Wow. This week is one for the books. I could write a book about this week. That’s how good it was! If you only care for the writing regarding the subject line, you might want to scroll half way through. But I suggest you read a bit about how awesome the people of London are!
Let’s begin with our miracle Mina. Time to understand the family tree. So Esmael is Mina’s uncle. He got baptized with Michael in July. Esmael’s brother is Ahmed. Ahmed got baptized earlier this month. Ahmed is Mina’s dad. And as of Friday, Mina is now getting baptized this coming Saturday! This family is amazing.
I could share so many little details about Mina and her story. Teaching her the past 4 days has been truly remarkable. She’s fourteen and has such a sincere desire to follow Christ. She texted yesterday, “I can feel Jesus in my heart. The feeling is so cool.” She loves the fact that she’s the same age Joseph Smith was when he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. She’s always wanted to become a Christian, but since moving from Iran two years ago, now she can finally do so! Mina amazes me and we have a long week ahead with her, but we are all determined to work hard for her big day on Saturday (so throw in a few extra prayers please!)
Jan came back from Germany and wow, he’s incredible too. He moved here a month or so ago, and a couple weeks later lost his job. He then met us through some friends and Jan’s attitude through this trial is remarkable. Though he left his home to come here, only shortly after to be fired, he’s realized there’s a reason he needs to be here. He knows there is no such thing as a coincidence and he’s ready to find out why he’s meant to be in England. After our lessons with him this week, he really believes it’s because he needed to find the gospel of Jesus Christ. He knows his trial is humbling him and he’s acting on faith. I’m just blown away by his strength and attitude.
Mike is working hard as well. We’ve been trying to help him move forward and I compared progressing in the gospel to him progressing to the world-traveling magician he is today. I think that began to hit him a bit, as he’s now truly considering baptism! It’s like every aspect in our lives. It begins with the desire, the work, the practice, and continuing to endure and try harder. In our day to day lives or in our faith, we must always be working to become better and do better.
Newbury Michael gave me the greatest surprise this week. I was in the Visitors Centre and he shows up to say hello (by the way he lives far away so it isn’t easy for him to come visit.) I love that man so much! He’s working so, so hard for his baptism on September 17. I cannot begin to explain how much Satan works on us as we work towards something God wants us to do. But Michael pushes through and he shines. He always texts me, “Good morning my favorite missionary!” I wish you all could meet him. He inspires me every single day.
And others continue to amaze me! From Lizzie in Hyde Park, NY (who I got to meet face to face for the first time over video chat this week!) to James from the Channel Islands (and I know you’re reading this James so don’t forget you’re super great and I’ve cut back on the Ben and Jerry’s) to Michael the Angel (we taught him how to take a selfie this week so that was fun!) I just want to say- the mission is the hardest and greatest thing I have ever done. I am so, so blessed. I’m exhausted and fat and stressed 99.9% of the time. But I have never been so happy. AH! I wish I could go on and on but I already give major props to you all who have read this much already 🙂
And now for the explanation regarding the subject line, “How Fuhriman a Foundation.” For those who don’t know, a famous hymn we sing is “How Firm a Foundation.” The Elders (cough cough Elder Kashari (he wanted credit for coming up with it)) in my district think they are pretty funny for adding my name to the hymn, and in every meeting we have, they always try to sing it. However, if you really pay attention to the lyrics of this profound hymn, there are so many beautiful truths included in its words.
First, please please please watch this video so you know what song I’m talking about. You won’t regret it, I promise. https://www.lds.org/media- library/video/2014-10-4061 – how-firm-a-foundation? category=general-conference/ sunday-morning-session- october-2014&lang=eng
The hymn begins with the opening lines, “How firm a foundation, ye Saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in his excellent word!” These first few words remind us of the importance of building our faith on Jesus Christ. It is important to “remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation.”
Through studying the scriptures, praying, and attending church, all while centered on Jesus Christ, we solidify our foundation of faith. A foundation “that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Helaman 5:12).
Once we have built this solid foundation, we are then promised we are never alone. The third verse of this hymn exclaims, “Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed, for I am thy God and will still give thee aid. I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.”
Elder Russell M. Nelson said, “Though we don’t know all things, we know that God lives and that He loves us. Standing on that firm foundation, we can reach up and find strength to endure the heavy burdens of life.”
This eternal truth always brings comfort to me. As I have always had a fear of being alone, I have learned I must be dependent on my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ to know I am never really alone. Whether I feel emotionally abandoned or am physically by myself (which accidentally happened this week when Sister Apiyo and I got separated on the tube and it was pretty scary), it is the Savior who is still always with me. He knows how I feel, He will give me aid, and He will always strengthen, help, and hold me up.
Elaine S. Dalton knew this as well as she ran a marathon. She “learned that no matter how well prepared you think you are, there are hills on the course. People cheering for you along the way are absolutely essential. We are never alone. Our Heavenly Father is only a prayer away, you can rely on the enabling power of the Savior’s Atonement, and the Holy Ghost is within whispering distance.” (Watch this really great video because she’s super awesome: https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2009-08-33-youre-never-alone?lang=eng)
Finally, after we’ve built this foundation, been upheld by God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, we must always remember this. As the final verse states, “The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose. I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes; That soul, though all hell should endeavor shake, I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!”
Elder Donald L. Hallstrom said, “We live in a world that can cause us to forget who we really are. The more distractions that surround us, the easier it is to treat casually, then ignore, and then forget our connection with God.”
However, we must never forsake! We must hold to that foundation we have built, and continually be working to make it stronger through diligent scripture study, prayer, and church attendance. We must hold to what we believe, and never let it shake.
As we do these things, when the storms come, and they most certainly will come, we will be solidified on what we know. We will be able to endure the winds and hail. The mighty storm may beat upon us, but we will be built upon the rock of our Redeemer, and we cannot fall.
I was there to hear the choir sing that very song I shared earlier. I can still remember that powerful moment attending General Conference (when the Prophet and other church leaders speak to us) in April 2015. There were over 21,000 people present in the building, with millions of others tuned in worldwide, as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir exclaimed, “I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!”
I will never forsake the faith I have built, nor the experiences I have had to strengthen it. As Joseph Smith said regarding when he saw God the Father and His Son, “I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I cannot deny it.”
May we all stand firm on our foundation built on Jesus Christ. May we realize we are never alone. And may we never, no never forsake it.
Thank you for the support everyone. I love hearing from you and truly you each mean the world to me. Love you all!