Monday, February 20, 2012

Winchester Plague

Due to my bad habit of putting everything in my mouth from infanthood, my immune system still remains like unto steel. However, with Sister Sebald's slight figure and fussy stomach, she had no chance fighting off the virus. After our lunch appointment Tuesday, her legs started swelling and I took her home and tucked her in. Next day we stayed in. Brother Hamilton gave her an awesome blessing that promised that if she would just rest and take her medicine, the virus would be gone by morning. He also brought a lemon-ginger-honey brew for nausea, apple vinegar to gargle, a dead chicken, paracetemol (I think the equivalent is aspirin, but no one here knows), and a gallon of onion and garlic soup that he'd blessed to be the right medicine for her. He made us both eat a cup of it before each meal, which meant our house smelled vile and I couldn't participate in the Zone Fast :( But true to the blessing, the only thing that remained in the morning was a stuffy nose and a slightly sore throat. The swelling was gone, and she was able to attend Zone Conference.

Conference was rad. The Shamos talked about discouragement and rejection, we met Mary from the Bible Videos (she's from Bristol, and all the elders got stupider with her in the room), and we said farewell to Elders Rantsha (Botswana and Edinburgh) and Karjalainen (Finland). They will be well missed, since Karjay was assistant the last year of his mission. He exuded enthusiasm and the unseriousness of missionary work, which both motivated us and put us at ease. (The English tend to be very, very serious.) Elder Rantsha's companions all complained that he walked too fast for them. :) We've got some great missionaries in ELSM. We got to see the missionaries from the Islands, and rumor has it that Kernek and Christensen will die together to make way for elders to work on Jersey again. President also said anyone who can breathe, walk, and bear testimony will be training soon. So...don't feel special.

After Zone Conference, we attempted to work the next day, only to have Sister Sebald relapse. We stayed in Saturday after teaching Lynda ("Don't hug me, I know you're ill!") and yesterday after ward conference. We'll see how pday turns out. The trouble is, we've got a workover coming from Tunbridge Wells (Sisters Housley and Allred the Elder, gasp) and if she's unwell, there's really no point. But I have confidence, if she just SITS DOWN AND RESTS that the promises of the Lord given her in her blessings will come to pass and we'll be able to finally go back to work.

It's really weird to have all this time off. I swing from frantic spells of cleaning and letter-writing to adventures in baking (I made the most awesome stir-fry and Irish Soda Bread from scratch) to feeling apathetic. Happily there are a few conferences on DVD in the flat, so I've been able to hear October 2008 and not go completely crazy. There's not much you can do when you're not allowed away from your companion, as much as I would like to weed the garden...Housley and Allred come tonight at half-eight, so I hope Sister Sebald will feel well enough by then. Tomorrow is pancake day, and Sister Housley started telling me about it starting in May. I'm well excited ;)

So yes. Not much news. But the weather is warming up--everyone was saying how mild a winter it was, and they're all saying it's over. Global warming would really help out, I think. By the grace of God, only one really mild winter in England! Huzzzah! Onto the English spring ;)

Be thankful that you can go do missionary work anytime, anywhere, by yourself or in a group. Our opportunities for that kind of work in this life are perishable. But they reap eternal rewards for everyone involved :)

Love from,
Sister Willard

Monday, February 13, 2012

So many less-actives at church!

Elder Day told us Elder Ballard come to Yorkshire to speak, and he stood at the pulpit and said, "I'm sure you're all wondering why us old fossils get up here and say the same things every six months. Well--(hits the pulpit with his fist)--when you start DOING it, we'll talk about something else!" When I heard that, I felt a lot of empathy for him. We've had that experience of speaking in church about missionary work and how important it is and how easy it is and how you retain a remission of your sins by doing missionary work, and you KNOW that it's just falling on deaf ears. That's a tough pill to swallow. That's Nephi2, Elijah, Samuel, and Jesus' story.

I'm so pleased to be serving in the rad Winchester ward. Bruna came to church yesterday with Bea, and Laura was saying how all the YW entered into a secret combination or something to be her best friends ever. It's working; first youth, now she's in the Road Show, and then she came to church.

The same thing happened with Karolina. She was baptized in June, and her mum almost stopped her (age 17). But Karolina's stalwart example led Aleks to take the lessons and be baptized in September. I hope Carla recognizes Bruna's testimony and how the church changes us for the better. Miracles, miracles.

I think being a missionary doesn't necessarily endow you with power to perform miracles all of a sudden--I think it only equips you with the ability to recognize them. Miracles happen all around us. I've come to expect them on a daily basis because of my experiences. It doesn't mean life is easy or ideal or suddenly full of roses, but when you're absolutely exhausted and disappointed and you stop to get some food for dinner at eight and the best frozen pizza in town is Buy One Get One Free, I consider that to be a miracle. Those little mercies help us keep going. All those potential investigators, Noreen asking us to do service in the form of baking cupcakes for the soup kitchen, and sun when it was supposed to snow. This week my favorite miracle was that Bishop saw the state of my boots (I was trying to make it through the winter, but I was making the Church and America look bad) and took me to get some brand new ones. Who does that? I'm pretty sure you get celestialized for buying a missionary shoes.

I'm so grateful to be here with Sister Sebald. She's such a good missionary and a great teacher. I'm trying to learn all I can with her, in case I take over this area. I'm secretly hoping that President will have me whitewash train, because I loved getting trained that way. Sister Housley is now a traveling training sister, which is the equivalent of a Sister AP, and her purpose is to go on exchanges with sisters across the mission. Zone Conference this week--I can go! Huzzah! There are so many people dying (leaving for home) this next moves, including our longstanding Assistant Elder Karjaleinen (from Finland). There will be like 60% turnover by the time we get to May, which is really weird. We're almost the oldest group in the mission! Weird.

Hope all is well at home...Howard's almost leaving! That's so exciting!

Love from,
Sister Willard

Monday, February 6, 2012

Snow again!

So we were worried that church would get cancelled because it was coming down hard and fast. Everyone didn't want to chance the buses and started calling for taxis, which left us as the only shmoes waiting for AGES for a 5 to Badger Farm. The snow here is just like the stuff at home. Happily it didn't last, church went forward as usual, and Sister Sebald and I taught about personal revelation in Relief Society (get it by being obedient, praying, studying the scriptures, and following the prophet!) and I got to conduct my very first choir. It was so fun! I couldn't keep rhythm because More Holiness Give Me was rewritten to be 6/8, so I just did 2/2, made goofy faces to get them to look at me, and worked out the dynamics a little bit. Because they're English, their vowels are already really good :) I hope we get enough to sing at Ward Conference in two weeks.

-The 40 day fast is proving to strengthen the members' resolve to share the Gospel with their friends and coworkers, which is TOTALLY how this area will grow. They're bearing testimony about cool experiences over the pulpit and we're just smiling to encourage them ^_^

-The Book of Mormon DVD is proving very successful--people are more likely to take a DVD over a book these days. We just have to keep telling the office to post us more.

Things are going well. Rumors are rampant through the mission (or, at least with us) that we might get whitewashed next moves. The history of Winchester goes something like this: Elders, 7 moves, Sisters, 7 moves, Elders, 7 moves, and we are on the 7th move for sisters. But it would make sense because apparently we've got 6-7 new sisters at the end of this moves, Sister Housley's group has ten weeks left, and President refuses to do the 6 week train. That leaves Sisters Priestly, Johnson (Mills and Jonutz are already training girls from Hong Kong and Pakistan respectively, so they won't train next moves), Allred the Younger, myself, Sebald, and Binnie as the oldest in the mission. Gah, stress.

The ward is rad and we're hoping we'll find a real investigator soon.

Best of luck to you all! Keep helping those missionaries and tell everyone what you do on Sunday!

Love from,
Sister Willard