Monday, May 30, 2016

Be Not Afraid, Only Believe

 This girl and I have had some GOOD laughs! 
Dear family and friends, 

      Wow. How quickly did that week fly by for ya? It flew for us. We were so busy and barely found time to eat and sleep! The weather has been incredible this week! It felt like we were in Miami! Haha, okay, not quite that nice, but nice for Wales! We only had a few raindrops the whole week long. Miracles! We are told that this is our summer.. Hot, humid, and sweaty. Love it! :) 

Last picture in front of the legendary Caerphilly Castle.

       Okay, okay. The dodge (transfer news) is in! All weekend my mind just contemplated the possibilities of what could happen. I had extremely strong impressions that I would be leaving Caerphilly, but the more I talked to the members, the more my mind would wonder. 
ister Holman (wife of our ward mission leader) and baby Caleb! This little boy makes my world go round! He will be the first boy I hug when I come back as a civilian!

Our family picture with Flynn included.

I Kissed Flynn

My reaction after kissing Flynn!

     Yesterday as we were teaching Andrea and Lowri, the phone began to ring. I looked down to see that it was coming from the Assistants to the President. As I answered, we had a good chat and then he got to the good stuff! "Sister Jones, the Lord has called you to be a trainer." I'm pretty sure my heart stopped. They said that my lip began quiver and I didn't respond to the call for about 10 seconds. I was and still am completely struck down. I thanked him kindly and hung up the phone. Woah. I cannot explain the thoughts that went through my head. I just feel so humbled that the Lord is trusting me to train a new missionary, when I feel so new myself. I only have six months of experience, but that is enough for the Lord! 

     We received the rest of the transfer information a few hours later whilst sitting on my bed in our pajama's. The first news was that Sister Selwa will be staying in Caerphilly! Woah. She will be receiving Sister Sharp who is also from Idaho and is SO much fun! When he said that she would stay, it automatically clicked in my brain that I would be leaving and training my greenie in an area that neither of us knows. Yep, that's right! I'm whitewash training.. This does not happen very often in the mission, so I know that the Lord has placed an incredible amount of trust me as a missionary. No pressure. :) 

     As for where I will be going, I am heading to Leicester, England! I will be serving in the De Montfort Ward. EEENNNGGGGLLLAAANNNDDDDD! I am so excited! The thought of whitewash training is extremely overwhelming, but I am grateful that I will be able to spend 2 weeks there, while I wait for my trainee to come from the MTC. They have to do it this way because of the 3 week MTC change. So, this means that I will be with another trainer for the two weeks while we wait. Then we get to pick up our greenies!!! Aaahhhh! I'm so excited to meet this sister! When President Leppard said "We have plans for you", this is what he meant. 

    I have been praying for an opportunity to grow and the Lord has provided a way. Granted, this task seems quite I am only at the bottom of the mountain staring up, but I know that He will give me every possibly resource so that I may become who He needs me to be in this process. The Lord throws some good curveballs and I am ready to step up and take a swing. 

     My last Sunday in Caerphilly was more perfect than I could've ever imagined. Everyone was there! No family was on holiday or on business, so I was able to say goodbye to literally the whole ward! Such a tender mercy. Brother Williams invited me to bare my testimony after the rest hymn, so I made sure to grab some tissues from Andrea before going up. I got to the podium and just stood there for a second or two, taking in the beautiful sight. This is my Welsh home. These people have meant SO much to me over the past 6 months and I am very aware of their love for me. I don't know how many kisses and hugs I got from them all, but I sure felt the LOVE! The Lord provided great strength for me, as I only shed a few tears during the whole 3 hour block. 

     I can testify that His plan is the only one for me! I am so grateful for His guidance and the strength that can be felt through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I have felt the love of my Savior, whilst in the grasp of the Caerphilly Ward. They have made this place a home and have treated me as their own. I owe them all so much and it has been an incredible privilege to serve here. I know that the ward will be left in good hands and that Andrea and Lowri will be well taken care of by the ward members. Caerphilly is Zion in Wales. Hands down, no questions asked :) 
The beautiful Sister Grant! I adore her!

Exchanges with the best.

     This week we had the opportunity to go on exchanges. I went with Sister Grant who is from New Zealand! We walked over 6 miles in the blazin' sun and had the greatest time in the world! Her accent is thee coolest and I was able to learn so much from her. 

     We also had the opportunity to have interviews with President Leppard which was incredible. That man is inspired and lives his life on holy ground. He shared wonderful insights with me and we were able to discuss the success in the Caerphilly area. As I relayed the experience that I told last week about how the Gospel Principles room was full with recent converts, less actives, and investigators, he reached forth his hand and said "well done." That moment was very profound for me and it was a great privilege to know that I have done all that I needed to do here and that it is indeed my time to go. 

      Andrea and Lowri are well on their way to baptism! We were able to spend yesterday with them and it was wonderful. I will miss them something terrible, but all will be well. Wanda came to church yesterday and she loved it! So did Melissa! We had four investigators at church, which is the most that we have had in Caerphilly for many years! Woot! Blessings, blessings! They amaze us with their grace and courage. We are so excited for them all! 

     With all these changes, I am comforted with the words from President Uchtdorf, "Be not afraid, only believe." I shall not be afraid, because I know whose hands my future is in. I can only believe that this change is meant to make me grow in all the ways that my Father in Heaven needs me to. This new adventure is incredibly exciting and holds a whole lot of new memories to be made! I am loving my mission and have loved everything up to this point. Sister Selwa has taught me much and has encouraged me to be a better missionary. I can ask for nothing less! 

       I hope that you all will be able to accept the changes that are sure to come in your life. Step up to the plate and be ready to swing! Those curveballs won't throw you off course if you only confide in your Heavenly Father and His Almighty guidance. We can do this! 

       Thank you for your prayers and the love that I can feel flowing from your words! I don't have time today to reply to your emails, but I will be sure to do so next week. We are now heading to the bay with the Williams and will have a barbecue there as well! It will be the perfect way to end my time here in Caerphilly. We are so excited! We will then end the evening with the Taylors and a long night of packing! Wish us luck! 

      Signing off from Caerphilly for the last time,

                                                                      Sister Sydney Jones

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