It has been a crazy, running me ragged, tiring week, and one that a very much enjoyed as a missionary. We left the Isle of Man last Monday in the afternoon, made a journey through thick fog, and arrived in Liverpool and stayed with the Zone Leaders there. Then we took a train to Chorley and enjoyed Interviews and trainings there. It was a good time for President Preston to get to know each of us a little more personally and the trainings were great helping us to understand the importance of teaching to the YOU. These people are not lifeless objects with zero concerns who need no emotion from us when teaching. They need a lot more than that, and we were taught more of what that is and how to use it to teach.
As we were given a commitment to make a habit we wanted to change in our missionary lives regarding the assistants trainings I decided the one thing that I wanted to work on was how to really get to know people and then use the knowledge obtained from them to teach them to their specific needs. As I have noticed before on my mission, sometimes it is easy to just speak at people and tell them the message we have instead of speaking with people and sharing the message we have. We all know the quote of, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. As I make this getting to know people a habit I know that I will have a greater desire to share our message because it can help them in specific parts of their lives that I am aware about.
Then we arrived here in Stoke-on-Trent where we have slept nights on the floor in a quite warm and humid environment as well. It was a bit of a shock from the Isle of Man as well. We are going through some similar experiences here!! :) We have been shuttled back and forth from Stoke and Newcastle depending on schedules, needs and CHINESE investigators. We have had long hours finding and teaching people on the spot and enjoying the time to work with other missionaries.
We being away from the Isle of Man have had many wonderful opportunities to serve with other missionaries here in the mission. Specifically Elder Erickson, Van Tonder, Merl, and Jones. I have cherished the time here in the Newcastle Zone learning from all of them, from Zone Leaders to brand new missionaries. I have worked quite a bit with Elder Merl (from Austria) which has given me a chance to practice my German with him and as well strengthen our friendship. I was able to work with and around him in Preston and we have become very good friends and missionaries. It amazes me how great the Gospel is at making such young men into mature, responsible, and accountable people. I love the time that we have to learn from each other from all different parts of the world. As well I have been able to see the importance of a good trainer (Elder Ericksen) when a new missionary comes in. I have forgotten how much I didn't know when I first came into the mission.
The most enjoyable part of this last week being here in Stoke-on-Trent has been the time spent with the Chinese people. As you are aware, there are not too many Chinese people on the Isle of Man and in the past two transfers I have taught probably 4 Chinese lessons. Here in Stoke I have been blessed with 8, and 10 by the time we leave. I have come to realize the love that I truly have for the Chinese people and culture and how they are thirsting for a knowledge of God in their lives. Being away from them for so long has set my heart yearning to continue to find them and teach them the Gospel. I know exactly what it means in PMG when it talks about the love of the people you are serving growing. I love the Chinese people and the time I have to serve them here in England.
We have been teaching a Chinese woman named Hai Chan almost every night this week and it has been great to speak with her and help her understand the teachings better. Her English is not the best and it has amazed me the amount of trust she now has in me so quickly. I almost feel guilty of how much she relies on me compared to the other missionaries here that are teaching her. It has given me the testimony even more of how people need to hear the Gospel in their own tongue. I can't explain the feeling I had when I first spoke Chinese to her and her face lit up with excitement. This was an opportunity for her to understand more fully and she loved it. She also has a crazy 3 year old son (Jimmy) who makes it hard to teach when he is yelling at the top of his lunges and hitting us. :) I think Children under the age of 3 are only enjoyable when they are asleep...
It has been somewhat of a challenge to speak in Chinese at first but it started to come back quick which relieves me. There are still a number of words that I have completely forgotten and will need to learn and many many more words that I need to learn in the first place. I am excited to be able to work with a Chinese companion again this next transfer. Then again that is just an assumption and maybe I shouldn't be making it just yet. :) Either way I am looking forward to more Chinese time in the future. By the way, SYL is completely real and does work. Just in case any of you were wondering.
I am glad to hear that you traveled safely and that everything is going well for the family. You carried 3 waterfalls in the back of a U-haul to Arkansas? Interesting choice of items to take. :) You have now resigned from BYU eh? I am sorry to hear that, now we have no full connection to BYU at the moment. I feel empty in away.... Not really though. How IS everything going for job searching this fall? I am very grateful Dad for the sacrifices that you continue to make for mom and the family. It shows the true love you have for us. Thank you for setting a good example and the bar high.
I am happy you copied me this week and were able to see the benefits of sharing specific items of appreciation every night. It DOES help us recognize the blessings in life and as well what we should be more grateful for. It is the small things in life that truly make the difference. Something else I was going to mention is how effective and efficient companionship inventories are, and how i have seen them change companionships and correct any problems or conflicts. This exercise should be between 30-40 minutes.
Sometimes when you spend so much time with one person you start to recognize all the small imperfections they have and not the strengths. I would invite you all this week to go to pg. 149 of PMG and have a companionship inventory with your companion. Write down specifically the strengths and as well 3 improvements your companion has. I know as you do so that you will come to see more of the goodness in your companion and also make it possible to truly rise to a greater height in your relationships. Remember, PMG is not just for missionaries and is from God, written beyond the veil and compiled here. If possible I would like you to report back to me briefly on your thoughts and results of this invitation.
I just wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying myself here on a mission and the ways I have been able to improve my life. Thank you for all of your love and support and keep up the great work.