It was a quick week full of ups and downs and headaches and all else that comes with missionary work and preaching the gospel...There really is not anything new to report than from last Tuesday. We taught our investigator Helen 4 times this past week and she likes to make food for us. It is not healthy food so it does not go well with the Herbal Cleanse I started last week, but I put it down. My companion on the other hand is so fussy he doesn't even eat the crust at people's houses! I told him off for that. You can be a picky eater at your own house, but when you are at someone else's...shove it in your face!
He decided to remind me today that it is about 16 and a bit days left...Thanks companion..., but this Transfer like all the others since I was in Wrexham has just flown by...You can't grab hold of time...and there is no use trying. Just keep working and trying to make the most of it. We got to know the ward and the stake better this week. It was Warrington Ward Conference and so we had the Stake officers there and President Marshall is younger, but likes to talk a lot. Sacrament was only 10 minutes over time (last meeting in this ward) which a lot of people were surprised by. =D
I was talking with Tanner and asked him what I should be studying now that I finished the Book of Mormon and we/I with his help decided that I would Study Preach My Gospel and read a chapter a day until I finished that and my yearly goals. I am on Chapter 8 now. I read 6 and 7 today. I also finished a Topical Guide Study on Patience and moved on to Forbearance. I think it is Colossians somewhere that makes the point of It is the Lord's Forbearance that leads us to Repentance. I was thinking about that and it is very true. If the Lord was like me or like Peter, as soon as something was done He didn't agree with, BOOM GAME OVER. But because He loves us, He is Forbearing and waits for us to turn it back around, time and time again...
I love you all. Keep Strong.
Doctrine and Covenants 124:15,20
20 "my servant ___________ is without guile, and can be trusted for the integrity of his heart; And for the love which he has to my testimony, I, the Lord, love him."
Sorry I did not email everyone yesterday. It was a bank holiday. My head is trying to catch up with everything and everyone still. I am on exchanges at the moment with my District Leader Elder Cofone from Trinidad. He is a loving caring individual. Completely foreign to me =P no just kidding...kind of. But anyways, I just want to share something uplifting with all of you. A couple things actually.
Saturday we were tracting and we knocked on this nice little ladies house. She is 55 and very talkative and doesn't really know what is going on quite yet. However, we taught her about families and God being our father. She used to be catholic. She came to church with us this Sunday and accepted a date. Since she was a single lady we had to call for permission so she let us call and ask president if we could go inside and he said sure! =D haha
Monday we ended Preparation day early because we were not using an hour to email and would use that today. We ended it early and headed to Liverpool. We took a Less Active Sister and her son Thomas who has Down Syndrome. Thomas and I are best buds. I will try and get a picture with him before the end comes so you all can see him. He is 22 so we are alright together. We took them to see the Osmond brothers who were in town having a Family Night. It was Merril, Jay, and Jimmy. Now I never listened to them but it was great to hear them bear their testimonies and speak from the scriptures and notice the same culture in their family that we have in ours. THere is not 9 of us, but there were only 3 boys up there on stage so it was a good representation and the youngest was the leader. JIMMY. Jimmy is Thomas' favorite of the bunch.
They did not sing any of their famous songs or anything, but that is ok haha. I didn't really like their songs that much anyways! =p
It has been a great 10-11 days here. Miatta was sustained a member of the Oldham Ward and we went hiking up a great peak at the edge of our area with some members of the Ashton Zone. But all good things come to an end...or at least in mortality they do and the good thing I am speaking of is my time in Oldham...with a car...and with knowledgeable companions...
I am now back on foot/bike/bus. We are not really sure. I am emailing you from Widnes which is in the Warrington Ward and the Liverpool Zone. I have never served anywhere in this zone and it is all alien to me. The people speak Scause(sp?) aka Liverpudlian which is a mix of English with extra flem on the c,k, etc...
I am white wash training a new missionary who is also from South Africa like Elder Gordon was. He has heard of Elder Gordon but they never met because they were both normally on the computer. They probably battled online sometimes =P. But Elder McLeod (mc-cloud) is his name. He is great. I would send you pictures if I could, but you will see them soon enough anyways. We honestly have no idea what we are doing here with this whole white washing thing. He doesn't know what he is doing here period and I am trying to figure which way is up. IT WILL BE GREAT! =D. But there is a dated investigator here so that is good...Sad thing is that she flogged our appointment last night. So my little friend and I walked an hour there with a member...walked an hour back to town to Morrisons (like walmart...) bought him some really posh sheets that were marked down for clearance, and then walked back home. That was about 3 hours of walking for him. Apparently I walk fast. He slept well, but he is still exhausted. Poor kid. He has a brother on a mission in Minnesota! So Tanner and he are pretty close! His parents are not members and he is has a strong testimony from his grandmother. He was baptised at age 13 but has been to church since he was 3 because his grandmother took him. She passed away 3 years ago so I admire him and his brother for coming and doing what they know is right. They have good solid testimonies.
He keeps trying to figure out how long I have been here. I don't have the heart to tell him or talk about it at all...He will find out next week at zone conference. Departing missionaries give their testimonies. That will be a weird one to experience.
I was waiting for all the phone calls and rings to start happening last night...but NO ONE CALLED! It was definitely a weird experience being a companionship that no one needs to call. I started to feel a little isolated haha but then realised that that is the reason I always wanted to read the scriptures in my free time. Because I actually HAD free time to do those things.
It was mothers day in England this past weekend and it was great being able to think of Mom and all that she does. These next 6 weeks will be very interesting, but I am really looking forward to focusing on my ONE Elder McLeod.
Well I was going to upload pictures to you but I have absolutely NO TIME Left. After emailling president Preston and President Fletcher reports...there is not a lot of time for all of you. Sorry! I even extended for 15 mins and only have 2 mins. But here we go.
We had a baptism this week! I have pictures. But can't upload them. Too long. Her name was Miatta Gbouma from Sierra Leone. She will be a strong member of the church here in Oldham and already has members of her family who are strong in the gospel as well so I don't worry too much about her future. She also has Family that lives in Indianapolis and is going to visit them in October! HOW GREAT IS THAT?! haha
It was a great week. It was very busy! We had about 20 hours of meetings all together this week and add 10 hours for travel time and set up, but that is ok! I was able to go to my first ever Stake Priesthood Leadership Training and it was great to see how Bishops and WMLs and Wards are held Accountable at these types of meetings. PMG pg 148! We trained the WMLs on what they can do to help their missionaries and investigators in their own specific wards. We tried to help them find places to learn their duties besides the New Red Manuals. We showed them the information chart on page 145? of PMG and how they should know more than us and President Preston about each individual. It was great because Elder Jackson and I had worked with 5 out of the 8 WMLs present due to our past areas and so we were able to smile and hold them accountable and they took it very well. President Fletcher (Stake President of Ashton) was there and he was asking for goals and Oldham ward was the only one that actually knew their baptismal goal out of all of the wards and so at least we were well represented!
We did not have a lot of finding time due to the meetings...But I worked on something this week I have been wanting to do. It is called MUSLIM Contacting. Considering 50% of the population is Pakistani, Iranian, Iraq, Bangladesh...There are lots areas which are heavily Islam and what I did with this young missionary who is really good, we went into this area and we started tracting in the middle of the day. The key to this kind of contacting is this..."ASK THE WISE MUSLIM MAN." They are very very nice people but the only want to bash with you or are not interested so you quickly tell them what you are doing and simply ask them where the white people are on the street. Honestly, it works! They immediately point at 3-4 doors of white families haha These white people barely ever get spoken to because missionaries and JWs barely ever go into these areas and so they are not as hardened. We set up 4 appointments and got in 1 door =P. It was fantastic. I am definitely doing it again! Elder Jackson was laughing when I told him what I did over the exchange. The new missionary was pleasantly surprised that it actually worked..."oh faithless generation..." =D
There was an amazing baptism of two individuals from Namibia in Ashton 1 this past week. One of my old areas. Elder Gianotti (italian) and Schmid (austrian) had asked at the beginning of the transfer where they should go. They asked me because I had already served there. I told them of a lady I may have mentioned to you last June...yeah I know you have no clue. But her name was Sandra. She lived in a tiny flat and worked for another church so never came to ours although she accepted the Book of Mormon as truth. I told them to go to West St. and knock on again. Well they did on Saturday evening. Sandra had moved out. But Harold and Rudolphine Kauvi from Namibia had just moved in Friday evening. They were upset because they did not know how they were going to get to church. They also are asylum seekers because of the fighting in their country. They were told by the British government that they would not be allowed to stay any longer than 3 weeks. Well the Lord knows His Children and their hearts. He sent the Elders there Saturday February 18? and on March 3rd they had already gained a testimony of everything of the Gospel and its Restoration through Joseph Smith. They were divinely prepared and elect "and the elect hear my voice" and they did. It was a great miracle to witness the divine appointment that Elder Giannotti and Elder Schmid were able to make it to. Harold and Rudolphine Kauvi last night were able to speak in front of a group of about 50 of their conversion at a mission home fireside and to testify of the Restoration. Two weeks later on the day they were confirmed members of the church.
Miatta Gbouma is being baptised this Saturday the 10th of March and we are very excited. She has two little girls. A cousin and a niece who are being prepared right now too and it is all because of another cousin from Sierra Leone and she came to get this lady baptised. I have no doubt about it!
Well, the highlight of today so far was that we are getting more senior couples in the mission, but because of that we are low on cars so they took ours away...but they gave us another one. HOWEVER, the old one was a 2011 brand new automatic meriva...this one seems to be a 2000/1999 MANUAL meriva. So we drove the 30 miles down to swap the car at the office. Then we scooted and bumped our way home as I remembered how to drive a manual again. PS: THE GEARS IN THIS ONE ARE NOT IN THE RIGHT SPOT...Just wanted to throw that out at ya. Also you have to do some crazy lifty thing to get it into reverse, but I managed. I am sure Grandpa is loving the fact that I am driving stick again. Also, when you slam the gas pedal all the way down to the floor...NOTHING happens. It takes a good 30 seconds for it to get from 60 to 70...so the Motorway was a fun place to drive! =D...This is from the Scotland/Ireland mission and this thing is BEAT UP...I mean bad! And our car director was afraid to give us them thinking they were unsafe to drive so he says to have us get it checked out. Well we will have driven a about 150 miles before we have a chance to do that, but it will be good!
Elder Jackson and I are loving and laughing our lives away at the moment. There are way to many silly things to write/record/remember. Today I had the phone in my pocket which I had actually forgotten about. Then he pulls out his camera (which I thought was a phone) and he acts like he is answering it and talking to someone on his "personal mobile" and it just didn't click on me for awhile, but that is obviously a big no no to have a phone to yourself as a missionary, but those little jokes like that keep us on our toes and having a good time.
Miatta came to church this past week and brought her two adorable daughters. One is 2 and the other is 3. Maddie (her niece) also came and brought her mom from London with her. We haven't taught Augusta (her mom) yet, but we definitely will try. She said she is coming back next week because she really liked it. Maddie is 17 and a little too cool for her age. She has two little sisters as well. Her mom is moving up to Manchester because it is about 1/2 the size of London and Maddie will stay out of trouble here then.
Everything just turned gray. Sorry if this email is all gray haha. Oh well. Anyways, things are good here. I am trying to work hard and push myself. Where is everyone in their Book of Mormon reading? If you aren't reading the Book of Mormon, you are not as close to God as you could be...
Hiya family, It was a good'n...aren't they all. The zone had 24 at sacrament which is really good and there are 10 dated throughout. 3 of them are ours and we actually might be seeing Diego and Geraldine get baptised finally instead of continuously pushing their date back. They are living together at the moment and aren't married so they can't be baptised if you didn't know that... But we have a less active 25 year old who has recently come back to church and who is trying to find a new place. They will hopefully be moved out by this week with our help! We are excited about that. People seem to be progressing well. Funke Ogunnaike is back in town and is struggling a bit with her uncle still in Belgium. We got threats from an old african sounding man from London telling us not to visit her again. She knew nothing about it. But she does have an anti-truth uncle living with her upstairs. He has been trying to turn her kids against her and us. They all speak german because that is where they grew up and so we sent around Sister Rothmund (Switzerland) and Sister Mauch (Austrian) and they went in. Helped the kids feel the spirit and they all accepted to be baptised! (Take that mr. uncle!) So we are passing them over obviously to the sisters... But that is ok. We are plenty busy trying to solve the issues of the missionaries and with our other investigators. Things are good here. It hasn't been too cold. The wind has been the worst part. The car is pretty nice in keeping us dry haha! Hopefully you got some of those pictures last week... Love you all, Elder Blackburn