Monday, May 8, 2017

Week 62: Lots of Meetings!

So, this has been such a week....

On Monday, after pday, Sister Reynolds and I did a bit of knocking and then had plans to see a less active lady, but on our way we ran into someone else who Sister Reynolds had met a bit ago and spoke to her for quite some time.... so it turned to late to go by the member and we just street contacted the rest of the night. And at nine, three extra companionships of sisters showed up at our flat so we had ten sisters in total sleeping in our flat because....

On Tuesday we had to get up a bit early so we could all get to the church and get a coach to zone conference in Billingham! It was really good, we covered a lot of things and had an opportunity to train each of our zones individually, but it was only for 75 minutes, so it was almost more like a big district meeting, it went well. I honestly didn't say much, but the zone seemed to appreciate what we covered. I had been asked to organise a musical Item for the conference, which I did, but we didn't do anything super special. I just wanted to do something simple that would bring the spirit quickly into the meeting. I think I did a pretty good job getting a bunch of good singers, so I think it went well. I love getting together with everyone! Always such a spiritual boost! Afterwards, we traveled home and really didn't have much time to do anything else with our day.

Apparently, every first Wednesday of the month, our zone goes and helps clean up this park in Gateshead. We had a beautiful day and it's a really lovely park, so we had a super fun time sweeping the paths and talking to some people who passed our way. It was the weirdest thing being out so long in my jeans... Especially since afterwards, we went to help an older lady clean her windows. Thankfully she lives in a bungalow, so it was pretty easy. And it was such a lovely day! By the end, Sister Reynolds and I were turning a bit pink! We went home to change and have some comp study and then went to have tea with our bishop and his family. They are super cute, a really sweet family. Who are also pretty into their fandoms! We then ran to try to go see the Egyptian people we met a bit ago, but they weren't in, so we instead went to go see a less active recent convert who lives close by. Her cousin was there and kept asking lots of questions, he seems to be interested, but doesn't want to admit it.

We went on another exchange! This time with the sisters who we live with. Sister Chiu and I went out and did lots of finding. At one point, we were walking passed this older lady who was pulling up some weeds and we offered to help. Normally people say they are alright, but she let us! She was really sweet, and after we helped her, she let us in to wash our hands and we had a bit of a chat. She wasn't really interested, but she was sweet and we were able to uplift her. And as a thank you gift, she gave us this Noah's Ark lamp! I'll send a photo so you can know what I am talking about! So yeah, ended up carrying that around for a while! We had tea with an older lady in the ward and then we ended our exchange because Sister Reynolds and I had to get to Newton Aycliffe to sleep over again because...

We had to wake up bright and early Friday night to get to Leeds for MLC! This whole leadership thing just means more meetings I feel like sometimes 😂 jk. It was a way good meeting. Sister Brown got me to sing in a group for that as well. As you may have noticed, President really loves his musical items. A lot. It was a nice meeting, and I feel like us and the zone leaders in our zone are finally on the same page. Which is so good. After MLC, Sister Turvey gathered all of us sisters together and we had a chat. She feels kind of bad because we don't get the same sort of support as zone leaders, who have their district leaders, the office APs and also the travelling APs.... whereas it's jut kind of us as far as female leadership. So yeah, it was really nice. Cause our mission does have a pretty high ratio of sisters I feel like. I dunno. It was just nice of her to take us aside and have a little focus on our sisters. After the meeting we took the long trek back home, once again getting home in time to not have time to really do anything.

Saturday was back to a more normal missionary day. We went to go see a lady Sister Reynolds met on exchange, who had so many questions. We tried our best to stay focused, but it was a bit all over the place until the very end. We seized an opportunity and boldly declared the truth. It was amazing to feel the difference in the room as we testified of the Restoration, sharing the First Vision and Moroni's promise. The mom and son were still and quiet, and at the end, she said something about how there was power in the words we shared. We tried to help her see that that meant it was true.... but people have agency, so we left her with a Book of Mormon and she seemed very grateful for our visit and the peace we brought into their home. It was just a really neat experience that helped build my testimony of the power of the message of the Restoration. It brings the spirit fast. We then went home, had lunch, had comp Study, went to read the Book of Mormon with an older lady who can't read well, did some finding, tried by an investigator, and then visited a member, went home and had tea. That was our day. It was good.

Church! Love going to church. Especially with the Mandarin branch at the same time, it's just funny. It's a bit crazy, with two congregations each with two sets of missionaries, so there are eight of us running around. Oh! Almost forgot to mention the miracle that happened inches morning. I think I've mentioned how there is a very good metro system here in Newcastle that we use everyday. It's how we get to church. So we were running to catch our metro and we hear the door sounds going and we are running down the stairs knowing it'll be close if we make it at all... Sister Reynolds barely makes it on and I..... I'm right outside with a panicked look on my face! There was a moment of terror when all of a sudden.... the metro doors open again and I have the chance to get on. Yeah. It probably doesn't sound that great, but metros never do that! I've seen many a person just barely miss it and have such a disappointed face as they have to wait for another one. Yeah. It was a modern day miracle. My testimony of going to church was strengthened. After church, we went to go visit a less active lady, who really appreciated it. She apparently had lost our number, so it was good that we contacted her! We then headed home and had our weekly planning! Always a good time. Got things sorted for future exchanges, called lots of people... it was good stuff!

Hope you all had a good week! Love you!

Sister Barret

Week 61

I'm kind of getting tired of transfers.... having to adjust to new people, new areas, new responsibilities.... The list is endless. But at least this week I feel like I have been able to make some good progress in my adjustments to this area! Love it here in Newcastle. It's a really lovely city.

Monday, we did some finding and tried by some people and then had ward coordination, so nothing too exciting. Tuesday, we knocked on lots of doors, taught an old lady, and had just a very typical missionary-y day. Nothing too exciting. Wednesday, we had district meeting and then went on exchange with the sisters in South Shields. I got to go with Sister Bensige, who is from Sweden and friends with Sister Lundahl! Such a small Mormon world. It was fun to be the one to direct the exchange, it didn't go to bad for my first one. Biggest thing, I didn't get us lost! Still getting used to the area... We tried to see some people, but of course, we all have our agency. Then on Thursday, we did lots more finding, met with the zone leaders to discuss zone training, and also went to watch the general women's conference with the Relief Society. It was really lovely to be with them. Slowly but surely getting to know the members of the ward....! And then Friday we went to our "neighbors" weekly Planning (that is what we call the Mandarin speaking sisters who live with us!) and did more finding, and made lots of phone calls... which people love to ignore... and had tea with some members for this first time since coming here! They were so lovely. Saturday, we went on exchange with some other sisters! I went with Sister Hope who is from Arizona, and we had a good time. We did more finding and also went by a lady in the ward who struggles with a lot of different things. It was a nice visit. It was funny, so, we share the area with the zone leaders right? We never see them. Yet, while we were on exchange, each of us ended up kind of bumping into at least half of them. It was kind of weird. We never see them, this area is huge. And then on Sunday, we went to church! Yay! And our less active recent converts came to church on their own accord! It was so good! They were late, but that didn't really matter to us, we were starting to struggle to think of what more we could do with them, so yay! There is hope for them yet! They're great. And it was a really good relief Society, so that was nice. Because it was supposed to by a joined meeting but then that fell through, we had like a musical meeting. And it had quickly gotten out that I sing, so I did. Different sisters were asked to pick a song either to sing or for us to sing together and share why that song was important to them. And when I was asked to do it, I decided to sing This It The Christ, which isn't a hymn, but a really good song. That was really lovely. That song can really bring the Spirit! It was a good meeting. After that, we had our own weekly planning and in the evening, we went by a potential who had also promised us food. She gave us some really great lasagna and we shared with their the Restoration! We were able to bring her an Arabic Book of Mormon and an English one for her daughter! It was a good lesson. I'm sure there will be more to come with them!

I love serving a mission. I love how much I have been able to learn from my experiences here and just how close I have been able to feel to my Saviour and my Father in Heaven. I hope you are all doing well and I love you all so much!

Sister Barret

Week 60

So it's been another crazy one, and I'm sorry but this will probably
be a relatively short email...

So, I've moved up here to Newcastle! It was sad to have to say all of
my goodbyes to Doncaster. But I'm quite happy here in Newcastle! The
area is huge. It's a decent sized city and so finding is pretty great.
We had a member have some of her friends over for a little FHE, which
went great, and now we are teaching two of the three of them! We also
started teaching another lady who is so prepared! On Thursday, had to
go down to Leeds for a new leader training meeting, that was quite
fun. Love spiritually uplifting meetings like that! We spent the night
with the Billingham STLs in Newton Aycliffe which was so fun. I love
being around other missionaries so much. Which is the fun thing about
my new flat, we live with some Mandarin speaking sisters, they are
super sweet. So far, the ward and the area has been so good! And being
a leader hasn't seemed too different, but I might not be saying that
in a week!

Love you all!

Sister Barret

Week 59: Expect....

...the unexpected..... what's coming to you.... the worst and hope for the best.... what you want to happen.... Basically this is what sums up my week and how I feel right now. This has been a crazy week! Another really good one though. Basically, this whole transfer has been super amazing and I can't believe that it's over and we have to start another one! Only three left, it's so crazy!

Monday, we went to the Chatsworth House as you have already seen photos of. It's so beautiful out there, seriously. I am so used to being in cities and surrounded by houses, so it was nice to be out in the country side! So lovely. And thankfully, we had a fairly decent day. Afterwards, we went to go see Michelle and had a nice little lesson with her about the Restoration. We then headed back to the chapel and had a lesson with Andy about the law of chastity, that's always fun to teach. But he took it well, so no problems!

On Tuesday, we had a bunch of appointments fall through, which was no good. Tried by a lot of people, always fun when people aren't in when they say they will be. We finally saw L, the Spanish speaking lady, and gave her a Spanish Book of Mormon! That house hold now has three Book of Mormons, each in a different language! So funny. We ended up seeing G in the evening and talked about tithing and things like that. We brought a recent convert with us, it was so good! He had been baptised back in like December and just has such an amazing testimony. He's the best. It was a good lesson. We then did a bit of finding before having ward Coordination which is always a humorous time.

We had district Meeting of course since it was Wednesday, and then we did lots of knocking. Met this one lady who had semi recently lost her mum and had a really good talk about the Plan of Salvation. Pretty sure she's going to get baptised one day! She was super lovely. And let us use her toilet! England is the worst about public toilets, they just don't exist. Went by a less active and some other people, that was fun. Had tea and went by another less active and then went to ward council, which was the most missionary focused ward council I have ever been in.

Thursday, we went from appointment to appointment teaching lots of people. It's kind of crazy how we have been able to build up such a solid teaching pool since whitewashing the area. We taught an English class for the first time as well! Good thing I've had practice in my last area, lol.

Once again, we had a solid day of appointments. Kind of crazy, I have never been teaching so many people. Fridays I feel like are always a bit crazy. Oh well. We had a practice interview with A and he was practically teaching us at one point, man he is so prepared. He's the best. When we asked him about repentance, he said something interesting about how repentance is a way for us to be able to understand our mistakes so we won't do the wrong things and do more of the right things more. It was pretty cool.

Saturday was fun, went out to do knocking determined to schedule someone else. And we did. He was super excited to meet us, he had watched a documentary about Mormons the other day and hasn't ever met many, so it's kind of crazy we came by when we did! We had A's interview! And he passed! So amazing! And while we were waiting, President called! Sister Ashcroft answered and got called to train! That's when I realised I was moving and I was sad. But then she handed the phone to me and President called me to be an STL up in Newcastle! So cool! I'm so excited and a little bit nervous! Mostly because of Geordies.... they apparently have a rough accent. I'll let you know next week! We also went and saw K, she is so cute. Love her.

Easter Sunday! Got some eggs, had a good sacrament meeting about Christ, had some people come to church.... it was good. Between church and going to Fireside in Newcastle (I brought a packed suitcase to give them! Transfers tomorrow will be easier!) we went by M and G and said some goodbyes. It was good. We then spent the night going to Newcastle, being at a Fireside where Sister Berg and her professionally singing family did a musical Fireside, and then driving back. It was a night!

Things have been good here in Donny. And here I go to Newcastle! Leave bright and early tomorrow morning! Love you guys!

Sister Barret

Week 58 Crazy Week!

Monday: After our adventures of going out to some random field and wandering about, we went to go visit some members. Had a lovely chat with them and then went to go see A. We taught him the Plan of Salvation, which he really liked. Said it sounds very complete. It was a nice lesson.

Tuesday: The day started out with some finding and then we went to go see G and also taught him the plan of Salvation. As you may be able to tell, our three main investigators are in like the same place, it's really awesome. From there, C and B drove us around a bit as we tried to meet with people, but hey ended up dropping us off in a village and we did some finding before tea. After tea they picked us up to head to the chapel. It was so funny, Sister Ashcroft and I both looked out the car windows at the same time and shouted out cows and sheep that we saw.... it was really funny. Sounds lame trying to explain it. Ward Coordination was good like usual.

Wednesday: As per the request of a member, we went by a former, M. She was really nice and let us in and she started to tell us about all of her issues and how she is starting to turn her life around but needs help. So we are going to keep teaching her! That's pretty exciting if you ask me. We then went and taught A the Plan of Salvation as well! He also really liked it and we were actually able to answer some of his questions about spirits and things. We did some finding and while we were knocking, I did some hard core testifying that stopped him in his tracks a bit. We then saw A and had a lovely time with her. We then had tea again with the Nisars, man is that a mad house but they are so funny and amazing. From there, we started heading home, finding along the way.

Thursday: Went and taught a kind of rough lesson with A.... Bad prep on our end. Oops. We then did a lot of driving all day. Headed out to one village to see a member and try by a referral she gave us. Had to go to another village to visit Georgina and her kids again. And then we went to a village a million miles away to go by a referral the Zone Leaders gave us. Thankfully the guy was in and interested, he apparently though just moved in so is quite busy. We will have to go back again some day. And so after a full day of driving everywhere, we had Book of Mormon class where A and G were! We were able to teach them both the gospel of Jesus Christ at the same time, so that was really cool.

Friday: We had the STLs come over for our weekly planning, and halfway through, the senior couple comes for a flat inspection! Good thing our flat was immaculate that day!  We then went on a split with the sisters. Sister Shaw and I went to go see a potential and teach Andy while Sister Ashcroft and Sister Peterson saw G and J and F. It was a pretty good split. Afterwards, we went by a less active lady and her daughters. Had a fun lesson about the Plan of Salvation. We ate tea at the chapel and then went to go see K! Yay! Had a really good lesson with her that was very spiritual and got a bit emotional. Read the Living Christ and talked a lot about prayer. Was able to testify about the power of prayer and how we do receive answers, even if they aren't the ones we want or expect. Also talked about how God still loves us even if some of our prayers seem to go unanswered. It was a good lesson.

Saturday: Did some finding in the morning and then headed to go by a potential. She was quite busy, so we will go by her again later. As a back up we went to have lunch and got some burgers that we ate sitting out in some grass because the weather has been so nice lately! Seriously, it's been practically like summer here, it's crazy. But after that, we went by some recently reactivated members and got to know them a bit. We tried to find a Spanish Book of Mormon for a potential, but could only find Portuguese and Italian ones, so that was a struggle. We then went to M's for tea, and she made us a very nice bolognese. Her dog is so funny, little Louis. After her, we tried to go by a less active family, but it was a bit awkward, so we left and tried to do some finding.

Sunday: Easily one of my craziest Sundays on my mission. So Sister Ashcroft and I have started to get into this habit of just inviting everyone we meet to come to church, no matter who it is. Usually, people don't come. But, today, two of them did. Yeah... One was a Romanian Pentecostal, so that was interesting. The other one was not entirely sober when he showed up... A and A came and they were great and loved it. But Gospel Principles was a very interesting time. I'm just glad I wasn't the one teaching. I felt bad when we left all of them, since they were all male, with the elders and went to Relief Society! After church, we practiced our song for a bit, and then went to visit a potential, Michelle, and then Anne. With Anne, we had a little testimony Meeting since she wasn't able to come to church due to her health. After that, we picked up A and went to the Mission Home Fireside in Leeds! Brian took A and G in his car, which was super nice of him. They loved it! It was really good. And our musical Item went alright, the three of us sang Gethsemane and an elder accompanied us.

I have been feeling more and more lately like my weeks are flying by! We have been so busy lately and it's been amazing! I thank Heavenly Father everyday that I get to be a part of the wonderful work! I love my mission and I love each of you!

Sister Barret