Sunday, August 25, 2013

August 25, 2013

We had transfers week last week. It was busy, but easier than normal. We had 27 missionaries arrive. In October is our next big transfer day then we hardly have anyone arriving in November. We still may get people, but we most likely won't have so many anymore. This transfers, Sister Cates and I decided to go to the Staines Chapel to greet the new missionaries. We normally are so busy in the office and can't get away to do that, but we thought we had to do it once just to see what 'moves' day is like.  The missionaries arrived in a big bus from the MTC and we welcomed them in. There were suitcases everywhere! It is nice to get to meet some of the missionaries that we always talk to by phone. It was especially nice to see Pres. Millar assign them to new companions. That was an awesome experience. It was a sad transfers day though since some of the missionaries I got to know and love went home. 

One of our missionaries who was supposed to go home was turned back from the airport.  It was nice to have her in the office helping us out for a few days until we could get her another flight to go home to Samoa. She told us how much her mission influenced her family. She said her sister is getting baptized while she was not even interested in the church before. Her family is so much stronger now. Another sister from the Czech republic also stayed a while longer. She said she spoke no English at all when she traveled to the USA. She was so scared and prayed for help. She said Heavenly Father helped her find people along the way who helped her. Now, only a year and a half later, her English is amazing. It was funny when the Missionary from Samoa called her family to tell them about her flight delay. She could not speak her language and spoke to them in English, even with a British accent.  Don't think I'll ever speak British =) I still have a hard time understanding when people speak fast, but it is getting better.

We have been eating out a lot lately. On Friday, Elder and sister Adams treated us to dinner. Yesterday I took two of my friends out to eat since they are leaving next week.  I had Salmon nicoise salad which was interesting, but good. 

I am not feeling that good today. I may be getting the flu or something, but it is not that bad and hopefully I will be better tomorrow. I just stayed home and rested all afternoon today.
I am trying to eat more healthy food. Today I had spinach. Ok, it is not close to being as good as Mom's, but it was really good.  

Winter seems to be back already! It has been rainy and cold. I am hoping the weather will be nice in 2 weeks when we go to London to visit Buckingham Palace. It does not look promising though. Seems like they have 9 months of winter here and then one month for the other 3 seasons =) Really grateful for a warm home during the rainy cold weather.

The temple is closing for 2 months. It will be rather quiet around the temple grounds here. I will miss going to the temple and feeling the sweet peaceful spirit in the Lord's house. This has been the greatest blessing for me while be close to a temple and to be able to go often.

PS. It is amazing that Heavenly Father answers our prayers even when we don't have the courage to ask for what we want. I am grateful for His love for me. I know He is aware of each of us and knows each of us and what we are going through.
I miss you all.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday, Aug 18, 2013

I thought you all will enjoy this picture. Spring and Summer seem to be gone now. At least it is still green. It was warm only a few days, and now it is just raining almost every day. But I suppose this is much better than the hot weather back home..

It has been a good week. On Thursday we went to Orpington to meet with the sisters there. They wanted me to talk to the parents of one of our recent converts. Amy joined the church two months ago and she is thinking of going to Egypt and Palestine to study Arabic and Hebrew as part of her degree. Her parents were worried and wanted to know more about the situation there. Sadly, the parents could not meet with us. So, we ended up having dinner only with Amy. We went to a Turkish restaurant.  There was no one in there except us and two Iraqis (I think they were from Iraq by the accent).  It was actually good food, as close to Turkish food as you can get. I got the Beyti Kebab and it brought back old memories of Turkey.

After dinner we joined the sisters and met with one of their investigators. This man said he wanted to join the church and was so interested in getting baptized. However, we all noticed he was not ready for baptism because he does not read the scriptures and does not seem to know much about the gospel and our church. The sisters will continue to meet with him and help him out. I told him to try and read the book of Mormon every day and promised him that he will find more joy and peace in his life when he does that.  We encouraged him to pray to know that there are prophets on the earth today.

As we drove to where this person lives we passed Darwin's house (see below). Darwin was actually born in England, Did you know that? How interesting that on the same street that Darwin was raised in, we sat with a young man from Ghana and testified to him of God, the creator of all things and of the love Heavenly Father has to all His children on this earth.

We had two new missionary couples arrive. The Boones and the Preeces. The Boones knew the Ohmans and have been to the Holy Land before. We were glad to finally find rooms for them to stay at the accommodations here so they can rest before they drive to their respected areas. The Preeces have to drive to Bristol and we didn't feel comfortable sending them that far without some rest. We went to Frankie and Bennys after doing some shopping. I had Elder Preece drive and he did very well. He did not drive on the wrong side of the road even once.

On Tuesday Elder Evans from the seventy came to speak to us. We gathered missionaries from 4 zones and met at the Crawley Chapel. It was an amazing meeting. He is a great speaker. He talked about the the Book of Mormon. He encouraged us to help others find the power that lies within that book and the knowledge it brings to us.  He said people should start reading the book from the start, not from the middle.  The first few verses in the very first chapter teach us so much.

Verse 1: Parents, Fathers, journals
I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.

Verse 4: Prophets, repentance
For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, (my father, Lehi, having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days); and in that same year there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed.

Verse 6: Prayer, answers to prayers, Revelation
And it came to pass as he prayed unto the Lord, there came a pillar of fire and dwelt upon a rock before him; and he saw and heard much..

Verse 8: Nature of God
And being thus overcome with the Spirit, he was carried away in a vision, even that he saw the heavens open, and he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God.

Verse 9: Jesus Christ
And it came to pass that he saw One [the Savior] descending out of the midst of heaven, and he beheld that his luster was above that of the sun at noon-day.

Verse 10: Apostles
And he also saw twelve others following him, and their brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament.

He also talked about missionary work. He said we will have over 100,000 missionaries of the church soon. This is almost double of what we had just a year ago. He mentioned how in Jacob 5 we read about the parable of the Lord of the Vineyard and how he tries so hard to take care of his vineyard and nourish the trees. Then towards the end, he calls more laborers to work in His vineyard:

61 Wherefore, go to, and call servants, that we may labor diligently with our might in the vineyard, that we may prepare the way, that I may bring forth again the natural fruit, which natural fruit is good and the most precious above all other fruit.

 62 Wherefore, let us go to and labor with our might this last time, for behold the end draweth nigh, and this is for the last time that I shall prune my vineyard.

These are surely the last days and the Lord is calling more laborers to work in his vineyard so they can bring His children back to Him. What an honor it is to be one of those laborers and have the opportunity to assist in this work.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday, Aug 12

It has been a good week. We had a few missionaries leave, but it was relatively quiet in the office. 
We went to a relief society activity in Wandsworth the other day. They were doing a service project making heart-shaped purses to give to little kids who are poor. I don't know what they will put in the purses, but they made a lot of them. I don't crochet and only learned in elementary school but it was fun to make a heart shaped purse last week. It actually turned out really cute.

We also stopped by Ikea this week so Sister Cates can look at the furniture to buy for the missionary flats. Wow, things are so cheap there and you can find really nice things. However, the store is set up as a maze and once you get in, you can't get out unless you go through the whole thing. It has everything that goes into a home from dishes, bathroom, sheets to furniture.  They told me the store would be big, but I had no idea how big. We were so tired by the time we found our way out.  We only ended up buying trash cans! and a stuffed heart to give to one of the sisters whose mother was diagnosed with cancer. That sister is doing much better. It is amazing how prayer and the power of the priesthood can work miracles and provide strength.

On Saturday we went out for breakfast because we found this place that seemed to have a really good breakfast menu. It was actually very good although I think American pancakes are much better than British pancakes =) We went to see a movie afterwards. Seems like we are re-living our childhood because we are always going to kids' movies. We went to see Ice Age 4 (in 3D). The only movies that are good enough to see these days seem to be kids' movies anyway.

I am going to give a fireside (talk) about faith next month and I have been thinking about faith a lot lately. I think of the old apostles and what they had to go through. I wonder if I was asked to go to a far land, learn a new language, and spend many years there without any means of support, would I do it? 

I have great people here that I work with. The people in the temple are remarkable as well. They have amazing faith and amazing conviction. It will take me years to get to that stage.  But, of one thing I am certain is that my faith is strong. I have faith in Jesus Christ and I know He lives and that He loves us.  I would not know that any better if Christ were to stand in front of me right now. I trust Him, and trust that whatever I face in this life will be for my best interest since my Savior is in charge of my life. I wish some of my family members would know that true happiness comes from trusting the Savior. Difficulties will come, but we have a loving Father in Heaven who would not allow anything to happen to us that is not aimed for our personal growth.

I can't believe I have been here over 6 months. Time flies by so fast. I am already thinking about what I will do when I go home, but it is too soon to think about that I guess. I should enjoy my time here and make the most of it. Especially these days when the weather is nice and we can actually walk outside and enjoy the pretty flowers and trees.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sunday, Aug 4

It has been a nice weekend. Yesterday I did not do anything. It was nice just to stay home. I cleaned and cooked and relaxed. In the evening we watched an amazing movie about Nelson Mandela called Invictus. Really amazing movie if any of you have not seen it.
Today a friend of mine came to see me. She was in London for a couple of days and took a train to East Grinstead and came to church with me. I invited her and her boyfriend to lunch after church.  I cooked Maqlooba, vegetable stew and had hummus and salad.  I am sure enjoying my mint plant. Last week I saw that for the same price I could buy dead cut mint or live mint in a pot. So, I bought the live mint and it has been very useful. Salad with mint just tastes wonderful. Especially with maqlooba and hummus.  I also just had mint tea...
My friend works in Germany and said she may come to visit again so she can go to the temple with me.  We walked around the large beautiful temple grounds here. It surely is an amazing blessing to live here in this beautiful area.  
My companion is feeling very sick.  I took her home during church. I hope she will feel better tomorrow.
We listened to talks from President and Sister Lock tonight. President Lock is in the temple presidency. They both shared with us how they came to join the church.  They told us about the good feeling they had as they first learned about the church and that they knew in their hearts it was true and they should get baptized.  Sister Lock said she read the entire book of Mormon on her mission and was on the street when she finished it. She prayed right there and felt an amazing feeling confirming that it was true.

Today I was looking on and happened to look for Palestinian Mormons. I sometimes feel alone thinking I am one of the few Palestinian Mormons. I was able to find some (not many), but it still meant a lot to me to know that there are others out there who believe what I believe and have a strong testimony of the restored gospel. Two of those I found on the site were actually serving missions as well!
I was translating a patriarchal blessing for a sister from Jordan. I found out she is from Haifa originally. (Another Palestinian Mormon--YAY) And her mother's last name is the same as my grandmother's. Wouldn't it be strange if we were related?