Monday, November 28, 2011

Last-Minute Sacrament Talks

So I had to speak yesterday with less than a day's notice. After Peter was finished explaining his conversion, I didn't have 15 minutes as warned, but a full 30 minutes to fill. Scary stuff, especially for this very hard-to-please ward and a pair of nervous investigators. But the Lord blessed me with loaves and fishes of material. I spoke on what it's like to be a new member of the church, reminding the members that they can't just say Mormon jokes and not sit by these people or else everything gets really exclusive and unhelpful for the missionaries. I got to talk about Alma and Amulek's friendship, Boyd K. Packer's spiritual medicine (prayer, service and bearing testimony), and describe some real investigators I taught back in Weymouth to get the members to imagine what it's like. Every new convert came up afterward and thanked me for saying what they're all was my very first talk that I didn't write down, and definitely the longest I'd ever given, but the Lord blessed us with His spirit and me with calmness.

Tricia came to church! We've taught her for a few months now, and she managed to overcome her fears and attend for the first time. I couldn't be prouder of her. Some people we teach are so ready for the Gospel and recognize its healing portents immediately...some need to experiment and read and pray to determine whether it's a good thing or not, let alone whether it's necessary. The Spirit is preparing the hearts of the people and some just cook a bit slower than others. (Island culture features SLOWNESS as its top speed for doing anything, so it's hard to get things underway at a normal American speed.) President Shamo wants us to baptize in November (check) and on Christmas Eve/Day as a present for the Savior. It feels all sorts of idealized when you say "white Christmas" and you mean white jumpsuits. I hope we can manage it--all our baptismal dates vanished, so we're back at square one. We'll see. Heck, we baptized TWO people in November--what more do you want? :)

Here's our 4 new investigators we're praying for: (Join us!)

-Jane. Recovered addict, lives alone. She was given a Book of Mormon some years ago, and she reads it regularly. She says she feels so much peace from it. She reminds me so much of Lauren Lippens :)

-Claire. No real belief in God, but she does believe in angels. Very busy. We've taught her a first and she agreed to read and pray. We're hoping she'll make time for us to come and teach in her home.

-Cindy. She has one teenage daughter and many, many rats. Many rats. They scamper around the house and have wrecked the furniture. She's not a hoarder, just not all that sensible. She felt the Spirit so much while we were there and clearly wants to follow God.

-Morris. 21, from Portugal, here working. The elders met him and he agreed to meet us. Not too much religious background beyond Catholicism, but we taught him the restoration and he said he'd keep an open mind. Good guy.

Last Monday we went to the Jersey War Tunnels, which is the Underground Hospital the Nazis used when they occupied the island. There wasn't a camp here, but if you were found with a radio, you were shipped off to Germany to be in a camp with everyone else. Everything was rationed, Jersey girls dated German soldiers and were ostracized, no one was allowed to drive cars or go fishing, a curfew was instigated, people tattled on one another, people drowned trying to escape...the occupation lasted for five years with very few civilian casualties, but they were really isolated from Churchill's attempts in the UK. The museum was really cool--lots of propaganda and photos of heroes. We were given mock passports of Jersey citizens before going in. My girl was 18 years old. She was approached by a German soldier (attacked, jumped, whatever) and she told him to back off. She got arrested and died in Ravensbruck. Sad days. It was a really cool place to visit, just to see the history of this place.

Our more edifying experience of the week was our movie night; Sister Christensen received 17 Miracles from her dad, so we invited the ward to watch it with us. 17 Miracles is about the Willie and Martin Handcart companies, and it was so cool to see everyone be so British, including Alex Mackenzie (she played a Scottish woman, but whatever) who used to be YW President here. If you haven't seen it, see it. Ignore the cheesy bits (T.C. Christensen, what were you thinking?) because it's fantastic. Everyone was crying. There were a couple less-actives there and even a nonmember husband who attended. Huzzah! Best day ever!

The other bit of news is that this afternoon we're off to Reading for the Sisters Conference and will be able to do an exchange in the Visitors Center at the temple! Whether we can attend, I don't know yet. The elders in Peckham and places close by visit on pday, so I hope we can go in. If anything, we can go in a month when they fly us out for Christmas! It'll be so nice to see everyone again :)

Love from,
Sister Willard

P.S. No meat on Thanksgiving was a little degrading, not gonna lie.

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