Today marks 47 days in lockdown. Whoever would have imagined a solid transfer of my mission would be spent in a flat in Oldham, England? Not me!
As work goes, this week was absolutely wonderful. We set really steep goals for ourselves, mainly for our returning members and we ended up achieving all of them which was definitely a blessing! We were able to teach 10 out of 8 returning members (so we exceeded our goal by 2), and then had 11 out of 10 either for a devotional with us, or who watched the Ashton Stake Devotional after talking to us briefly about it (so we exceeded that goal). We also then had 5 out of 4 friends who watched the devotional and talked to us (the third time we exceeded our weekly goal)! I absolutely adore Oldham. I love the members, I love our returning members, and I love our friends. I definitely know at the beginning of this I was a little scared to see how things would go but it's been absolutely amazing. The work has flourished and we are seeing so many miracles all the time.
Our miracle for the week was the fact that we were able to have a devotional with a returning member who has refused a spiritual thought with the missionaries quite forcefully while I've been here (so since November at least). We texted her and asked and she said yes!!! I think I just screamed in our room for a solid 5 minutes because I couldn't believe it. It went really well and here's hoping that's the beginning of a softened heart!
I'm doing super well right now. I feel like I did at the beginning of my mission and I'm loving it. I feel like I've rediscovered our purpose and have re-centered my focus on Christ. I was reading a talk by Elder Marvin J Ashton and he quoted Nathaniel Hawthorn who said, "Happiness is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it comes and sits softly on your shoulder."
I feel like that's how I've been this past month and a half. I've been trying so hard to feel happy and motivated again, and to feel like I did before, and it just wasn't happening so I just kept trapping myself in this guilt cycle that I was having a difficult time breaking. However, as soon as I tried to turn my focus more on the Lord (definitely still not perfect at that by a long shot) and on accomplishing our goals for the work, life got better. Doesn't necessarily mean I wasn't stressed or frustrated by situations and people, but I just felt happier and more at peace than I've felt for a while.
This week, I have a SPECIAL INVITATION! Our mission is doing another Facebook live devotional, and I would love for as many of you that can, to join! It will be on Sunday, May 3rd, at 6:30pm our time which is 11:30am MDT. People who were recently baptized will share the stories about how they came to know God.
It's always very inspiring, and the music is pretty darn good, too. Actually, one of the musical items will be featuring the England Manchester missionaries, including none other than myself and Sister Minaker! Here is the link. You don't need Facebook to watch, and all are welcome to join! I would also love to hear how you liked it!
To close this very long email, I feel like this scripture is kind of the summary of these last few months.
14. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
15. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
16. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Photographs below :)
Weekly Letter #30: April 27, 2020
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