December 12, 2011

To answer everyones questions about Christmas. I am quite disappointed in the way that the people here in England Celebrate Chirstmas... because they pretty much don't. :( Honestly I can't believe how little the celebrate here. It is all about money and gifts and nothing about what it really should be about. Those who do put lights up though (less than 1%) are really fantastic. they go all out and help me feel the Christmas spirit. It is as if they see none of their neighbors putting anything up so they feel it is necessary to put enough up for everyone on the block. I am very grateful for their efforts. Anyone who has lighting up, we always knock on their door because we know they have a heart. :) It is a great finding tactic.

Often I ask what Christmas means to people when we talk to them and most people say "nothing really, it is just time off of work." If they are somewhat caring about life they say family which is an adequate response. Overall though, people just don't care about the true meaning. It is really sad... When we do find someone who understands the real meaning it makes my day and makes it much much much easier to be happy and animated when talking with them because they are fellow believers which makes the conversation much easier. It is interesting to see the different type of people in life and how it works. Those that do believe more often than not are much happier then those that don't. Those that don't are only focused on getting money or gifts and they are never satisfied and always want more. I am grateful for the knowledge I have and the life it helps me to live.

Looking back, this past week has been a blur of running around doing things out of the ordinary. Or at least out of the ordinary of what I am used to doing. We spent all morning and an afternoon moving to a new flat, and we also spent two days up in the far north with Elder Ericksen and Elder Baker in Workington. May I just say that the use of hats is a very good idea when you are that far north. I don't know if it is always like that, but that was easily the worst weather I have ever been in on my mission. Between the Rain/Snow/Wind/Cold it was an interesting experience to say the least. I think that going with only a coat factored into the extreme measure of coldness. Next time I will be sure to wear some thermals with a jumper, scarf and a bigger coat. :) It was really fun to be working in the area with Elder Ericksen and getting to know him better.

Some principles I have been able to remember and focus on this week: Allowing others to take more lead in Lessons, planning, street contacting and all other aspects of the work so as to help them learn and grow. A large part of being a leader is understanding how to help other missionaries progress by showing them how to do work themselves. As they do so they will appreciate the growth a lot more. Also switching off frequently in Lessons and QGC's so as to be unified in teaching and allowing the spirit to testify. We all know from Preach My Gospel that "people are accustomed to short Powerful statements."

We have been able to teach a few Chinese students on a consistant basis this past week and we have offered to help review some of their papers due this week. They have really appreciated our help and in turn it strengthend our relationship and their trust in us. They feel we care about them more than just teaching them about Jesus Christ. Service truly does invite the spirit into others lives. Something I have learned about service is that we should allows allow or accept service from others because as we do we help them feel the love and spirit when they do, making them more receptive to the things being taught. So we ALWAYS accept small acts of kindness as long as they don't go against the Word of Wisdom or other rules we have as missionaries. :)

December 5, 2011

The work is going well here in Preston despite the business of the students schedule here at Uclan University. We have been able to teach a number of new investigators who are YSA this past week and it feels good to see curiosity or the desire to know in some students here. At this time the Chinese work is a little slow because of their focus on school work. (Sounds like everyone in the world is busy with some kind of paper or other.) But we shall succeed in teaching them when the Christmas break comes!

I had the great opportunity this past week to go on exchange with Elder Cunningham and learn from him in Stretford. It felt good to go back to the Manchester Area and speak to so many Chinese students. Probably my favorite part of the exchange was the chance I had to get to know Elder Cunningham better. My whole mission I heard he was a very good missionary but I had never served around him. Now I have and I agree, he is a very talented and diligent missionary. We were also able to see miracles happen as we taught two on the spot lessons and set up a few other appointments. I feel that one of his greatest strengths is understanding his role as an Assistant and as well always striving his best to help all other missionaries.

Just this morning I finished reading the Book of Mormon for the second time on my mission and I had the blessing of gaining an even stronger testimony of its divinity. I must honestly say, that of any principle of the gospel or other part, my testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon are the strongest. They as testaments of Jesus Christ stabilize my personal resolution to be a missionary and to be a follower of Jesus Christ. I loved reading Mormon Chapter 9 this time around as many principles stood out to me. Moroni explains very plainly that those who do not believe in God are those who have not tried. He promises that as we read from the Book of Mormon we are able to know for ourselves that it is true, that God is their and that he is a God of Miracles. It is one of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon now.

This week I have been able to learn a very important principle and see the Lords hand in our work. As a Zone Leader with more responsibilities it seems that there is always something small that we have to be doing here or there. Also with me taking driving lessons we lose precious time. With all of these things taking place we have had little time this week and yet we ended up having a very good week in regards to Key Indicators except for the fact that we did not have anyone at church. It has taught me that when we work according to the law of particles, God blesses us for our efforts. When we put in all we can he can and will make up the rest. Blessings poured out from the windows of heaven. Have an amazing week everyone and smile!