Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Moving Again!

So President called us this morning to say we're e-moving due to the problems with the Bishop. Poor Sister Nelson, jerked unceremoniously out of her area--I'm so glad we're in a trio, Sister Pitcher has been an absolute champion. Anyways, we're off to Downend in Bristol Zone. Elder Livingston said it's a really fantastic ward and flat. Two great things, I tell you what :) We're swapping with the elders there, poor guys.

Thanks so much!

Love from,
Sister Willard

Monday, August 27, 2012

Old Testament

Not too much time--we're headed to the moors today to see Haytor, whatever that is. Since I've been to the Tor proper, I assume it will be similar.

Can I tell you how great the Old Testament is? It makes so much sense in context with all the other scriptures we have ever had, puts forth the characteristics of true prophets, teaches the true nature of God, and most importantly for me, has reconciled the two conflicting views of the Savior--is He the one who turns the other cheek, or kills a thousand men for taking the spoil? I tell you what, the Israelites are so disobedient and stupid that by the time you hit Judges, I want to wipe them off the earth. But the Lord doesn't. He loves them and is so faithful to them and is so hurt that they don't trust Him as much as the things they make. He really is a God of love, as well as justice.

Things are good here, lots of less-actives coming to church in both areas. We would like to suggest that be a key indicator because it is equally important to the real growth of the church, and it would help us feel like we are actually accomplishing something. No idea how much influence you have over this, it was just a suggestion :) A few new investigators have entered the pool, and we are doing our best to cater the lessons of PMG to their needs. It's so liberating when you do that.

Keep working hard and remember to pray in specifics.

Love from,
Sister Willard

P.S. Pictures from Katie arrived today in the mail and mom is currently putting them up on the flikr site.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Middle O'Summer

Right, so before I left Winchester, Sister Barker got yet another announcement from her last roommate. "Ha!" she cried. "They're all married!" She waved the picture around to all the elders (on p-day) and then I recognized that the GUY in the picture was Braden! Hey! So we reminisced for a few days and got so pleased about the fact that Braden and Kaylee were getting married. So cute. Completely forgot to tell you ;)

Working two areas in a trio is hard work. Here are some things that have happened:

-Went to church yesterday and were asked to give our testimonies. Everyone was having kittens about the fact that I had been with Housley and Christensen (the legends of Exeter). There were 12 recent converts or less-actives there, six of which hadn't been seen in years. What a miracle! Robin (baptised two weeks ago) blessed the sacrament. It was so sweet.

-One member here, David, is doing his PhD on how the Book of Mormon utilizes the Bible. It's unheard of in his field of study apparently. If you've got doctrinal questions, he's the guy to ask. Gospel Principles as taught by him is properly invigorating.

-We stopped a guy on the street (clearly from Africa) who only could respond, "Espanish?" I dug deep into my memory bank and cobbled together a sentence in Spanish featuring the card we were trying to give him, church on Sunday, how long we lived here, etc. He got so excited to hear some of his native tongue, he grabbed our diary and wrote his mobile down. We've gotta call Elder Simplicio :)

-Got my trunky call (asking which airport and whether my parents would pick me up, which I didn't know), complete with Mission Impossible music and Sister Kearl declaring that the message would self-destruct, wiping it from my memory forever. I really did forget about it until a week later. Forever in the mission is always relative.

-Picked up a new investigator in our flat named Mike. He had cancer and was an atheist--the doctor sorted the cancer, but missed a massive ABSCESS in his navel (the size of two flat footballs) which burst, sending poisonous cells that will slowly eat his body away. He's probably got two years left to live, and this is like the millionth horror story I've heard from the NHS (National Health Service). Anyways, he's become a believer and is reading the Book of Mormon, the Bible, the Koran, anything he can get his hands on. Really cool to speak to him.

-Barbecue on Saturday--there were loads of investigators and less-actives there, and even though we had to leave early to sort out a baptism for Bideford branch, we got to give a chapel tour and learned that the Schofields (members of less than a year) are the best missionaries in the stake. So awesome!

Nothing too crazy to report--the weather has really turned out nice for the first time this summer, and I hope it'll linger. I'm trying to convince Sisters Nelson and Pitcher that the winter won't be that bad. I do like winter by virtue of everyone's invigorated attitude--the sun inspires apathy and going to the beach. Funny how that happens.

Hope all is well with you, and that the missionary work is making a killing!

Love from,
Sister Willard

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Trio!

So I've got eight minutes to do this. Ready Goooooooo!
Paignton is so boss. Gorgeous beach and sailboats and a lot less intellectual than Winchester.
-Sister Nelson is from Idaho and Sister Pitcher is from Logan. We are getting along great, and it's weird to me that I'm the senior companion.
-We taught Bob, who has decided to stop meeting with the J-Dubs in favor of us. Still afraid to pray because he knows what the answer will be.
-Lots of problems with the RCLAs by way of domestic trouble, but their testimonies are strong and refreshing.
-I've got boils all over my right arm ever since we gardened in stake president's yard and they're not going away. Now I've got to go to the NHS....bummer.
-Spoke in church on prophets for ten minutes and am having a great time.
-Troubles with the bishop...we are only invited to the last ten minutes of ward council, he calls us "girls" instead of "sisters", and he chewed me out for expecting to ask the members for referrals. So be it. We will discuss zero missionary work, fine.
-This trio is really fun, and I'm learning a lot about handing cards out by the way. Super hilly, like San Francisco.
The Church is true! Off to Exeter next week to work with Portuguese investigators from Angola, huzzah! I wish Howard were here. :)
Love you all! Hope everything is good and that you are lifting and encouraging each other in the wards ;)
Sister Willard

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Dear Family,

So I got moved. Sister Ma'alopa eli from Samoa took my place in Winchester after seven and a half months in Jersey, and I was told I would be in a trio with Sister Pitcher and Sister Nelson in Paignton, Devon. I'm right next door to Plymouth, Teignmouth, and Penzance, and it was the most beautiful train ride I ever saw.

Unfortunately, I don't have too much time to email--what the office DIDN'T tell us was that Sister Pitcher is waiting for three weeks for her greenie to arrive from wherever she's from, and in the meantime, Paignton was actually closed and we are meant to work in Exeter only. We spent last night in Exeter flat (a legendary place) and now I'm writing from Paignton chapel, having found out I've got a talk on Sunday. We can't abandon either area, even for a few weeks--the spiritual warfare waged on the recent converts and investigators is too much without the help of the missionaries. It's interesting to see that while we have creature comforts of a first world country, spiritually it's like hacking through the jungle with a machete. We can't leave them to their own devices until we know they're ready, and at that point, the spirit will direct us to strengthen the next one who needs us. The work goes on, but we'll do everything we can to not let You Know Who gain any ground.

Love you all! Proper email on Monday, promise!

Love from,
Sister Willard

Sunday, August 5, 2012


So I may have gotten to see the Olympic women’s swimming for like twenty minutes--fantastic! And like four people gave us a blow-by-blow account of the opening ceremonies. I hear all of Team GB showed up in chav suits, rather than Armani (Italy) or Ralph Lauren (US). So fun!

We are excited to have the Hamilton’s back from Germany after 8 weeks of being gone (horrible) and now we can finally baptize Shalen. He is very excited to be a member of the Church, and he is surprising all of his family back in Fiji with the news. The Church there is massive :)

We are off to host some Olympics of our own in Southampton: three legged race, Chubby Bunnies, Spoon Me (inspired by the Survivor episode of the Office, although we don't have money for a coal walk) and chair football. For anyone who knows not what chair football is, introduce it to the youth--it's brilliant for uneven numbers, and all you have to do is defend your chair. You can't move it or touch it, except to sit on it--when the football hits it, you're out. Last one standing wins. Soooo fun :)

There is a pigeon trapped in the library. Poor guy. They're so agreeable, pigeons, always nodding.

We spent one evening in a Forever Aloe Vera sales pitch meeting thing, invited by our investigator, when we learned that the company was started by members in Scottsdale AZ. I determined that I couldn't get into that business because I'm not oozing with assertive communication.

Ewan taught youth Sunday school yesterday to thirty youth and did a fantastic job. We could not be more proud of him and his budding abilities. It's amazing to see the next generation be way better than what we were. I'm hopeful that whatever I try to accomplish as a parent in a steadily worsening world will be guided by the scriptures and the Spirit. I'm grateful for prophets like Lehi and Jacob that had family problems and that they have recorded counsel for parents today to learn from. The human family is not too much different than it's ever been, and the same practices of family prayer, spending time together, and talking face to face about struggles and solutions are tried and true throughout the centuries.

I'm grateful for the apostles and prophets of today, who are not only in charge of the church, but who prophesy to the whole world of nonmembers as well. Their counsel hasn't changed, but new circumstances are being addressed today, which is something I'm very grateful for. They are not a think tank waiting for the next election, and they will not reserve the hard words for fear of hurting our feelings (Pres Uchtdorf's two word sermon: "Stop it.") We are a very different religion in that way, amidst all the nice words and "forward thinking" and "new generation" we can still hold fast to the Ten Commandments and strive to love one another and build the kingdom of God in such meaningful ways without being Puritan.

I'm grateful to be a member of the raddest Church on earth. It's the only real one.

Thank you for everything you do to build it at home! Love you all!

Love from,
Sister Willard