I'm officially no longer a teenager. And wow, lemme tell ya, it feels pretty riveting! (Nah, I'm just kidding, nothing actually feels different.) We got a beautiful forecast of rain. And more rain. And more for the rest of this week!
The day of my birthday. Right after this it POURED, so I was not looking nice for too long haha!
On the actual day of my birth, we had a nice breakfast at McDonalds (classy, I know), got a milkshake to celebrate, and then we got a sad phone call where I was informed I'll be leaving Stevenage and Sister Searle :'( I am moving on to Thetford, BUT get this... I'll have a car! AND I'll be on an Air Force Base, which means KRAFT MAC AND CHEESE AND TACO BELL. AND AN AMERICAN WARD! Then it dawned on me... I WILL BE THERE FOR THE 4TH OF JULY! So there are a few positives, I guess. We had dinner with Bishop and his fam, and they even got me a cake and a birthday button and everything. It was so so sooooooooo sad saying goodbye to them, but altogether it was a great day!
My birthday cake at Bishop's! And his two adorable sons.
Today we went to London to celebrate with some missionaries from the zone. In the past we have attempted to go to St. Paul's Cathedral for free because sometimes missionaries get in, but not too commonly. BUT TODAY WAS THE DAY! They let us in, and wowza, that was an ornate building. We even walked like 1,000 steps to go to the very top (my legs are literally still shaking haha). It was quite cool to see some history! Then we went to CHIPOTLE. Dang. I don't even remember it being that good, but it was DELICIOUS.
At St. Paul's Cathedral with the Sisters! Sisters Shamukiga, Smiddy, and Searle! A whole lotta S :)
Some cool views of London from the top of St. Paul's.
Sister Smiddy is going to Norwich, so we will be in the same zone!
The whole group from our London pday - Elder Gibbs, Elder Koehler, and the Sisters
Saturday evening we had a dinner appointment with Kathy. I've mentioned her in the past - she's the hilarious Chinese sister in the ward. I just wanted to share my favourite part of the night. To set the scene -- we were sharing our spiritual thought with her, and it went a little something like this:
Sister Searle in her American accent: "...and I'm just so grateful to know that there is a purpose in my life..."
Kathy (in her wonderful Chinese accent): "Purpose? What does this 'purpose' mean? I have never heard that word before. Please write it down for me so I can learn what it means."
Me (sitting there thinking there is no way she hasn't heard the word purpose, she's lived in England for like 50 years, so that would make no sense) in my very poor attempt at imitating an English accent: "...PUH-pus...?"
Kathy: "OH! PUH-pus!"
Then we all busted up laughing for a good 5 minutes. Then we got back to the spiritual note, don't you worry. It was a great night! Kathy literally has a pure heart of gold, I don't think I've ever known someone so giving and kind.
We love Kathy!
I was a bit sad on Sunday because Julieta was supposed to be getting baptised, but it has been pushed back a couple of weeks, sooooo I will not be here. BUT I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to teach her, and that I've been able to learn a little Spanish while I was at it haha. Julieta and her family have grown to be some of my all-time favourite people that I've met on the mission, and I'm just so glad I've had the opportunity to know them!
With Julieta! So sad I won't be here for her baptism :(
On Tuesday (the 7th), as I mentioned last week, we got to hear from Elder Dallin H. Oaks and it was sooooo wonderful! He gave so much wonderful counsel and advice, and I just loved the message that he shared. He focused on teaching repentance to all those we teach. He talked about the reality that this mission is a challenging one at finding people who will enter the waters of baptism. He talked about how the world is quickly moving away from a belief in God, and this is actually what brought him to England. He was going to talk at a conference about religious freedom, and why it's so essential. So the focus of his message was this: we need more people that believe in God. He spoke about how even though everyone we teach may not be baptised, if we can help them feel that they have a Heavenly Father who loves them, we are fulfilling our purpose. As we teach people how they can repent and how they can change, they still ultimately have their agency to choose if they will make covenants. Another point that was focused on was that no effort we make is too small. Ahhhhh, this day was just so amazing.
We also got to hear from President and Sister Gubler of the London South Mission, President and Sister Stevens, Elder Kearon of the Seventy and Sister Kearon, and Sister Oaks. All of their messages were so perfect, and just what I and many others needed. The Spirit was literally tangible. And I can't help but get the chills when I hear 400+ missionaries singing "Called to Serve." I just absolutely LOVED this day, and I could go on forever, but I'll stop myself there :)
The old Wembley District... plus a few! At the Elder Oaks conference.
From Tina ~ I received this text message this morning:
"Here are your awesome missionaries. We ran into them at St. Paul's cathedral. Have a great day!"