Monday, August 26, 2013

On the road again ....

Rachel didn't email us last week, but we found out that she had been transferred again, just in time for her birthday.  This week, we got two e-mails ... one from last week that she started, saved to finish and didn't have time to send.  Here is that one.  This week's e-mail is a reminder that sometimes change can be a happy and good thing, even when we don't think it will.  :)  

hey guess what??? 

i am moving. again. no this is not a joke. 

 i am actually really sad to leave this area.  great and amazing things are happening here and i am really sad to leave this amazing ward.  some of the investigators are truly amazing and it breaks my heart to leave them, but i guess i am supposed to. 

i decided that i move so much that when i come home my right arm is going to be popeye status from carrying my HUGE suitcases everywhere all the time 

I am going to a place called St. Albans?? no idea where that is, with a girl from.... no idea where, some island somewhere. but she has not been out long so heavenly father definitely knows that i need more practice with my patience and people learning english.  

funny things sister chan said this week, she was talking to someone a few feet away and after i asked her what the guy had said, and she said,  " Idk, but i know what i said"...... i don't know why but i thought that was actually hilarious.  maybe you had to be there. anyways i definitely going to miss her.  

you guys would be proud of me, i can officially do the baby freeze.  no idea what that is? it is okay, neither did i, it is a break dance move thing where you balance on your hands, idk how to explain it, i will send a picture next week.  

 we should be become professtional gardeners.  If nothing works out when i come back home at BYU I think i may become a landscaper..... almost nothing as satisfying as pulling and working and tugging at a root to finally yank it out.  This week our great lazy elders left the outside work for us as they vacuumed, but it was okay because sister chan and i chopped down some tree weed things. it was HUGE, and prickly, and full of spiders and other creepy crawly bugs, but we did it, and it was great. and we had so much fun doing it.  
I realised it is a bit like missionary work.  Ya sometimes missionary work may seem like a huge tree covered in unpleasant things.  Waking up everyday 6:29, doing the same thing over and over, getting rejected, and made fun of, walking for miles in the rain and in the humidity, never having a break; but you grit your teeth together and don't let it affect you; you dig deeper, pray harder and press forward, and when you find that prepared person, the one that will listen, it is like chopping down the tree, like finally getting the root.  all the dirt and bug bites and other difficulties was worth being able to help this one person. 

and then once you find that one person, nothing can bring you down.  after an epsecially great day i thought of that youtube video with the little girl who stands in front of the mirror.  if you have watched it, you will know exactly what i am talking about, if you haven't watched it, watch it.  i love it.     and it is true, when we rely on the Lord we can do anything.  and we should never forget our amazing self worth. we are all children of God, and if we realised that i bet we would feel a bit more like jessica ha    

I got Travis's wedding announcement!! it is so cute.  they look so good together. i am so happy for them.  

So i had so much to say, but with the whole moving and still having to pack and having a full day of lessons today, not much of a p-day, i just don't really feel like writing. sorry!!! but i loved the emails, and i am glad you guys had a nice anniversary! 

Hasn't hit that it is my birthday this week, it will just be a regular day. i might even not realise on the day. isn't that the sign of getting old?

(last week's email..... sorry again!)

Happy Birthday Rachel!

   St. Albans, UK

sorrrrryyyyyyyy don't hate me about last week.  we emailed for 30 mins in the morning, and so i saved the email as a draft planning on coming and finishing it that evening, but the day turned crazy and we didn't get a chance. sorry!!!!! 

but as you already know, i moved!!..... again..... don't know if it is a compliment or a punishment, but hey i'll go where you want me to go. 

So catch up, i am in St. Albans with sister Diaz from the Dominican Republic. St. Albans is GORGEOUS!!!! When you think of England and you think of it being pretty with old buildings and such, you are picturing St. Albans..... a lot different than Romford.  It was just a bit more ghetto. The ward here is amazing as well, there are 6 missionaries in this ward. crazy huh. but the two sets of elders are really cool and awesome, so this transfer is going to be great.  One of the Zone leaders with us looks EXACTLY like future Josh Dunn. like really, size, hair, eyes, everything.  You are going to be proud of me! i have taken a lot more pictures!! and i was going to send tons of pictures this week, but my camera is dead and the charger is back in Romford.... i seem to leave little things behind every where i go.... but next week i will send the pics and you can see future Josh.   

YOU ARE THE BEST!!!!! loved the morning surprise :) honestly it was perfect.  Everything looked so good. and the special milk! what more could a person want for her 21st birthday! that sounds like sarcasm, but it isn't.  honestly food is one of the things that gets me the most excited these days. 
(We had groceries delivered at 8 am on her birthday (luckily P-day) -- fruits and vegetables and milk... thought it was normal milk..maybe not?)

so a bit about sister diaz. she is great, love her to death, we couldn't be more opposite. she is the sweetest, person ever.  Is terrified of the dark, anything that crawls or flies or buzzes, and pretty much everything.  but she is the most amazing cook. like literally it is a gift. and she loves it,  like ratatouille...  so we have agreed on a great deal,   i will smash and kill everything, and she will cook everything.  this is going to be a great transfer.  

Dad I have been meaning to tell you this but keep forgetting! you are definitely going to look like Henry B. Eyring when you get older!!! and i think he is a cute older man so mom is a lucky lady.  just like you are lucky you have a wife who will smash stuff into the green waste in a pencil skirt.  

HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!!!! you are the best. really. don't let it go to your head or anything.  your present is coming, but it won't be there for a bit.... probably because i haven't bought it yet, but that's because i have been looking for the right thing, and inspiration just hasn't come yet, so i might just end up doing something lame.... just because nothing is deserving of you! 

So this area is going rough to start.  the past few transfers nothing has really been happening in this area, but there are now three of us new to the area and there is so much potential here that I am excited to help build up this amazing place.  

I think i am a bad example on all of my companions... the other day we were crossing a bridge and the train was going by underneath us, and i taught sister diaz how to spit off the bridge and try and hit it..... don't worry it was dark no one was around to see us, and we missed...

Today we are going to go play football with the elders! i am excited, it has been too long. and did you know that they spell soccer like american football not futbol.... i never knew that till a few days ago....  

AHHHHH JORDAN IS HOME!!!! that is so crazy and exciting! i bet he did amazing on his talk, and i bet his mom is sooooo happy! i am so sad to hear that they are leaving Hemet.  hopefully next year he will still be up at byu and we can be on the same polo team together. freshman year we were so close to winning it all.... yes i am already planning next years intramurals.... don't judge me. :) 

i can't believe Mckay had his court of honor.  Why is he the best ever? where the heck did he get that from? honestly i am so proud of him. and I love the pics you sent of his Eagle court of honor. he looks so handsome! so cute ahhhh.  That is so great that uncle mike got to help out. he is such an amazing man.  I have been thinking about him a lot lately.  how is Mckay liking school so far? i hear he has a crazy load. maybe now he will actually have to work at school work.  

Becca the pics you sent me ago were amazing! so cute. i miss you guys. ahhhh you are going up to BYU today! have fun unpacking, and when you are just think of me having to do it almost every month and quit complaining haha you have to keep me updating on EVERYTHING! and yes a letter is still coming.... slowly but surely i promise i will send it this week.... oh wait nvm you will have a different address, so email me your address and i will send it next monday deal? 

This Saturday we did Mormon helping hands.  (pics to come next week) it was not anything like when we do it back home. a) it was raining..... we got SOOOOO muddy it was fun.  it was funny/ good practice for when i have kids, helping sister diaz embrace the thought of getting muddy and working in the dirt with bugs, oooo and we practiced shooing away a bee instead of freaking out. we are making great progress. she is so funny.   b) there was only like 20 people there. it was a bit sad. it just reemphasized to me how much missionary work is needed here in England.  I am excited to be here helping this amazing country become the amazing force of the gospel there were in the times of the pioneers.  

The ward here is so amazing. it is the biggest ward i have ever been to. there was a couple from watford! and they remembered me.... that was surprising. but it was great to see them.  I am getting not completely awful at on the spot getting up and having to talk in sacrament meeting.  It is great because I am guaranteed a laugh when i talk about my name.  formica is very popular over here and everyone thinks it is hilarious that it is my name.  English humor.... still working on it, but getting better i think. hopefully. i have been here for 5 months already. my enlgish accent is actually not terrible anymore! i have figured out the key, just talk like you have a hot potato in your mouth and you are set.  

One thing that I have loved is that I have now served in 4 areas, with companions from literally all over the world, and the church and the gospel is the same.  all. over. the. world.  it just is such a testimony builder to me that this is the gospel of Jesus Christ.  There is no way that it could have spread this quickly and remained the same in every country, that have such varying cultures, unless it truly is Christ's church.  

  Meeting all these new people has truly confirmed to me that we are all children of God with such divine worth and potential.  The more i understand that concept the more i want to share the truth with everyone.  

Mom you are right it is a bit tough to keep moving.  I get to love and grow so close to the people in an area, and the area becomes yours, and you work so hard to help the people there, and then you move.  and ya you don't get to see much fruit for your labor, but i have learned that it doesn't matter if i am there if when the fruit comes, just being able to be a part of it is all that matters.  

Sister Diaz and I have done more dancing and weird video making than i have my whole mission.  hopefully next week i can send you some. they are..... strange... but fun. you just have to keep in mind that as a missionary your ways of having fun are a bit limited so we have to get creative haha 

I love you guys!! thank you so much for being amazing. and once again for the birthday surprise. it is great because sister diaz was just as excited because she is going to use it to cook for us haha you really are the best family ever.  good luck with everything going on this week. try not to be too busy that you can't listen to the quiet promptings and guidance the Spirit gives us everyday.

 love, Rachel 

Monday, August 12, 2013

"Sister Formica, God is so tired to take care of you."

Today I was completely overwhelmed when i read my emails.  it was the good kind of overwhelmed... not the bad kind don't worry.  I was overwhelmed with gratitude.  gratitude for the amazing family and friends that i have been blessed with.   I just wanted to say thank you so much for the love and support.  You really have no idea how much it means to me and helps me keep going.
funny quote that Sister Chan said this week. "Sister Formica, God is so tired to take care of you."  story behind the quote:  we were sitting doing our 12 week program ( the program all new missionaries do for, you guessed it, the first 12 weeks) and our chairs in the flat are extremely sketchy. as in they sway and wobble and moan and groan every time they are touched. well i guess i was moving around to much ( or the other possibility is i have eaten one too many chocolates.... i prefer the moving around too much theory.)  but it completely broke.  like every single piece that could possible come apart did.  the seat the legs the back, all in a million pieces and i fell flat on my butt. it was actually hilarious.  and then not even 5 minutes later i was drinking some hot chocolate ( yes hot chocolate in the summer. it was a storm outside.   England is crazy i am telling you.) and i dropped my hot chocolate and it got EVERYWHERE, except on the portable DVD player that we were watching a Preach My Gospel dvd on.  it even spilled behind the DVD but not a drop on it.  these two things back to back is what inspired her quote.  I thought it was pretty funny. and she is right. i should be more careful to make his job a bit easier ha
Dad today I saw a advert for a movie that you must go see.  It is the Lone Ranger.  I just remember that a long time ago you would make us listen to it on the CD in the car, or it was some black and white TV series you made us watch i can't remember. but now i have some of his commentary stuck in my head..... so you have to go see it and tell me about it.  pay back for making me listen to it. 
We had a ward picnic on Saturday, and I realised something shocking, no one over here knows the rules to baseball.  We were playing kickball, which they also don't know, and i was explaining it and said that it is the same as baseball, and they had no clue. also i watched like 2 mins of a cricket game, and it seemed like the most boring sport to watch ever. minus cross country. but maybe it was just because i watched it from a bus stop for only 2 minutes, maybe i should give it another chance. 
The other night I woke up to a frightening noise. like it really creeped me out. after a few terrified seconds i realised what it was.... sister chan grinds her teeth in her sleep. like bad.  i am surprised she still has teeth left!
As i was preparing my talk and primary lesson this week i realized something.  that i absolutely love the Ensign.  I don't know how the heck i didn't read it before my mission, but now I just want to read it all the time! kinda lame/nerdy i know. but that is what missions do to you.
this week I was adventurous.  I have now discovered that I like beetroots and plantains! crazy huh! beetroots. it looks like probably the scariest most nasssstttttyyyyyy vegetable in the world.  is it a vegetable? i don't even know. it is like magenta pink and just a lump but it is good. and plantains! not just oversized bananas! who knew? 

Mom/Editor's Note:  When I was a kid, I told my mom "If it stains my plate, it can't be good for me", referring to beets.  We've had them twice in the past year and I discovered that I like them, but obviously Rachel doesn't know we have them too!  :)   

Today we had an amazing experience. we got to listen to the head of the missionary depart of the whole church.  4.5 hours of amazingness.  i didn't even realize it was so long until i tried to stand up and realized i could not move my legs. it was a mission wide conference and it was so great to see everyone as well.  i remember the first like 3 weeks my comp got so excited to go to one to see everyone and i was like big whoop i don't know/really care about seeing anyone. but now i know why she was so excited.  it really is amazing to see friends and catch up about old areas and different things.    

my poor little Sister Chan.  I make her go running with me every morning, and the whole time i think she is cursing me in her head. so  like i mentioned last week about playing bball with the elders in the morning, we were supposed to do that again this week, so we wake up at 5:55!!! that extra 30 mins makes a BIG difference, and start to go and run to the park. when we walk outside and there is the most gorgeous rainbow ever. it had all the colours. it was so cool!  one thing i have learned on my mission is to appreciate the little things, and recognize them as gifts from Heavenly Father. I never pass by a beautiful flower without smelling it now.  Yes i almost had a bee fly up my nose, but my cat like reflexes saved me. sorry back to my story, it starts sprinkling, but we kept running.  we get to the park and it is now full on pouring. we wait there for about 15 mins and then run home completely soaked.... later the elders told us they saw the rain and decided not to come...... typical elders. but that is okay because i had fun. i don't know about sister chan, but i think she is learning to accept my crazy ways. 
We are teaching this amazing but stubborn old man, named Terry. and when we don't have a lady member that can go teach with us we usually just stand outside his home and talk, but this week i decided that i was tired of doing that because whenever we do, the lesson is not as focused or the spirit as strong.  i remember that he had two chairs in his house, so i decided to byoc.   bring your own chair.  i may have looked a bit foolish carrying a chair down the road, but hey you gotta do what you gotta do right? when we got there he just started laughing his head off. but we had a great lesson on his front door step. 
My talk was ehhh okay.  idk, i can never judge these things.  people said it was good, but you know that everyone always says that no matter what. even the people who you watched sleep through all of sacrament meeting. but it was great having a few people say that something you said really helped them with what they are going through at that moment in their life. it is amazing how Heavenly Father works through other people to help his children.  Even when we don't know we are helping.  If we just ask and listen to the spirit He will use us to help and bless others.

Dad I am excited to read your talk! Mom great email as always.  Mckay i can't believe you are going back to school. i am a bit jealous.  especially with all the school supplies you get to buy! but hey this year is going to be amazing for you i just know it. if you don't kill the whole high school with your cough first.  keep being the great guy and stud you are. becca. literally i die.  i can just picture you sitting in the car not wanting to go back in. you are just the best little mommy ever. Adam.  i miss you. i taught the 8 yr olds in primary on sunday and could not stop thinking about you. and today a lady talked about some 8 yr old little boys and i definitely almost started crying.  you are the best! keep the whole family in line for me will you? and Mia, she better not be taking my place as queen of the couch during scripture study.  I love you guys. thanks for being the best family ever. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Birthday, WNBA, Mr. Skinner's circles & Trusting the Lord

I can't believe it is already august.  i can't believe i am turning 21.... nod nod wink wink presents are always accepted my dear family :)  butttt i would send it to the mission office just in case i get moved again.
So a few thoughts i had.  I decided that Sunday is the hardest day of the week on a mission because it is the most opposite from what you are used too.  Sundays have always been a day of rest, a day to spend time with loved ones, a day to feel the spirit, go to church, and do churchy things, but here on the mission Sunday is a day to work just like the rest.  So please next time you eat a big Sunday dinner, take a nap, play a game with the family, and just relax please think of me not doing these things and know that you are lucky. ha but i do admit that Church on the mission is always incredible.  This past Sunday was probably the best sacrament meeting I have ever attended.  The testimonies that were born were incredible.  It is amazing how much spirit and love for the gospel this little ward has.  but I feel sorry for the ward because next week i have to give a talk and give a primary lesson.  I was just about to ask you for advice mom on how to teach the kids (especially because 3/4 don't speak english), but i realized i won't be able to read it in time, so never mind.  just wish me luck and keep me in your prayers! 
I realized this week that I am destined to play for the WNBA.  i always have just assumed that i was awful at basketball. (well i was), but this week I don't know what happened but i definitely found my star potential.  maybe it was because sis chan is only 5'2" and the elders are about 5'7" but still, i think i found my career when i get home.  you can stop worrying dad i won't just be a moocher off of your money for the rest of my life.   
Dad so we are teaching this amazing family, and they are from..... JAPAN! and they are hardcore buddhist.  I was wondering if there was anything you did special to help people with a buddhist belief to realize the importance of Jesus Christ as our Savior. and that we are all children of God, and that we can be together as a family for forever.  I know that was a while ago but any advice oh wise father of mine?
So this is mainly for rebecca or anyone in fact who had Mr. Skinner. kylie addison you would probably appreciate this. The other day i found a puddle on the sidewalk that was a perfect circle, and for some reason it reminded me of freshman year when Mr. Skinner claimed that aliens helped him draw perfect circles on the white board.  i almost took a picture. then i looked up and saw how weird Sister Chan was looking at me and figured that it might be a little to strange. butttttt it was pretty cool. 
England is literally crazy.  this morning bright and sunny and now pouring.  and of course the computer i am at has a leaky roof and it is raining on me... inside... how is my luck so great. 
Two scriptures that I found this week that have really helped me through some stuff is John 14:27, and 2 Ne 22:2.  Isn't the second one the coolest reference.  I will never forget it because it is all twos!
2 Ne 22:2-
Behold, God is my salvation; I will atrust, and not be afraid; for the Lord bJehovah is my cstrength and my dsong; he also has become my salvation.

John 14:27-
27 aPeace I leave with you, my bpeace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be ctroubled, neither let it be afraid.
I read John 14:26 alllll the time because it is a scripture they want us to memorize for our missions, but just this week did i read the verse right underneath, and it was literally the exact time that i needed it. 
This week has really put some things into perspective for me.  There is this family in the ward that has probably one of the hardest pasts that i have ever heard. yet the mother is one of the most positive people i know.  She has so much faith and trusts in Heavenly Father so much.  This week my eyes have really been opened to how little we know and can control the things that happen around us.  No matter how hard we plan, and no matter how perfect our plan is (or how perfect we think it is), there will always be something that happens not according to plan. we need to learn to accept these hiccups, or in some cases huge mountains, and be able to trust God; that He knows what hiccups and mountains need to be placed where in our lives.  I am so grateful that Heavenly Father is in charge.  Being able to know that He knows me, He knows my fears, He knows my thoughts and desires, and He knows what I need, better than I know myself, is the most comforting thought.  If i follow Him, and trust him He will never lead me astray.  So this week I am going to encourage us to instead of getting wound up over the little things, instead of freaking out when things don't go according to plan, instead of trying to push forward thinking we know best, to not be too proud to fall to our knees and admit that we do not know best, and that we need help; to ask for help to learn what Heavenly Father would have us learn from this certain challenge. so that we can grow and become the person He needs us to become.
with that being said mom and Mckay i hear that you are arguing over whether to do the Book of Mormon challenge now that school has started.  To resolve the argument how about we just wait until next July.  And dad mentioned doing a no sugar month at the same time.  so we can do both soon before I come home so that A) i won't be as fat when I come home, and B).... there isn't actually a B but just putting A seems weird. we can do it whenever is best for you guys. just let me know! 
Love you! you truly are the best family ever.  trust me i have seen a lot. don't let it go to your heads though.  Enjoy the last bit of summer! before you know it, it will be Christmas and you will get to see my lovely face and hear my lovely voice! lucky you. speaking of lovely voices sister Chan and i sing for investigators in lessons, and one of the old guys we are teaching turned his hearing aid off in the middle.... we were that good.... :)
我爱你。( i think and hope that means i love you)