Thank you for the music :) Send as much more as you would like if you get the chance, I just emptied the drop box again.
I saw the pictures of the car on Facebook...ugh. That sounds stressful. Also, sounds like a Dad-project :) I'm glad that Ian's OK. You know, there is a sister in our Zone right now that reminds me a lot of you. She is incredibly capable and very skilled. By the way she acts, she is practically a mother already :) She is one of the most loving and caring people that I know, and if I asked her to do something, she would never say no. She also worries about everything and everyone. With the leadership position and situation that she is in, so many people rely on her, and finally she came to us and explained that she felt like she was failing; failing because she couldn't give 100% everywhere. It's interesting to see how she had trouble accepting that her best effort was success in the eyes of our Heavenly Father. She believes in Christ, but she doesn't believe Christ when He tells us that a new contract has been made, and no longer is 100% required. We'd all be failing if that were the case, ha.
The other day we spoke with her companionship and challenged her to read a scripture, and then commit to do something. I'll challenge you to do the same, Mom: - Read Exodus, 18:17 - 23 - Think of 3 things that stress you and make the choice to delegate them. You can delegate something to me if you'd like :) There are a lot of people you can delegate to, and often times, all we need to do is ask. When I think about this, I always imagine my best friends sincerely asking me for help. Personally, I wouldn't just feel like helping them, I would be grateful that they had the courage and trust in me to even ask. If I've learned anything from the English, it's that humbly deciding to receive service is more difficult than giving it. Accepting service takes more humility than serving someone else, it takes more courage than offering something, and it is simply the other half of service that we must embrace, for if we don't, then we cannot truly serve. It's like forgiveness and repentance. They are two halves of the same whole; we cannot repent without forgiving, and we cannot forgive without repenting.
I love you and am always thinking about you as I study, pray, teach, and testify.
This week was incredible! We went on three exchanges, two with members of the Zone and one with the AP's. I saw too many miracles to count, so let me share a few choice ones. I've really gained faith this week, specifically in principles that I've always struggled with in Preach My Gospel.
Eric - Eric is a man from Slovakia whom we taught in the morning at his home. As we spoke about prayer, he frankly asked "alright, how am I supposed to know what an answer is, then?" I love that question, it means that they've understood that it's possible to receive something. We knelt in prayer and the first thing that he said when he stood up was "Elders, I've felt a lot of things before, but nothing like this burning in my heart." What an opportunity to explain the Spirit to someone! If we don't bring the Spirit to our investigators, then we are left to explain what a hamburger tastes like without allowing them to taste it. Our Heavenly Father is always pouring out His Spirit on those humble enough to accept His messengers.
Amanda - While we were contacting in the evening, Amanda and her two adorable children were walking home. We met them and explained who we were, and Amanda subsequently opened her heart and explained that she felt as if she had lost the true meaning of Christmas in her home. It's amazing to see how the Lord puts people in our path who need us.
Paul - We met a man that day who had met with missionaries a year before, on the same day. He explained that when the missionaries talked to him, they dusted him off, spoke some kind words, and promised him specifically that his Christmas would work out and be the best that he ever had. It was. At the time he was homeless, and he subsequently found a home, a job, and reconciled with his family before that Christmas day. Paul promised himself that if he ever saw the missionaries again, he would hear what they had to say. And he is now doing just that over in Reigate :) It reminded me of a scripture in 1 Corinthians 3:6 - "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God..." And so it was that way with us that day, and those missionaries exactly a year ago.
Referrals from the mouth of babes - We asked everyone we saw and talked to if they knew if there was someone we could teach; you have to apply the only thing in bold on the last page of PMG. The person who's reply was the clearest and most sincere was a young boy, probably around 8 years old. He told us a name, and address, and a time to drop by. He didn't give a reason for why we should stop by, but I believe it's because his childlike spirit sensed something more in what we spoke to his parents about. We went to visit this family and are now meeting with them. "Out of the mouth of babes" shall the elect be found.
Rhodda and Cheedo - This was incredible :) We were teaching Rhodda, an investigator, about the restoration at Cheedo's home. Cheedo is a recent convert of less than a year, and they are both from Zimbabwe. So, of course, we first ate together. What we ate is pronounced "sud-sud" although I have no idea how it is spelled :) It was wonderful. When we taught, Cheedo was able to bear powerful testimony of her conversion, and Rhodda accepted a date to be baptised!
There have also been tons of really cool events happening at the Visitor's Centre for Christmas. They've kept us and our investigators busy on the weekends. On Friday, a composer from the ward over came and displayed a bunch of his work on upcoming feature films. It was really cool. He also played the flute, because he's a flute major. I guess that's the way to go if you want to compose professionally ;) There was an a'cappella group named Enchanted that came to sing there, and they were wonderful, and from Sweden. Last, but definitely not least, there was a Gospel choir that came down from Wandsworth stake (it's the stake in South London, so everyone was from Africa basically, ha). They had the whole Visitor's Centre shouting, swaying, and clapping. It was quite the event for a bunch of English Mormons, ha :) I loved it.
Lately we've been taking out a returned missionary with us who served in the Alpine German Speaking mission. He's a wonderful missionary, and so lucky to come back to a ward where he can work with the missionaries so much. Mom, how is your work with the missionaries going? I'm not going to lie, I wasn't very involved with the missionary program at all back home, so I'm wondering how much I'll be able to get out with them, and how they use their returned missionaries (specifically in Salt Lake?). Let me know how your experience has been. I guess I won't be there for long anyway, ha :) I just want to work with missionaries for the rest of my life. There's not much I love more.
The Zone had a baptism last week in Crawley. David, who was baptised, is going to be an incredible convert :) This upcoming week, we'll be having a baptism in our ward as well! Mark is such a humble man. The sisters found him quite a while ago, and he has now readied himself for baptism. His heart is so pure, I cannot wait to see how he builds the kingdom here in East Grinstead.
The England London South Mission is on fire right now. Faith is incredibly abundant here right now, there were 17 baptism across the mission this last week. If you expect miracles, they will always be there. For miracles have not ceased, unless the faith of men has ceased (Moroni 7 and Mormon 9). I love you all, thanks for everything, especially all of your love during the Christmas Season.
Cheers, Elder Foster