Monday, June 23, 2014

Can I please buy a gun!!!

sister bergstrom and i are being tortured.... every morning at about 5.  this horrible noise sounds right outside our window.  unceasingly.  it is a crow/magpie creature, but it sounds like a mix between a pigs squeal a goat and a crow. and it never stops.  and it sounds like it is literally inside of our room.  sleep is such a precious thing as a missionary, and this bird makes it impossible to really sleep past 5.  every morning at 5 I have to get up and shut the window, and one morning, in the in between sleep and awake stage, as i am shutting the window I just shout "CAN I PLEASE BUY A GUN!"   at the time i was serious, but sister bergstrom thought it was hilarious. looking back i think it was because we were so tired that we thought it was so funny.  but oh well. it is usually really bright and sunny at 5 in the morning now, even if it gets cloudy during the day, so it makes it all okay.
I don't even know how to put this past sunday into words. there are so many little details that make the day so crazy, but it takes so long to write all of them, but without them you can't really get the whole picture.... but ya sunday was crazy. 

So bright and early we wake up and the shower drain was broken again.  we didn't have a pool like last time though so that was good.  Next we go to church and we were supposed to have 4 solid investigators at church, and none of them were there.... including Carmen who was getting baptised right after church! and her phone is broken so we decided to go pick her up after sacrament meeting.  Before we left the church we said a prayer..... as we were walking down the hill to the bus we saw one of our investigators and her little boy walking up the hill to church!! That was a miracle.  

We get to the bus stop right as one is coming.  another miracle.  I sit down, and then decide to switch sides of the bus just in case i can see Carmen from the other side.  A chinese girl sits next to sister Bergstrom and we had a lesson with her and we are seeing her again next week!  As we are driving i kept looking out the window to see if i could see Carmen coming on another bus, and lo and behold guess who i see!!!! Carmen headed to church.  such a miracle. that we were both on the side that could see each other as the buses passed, and that i happened to look out at that moment! we hurry and get off and head back to church.  

Well it turns out that someone in Carmen's family had passed away saturday night, so she wasn't sure she wanted to be baptised.  but then we would ask and she would say yes, and then a few minutes later she would say no.... and then she kept making up different excuses like "I don't like to be damp".... " if i stay after church I won't be able to put my dinner on"  "I was late and forgot a towel and extra knickers" ..."If I get my weave wet I will catch a cold"..... then we showed her that we had brought everything and that we were there to help her if she wanted to do it and next thing we know she was getting dressed...... and lots of other little details, but you get the point.  I think Sister Bergstrom and I aged about 10 years, but it happened and she loved it and the ward was so welcoming.  I don't think I ever stopped praying the entire day.  

then the rest of our solid appointments canceled.  and we missed the bus we needed.... twice... and then Sister Bergstrom lost her phone. and then when we realised she had lost it as we were waiting for the bus, i said "on a day like this the only other thing that can go wrong is if we lose our oyster cards....."  (just realised you might not know what that means.... haha prepaid card we use for all the buses and trains because they don't take cash on the buses.)  Literally as i said that she reached into her bag only to find that she had lost her oyster card as well..... me and my big mouth haha 

idk how but we managed to talk to the bus drivers and make it to our next appointment without the oyster.  We brought a member with us and had the craziest lesson with this man.  I was in the middle of saying something and the member yells "this book is BULL ________"......  she had been looking through a book he had brought. Don't worry - it turns out they are friends, didn't know that until we showed up for the lesson! another miracle.  

but  then on our way home the bus driver didn't let Sister Bergstrom on, and she had to go to this machine to buy a ticket, and i was stuck on the bus trying to get off, finally did, but she didn't have any cash and it didn't take swipe cards, luckily we dug through my bag and found enough cash and made it home safe and sound. we say another prayer and start searching the house.... all of a sudden i hear shouts of joy.  turns out after the prayer she had just flopped on the ground after the prayer in desperation, and then found both her oyster and the phone under the bed...... days like today just remind me that God is real. He loves us so much. He cares about the little details of our lives, and He hears every single one of our prayers.   
(realised i kept switching between past and present tense..... can't be bothered though sorry)

we saw a fox in our back courtyard thing.  a proper fox. i don't think i had ever seen one just out in the open walking along doing his own thing. then we got so excited that we scared it and it trotted off. 

thank you so much for the world cup info.  you are the best :) man the usa is doing so well. who would have thought? 

last tuesday i got a crazy call. it was from the office, and she asked which airport i want to fly into because she was booking my flight right that very second.  now that really just caught me way off guard....i think she mailed you the details.  i can't believe it. ah. i don't really think about it, but when i do it just blows my mind! i also decided that the last month i probably won't email too much, because i need to save some stories to tell you or i won't have anything to talk to you about when i see you :) 

so the mission headquarters sent us these stands as a pilot program to try here in England.  it is a 4 sided stand about 8 feet tall and it has different pictures on it and important questions.  and we set it up in town centre with a table with different resources the church has (Books of Mormon in loads of languages, leaflets etc)    and used it to do some finding. at first we were a bit nervous because i felt a bit like a sales person, slash that i was back at student government working a booth.  but it was a good experience. and we talked with this amazing man. such a great dad and husband. he was an atheist, but took a Book of Mormon and said he wanted to read it, but not interested in meeting with us.  but about 15 mins later he came back with lemonade and said "here you go, missionary work is hard, you deserve this"  it was so sweet! hopefully he reads it and gives us a call.  

some quotes from the week that i liked....
"Life is a grindstone.  whether it grinds us down, or polishes us up depends on what we are made of"    ? 

"Sometimes we mistakenly may believe that happiness is the absence of a load. But bearing a load is a necessary and essential part of the plan of happiness."  Elder Bednar, 

"Attitude determines altitude,” President Monson

This next week is going to be craziness. we have a missionary leadership conference.  a zone meeting a few exchanges. and sister coons is coming down and got permission to go to lunch with me.  busy but great :)  love you!! hope you have a great week! Love you! Rachel 

We'll have to ask what this is... looks like a mini vaccuum.
Rachel definitely looks photo-shopped in.  

Monday, June 16, 2014

Pigeons have 0 respect for authority

Sister Bergstrom and I decided that we need to take advantage of the culture that we are surrounded with here in London while we have the what did we do last p-day?? buy an African dress and a sari! and of course we found them in this backstreet fish market place.  it is not a fancy one, pretty much a rug with a belt but hey i am broke and it is probably the comfiest thing ever!  there are  pics on dropbox, but you have to download them or something? idk it is weird sorry, we are in a dodgy internet cafe! 

Also for lunch we went to this turkish place and got golzeme.  it was sooooooooooo good.  There was a lady inside making them at this table proper turkish style.  and we were the only white people in there, everyone else was turkish.... which is how you know it is good. like taco shop, everyone who works there is Mexican.

We also went to visit this lady we are teaching who owns a Caribbean restaurant.  She is so great her name is Pandora.  But we showed up there before our appointment to eat lunch, and after we finished she tells us that missionaries of the Lord are supposed to go without purse or script so the lunch was free.  we tried to tell her that was not necessary, but she insisted.  She is probably the kindest most giving lady i have ever met.  She would give you the coat off her back if she thought you needed it.  she literally gave us a scarf to wear as we were leaving because we looked cold.  

Also when we went back on Sunday she was eating this thing..... turns out it was a mango, and i have never had mango before, crazy i know, but she gave us each a mango and showed us the proper way to eat it.  She said don't worry about the mess and all the stuff in your teeth, i will give you a toothpick and a napkin afterwards ha  

also I tired this thing called halva?  a member gave it to me, not sure what it was, you can google it if you want, but it tasted a bit like sawdust.... 

just reread what i have written, and from the email it sounds like all i am doing is eating...... we are working too i promise ha 

On an exchange I got to go back to St. Albans! It was so great.  Got to see a few investigators, members, and less actives again.  it was crazy how much it still feels like home.  and that was over 3 months ago.  

This week has been incredible because Heavenly Father has helped us so much.  President Jordan has really been stressing that as leaders we need to lead by example, and lead from the front.  That our areas need to be the example when we bring sisters here on exchanges, and when we go with them, we really need to help them and their area.  Sister Bergstrom and I have really been trying to do this, but we realised we needed to rely more on Heavenly Father.  this week we have been trying to do that even more and it is amazing the blessings and miracles we have seen.  With more responsibility, comes more Heavenly help.   

I had an epiphany just now.  Sister Bergstrom and I were talking about how we were excited to after our missions, be able to go to church and just relax and not be hurrying and picking people up and talking with everyone and setting up appointments and making sure everyone understands things and is getting fellow shipped and the list goes on and on of crazy things we deal with on sunday, but then i just realised that the relaxation at church will only last until I have kids, and then relaxation at church is gone forever! 

probably one of my highlights of the week.  random act of service.  we were on a bus and were headed to one of our appointments.  when this man was getting his bags together to get off the bus and he had loads. and i mean loads of bags. and they were heavy. not just i am a wimpy girl heavy, proper heavy stuff.  and he was struggling. 

so i asked if we could help him carry them to where he needed to go.  he seemed so surprised. he said that he had over heard me talking to another lady saying i was staying on the bus going to north finchley, and he was getting off at the next stop.  i told him it was okay we weren't on a strict time schedule and we would love to help him.  we grabbed a lot of bags, got off the bus, and walked with him to where he was headed.  he was so grateful.  he said it had been the worst day ever  because he had had to travel really far on tubes and trains and buses with all this stuff.  he was sooooo appreciative.  He asked how he could repay us, and we just explained that we are missionaries and we love to serve, and left him our card to contact us if he needed any help with anything else, and we had to run to catch the next bus.  It felt so good to help.  to me this is what being a missionary is all about.  If ever you are in a down mood or hard time of your life, my greatest piece of advice would be to A) pray B) read the scriptures and C) get out and serve others. an incredible feeling of peace, happiness, and purpose comes when you truly focus on others and not on yourself.   

have a great week!! i love you.  i am praying for you. sounds the trek was a great but muddy experience.  I guarantee you it made an impact on everyone that went, even if it was just a small one.  

I love this area, I love England, I love the people here and I love being a missionary, and teaching people, and serving people.  I know why people say it is the "best two years".

love you! have a great week! 

I have to wonder if she forgot to tell us about the pigeon story, or if it's just an ongoing thing that pigeons have zero respect for authority.  Hmm.  Plus, the pictures she sent didn't come up, so we'll try to post them next week if I figure the "dodgy internet cafe" format out. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

humidity = death

My new companion is Sister Bergstrom from Midvale Utah. but she is not your typical utah girl.  she is hands down the most interesting person i have ever met.  not the interesting like ohhhhhh interesting..... aka bad/weird.  but just genuinely interesting.  We came out together, but she is a visitor center sister, so she has been in the Hyde Park Visitor's Center most of her mission.  

I absolutely LOVE being her companion.  We get along so well. very similar but so different in so many things. she is a studying fashion and graphic design.  and she is probably the most creative person i have ever met.  she is helping me with that because we all know i struggle in that department.  We have had a great few days and I am so excited to be together for 6 weeks! 

something that blew my mind just right now..... i only have 3 more fast sundays.  3!!! 14 months came and went this past week.  

It is so hot and humid! sticky yucky gross. i feel the air around me, and it is suffocating! but hey i love the sun so i am trying to decide which is better the rain or the humidity.  and i just was thinking I am sure it is WAY worse in so many places in the world, so i should just be grateful that it isn't too too bad.  

One occurrence that is hard for me is when we talk with people on the street, that are so unhappy and hopeless, but they refuse to open their heart to find out if our message is true and if it can bring them happiness now and in the eternities. 
 I was talking with this one lady and she was expressing how she felt she had no purpose and no happiness in her life.  and that she had tried the religion aspect and it had not helped, and i literally told her "I am begging you just try our message,  what do you have to lose?!  if you try it and it doesn't work, you are exactly where you are now, but if you try it, and it does work then it will change your whole life!"  We talked for a while on the street, and I was praying so hard that the spirit would touch her heart, and after a little while, it did!  She agreed to learn more and give it a try.  And she said you know what i am actually a bit happy and hopeful after talking with you.  unfortunately many times the outcome is not like this.  if only the people could see how much the gospel of Jesus Christ could bless their life and help them find lasting happiness, but all we can do is invite people to find out for themselves, so heck, Sis Bergstrom and I are working on inviting the world :)  

I HAD TO EAT A WHOLE FISH!!!! scarred for life. i am just so proud of myself that i did it without being sick.  it was funny though because just earlier that day we were talking about things we didn't like.  Sister Bergstom hates peppers, and also a few words.  yes words. like tender and fresh.  so funny i know. and as you know i have a deep hatred for fish (minus tuna, i can now handle that)  

but we show up to this members house, and they bring out this huge salad and a thin piece of salmon and bread.  i sat there so proud of myself as i ate it.  After we said, thank you so much for dinner it was so good, and the lady laughs, (she is from Nigeria) and just says oh honey that was just the starter.  (english for appetiser, i don't remember which one we use back at home)  then out comes these huge plates with a whole fish on it covered in peppers.  yes a whole fish. bones, head, eyeballs everything.  and the whole time they just kept calling the fish fresh and tender, sister bergstrom and i were both sitting there trying not to die slash burst out laughing.   

and i ate it.  well some of it... but still, enough to not be rude. and you have to pick the little itty bitty bones out of your mouth and it is just an experience i never want to have again.  and you don't eat the head apparently, so why the heck does it go on the plate?? just so the fish can stare at you while you eat it?    but hey now i can say i have done that and i never have to do it again. unless another member serves it to us.  which lets be real probably will happen.  that is one thing I love about serving here in london, it is like serving a mission all over the world.  So many different cultures and people.  If i finish my studies at uni and don't have anything to do, I may come back and live here for just a little bit. 

Sometimes I still have to pinch myself that I really do live in London, doing the best thing I could be doing, sharing the gospel, with some of my best friends!  as cheesy as it sounds the movie the best two years is 100% completely spot on.  Love, Rachel

I couldn't figure out why Rachel sent this,
then I realized it was a wolf! Her favorite!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

ahhh this clock countdown thing is too much...only a minute left i hope you get this.

How do you let a fire get close enough to singe your arm hair without you noticing it?? idk.... but it happened.... we made our lunch and it smelled really bad in the kitchen and like 30 mins later i am looking at my arm and wondering why the heck there is no hair on it.... definitely singed it off.  (weird it looks like singed.... and i was wondering how it doesn't get confused.... took me a bit to realise that singed is not a word. it is one of those days ha)  

oh ps it was transfers.  doesn't even really feel real.  only 3 left. so much to do so little time.  but I am staying in London North, and Sister Hymas is moving.... to London North!!! but we are not companions... ha figure that riddle out.  We live in a 4 person flat, and both of the other sisters in our flat are moving, and she is moving to their room.  So we are in the same area, same flat, same ward, but not together.  We are both getting new sister training leaders to train, so there will be 4 of us STL's in one ward. my new companion is Sister Bergstrom from Utah, and she is in our group as well. she seems really fun and i am super excited.  

This morning Sister Hymas and I played football with the elders (did you know that they spell it this way.... i always thought they spelled it the spanish way futbol....) anyways. it was so much fun, but then it started raining, and raining and raining some more, but hey this is england no surprise. and after we got tired of playing we just sat in a circle talking, in the pouring rain. probably looked a bit funny.  I love the elders from our ward they are all such characters.  We had an American: Elder bright, but he is moving now,  a Hungarian: Elder horvath, a South African: Elder Wentzel, and a Canadian: Elder Smith, and now we have a German replacing elder bright.  there is never a dull moment with them.

Anca is so cute, when we read the Book of Mormon with her sometimes she just stops and stares, and then after a few moments she goes ohhhhhh it all just clicks now! and last week when we visited her, she said that she had not read the scriptures enough, that she felt the lack in her life, but when we asked her what she read she had read the intro and all the beginning parts, like the testimony of the witnesses and of Joseph Smith, and all the way up to 1 Nephi 4.  and it had been about 5 days.  That is more than most members read! but it is true when you don't read it you feel it throughout your day.  you may not realise right away, but you can tell.  on days with exchanges and we don't get a proper study, i can always feel the difference.  

I watched this video clip this afternoon, and it was talking about light and truth, and yes it was really old and really cheesy, but the guy on it said something that struck me.  Every moment of every day, every choice we make adds to our light and truth or diminishes it.  Made me a bit more conscious of the choices i make all day every day.  

So we are teaching this lady named Georgia.  She is an English lady with a 2 year old son. so cute.  the elders passed her to us because they felt we would be able to better connect with her, and she was not progressing with them.  She has been taught everything but has been a bit apprehensive about baptism.  She knows and wants to be baptised but there were concerns she had and she didn't want to rush and felt a bit pushed and all that stuff. this could be a very long story.  But to sum it up. 

 We have been trying to help her to see that she is ready.  and she really is.  and that life is never going to be perfect, there are always going to be hurdles, but she is going to need to take a step of faith and trust, and if she sets a goal, Heavenly Father will help her work towards that.  We did not want to push her, but wanted to invite her to be baptised in the end of june again.  At the end of the lesson I could tell both Sister hymas and I were trying to think of how to bring it up without being pushy..... and I the only thing in my mind was just over and over praying asking Heavenly Father to help us know how to approach this.  and now i can't even remember what question i asked, it wasn't really related to setting a date in june or baptism at all,  but she just said, well I have been thinking a lot about what you have been saying and I want to be baptised at the end of June.  Such a miracle.  the change in her in a matter of a week was incredible.  the gospel is true.  It changes lives and it truly is incredible to be able to see these changes in the people I have taught, the members, my companions, and also myself.

  I did not type this up very well, but hopefully you can understand it.  It was really cool to see the spirit work and to see Heavenly Father touching her heart.  

So i have to run because we are at this new emailing place and it is a lot stricter than our usual guy.... and there is this huge countdown on the computer screen and it is putting pressure on me and ahhhh i don't work well under this pressure but i love you!!! have a great week!! love ya! rachel