Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Week 6: Can I have a wedding reception in a blue whale?

Hey there fam and friends!
Wow this week has gone by so fast... I can't believe it! I'll probably be saying that for the rest of my mission, but still! We were so busy!!!

One particularly busy day was Wednesday. We started the morning off by running over to a recent convert's home to wake him up (yes, this was at 6:30 am). We knocked on his door and then his dogs were going crazy and he looks out the window and yells "I thought you guys were joking!!" Oh no. Well... surprise! Then we had to cut study short because we had to bike 8 miles up hill to go help some less actives paint the house they are moving out of.. turns out they gave us a color that wasn't the same as the color on the walls! So it looked pretty bad... but whatever. Then we got a referral from church headquarters!! Which was super awesome because those don't come very often in our mission. Then we had to go to some investigators homes and teach for 2 hours, and then we tracted a wee bit and then we had a Spanish fiesta! Man I love Spanish fiestas. And at that party there were non-members who we were able to set up appointments with. Let's just say, that that day felt like a week. And that's pretty much how every day went this past week! Insane stuff.

Also, random story here: One night Sister Heikki and I were talking about how she wants to go to Russia one day, and how she'd want to take a boat or something over there.. this somehow led to her boat getting eaten by a whale and then a Jonah and the Whale type story happening. But man, whales are pretty big, right? So then we wanted to know how big a blue whale is. Anyone who finds this out and lets me know will get 10 points! But then my companion decided that if she could, she'd have her wedding reception inside of a blue whale. Naturally the thing to do.

Anyways, recently every night we've been heart attacking members (where you put hearts all over their door with loving notes, no physical harm here). From serving the members we have seen so many miracles! We have been able to visit so many people and then have them refer people to us.

One of the biggest miracles we saw this week was that we had an investigator come to church!! That's right, Margaret Slack came to church. Convincing her to go outside was hard, but she did it. It was awesome. So many people came up and introduced  themselves and I think she felt really welcome. The only downside for her coming to church this Sunday was that the bishop gave a 30 minute talk rebuking the whole ward and telling them about how lazy they are and how the only judge in the ward is him and Jesus. Man It was awesome and the ward totally needed to hear it, but it probably wasn't the best thing for an investigator to hear haha. But we had been praying so much for Margaret and thinking of every possible way to get her there, and it finally happened. God blesses us when we do our best, and even when we are at our worst.

A favourite quote that I have is "Missionaries leave their families for a short time, so that others can be with their families for eternity." I love that this gospel is all about the big picture, and that I have the opportunity to be with my awesome family forever. The coolest part is that everyone can be a missionary, so don't be afraid to share your beliefs, because really it's all there to bring families together.

I love you all!! And you are all in my prayers :)
Much love,

Sister Slack

It's been so hot. So we constantly eat ice lollies (aka popsicles in the usa) and icecream.
We found some legit lions outside of a house! They weren't home so we took pictures
#sisters for life

I bought a dancing queen, and here she is waving good morning to England!

bubble thing in the library!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Week 5: Some stuff you all should read

I hope all of you have smiles on your faces because the sun is shining! Even if it's not shining.. Just picture a nice big sun. There you go.

Anyway. This week. Well it flew by! We were so busy this week it was fantastic. We had everything from going to Nottingham, exchanges, painting, service, and teaching lessons to keep us on our toes. Oh. And hot chocolate morning.

So in this ward they do a thing called hot chocolate morning with the relief society, and that day is the day I will always remember as "The day I learned to make the World's Best Hot Chocolate". I'd give all of you the recipe, but let's be honest there are more important things to talk about. But just imagine creamy goodness in your mouth. Mmm.

In this ward I have been so blessed, people feed me, and give me a bike, and stuff. So we rode bikes around a lot this week! On our first adventure out to Jacksdale (30 minute bike) I learned that Eastwood is the hilliest area in the entire mission. Nonstop up and down. Intense. To make the experience even better, I learned that the gear shift was broken. It was definitely one of the most tiring biking experiences ever, but I sang songs to myself to keep it exciting so don't worry.

So this week we were able to serve a family and help them paint a room in their house, it took pretty much half the day. However, now me and Sister Heikki have a reputation as good painters so now everyone is asking us to paint! So we get to do it again on Wednesday. I'm so excited to get to use my art skills inherited from my mom :)
I discovered this week that I love teaching. Teaching people about the gospel is really one of the coolest things. We now have 3 investigators, and they are all next door neighbors (2 sisters who live together, and then their neighbour). Jodie and her sister Tara are girls who love to party, but they like learning about Christ. We taught them how to pray, and it was one of the coolest things ever. They each said a personal prayer at the end of the lesson, and Jodie told us "I just feel so happy, and I don't know why!" THE SPIRIT PEOPLE. It works. It's real. Embrace it. Invite it. Use it.

One thing I've learned so far is that charity is so important. It's important in the ward, in our homes, in our families, in everything. I'd like to thank my home ward for being so loving and supportive. I am so lucky to have grown up with people that love each other! Yesterday we learned that a recent convert has slipped back into the clutches of addiction. At first I was so sad, and I couldn't understand. But then I came to realize how much our Heavenly Father and Brother Jesus Christ love each one of us. God loves this brother enough to still extend him the atonement, even after he promised to never do it again. He loves us enough to bring us up every time we fall, and then pull us up to his side. God doesn't think of us as lower than him, but he wants us to be able to live with Him again, even though we can make mistakes as big as the universe. Man. Isn't the gospel just so cool?!

Anyway, keep it real people.
Sister Slack
 After painting
Some cool graffiti we found

 Me, Sister Heikki, Sister Vance, Sister Lambert (Right after we all got done with exchange)
Classic "I'm in England" pose
 Sister Heikki and the name tag that looks like a constellation
The day it was so hot and I got sunburned.. HOT. (No worries Mom I'm buying sunscreen)

Chillin on a Bridge

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Week 4: Tales of an American and a Swede.

Hey there people I love!!
I hope everyone is doing fabulous, and I'd love to hear from everyone! SO YEAH write me or all the missionaries you know because we love to feel loved :)
So being here in the land of England, I've come to learn that chocolate is freakin delicious. SO GOOD here. Wow. Like think of chocolate... and then think of it tasting even better. That's how it tastes here. Even in Europe in general.. because Sister Heikki is from Sweden, and she got a package from home and it had tons of chocolate in it, and even that tastes better than chocolate back home! Sorry to everyone that is there.. it's just so good.
Something fun that happened this week was we got to help set up the talent show!! This ward has a hard time getting along and loving each other, so it was cool to see them come together for a little bit and share some talents :)
We also had the opportunity to go to a little concert, because a recent convert's son was performing. We went so we could talk to the son (called Wayne) and so he'd know that we're not weird scary people. I mean, he is only 13. So we went and it was cool to be there! He wasn't actually too good at singing.. but he could play the guitar nicely! Well, better than I could. Later, the recent convert Sandra, and her daughter Lola, wrestled in the sumo suits (picture below). It was pretty hilarious.
Earlier this week we were knocking doors right before we had a dinner appointment, and about four 20 yr old girls invited us in to teach them. Only one, Belinda, was really interested. But during the middle of the lesson, right before we got to talking about restoration, she got a phone call and went outside and left!! We were kind of confused.. So we left our number and got her number from her friends, and decided to wait it out.
So after we left that house, we went next door and then they invited us in!!! Ok people, this is unheard of here.. Getting invited in to teach a lesson is a rare gem of opportunity. Her name was Margaret Slack. yup. You could say that it was a sweet connection. Then we taught her about the restoration of the church, and got invited back for later in the week.
The next day, we were walking to an appointment when we got a phone call, it was Belinda!! MIRACLE. What 20 year old girl calls you and tells you they want to come to church?? I don't know. But she's awesome. Sadly, she didn't make it to church yesterday, but we will hopefully meet with her later this week.
So when we went back to visit Margret again, we brought a member called Bro. Rawson. Such a cool guy. He was so in tune with the spirit, it was incredible. Margaret has a really bitter view of the world, she thinks that humanity has no hope. But in introducing her to the fact that God loves her, she began to cry tears and realize that she truly has faith in God and that she wants to know more. Hopefully she can move past looking at the world and realize that this gospel brings so much hope!!
Which reminds me of one of my favourite things I studied this week: Miracles. In Mormon 9:15 it says "...God has not ceased to be a God of miracles." This statement has been proven to me over and over this week. As we have met with new people and been able to keep a spirit of hope within ourselves, we have seen miracles daily.
I love you all! And I hope you can realize that we all see miracles every day.

Sister Slack

Lola & Sandra in sumo suits
Sleeping hedgehog (yes, we poked it to make sure it was alive)
dog from tintin that we found sitting on the fence!! It was pretty legit
How I feel about the hill with cows on it
Me & Sister Heikki
1st time caught in the rain!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Week 3: "What religion do you belong to?"

Hey family and friends!!!
First of all, I love all of you. You are pretty much #1. Yeah.
I am now in my first area, where I am born into the mission, which is Eastwood! It's a suburb of Nottingham, and it's pretty cool. The members here all LOVE the missionaries. They love feeding us, and I can't complain about that! We have a dinner appointment almost every day, and the members that can't have us over donate money and then a lady buys us groceries every month. It's great!
Turns out that my mission is one of the top finding missions in the world. We figured out that on average we do 4-5 hours of finding! So here in this area, there isn't really a place to street contact anyone (like where you just see them and then talk to them) or a GQ area. There is like 1 street we walk down every day, so we walk down it then go tracting. So many doors. Just picture England in your mind, and that's probably what it actually looks like. I was surprised at how much this area looks like some classic movie. Houses packed together like nobodies business, and lots of dogs. Not just little ones, they like their big dogs. And they're everywhere.
Quick story about our finding the other day. So we were tracting down a place called North Queens street, and after knocking an old lady answers the door and we start talking. She claims she has her own religion already, so obviously I had to ask "What religion do you belong to?" and then she said "I belong to the.... um... the.... oh what church... *15 second pause*... The Church of England!!"  Uh huh.. sure lady. We totally believe you (heavy sarcasm right there). If you didn't wanna come to church with us you didn't have to fake yourself into another religion! We laughed about it.
Later on that same street we actually got invited in by a lady named Margaret. She was old, and it wasn't even her house, but she listened. We did a micro lesson on the restoration, and gave her a Book of Mormon and planned to meet her tomorrow. So pray that she will have the desire to learn more about the gospel! We couldn't tell if she was all there mentally.. so hopefully she remembers us. But it was cool to actually have someone listen! That doesn't happen too often.
OH ALSO I have a companion. Her name is Sis. Heikki, and she's from Sweden. She's super cool. When I first got to the mission home last Wednesday and was interviewed by my mission president, he asked what I wanted in a companion and I told him I wanted someone that can have fun but also work hard, and someone who was chill and laid back but not lazy. Well. I got exactly what I asked for! She's cool, and we get along pretty well. She also doesn't waste time, which is great.
In my district it's just us and a pair of elders, so it's kinda fun. We see them a lot because they live down the street from us, and ya know. We're just a small district! Holla.

So being a missionary has been a little different than what I expected, but it's intense. I love study time, and one of my fav things to study is all the talks from last session. It's so good! All of those talks are brilliant (English words). And one of my favourite quotes was from President Thomas S Monsons talk: "As we arise each morning, let us determine to respond with love and kindness to whatever might come our way."
I love that quote because everything goes better when you love all your investigators and companions, no matter what. Also, there is some weird ward drama going on in the relief society, which could totally be solved if they just loved each other! Love is the answer to everything people.
A thing about English people: apparently it's a thing to greet someone by saying "You alright?" all the time. Which always throws me off because I think of it to be used when someone is potentially injured or something. Also, in this area old people call you "Duck." so sometimes they'll say "You alright, duck?" and it's just a confusing sentence all together.. But I'm learning. And my British accent is a work in progress, but everyone here pronounces their T's so clearly, I don't know if I'll ever be able to get out of my Utahn habits.
Anyway, I love you all! And if you didn't read this whole thing... read.. the paragraphs with a little bit of boldness! Because reading is fun.. yo. Or send me a letter!
You are all in my prayers and I love you!
Sister Slack
ALSO send me mail!!!
Sister Slack
Flat 7 Elevation Place
Nottingham Road
NG16 3GL

 Sweet sign on our road

Sister Johnson, Sister Caffrey and I in the district room

again, Sis Caffrey, Johnson and I just lovin life

my MTC district

Sloth Shirt found in Asda (it says Cool Sloth Massive)

Temple Selfie

The trio

Friday, July 4, 2014

Week 2: Hey I'm going to the field

Family and that I love!
I have about 5 minutes to email, so I'll make this quick.
It's like 5:45 am here and we leave in like 20 minutes. So, quick story (you can put this on the blog, i just don't have time to send it to everyone, so people I'm sorry if you didn't get this!!)
We went finding this week in Manchester, and we met some interesting people. We rode the train for 40 minutes down there and were supposed to find on there, so I sit down and start talking to these 3 elderly people, and it's going great ya know and then come to find out that the lady is a member! What! Why didn't she tell me before the end of the train so I could talk to some people who weren't... Oh well.

Then we get to Manchester, and the first guy we talk to says, "yeah I've already talked to you guys.." Pretty sure everyone in that square got missionary overload. Then we are walking along and then some random guy comes up and asks us for a  light.. We said no and then he realized..."OH YOU GUYS ARE MORMONS. Give me a Book of Mormon. I LOVE SEEING MORMONS! Especially sister missionary Mormons."

Yeah sounds like the beginning of a great success story but then we realize he is totally baked and he starts telling us about his whole crime life and how he doesn't fear God or anything.. But whatevs. It was just a little creepy when he made me and sister Johnson feel his chest to see if he had a heartbeat... We didn't know what was going on. THEN a man comes up and tries to hand us some bible papers for his church but the homeless man (David) told him he couldn't give those to us, we were Mormons! But then I decided that it could be a great opportunity, so i proposed a trade, and gave him a BOM for a piece of paper... But i couldn't be more wrong.
It turned into a full on bible bashing thing, which basically means that he was lecturing us about how God is mysterious and religion is not emotional... Weirdo. But he said he'd read the BOM, so that's good!!
Well, anyway, I've gotta go!! I love you all! I love the Gospel! Enjoy life because God made it for us to be happy. Yeah!
Sister Slack
Also, I'll send pics next week!