Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Happy Easter

 
I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Easter. Easter sometimes is celebrated by having bright colored eggs. I hope we all can remember at this time our Savior who adds color and joy to our lives...Who makes it possible for us to be saved, from death and from sin.  The greatest love was expressed during this time of year...a love of a Father who gave His only son for us and a love of a Savior who was willing to die for us.  I am very  blessed to be here in England serving Heavenly Father. I think if I dedicate all of my life to His service it still won't be enough.  I hope this Easter season that each of us will focus on the atonement and try to understand it better. It can change our lives and help us find joy in this life. We are told that: "Men are that they may have joy"...and because of the sacrifice our Savior, we can find joy and peace in life if we but follow Him.
In Palestine when we greet each other on Easter morning we say: "Christ has risen!" and the person responding would say: "Indeed he has!" May we always remember that He indeed did walk out of that tomb and the tomb is indeed empty. And by that very act of walking out of the tomb, He gave us life. I hope you all will have a wonderful Easter Season.
 
أود أن أتمنى لكم عيداً سعيداً. نحتفل بهذا العيد عن طريق تلوين البيض بألوان براقة رائعة. علينا التذكر أن يسوع المسيح هو من يعطي حياتنا لوناً ويملؤها فرحاً. هو من يخلصنا من الموت والخطيئة. في هذا الوقت من السنة نتذكر أعظم أنواع الحب. حب أب ضحّى بابنه الوحيد من أجلنا وحب مخلص أعطى حياته من أجلنا. أنا سعيدة لكوني هنا في بريطانيا أخدم أبي السماوي. إن قضيت كل أيامي في خدمته لن يكون هذا كافياً. أتمنى أن نقضي هذا العيد بالتأمل في كفارة يسوع المسيح ومحاولة فهم ما فعله من أجلنا. الكفارة بإمكانها تغيير حياتنا ومساعدتنا على الحصول على السعادة في هذه الحياة. "وُجِد الناس ليسعدوا" وبسبب تضحية يسوع المسيح بإمكاننا ايجاد السعادة والسلام في هذه الحياة إن تبعناه. في فلسطين نقوم بتحية البعض في هذا العيد كالآتي "المسيح قام" والشخص الآخر يجيب: "حقاً قام". أتمنى أن نذكر دائماً بأنه حقاً قد قام وبأنه خرج من القبر وبأن القبر فارغ. وبخروجه من القبر أعطانا الحياة والأمل. أتمنى لكم عيداً سعيداً
 
 

 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

London

London trip, Friday March 22

We took the day off and went to London so Suleiman can see some sites before he goes back to Jordan. It must be me, but every time I got to London the temperature drops 10 degrees. It was freezing cold, so cold that my chin and nose froze. But, overall it was a good day.
It started out bad because they said a woman and child were killed by the train. So, they closed all the train lines going out of our area. We had someone drive us to the airport and we caught a train from there to London.

We went from Victoria station to Westminster Abbey where we got off and walked. We saw big ben and took pictures by Westminster Abbey. The good thing about being on a mission is that you can get in free to all the churches. So, we could have gone into Westminster Church for free. But, we decided to save it to another time.  I still don't know why they would charge a normal person 18 pounds to enter a church, but I guess they need to make money somehow.

We then decided to ride the London Eye. Which is a large Ferris wheel that goes really slowly but goes high and shows you a view of all of London. We walked across the bridge to get to it, then waited in line for a while to get tickets. Suleiman paid for our tickets. We saw a short 4-D show about it which was fun (and they took our picture--see below).  We then went outside to ride it and the line to the London Eye was so long. I thought I would die from the cold, I have never been so cold. The nice man there saw we were freezing and sent us to the other shorter line and we got on fast. It was really cool to look down and see London.

We were about to go home because by then I was really cold and tired. Suleiman said he did not want to leave before seeing the queen's palace. Sister Hess said it was a 20 minute walk, but I made them take a taxi. The flag on the palace was up meaning the queen was in the palace. We were outside long enough to take some pictures and leave. We walked back and it did not seem so far on the way back.
Below are some pictures I took. Suleiman is in almost all of them because we wanted him to have some pictures to take home. he seemed to really enjoy himself. He is over 80 years old, but seemed to be strong and looked much younger.  Yesterday we were so worried about him getting home because it was snowing really bad and some flight were cancelled. But, after a few prayers the snow stopped and he was able to make his flight. We told them he needed a wheelchair because we thought he would never be able to find his gate alone. so, this way he got taken to his gate...yay.

1. View from the London Eye (each capsule looks like an eye I guess!), but see how high it goes.

 
2. Buckingham Palace where the queen lives:

 
3. Big Ben and the London Eye in the back:

 
4. Westminster Abbey

 
5. Big Ben and the red bus:



6. After crossing the Thames (walking) and freezing. Don't know why we are smiling because we were frozen!
 
7. Right before going to the 4-D show. I never buy pictures that they make, but Sister Hess paid for which I am grateful. Suleiman was so happy with the warm Jacket and hat he got from Elder Kearl. I don't know what he would have done without them!


8. Is that a Palestinian flag on that building in the middle of London?? Maybe...


9. View from the top of the London Eye.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sulieman

I was told that a Jordanian member of the church is going to come here to England so he can go to the temple. The temple in our religion is a sacred building dedicated as the house of the Lord. Since we have very few temples in the world, many like Suleiman have to travel far distances in order to be able to go. Suleiman does not speak English well, so we volunteered to go pick him up from the airport. He is actually 83 years old! And has been a member of the church for 7 years. He has 9 children, and is a widower --his wife died in 2007.

We picked him up on Monday and we ran late so he was waiting for us for a long time.  He is a very sweet man. He reminds me of my father, actually when people saw us together they asked if he was my father.  We got him to his room which is in the same building I am staying at. The temple workers were very sweet and they paid for his room and provided him with some food as well.

He went to the temple on Tuesday. I was in the office, but happened to stop by the temple to drop off something when the temple President saw me. He said he was glad I came and that they needed someone to help translate for Suleiman. Suleiman was thrilled to see me, and said he did not understand much of what was going on until I got there. He said that he felt that the place he was at (the temple) was so different than the outside world. He said he felt so good there and felt that all those people dressed in white were like angels.

I went with him to the temple again in the evening. The temple presidency wanted us to try and get some temple work done for Suleiman's family while he is here.  I got some information from Suleiman and we were able to perform some ordinances for his parents and his wife. Tonight, he was sealed to his parents and his wife. (those of you who are not members of the church may not know what I am talking about, so don't worry).

The hardest thing was the food, because Suleiman has a problem swallowing. So, he can't eat everything at least not easily. He does not seem to eat a lot and chocks when he tries to eat some things. But, he would just eat soft things at the restaurants and take the rest of it home so he can eat it slowly at home.  At first we thought he was going to starve to death, but after he explained it to us we felt better. We just went out to dinner and Suleiman treated us all to dinner.

Some people here have recently told me: "See that is the reason you are here, to help this man." Anyway, I am glad I was here to help, but I doubt that this is the reason I am in England. I sure hope I get to help many more people before I leave.

We decided to take tomorrow off and go to London. We will see the major sites there. It is supposed to be really cold tomorrow, but we will do our best not to walk outside in the cold too much. At least this poor old man can see something other than the walls of his apartment before he goes back to Jordan.

The first picture is with Suleiman, Sam and sister Hess. Sam (far right) is from Pakistan. He joined the church many years ago. He knows some Arabic because growing up he used to study the Quran. But, he does not remember most of it. He had a hard time communicating with Suleiman.



Saturday, March 16, 2013

Referrals


We have been having interesting calls from the referral line. This is the number on the back of some pass along cards the church gives. People can call us to order a free copy of the Book or Mormon or a free DVD.  We get all those calls for the mission.  We once got a call from a guy in a mental institution who kept calling and wanting to talk (really I think his doctor may not be giving him enough counseling and that is why he is coming to us, ha ha). He asked for a book of Mormon (he wanted to show it to his doctor) and we mailed one to him but he kept calling…We also had a guy call today and talk and talk.
 
Today I got an interesting call from a little girl, named Miracle.  

She said: “We just had 2 people stop at our house and my mom was in the shower so they left, we want them to come back. I tried the phone number they gave me but it didn’t work. So, I found this number on the back of one of the cards they gave me, can you call them and tell them to come back?”

Me: “Ok, well I need your address please”.

Miracle: Well, we are close to the train station. If you go down the hill, there is a Mc.Donalds, you turn right and we are right there on the corner.

Me: Well, I don’t live in your area, so you are going to have to give me an address.

Miracle: Oh, where are you from?

Me: I am actually from Bethlehem. Do you know where that is?

Miracle: Oh, that is VERY far away!

Me: What city are you in?

Miracle: Newquay (gladly she knew that, but I could not understand her well. So I asked: Can you spell that?)

Miracle: Na, ooo, qo, (clearly she still does not know the alphabets)

(in the background someone walks in and Miracle yells excited “I am talking to this lady from Bethlehem” and I hear mumbling of disbelief from the background.)

Me: Can you give me your phone number?

Miracle: I don’t know that, but I will give you my friend’s phone number and you can call them and ask about my number and they would give it to you. Hold on, I will get it from my mom’s phone. My mom’s phone is cool, it is a Samsung one. Let me see if I can get it. Here is the number, …., and I will give you another one just in case because sometimes these people don’t answer. Just call them and they will give you our number, you can tell them you know me. And please have those people come back today.

Anyway, I found Newquay (actually she pronounced it as new Key,  I had to search online for the correct spelling) and found the missionaries in her area and gave them the information. We’ll see if the neighbors would be able to give them the phone number or if they can go to find the house. Amazing that a little girl would be so excited to have the missionaries come back that she would go through that much effort to call. She may have felt something when she saw them. I don’t know…I’ll follow up with the missionaries to see what happens to Miracle.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thursday, March 14

We had snow this week. The roads were really bad because people here are not used to the snow. Most businesses actually closed.


 

We had some missionaries leaving and some coming this week. It was really busy in the office.
But, we also got to go out with one of the departing missionaries more than once, so that was fun.





















At the end of the meal at this Thai restaurant they brought things that looked like little marshmallows. Elder Kearl said they were at least. Then the waiter brought some water and poured it on them and they started growing! I still thought they were marshmallows, but it turns out they were hand towels.
Here is the video below:

video
 
I just finished cooking Maqluba and ate. The chicken here is bad and not as fresh as the one we have back home. Maybe I will try the meat and see how that is.
 
I heard about a man who is from Jordan who is coming here next week to go to the temple. He apparently does not speak much English, so sister Hess and I volunteered to go pick him up at the airport and help him get to the temple. today I found out this man is like 84 years old! Wow. I mean when did he join the church, what got him interested in coming all the way to England so he can go to the temple? I guess I will find out when I meet him next week.  There is a temple worker here who speaks a little Arabic. He is very worried because he said he does not remember much of his Arabic and he is supposed to be hosting this guy. I told him I can be a translator when needed.
 
 


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Saturday Trip

We wanted to do something fun this weekend, but it was rainy all day Friday. Saturday was the same if not worse. We thought of a movie, but we went to see a movie last Monday, so we didn't want to do that again. We decided to take a drive to two close-by towns.
One town was where the writer of Winnie the Pooh lived. They have a site there for Winnie the Pooh but to get to most places you would have to walk in the woods. It was a nice area by the river, but the weather was bad and it was muddy. We went to the Pooh shop and left. We'll have to go explore the forest another day. Maybe when there are actually leaves on the trees. People tell me that it does become green around here. Although I am starting to doubt it.  Here is a picture by the forest.



After that we went to the town of Sir Arthur Doyle. He is the writer of Sherlock Holmes. All we did was take a picture by his statue and leave =)



It was a scary drive, but really pretty. The area up there is beautiful, full of trees and fields. But, the roads are so narrow. The two way road barely fit one car and people go so fast on them. And they curve so much so you can't see if anyone is coming from the other side. I am so glad we made it home safely. Ok, so I drove on the right side of the road only once (for 10 seconds), and that was in the middle of town. Luckily sister Hess yelled in time for me to move over before a car came. The guy was so shocked that I was in his lane...Does he not know that his country is the one who is reversed not me! So glad Heavenly Father protects even stupid drivers like me.

Tonight we had a dinner for some missionaries who are leaving. Sister Kearl made Mexican food which was really good.


 
 
 
So, my mom is learning to use the computer and she has facebook now. You have to look her up and add her if you are a family member. This way she will find use to the computer she bought. She 'liked' one of my comments and I thought it was revolutionary...Maybe she can see my blog more often.
 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

3/3/2013 Nice date

I had a good week. It was busy in the office. We have 10 new missionaries coming and numbers are increasing.  We had a new couple come in and we will have another one this week as well.

On Friday I got my mission welcome letter which they sent me from here back in December. Funny, but it went to Jerusalem and back.  The address on it was that of the Jerusalem Center, but had Palestine at the end. I don't know if that is why it came back, but it said something in Hebrew maybe like address unknown or something.  Gladly the return address is my current address now so it came straight to me....

I am loving my new flat.  My fridge was too small and I wanted to have it changed. Then noticed that it was not as cold as it should be. I didn't think anything was wrong with it, and when the guy came to check it, he said I see nothing wrong. But, he said he'll talk to his boss and see if he would let me have a new fridge.  5 minutes later he called me and said he had my new fridge with him and wanted to put it in the apartment!! I was so shocked. I didn't think the other fridge was broken, but I guess they changed it anyway. I love this new one, it is so much bigger.  And after I got it I realized that the other one WAS broken because now I finally drink cold juice and things feel cold for a change.

So, I am settled here...today I invited sister Hess over for lunch. I made chicken and potatoes. It tasted really good and she liked it too. I am cooking, but I don't cook very often. We eat out sometimes and when I cook I have enough for the 3 days.

I never thought I would be sick of McDonalds, but I am. So, yesterday we wanted to go somewhere else for lunch. We drove around (I always drive now since I mostly drive on the correct side now) and found nowhere. Finally went to this place. It was so expensive, but we thought it would be rude to walk out. We ordered soup (which was good) and salad. The salad was like 7 pounds and was made of uncooked pumpkin and uncooked beets. And it was so small even.  So, that is one place we won't go back to. We'll have to explore better for restaurants close to the place we shop at.

Tonight I gave a fireside (like a speech). I showed some pictures from home and talked about the situation there. People don't know anything about what is going on, so they were shocked. I am giving another fireside to the youth in 2 weeks.

Jonathan came with his family. I knew them in Jerusalem. Then when I went to Lebannon they were living there at the time. Now they are living here. It is so funny that I would see them here. His kids are amazing. I asked one of his children if he liked my talk and he said he did.

I want to tell you all how grateful I am to be here. Today after the talk Sister Kearl made a really good desert for us and as I sat with all the people who are here I was surprised at how I felt about them. Because just a few weeks ago I sat in this same setting and felt like a stranger. Now, as I look at them I feel I have known them for ages. I feel they are close friends. They made me feel right at home here. They are all amazing people.

Today this guy stood up at church and told us about an experience he had as a boy. He said when he was a kid he went to the Mormon church close to their house. He said he had an amazing feeling there. When he told his mother about it, she said: "Make sure your dad does not know, he will beat you." The following Sunday, he went again to the church because he felt so good there. He said he kept going and one day as he walked out of the church this peaceful good feeling he had was so strong that he looked up towards the sky and felt he heard the words: "your home is not down there on earth, it is here with me."

I also talked about that peaceful feeling in my talk today. The Holy Ghost can help us find peace and joy and happiness in life. No matter how hard our lives may be, what challenges we face we can find strength and peace that come from having the Holy Ghost with us. Heavenly Father loves all His children and He wants them all to come back to live with Him.