Monday, May 26, 2014

i got nothing.... really absolutely nothing is coming to my brain for this... awkward

Donna got baptised this past sunday :) words cannot describe how happy i am for her.  It was funny though, she has had both knees replaced, and when she went underneath the water they both gave out, so when he was helping her stand back up she couldn't, and he whispered, Donna stand up,  and she responded i am trying but i can't!! it was cute, but don't worry she got up and out safely.

her testimony afterward was very short and simple, but perfect.  She said that she felt so welcome and at home here at the church.  and that she has never had so many friends in her life.  and that she knows that this is the right thing she has done and it is the right place.     

we have a dog that comes to church every sunday. i cannot remember if i told you this or not.  but the man is not a member, he used to go to the catholic church but he got kicked out because his dog jumped up on the altar...... so now he comes to ours.  the other sunday during the last song, the dog was behind this man sitting down and put his paws on the back of his shoulders and licked the mans bald head.... the man's face was sooooo funny.   

so it has been raining all week, and we were walking through this underpass, and there were huge puddles that we were dodging trying not to get sprayed by cars on the motorway, but at one point sister hymas almost slipped and fell, and she grabbed onto me and we both almost fell, don't worry we didn't, but then we were laughing so hard we were not paying attention and this huge lory drove by and it was like a tidal wave completely soaked us.  it was actually hilarious.  i think all the people stuck in traffic were amused by us.  just hope we made their day ha 

went on three exchanges this week.  2 out of the 3 were in the visitor's center.  Sometimes I feel I have gotten called to serve there I am there so much.  but it is a good thing. it is a new experience.  It is learning to share the gospel in a different way - to share the gospel by giving tours and chatting online is very different, but it amazes me that no matter how different it is, the spirit is still the key.    

This week has been fantastic.  and I have realised just how genuinely happy i truly am.  and not the temporary fleeting feeling that we call happy, but a lasting and pure joy.  many times we get happiness confused with excitement, adrenaline, or others but happiness is something deeper than all of that.  
  If you were to look at a missionary's life, the world would wonder how the heck we are happy,  we work over 12 hours a day with not really any time off, we don't have any technology, computer, smart phone, ipad, no films, no tele, no fancy possessions, we talk with strangers everyday and get rejected by them everyday, and the list goes on and on.  
 but as I have forgotten about the ways of the world, and focused on what is really important: my relationship with my Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ, to do my absolute best to live as He did, to share the gospel and to serve and put others before myself,  I have found myself being so purely happy that i cannot contain it inside of myself.  as cheesy as that sounds, i feel like it is bursting out.  and everyone can have this kind of happiness. regardless of your circumstances and situations.  so be happy, look at the good side of things, there always is one, be grateful for all the blessing that you have been given by our loving Heavenly Father and just smile.  

sounds like you are doing great, except i think becca may have died, you should probably check on her...... adam good job on baseball i am proud of you for finishing even though you didn't want to.  mckay you are just a superstar, it is hard to be your sister you know that? quit making me look bad haha dad mum thanks :) 
have a great week! i love you!!!! rachel  

oh ps i love this mormon message 

I watched the Mormon message - so sweet.  Please watch it.  Also, Rachel's words hit home this week -- happiness really is within our reach when we're reaching for the right things.  :)  Thanks for reading.  

Monday, May 19, 2014

"I love snakes.... I don't like them, but you can love things you don't like." -Donna

one of my favourite quotes from Donna that the elder who interviewed her told us she said during her baptismal interview.  

brace yourself for a crazy email.  my brain is just flying today! 

It is soooooo beautiful here! the weather is literally perfect.  I am even starting to get a hint of tan... by hint i mean that it doesn't hurt your eyes as much to look at me now, the glare isn't as bad.  but this weather just makes me want to go and play beach volleyball right this very second! reminds me of the good days of just playing all dang day.  Aubree next summer ya? we should do a tournament again!!! so fun. 

We ran to hampstead heath this morning.oh my goodness google maps it right now!  (Hampstead Heath - google maps link) it is my new favourite place in the world.  You would never think that you were in London.  I felt like I was in Africa or something.  just silent from the world, only birds chirping and the wind blowing.  and there is a place called the Kenwood House in the park. Sister H and I decided it is perfect for either taking engagements or having our wedding reception there..... or maybe i will just photo shop it in, a bit cheaper probably, but it seriously is gorgeous. I can't wait till i come back and visit and just spend forever getting lost here on runs and hikes and everything. ya i love nature! Heavenly Father is so good to us giving us this beautiful earth!  I am in one of those, life is great and perfect and i am so blessed and i love life moods. aren't those just the best moods ever??    

This morning I also decided something, I love cooking! i know shocker right.  The problem still is that by the time I start cooking I am usually starving already, so I just snack while I cook till it is ready, and by then I am no longer really hungry.  but thats okay, baby steps.  Also now I like tuna! mum aren't you proud! I am just growing up so much haha 
5 bedroom house in Sheldon Avenue - 4,300,000 pounds.  Good Luck Rachel!
Also i decided if I ever live in England I want to live in Sheldon Ave. look it up.  honestly picture perfect houses.  just English mansions no biggie.     

one morning this week we walk into the bathroom and discovered that we now had an indoor pool.  Seriously it was flooded up to our ankles. not just a little trickle of water. the landlord came and we helped scoop up the water and mop it up, and then it got fixed... yay plumbers. 

Preston England Mormon Temple
Preston Enland Temple -
William went to the temple on saturday and loved it!!! and he blessed the sacrament for the first time on sunday.  I feel like a mum watching her little baby grow up! During the sacrament prayer he had to do it a few times because he kept saying thy "Holy Son"..... but hey you can't blame him, it is his cultural upbringing coming out!

 If that is kinda racist I don't mean it to be, mum you can take it out if you want from the blog..... ha

Sister H was trying to put different things together clothing wise, and she put something on and turned to me and asked my opinion, then turned back to the mirror and exclaimed "I don't even know whats cute anymore!"  so funny. and so true.  i will definitely struggle when i get home, but lets be real when did i ever dress cute, jeans or sweats and a hoodie and vans.  cute to me!!  

I was on an exchange with sister T from the Congo, and she has only been here about 3 weeks, and knows VERY little English.  It was so fun, but something flew into my eye and i was holding it open and trying to get it out, and she doesn't say anything, grabs my head, pulls it really close to her face, peels back my eyelids, and blows this huge gust of wind into my eye.  i was just laughing, and she just shrugged and said, idk what to do...  I think you had to see it, because It was really funny. 

Soooooo Saturday was a great day for so many reasons.  

reason number 1, my football team won the cup. go arsenal.  and we may or may not have watched the last 15 mins... BUT it was not our fault.  so Sat night at the same time as this game we had a dinner appointment with this lady, and she lives at the center of the chaos of the game.  But when we showed up, her flat is just one room, and her mid 20's non-member son was watching the game on a huge flat screen.  and for the people here this was the biggest day of the year practically, so he was not turning it off,  and so we tried to sit there and just stare at each other and not watch it, but hey lets be real, practically impossible.  luckily it was almost over.  so we just endured to the end. but did not enjoy one bit of it :) haha  

 but let me just tell you what happened! best game ever, from what i heard..... so the other team scored 2 goals in the first 8 mins! but then, come back!!! arsenal scored 2 and tied it. so it went to over time 30 mins, and we showed up the last 15 of OT.  and it was still tied 2-2 so it was going to go to penalties. and then last 5 mins we scored, and it was such a gorgeous goal!  we all jumped up and starting cheering, and her son laughed and said "dang you are almost as excited as i am!"  it was so fun, technically not allowed, but hey what could we do? we figured it was good bonding with her non-member son.... don't worry mum we turned it off right after and ate dinner and shared a spiritual message.  (sorry for the details of the game, just want you to appreciate the beauty of the game!!! It made me excited to go back and watch sports, and be in a stadium, and ya all that good stuff) 

but when we were leaving, (we have never been to this area before) and we were in Arsenal's home base, there was people going crazy everywhere!!! and the bus stop she told us to go to wasn't working because of the game, and so we were just wandering around looking for where to go, dodging the drunk fans running everywhere. seriously mobs of people.  I wish you could have seen the scene.  we started walking down one street then realised that the people were throwing beer up into the air on everyone! I turned to Sister Hymas and yelled "retreat retreat!" haha it was so funny.  while we were laughing at the situation, a drunk man laying on the ground complimented my smile.  If only I had a £ for all of the compliments I have received from drunk people.      

second reason sat was so great, and a lot better of a reason 
Anca is getting baptised!!!! on June 1.  We were gardening with her on Saturday and just talking some more,  (the change in her is incredible)  and she is just talking about how much she loves the mormon messages, and general conferences videos, and Book of Mormon and she feels her faith growing and all this great stuff, and then during the lesson she was reading, and goes quiet, and I could just see her feeling the Spirit.  and she turns and says who do I need to talk to about getting baptised?

And then a bit later into the lesson her husband, who is less active gets home from work and comes in, and she said guess what? and he paused and then said,  "your getting baptised aren't you!"  she said yes and then he said "oh shoot!! you are making me come back to church!!" but not shoot.... haha but then he got so excited, and said that he has been wanting to come, but he has been stubborn.  He got so excited, grabbed their son and her and said we are going to be sealed in the temple one day! and he went off on a little rant about how he secretly still has been a mormon at heart and how excited he is....   he has quite a bit of work to do to come back, and he knows it but it was such a beautiful thing to see. and then at the end of the lesson they said a prayer as a family for the first time ever, and Anca said it.  I was going to cry the entire time.  we left the house and i felt like i was walking on a cloud.  It was such a pure joy and happiness.  to be a part of this family's journey to be together forever.  I don't know why Heavenly Father has blessed me so much and allowed me to be a part of this, but I am so grateful that He has.  

Anyways I have to run, it is Sister H's bday and we are going to this carnival thing! but have a fantastic week, I love you and pray for you everyday! I am so grateful for this time to serve Heavenly Father, and the people here is England.  Life could not get any better :)   love you!! Rachel

oh ps on sunday heard a prayer in Spanish, Hungarian, and Farsi (which in case you didn't know is the same thing as Persian.... learned that yesterday.... apparently everyone but sister h and I know that ) 
all in one day! i am going to miss that so much when I get home. I am going to be cultured shock with the lack of different cultures!! 

Monday, May 12, 2014

MUCHOS Mormons

so we are waiting at the chapel for our lesson, so here is a repeat of some of the stuff we talked about yesterday but ya here it is in writing.

Mr. Nevarez would be proud of me. yes that is my 9th grade spanish teacher..... A man we met was from Columbia, and said "oh no english no english", but we decided not to let him get away with that for an excuse, so poor him, he had to endure my rubbish spanish.  I asked if he had heard about the church because it was pretty popular in columbia, he said no.  And then I showed him the Book of Mormon and he said "Ohhhhhh MUCHOS mormons." I tried to explain that they were the same thing, but I don't think that is what I was saying because he looked very confused.... I decided that is something I am going to do when I get home, is learn another language.  mum maybe we better bust out those MUZZY tapes again ha 

also i got to go to canterbury and ashford this week on exchanges.  They are soooooo different than London. That is one benefit of going on these exchanges because you get to see places that you have never served in.  

Wellington is going to the temple on Saturday! i am so happy, I wish we could go with him so badly.... 

Something I have really been thinking about is how to find more people to teach.  In this mission, we do a lot of finding, or "talking with everyone" we call it.  And it is so sad when we stop people on the street and they are just not interested.  I know Heavenly Father has given us the wonderful gift of agency, the freedom to make our own choices, but sometimes it is heartbreaking when I know that the message we share will bless their life, and the lives of their family, but they don't take the time to listen.  As I have been going on exchanges lately I have realised that as missionaries sometimes we just get into this rut of an explanation about what we do and teach and i realised how ineffective this is.  In order for someone to want to meet again with us, they have to feel the spirit, AND it has to apply to their life, it has to interest them.  no one is going to learn about something that they have no interest in.  So it is our job to show them how the gospel does relate to them, and how it can help and bless their life.  within the few moments we talk with them... no pressure...  and that is the greatest thing about the gospel of Jesus Christ, it does relate to EVERYONE, and it really does bless every single persons life.  no matter what age, circumstance, interests, or anything.  It truly does.  

well thats about it....  i love you! have a great day, and week!   

oh ps i have to play a hard song on the piano for a musical number. say what? and the lady who asked is just a bit terrifying. so i know that if i play one wrong note, i am probably going to be sent home. no joke. so i will probably be home in a few weeks instead of 4 months.... she is that intense. lovely, but intense.  

pps i am now playing this game where if i am on the bus and no one is sitting next to me, i smile really big at the people outside to see who will smile back. it is quite fun. you get some good reactions. you should try it!     one of my favourite I'm a Mormon..... it just shows, we don't all have to be the same cookie cutter person.  that is not what Heavenly Father wants.  He has made us different and He wants us to embrace that.  She is so just herself and unique and just cool. and i like the music... and the baby.... ha
Eating a Jewish cracker 
picture: us eating some Jewish cracker.... a member gave it to us. it was really good. but we ate it with butter and ham, and then realised that might have been a bit disrespectful.... oops

love ya! rachel

I told Rachel about our ward Book of Mormon Reading Challenge and she sent this video that she loves:  
President Holland, 4 min. video

Monday, May 5, 2014

toilets and toast

I have decided the hardest thing about a mission, is having to use the toilet, especially because shops and restaurants and other places here don't have any, or they are not available to the public.... so if we are out on the streets in town centre it is pretty much the worst thing ever. but i found this little cafe that has one, so we go there a lot. but you have to buy something, and the cheapest thing on the menu is toast..... so we get a lot of toast.  

We email from the internet hair cutting place like I told you, and this bald black guy is getting his hair done...... i don't really know how it works, but the barber has been working on him for about 30 mins, and it still looks the same..... bald.  someone just needs to let him down gently.  

I have figured out a way to inspire me to write in my journal, I bought a fancy pen!! okay it is a cheap fancy pen, but still.... it is the quill kind. i don't really know how to write with it very well, but my idea has worked, i have been writing in my journal more! also it is because Sister hymas makes me.

Donna is still my favourite person in the whole wide world.  the cutest littlest older lady.  She just gets it, and it is so fun teaching her, because we can ask the deeper questions, and she can make the connections.  She is such a great missionary as well, her children have been questioning her and wondering if she should join the church and she is answering all of their questions and defending her faith! and she says things straight up.  She said when they ask her questions she doesn't know that she tells them,  " I don't know.  I don't know everything, I am still learning, but I like what I am learning, and I feel good about it."  talk about incredible.  after hearing that her family is more supportive... we are trying to meet with them, but we haven't been able to yet.  but i just can't wait for the 25th! and to send you pics of her.  the other day we had to go early to our appointment.  about 50 mins early, (who would think, missionaries early)  and she answered the door and was in her nightgown and didn't have her teeth in, and we said  " we are so sorry we are a bit early!"  she responded, " ya! 50 mins early!"  but in her closing prayer she mentioned that she had a great time, and she knew that we loved her and loved coming even in her unready state. :) 

2 great miracles that happened this week, but i don't really feel like typing, so i will try and summarise, so i hope they make sense,

I was walking down the street and Sister Hymas crossed the street, and but i decided I just wanted to keep walking on this side (not because we don't get along.... we do..... too well ha) but I was walking and just said hello to this girl about early 20's.  she looked confused said hi and then said "ohhhh that's where I know you from."  Then it was my turn to look confused, because i did not recognise her one bit. and i am pretty decent at at least recognising people.  Then she told me, "oh you don't know me, sorry, but I sat behind you on the bus the other day, and heard you talking to a lady and telling her about being over here for a year and being a missionary, and i was eavesdropping....."  fine by me! we got talking, and now we are teaching her! she is so cool. just goes to show you never know who is listening, so even if the person you are talking to is not interested, nothing is ever a wasted effort!   

also another miracle.  her name is Anca from Romania.  There is this lady in the ward named Delunna (acutally dalounna, but i spelled it wrong for a long time, and now i can't really switch, it looks too weird to me)   well she is incredible.  long story short, her life has been really full of challenges, her husband left the church and the family and now all her kids are grown and are less active. but she is still a power house. she lives with her 19 son, 20 daughter and like 24 son, and his wife and their little baby.   anyways we went to go visit her the other day, and begged her to allow us to weed her garden.  finally after much persuasion, she accepted.  We came the next week and weeded the whole front. (not an easy task)  but half way through her daughter-in-law that lives there came out and asked if she could help.  We got talking and she asked what we do and different questions and then she asked if we could teach her!  of course we readily agreed.  

Our first lesson was brilliant.  The spirit was so strong.  She is so sweet, and such a hard worker, and wants to become a good example for her son, and raise him right.  anyways long story short, we came back and she had written a whole page of notes and questions from reading alma 32 which is what we left her.  She said "it is exactly what i needed to read!"  also she said it was the first day in a longggg time that she didn't have a panic attack. and she feels something changing inside, and she blames it all on us.  and that her husband told her that if she is going to come to church, then he will come as well!! the thing is that missionaries have been going to dinner at that home for months and months. it just shows that Heavenly Father knows when the time is right and knows each one of us personally.  That is something I learned with all my heart here on my mission, is that we are each children of God, and that He loves us so much.  the details of our lives matter to Him, and He is waiting and wanting to help and bless us.  We just need to ask! 

Also I want to play matchmaker and have William marry this lady in the ward.... hard thing is that as a missionary we make plans for everything!.... but i have realised this isn't really something you can make plans for. dang. they would be so cute.   

oh ya can we skype 7 your time. so 3 here and 8 for becca. in the morning. is that okay? ya i will log onto beccas and you onto mine i guess. works for me! 

also you know how it was all such a big deal that we can now use facebook.  sister hymas and i have both been blocked for the past few weeks because it thinks we are spammers soooooooo we don't even use it. ha 

also there was a tube strike last week, right in the middle of when we were doing exchanges with the visitor center sisters, and so traveling was a nightmare!!! i decided it is a good thing i am not claustrophobic or i would have freaked. soooooo  many people crammed into a tiny little cart under the ground.  just asking for someone to freak out.     there were massive lines to get on, but the tubes that were coming were all full so no one could get on, so finally the doors open and this lady flings herself on top of the people inside and yells sorry i am late!! it was the funniest thing.  poor people. she literally threw herself on top of them because there was no room.   

that is so exciting for jesse! such a great thing for that family.  really neat that you got to baptise him dad.  also please no fish.  had to eat it at someones home the other day. there was bones. and. everything!!!! ew i almost died.  (Ed and Adam went fishing with the Woodhouses and caught a lot of tapia).  

well have to run, but i love you! i can't believe we are talking this sunday..... where did those 5 months go!! happy early mothers day!!!! love you!!! rachel 

i feel like i am forgetting to say something.... oh well.  

oh we had a mission leader council this week and elder Teixeira and his wife came and spoke to us! it was great! i'll send some thoughts from that next week..... 

OK - mom's notes.  First off, Rachel asks me to change the names of the people in her blog  for privacy sake, which is fine.  This week, however, I found myself challenged with changing not only the name, but it's former misspelling.  Now it's really misspelled.  Oh well.  
I looked at the first picture Rachel sent and wondered why she was sending me this? 

Then I looked at the next one ... and it all became clear.  That's what you call service!  Can't wait until she gets home!  

Maybe for Mother's Day I'll ask for a picture with HER in the freshly weeded garden.  I'll just be happy I got a picture --so beautiful and green!