First of all, we split the work 50/50. Meaning that we do fifty percent online and fifty in the field. This is really useful, and hopefully as the pioneers we will be bringing it into the rest of the mission. With any luck, it's going to be a normal thing when I leave. Tracting is extremely ineffective here. The only way to make it more ineffective would be to do it in the afternoon instead of the evening. That's where internet work comes in. It takes up the hours people are normally working and fills them with hours that people from all around the world are coming to us with questions and looking for missionaries.
So, what do I mean by internet work? Well, first off, we are the missionaries that answer the chat feature of mormon.org. If you go on and are answered by a James, it's very likely me. We handle massive amounts of requests for information, requests for missionary visits, questions about doctrine or church history, and of course internet trolls. That's always fun :) The other ways that we utilize the internet is through Facebook. I never thought this could be effective, but it actually is. Basically, if someone wants to talk longer than we have on Chat, we ask them to friend us on Facebook and we talk on there. This enables us to do so much more with them, because we actually know who they are, where they are, and are able to consistently contact them. We friend all members, in this area and areas past, and get tons of referrals from them and missionaries in the field. If someone doesn't want to be taught in person, they refer them to us. We've done whole discussions on Facebook, and you can even have members present in these lessons. It's awesome. We got 10 new investigators in the span I've been here, and three progressing. The progressing ones are in China, Malaysia, and the United States. One has a baptismal date and the others found us online and are now meeting with the missionaries.
Soon I'll have a blog up as well, so I'll let you know what the address is, that is something you can check out.
Facebook on the other hand is a little different. We completely hide our accounts from before and create a new one, under the same name, that is mission specific. Friends and family cannot friend us on these accounts, so I'll make sure to make up for it in my blog :) I love my district, we met up and had dinner in the peacock pub a
few nights back. Also, I had my first Dinner Appointment on Friday. An Italian family, with an American father, who are wonderful. It was great.
Anyways, let me explain the title of this post. We are very privileged and trusted missionaries. That's because it is literally a war out here. London is soooo diverse. In the first few days of street contacting and door knocking, I've had to have my companion, Elder Wright, explain to me the basics of at least 4 different religions. I now know how to say hello in Hindu, Japanese, Arabic, and African (depending on the tribe). I also know the basics of Born Again, Jehovah's Witness, Hinduism, Muslim, and Realist religions. A lot of people seem to be "saved" or "know" there is no revelation. I've already seen some very scary things. This is not Brazil or Africa, this is a first world country with people who know the Bible, and can beat you with it. I've already been given a Quran as well. People have come up and talked to us just to bash. We've come in contact with missionaries from other churches specifically sent out for anti-Mormon purposes.
This is a war. We are the hunters, not the fishermen (Jeremiah 16:16). We have to be skilled, and the people we are finding are far and few between. This is especially relevant online, where copy and paste enables even the
fool to spit out anti-Mormon falsities. The point is, I am learning fast; I have to. I've come to love the Bible :) And I'm slowly getting better at talking to people. It's a hard thing to do; you don't realize until everyone on the street or walking the other way suddenly becomes a potential investigator. I've learned, through the wisdom of my
companion and the advise of my district leader, to just open my mouth. That's what makes you better, and that's what teaches you to listen to the Spirit.
Wow, this got long fast. Really quick, two stories that were fun. The first person I ever talked to (street contacted), immediately swore at me and walked away. I've never been so excited and happy in my life! :) Haha. Second, yesterday we knocked an entire road of houses. Every single one we got rejected at, except the last. She became my first new investigator. We're going back this Tuesday to meet with her. Uchdorf was right, you have to knock every single one. Who know's which one will have the next prophet behind it :)
Pictures will be coming soon (Note from Meredith: see photo page). Hopefully I'll have enough time to send them today. Love you all. It's hard, but I love it. What an opportunity to meet people, love them, and