No emails from anyone yet. Happily, my address is Flat 2, 67 Rodwell Rd, Weymouth Dorset, DT4 8QX. Don't send anything to the mission office because I won't be able to pick it up until Zone Conference or later. Just send it to the flat. I'll be here for a few months. There haven't been any sisters here for over thirty years, the branch says. President is lovely; he's requesting us to help the branch build stronger testimonies. Most of the former ward is inactive because of little silly things, and our job will be to visit them and teach them the basics: pray, obey, study, follow the prophet. It doesn't get easier than that. We had a wedding for time a few months ago that left those who haven't been to the temple offended that a temple sealing would get skated over so quickly--deacons trying to understand temple ordinances and NOT praying or coming to church.
The people here are lovely. We've got a baptism date on Saturday, and we'll see if it goes through. Her name is Shekinah and she lives with a solid member in Preston, but so far she's been impossible to get ahold of. It looks like we'll work a lot with part-member families here a lot, trying to get those investigators dating members to join, and teaching less-actives the basics over again. Super easy, I think. Not brain surgery.
Walking down Weymouth, we run into lots of folks who aren't super interested in religion, but a few who are just looking for a purpose in life. Sister Housley's been teaching me to talk to people and how to teach and how to approach someone whose just thrown a curveball. We taught 10 lessons in the few days I've been here, and it feels like I'm back teaching Primary. As long as you've got the Spirit with you, just testify and he will translate for you.
The elders who were here before us haven't baptized anyone in seven months or more. I think that's why we're whitewashing, just to have some new faces get totally lost in the town and work the whitewash miracles. I also feel like we can get more places because people feel like they have to be polite. If we can get the members involved, I think it would really be beneficial to them and to the town.
I've been studying a lot about the Atonement and about how very little of it has to do with sin at all. It all has to do with balancing the scales of justice such that you feel compelled to change and be like God. Just as jailtime doesn't guarantee remorse, suffering for our own sins will never change us into Godlike beings. We have to decide while we are here on earth to change, little by little, until we too become perfect. We ran into a disbeliever cynic person who said that if he was wrong, God is all-forgiving anyway and he will just say, "Sorry! I didn't know." I didn't yell or anything, but I did say, "You sure ACT like you know God isn't there." Sister Housley said that the gospel is meant to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, and at that point, I was definitely feeling like Amulek in my approach to our cynic and calling him to repent or else. I didn't--we walked away, and I will always think of him and what I would have said should we run into another.
The success of a missionary cannot be measured by numbers. I could have one baptism under my belt a week out of the MTC, but that doesn't mean I DID anything. I was just here to pick the fruit of seeds planted and nourished by all those elders before. Success is determinant on the missionary's commitment to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. For those who reject us, who are not elect, we can feel satisfied that we are fulfilling our purpose in calling them to repentance. They cannot say, because we worked hard, "Sorry! I didn't know." They did know, because they were approached by successful missionaries. That's what we're trying to be. Every time I feel the Spirit work through me and I say something that I never planned to, I know that the Lord is pleased with the work I'm trying to accomplish.
Anyways--hope everything is just dandy at home. Monday is pday, so I hope to hear from everyone soon :)