I've begun to love the English more. I don't know if I've mentioned much about my companion, but he is part of that reason. Elder Wright is 24 years old, even though he looks 17, and he is getting married on Halloween
of next year (he's been out 14 months). He's from Worcestershire, a midlands boy. His experience with the mission is very similar to me, which makes his wisdom even more applicable in the field. Just like me, he used to be the silent companion; you come up to the door, and then your heart starts skipping beats and you say, well, nothing :) Luckily, he's been able to knock that out of me within the first week. He has me leading every encounter now, and if there's a question I can't answer, then he steps in. He's pretty quiet, but a really funny and great guy. I love him.
Speaking of contacting, I'm seriously improving. In England, there is really a variety of responses you can encounter at a door :) It's really fun sometimes. There's the "it's the Mormons" response, followed by a curt slam of the door. There's the I don't speak English response, which is a lot more common than you would think (lots of polish people). When you have the spirit with you, you can immediately tell what's going to happen at a door encounter. It's very cool, because one of the common responses is someone who wants to fight with you. The spirit basically says, testify and leave. There are a few really funny ones that we get, like "Oh no, I'm Christian." Uhm...we are Christian. One that I just recently got on an exchange was "man, I would join you guys' church, you're great. I just can't do that Mormon stuff." Elder Sparks and I laughed for the next three houses after that one :)
My first P-day we spent golfing! It was great, we took the office elders with us so we could have a car. It made for a very relaxing and rejuvenating start to the week. I am continually being trained on the internet work, but I'm getting very good at it (very fast as well). We are continually seeing success online, it's just amazing. After the first week, we've accumulated a pretty large list of new investigators, we have a couple progressing and sending emails back and forth. We also have taught quite a few lessons through Facebook. This is really great because we can continually keep in contact with those willing to give Facebook information to us, and it is often much more personal than email correspondence. We even have a person in Malaysia that we are teaching that is now seeing the missionaries (because of us) and has a baptismal date. What I wouldn't give for a Skype of that... :)
Oh, baptisms. Elder Wright and I were invited to be the witnesses at a baptism of a new member of Crawley ward. It was incredible, I cannot wait to find the soul Heavenly Father has prepared for me to bring home.
We got some service in Saturday morning. Building a shed, and laying it's foundation. It was fun, the members got us drinks and everything, and it filled up our morning. The weather here is still killer hot, but it's supposed to rain on Tuesday, thank goodness.
Some people have been asking me how Stakes and Dinner Appointments work here in Crawley. Well, in order to understand that, you have to understand the Stake system in Crawley (and England in general). First of all, this is not Utah. Each mission district has one Church building, and each Zone is a district. These are very large areas, meaning that in all of England, there are very few LDS church buildings and very few wards. In our mission, there are probably less than 25 buildings and about the same amount of wards. We get very, very few DA's here. Maybe one a week...maybe. It's kind of sad, but the members are so spread out and there are so few of them, it's hard for Crawley ward to maintain it's 8 missionaries (it has four normal and four digital).
Alright, last of all, my scripture study. The Bible is so awesome! I love it. There are so many fun and amazing things to learn in it. I ever imagined I would study anything in this depth and love it so much. Not only that, but I've got some serious history study in as well. Nicaean Creed, strange history of the Church (because that comes up a lot on chat), Catholicism and their claim to priesthood, proof that an Apostasy happened, etc. You have to back everything up with the Bible, or else people won't take you seriously initially. So, lots of study, lots of learning. And this is only the beginning :)
Wow, that was long. Got to go, it's been a good week. I'm really coming to love the work. There are just good things that are happening out here, miracles and the lot. It's truly an amazing thing.