Today my connection is really, really bad so there is a high probability that this email will be VERY long, and there will be very few personal emails sent out. My apologies for this but what can you do?
Alrighty…this week and answers to common questions.
The only reason I still add this in is because this is probably the #1 question I get asked by my friends at home and by my friends over here. I am still here. I have lost track of how many days I have been here and I am much too lazy to go back and look at my past emails and my journal. Apologies again. The UK is still very strict about the quarantine rules (which it should be), but supposedly today the Prime Minister is announcing our "Exit Strategy." Whether or not this is true, I have no idea. This is just what people tell us, so that's the extent of my knowledge. But the most important thing is that I'm still here! Yay! The work goes on :)
WHAT DO YOU DO?
This is probably the #2 question I most frequently get asked so here is our typical schedule for our days:
6:30-9:00 / we wake up. This has not changed (unfortunately). We plan, we get ready, we exercise for 30 minutes inside, we eat breakfast, etc. Normal morning schedule from before.
9:00-10:30 / personal study! Studying scriptures, General Conference talks, etc. Good stuff. This week's topic was the Priesthood, or the power and authority that God gives to man to act in all things necessary for the salvation of God’s children (if you want the official definition).
10:30-11:30 / language study! My companion is a Mandarin Chinese-speaking missionary, so she gets time every day to study that. I can now say 2 types of prayers in Chinese.
11:30-12:30 / responding to messages and calls we got the previous night and that morning, and texting our friends and the members we work with.
12:30-1:30 / lunch :) pasta, rice and chicken, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the top 3 choices right now.
1:30-6:30 / kind of depends day by day but typically we teach a couple of lessons, call some members, try to find new friends by calling old numbers, have 1 hour of exercise outside, etc. Honestly we're so busy. Didn't think we would be but I swear sometimes I'm more tired during lockdown proselyting than outside normal proselyting. We also have 30 minutes of mindfulness time to do whatever we want, and can do family history work, organize our records, etc. So many options!
6:30-7:30 / tea. Same stuff for lunch because we are boring. I can now make 2,973,648,392,992 different kinds of pasta.
7:30-9:00 / either more calls and messaging or we have some sort of mission Devotional, a zone call, or a ward Correlation meeting. Meetings or calls and messaging is typically what happens. Maybe a lesson or 2.
9:00-10:30 / get ready for bed and typically some sort of district call, zone call, or mission call. I have never been on my phone more in my life!
Overall, that's our day. Life is good!
DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE PROTESTS IN THE US?
Yes. Multiple times over. That is the biggest conversation right now over here in the UK. I also am not allowed to comment on any politics (mission rule sorry) so sorry if I ignore that question when you ask me what I think about it :) lo siento.
We have a couple one-liner funny stories so buckle up:
1) I woke up one lovely spring English morning and walked downstairs to make my breakfast and saw that out washer had flooded and washed away all our dead ant carcasses that were everywhere due to the ant powder we put all over the kitchen. That was fun. The clothes didn't even get clean.
2) Our Ward Missionary (our unofficial ward mission leader) has a meeting with us and the Elders in the ward once a week to discuss our friends and the members we work with. We have a shared Google Sheet to put everything on, and we changed the font this week to see if he would notice. He did, and for a solid 20 minutes he kept asking who had changed it and why they hadn't asked for permission. Times New Roman over Arial every day. We're so crazy—wow!
3) It has been so nice seeing the English community bond together and grow closer due to this virus. One example of this is while we were walking to our grocery store, a lady stopped us (from 2 m away don't worry) and warned us that she had seen rats up ahead and didn't want us to get bit. Surprisingly we didn't want to get bit either, but we also were too lazy to walk around, so we walked through and made it out alive.
4) It was Sister Minaker's 7 month birthday on Saturday, so I made her pancakes. For some reason, our stove top wasn't working so I served her 3 black pancakes, that were totally raw inside. Companionship love right there.
1) We had another "Why I Believe" devotional yesterday, which was INCREDIBLE! I know you all probably don't believe me because I talk about them so often, but they truly are so amazing. Lots of new members record their stories and testimonies about how they found God and how they found answers to their questions. There are beautiful musical numbers (including me in a chorus of 149 other people) and spiritual thoughts from the BEST Mission President and wife in the world! Nothing has anything on these. In-N-Out cheeseburger animal style vs this? This. This is what wins.
Here's the link so go watch the devotional.
Here's the link for the musical number.
2) We had a mission devotional Sunday morning with all of the missionaries, and we talked about the Book of Mormon, and why it is so important to us. For these devotionals, everyone has to write a 5-minute talk to share because we don't know who is speaking until the call starts. Lo and Behold who do you think got called on to speak? Me. You're right. Gold star.
I won't share my talk but I'll share a quick quote I really like from Joseph Smith where he talks about what our church is about, and what makes it different. He says, “Take away the Book of Mormon and the revelations, and where is our religion? We have none."
That's so true! If I were to boil down what makes our church different, there would be 3 things:
1) The Book of Mormon. It clarifies and expounds upon things in the Bible, it teaches and testifies about Christ, it teaches and explains Christ's doctrine and teachings, and so much more.
2) The Priesthood. As explained earlier, that's the power and authority that God gives man to do good works in His name. This is the same power and authority that ancient apostles and prophets held, as well as the same power and authority Christ held.
3) We have a living Prophet today who has the same power and authority that was given to the apostles and prophets of old. He leads and directs the church by receiving information and direction from God to help His children on the Earth today. Just like in Bible times, God has always chosen prophets to lead and guide us.
So yup. That's a very tiny fragment of what makes the Book of Mormon so important and a basic outline of what makes The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints different.
As always, if you have questions, email me. If you haven't read the Book of Mormon, read it. If you don't have a Book of Mormon and you want one, email me. If you haven't read the Book of Mormon in years and you don't remember what it's about, read it.
The Book of Mormon is the word of God and it is one way that God communicates with us. It teaches us about our purpose in life, it answers deep questions like where we go after we die, what the purpose of life is, why bad things happen to good people, how we can find peace and joy, and so many other things. It's pretty much a guide to have a better happier life.
I know it's true. I love it. I've grown to love it more and more the longer I'm out and the more I study it. I promise that if you read it, you can feel of that peace and you can receive and answer to the questions you have. I know you can because I have! So read it. Let me know how it goes.
Sorry this was really long but I hope y'all have a great week! Thanks for the emails, and always feel free to write more :)
Photographs below and links to some great videos that I highly recommend! Just click on the links or the image to launch the videos
(video) EMM Missionaries Singing "Sisters in Zion" - May 3rd, 2020
(video) EMM Devotional - May 3rd, 2020
Weekly Letter #31: May 4, 2020
4/ 5Oleh -