Alright, let me answer your questions, then move onto a pretty good, yet normal week :)
Photos - Finally! Dropbox worked! So, they are sitting up there now. There aren't too many, but it does have a picture of Ronnie and of my new Canadian companion, Elder Wright! He's a good one. We've only served a few weeks together, but he's one of the first companions I've had that is pretty similar to me, so I think we'll have a great time :) I've been blessed with so many good companions. There's also a picture of Ronnie at his baptism (he's in white with me) and of his brother Gary who we're teaching now (he's the one that looks like a gangster from the 20s in front of the Christus at the Visitors' Centre).
Scholarship Essays - Who knew that you could feel like you were at school on your mission!? Well, I testify that it is possible, when you sit down at a computer for two hours and knock out some scholarship essays. They turned out quite good, actually. It was funny, when I wrote them, I could say things like "I'm currently doing this thing in England, literally, like, right now." Of course, I said it in a much more refined and dignified manner, befitting of scholarship. Ha.
Places I've Served - I actually recall giving you this information already. I'll list it again here. Here's the key: Major City (towns I served in nearby)
1. Crawley (Horsham, Broadfield, and Central Crawley)
2. Oxford (Witney, Carterton, Eynsham, Didcot, Woodstock) -
3. Maidenhead (Slough, Windsor) - I only served here for a short time
4. East Grinstead (Lingfield, Newchapel, Oxted, Edenbridge, Forest Row, South Godstone, Godstone)
Right, I hope that gives you an idea of where I've been.
Wow, that took longer than anticipated. Our week was very good!
A few awesome things did happen, though :) We were able to set a baptismal date with Roger, an older man that we are teaching. We finally taught him something that really mattered to his soul: eternal marriage. We found out that his partner had died about 7 years ago, and he is very much a loving man. He wants to be with her again, and to baptise her, and be sealed to her while he's here. Those are some worthy goals. It's funny how sometimes, there is a portion of the Gospel that is specifically prepared for certain people at certain times.
We're still asking for daily miracles, I'll share with you one that came in an unexpected way: there is a struggling less active member of our ward who we've begun taking with us to teach our investigators. Teaching opportunities are wonderful ways of building testimony :) We asked the Lord to bless us with an opportunity to serve this member and be able to sit down with him and talk, even though he lived a long ways away. As we finished praying, we received a call from that member saying he would be painting in town and would like some help. The Lord answers in mysterious, and sometimes even immediate ways :)
I went on exchange this week with Elder Wofgramm, a truly wonderful man. He's from L.A. but you never know, he may still be a relation :) Elder Wolfgramm's right leg was amputated when he was 14, and ever since then, he's been a sports champion, training and competing with the U.S. Olympic Bobsled team. I was out of my area, in a place called Reigate, when I learned a valuable lesson about teaching and the way the Savior taught. Elder Wolfgramm teaches as the Savior would. It's amazing to watch, really. People are captivated and completely understand when he speaks. Parables, specifically, flow from his lips. I remember someone antagonistically asking us what the point of this life even was, and my one-legged companion answering in the following way: "If you walked into a gym with no knowledge of what a gym was, this is what you would think: 'oh my goodness, this is a horrible place. Everybody is sweating, and crying, and doing seemingly pointless things; they keep moving bits of metal, then putting them back where they began. Some of these people are in pain, and others are yelling at them, this must be hell!' Without a knowledge of why we go to the gym, the gym is no longer a place of change and building yourself, what it was intended to be, it is hell. Knowing the purpose of this life, what came before, and what comes after, is essential to what this life will appear like to us."
I'm so glad I was able to go on this exchange, it was such a blessing to me. This Earth revolves around training, therefor it is a true privilege to see a master of something work. You gain so much from those situations: you now know something amazing is possible, you know what it looks like, and even though you may not be able to do it, you gain a perfect hope that you can do the same, which anchors your efforts, preventing you from giving up (Ether 12:4).
It's similarly that way with our friends and family, we just need to find what they need at the time. Finding that out requires prayer, and pondering, and inspired questions. I was listening to a talk the other day by Neil A. Maxwell, where he talked about how the Gospel was not another pill, meant to give relief to a problem, but instead that the Gospel was the true solution to all problems of the world, through preventative and nature changing methods. Much more slow and steady, but actually lasting and sustainable. The world frantically searches for immediate solutions to major social problems. Our Heavenly Father isn't one to give us quick, easy, happiness-now solutions. His plan involves us changing who we are, and therefor actually getting down to the root of our problems, creating lasting happiness. It's like the difference between taking a painkiller and getting a surgery. God is very much a surgeon. I can see that in those people that I have taught and who have decided to accept the Gospel and change their lives; they have changed into incredibly loving and service oriented people. Most importantly, they have changed.
Well, I had a lot more insights this week than usual, thanks for bearing with my thoughts and impressions. I know that God lives and loves us, and especially that He listens to us and answers.