Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday, Oct 28

I have been here exactly 9 months today. It has been an amazing experience so far. I have met some amazing people. I still wonder how there could be so many great people in one place.  

On Saturday we had a farewell dinner for the old Temple presidency. President Lowry and his counselors have been amazing, we will surely miss them. I am looking forward to getting to know the new temple president, President Johnson and his counselors. The temple staff hosted a dinner for everyone (about 100 people) in the crawley chapel. They had the place decorated with fall colors it was beautiful. We had such a nice meal, & lots of good food. Then they had a program where they did some singing, acting and comedy. It was really fun. 

On Saturday I also got to teach my first lesson in Arabic. The sisters from Brighton had an investigator who was from Libya. I translated for them and taught him part of a lesson about the book of Mormon. I felt the Holy Ghost as I bore testimony to him about the book of Mormon. He said he would read it and pray.  I look forward to meeting again with the sisters to teach another lesson!  There is nothing better than teaching others the gospel. The spirit that is felt during the lessons is amazing. I really hope I will get to do that more often.

Yesterday we had a devotional from the whole temple presidency/new and old. It was a nice meeting and the Choir was outstanding. 

We have had a storm here in southern England which started last night and continued a little bit today. We had winds of about 80 miles/hour.  At 3 am the power went out. They said the main power supply was affected (probably the wind blew a pole or something). There was a tree that fell and blocked our street and other streets were flooded with 3 feet of water. So, this morning we didn't know what to do in the office, because if there is no power there are no computers and phones. Using my cell phone, I did some of my calls to track down some of the baptism records for the 14 baptisms we had this week! This month we had 36 baptisms and it is the highest ever in this mission.  We were glad that the power came back around noon and we were able to get some work done today. 

We had dinner with the Damrons who are leaving tomorrow. I made Arabic salad and brought it to the dinner. Elder Adams said it tasted almost like his grandmother's salad that she used to make from fresh vegetables in her garden. =) 

My mom is not doing well. She is back to taking her Hepatitis C medication which makes her weak, sick, and she stops eating well. She has already lost almost two pounds since she started taking the medication last week she says. I hope you all can keep her in your prayers.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wednesday, Oct 23

For those of you following my blog, I am sorry for again forgetting to post something on Sunday. I meant to, but forgot.

Things are going well. The weather is cooling off and it is now like winter at home and it really reminds me of home and makes me miss home more. However, you don't get these beautiful fall colors at home. The leaves are starting to fall and there are so many colors all over the place. I'll include some pictures at the end.

We had Zone Conference last week for 3 Zones. It was nice to be with all the missionaries again. We don't do much to plan and organize Zone conferences, Elder and Sister Adams and the office Elders do all the work. The Stakes volunteer to feed the missionaries and the food is usually amazing. 

This last Saturday we had an activity for all the senior missionaries. They call came here to the Temple grounds and we had lunch together and president Millar spoke to us. I was supposed to bring grapes and I ended up with lots of grapes left over. Luckily, the temple missionaries had a pot luck dinner at 5 the same day. I took the left-over grapes and a salad and went. It was really good and lots of great food. I was still full from lunch though.

After dinner we watched a movie "Ephraim's Rescue". A really amazing true story about someone who has a gift of healing and has great faith. He heals many and performs miracles among the pioneers.  When I hear about people like that I feel my faith is invisible compared to their faith. The pioneers endured so much yet they had great faith and strength. In the movie there is a story about a man who was a tap dancer and when he crossed the plains he lost his shoes and had to walk bare-footed in the snow. His feet were so black and red, they were going to amputate them.  However, through the power of the priesthood and faith, he was healed instantly and got up and danced for everyone.

On Monday we were trying to copy and print so many things and our equipment again was not cooperating. We have now named all our printers/copiers. Bessy, Flinston, and Homer. They all have issues so we wanted to give them names so we can complain about them.  I spent all day Monday yelling at my printer (Homer) because it kept printing 20 copies of everything. I didn't think that was possible...different files, different programs it would still print 20! (see, my mission has finally drove me crazy and I am talking to my printer)   

Tonight we had to finish some folders for the flats. So, we decided to run to get something to eat then return and finish. We had the Sat Nav/GPS find us a close Subway and went there. It took us to this little town (close to us) that we have never been to. We got to Subway and it looked like they were closed/closing. But, we were able to buy sandwiches. The guy there started reading my badge and we gave him a pass-along card and told him to go to mormon.org.uk and read about our church.  This is the first time I have gathered the courage to actually give someone a card.

Below are some pictures I took for fall (same place different times) over a period of 3 weeks. Emily, these are for you as I know how much you love fall. It is not the same as the real thing though, sorry.  
Also below is a group picture of all the senior couples that came to the activity on Saturday.














Saturday, October 12, 2013

Light and Darkness

I hope you are all doing well. My family has finished picking the olives and are taking them to the oil press today. I am grateful that my mom is still strong enough to pick the olives. I wish I was there to help her, but I am glad others were there to help to some extent. I have missed seeing olive trees here (they probably don't grow in this strange climate). It was so rainy yesterday and today it is nice and sunny (well at least the morning was!). The weather changes so fast! 
Winter is here, not that it ever left. I went and bought some more clothes because I was so sick of my winter clothes that I wear all year round! I bought some nice things and ordered some more online.
We had a couple come to our mission, Elder and Sister Fowler. They are very nice and we went shopping with them this morning. 
Our ward Choir (mostly missionaries here) are going to have a concert today at 6 pm. It should be really nice.

Two days ago, someone was working in the garden on Temple grounds and happened to break a main power supply. So, the electricity went out on the entire complex. We did not have power in the office and even no phones. So, we closed the office and went driving around. We got back home and did not know what to do in the dark. I sat on my computer (at least here my internet works without power) until my charge ran out. Then went to the accommodation center and charged it since they had a generator.  I was able to have a good chat with my companion (we had nothing better to do).  Later at night they brought a big generator and gave us power, but no heat and no hot water =(

Just a day before this happened I felt so grateful to be here because we had heat and hot water all the time. In Palestine we don't have hot water in the winter and I am always cold. I guess I needed a reminder on what it is like to take cold showers in a cold room...Anyway, it is now fixed and so things are back to normal. It was strange to not see the temple lit that night though...

I used to love it when the electricity would go out at home. It meant that my family members had nothing to do but chat with each other. We would gather around the gas heater and play cards or talk. 

Christ is the light of the world...a light that "shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." (John 1: 5) The darkness around us should bring us closer to each other and closer to Him the source of all truth and light. 

I miss you all and pray for you often. I know my family does not understand why I am here. Sometimes even I don't understand, but I know that I am supposed to be here. I know that God has told me to come here. He knows all things and He sees the bigger picture. I am but learning slowly to trust Him more and more. My faith in my Savior is growing, slowly but surely. I am very grateful for that.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sunday, October 6

We have been watching general conference today and yesterday. It was simply amazing. I was going to include a quote, but I don't want to miss-quote anyone. So, I'll wait until the printed talks come out.
My favorite session was Saturday afternoon: 
http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1301988543001?bckey=AQ~~,AAABFr5dynE~,TSPthyn9f7xMqirJ6oOEOfqkHIylQ487&bctid=2722055718001

And as always, Elder Holland's talk was superb.  He shared a story about the Nielsons who were in a plane crash and survived but suffered severe burns. He tells how they still find joy and happiness in life despite what happened. The parents of the husband of that family are coming to our mission in 2 months. Can't wait to meet them. Below is a link to a short video about the Nielsons. Watch it, it is inspiring:
http://bcove.me/nrayh7jd

As for things with me here, it is going well. We survived yet another moves week. The last big transfer we have for a while. We had 27 missionaries arrive. We now have over 256 missionaries (almost double of what we had in January when I arrived). The membership of our church is over 15 million and will probably increase more because of all the missionaries now in the field. These are really the last days when the Lord is hastening His work and when we should be calling everyone to come unto Christ.

One of our couples, Elder and Sister Terry, are leaving tomorrow. We are sad to see them go. We had a pot-luck dinner tonight and had so much food that we decided to have another dinner tomorrow with all the left-overs. The sister missionaries wrote a cute song and sang for the Terrys.

We have been trying to find good restaurants. We have tried almost every little restaurant in the neighborhood.  The other day, sister Cates and I were coming home from Uckfield after visiting one of the missionary flats. We could not find a place to eat and finally stopped at this place called Anne's. Seemed good, so we went in. They were out of everything, literally almost everything on the menu was sold out (don't know how a restaurant can be sold out of food, but oh well). They only had sandwiches, so we decided to get a sandwich each. I got a cheese sandwich, and sister Cates got a Tuna sandwich....Half an hour later (really), the guy brings our food. Mine was two pieces of bread with a slice of cheese between them and some chips. Really? No tomato, lettuce or anything! And it took half an hour to make? Sister Cates was similar except, lucky for her, the tuna had mayo on it!!

The other day we were on our way to eat going to this place called the Plough. We got lost and finally found a place called the Fox and the hound. [at least it didn't have pigs in the name like the other place we went to last week] We decided that going there was better than trying to find the other place. And we were really impressed. It was the best restaurant I have been in since I came. It was cool because it is such an old place, and the setting was so nice..Reminds me of Sitto's (grandmother's) place.
I had shrimp and cod and it was soooo good. Finally found a place we could go back to! yay... Below is a picture of the restaurant (it is so small and cute):


The weather was beautiful today and sunny. I think this week will be nice it seems. Fall started here and I am trying to take some pictures of the beautiful fall colors. I will share them next month...
I love and miss you all.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tuesday, Oct 1

How boring it is to check my blog and find the same posts over and over. I am so sorry. I guess my audience just has to find a more interesting channel to join. 
I keep meaning to write then forget...
This is transfers week as you may have guessed and it gets pretty busy for us here.  We will have 27 missionaries coming tomorrow. We have 9 leaving. Sister Cates finally managed to get all the apartments needed. On Friday we remembered that we forgot to furnish one of the apartments. Should be fun for missionaries to walk into an empty place.  We ordered stuff to be delivered and now hopefully they should have at least some stuff to get by until the rest of it comes.
We went down to Polegate (one of our new areas) to help set up the apartment for the missionaries. We wanted to do it just to see what the apartment looked like and help the office Elders get things set up. We ended up not doing much because the landlord was going to change the carpet and paint the place so we left everything in one room. It was a really nice apartment that we got there. 
After that we drove down to the ocean and walked on the beach. They mostly have rocks on the beach here, not sand. So, we were able to find some interesting shells and rocks as we walked. We got crepes and they were really good, but they were so big. And the lady folded them so many times then stuck them in a cup. How in the world are you supposed to eat them?? I ended up throwing half of mine away because it got so frustrating trying to eat it. Very messy! Anyway, below are some pictures from the beach. I love the ocean and waves...





Today we went out to eat at a Chinese restaurant. This was their appetizer (after we ate the chicken wings). It had two birds carved out of a carrot. Still don't know what the green stuff was, but it was good and sweet!


I think I may actually be able to finish all that I need to do tomorrow. Yay! Sister Adams has been feeding us lunch and dinner so I did not have to cook. (and when she does not feed us we go out to eat)
I am going to stop here. It has been a long day. So, be glad I wrote, even if it short. I miss you all.