Monday, December 16, 2013

I love smiling.... smilings my favorite!!

yes the quote is from elf. my all time favorite christmas movie, even though i have never fully seen it all the way through because the past 7 times i have tried to watch it, i fall asleep..... just realised that does not make it sound very good. i promise it is, i just have a problem where i fall asleep in every movie. so if you have not seen elf go watch it for me. and if you have, you should obviously watch it again.  

so don't hate me but it is going to be a short email this week because we got back from the missionary Christmas party thing late and ya i am making excuses i know i am sorry and oh my goodness i just realised the next time i will be talking to you, it will be face to faceeeeee!!!!! weird.... but bad news, the time got shortened from an hr and a half to 30-40 mins. but hey better than nothing ya? so mum problem, i am not a skype fan so idk really how to use it either, lame i know.  i have it on my laptop but forgot pretty much all my username and stuff for it. hopefully it is still logged in. we are going to the senior couples home and doing it so it will work. soooo i think we will skype at like 3 here so 7 your time? possibly.... we will just see how it goes. if not don't worry i am alive and you will see in me in 9 months!  

but drum role please..... my new companion is Sister Rachel pope from provo utah.  She is really amazing and we get along great. she is fresh from the MTC but is so capable that training her is not even really training her. she used to be a professional ballroom dancer. cool huh. but no i still stink at dancing, i am hopeless even with her help.  

thank you for the presents!!!! we got them at the party today, but i really really really don't think i am going to be able to make it till next week before i open them. we all know i am not the most patient person in the world. 

Mary and Joseph, pictures and videos
also we had the ward christmas party on Saturday.  it was sooooooooo good. like best one ever. it was a night in Bethlehem.  everyone dressed up and sat on the ground and ate and ya i will try and round up pics from other people because of course being me, i forgot my camera, but Sister pope and I were angels. we wore baptismal dresses.  i love this ward. i feel like such a part of it. it is going to be hard to leave after 6 months here. i am definitely coming back and visiting! but what was really cool was a lady who was baptised a few months ago in another stake just moved here, and asked on to be visited by missionaries since she didn't know where the church was etc.... but she came to her first ward thing, and her sister-in-law and all her kids who aren't members came and loved it! 

A Gift to the World, 9 min video of Jesus' birth 

Also about 2 months ago we saw this lady who the elders taught a couple of years ago.  Our first visit was amazing, but then a few days later she said that she was so sorry but just could not do this right now and different things.  We took by my favorite picture of Christ with the girls head on his shoulder and left a note.  on saturday we decided to make some christmas cupcakes (looked absolutely awful by the way but didn't taste to bad..... and i am not exaggerating, when some people saw them they just started laughing and said hey well at least you tried.... they were that bad) but we randomly    ( well now we know it wasn't random but spirit guided) decided to take one by with a note and a christmas message on the inside.  she actually opened the door. looked a bit surprised to see us but was very kind.  she thanked us so much for the picture of the girl and Christ.  said she tried to send a txt thanking us but it didn't work.... anyways she invited us back a few days after christmas!  She is the most amazing lady and i know Heavenly Father loves her so much. 

so short email but very quick update for the week.  I will hopefully see you on the 25th! if not we will call.  I love you so much! adam merry christmas and a happy new year to you too! mckay, don't even talk to me about being fat, but suggestion do insanity. we are waking up every day at 6 and doing it.... you will be great afterwards. i am currently walking like an old crippled man. 

dad i would love to have your book, and admire the font and cover and all that jazz and then in 9 months read it, or i could pass it out and you could become a hit over on the big isle. i also don't even know what the word reticent means, but i am very proud of you for spelling it right... that is the word you were talking about right?? ha

mum sounds like you are going a bit crazy and being way to busy.  like always. take a nap for me ya? i love the bit about rejoicing.  we have so much to rejoice about! thank you for looking up stuff about the major.... but another 2 semesters... ehhhh idk.... but i will think about it!

well gotta go! love you! rach

oh ps so while the elders were emailing sister pope and i found a big huge blanket and wrapped up on the floor and fell asleep, except the heat in the church is never on so it was freezing, and my shoes have holes in them so my feet were drenched so i was literally freezing and i my heart really feels for bums! idk how they do it! elder davis says they drink alcohol to stay warm.... don't worry i was not that cold. have a great week!!  
       maybe we should have sent her shoes for Christmas!!!  Merry Christmas all from Sister Formica and her family!  

Monday, December 9, 2013

and in the morning, I'm making waffles!

This is Chris -- I've struggled with how much to share of Rachel's email this week.  I have decided to share the parts of it that aren't too private in the hopes that it could possibly help someone who reads it.  She and the mission president and his wife drove her companion home last night.  She has struggled with severe depression and needed to be home to get help.  Here are Rachel's thoughts.  I'm grateful for the kind and compassionate daughter with which I have been blessed and the wisdom she is gaining.      

Shrek quote for the subject line, and it is due to the fact that last night I spent the night in President and Sister Jordans' flat and he made me waffles in the morning.  We went on a road trip last night to the Birmingham mission and didn't get home till about 2.  

okay ill  quit being so mysterious and tell you whats up.

my companion actually went home last night.  President and Sister Jordan and her and I drove her home last night from about 9pm to 2am.....  It doesn't even seem real. .. .it broke my heart having her go home, she wanted to be such a good missionary ...but I know that Heavenly Father knows best, and now she can get the help she needs ...  so last night I spent the night at presidents home, and now I have just been chilling in the visitor center today.  Idk my mind is a bit overwhelmed at this exact moment in time but hey it is okay.  I have learned so many amazing things from the past 11 weeks.  things I will never ever forget and that will help me the rest of my life.  I just hope and pray that I was able to help her just a little bit.  I am a bit worried that I didn't do enough, didn't do all I could.  President and Sister Jordan said that we were meant to be together ... but a part of me feels like I could have done more. but ya that has pretty much been the majority of life the past little bit.

on a happier note the gratitude tree is full! thank you so much for it. such a good idea, everyone loved it.  also if you could maybe send sister    an email.  she really needs love and support right now. 

i love you so much. thank you so much for your love and support and for being such amazing parents. 

oh ps i forgot to say when i went to get my haircut they offered 18 different types of free drinks...... 14 teas and then beer and wine...... so crazy it was such a posh, aka fancy slash idk how to describe the word posh anyway place.  no idea how expensive till the very end. it was so much i debated on telling them to just put the hair back on my head..... so my haircut is my christmas present to myself because it was so much haha

i love you! i will update you more next week!  have a great week! 

love you guys!!!! rachel

you never told me what cous cous is?? i am not joking, i want to know! 

ahhhhhh 2014! what?? 

 Chris again -- My sister shared a story with me several years ago that I love.  I've pasted it here. 

The Cracked Water Pot

By Sacinandana Swami
A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on one end of the pole he carried across the back of his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream, the cracked pot arrived only half full. This went on every day for two years, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots of water to his master’s house.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishment and saw itself as perfectly suited for the purpose for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived as bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself and I want to apologize to you.”
“Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”
“For the past two years, I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws you have to work without getting the full value of your efforts,” the pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and out of compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.” Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the wildflowers on the side of the path. The pot felt cheered.
But at the end of the trail, the pot still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and again it apologized for its failure. The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I knew about your flaw and took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them for me. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. If you were not just the way you are, he would not have such beauty to grace his house.
Moral: Each of us has his/her unique flaws—we are all cracked pots. But a compassionate and expert devotee can engage us in the Lord’s service, and then we can all be useful, despite our defects.
We're all "cracked pots" in our own way and need to find our individual way to serve the Lord -- with all our heart, might, mind and strength.    Thanks for sharing Rachel's mission with us.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Its officially DECEMBER!!!! let the celebrations begin!

St Albans Cathedral Choristers snowball fight after morning rehearsals
so this is going to have to be very short because I am awful and ya no excuses i just am awful and would always get distracted talking to Elder Davis and Ottoni while i was trying to email and now we need to be home in 20 mins and it takes 20 mins to walk home.... oops :) walk fast! 

but update on the week, we didn't have a working toilet for 5 days.... 5 DAYS!!! and the nearest one we could use was at the chapel.... and as you know sister coons is sick and stuff so it is necessary that she have a toilet, so every morning for exercise we would go to the chapel.... and before we would go home for the evening we would have to go to the chapel and ya we pretty much lived at the church for those 5 days.... 

I had a proper thanksgiving dinner! it was amazing. a new senior couple moved in from Utah last monday and invited us over for dinner on thanksgiving. it was amazing!!! actually had mashed potatoes.  but sad thing was no pumpkin pie. they don't like it. they make a pumpkin cake instead... but that is okay they are so lovely that i decided to forgive them. Their daughter and granddaughter were there visiting and it was so great to be with a family.  but it made me wish i was home with you guys. but hey next thanksgiving!  i can't believe it is already the end of the year.  half way done pretty much..... and i need to start thinking about school and signing up for classes and what i want to do with my life and ahhhhhhhhh not yet. brain overload.  put it off for as long as possible.  anyways the couples name is the whittickers i definitely spelled that wrong.... from Utah.  They are amazing!!! I can't wait to serve a senior mission with my husband. it is going to be the best thing ever.  i know kinda jumping ahead there. but he is a Joseph Smith history guy, taught at BYU for 40 years.  Just finished working on the Joseph Smith papers.  he helped write a book that I thought you would be interested in dad something like men with a mission or something like that about the first missionaries that came over to England.

we had interviews with President Jordan.  They are my favorite. he is such an amazing man.  I always feel like i want to go change the world after we finish the conference.    

oh ps i chopped my hair off.... okay i didn't i am too chicken, but i definitely peer pressured Sister Coons into cutting her hair short.... but it looks great!!! don't worry she likes it, but let me just say i can be very persuasive haha  

St. Ablans is lit up like Disneyland.  It is beautiful.  If anyone has a chance to go to disneyland this time of year.... DO IT!  best experience of your life.  I remember last year i went, and you feel like you have entered a whole new world (pun intended... sorry that was so lame, that is what happens when i type this fast and now i don't have time to go delete it and i don't care that much to delete it). anyways it will change your life go to disneyland.  it is magical. 
I have a challenge for you, sit in a rollie chair that spins in a circle, and don't let your feet touch the floor or the chair and try and spin in a circle..... not to brag or anything but i am actually a pro. i just look spastic doing it. i will send a video hopefully next week.  

so much to say and no time.  With different circumstances they have not been the typical weeks you would think of when you think of mission life, but i am trying really hard to not let it affect me and my happiness.  I am trying my best to do my best and be thankful for the different situations i am in and the things i am learning from them! it is amazing the things we can find to be grateful for even in the midst of trials.  I decided that we can either let challenges and blocks in our path trip us up and make us stumble and fall, or we can use them as stepping stones to become the person Heavenly Father wants us and needs us to become.  Everything happens for a reason and we just need to find out what we are supposed to learn, and how we can help others.  

Christmas time is a magical time.  I hope we can all try and look at others and find ways we can serve them.  The best cure for our own problems is to serve others and forget about ourselves.  

i love you! you guys are the best.  have a great week! thank you for the emails sorry i didn't get to respond.  i will next week i promiseeee.  glad you got home feom provo safely and had such a great time.  i wish i was there, but not bad enough to come home haha have a lovely week and i love you! rach 

ps the comments from adam were hilarious. i laughed. very. hard. thanks :)

Merry Christmas to all the missionaries in England!  Here's a mission conference photo of the London England Mission taken in the summer.  It's inspires me to see all these young adults dedicating their time to serving the Lord and His children.