What to start with this week, hmmmmmm.... This is always the hardest part about writing these emails. Do I just go straight into it, or have some sort of awkward introduction? I always seem to choose the latter and I don't know why hahaha. Carrying on.
WELL. This week we had District meeting which is always just a party. What do you get when you put together a Brit, Australian, Cambodian, German, Brazilian, and American? The Gillingham district! (Plus Elder and Sister Tuttle from UT.) Recently I've been thinking about how grateful I am to have connected with so many people from literally all over the world. It's a blessing to know all of these great people! I had to give a training on "What makes a successful missionary," which I felt was something that I needed a good reminder of. It's easy to feel a bit down when things don't necessarily seem to be going as smoothly as desired, but our success as missionaries is "measured primarily by [our] commitment to find, teach, baptize, and confirm people and to help them become faithful members of the Church who enjoy the presence of the Holy Ghost." It really comes down to the commitment we have. We have to allow other people to exercise their own agency, but as we do our best, we can feel confident that our efforts are accepted by the Lord. Being asked to give this training gave me the assurance that Heavenly Father knew exactly what I needed to study to lift me up!
If you want to know why I needed some uplifting of the spirit, it's because we had 10 appointments where people hosed us. TEN. I was seriously baffled that so many people just became uncontactable and didn't show to their appointment. But that's not gonna get me down!
We had an exchange this week, and I had the pleasure of being with Sister Swann from Australia! We came out on the mission together and have ALWAYS wanted to be companions, but I guess I'll take the one day haha. Let me tell ya, this whole day was a PARTY. I don't know if I've ever laughed so hard, she is a complete crackup. And we also got to teach some amazing lessons. We trotted around Ilford for the day, and that place is just happenin'. So many people to talk to and teach!! A little bit different than Sittingbourne...
We had a dinner appointment with the sweetest elderly couple in the ward, the Gilberts. They are from Jamaica and have been members of the church for about 30 years. Brother Gilbert has recent been diagnosed with dementia, but at this point it is not too bad. But because of this, his past Pentecostal preacher comes out and it is HILARIOUS. He has two favourite scriptures: John 3:16 and Galatians 5:1. He says "STAND FAST IN THE LIBERTY OF CHRIST" with so much conviction, and then proceeds to say it about another 10 times throughout the evening, and you just can't help but smile until you think your mouth is just gonna fall off because it's the greatest thing ever.
On Sunday evening we visited a sister named S that has not been baptised, but because of poor health conditions she cannot travel to come to church. Her caregiver, G, is a member but has not been to church for some time. Usually our meetings with them are quite scattered, but always make me laugh. S wanted to take pictures with Sister Topp and I, so we asked G to take some photos. I ended up with 147 new pictures in the span of about 30 seconds haha! And we weren't ready in about 95% of them. And the lighting was terrible. But it's the thought that counts :)
1 of the 147 pictures with S
On Sunday I also had the opportunity to talk in sacrament meeting speaking on trials. At the end of my talk, I spoke about holding to the iron rod and pressing forward through trials. I shared a story about a time when I did not hold tight to a rod... on a jet ski... and ended up with a killer rope burn. I'm not kidding you when I say, the ENTIRE congregation just about lost it from laughing. I have to admit, I was pretty astounded that I got a room full of 60+ year old English men and women laughing. Check that one off the bucket list haha! I'm glad my pain brought happiness to others :')
I guess I'll end this one with something that doesn't make sense to me in England. Here a milkshake is literally just thick milk with some flavouring in it. Where is the appeal in that?!
Ok. I love y'all. Keep smiling!