Alma 37:6-7 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.
NEWS JUST IN! I AM........ STAYING! My new companion is Elder Jensen from Utah. He was just serving with Elder Adriano up in Cambridge and now is coming down here. I am really excited for this coming transfer with him and I think we will really get along. Elder Pereira is leaving and going to London North to be the Zone Leader there. I had a good transfer with him and it just flew by!
All this week I have had the subject of gratitude stuck in my head. I really have met some people who have gone through so much more than I have and still have the strongest faith in God. I will tell you about Moses.
So I told you about our Blind friend Moses last week. He came to church and we saw him this last Tuesday. When we went to see him we brought the Book of Mormon in Braille! He was so excited. We taught him about the book and about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He then accepted to be baptised and preparing for the 7 of September. After the lesson he asked if we could come over everyday at 5 30 to read with him and to teach him more. We accepted and have seen him everyday since. As we have become better friends he has told us about his childhood and how he became blind. He was born in Rwanda and during the Genocide he lost his eyes and his parents at the same time. Since then he has been completely blind. He later got married and soon after had to leave Rwanda and come to London to work for his family so they could have money to survive. While working here he found out that his wife had been in a terrible accident and was killed. Later he found out that he had a daughter that was only 3 months old at the time. He was in no contact with her for 7 years because he could not go back because of the money. He found his way back and met his daughter for the first time at 8 years old. He had to leave eventually and come back to England and a tear jerking "Daddy please don't leave me." Left her lips. He said it was the hardest thing he had ever done. He speaks with his daughter often and she is doing really well in school. He then says," God has been good to me and there is no reason to be sad because I know many people who have it worst than I do. With God, everything will be taken care of."
He is such a role model to me and how he is not grateful for the things he has but always grateful in his circumstances. President Uchtdorf gave a wonderful talk last general conference on this subject. Here it is! https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/grateful-in-any-circumstances?lang=eng
Last night we had dinner in an even nicer home than the one I talked about before. It is the home on the same street as Simon Cowell. The home is worth over 50 million but inside is worth even more. Everything is either made of gold or silver. There was a gold bar on the desk that had "WORK" engraved on the top... haha motivation in itself. The member is the Private Chef for him in his home. He hasn't seen his boss in over a year though because he is travelling all over the world. He is from Saudi Arabia!
I hope you have a good week and I will talk to you soon!
Today was pretty awesome! I think my I found my favourite part of London. It is Covent Gardens. Like it is all cobble stone and has the most random and urban shops. Old antiques, Italian aromas, and classical violinists while enjoying your mid day tea. We spent our morning looking around a found shop selling old fashioned calligraphy pens. The ones with feathers and ink you dip the tip into. The temptation was real but I resisted. It reminded me of The Count of Monte Cristo. Good movie.
On Wednesday night I was able to attend Barbara's baptism. It was so amazing to see. Her daughter, who is a member, came from from Italy to see the baptism with her husband. It was amazing how fast the whole service was but it symbolized how hard she worked to get to that point. She is now an active member and doing great! I will attach the pictures.
Saturday was a pretty epic day. We had a lot of fun. In the morning we had an appointment with our next door neighbor and after we taught her and her husband they brought out some food they had prepared for us. We were pretty excited but they didn't know that a member of the ward was planning on taking us out to lunch right after. So we eat the food and leave now to our lunch appointment. The member took us to Giraffe! It was some delicious food! After the appointment we then went to visit this part member family. They wanted to meet us at Westfield which we were nervous about because westfield is this massive mall! MASSIVE. Look it up, Westfield in Shepherds Bush. And inside there are a lot of restaurants. They didn't mention anything about food so we thought we would be okay. We meet them in the middle and they hand us a giant bag of food that they cooked for us that they said was for home. We were so happy!!! But then they said follow us we are also going to take you out to eat...... I was still excited but just worried that I would not be able to take in any more food. The Lord had literally blessed the food and made it disappear as it entered my body. It was some really good food thought. Nando's which is a Portuguese restaurant. After seeing them we went to teach our new investigator Joey at a members home and the member made food too. I didn't partake. haha. What a day. Quatro fed!! Records have been broken with that one.
But here is the Miracle of the week!!! So during the week Elder Periera and I were walking and spotted a bling man down the road and as we approached him we offered if we could walk him home. As we were walking him home we had a wonderful conversation. He told us that he is in the process of starting a radio station funded by the United Nations to help people with disabilities find work! He is a really kind man. He asked who we were and we explained that we were missionaries from a church and he then asked, "Can I come with you to church on Sunday?" So on Sunday morning we were on our way to pick him up and we realized that we would probably be late for church. As we said this a member pulled up and said, "Hey Elders can I give you a lift!?" "Well we are going to pick up a blind man, can you take him as well?" "Sure!" So we were on our way. It was such a blessing for that member to be going to church at that exact time and to help us take our friend. We ended up arriving to church early with plenty of time to introduce him to some new friends!
Love you all and talk to you not next Monday but Tuesday! Monday is moves calls and I find out where I will be for the next 6 weeks! I pretty much know I am staying and that my companion is leaving so really I just have to guess who my new companion is! Fun stuff.
This week was pretty awesome! I am soaking wet as I am typing this right now because after we got out of the tube station while walking to the chapel, the heavens opened with hail and really big dollops of rain. It was ridiculous how fast it came. When we got on the tube it was all sunny but the weather changed in that short 5 minute ride. I wish I would have thought to take a video with my water proof camera but I was too busy running. No we don't carry around umbrellas because how hot it has been but now it seems summer is starting to wind down.
Last week was a week full of driving instruction. Not for me but for my companion. Now I was the one who had to sit in the back seat for hours on end and look out the window. On Tuesday Elder Pereira had a 2 hour driving instuction to prepare for his test that was on Thursday. On Wednesday the same. I am truly thankful to be done with the process. On Thursday he had his test and unfortunately he failed it. It was a good effort though! Having failed it twice until passing, I found it easier to try and make him feel better. Fish n Chips did the trick.
On Wednesday evening I was able to go teach Barbara again! So if you do not remember. Elder Adriano and I found Barbara when we were serving in the Hyde Park 2nd Ward just 6 months ago. She is still investigating and had a hard time stepping away from her current church. She really wanted to but never built up the courage to do so. She is from Jamaica and has the greatest accent. So I went with Elder Zhao who is now serving in that area to go teach her again. It brought back so many great memories. We show up and she was so surprised to see me there and so was her 10 year old grand-daughter Raven. We all sat down and I ask, "Barbara, why are you not baptised yet?" She then said, "Well just the other day I decided to leave the church and it is done. I am ready now." I was speechless. It was such a surreal experience being there to find her and happening to be there when she decided to be baptised. It was definitely a tender mercy from the Lord. She will be getting baptised this Thursday and I will send you all pictures of it! Her grand-daughter might be joining her as well!
On Friday I was officially on an exchange with Elder Zhao back in my old area. We walked around the places we used to work. We even walked past the bench were Elder Adriano and I had beer poured all over us by the drunk dude from Portugal. It is priceless. I will attach it.
Saturday morning I was back with Elder Pereira and we went to go see Ashley! He is doing great and is preparing to be baptised in the next two weeks! He is inviting all of his family down to see it all. Ashley's daughter also came to church with him this Sunday. She is 9 and I think she enjoyed primary. I really don't remember much of what happened during primary except one year where my Mum was in there and I thought I was a celebrity because my mum was in charge of the class. On Saturday a Senior couple took us out to lunch at a pub. My companion is a genious when it comes to computers. So he helped the senior couple out and they treated us. It was really nice of them.
On Sunday I had a really cool experience when going home to eat dinner on the tube. We were finding in Hammersmith and decided to walk to Ravenscourt tube station instead of taking the one in Hammersmith. We get to the platform and board the tube. I sit across from this young Indian man and compliment him on the jumper he was wearing. He thanked me then started starring at my name badge. All people do this. They forget that my eyes are not on my chest.. haha usually I didn't have this problem back home. He then told me that he has seen that tag before. He proclaimed,"In fact I actually met with your friends up in Gloucester a while back and they gave me a book." He then reached inside of his yellow backpack to pull out his navy blue Book of Mormon! "No way I can't believe you have that book in your bag! It's great huh?" This struck up a great conversation and I moved from across the isle to sit next to him. He told me that he is Christian and liked meeting with the missionaries in Gloucester but life dragged him to London on short notice. He told me that he was supposed to go to church with them but he left before Sunday came. I invited him to come this next Sunday and he accepted the invitation. We will be seeing him during the week as well. This just proves to me that God is aligning our paths with those whom he has prepared. Never would I have thought that going to Hammersmith instead of Ravenscourt would be a big deal, but it made all the difference.
Really I had a great week and it keeps getting better. Since today was P-Day my companion and I arranged a Zone Picnic in Hyde Park. After eating we played some football (soccer) and some volleyball. I love the people, I love the location, I love my mission.
So this week was probably the fastest week of my mission. I have probably said that one before in some previous email but now this is the new record. On Tuesday we had Mission Leadership Council in Hyde Park. It was just the best to not wake up at 3 in the morning to drive down from Norwich. Opposition in all things right. I got to wake up at the normal time, have a nice breakfast, get my studies on. All of the normal routine and we were still on time. The meeting was great. It is my favourite meeting to attend. After the meeting we went to Ashley's home to have family home evening with his family. Ashley is one of investigators right now that is preparing for baptism. He is dating a member and has a 9 year old daughter who we are starting to teach as well. They are really great!
On Wednesday Elder Pereira had to take his driving lessons to prepare for his test coming up this week. All I can say is that I am so happy to be done with that process. It is just miserable. He takes it on the 7th so go pray for him because it really is terrible.
Thursday was the day we help Zone Training Meeting for our Zone. I love preparing for this meeting. We give trainings to the missionaries in the zone to help them reach their full potential in the Lords Vineyard. After the meeting on Thursday a few of us went to this chinese restaurant named "Chopstix." While sitting there there was this Chinese University Student who kept looking over at us and I really wanted to talk to him. We continued eating and by the time we finished the man was gone. I was kind of sad but gradually forgot about the memory as the day rolled on. Then as the night was about to end, before we were going to go home for tea we decided to talk to people outside of the Hyde Park Chapel. After 10 minutes there was not much success until at a distance I saw a familiar face that I recognized. It was the guy from earlier at the restaurant!!! I was so shocked and I said, "Hey I remember you! You were at chopstix today!" He replied,"Oh yeah you were with all your friends. It looked like you were having a good time." After a few minutes of small talk I invited him into the Visitors Centre for a tour. He accepted and loved the tour. He got so excited when he saw the full size basketball court. We then invited him to come to play friday night basketball (which was the next day). He also agreed. After playing basketball on Friday we then invited him to come to church and he came! His name is Song and really is a cool guy. It just shows that no matter how big London is. That if God wants you to talk to someone, he will make sure it happens. What are the chances that I would run into him the same day as when I saw him? Miracle.
On Friday we had the whole day to do some normal missionary work which was really needed. We were sick of being on the computer for the past 3 days getting ready for the meetings. As we were walking home from doing service in the morning we ran into Beth. Beth is from the Philippines and we always talk to her in the little Tagalog that we know and she loves it. She said,"When you first said Como Saka to me I thought in my head, white boy say what? I was so surprised you knew how to say that." So we ran into her again and this time we had the longest conversation yet and t was great. By the end of the conversation I asked her,"So when are we coming over for some Filipino food?" Beth said, "Tomorrow at 11:30." Easiest meal appointment ever scheduled and it was with our neighbor who doesn't even know us haha.
So the next day we go to her home and she has this feast prepared for us. So much dang food. Her husband was really pleased to meet us. He is from the Caribbean and they met 4 years ago. They lived in the same flat complex and met one day and happy ever after. They were very curious about what we believed and said they would like to learn more another time. Beth has family who are Mormon's back in her home country. So now this new family is wanting to investigate the church after inviting ourselves over for food. Success.
Later that evening we had another night in the Philippines. So a lot of people form the Phillippines come here to cook or clean for really wealthy families. There is a woman in our ward who does this and while the family are on holiday He lets her have people over and have a small gathering. We were invited to this small gathering and I was really excited to go to this really nice home. I didn't know what to expect though. We arrive to the door and as she opened it I couldn't believe my eyes. The home was beautiful. Just perfect. They had this grand piano in the living room that I of course had to get my hands on. It was ridiculous. So as we were eating I asked," so who's home is this by the way?" Pacita nonchalantly responded,"The Vice President of the Swiss Bank." I about choked on my food. She then goes on to explain that he has 2 other homes in France, 1 in Switzerland, and a 350 acre property with a mansion sitting right in the middle that is located in Birmingham. It was a pretty cool experience. After dinner I wanted to take a tour and record the house from a 1st person perspective. Masterpiece.
A lot of good things are happening! I will talk with you soon!