So we're not moving, thank all that is holy. I'm intensely grateful, since Bristol is like a celestialized version of the entire mission field. Here are some highlights from the field so far:
-I got to do my second exchange ever with Sister Pallekonda from Hydrabad, India. She is so sweet and such a good teacher--she saved one investigator from totally dropping us, which she would have done to the elders, except that they got moved. Miracles!
-I learned about the mission in Pakistan, which is part of the Singaporean mission. Only natives are allowed in. We're teaching two men from Pakistan at the moment. Both Christians, so they won't face severe penalties or anything.
-The mission in Madagascar is intense. Simon Evans, the ward clerk, got back about 8 months ago, and his average attendance on a Sunday was 40 investigators. (The most we've ever had was six, and we usually average about one or two.) The retention rate of 2000 baptisms yearly is about 85 percent, so the African Church is growing like mad. (The Danish mission baptises 30 annually, just to put it into perspective.)
-Ward Indexing party had a really good turnout. I worked with one of the older members, and he can read that handwriting like he wrote it himself. I had NO IDEA that scribble said "Henry Williams." He dictated, I just typed. It was really fun :)
-Taunton is opening a new area in place called Forest. Not Forest of Dean, that's in the Cheltenham Stake. It's like a village in the middle of a bunch of trees, and they'll have to drive to Taunton ward for the Sunday. Hopefully a branch will grow...
-This ward is so boss! Lots of the less-actives are on the fence of coming back, so we're working with them. The Ward Mission Leader is very supportive of everything we're doing, and the families keep telling us how great we are. Sheesh. I feel like we're watching a football game and winning, and everyone in the stands keeps turning around to us and thanking us. Weird.
We are having such a rad time! Still learning how to get around and what to say to all the Muslims, but we're doing great. I'm excited to be here another six weeks--we're trying to get an investigator to church every Sunday till I go home, which looks like it'll be pretty easy. :) Amazing!
Assignment for everyone who chooses to accept. We've got a bunch of people complaining about women not holding the priesthood.
So my question to each of you is: How have you come to understand this as the Lord's way? How has the priesthood blessed your life? How has it been a responsibility? What do you understand about the roles of men and women through this example?
Write back, and we'll be able to print it off as a testimony to our investigators. Are you in?? Thank you for helping us!
Keep being the great examples that home so desperately needs. I look forward to sharing all of our missionary experiences together! Nothing quite gets the Spirit in the room like missionary experiences, whether it's this side of the veil or not. You just feel useful in the hands of God.
Write to you soon!