Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Week 5: Easter Holiday

Sorry for not mentioning this last week, but the Monday after Easter is a bank holiday, so the library was closed and we didn't have p-day till today! I don't think there is another bank holiday where this will happen until May Day. So that is good to know.

Day 33: We had a zone p-day! That was pretty fun. The zone leaders made us all noodles and chicken with curry. That was pretty good. We also played a few different sports and just had fun hanging out all together. I love being with a bunch of other missionaries once in a while. Just a good reminder that there are lots of us out doing the same thing! Also, I made a slight mistake. Elder Candia has this hot sauce that he was getting people to try... Man, that was hot. I managed to not completely flip out like some people, but I certainly did tear up. And my mouth was burning for a good ten minutes. Man, even the milk I drank really didn't help. Good times... I promise I am usually quite productive. ;)

Day 34: We helped A and A clean up their flat a bit more. A said she wanted to come to a church service! She can't come this week because of the holiday, but she definitely seemed interested, so that is awesome! We were talking to this Moroccan guy on the street today and he told us that he thought American accents were nice on women but sounded weak on men. We really did not know how to reply to him. He also invited us to his restaurant, but we can't actually go because the place serves alcohol. He did agree to meet us at the church though so yay! Today was the first day I got some packages in zone post! Yay! Love you guys!!! My camera also had died at this point, so sorry for the lack of photographs this week....  Also, something that I am coming to love about England is that with literally every dessert you either pour on straight cream or custard on top. Sometimes ice cream. Every single thing. Eating cake? Pour some cream on it. Eating cookies? Here's some ice cream. Eating a crisp? Here's custard. Having pudding? Here's more cream. It's insane and amazing. Good thing we walk a lot!!

Day 35: After a lovely district meeting, we had a Sisters Meeting. It was awesome. It was just like half of the missions sisters and President and Sister Pilkington. We were just allowed to ask whatever questions we wanted and he would answer them. I love President. He is full of all kinds of good things. We had a good conversation about not being too hard on yourself, I know that is something I probably need to work on... At one point he was talking about all of the missionaries and when he paused, I could just feel that love that he felt for all of us. It was amazing and putting the experience in words is really not doing it justice. Later that night, we had a member lesson with Brother Rudd and T since they were going to teach a lesson with us but then the investigator didn't show. We hadn't really planned on that, but it was so great. We ended up talking about how God loves and knows each of us. Definitely all by the spirit, I think it was something we all kind of needed to talk about. T is a recent convert and has had some struggles, so I think we were really able to help him out a bit.

Day 36: I had to start a new journal... Yeah. It's barely been a month and I already filled up a notebook... I wonder how many I will fill by the end of my mission!! We had a lesson with C today that was good. He told us he was excited to be baptised!! Yay! Not much exciting happened today... Did a lot of finding... That is always fun. :)

Day 37: Today was such a beautiful day. We had such amazing weather. We met with a less active, K outside even. We had a good lesson with Ash where we just really tried to focus on his relationship with Jesus Christ. We watched Finding Faith in Christ which I had never seen before, but it is pretty good. Maybe a bit on the cheesy side at times, but you just have to overlook that. We went and saw Elder Narine again today! When we got there, we saw him through the door to the ward and he was standing there with his walker, walking around! I love seeing him even though he doesn't know me! He just really appreciates when we come by. He really has a good attitude about it all.

Day 38: Veeeeery windy day. Sometimes a real struggle wearing skirts all day... Sister Wood also felt a little sick all day, so we had to move a bit slow. She was alright, just a bit nauseous. We were out knocking again today and met this really great guy, Z. He seems really interested, so we are excited about that. C kind of dropped us though today, which is never fun. We got him to agree to meet with us one last time though so we could answer the question he gave us the last time we met with him.

Day 39: Happy Easter everyone and Happy Birthday mom!!! Easter was of course wonderful. Sadly, we did not have any investigators with us, but it was a wonderful sacrament meeting. We went on exchange that night, Sister Koepf and I got to be together! We also got let in while we were knocking and ended up inviting him, his name is C, to be baptised! It was pretty good stuff. He didn't want to because he is Catholic and doesn't see the reason to, but if they continue to meet with him, they will be able to better address his concerns. That was such a miracle.

Day 40: Miracles continued for us while on exchange! Another guy let us in while knocking, and even though he said he was atheist, he said he would meet with us again. We only were there for like 15 minutes, but it was still good. We also met these twins on the street and they are super prepared. They asked us when they could see us again. It was so amazing. I love going on exchange.

Being a missionary has been so awesome, I wouldn't change what I am doing right now for anything. There have certainly been some ups and downs for me this week, but I am growing because of them. It has been so great. I love it here in England, I love the people here, I love my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and I love all of you!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Week 4: Fun Finding

Fun finding is a true phrase in our mission. As I shared with you, finding can be kind of hard here in the North East of England. So we have to just try to make the most of it. We always try to first start conversations off on a casual, friendly level, and then transition to the gospel. It is a struggle, but if we don't, no one will ever talk with us. We also always say, "my friend and I are volunteers for our church" instead of "my companion and I are missionaries." People always assume the worst when we say that. Also, we get a lot of people thinking we are Jehovah's Witnesses.

York Minster, largest cathedral in Northern Europe
Day 26: P-Day! And guess what I did!! We went into town and did some fun stuff. We went to see the York Minster, which is absolutely gorgeous. We didn't go in though, that will be another day. We also went to a bunch of fun shops, including a Cath Kidston store.... I just wanted to buy everything there. But I didn't. Instead, we just tried things on and took a photo. We met up with some other sisters in the Zone, as you can tell. Sister Wood and I also got these really great vegetarian sandwiches that had like lentils and mango chutney.... It was super good. We didn't do a whole lot else....Oh we brought Elder Narine chocolate like we said we would!

Always spelled wrong :)

Day 27: Shortly after leaving our place, we saw the coolest funeral procession. That sounds terrible, but it is true. The coffin was covered in flowers in a white carriage pulled by four white horses. That person wanted to go out in style I suppose. We asked someone, and no, not everyone in England does that. We did a lot of knocking, which was kind of boring since not many people would talk with us. One door we knocked, we thought the cat nearby the door was stuffed.... Until it turned to look at us surprising us both! We are so smart... We had another lesson with C, and he is still doing well! We are doing our best to answer all of his questions!

River Ouse
Day 28: We had district meeting, which is always fun stuff. Had to give a spiritual thought. Not much else about that... Oh! I got my first letter from home! Love you mom! It took 9 days with the detour to the mission home. We went out finding again, once again not finding a whole lot of people who were willing to talk with us. We also got flogged (stood up) a lot, which is never fun. But one of them, A, we ended up running into on our way home and taught him a bit right there on the street. Taught some doctrine, ended with a prayer, it counts! It was a good ending to a kind of hard day.

Day 29: Sister Wood started out this day with some excitement. She had eaten cereal, and it wasn't till the end of the bowl that she realized that it had gone bad. Yeah. So she dumped it out and came into the room I was in, in a panic asking what can go wrong if you drink spoiled milk. Thankfully, she was fine in the end, but we were both a bit worried throughout the day. Also, I had a Yorkshire pudding for the first time being here in Yorkshire! They are pretty good. I enjoy them quite a bit, though I really don't understand what constitutes as a pudding anymore... If anyone has a good explanation, do let me know.

Day 30: It has been a month since I reported to the MTC! What is this!!??? Time has been flying by!!! Today was a bit of a run around day. We went to visit Elder Narine again (who can now walk a bit!), later than we had planned because President was there... And then we got caught on a bus so we were late for a lesson with C. And then we had to run for a tea appointment with the Bishop's family. I'm sure that was a great sight... The two of us in our skirts with bags, running down the road....

York City Wall

Day 31: So after a few kind of rubbish days, today was heaven sent. We had such a great day. We had started out with some knocking and we talked to some great people. Talked to this one Evangelical Christian guy wearing a Dr. Who shirt, gave our card to a lady who said she used to investigate, talked with some other random atheist and such. We left that neighbourhood feeling good. We then went past some people Sister Wood had met before I came. We knocked on their door, they said it wasn't a great time because they were having a struggle with family related issues, we offered to help them clean up a bit, they said maybe and we exchanged numbers. We were heading back to our flat to use the toilet and grab a list of people we were going to stop by when they called us back and asked for our help to clean. And so we did. We helped them for a while, taught them a bit, prayed with them, and then I actually asked them about baptism. They weren't super keen on the idea, but I figured it was worth a shot. We went home, had tea, and then went back out again. Oh, and just to let you know how small my area is.... There are Elders here too right? Elder Vickers and Elder Cornish. We ran into them at four different times today! Four times!!!! It was crazy. Usually we don't see them at all, maybe once or twice on accident. Four times. So weird. We went to go visit an older woman in the ward that night, P. She wasn't in, but her daughter R was who is less active. We decided to chat with her for just a minute, until we got a phone call. This person called twice, and usually we don't take them, but for some reason, I picked up. It was the lady who took our number at the door. We thought she was just trying to shrug us off then, but she actually wanted us to come by. It was like 8pm. So we once again went running down the road to go meet with her. Her name is S. She let us in and she proceeded to kind of just tell us her story. She doesn't know why she and her family weren't baptised, they investigated for a long time over ten years ago. She has had some struggles recently with her health and her family. Her daughter actually said to her recently, "Hey, remember how happy you were when you were learning about the Mormons? Maybe you should talk to them." Yeah, I know. We knocked on her door like a week later. Apparently the Elders had knocked there like three weeks ago, but she hadn't opened the door. So she wants to have us keep coming around! We are pretty excited about her!! We left her house so happy. We ran down the road because we were so excited. And it was like 9pm.... But it was just so brilliant after a slightly rubbish week.

Day 32: Yay church! Sadly, neither A or C could make it. They both had pretty valid excuses though. We were walking past this one lady's house who has said that she isn't interested, but then she came running out of her house calling after us.... So we think we may try to teach her....

All in all, I would say that it has been a pretty good week! Certainly had it's ups and downs, but it has turned out alright in the end. Hope all of you are also continuing to take life's ups and downs with a good attitude, you will be blessed if you do!! Hard work and determination pays off. :)

Love you all!!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Week 3: Tired!

I now understand why every missionary I have talked to says they were/are tired all the time.

Day 19: My first p-day in the field!!! I got to email all of you lovely people!!! I also got to watch Disney movies at the chapel, wear pants, and spend time with a bunch of other missionaries from around the zone. It was super weird watching the end of Princess and the Frog, Brother Bear, and start of Cars 2.... I did it while setting up my iPad. We also did our grocery shopping, cleaning, and all that other good stuff we are meant to do.

Sister Barret's flat
Day 20: Sister Wood started to really make me get used to street contacting. I feel so awkward approaching strangers on the streets! Especially at night. Talk about going against everything that I was told as a little kid. She also was getting me to talk to people at the door... Oh boy. I am so awkward! This one girl opened the door and I just froze. And said "Hi." And then she noticed our badges and said "No" and started to close the door. That's when Sister Wood spoke up. Man, I am a rubbish contacter. We met one nice guy, G, and practically taught him all of lesson 2 while on the door step. Sadly, he wouldn't let us in, but he said we could come back. We met with one of our investigators M, and rescheduled him for baptism. Hopefully things continue to go well!

Day 21: Happy Birthday Devynne! I had my first zone meeting and exchange today! It was fun. The Sister Training Leader in my area is Sister Barry, who is companions with Sister Koepf! Sister Barry was great. (Yes, we were Sisters Barry and Barret for the day) She is so sweet. We had a lesson with this girl named A... Who had some pretty difficult questions for us. It was really interesting. We also met with another one of her investigators by the name of E who is pretty cool. In general, it was a lot of fun to be with those other sisters.

Sister Barret's first planner
Day 22: We saw G again today, and he is officially the first person I invited to be baptised. But then he said no. But then he said we could still come around and that he would read the Book of Mormon. So that was fun. Oh, he still wouldn't let us come inside, so we taught the Restoration, complete with a prayer, on the door step. A bit awkward, but we made it work.

Day 23: Okay, so whoever has told me it rains all the time in England is a liar. It has barely rained since I have been here. We had like one day over a week ago where it really rained. I am waiting for the rain, we have just had lovely sunny days. I finally saw "Meet The Mormons" for the first time. We had a viewing where we and other missionaries invited investigators to come see it with us. I am pretty sure that each companionship had two people with them. We had A and C with us, so that was good. The film was better than I had anticipated, which was also good. Both of our investigators also really liked it as well.

Day 24: We gave service today! We helped some friends of a member who used to be investigators. We helped them move. They really appreciated it and even said that they would call us sometime to have us over for dinner, so that was awesome. Also, it felt so weird walking around in pants. When we had put our pants and jackets on, one of the first things Sister Wood said to me was, "Sister Barret, you have really long legs!" Um, okay, thanks... Just funny how different people look when all you see them wearing is a skirt everyday! Since being here, I have decided that just about every British person can ride a bike really well and also play football (soccer) really well. Every single person who lives here. It is pretty great.

Trying to eat healthy!
Day 25: C came to church! Yay! A couldn't because he was visiting his dad in the hospital. But we had one investigator come! That is always nice. He liked being there, so that was also good. We also taught him later in the day and got him scheduled for baptism! He had been scheduled a while back and then dropped the missionaries hard. But just before I came out, Sister Wood felt like she should contact him again and he welcomed us back. It has been fun teaching him. He is an older Korean man who is really into computer software. He is also pretty hilarious. We also went to the hospital later that night to visit an Elder there. Elder Nirine from South America. He has been out for like 20 months, and then got chicken pox, and then some kind of virus that paralyzed him for a bit. He still can't move very much, but he is healing. It's been rough for him, but he still has a good attitude.

I think one of my favourite parts about being a missionary is when I bear testimony of something and then looking at the listener, looking at their face. You can just tell when they are feeling the Spirit and they appreciate what you have to say. It is a pretty good feeling.

I love you all!!!
At Mission Home

Monday, March 7, 2016

Week 2 & 3: Leaving the MTC & Arriving in York!

With President & Sister Preston
Day 8: We went out proselyting as an MTC activity!!! We went down into Manchester, specifically, Piccadilly Square. It was a pretty awesome experience. Made missionary work a lot more of a reality for me while still at the MTC! Also, I discovered I am terrified of people.

Day 9: I think one of the things I will miss most about the MTC (outside of the great food) is playing volleyball with everyone. It has been just so much fun. You know how sometimes in gym classes, volleyball is the worst thing ever? This is nothing like that, even though everyone has just about the same skill level.  We had our exit interviews with President Preston today, and he told me that while we were on the train to Manchester, when he motioned me over at one point, my face was just the picture of terror. He said that image will forever be impressed in his mind. As I had made my way over to him, I apparently looked as if I was headed to the gallows. So there you go.... He then told me though that when he and his wife talked about me, they both thought I would do "just fine." Also, dinner this day was very British. Fish and chips!! And then sticky toffee for dessert, which is seriously the best.

Day 10: This day was rather uneventful.... Man, I just love all of my MTC teachers. They are the best. Also, the TRC things were not as bad as I thought they would be. Today was probably the most realistic in some ways because the teacher playing this investigator was one we didn't have in a classroom so we didn't know him, and he was pretty mean and rude to us. I called him out at one point... It'll be interesting to see if I will be so bold out in the field!!

Day 11: Church at the MTC is weird but good. I like it. Also, my district went outside a bunch today, so I will have some photos of that. Also, everyone in the MTC split into two groups and we played group games. It was just a really good day in general.

Day 12: Our last day of our usual classes!!!! It was crazy weird. And sad.  Also, I had straightened my hair, and one of the Elders in my district, the first thing he said when he noticed was, "did you wash your hair?" I really didn't know what to say to him... Elders are sometimes so funny.

Day 13: Ack!! Last day at the MTC! We had a lot of workshops to teach us how to adjust and some of the rules and stuff like that. The teachers also put on a performance for us about our first week. It was pretty hilarious. Everyone took lots of photos, I will include the good ones.

MTC District
Day 14: And we were off!!! Got picked up by the assistants and headed off to Leeds!!! I love President Pilkington!! He is very British, but very hilarious. When I was having my interview with him, he told me that if I am half as good as my bishop said I am, then they are lucky to have me... I really wonder what Bishop Endicott said about me now. Apparently something good. Also, contacting here in England I think is very different from other places. I have been told to not ever go up to someone and just tell them I am a missionary. Instead, we strike up conversation and then see how that goes from there. It is interesting.

Oh!! My trainer!! Sister Wood!!! I love her! She is from Ogden, UT and had gone to BYU for a year before coming out here. She is awesome. She has been really great at teaching me and helping me adjust and all that jazz. She has been out for 6 months and this is the first time she has been senior companion. Though I will say, one of the first things she tells me when we leave is that we are teaching the law of chastity to a 24 year old guy that evening. Yeah. I was not super happy about that. But it actually wasn't that bad. We also went street contacting and met a girl named Becks who seemed pretty interested, so we will have to see. Also, chocolate bars are just better here... Sorry America.

Day 15: I met my district today! Our District leader is Elder Vickers and his companion Elder Cornish. Both are very British, it is pretty hilarious. They are in our ward, the York 1 area ward. There is a York 2 area, and Elder Bailey and Sister Koepf are being trained there so I see them sometimes which is awesome!!! Seeing them is a bit of a comfort. We also met with a recent convert Alec, who brought us cookies. He is super solid.

Day 16: It really rained today. And I think that was half the reason this one guy actually let us in when we were door knocking. He felt bad for us... Lol. I actually really didn't mind the rain. We went to an area more into the town centre of York, which was super cool. I wish I could take photos while I am proselyting. Oh well. We saw the wall around York, the Minster and some other old churches. Everything in England is so squished together. I saw my first Pantomime tonight! The church did it, and we had investigators there. It was Snow White. We had to leave early though so we could be home by 9. It was pretty funny. Apparently panto's are really big here in England.

Day 17: I love tea appointments. Though I will say, I think British people like blander food than I do. But that is okay I suppose. We had a bit of a miracle of a lesson with a former investigator... Sister Wood was a little worried going into it, but it was actually alright. Part of the worry was because this guy has some mental challenges, so he isn't exactly always the easiest to talk to. But it went well.

Day 18: Yay normal church!! The ward here is small, but awesome. I, of course, had to bear my testimony since it was my first week here. I think I gave the most random and awkward testimony ever in my entire life. Oops. Oh well. Also, I am about ready to just let people believe that I am from Washington DC. I really should just say I am from the Northwest. Oh well. Live and learn. Oh, also, Happy Mother's Day!!!

I love being here in York!! It is a lovely city and it is full of great people. I love you all so much!!!!'

With Sister Wood

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Week Two: Serving in York

From President Pilkington:

Dear Sister Barret,

It is with pleasure we welcome your daughter, Sister Lyvia Paige Barret, to the England Leeds Mission.  We find her prepared and committed to serve the Lord and to share the message of the Restored Gospel.

Your daughter's first companion is Sister Wood who was prayerfully selected to ensure the best introduction to missionary work for Sister Barret.  They will be serving in the York 1.1 Area in the York Zone. We are confident their relationship will be a mutual blessing.