Monday, February 24, 2014

two words. scotch bonnet

so i have absolutely 0 time to email this week, good reasons: 

a) got a haircut 
b) played rugby in the mud 
c) taught a few lessons
d) drove all over st albans to find a scotch bonnet and then ate it 
e) I died. 

so it was a great p day but it is literally 9 and that is when we are supposed to be home... oops :) but  next week I promise an in-depth response to ALL the emails, mum, dad, mckay and rebeccas 

Scotch Bonnet Peppersbut for kicks and giggles go look up scotch bonnet, and then look up some videos of people eating them. ya. that was me.  and we all know that i am the biggest wimp with spicy or hot. lets be real, hot cheetos are to hot for me! 
(Couldn't find a decent video of someone eating one -- I guess it's too hot to control your tongue with, unless you're a missionary.... but here's a picture.  And one video said a scotch bonnet is 50 times hotter than a jalapeno). 
pics coming next week mum. hopefully . i should probably start taking them 

(I offered to get Rachel some groceries for Christmas since her present was socks and long johns.  She said to wait -- so I asked again yesterday.  Guess it's good timing...) 
ohhhh wait before i go. groceries would be fantastic because we are broke beyond belief this month.  so ya if they could be delievered just in the morning before 10 everyday but wednesday would have to be before 8.  and just really simple not alot.  frozen chicken breasts, cous cous, and cucumber, peppers, tomatoes, and apples.  you are the best!!!   

Monday, February 17, 2014

we are pretty sure this island is going to sink....

It won't stop raining. sorry to rub it in, but from the things we hear the southern half is pretty much already underwater.... won't be long before the whole thing sinks!  Atlantis here we come! Sister Pope and i are already making plans to use our mattresses as boats 

I am about to be brutally honest; I LOVE reading everyone's emails, but writing them is REALLY hard.  The week literally flies by and the days run together and I am not sure what the heck I have told you and haven't told you..... but I email you anyway, feel loved.  

Yes! Danielle is getting baptised.  It has been quite a long process, but it is incredible to see the difference in her now then when we first met in September.  It is such a testimony builder to me that the gospel does bring happiness and peace into anyone's life who accepts and lives it.  The light of Christ is a light that can overpower even the darkness night.  

Something funny we are learning is the difference in the way we learn history all over the world.  Talking to English people about the revolutionary war is a lot different than learning about it in class.... and last night we were at dinner at the Whittakers, the senior missionary couple in our ward, and he was talking about the Vietnam war.  The face that Annie and Kat (yes Kat is Katherine, the Vietnamese girl that is sisters with the girl in our ward)  gave each other shows that they viewed it a little bit different than we do. 

Another funny thing I find is that people tend to think that America is all the same.  They say things like, Oh well everyone is Christian over in America, or everyone is happy and friendly in america or there is not a lot of crime over in America...... do they not realise how big of a place it is?? 

This week I met a man named PRINGLE..... when I asked him about his name he said that it is a nick name he gave himself, it stands for:  Positive,  Respectful, Intelligent, Nice, Grateful, Loving, and Eternally indebted to God.  
At first I found it a bit amusing, but then when I thought about it, I realised how brilliant it is that he is able to say that about himself.  It made me wonder what we acronym nick name we would feel confident enough to give ourselves? As humans, we tend to view ourselves in such a negative way.  If only we could see the good in ourselves, and see ourselves as Heavenly Father sees us.  That is one thing we do as missionaries, after almost everything we do, we list things we did that we like and something to improve.  It always is easier to list the things that we need to improve, but learning to look and be able to see something you have done well, and something that is your strength is a great quality and one we all need to work at developing.  Thought for the week, we should all try and be a bit more like PRINGLE.    

Every Wednesday we go and see a lady named Christine.  She is so incredible and I love her so much.  but this Wednesday when we got to her home she wasn't there.  (happens every day not anything new to us as missionaries)  BUT we had a member with us.  and not just any member, but the sweetest 80 something year old lady.  once we determined that she was not home, she turns and looks down the road and says "Well have you tracted this street?  Do yo guys still tract?"  and what did she then do?  she went tracting with us!!! at 7:30 at night in the rain and cold.  It was incredible.  She was such a champ.  We learned so much from her.  She and her husband were found through tracting and so she has such an incredible testimony. and people listened to her because she has had a bit more experience in life, AND she has an English accent so people like her more.  
If nothing else comes out of tracting that street, her testimony was strengthened while she bore it with courage and power, and I had an experience that I will never forget.    and I learned that members do have a passion for this work, and sometimes we just need to give them the chance to share their testimony.  *don't worry, this does not mean that you need to go tracting with the missionaries, you can share your testimony in many different ways.    

so i feel that this email is really quite boring and i didn't say much so sorry! but I am happy and just plugging along.  I can't believe February is almost over.  (ya we tend to round up) but i hope everyone had a great Valentines day.  Sister Pope and I indulgded in Pizza.... It wasn't for us it was so we could see Cameron again and tell him more about the Book of Mormon, but he didn't come! so sad.  but it was okay because we had pizza to make us happy again.  love you!! rachel   

ps what foods have loads of amino acids?  tell you why next week.... 

Monday, February 10, 2014

"there are more goodies than baddies....." "I'm the nicest person I know"

The profound subject lines I am sorry to say are not quotes from me.  We are teaching this lady who is 79 but dang is she still kicking.  Most people think she is in her late 50's, maybe early 60's.  I think it helps that she has hot pink hair.  Anyways she is very concerned with the state of the world, and has just finished her life work about how to fix all of the world's problems.  I am not exaggerating.... ALL of the world's problems.  In this 16 page work she solves world hunger, global warming, unemployment, trade between nations, and last but not least, dishonest politicians.  She is quite the character, but I love her so much.  I learn something new every time we go and visit. and she is so kind; like she says, "she is the nicest person she knows".  Current issue we are dealing with is that she prays to Thor, but baby steps.    

Mum can you look this up, or dad maybe you know this, do moon-bows really exist??? (yes, it looks like they do...
Moon bow -
we read about them on these things called yo yos here (not the toy) they are like fruit leather but little rolls, anyways they come with this cool card with random facts on it, and we decided we are now collecting them.... some fun facts we have learned:

Sri Lanka has 7/10 deadly creatures, the capital is Sri Jayawardenapura kotte, and one time it rained fish 

the bahamas only have 3/10 deadly creatures, famous for pirates, blackbeard once lit his beard on fire to scare his enemies

they sell wigs for dogs in tokyo 

in the 1500s in britain most people got married in june because they took their yearly bath in may 

I just realised these probably are not interesting or funny to anyone else, but missionary humor is actually horrendous. so sorry you have to put up with me :)  

I feel like I am BFF's with the 12 apostles and President Thomas S Monson now.  We watch so many mormon messages, and read so many talks and things by them.  and after a while you learn their personalities and their hobbies and pretty much all about them.  so in my mind i am just like buddy buddy with Elder Holland.  Idk if that is appropriate or not..... 

This week has been a pretty dang good week.  very wet very cold very wet again.  did I mention our umbrellas broke? oh well only a £ a guess. 

but I was asked last week to give a talk. guess what it was on......  How I prepared for my mission..... very ironic considering i did not do a whole lot to prepare for my mission.  oops.  I got up there and said that in the beginning and Sister Pope said that the bishop made a face like "well that is not what i wanted her to say...."  but i quickly followed by saying this is what I wish i had done before I left, and he was happy again.  

Mum I will add a brief summary of what I said because who knows mum's are strange and you might like that, but anyone else reading feel free to skip ahead.  
  tentative summary
Everyone is preparing for things everyday, whether they realise it or not.  Work, school, kids, church lessons, new baby, moving, visiting teaching, projects, and list goes on and on.    

5 steps I wish I had done before my mission or in preparing for anything
1) start now! go say a pray and tell Heavenly Father what you are doing and ask for His help.  Quit putting it off, and just start.  that is the hardest part is starting. 

2) Learn your purpose and ingrain it into your brain.  Why are you preparing? when hard times come, it will be easier to persevere if you really understand your purpose. My purpose for coming on my mission is: I love the gospel and the knowledge and perspective it has given me, and I want to share it with people so they can be together with their families forever.   

3) set goals- "goals and routines help people prevent depression and temptation and navigate between the opposing and quicksand of boredom and excessive stress. As we learn to stick with a difficult task, we have the pleasure of getting the things we want most not just the things we want now." set spiritual and temporal goals!  as missionaries we set goals ALL THE TIME! transfer, monthly, weekly, daily, hourly, and I am the most effective I have ever been in my life.  Not that normal people need hourly goals.... thatsssss a little much 

4) Study! just as you would prepare for an exam, must study to prepare for whatever you are preparing for! Also everyone should be studying the Book of Mormon and Preach My gospel for life preparation. whether you are going on a mission or not, go through PMG I have learned so much from it.

5) get up, get out, and get to work! talk with people, just say hello, ask them how their day has been.  "volunteer, take someone dinner, invite people over, join a sports team, make gifts for people, etc etc"  GO TEACH WITH THE MISSIONARIES! or have them teach in your home.  especially if you are preparing for a mission, do this.  

"you become what you want to be, by consistently being what you want to become each day."      

this life is all about preparing. Alma 34:32   we are here to prepare to meet God. 
doing these 5 steps will help us in preparing for whatever we need to prepare for.  

basic outline, add some stories and some quotes and other things and bam. pretty much sums it up. except it was a bit more eloquent.... hopefully.... probably not though.  

Also this week 20 mins before gospel doctrine they asked us to teach it..... what was the lesson on? noah's ark and being prepared.  ironic a lesson on preparation being completely made up on the spot.  oh well thank goodness for missions, because before if that had happened i probably would have just died.  

We had 7 non-members we are working with at church yesterday!  never have i had that much.  that was really exciting. definitely a miracle from Heavenly Father considering we didn't have that great of a week. EXCEPT Danielle is getting baptised on the 1st of March and Kat is getting baptised on the 25 of February!! so excited for both of them.     

this p-day pretty much was fantastic.  we went to the roman museum. it was really cool. still blows my mind that the real life actual romans used to live here. 

Also best part,  we went with the coxes to this English Folk dance club in a church of England church.   about 24 people all 65+ were there with a caller and the old music and everything.  We felt like we were literally in a pride and prejudice movie!! (minus the costumes and old fashioned language) I have always wanted to learn those dances, and now I am pro.  Sister pope and I decided we are bringing this back to BYU.  Not joking it was so fun.  Some of the old ladies were sooooo funny.  You had to kind of guide them around.  but yes we are definitely going back in a fortnight.  
apparently this has been the wettest winter in forever, there is serious flooding in some parts of England, but I don't mind.  just put on my wellies and splash in some puddles.  isn't life great?  sorry this email is so random, my thoughts are just everywhere!  but have a great week! I love you! rachel

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

at least we have legs.....

guess what i thought of this week, if i have already mentioned it i am sorry, but it was Jessica's daily affirmation.  Mum please go look on youtube and get the link and link it to the blog because it is one of my favourite videos ever. The little girl is so brilliant.  we should all try and be like her.  she is so positive and confident.  And truly that is how we should all be.  We are all such amazing children of God and He has made each one of us unique, so we should be able to stand in the mirror and say "I like my hair, I like my hairbrush, I like my mum, I am great! I can do anything good.....ya ya ya"  :)   have to watch the video in order to understand the quote. 
another video i thought of but i don't know if you will be able to find it is of the inspirational speaker that does not have legs. he goes around to schools and tells the kids how great they are.  Found it.  Here's a link to a youtube video of him speaking.  Nick Vujicic inspirational promo youtube 4:10  
anyways we were talking to this YSA girl in our ward that we are working with trying to really help her, and we were talking about trials and challenges we have been given, and i don't remember how in the world it came up but we mentioned this guy and then we thought well hey no matter what your trial at least we have legs. cuz we could have this trial and have no legs as well. it made a lot more sense when we were talking about it i promise, but now whenever we want to complain about something, sister pope and i just turn to each other and say well at least we have legs..... 

my fingers are going to fall off typing because it is sooooooo cold here in the chapel  okay i probably shouldn't complain because some places are really really cold, but here it is a different cold... just like everyone always says it is a cold to the bone kind of cold! but at least i have legs :) see it makes every situation better.  

but oh i forgot to mention if i am moving or not, well i am sure the ward is sick of me after these past 4 transfers or 5 months, but too bad for them they have to live with me for another 6 weeks! but we are working with some great people here and I am so excited to be able to stay and continue to serve these people.  and lets be real sister pope would have gotten a bit lost without me, she has some problems with directions ha but poor her she has to put up with me for another 6 weeks, oh well it will teach her patience and tolerance :) 

dad guess what? you would be proud of me, i now love tomatoes and the whites of eggs! i am growing up! but i still hate sea food. yuck. in the market there is this sea food stall and i have to hold my breath when we walk by because I would definitely throw up. yuck. luckily the other day when we got fed fish, i was sick so i could not really smell or taste it! the blessings of being sick 

i also bought an umbrella! finally. and since I have bought it, it has not rained when we have been outside once..... the weather is very cheeky 

Every week we do this thing called weekly planning where we plan for 3 hours for all the people we are going to see the next week and things like that. well we decided a few weeks ago that we wanted pizza so we ordered a pizza for while we were weekly planning, allowed? idk but we have now done it twice and both times it was the same guy who delivered it, and he says every friday if we ask for him he can come and deliver it, so our goal for the next 6 weeks is to teach and convert the pizza guy.  we figured it is a pretty good excuse for ordering pizza right?

really lovely experience on sunday.  So there is this man named Ashley who got here in St. Albans the day after i did back in August.  He is the brother of one of the single sisters in the ward. He is probably the sweetest man you will ever meet.  He has lived in the states for the past 25 years.  Their dad died in August and he came to help her organise and redo the house and such ( it needed a lot of work) so they could sell it.   The whole family joined the church here when they were little, but now the sister, Deidre in our ward is the only active one. 

 But we have been helping them fix up the house, about once a week we go and do service there. usually painting, ( we have become expert painters i may open a painting business when i get back)  but Ashley is the most incredible cook, and every sunday they have us over for sunday dinner.  He served a mission back when he was young, but has been less active pretty much ever since.  When we first started going over there he would not stay downstairs for the lessons.  After a while he would stay but would not really participate, and for the past month or so he has been an active participant in them, and he has one of the most amazing testimonies i have ever heard.  He loves the gospel so much and knows it is true with every fiber of his being.  I have learned so much from him and my testimony has grown so much.  He has come to sacrament mtg and sat in the back a few times, but yesterday, all of a sudden i look up and see him up on the stand for the last testimony.  lets just say i about lost it.  It was one of the most powerful testimonies i have ever heard.  There was not really a dry eye in the place.  He grew up in the ward and the whole ward knows and loves him and it really was such an incredible experience.  He talked to the bishop afterward and told him that having us over and bringing the spirit has helped him so much and he is determined to when he goes back to the states (this week) to continue to progress and keep going with this. 

 It is experiences like this that make all the freezing wet long days of getting rejected so worth it.  Also his brother who lives up north with his family, has also been less active for years and has two daughters not members.  They have all been down helping with the house every once in a while.  Deidre just called us a few weeks ago and said that because of the service we have given, and the interactions we have had with their family, when the elders in his area knocked on his door just recently, he let them in, and they have been visiting them every week since.  My life will be forever changed by this family. and It all started with service.  

When we serve other people our hearts and theirs are changed and touched.  Which has taught me a valuable principle.  We need to not only offer service, but we need to allow ourselves to be served.  I think the second one is a lot harder for people, it is for me at least.  It takes a swallow of pride sometimes, and even if we can easily do it for ourselves, sometimes it isn't us that needs to be blessed by the service rendered.  We should not deny them the blessings and happiness they will receive when they serve us.  My challenge for the week is to look for opportunities to serve, even if it is as small as opening the door for someone.  The second part of my challenge: when someone offers service, allow them to do it.  Oh also be grateful for it :)      
oh man i gotta run, the time always goes so fast and i don't really ever say anything i feel like.... but i love you guys so much! crazy that today is my 10 month mark.  possibly only 7 more to go.  i was laying in my bed last night realizing how short that was.... i have to step up my game i need to do so much in that time!  but have a brilliant week! hope it is full of sunshine, service, and all the other good stuff! love ya! rach

Here's another thought like Jessica's about appreciating yourself, particularly your body -- but by someone much much older :) "Decisions for Eternity" - Neal A. Maxwell