Monday, November 21, 2011

First Zone Conference on Jersey

We had the raddest workover this weekend; the elders from Poole came via Vomit-Comet to Jersey, and as soon as we procured helmets, put them to work on the high street so we could run to our appointments. Elder Roe is from SLC and was in High School Musical, looks like he's from Lebanon, and has been my Zone Leader since I got here. Elder Olsen is from Georgia and is getting through uni with his basketball scholarship (he's 6 foot 8 or something). As far as I know, the ZLs have never worked over the Channel Islands, and the perfect sunny days were only a bonus; in the space of 3 hours, we got a ton of potential investigators and we got to see Roe and Olsen's finding and teaching approaches. It's always dodgy when there's two sisters and two elders, so on the high street we made sure to gravitate about 10 feet from each other when we swapped. Roe was practically weeping with joy at how cool Jersey was. Yes, we are super cool :)

It was so nice because Himelright was always oozing with compliments after an exchange with the ZLs, and he'd repeat a Roe approach to us ("Hi, my friend and I are Christian missionaries, and we're sharing a message about how God's true church has been restored to prepare the earth for the second coming of the Messiah") and I was always complaining about how we could never DOO that because we're sisters. Once in a lifetime opportunity to learn. I guess I really felt a lot better about things because they find a lot like I do--their approaches are similar, the say the same things and help these people feel comfortable whilst being very direct. There's really only a few ways to say, "Do you believe in God?" It's always really good to work with other missionaries and see how they operate.

And speaking of other missionaries, the next morning we were graced with the presence of Guernsey for Jersey's very first district meeting! Woo-hoo! Apparently it's like £30 for two on a round trip, so I'm thinking we might be able to do district meeting more often in the future. Farnsworth was so happy to be off Guernsey (he's only been there two months, but it's hard work) and with the prospect of elders' sleepover and pday, they couldn't contain their exuberance. :) District meeting was so good; we practiced helping our investigators say kneeling prayers and solve their concerns, which is such a vital part of helping them come into communication with God. I learned that I make good analogies, I need to keep better eye-contact, I ask good questions when resolving concerns (ie: "Is this important to you?"), that I need to liken the scriptures more, and that I make the investigators feel really good about themselves (that little skill is all down to Christensen, who validates everyone's prayers, even if they're silent. You did so good! Investigators like to hear that.) Mostly it was exciting to see all the missionaries there and take dorky pictures in town. I hope things go well for Guernsey.

Despite our best efforts and President Furbank being there, we had no one at church. No Linda or Holly, Joanne, Catia, Tricia, or Alan. Poor Sister Christensen. This place has been really difficult because it is so isolated. We were attacked at ward council and our ideas died in subcommittee as usual by way of the defeatist few. David O. McKay said that in the kingdom of God, there are builders and there are murmurers. I'm doing my utmost not to be a murmurer, but to lift and motivate and bless this ward. There is so much potential in the beautiful families for doing good, but for some reason, they make excuses and think they can't help or that it's not their job. It's not hard to see that this attitude has infiltrated from the top down. I'm confident that if we can develop charity in ourselves and continue to encourage and be patient with the members as well as everyone else, they will begin to trust us and we will put this whole church thing back into their hands where it belongs.

We had a phone call this week from a very timid sister who said she felt impressed to give away the Book of Mormon we left her to a guy at work, and she said if he called, his name was Mario. We're praying for him to call us, please oh please. Just the fact that she did that was a miracle. I'm sure she felt all kinds of reassurance from the Spirit and I hope she'll have another missionary experience soon. See? There are fantastic members who are still inspired to do good! We may just have to set the example for them. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to serve in a ward that doesn't necessarily function well so I can remember always to maintain the "I will go and do" attitude I was always taught to have. In the meantime, while Brother Mackenzie texts us to keep breathing and remember that change takes time, I'm grateful for the Atonement to help take the load off our shoulders. I'm also grateful for the Spirit. Sometimes I don't feel it because I'm feeling resentful or frustrated at the lack of compliance (why can't everyone see things MY way?), but when the Spirit is present, we're able to progress and touch hearts in a way that was totally impossible before. When Aaron was brought before the king, he said, "If thou wilt spare our lives, we will be thy servants". Sometimes we feel like bishop wants to kill us (or the other way around), but the attitude to have ALWAYS as a missionary is one of service. That brings the Spirit real quick.

Anyways...I hope the email works next week. Thank you so much for all your prayers and post and stuff. Happy Thanksgiving! We'll be eating at a vegetarian's house. Nut roast, huzzah:)

Love from,
Sister Willard

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