fact that they don't have a £1 note! Again, more weight in coins. The only positive about those is they hold some some value. But really, it could save my shoulders a lot of hassle if it wasn't for their unnecessary use of coins. Okay, my rant is done. I still love England, guys, don't worry.

Interviews yesterday were just so great! I know I've mention it a billion times before, but I just LOVE President and Sister Stevens. They are just the greatest. Getting some one-on-one time to talk to each of them is just always such a treat.

Side note: don't eat two brownies and a pb&j right before you get on a two-hour bus journey home. Dang, I've never been so close to getting car sick! That ride was so rough hahaha but I survived. I think that I've decided no more peanut butter and jelly for me haha. But I don't think I'll ever gain a taste aversion to brownies...

Oh, and I hit my 9 month mark this past week! I am just baffled at how quickly time is flying by. I want to make every single second that I have out here count! I feel like it was seriously two days ago that I wrote about Sister Bader hitting her nine month mark, like what the heck?!?!? The thought of being on the downhill slope is a bit sad. If it keeps going at the rate it has been, I think I'll blink and then be home (and according to everyone it will just keep on going faster, ahhhhh). I hope you all enjoy the super cheesy "pregnant" picture I took (that may or may not have been taken on my actual 9 month mark day... I didn't even realise it was the day until like 7pm haha).

Love you all! I hope you find some enjoyment in this very scrambled and all over the place update!

Sister Syddall

Monday, April 4, 2016


Hiya everybody!

I hope that you have all had a great week, and that you all gained wonderful insight from General Conference! I was so spiritually uplifted and am looking forward to re-reading the talks (and listening to the final session). But WOW. I am just SO grateful that we are blessed with a living prophet and apostles, and I know that they are truly men called of God!

To be honest, missionary work this week has just been rough. The numbers were less than desirable and we have just been working SO hard. We've met so many great potential investigators this week, had return appointments, and then they were un-contactable and/or never showed up. Reporting the week was just depressing over all because in essence it looked like we did not really accomplish much. But it is okay, because I know that this work was never meant to be easy. These hard weeks are the weeks that seem to teach me the most, and Sister Hernes and I are SO looking forward to this upcoming week to see what we can accomplish!

Sister Hernes is an AMAZING missionary, and I can already tell that this is just going to be a great transfer. She has so many great ideas to help the area grow, and we just have so much fun together! I'm determined to learn some Norwegian with her so I can impress all my Norwegian friends at home (ok, I don't really have any Norwegian friends at home, but that's besides the point haha). She is my third foreign companion, but yet again, has a total American accent just like Sister Mekonnen and Sister Bader did, so it still cracks me up when everyone asks where in the States we are from.

So let's talk about transfers for a minute. The morning that I had to lug Sister Smith's stuff to London was rough. After we made the 35 minute trek to the station (yes, 35 minutes, crazy I know), up and down up and down, we finally got on the train and on our way to London. Sister Smith had one bag with a broken wheel, so she managed that one, while I had her other bag and a little carry-on for myself (but very heavy because some of her stuff was in it). We get to the station at Kings Cross going on escalator after escalator. I've always been quite proud of myself for the ease I get on and off with two bags. WELL this time as I got on to go down, Sister Smith's bag caught the edge and my bag continued to go forward and I was like "OH NO." At this moment I had to make a choice: let go of Sister Smith's bag and go after mine, or don't go after mine and possibly let it take someone out. I thought Sister Smith's bag was stable enough to not fall down after me, so I go for mine, and as I reach out for it, it just darts down the escalator. I tried to yell to the people in front to watch out, but no one listened. BUT the Lord was on my side, and miraculously there was a gap without people (which is super crazy, because these stations are always packed) and no one got hit. I did make a total buffoon out of myself to all the people who saw, so that was quite the experience haha.

I got to make the lovely trip with more bags back to the flat when Sister Hernes came to move in, and man oh man, I am getting some solid muscles (ok, maybe not THAT solid, but there's been progress). Then we had to go do our grocery shopping for the week, and on our way back we were just walking and talking, and all of a sudden we hear these little bike bells going off and then BOOM, {it all happened so quickly, I practically missed it} Sister Hernes got hit by some lady on her bike! She was definitely protected, though, because the way that the bike hit her caused her to kind of spin around and not really take much impact. Oh goodness, it could have been so much worse! Definitely a great blessing. We were able to laugh about it afterwards. Welcome to Stevenage, Sister Hernes!

Hmmmmm well I guess the other humorous thing that happened this week is when we went to a home for dinner, and the guy was wearing jean short shorts. And I mean SHORT shorts. So I hope that left you all with a funny mental picture in your mind. Such interesting people in this town haha!

Something I loved from conference this week was when Elder Donald L. Hallstrom shared a quote from Elder Holland that really struck me: "You can have what you want, or you could have something BETTER." It really reminded me that sometimes what we think we want is so much less than what the Lord has in store for us! We need to remember who we are, sons and daughters of God. How amazing is that?!

Love you all! Have a great week!

Sister Syddall