Turns out, south England got hit with a hurricane! It has been dubbed St. Jude, and we were straight in the middle of the amber warning. Yeah, it was actually a massive storm (hurricanes normally grow and die long before they make it here, but this one didn't), with winds up to 160 mph on the coasts.
Crawley is a mess, but at least it's not flooded like everything near the coast. There are trees and roof pieces everywhere. Probably be doing some service pretty soon here :) It hit about 3 in the morning, crazy windy. The river we live by, which is a nature preserve, is now a very large lake.
Anyway...Miracle! Elder Caruso and Elder Wright were out contacting the other day and ran into Phonglei! He just got back from Manchester, and has decided he doesn't want to move there. So we're teaching him again, and will reset a baptismal date soon! :D :D :D :D Plus, one of his family friends, the Chen family, is coming to church now as well. Their English isn't nearly as good, so we rely on Skypes from mandarin speaking missionaries. But man it's great to see them back :)
I think the Lord needed me to be able to let go of someone that I loved before He let me see them in white. Who knows, maybe I'll be moved out before his date, ha :)
We had another training call from the U.S. the other day. The missionary training center personnel Skype us and train us on more effective ways of using online missionary work and update us on current legal complexities with the way we work. If there aren't missionaries there in person, then we don't chat online. The church isn't using any backdoor-way of preaching, which is very good.
That happened at District meeting, which we made pancakes for! It was awesome. Today we're going to be carving pumpkins with our district :) Man, I love those missionaries.
And speaking of love, I love this ward. I never thought that I would get so attached. Since I've been here a while, I'm either going to be staying here for Christmas (there are very, very few transfers during that time) or moving out right before. If I move, it will be at the end of this transfer. They are good people, and I'm so proud of many of them, especially the recent converts I've been able to see progress. The church is really the same everywhere, and that is one of the things that I love most about it. It's a home away from home.
My goodness, our online teaching is going soooo well. The people we are teaching are literally miracles. Their experiences line up so well with Elder Gill's and mine that we can teach right from the heart. It's amazing. The Lord puts you somewhere for a reason.
Oh my days! Guess what I got to do this week! Play the Cello again! It was so awesome! We went for 3 member teaches this week, because our last zone conference was all about getting referrals. We only got two, but they went really well, and we received a referral for both. Faith in goals is a powerful thing.
One of the teaches was at family home evening with my favorite family ever (they became my favorite family that night). She's a single sister with two daughters, and they are all incredibly musically talented. Her daughters are only 12 and 14, but they are so flipping good at piano and music in general. It's ridiculous. Anyways, I was talking to Hannah during a ward activity, and I got her to promise me a piano recital. So, we heard her play one Sunday, and it was amazing, and then we got invited over for FHE. Elder Gill had told the Sister that I played Cello for a long time, so at the very end, she pulled out a really nice Cello and said "ok, time to play again." And I was like, "...duh, uh...duh," stunned for words. Then she put a piece of music in front of me and had me play the Cello. The referral we got was her Cello teacher, who's looking into religion right now :) :) :) Ha, the Lord prepares a way for everything to happen, even if that requires music experience from forever ago :)
I've found that the more I care about what I'm doing, the harder it becomes. Satan recognizes our desire to do good, and love for people, and does everything he can to stunt that. The more heart you put in, the more you are devastated when an investigator doesn't show for church, or doesn't read, or potentials fall through. Yet, I've also found the more heart I've put in, the more you recognize the peaks of joy. They are incomprehensible. Miracles become visible, investigators begin to change, you begin to change, and the teaches you are blessed with are more dear than anything this world has to offer.
We're doing really well. It's hard and easy and sad and happy all at the same time. Basically, missionary work is just a jumble of emotions, where you don't know why you get up each day, but you never want to go home each night.
I love the Lord. He is my rock and stay. Prayer grounds me, and faith lets me do more than I could ever imagine. The scriptures and Spirit are my sword, and my testimony and preparation are my armor. Missionary work brings joy that you can't find anywhere else. I hope that you are all serving and loving those around you. Turning outwards is what gives us inward happiness :) I know, I've done it. The Savior did it, and continues to do it.
I love you all, your prayers and letters and love upholds me each day.