Monday, June 5, 2017

So This Is What 18 Months Feels Like

We taught Georgie how to ride a bike! Talk about the scariest,
funniest 40 minutes of my life! Lol, she's a pro now :)
**First, I thought I should add a part of Syd's letter to me and her dad.  This sums up her thoughts and emotions of her entire mission.  And someday will reflect back as she reads this.  I will be collecting her blog into book form, just as I did for her sister Katelyn.  A suitable keepsake, indeed.**

Dear Mum and Dad, 
....Crazy. I have come to love this ward so much and am so thankful for  the opportunity to have served here. So many members came up to me after sacrament and told me to thank my parents for allowing me serve the Lord for these 18 months. So thank you from the Coventry Ward, Mom & Dad! :)  Brother Turner said "We are a better unit because you have served here." I am so grateful for the blessing of these members who have helped us to build up the ward here in Cov. They are so wonderful.
      I have been asked to speak this coming Sunday, which also happens to be the farewell of a kid in our ward who is going to Australia the day after I leave. It should be great! This is the 2nd farewell that I've spoken at and then I've spoken at another's homecoming. Crazy. I've been asked to share what I have learned in the past 18 months in about 7-10 minutes! How the heck do I do that?? Bless. The Lord will provide a way. The Williams are coming down from Wales to enjoy my last Sunday here and I'm hoping that Andrea and Lowri can make it as well.

      I can't fully express how I feel. We have an EXTREMELY busy week coming up, which I am thankful for. Not too much time to think about going home. I am absolutely overwhelmed with the love and support from the members and friends from here and abroad. It is amazing. It is a beautiful experience to serve my Saviour and I have grown and learned so much. Though I have served Him for these 18 months, I am still indebted to my Saviour. I look forward to applying the things that I have learned here to the rest of my life. I know that in my life I only desire to please my Father in Heaven and use His Sons Atonement so that I may return to my Heavenly Home.
 Throughout the past 5 months of my mission, I have been writing articles about my experiences and side notes about the things that I have learned. I have only sent one of them to you and have quite a few reserved to share with you in the coming weeks. I know that the Lord has blessed me with the gift of writing and speaking that I may enlighten others and share the light of Christ through my words. Speaking with boldness, but not overbearance, just as Shiblon did. I love to share my experiences with others and hope to continue doing that when I get home through a blog or other means.

      I'm sorry this email is all over the place, but I'm just trying to pour out all my thoughts and feelings. I look forward greatly to seeing you in just a few days time. Please know that I will be soaking up every last moment this week as a missionary for the Lord. We will be working hard and laughing loads. :)
                                    your Little Sister Missionary :)

 I told Sister Cebollero that when the expiry date on the milk is
the day I leave, I would know that I truly am going home SOON. Guess
what the date was on our milk we bought this morning.. Yikes.

Dearest family,

     What an incredible week!!!! Aahhhhh, being a missionary is honestly the coolest thing ever. We are exhausted, but so happy! Hitting 18 months was a crazy feeling. My feet are blistered, my head hurts most of the time, and I think the bags underneath my eyes are eternally there. BUT, my spirits are high and my motivation has only increased!
     This week gave us a run for our money and I know you want to hear all about it, so here it goes! :)

      On Tuesday we met a 22 year old girl named Jessica from Angola. She is here studying at Cov Uni and was so happy to hear that we help people to understand their purpose here on earth. She really opened up to us about wanting to find direction in her life. We bonded over a few other topics like her being proposed to in Paris this coming weekend, but then we got a return appointment for this week! Woot! We are excited to meet with her again! :)
Just casually walked up on a UK SOFTBALL TEAM! What?! Most people
don't even know what softball is in this country. It totally felt like
we were in America for a few moments.
      On Wednesday we were walking through War Memorial Park and came across a make-shift softball field! What?! People don't even know what baseball is in this country, let alone softball! Sister Olsen played back home, so she was absolutely thrilled to bits! They found out that we were American and kind of treated us like royalty.. Haha. They invited us back to play with them this Wednesday and hopefully share a message with them about Jesus Christ. Woot!
      After we left the softball field, we found two Nigerian dudes ballin on this tiny basketball court. We went and asked them if we could play and we TOTALLY crushed them. You know, back home if you see two black dudes on a court, you wouldn't dare ask them to play because they would kick your butt! Here on the other hand, they want to be good at basketball, but the American blood just doesn't run through their veins ;) Haha. Sister Olsen set me up a few times and they were just in awe at how these two nuns in skirts were beating them at this simple game. Haha Alex and Jeremiah will hopefully be attending church soon, despite them being butt-hurt about the loss that we handed them ;)
Sunshine = Oreo sandwiches ❤️
      We walked out of our flat on Friday to find a man named Nithin and a girl named Ellie. We had seen Ellie one time previously and had a good chat with her, but she said she wasn't interested. She looked at us and was very friendly and excited to see us! Once Nithin understood who we were, he sat down on the wall and poured out his heart to us. He has been going through some super hard trials recently and, as a result, is struggling with understanding his purpose in life. The told him that we know that the Lord has a plan for him and Ellie and that he knows the feelings of our hearts. We set up a time to see them this coming Friday, which will be great!
The BIRDS! We love this family so much!!! All of them are fluent in
Japanese. We are teaching Hiyori (blue dress) to prepare for her
baptism on the 16th! 💛

      On Friday, we also met a lady named Ese from Nigeria. She is 29 and LOVED sports! We were besties from the moment that we met and were bonding over Jesus and sports. We told her what we do and she was thoroughly impressed, especially the fact that we bike in skirts. She is in this country doing her masters and is SO lovely. We look forward to seeing her on Thursday! :)
My cute companion and those big, beautiful blue eyes.

     On Sunday, we walked with Ellie to church and it was wonderful! We really found some common ground that we could build upon. She has a desire to find peace and purpose in her life, but has yet to find it.  She LOVED church and said that she really felt at home there. Our investigator Jeet came as well and our 1st counselor in the bishop just happens to be one of his colleagues at Jaguar! Small world! Such a perfect fellowshipper!! Some potentials named Helen, Eric, and Eli also came to church. They were two hours late, but they did make it! #blessed. 
     When we walked into relief society with Helen, she pointed out her auntie! What?! It was news to us! Dorothy, her auntie, is a less active member who felt the prompting to come to church. Because she came, Helen had a fellowshipper right off the bat. An opportunity to strengthen a member and to baptise another! Miracles everywhere!
Our DL got locked out of their flat and had to come to
district meeting in their basketball shorts. Lol, so funny!

     I had the opportunity to bare my testimony yesterday and when I got up there, I told everyone that this is my last week serving as the
Lord's missionary. Tears filled my eyes and I told them that I haven't actually said that out loud yet. The realization of my 18 month service hit me in my first 3 seconds at the pulpit. Crazy. I have come to love this ward and these people so much and am so thankful for the opportunity to have served here.
UK's actually was not that great TBH, but the but the
bag was cool!
      I look forward to the last week of my mission! What an absolute blessing it will be. We have something planned nearly every single hour for the next 7 days. Wow. Deep Breath! Lots of return appointments and hopefuls for new investigators. We are finding new people and getting them to church (miracle), now we just need to help them to enter the waters of baptism! Lots of work left to do!

     I love this gospel. I love the way that it has enriched my life,
especially over the past 18 months. I know that the words written in
the Book of Mormon relate directly to us in these last days. I am
grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who is ever so patient with me as I struggle to find my way back to him. I am eternally indebted to my Saviour who has blessed me with the opportunity to be clean and free from sin. This mission experience has been so much more than I could've ever imagined and far more than I ever deserve. What a privilege it is to know of the plan that God has for me. 

I know Christ lives! And He loves us so much!

           Have a beautiful week!

                   All my love from Britain,

                                         Sister Sydney Jones

No comments:

Post a Comment