This week has been quite the week :) Lot's of amazing miracles going on, and some incredible missionary work is happening in our Zone!
Anyways, let me give you a rundown of a few of the more exciting events.
There was a baptism in the Zone this week! It was amazing, an investigator named Rex, who has been investigating for about a year now, decided to commit and be baptized. One of the Visitor Centre sisters has been teaching him for basically the whole time, and during one of their regular lessons, Rex felt that he should be baptized. He was already living the commandments, and I think he decided long ago that he would join the church. It was a really uplifting moment for the Zone, and I hope that it brings some fire and excitement to their missionary work this week. Something that I've noticed as I've begun to serve a group of missionaries is a feeling of unity as a mission. I feel so much more a part of the Lord's work as I sorrow in the failures and rejoice in the success of others. I feel that I understand and am able to keep my baptismal commitment a lot better because of that realization (Mosiah 18). It brings a lot of joy to rejoice in the success of our brethren (Alma 26 and 17:2-3)
I received two amazing calls the other day. The first was from Brother Sutton, strangely enough, a member and really good friend from one of my past wards. He called and first followed up with my promise that I wouldn't ever wear pink again. When I told him that I was wearing a pink tie, he said he'd have to find me and break my legs off. Then, he told me that Matt, a recent convert who I taught and confirmed, has decided to receive the priesthood :) I jumped around on the street for a little bit. Some miracles truly take time to come full circle, which brings me to the next phone call, from the missionaries currently serving in that ward. They told me that Ian, an investigator that I had found and taught for 7 months, has set a baptismal date and will be baptized on the 25th of October. That time I jumped around on the street for quite a bit longer.
This week we ended up going to Chartwell, the home (and now basically museum) of Winston Churchill. It was awesome, what an inspiring and kind of scary dude :)
Funny thing, we keep running into people who do martial arts. One person was even in the Tae-Kwon-Do Federation :) She had just done her third-dan grading and ended up breaking her elbow by hitting it on the ground after breaking a brick. Ha, that girl definitely could have killed us with her bare hands. She was pretty interested in the Gospel though, and she works right around the corner from the temple. We'll see how it goes :)
There were a few other things that I wanted to tell you about that I haven't had the chance to say these last couple of weeks.
First of all, let me tell you about my companion :) His name is Elder Blair, and he is from Missouri. He's the ultimate baseball fan (Cardinals all the way) and a great leader. It's amazing how creative this guy is. Even though he hates computers, the Lord has him in the right place; this Zone needs his ideas and exciting boldness. Our Zone Goals are the most exciting and creative I've seen in the mission in a long time, ha (I'll attach a copy of the laminated sheet we just gave out. I drew a pretty cool little flow chart for our ideas). Also, he's training me very well. I love him :)
Second, our area. East Grinstead is a very interesting place. It's like an English version of the Joseph Smith story. The LDS temple is here, along with a very major Catholic and Baptist community, plus the European area centre for Scientology, the normal English-Muslim groups, and every other religion in between. Everywhere you turn, it seems, there is someone very strongly devoted to their faith, which is a very inspiring and wonderful thing :) It's the first area I've ever been mistaken for a Scientologist, ha. Most everybody knows the Temple, though, and it's an easy starting place for a conversation. East Grinstead is not very big, and there are a lot of surrounding villages that make up most of the population. They call it "sleepy" East Grinstead, but in a religious sense, it's quite awake and aware.
So, something cool that happened to happen during this transfer; every week, we go on an exchange with a District leader in the Zone. Elder Green is serving as the Digital Zone District Leader, and is also a good friend of mine :) Basically, I got to serve with him for a day and it was awesome! In our upcoming exchange with the AP's, I get to serve with another friend from before the mission :) AP Elder Stephen was in my ward at BYU! It's going to be so fun :)
Lastly, I'll tell you about our investigators. There are two people we are teaching that are progressing towards baptism right now. Maurine just lost a good friend, and we ended up bringing her brownies and teaching her. She is a proper seeker, and is super excited about the Plan of Salvation. Nothing has really sat well with her concerning religion, until now :) Chris, a YSA age young man, is very smart, but also very quiet. He's training to become a pro football player, and could definitely train to become a priest if he wanted to, seeing as he knows the Bible through and through. I'm so excited for him to get his answer about the Book of Mormon. We're praying and working hard for them both.
I wanted to share some insights in my studies this week. I thought some of them were very interesting. Extra reading for those that don't just see a wall of text and skip it (which is what I do most of the time, ha). Elder Blair and I have helped the Zone to set some goals to improve our Accountability to the Lord (which is the mission's training plan theme right now). We figured that was a very personal thing, so we decided to study our personal strengths and weaknesses as a Zone, and how we can become more effective tools in the Lord's hands. So, lately, I've been working on becoming a less passive leader. I decided to study Moroni's life and see what made him the leader that he was. I found a few things:
First of all, Moroni was very decisive. In is letters to Pahoran, he was decisive, and even though he ended up not fully understanding the situation, he stood his ground and Pahoran knew that he meant what he said, and would have gone through with it if necessary. When I make decisions, I try hard to mean what I say, and have the right intentions the whole way through.
Secondly, there were many instances in which Moroni inspired those that he lead; at the river of Sidon, when he raised the title of liberty, when he freed the prisoners of Gid and used them to take the city. I found that in each circumstance, Moroni armed those that he lead with superior tools and weaponry. Elder Blair and I are praying and studying what we can do to arm our Zone and give them confidence in what they do.
Well, that's a long letter for you. I hope it brings you up to speed on a few things. The work is hastening, and it is a wonderfully happy work as well :)
Love, Elder Foster