Thanks to some heroic pday antics in Yeovil, we ended up emailing today instead! If it's short, I apologize.
Highlights of this week:
PETER: Is our baptismal date. He's 18, tells us about his no longer existent love life, and has come to church twice in a row, the second time after no sleep. Turns out he knows the Withreads and the Walkers AND between Sundays the YSA made him come to their FHE, Institute, and almost got him up to Reading to see Elder Bednar, but his mum wasn't given enough notice for that one. Shame. Pretty much the greatest thing I've yet seen on my mission is his willingness and their total osmosis of him into their group of friends.
PDAY: Yesterday was so fun! The six of us went bowling at an arcade three games in a row, and the rule was that if you got a strike, you had to do a dance move in the lane. So Elder Paraso made us all look bad after breakdancing, Himelright gave up because he just kept getting strikes in a row, until he tried to slide on his gunky rental shoes and biffed it across the foul line...oh man. Then we played some English pool--same concept as American, just played on a smaller table, with littler balls that are only yellow and red. I didn't do too shabby, either. It was so fun to just bond with our district and hear about their lives. I'll be sad when Johnson leaves after this moves just because our dynamic has really turned Salisbury around.
BEDNAR: Sleepover Friday night at Winchester (I had to relay Tangled again) and we got up super early to catch the train. Me and Housley were in a musical group that sang Hark All Ye Nations, and we got the first two rows. Elder Bednar came in, looking a lot older than usual, and we were so excited. We didn't even open the overflow, there were that few people. The whole mission was there, even those from the Channel Islands, and they don't even get Zone Conference. Three HOURS of question and answer--I learned so much about faith and learning by faith, priesthood keys, how to avoid priestcraft and blasphemy, how to get out of the way of the Spirit when teaching, and how to invite investigators' agency, rather than making them objects to be acted upon (calling them every day to see if they're still coming to church). He bore such a powerful testimony, and I realized I knew the same things he did. I've got a testimony of the same things he does! And I haven't even SEEN anything! Pretty much felt like I got hit by a train and was still bouncing off the walls after it was over. Highlight of the mission so far.
I've been learning a lot about trials and the purpose of trials, not necessarily because I've had a ton or anything, but because a mission is good prep for them in the future, and we keep finding people, members and not, who've seen the positive results of their own trials in life. It has a lot to do with becoming like God--if we want His patience, we have to have frustrating days. If we want His power, we have to experience weakness to overcome. If we want His compassion, we have to get picked on and beat up and ignored. These all serve a purpose. Although many still exercise their agency and choose bitterness, rather than the teachings of Jesus, that's up to them.
Weymouth is the promised land! I feel so successful, even on days when we're dropped by everyone, because I know that I'm fulfilling my purpose as a missionary to INVITE, to make plain the will of God and how it affects people, to testify and show them what the Spirit feels like. I'm grateful for the opportunities to be here and to have heard an apostle in such an intimate setting and recognize that we don't need him to answer our questions. We have the scriptures. We have General Conference. Write down the questions you're struggling with, and go into Conference with them and watch them all be answered, right in a row. I know the Lord is here in England, touching the hearts of His people. We're just going to collect them :)
Speak to you on Thursday, and moves say that maybe Housley is moving!