Monday, May 30, 2011

Low Hanging Fruit

Big news. Dad, are you listening? We have a baptism. Yep. On Saturday. Shekinah went to Portsmouth for church this week (the amazing traveling investigator, she's so solid), and met with Elder Lang (the elders before us were him and Elder Carter, who went some eight months without a single baptism), who got her all lessoned up and interviewed. I am so excited! Elder Carter's coming from Bristol to baptize her himself (I made the Zone Leaders say yes). I have absolutely nothing to do with her getting baptized; all we did was show her the Restoration DVD and run underneath a very tall tree to catch the falling fruit. I promise to take pics and send those too.

In less big news, we have the greatest Zone leaders ever. Roe and Smyth bought us battered Mars bars on the way back from District Meeting (see above pictures). It was a bit like eating a Nutella crepe, and my poor arteries suffered for ages afterward. I got to hold a bunny at the Lawfords, Weymouth is uber-famous for sand-sculpting, the Esplanade leaves me sunburned every single fetchin day and sunscreen is a fortune out here, and one of the worst things that could ever happen is two dinner appointments on the same night. Surprise! Happily, our little publicity stunt during Mutual got us third place in the sandcastle contest and quite a lot of attention. Next it'll be the Plan of Salvation carved out of the sand.

Contacting around here, people are funny. We can talk to most anyone (although we definitely got growled at yesterday) and carry on a polite, intelligent conversation. We teach all day out on the streets, and people can feel the Spirit. They get chills, they feel warm, they start crying right outside Cafe Nero. We get so excited and commit them to pray and read, which of course they will. But the moment we ask if they'll meet with us, they jump ship. It's like building a really cool sandcastle and having the audience come up and stomp on it..."Bye! Good luck!" So weird. I guess it's true when they say the Gospel comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. I'm this close to getting on a soapbox and crying repentance old-school, but everyone already thinks we're strange. Maybe I'll just commit one person to baptism every single day. Then they can't say they didn't know. Sister Housley is really good at relating to people and answering their honest questions, things like, "God has never done anything or shown any signs," and she announces, "Hi! Here we are!" So help me, we WILL pull every possible miracle out of the woodwork.
Like Olha. She is so excited to speak to us more about what we know and why we know it. She's also going to teach us to paint, something we're both really excited for. Who says we won't come back from England refined after all? Besides Olha, who's so sweet and so intelligent that we're confident for that couple's active membership by the end of this transfer, most of the less-actives are single women with children, who've opened their homes and their hearts to us in ways the branch can't even imagine. Like difficult children, those who aren't interesting in joining or coming back to the fold, all we can really do is love them. President Monson always tells stories about the life-changing power of love, from those widows to Warden Duffy in San Quentin penitentiary, people always respond well to those who love them.

Sister Housley is so great. Our pdays have been really chill, and I'm learning a lot about smiling even when people are grumpy at you. A lot of walking outside to and from appointments means I'm relaying plots of different movies (Tangled, Social Network, stuff coming out soon) and English history, and she tells me awkward dating stories, running in China, and people back in Exeter like her RC Jo, who came to see us on Wednesday (best day ever!). She's determined to teach me to beat-box, despite my total whiteness. And we have a good time distracting ourselves in the downtime with goofiness.
This mission is so rad! Who said baptisms are impossible in the Motherland? We are tearing it up out here :)
Besides, the only recorded baptism during Jesus' ministry was His own. How important is it that we become converted ourselves, before we try to testify to others?
Love from,
Sister Willard
P.S. The BYU walking group came down and did a fireside, and normal people are starting to seem strange already. Maybe it was the overtly Americanness...loud and obnoxious (I'm not affiliated with them...)...

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