Monday, December 21, 2015

Lovely, Just Lovely!

Hello beautiful people!

I hope you all are well! I have had a wonderful two weeks. We went to the Preston Temple for the second time on Tuesday night, which was wonderful. Sitting in a celestial room filled with missionaries is POWERFUL. I was overwhelmed with how blessed I felt to be there in that moment, how extraordinary this opportunity is, and how much we are loved by out Father in Heaven to be trusted with such an important task! There was nothing like it. 

Standing on the famous Cornerstone
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We left the MTC on Wednesday morning to come to the mission home in Birmingham. I was absolutely terrified on the way there. It is scary to be uprooted after two weeks of being with people that you love so much! 
The picture of us 4 on the bus is the 'Day 1 Crew'. We're all day 1 homies. Elder Ofasi is from South Africa/England and Elder Turnbow is from Preston Idaho. We all sang on the coach whilst heading to the mission home and it was just lovely. They are all in my mission and we hope to see each other often! 
There were 22 of us missionaries who came to the England Birmingham Mission, the biggest group in quite a while, which was cool. It will be nice to see familiar faces once in a while.

It was great to have so many familiar faces around, all feeling the same rumblie-tumblies. 
We met President and Sister Leppard (pronounced Leppawd) and they are just so wonderful. So kind and loving! We got everything settled in and headed to the chapel for the transfer meeting. This moment.. It's like a scary Christmas morning feeling. Like, you're so excited but scared to find out what will happen. We had a devotional and then the 'calls' came. *I sat there with Sister Belnap and was just so grateful for the friendship we built in just two short weeks. I have never laughed harder, nor had so many spiritual moments with someone. We have the perfect balance and just get each other.. which is cool. (: I am so thankful for her and the sweet example that she is to me. I hope and pray that we will see each other oft and be companions if it be His will. Best friends for eternity!!*

Anyway, the AP started calling out names and mine was soon called. "Sister Jones, your trainer is Sister Scherf
. And you will be serving in Caerphilly, WALES! What?!?!?! I was SO excited and relieved. Let me start off by saying that Sister Scherf is incredible! She has been out for a year. Her name is pronounced scarf, but you have to say it like you have something caught in your throat to get it just right. She is from Holland and speaks Dutch! And totally looks like Liona Lewis.. It's crazy! She is glorious! Gosh, I don't know how I got so blessed! She is so obedient, mellow, fun, and filled with the spirit. She is so easy to get along with and is genuinely concerned about me and my feelings, which helped me to feel comfortable with her quickly. 

We then took a coach to Wales, then got on a train into Caerphilly. It is a small village, with small streets, small cars, and a HUGE castle out our front window! 

Oh my gosh, are you dying or what?! I don't quite know how old it is, but it is made of dark stone, has an actual draw bridge and mote surrounding it, and is covered in moss. SO cool! The tours are only £2, so we will definitely be participating in that! 
The first day jitters were hard to get over, but it was nice to get started on everything. On my first day, we had our very first lesson with a man called Richard, who is a less-active. I had the opportunity to bare my testimony on the Atonement and how it has worked in mine and my families lives. The spirit filled the room. It was a wonderful experience! I am still in awe that I get to do this for a year and a half! How blessed am I to have this opportunity to have the spirit with me constantly and to be bringing this gospel to my brothers and sisters! It is absolutely incredible it is! 

We had a Zone Conference/ Christmas party on Friday which was a great time! I got to see Sister Belnap (Gangsta' B) and a few others from my MTC group which was fun! We have since then taught a lesson to a less-active named Lisa and it went SO well! The spirit, again, filled the room as we watched a Christmas video and afterwards tears were falling from her eyes. She felt it. We were guided by the Holy Ghost to take the lesson to a certain point and then to just bare testimony. I was marvelous. And guess what?? She accepted our invitation to come to church on Sunday and she came! Man, that was a cool feeling! We were so happy to have here there.
The members here are angels. More than half of their adult congregation are return missionaries! And many of them are converts as well. So, they are more than willing to feed and help us at any time of the day. They are so kind and loving. They make this place feel like home. 

As we were walking in the front door of the church building yesterday, the bishop asked me if I would take a couple minutes because a speaker just dropped out....Gosh. I have never been hit so hard in the stomach! Haha, man. I was nervous up until I began walking to the pulpit and everything melted away. God works wonders doesn't he? :) It went wonderfully and it was a great opportunity to introduce myself to the ward. Many of the members have told me that I look and act like I've been out for quite a while. And when I say I've only been out for 4-5 days, they are floored. So, I'm glad that I'm not an awkward greenie! #1 goal achieved! :)

Fun Facts:
-This town is FILLED with Christmas lights and SO much spirit! Everyone is wearing their Christmas jumpers (sweaters) around town. It's so fun!
-Everyone here sounds like Adele to me! Their accents are absolutely fascinating! 
-The people are also fascinated with my 'accent' as well! Which is so funny to me. The children in primary yesterday just wanted to hear me talk and they would be all-attentive just listening; it was pretty funny.
-The Welsh accent is BEYOND ME! The very first morning, we got a call from Richard who has no teeth and has a very thick Welsh accent. Sister Scherf handed me the phone and I literally understood NOTHING. I couldn't help but laugh afterwards because I felt so dumb, but it was rough! I'm not sure I'll be able to understand it any time soon.
-The castle is the coolest.
-The Welsh people put mint flavoring in their peas....Mercy. 
-I have had more mince meat pie in one week than any normal person should! 
-The humidity is out of this world. 100% humidity every single day. Which means, if you use a towel on Sunday morning, the odds of it being dry by Tuesday evening are extremely thin! It is just one of those things..
-I have to help Sister Scherf with her English once in a while. I had to explain the word "turkey" to her and she didn't understand for about 5 minutes. And when she did, she couldn't stop laughing.. haha she's a good time.
-There are always rainbows here. It is just beautiful! 

Long story short, this week has been great! I am already falling in love with this work and these people. I feel so blessed to be here and to be diving into this work. I know it won't be easy, but I'm going to let this 'greenie fire' take me as far as I possibly can! I love this gospel and the opportunity I have to study the doctrine each day. It might sound silly to day that I can already feel myself growing, but I can already feel myself growing! :) It is a cool feeling. 
This gospel is true. Jesus Christ was born. He died for us. And he lives again! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas filled with love and remembrance of the life that Christ lived and does now live. Pray to him! He wants to hear from you!

Happy Christmas to you all! It's a beautiful time of year it is!

I'll see you on Christmas fam!

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