You had a few questions, most of which will be answered as I run through the major points from last week, but I'll answer two at the beginning:
Ask me as soon as you can about activities and places, because there are quite a few places I would be able to suggest when it comes to living quarters. There are also quite a few families very willing to have us over, though I understand if you don't feel comfortable doing that. Maybe I'll just have to save that for when I come back on my own ;)
To be honest, I'm not really worried about it. In my mind, I don't really exist back home anyways, ha. You're pretty much the only person I email and receive emails from anyway.
Alright, let me get into the week. There's been quite a bit happening lately, so forgive me if I don't go into detail on each one.
Ah, this one was fun. Turns out, in France (one of our VC sisters is from France), April Fools day is actually called April Fish day, wherein you try to stick pictures of fish (originally we thought it was an actual fish, but that got cleared up later) on peoples' backs without them noticing. It culminated with the funniest district meeting ever :) Strangely, in conjunction with this holiday, one of the missionaries (not French, by the way) that we helped to move flats played a prank on us in which they put an entire frozen salmon in our Van when we weren't looking. The fish were against us that day.
Breakfast at President's
Of all of the uncommon mission events, this definitely tops out. President had us over for breakfast, where he made us proper American pancakes and eggs. We were picking up a new missionary and taking her to her new area near President's home. He's a great cook, actually. He also gave me one of the most incredible Temple Recommend interviews I've ever had in my life. That man is one of the most incredible people I've ever been privileged to meet and work with. He is his motto: "Forever Faithful."
The other day we sat down after a quite the session of finding and saw a note in our planner: "call Drew." We had found Drew the day before in the middle of East Grinstead, and he had left us with his information and run off to a meeting. So, we called Drew. Turns out, right at that moment, Drew was in the exact same place that we found him the day before, and he had 20 minutes to spare. In the next five minutes, we were sitting in the East Grinstead chapel, teaching Drew and setting up another appointment with him. What a heaven sent miracle. God's timing is quite perfect.
Oh, I loved conference sooo much. We actually got to see each of the sessions this time, which was a real blessing. I'm going to leave out my insights and study, because of time, but I'm sure I'll tell you about them over the course of the next few months. Interestingly, during the sessions there were a plethora of interruptions, including a fire drill and power outage. It was crazy, ha. Something that I found interesting (you would think I would have gained this insight earlier, having lived at church headquarters most of my life) was how much of a testimony I've gained of inspired church leaders. There were actually four people that spoke/prayed this conference that I have met and gotten to know personally over the course of this mission. What a blessing it was to see them up there and recognize that they were extraordinary men, but also simply people. The Lord really does make the strong out of the weak.
Today we had the blessing of Monday being a bank holiday, which means that we can attend the Temple because it's open! :) It was great, and the day was beautiful as well, which made relaxing with the Zone all the better afterwards.
Another finding miracle we were blessed to see had to do with a woman who had met missionaries about 2 years earlier. We went to her area to visit with two people we had set appointments with, both of which fell through, which left us on an empty street during a rainy day. The one person we did run into, though, was Nicky. She was enamored with the missionaries the first time she met them, but life just got in the way of meeting more often. We're seeing her next week, all because we were in the right place, but didn't know the right reason quite yet.
We're getting iPads in the mission. Interesting. I've actually known for quite a while now, because we were tasked with getting the entire mission to a central location about a month ago for the iPad conference, but now I can tell you :) It'll be the same work, though, just different tools. Like our President is so fond of saying: "never let a tool become a program. A program would be building a house. A tool is a hammer. You'd never get so obsessed with a hammer that you thought it could build a house on it's own, so don't think the tools the church gives you will baptize on their own." A wise farmer.
Pride and Prejudice
We went on a trip to a Pride and Prejudice filming site the other day, as per request of the Sisters. I've never seen nor read the story, so it was a funny day; just what I've always wanted, really, to make fun of a chick flick at the actual location instead of on the other side of a screen ;) But it sure was a beautiful site, and well worth going to visit. Maybe the Victorian age had something right after all. I'll put the pictures up on Dropbox.
All in all, it's been a very eventful two weeks. I'm not going to lie, there have also been some very introspective and spiritual moments. I feel as if the Lord is allowing me to relive a lot of memories and gain some insights into future events. All in order to give me some perspective on what has actually been accomplished and changed in my life over the course of the mission.
For instance, this week a very good missionary friend of mine returned to England with her family. We were able to talk for a moment about her feelings on returning home and adjusting, then returning soon afterwards. I think it was a God sent couple of moments, to learn and just to enjoy being around a good friend again.
I was invited to the setting apart of a friend of mine in East Grinstead who we had been taking out with us pretty consistently as he prepared for his mission. Sitting at that setting apart reminded me of the many promises I was given that have come to fruition throughout this mission.
Getting my head around a school schedule as I registered for BYU also gave me more of a perspective on the life I lead that isn't the one of a full-time missionary. It was a bit scary, really. I feel like I still don't have a firm grasp on what the Lord would have me be, but getting it all down on paper and planned, even though it was pretty general, calmed me in an inexplicable way.
I'm so grateful for my opportunity to serve the Lord, and I'm working hard to make the most of what I have left. I know that this work is true, and that Jesus Christ lived again and still lives.
P.S. A countdown? Seriously? I'm in a zone of missionaries that utilize the internet on a regular basis, you basically just put up an obituary for the whole Zone to see, ha :)