This week was an interesting one... haha. Elder Tang called this mission the refiner's fire and school of the prophets all in one. Holy cow was he right. I am being refined like nobody’s business. There are so many people that want to hear the gospel here! They just don't really know it yet. Haha.
|The capital in Belfast|
I am in Holywood, Belfast with my companion, Elder Hatch.
|My companion - Elder Hatch|
|Queen's University Campus|
We are teaching a guy named Christian. He's black and from England, and he's studying civil engineering at Queen's Uni. He is so smart, but he sometimes asks us basic questions because he doesn't understand any of the fundamentals. It's a great lesson in different life experiences. He is totally great though; we're going to baptize him.
We also are teaching a less active family, the Coudries. They are such a great family. I love them so much. We got them to come to church yesterday, and then we had dinner at their house. They haven't been reading like we asked them to though. We had to be pretty stern with them and tell them that we can't be wasting their time and our time if they aren't completely serious about getting back into church. They agreed and we are now preparing them to go to the temple so that they can be sealed to each other and their son Anthony who passed away. They had twins and one died. The other, Jerome, has cerebral palsy. They are such a special family.
And, we are teaching these people that we call the "Romanians" because we don't know their last name. They are from Romania and speak very little English. If they could speak English or we could speak Romanian, they'd be baptized so fast. So Elder Hatch and I have planned to receive the gift of tongues—seems like a pretty good plan we feel like.
Speaking of languages, I may be speaking English, but there have been so many times when a person will yell at us and slam a door in our face and I'll turn to Elder Hatch and ask, "what did they just say?" It blows my mind that they understand each other sometimes.
They built the Titanic in Belfast!! Who knew?! I'm also in an area where there is so much violent history. They have the red hand of Ulster everywhere—painted on walls. They have museums; they have police cars that could be run over by a tank. This is such an interesting area.
We got to meet the ward yesterday, which was interesting. A lady named Margaret in our ward googled me and told everyone in the ward about Beyond 5, and some of the other Elders in my zone know about Beyond 5. It just follows me wherever I go. We got some great dinner appointments too. Since I just got out of the MTC, everyone wants to feed us. Older ladies LOVE me. It's the weirdest thing ever. One lady even started telling me about her granddaughter that is 20 and is Northern Ireland’s #1 bikini model and is modeling and in films and lives the street up from us. She invited us over to dinner and told me that she'd introduce us. I'm hoping it's purely to eat and teach a lesson. Even ladies that we tract their house and they don't want anything to do with us always wink at me or tell me I have a beautiful smile. If they would like to take the missionary lessons, that would really make me smile.
We found 3 potential investigators just yesterday in between appointments while we were street contacting and walking to our bus. We went "chalking" - see photo below - which is a great way to contact and find people to teach.
|"Chalking" - finding people Belfast style|
A little story that also happened yesterday: we were doing a ‘try by’ at a guy we had tracted the night before who said we could come back, but he wasn't home. We noticed the couple across the street cleaning out their flowerbed and painting their fence, so we went over and asked to help them. The man told us that the last time he was out painting, guys just like us had stopped by and asked if they needed any help. That was 7 years ago and he still remembered them! They lived in Cork, so we weren't able to teach them, but hopefully we nourished that seed that two other missionaries planted.
The Lord is preparing people for this work. It is so exciting to see stuff unfold. Yes, this week has been full of numerous trials, but the Lord has blessed me so much and sent angels to bear me up. He has promised that when I do all I can, He will be on my right hand and on my left, His spirit in my heart. (D&C 84:87-88) This church is true. The Book of Mormon will change lives. It has changed mine. I love this work.